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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Steinmeyer, Franz Karl Ludwig

(183 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Martin
[German Version] (Nov 15, 1811, Beeskow, Mittelmark – Feb 5, 1900, Berlin). After studying in Berlin and serving as a preacher and teacher in Wittenberg and Kulm, Steinmeyer was appointed pastor in Nowawes in 1843. In 1854 he received his habilitation in Bonn and was appointed to a chair. From 1858 to 1887 he was professor practical theology and New Testament in Berlin, also serving as university preacher until 1870. Steinmeyer is noted primarily for his contribution to homiletics ( Homiletik, publ. posthumously in 1901). Like F.D.E. Schleiermacher, he made a clear distinct…

Steinschneider, Moses

(148 words)

Author(s): Pyka, Marcus
[German Version] (Mar 30, 1816, Prostějov, Moravia – Jan 24, 1907, Berlin). After studying Semitic philology and Hebrew literature in Vienna, Leipzig, and Berlin (and in part as an autodidact), Steinschneider worked primarily in Berlin. Noted primarily for his ¶ bibliographical work (including the Hebraica catalogues for the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the university libraries of Leiden, Berlin, and Munich, as well as founding the periodical Hamaskir), he was also a significant exponent of the Wissenschaft des Judentums inaugurated by L. Zunz. Studies like his Die hebräischen …

Steinthal, Heymann

(165 words)

Author(s): Wiese, Christian
[German Version] (Chayim; May 16, 1823, Gröbzig – Mar 19, 1899, Berlin), philologist and cofounder (with M. Lazarus) of ethnopsychology (National psychology). His philosophy influenced W. Dilthey and G. Simmel. Following G.W.F. Hegel, he looked on language, the formative agent of thought, as the most significant expression of the unfolding world spirit, which also determines the spirit of individual peoples and promises to lead to universal humanity. Since Steinthal was prohibited from appointment…


(303 words)

Author(s): Berlejung, Angelika
[German Version] A stela is a hewn, finished stone, left in its natural state or decorated with inscriptions or iconographic elements (painted, incised, sculpted, carved in relief ) set up to serve as a marker of the presence (or at times the dwelling) of a deity or a deified ancestor for cultic purposes, sometimes with juridical potential (cultic stela, betyl; at Mari, Ugarit, Emar: sikkanu), a votive offering to a deity (votive stela), a memorial to a deceased person (sepulchral stela; Arab., Aram. npš), a witness to a legal transaction such as a treaty, or a marker of a ki…


(270 words)

Author(s): Smith, Nico J.
[German Version] was founded in the vicinity of Cape Town in 1685. It became known as the home of the intellectual nursery for white Afrikaans-speaking students. The first church building built on South African soil was consecrated in 1687. Students from the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) went to the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands to receive their theological training. In 1850 the DRC decided to train its own ministers. The decision was made mainly because of what was considered to be liberal theology taught at the University of Utrecht. It was th…

Stem Cell Research

(504 words)

Author(s): Cole-Turner, Ronald
[German Version] Stem cells are developmentally immature cells capable of dividing and maturing structurally and functionally. Such cells are normally found in complex organisms. Scientists are learning to isolate stem cells, grow them in a laboratory, and implant them in organisms, where in some cases they mature and become a functioning part of the living system. Medical ¶ researchers hope to use stem cells for “regenerative medicine” to treat a number of diseases. In 1998 pluripotent stem cells were first cultured from human embryos. Because they are pluripotent, …

Stenger, Johann Melchior

(190 words)

Author(s): Sträter, Udo
[German Version] (Sep 26, 1638, Erfurt – Mar 7, 1710, Wittstock). After studying in Jena (1654), Leipzig, Wittenberg, Straßburg (Strasbourg; 1658), and Erfurt, Stenger became a deacon at the Predigerkirche in Erfurt in 1666. His terministic teaching regarding repentance and grace, for which he relied primarily on Sonthoms Güldenes Kleinod (E. Sonthom), set off the “Stenger controversy,” which precipitated a crisis in “early Erfurt Pietism” (Wallmann), which P.J. Spener unsuccessfully tried to resolve. Relieved of his office in Erfurt in 1670, …

Stensen, Nils

(191 words)

Author(s): Decot, Rolf
[German Version] ( Jan 11, 1638, Copenhagen – Dec 5, 1686, Schwerin) studied languages, anatomy, and mathematics in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Leiden. His anatomical discoveries soon gained him the reputation as a scientist. In 1666 he was appointed physician to the court in Florence, where he converted to Catholicism. Discoveries during various expeditions placed him amongthe founders of scientific geology, paleontology, and crystallography. After ordination to the priesthood in 1675, he was appo…

Stephan, Horst Emil

(193 words)

Author(s): Wolfes, Matthias
[German Version] (Sep 27, 1873, Sayda, Saxony – Jan 9, 1954, Leipzig). While studying theology in Leipzig, he began teaching in Zittau and Leipzig in 1899. In 1906 he earned his habilitation in Leipzig and in 1907 in Marburg, where he was appointed associate professor in 1911 and full professor of systematic theology in 1919. In 1922 he moved to Halle and in 1926 to ¶ Leipzig, where he retired in 1938 but continued to teach until 1949. Stephan followed in the footsteps of F.D.E. Schleiermacher and the tradition of liberal theology ( Geschichte der evangelischen Theologie seit dem Deutsc…


(347 words)

