Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG). This great resource, now at last available in English and Online, Religion Past and Present Online continues the tradition of deep knowledge and authority relied upon by generations of scholars in religious, theological, and biblical studies. Including the latest developments in research, Religion Past and Present Online encompasses a vast range of subjects connected with religion.

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Spinoza, Baruch

(1,120 words)

Author(s): Bartuschat, Wolfgang
[German Version] (Nov 24, 1632, Amsterdam – Feb 21, 1677, The Hague). I. Life Spinoza was born into an immigrant Jewish merchant family from Portugal and grew up in the Jewish milieu of Amsterdam. He began working in his father’s business in 1649. In 1656 he was excommunicated from the Jewish community for heresy. In 1660 he moved to Rijnsburg, where he worked as a lens grinder, wrote his earliest philosophical works, and began the first draft of his Ethica. He moved to Voorburg in 1663. With a lifelong interest in the politics of his country, in 1665 he began work on a th…


(582 words)

Author(s): Bartuschat, Wolfgang
[German Version] The term Spinozism denotes a system that onesidedly emphasizes certain elements of B. Spinoza’s philosophy, usually with polemical intent. Until the end of the 18th century, theologians used the term synonymously with atheism on the basis of Spinoza’s rejection of a Creator God in his Ethica and his attack on revealed religion in his Tractatus theologico-politicus. Spinoza’s expression Deus sive Natura, used only in passing, was understood as positing the simple identity of God and nature. His thesis that God acts solely out of the necessi…


(3,560 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Clayton, Philip | Stolzenberg, Jürgen | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Since time immemorial, the use of the term spirit has been influenced by Christian usage, especially by the concept of the Holy Spirit, including connotations of Latin spiritus and Greek πνεύμα/ pneúma. Spirit has a wide range of meaning; it can denote both a spiritual and a mental attitude, dynamic, or quality ascribed to an individual and a projection of such phenomena into the external world. An anthropomorphic concretion of such projections can then refer to “beings” that in earlier times might have been called “trolls” or the like. 2. In religi…

Spirit and Flesh

(9 words)

[German Version] Flesh and Spirit

Spirit and Spiritual Gifts

(2,816 words)

Author(s): Lewis, Ioan M. | Oeming, Manfred | Dunn, James D.G. | Wainwright, Geoffrey
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Wherever notions of “supernatural” anthropomorphic powers arise, so does the notion of spirit possession. A spirit can enter into a person’s body and sometimes supplant the spirit or soul (considered the same in many cultures) of the host’s body; often the spirit settles in the host’s head or on his or her shoulders. It is then described as being “in the saddle” and “riding” its human means of transportation. If a relationship develops between the spirit and the …

Spirit Baptism

(6 words)

[German Version] Baptism

Spirit/Holy Spirit

(8,121 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Oeming, Manfred | Dunn, James D.G. | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Leppin, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies and History of Philosophy The dogmatic definition of the Holy Spirit as a person within the one divine substance (Trinity/Doctrine of the Trinity) presupposes not only a particular philosophical context but also a religio-historical horizon. A formative influence on the conceptualization of the Holy Spirit was exercised by the various anthropomorphic interpretations of elemental anthropological or normative qualities in the context of polytheistic interpretations of …


(479 words)

Author(s): Bergunder, Michael
[German Version] Spiritism (or spiritualism) denotes a movement whose adherents believe in the empirically demonstrable possibility of contact with the dead in the spirit world. It reached its peak in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The roots of spiritism lie in the penumbra of Mesmerism (F.A. Mesmer, J. Kerner), especially Mesmer’s experiments in ascribing paranormal abilities like clairvoyance and automatic writing to “somnambulists.” Spiritism followed two parallel lines of development. In the United States, the mesmerist Andrew Jackson…

Spirit, Orders of the Holy

(537 words)

Author(s): Eder, Manfred
[German Version] 1. Order of the Holy Spirit (Hospitallers). A lay brotherhood going back to the Hospital of the Holy Spirit founded in Montpellier c. 1170/1175 by Guido of Montpellier, which was recognized as an order in 1198 by Innocent III (following the Augustinian Rule [Augustine, Rule of Saint], with a special vow of hospitality and statutes based on those of the chivalric hospitallers); in 1204 the hospital of Santa Maria (later Santo Spirito) at Sassia in Rome was transferred to them. The o…


(4 words)

[German Version]

Spiritual Franciscans

(247 words)

Author(s): Schmucki, Oktavian
[German Version] The Spiritual Franciscans were rigorist Franciscan reform groups in southern France and central Italy c. 1274–1337, who lived by the ideal of absolute poverty (IV, 2), preferred hermitages for contemplation, urged observance of the Testament as well as the Rule, and eschewed books and academic studies. Their roots went back to Francis of Assisi and his earliest companions (per Brother Leo and Giles). After the ideas of Joachim of Fiore pervaded the order, they exalted its founder as a “second Christ” ( alter Christus) and ascribed to the order a special mission …


