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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Spoils, Right of

(326 words)

Author(s): Landau, Peter
[German Version] ( ius spolii) refers to the custom, attested since Late Antiquity, of allowing the estate of a cleric to be claimed by other clerics or laity. This claim contravened the principle that the property of deceased clergy should preferably accrue to the church. Canon 22 of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 already prohibited appropriation of a bishop’s property by the clergy ¶ after the bishop’s death. The right of spoils was also claimed by bishops and archdeacons in the case of the estate of abbots and presbyters, although councils of the 6th and …


(225 words)

Author(s): Figal, Günter
[German Version] from Neo-Latin spontaneitas, based on Latin spons, “incentive, will,” the ablative of which ( sponte), means “of one’s own accord,” self-motivated. A movement is spontaneous if it is not caused by something inherent in the person who moves or in someone or something else. In this sense, Aristotle already distinguished between motion that arises “from itself ” (ἀπὸ ταυτομάτου/ apó tautomátou, Metaph. VII 7, 1032a 13) and motion caused by nature or art (τέχνη/ téchnē). The notion first became prominent, however, in modern philosophy under the category of…


(735 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert
[German Version] Generally, the term sport can be understood to cover all manifestations of regulated, agonal, motor interaction that qualify as ludic (Play) and as such subserve corporeal self-awareness (prowess, body control, achievement [II; Contest], pleasure) and corporeal expression of the participants’ sense of self. Such phenomena have been present in all ages and all cultures, though with varying public impact. In pre-Christian antiquity, sport played a major public role (the classical Olympic Games from 776 bce to 393 ce [Olympia]), which shrank as Christianity b…

Spranger, Eduard

(426 words)

Author(s): Retter, Hein
[German Version] ( Jun 27, 1882, Lichterfelde, now part of Berlin – Sep 17, 1963, Tübingen), member of the Prussian and Saxon Academies of Science and of the order Pour le Mérite, and recipient of an honorary doctorate from Budapest (1935). He entered the University of Berlin in 1900, studying with Friedrich Paulsen, W. Dilthey, and Otto Hinze; he received his doctorate in 1905 and his habilitation in 1909. In 1911 he was ¶ appointed professor of philosophy and education at Leipzig. From 1920 to 1945 he taught in Berlin, from 1946 to 1952 in Tübingen. From his univer…

Sprengel (Parish/Diocese)

(147 words)

Author(s): Schöllgen, Georg
[German Version] The German Sprengel, originally an implement for sprinkling (holy) water, denotes the area of a priest’s responsibility (and in Austria, also a secular administrative area). Historically, it first denoted the area of a bishop’s responsibility (bishopric). As a synonym of parish, in pre-Carolingian times it could also already stand for the area of a priest’s responsibility. Beginning with the Reformation reor-¶ dering of church law structures (cf. the 1533 Wittenberg church order), Sprengel comes to refer generally to a specific area (under the persona…

Sprögel, Johann Heinrich

(211 words)

Author(s): Peters, Christian
[German Version] (Oct 11, 1644, Quedlinburg – Feb 25, 1722, Stolp, Pomerania [Słupsk]), Lutheran theologian, a leader of the Pietist movement in Quedlinburg, and father-in-law of G. Arnold. After studying in Leipzig, he taught at the abbey Gymnasium in Quedlinburg and was appointed a deacon of the abbey in 1681. After bitter conflicts with the abbess Anna Dorothea, duchess of Saxony-Weimar (governed 1684–1704), his ties with Pietism (journey to Leipzig in 1689; close contacts with A.H. Francke, at…

Spurgeon, Charles Haddon

(257 words)

Author(s): Bitzel, Alexander
[German Version] ( Jun 19, 1834, Kelvedon, Essex – Jan 31, 1892, Menton, France). A conversion experience led Spurgeon to join the Baptist Union (Baptists); in 1850 he became an assistant pastor. He moved to London in 1854, where his unusual rhetorical gifts were quickly evident; they would soon make him the most famous preacher in England (III, 1.e). In 1855 he began to preach in large halls in London. His success as preacher led to the building of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, with 5,600 seats. H…

Sremski Karlovci

(196 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Johann
[German Version] (Hung. Karlócza), a city on the Danube in Syrmia (Srem), Serbia, a Baroque ecclesiastical center of Orthodox Serbs within the Catholic Habsburg empire. From 1713 to 1920, it was a metropolitan (II) see, autocephalous (Autocephaly) after the abolition of the patriarchate of Peć in 1766. With the help of Russian theologians from Kiev, Sremski Karlovci became an intellectual and theological center (seminary opened in 1774, the first Serbian Gymnasium in 1791). The “national church co…

Sri Lanka

(1,137 words)

Author(s): Koschorke, Klaus
[German Version] Christianity in Sri Lanka can look back over a remarkably long history. After a sporadic presence on the island since the 6th century and a continuous presence since the early 16th, it subsequently went through a development that was sometimes in step with the various stages of European colonial rule and at other times took a significantly different course. The earliest reliable evidence for the existence of Christian communities in Sri Lanka is a comment in the ¶ Christian Topography of the Nestorian merchant and writer Casmas Indicopleustes around the year…


(350 words)

Author(s): Klaus, Konrad
[German Version] ̣In Hinduism (II, 1.a; III, 3) the terms śruti (Sanskrit, lit. “hearing,” usually translated freely as “revelation”) and smṛti (Sanskrit, lit. “memory,” usually rendered freely as “tradition”) serve to classify the Sanskrit texts that conservative Brahmanic circles recognize, at least nominally, as authoritative sacred tradition. The term śruti usually denotes the Veda or, more precisely, the Vedic Saṃhitās and Brāhmanas together with the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads, whereas smṛti primarily denotes the Dharmaśāstras and Vedic Sūtras, as well as th…

