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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(151 words)

Author(s): Rospatt, Alexander v.
[German Version] The Śvetāmbara (lit. “white-clad”) are the largest and most influential group among the Jains (Jainism). They reject as unnecessary the complete ¶ nudity demanded as the monastic ideal in the strict asceticism followed by the Digambara and prescribe white robes instead. The Digambara settled in southern India, whereas the Śvetāmbara settled in the north and especially the west, where they are concentrated today. By the council of Valabhī in the mid-5th century at the latest, the difference that emerged…

Svetlov, Pavel Yakovlevich

(272 words)

Author(s): Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] (Dec 1, 1861, Svyatoe Ozero, Ryazan’ Oblast – Nov 26, 1941, Irpen’), archpriest, professor of apologetics at the University of Kiev (not at a seminary). As one of the most creative theologians of the period of awakening prior to 1917 and the first among strictly academic theologians to oppose the ideas of A. Ritschl, he argued for discarding a onesidedly juridical doctrine of redemption; in later years, he sought to protect the doctrine from the opposite extreme of a purely subjec…


(690 words)

Author(s): Zotz, Thomas
[German Version] Swabia (Ger. Schwaben, Lat. Suevia) developed from area settled by the Alemanni in the Merovingian period. From the Carolingian period, it was one of the political entities constituting the Regnum Francorum ¶ and later the East Frankish German Empire. To the west, Swabia bordered on the Rhine and Alsace, to the east the Lech and Bavaria; to the north, at the latitude of Stuttgart, it adjoined Franconia (Franks/Franconia), and at the elbow of the Rhine in the southwest it adjoined Burgundy. To the southeast, it b…


(7 words)

[German Version] Veneration of Images


(534 words)

Author(s): Hofmeyr, Johannes Wynand
[German Version] (Ngwane). Swaziland, one of the smallest countries in the southern hemisphere, is a landlocked kingdom, surrounded by South Africa on three sides and bordered by Mozambique on the fourth side. Although South Africa’s influence predominates in Swaziland, it was a British protectorate from 1906 until its independence in 1968. Western Swaziland is high veld, consisting mainly of short, but sharp mountains. These dwindle to plains in the center and east of the country, where plantatio…

Swearing-in, Church Law

(188 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] The churches enjoy a right to be sworn by virtue of their right of self-determination defined in German Basic Law art. 140 in combination with art. 137 §3 of the Weimar Constitution. Church law accordingly provides for both a forensic oath of witnesses (an assertory oath [VII]) and a promissory oath of office. In Protestant law (Canon law), use is made of the right to be sworn in primarily in the context of disciplinary and administrative proceedings, in the context of a witness’s…


(163 words)

Author(s): Kraatz, Martin
[German Version] Like other excretions of the human body (Saliva), sweat externalizes an individual’s vital force, making it available for use. In ancient India, an archer’s sweat applied to an arrowhead had the power to destroy the enemy ( Kauśikasūtra 17.44). St. Paul’s face cloths or handkerchiefs were used to heal the sick and exorcise evil spirits (Acts 19:12). The sudarium of Veronica, purportedly bearing the image of Jesus’ face, is said to have healed Emperor Tiberius. In Egypt the salves and frankincense earmarked for the go…

Swedberg, Jesper

(163 words)

Author(s): Friedrich, Martin
[German Version] (Aug 28, 1653, Falun, Sweden – Jul 26, 1735, Skara), served as court chaplain to Charles XI, as professor of theology at Uppsala, and after 1702 as bishop of Skara. He is best known as the author of widely-read postils and an important exposition of the catechism (1709) and also as a hymnodist and editor of the 1694 hymnal, but also as a language reformer and organizer of the church’s care for Swedes in North America. As a royalist, he supported the dominance of Lutheran orthodoxy…


(2,740 words)

Author(s): Jarlert, Anders
[German Version] I. General Sweden is a constitutional monarchy in northern Europe, bordered on the west by Norway, the North Sea, and Denmark and on the south and east by the Baltic and Finland. It has an area of 449,964 km2, with a population of 8.94 million, including 1.05 million immigrants. Its population centers are in the southwest, south, and east. The capital is Stockholm. Its language is Swedish, but linguistic minorities include 100,000 Finnish speakers. There is a small Sami-speaking minority in Lapland. II. Non-Christian Religions The ancient Swedish religion was a Ge…

Swedenborg, Emanuel

(513 words)

Author(s): Lenhammar, Harry
[German Version] (Jan 29, 1688, Stockholm – Apr 8, 1772, London), versatile natural scientist, inventor, mining engineer, exegete, and theosophist. He was the son of J. Swedberg. Active in intellectual circles in Uppsala in the early 18th century, he had a hand in founding the first Swedish scientific society (Kungliga Vetenskapssocieteten, 1710). His travels – to England, the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Germany – alternated with stays in Stockholm, where he worked as an assessor for the Board…