(2,439 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker | Weigelt, Horst | Ludwig, Frieder | Sparn, Walter
[German Version] I. Definition The use of spiritualism as a precise technical term was shaped by the Soziallehren of E. Troeltsch, who used it to distinguish between two groups Luther had lumped together as Schwärmer (“Enthusiasts”): spiritualists and Anabaptists. The common characteristic shared by the groups called spiritualists is their belief in the direct effect of the Holy Spirit (Spirit/Holy Spirit) within each individual, in contrast to the outward working of the Spirit through the words of Scripture. As a rule, this belief i…


(5,031 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth | Grethlein, Christian | Kim, Kirsteen | Mendes-Flohr, Paul
[German Version] I. Terminology The growing popularity of the term spirituality and its equivalents in other Western languages in religious and theological literature is a 20th-century phenomenon. Although the adjective spiritalis (or spiritualis) appeared in early Christian Latin, translating Pauline πνευματικός/ pneumatikós (1 Cor 2:13–3:1, etc.), along with its antonym carnalis (for σαρκικός/ sarkikós) and rapidly became common, the noun spiritualitas did not appear until the 5th century and then only sporadically. In the 12th century, it began to app…

Spiritual Regulation of Peter the Great

(413 words)

Author(s): Härtel, Hans-Joachim
[German Version] The Dukhhovny Reglament (“Spiritual/Church Regulation”) was the basic law governing the Russian Orthodox Church from 1721 to 1917. After the death of Adrian, the patriarch of Moscow, in 1700, Peter the Great decided to abolish the patriarchate and replace it with a council. Under Peter’s supervision, his colleague F. Prokopovich composed the Reglament, which was published on Jan 21, 1721. On Feb 14, 1721, the council had its first meeting as the Most Holy Governing Synod (Sviateishii Pravitel’stvuiushchii Sinod); its membership var…


(569 words)

Author(s): Dauer, Alfons Michael
[German Version] In the United States, great numbers of hymns and songs in popular use have been collected and published as spirituals or gospel hymns (Gospel music) since the 1860s; from the outset, discussion of their structure and musical character has been unending. Since the 13 original states of the United States were formerly British colonies, their church bodies belonged ¶ to the Anglican and Protestant churches and sects of the home country, and their religious music followed the musical styles of New England (Church song: I, 13). What was overlo…


(431 words)

Author(s): Klek, Konrad
[German Version] 1. Carl Johann Philipp (Aug 1, 1801, Hanover – Sep 28, 1859, Burgdorf ), hymnodist in the revival movement. After studying at Göttingen, where he had contact with H. Heine, he served as a tutor in Lüne and as pastor and superintendent in Sudwalde, Hameln, Wechold, Wittingen, and Burgdorf. His Psalter und Harfe was widely influential (first collection with 66 hymns 1833, second collection with 40 hymns 1843); six of his hymns are in the Evangelisches Gesangbuch. Konrad Klek Bibliography Works include: Psalter und Harfe, ed. H.-C. Drömann, 1991 On Spitta: D. Klahr, BBKL X,…

Spitteler, Carl

(130 words)

Author(s): Stauffacher, Werner
[German Version] (Apr 24, 1845, Liestal, Switzerland – Dec 29, 1924, Lucerne), writer. After studying theology in Zürich, Heidelberg, and Basel, Spitteler worked as a tutor in St. Petersburg from 1871 to 1879. He began working as a freelance writer in 1892. He soon rejected Christianity and the notion of a benevolent Creator God, taking Prometheus as the prototype of the introverted individual ( Prometheus und Epimetheus, 1880/1881; ET: Prometheus and Epimetheus, 1931; Prometheus der Dulder, 1924; ET: Prometheus the Suffering, 1924). He considered creation a misadventure ( Extramun…

Spittler, Christian Friedrich

(183 words)

Author(s): Raupp, Werner
[German Version] (Apr 12, 1782, Wimsheim, near Pforzheim – Dec 8, 1867, Basel), vigorous organizer of the revival movement (Revival/Revival movements) in southern Germany. After receiving training in public administration, in 1801 he was appointed secretary of the Deutsche Christentumsgesellschaft in Basel, where he inspired or founded several missionary and philanthropic institutions, including the Basel Bible Society (1804) and the Basel Mission (1815), a training center for teachers in ragged s…

Spittler, Ludwig Timotheus

(163 words)

Author(s): Hammann, Konrad
[German Version] (Nov 11, 1752, Stuttgart – Mar 14, 1810, Stuttgart), historian and statesman. After studying theology in Tübingen, in 1775 he went on an educational trip to northern Germany. In 1777 he was appointed lecturer at the Tübinger Stift. In 1779 he was appointed professor of church history and in 1784 of political history in Göttingen. He entered the Württemberg civil service in 1797, being appointed minister of state in 1807; he served as a trustee of the University of Tübingen and hea…

Spizel, Theophil

(190 words)

Author(s): Blaufuß, Dietrich
[German Version] (Gottlieb; Spicelius, Licespius; Nov 9, 1639, Augsburg – Jan 17, 1691, Augsburg), studied at Leipzig from 1653 to 1660; his teachers included J. Hülsemann and M. Geier. A journey via Hamburg (to J.B. Schupp) to the Netherlands (where he met J.A. Comenius and came to know the ideas of R. Descartes and J. Cocceius) brought him to Straßburg (Strasbourg) and finally to J. Buxtorf (II) in Basel. After 1661 he served the church of Sankt Jakob in Augsburg, being appointed senior pastor i…
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