Author(s): Link, Christoph
[German Version] 1. Joachim (May, 1544, Pyritz, Pomerania [now Pyrzyce, Poland] – Jan 14, 1623, Greifswald). Initially (1572) professor of mathematics in Greifswald, in 1578 he was appointed professor of law, a member of the ducal council, and president of the consistory. With his younger brother Matthias (2. below), he was a leading advocate of the episcopal system (Episcopalism: I), appealing to imperial law to legitimate the evolving Pro­testant system of placing church governance in the hands of…

Stephanus Family

(7 words)

[German Version] Estienne Family

Stephanus the Younger, Saint

(109 words)

Author(s): Sode, Claudia
[German Version] (c. 713–765), abbot of the monastery of St. Auxentius in Bithynia. He was executed for conspiring against Constantine V. In the early 9th century, he was considered a martyr for monasticism,allegedly under persecution. His vita, which claims to have been written in 809, also makes him a martyr for iconoduly (Veneration of images: VI). It is possible, however, that the vita was not written until after 843 and the iconodulistic editing of history. His feast day is Nov 28. Claudia Sode Bibliography M.-F. Auzépy, La vie d’Étienne le Jeune par Étienne le Diacre, BHG 1666, 1997 Pm…

Stephen bar Sudaili

(141 words)

Author(s): Tamcke, Martin
[German Version] The only reliable dating for Stephen is found in the letter about him written by Philoxenus of Mabbug (between 512 and 518), attacking him and especially his idea of universal salvation and oneness. In light of a similar statement by the Syrian Orthodox patriarch Cyricaus (793–817), Stephen was also identified as the author of the Book of Saint Hierotheos. Cyriacus was followed by later commentators on this book, Theodosius of Antioch (887–896) and Bar Hebraeus (13th cent.). Recent studies have also showed the similarity in content between Stephen and the Book of Hiero…

Stephen II, Pope

(301 words)

Author(s): Hack, Achim Thomas
[German Version] (papacy Mar 26, 752 – Apr 26, 757). A native Roman, Stephen was brought up in the Lateran and ordained to the diaconate, then was elected pope when the original pope-elect died four days after his election. Facing the threat posed by Aistulf, the expansive Lombard king, whom the Byzantine authorities did not oppose effectively, Stephen turned to the Franks for military support in a series of urgent letters, including a fictitious letter from the apostle Peter, and by crossing the …

Stephen I of Hungary, Saint

(190 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Harald
[German Version] (c. 970 – Aug 15, 1038, Székesfehérvár). Married to the German princess Gisela, with Western help he completed the Christianization of the Magyars (not always nonviolently) begun by his father Geisa, against Byzantine competition, unifying the Magyars politically for the first time. Stephen organized the Catholic Church in Hungary under the archbishop of Esztergom, for which he was canonized in 1083 by Gregory VII. His appointment as papal legate is a legend, the presentation of t…

Stephen I, Pope (Saint)

(191 words)

Author(s): Wischmeyer, Wolfgang
[German Version] episcopate May 254 – 256/257 (Aug 2, 255, according to the Catalogus Liberianu s and the Depositio episcoporum [CPL 2028/2250]). He is venerated as a martyr; his tomb is in the Cripta dei Papi in the catacombs of San Callisto. All we know ¶ of Stephen comes from the statements of Firmilian of Caesarea and Cyprian of Carthage ( Ep. 67–75) protesting against the position taken by the Roman bishop, who wanted to exclude rebaptizing returning schismatics and simply lay hands on them (Rebaptism controversy). The North African opposition to thi…

Stephen Langton

(216 words)

Author(s): Rieger, Reinhold
[German Version] (1155, 1165, Langton, Lincolnshire – Jul 9, 1228, Slindon, Sussex), studied in Paris c. 1170, 1180; he may have been a canon at Notre Dame. In 1206 he became a cardinal priest in Rome and was elected archbishop of Canterbury in 1207 despite the objections of King John Lackland. He remained in exile in Pontigny, near Auxerre, until 1213. In England he mediated between the king and the barons (Magna Carta). He was suspended from office by Innocent III. He took part in the fourth Lat…

Stephen of Perm, Saint

(135 words)

Author(s): Plank, Peter
[German Version] (c. 1340, Veliky Ustyug – Apr 26, 1396, Moscow), important early Russian missionary. Around 1365 he entered the monastery of Gregory the Theologian in Rostov Velikhy. There besides Greek he learned the language of the Finno-Ugrian Zyrians (Komi), for whom he devised a new alphabet and translated biblical and liturgical texts. In 1383 he was consecrated bishop, so that he was able to conduct a successful missionary campaign among them. He found an outstanding biographer in his fellow student Epifany the Wise. Peter Plank Bibliography Source: Svjatitel’ Stefan Permsk…

Stephen, Saint (the First Martyr)

(286 words)

Author(s): Dobbeler, Axel v.
[German Version] According to the book of Acts (6:1–6), Stephen was a leader among the “Seven” in Jerusalem, who were entrusted with “waiting on tables.” His special gift of the Spirit (6:5, 10) was manifested in signs and wonders (6:8) and enabled him to triumph in disputes with representatives of Hellenistic Judaism (6:9f.); calling on false witnesses, they nevertheless succeeded in arousing the people against Stephen and bringing charges against him before the council (6:11–15). Stephen’s speec…

Stephen the Great, Saint

(170 words)

Author(s): Thöle, Reinhard
[German Version] (c. 1430 – Jul 2, 1504), prince of Moldavia. Popular tradition called him a “defender of Christendom” and saint; after the political reversal of 1989, the Synodic Council of the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized him as “Stephen the Great and Saint” on Jun 20/21, 1992, to reinforce the national religious identity of the Romanian people, especially outside the state of Romania. His reign, beginning on Apr 12, 1457, represented a cultural, economic, and political highpoint in the hi…
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