Stäblein, Bruno

(130 words)

Author(s): Haug, Andreas
[German Version] (May 5, 1885, Munich – Mar 6, 1978, Erlangen). After studing musicology and music (Dr.phil. 1918), he worked as a conductor and Gymnasium teacher; in 1953 he was appointed director of the Instut für Musikforschung in Regensburg, which he had founded in 1945. In 1946 he received his habilitation and in 1956 was appointed professor of musicology at Erlangen, where he founded the “Monumenta monodica medii aevi” series. His studies on the musical literature of the Latin Middle Ages se…

Staël, Anne Louise Germaine de

(80 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
[German Version] Baroness de Stäel-Holstein (Apr 22, 1766, Paris – Jul 14, 1817, Paris). As an exile during the French Revolution, Mme. de Staël was the central figure of a European network of communication. Refracting the ideas of J.-J. Rousseau through the lens of early German Romanticism, she wrote in criticism of the social conventionality restricting women, and preached the perfecting of humanity in history. Volker Leppin Bibliography C. Blennerhassett, Madame de Staël, 1889 (Eng.).


(172 words)

Author(s): Berger, Rupert
[German Version] a support for the elderly and a token of power (Exod 4:2ff.; 2 Kgs 4:29); a shepherd uses the crook of his staff to keep his flock together (Ps 23:4). The staff used as a means of support by elderly monks turned into an abbatial staff, first attested in the case of St. Columbanus. The bishop’s staff or crozier, probably borrowed from official Byzantine ceremonial, developed as an extra-liturgical token of jurisdiction (first attested for Caesarius of Arles); from the 9th century on, it was conferred by the king at investiture. The first mention ¶ of the episcopal crozier in…

Staffing Rights, Church

(540 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] In a broad sense, church staffing rights involve the fundamental issue of the extent to which churches and religious organizations have the right to administer their own affairs in issuing their own employment and labor regulations. The development of ecclesiastical employment and labor law in a way appropriate to the church’s mission is their own concern, as stated in German Basic Law art. 140 with Weimar Constitution art. 137 §3. This right of self-determination (see also Church…

Staffort Book

(190 words)

Author(s): Dingel, Irene
[German Version] (1599). The Staffort Book is witness to the change of confessional allegiance of Margrave Ernst Friedrich v. Baden-Durlach, one of the three sons of Margrave Charles II, on whose behalf the guardians Louis, elector palatine, Philip Louis, count palatine of Neuburg, and Duke Louis of Württemberg had signed the Formula of Concord after the margrave’s death. The book, printed at Schloß Staffort near Durlach, consisted – in its larger version – of a rejection of the Formula of Concord…

Stahl, Friedrich Julius

(363 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
[German Version] ( Jan 16, 1802, Munich – Aug 10, 1861, Brückenau), Protestant jurisprudent and politician. Stahl (orig. Jolson) was of Jewish parentage; in 1819 he converted to Lutheranism and took the name Stahl when he was baptized. In 1832 he was appointed associate professor at Erlangen and in the same year full professor at Würzburg; in 1834 he was ¶ appointed full professor at Erlangen. As representative of the university in the Bavarian Landtag, he was reprimanded on account of a conflict with the government; in 1840 he therefore accepted an appointment in Be…

Stählin, Wilhelm

(252 words)

Author(s): Schwab, Ulrich
[German Version] (Sep 24, 1883, Gunzenhausen – Dec 16, 1975, Prien am Chiemsee). After studying Protestant theology in Erlangen, Rostock, and Berlin, Stählin served as a pastor in Bavaria. He received his doctorate from Würzburg in 1913 with a dissertation on the metaphorical language of the New Testament. In 1914 he founded the Gesellschaft für Religionspsychologie in Nuremberg. After 1918 he was one of the leading theologians in the Jugendbewegung. From 1922 to 1932 he was a leader in the Bund Deutscher Jugendvereine. In 1923 he helped establish the Berneuchen …

Stained Glass

(1,567 words)

Author(s): Kurmann-Schwarz, Brigitte
[German Version] I Stained (or painted) glass is a type of monumental painting whose effect is dependent on the translucence of its material. It consists of flat pieces of colored glass held together in a grooved lead (came) framework to form a representational or ornamental composition. In representational compositions and sometimes in ornamental compositions, the pieces of glass are painted with black stain of varying density. Annealing in a special furnace bonds the painting to the surface of the glass. II Around 1100 Theophilus Presbyter described the technique of making…


(478 words)

Author(s): Creuzberger, Stefan
[German Version] The term Stalinism was not coined by the “Stalinists” but by their opponents. It is commonly accepted as denoting the authoritarian and bureaucratic system of government established under J. Stalin- between 1928/1929 and 1953, together with the dictatorship of a party leader who imposed his arbitrarily defined political line, employing an entourage of compliant functionaries ( nomenklatura) and terrorism against enemies real and supposed. Ideologically speaking, Stalinism was rooted in the theories of V. Lenin. It did not consider itse…

Stalin, Joseph

(572 words)

Author(s): Creuzberger, Stefan
[German Version] (Vissarionovich Jughashvili; Dec 6 [18], 1878, Gori, Georgia – Mar 5, 1953, Moscow). Stalin’s family was poor. From 1888 to 1894, he attended the church school in Gori and then the Orthodox seminary in Tiflis. When he was expelled in 1899 on account of his contacts with underground Marxist circles (Marxism), his membership in the Georgian Social Democratic Mesame Dasi (1898) brought him into the Tiflis organization of the Russian Social Demo-¶ cratic Labor Party (RSDLP) in the fall of 1901. Under the cover names Koba and Stalin (“the man of steel”), he engaged in re…
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