(339 words)

Author(s): Lenhammar, Harry
[German Version] E. Swedenborg did not found a new church himself, but he quickly attracted a following in Sweden, although congregations of the Swedenborgian New Church did not appear there until 1866. The first congregation of Swedenborgians had already been formed in London in 1787. There the Swedenborg Society began translating and publishing Swedenborg’s works in 1810. An umbrella organization was formed in London in 1815, the General Conference of the New Church. The first Swedenborgian congregation in the United States was founded in Baltimore in 1793. The Gen…

Swedish Missions

(377 words)

Author(s): Sarja, Karin
[German Version] In the late 19th century the Church of Sweden and the revival movements were influenced by commitment to mission. Important protagonists were Peter Fjellstedt (1802–1881) and George Scott (1804–1874), whose efforts led in 1835 to the founding of the first missionary organization, Svenska Missionssällskapet. In 1845 the Lutheran Lunds Missionssällskap was founded. The new evangelical revival movement led to the establishment of the Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen, which began mi…

Sweelinck, Jan Pieterszoon

(125 words)

Author(s): Luth, Jan R.
[German Version] (May, 1562, Deventer – Oct 16, 1621, Amsterdam), organist of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. Sweelinck was an employee of the city at a time when organ accompaniment of liturgical singing was not common. His activity therefore consisted primarily of performing (Church concert), other municipal functions like carillon-playing, and giving organ lessons. Through his students J. Praetorius and Heinrich Scheidemann, his influence extended far beyond the Netherlands. He composed vocal and i…

Swift, Jonathan

(134 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Nov 30, 1667, Dublin – Oct 19, 1745, Dublin), Anglo-Irish satirist, poet, and patriot, studied at Trinity College (Dublin) before receiving his degree at Oxford (1692) and being ordained an Anglican clergyman (1695). From 1713 on, he served as dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin. His graphic, forceful publications attacked Deism, dissenting Protestantism (Dissenters), scientific naturalism, and political corruption. His greatest satire, The Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver (2 vols., 1726), used fanciful descriptions of i…

Swiss Missions

(491 words)

Author(s): Jenkins, Paul
[German Version] Switzerland has a complex identity, with its trilingual population and its traditional separation into Protestant and Catholic cantons. All three language areas have tended to orientate themselves to the main metropolitan cultural centers: Germany, France, and Italy. Mission history is no exception. The Basel Mission (BM), largely though not exclusively Germanophone, was founded by the urban elite in Basel, who recruited young men from rural Pietist families, gave them special training and sent them abroad as missionaries. The Mission Suisse en Afrique du Sud (M…


(3,455 words)

Author(s): Dellsperger, Rudolf
[German Version] I. General Switzerland (Swiss Confederation, Confoederatio Helvetica) came into being in 1848 when a league of states joined together to form a federal state with a federalist constitution based on direct democracy. It has an area of 41,282 km2 and includes the central Jura Mountains, a midland between Lake Geneva and Lake Constance, and the Alps. Its four national languages – German, French, Italian, and Romanish – are spoken in four regions, each with its own cultural identity. II. Church History 1. Antiquity and Middle Ages The territory of Switzerland became pa…

Sydow Brotherhood

(309 words)

Author(s): Bloth, Peter C.
[German Version] The Sydow Brotherhood, the first union of Protestant pastors, was founded in the village of Sydow (Altmark) by the local pastor Georg Schulz (1889–1954), who later moved to Barmen-Unterbarmen. Until 1945 the brotherhood was open only to clergy, unlike the Berneuchen groups. Under a Council of Brethren, its mission was renewal of the clergy theologically, in service to the church and the world and amid the tensions arising from life and society. Rather than a fixed rule, the life o…

Sydow, Karl Leopold Adolf

(195 words)

Author(s): Schröder, Markus
[German Version] (Nov 23, 1800, Berlin – Oct 23, 1882, Berlin), a student of F.D.E. Schleiermacher. Appointed lecturer at the cadet school in Berlin in 1822, he became the school’s pastor in 1827; in 1836 he was appointed court and Guards Division chaplain in Potsdam. During a study trip to England from 1841 to 1844, he was converted to the “Free church” principle; at the general synod in 1846 he supported freedom of religion and was appointed pastor of the Neue Kirche in Berlin. As a preacher, he…


(936 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Hubert | Arnold, Claus
[German Version] I. Syllabus Errorum (1864) The Syllabus errorum is a list of modern errors, published on Dec 8, 1864, as an appendix to the encyclical Quanta cura of Pius IX. It consists of 80 statements taken from earlier addresses and writings of the pope. In general terms, the background of the condemnation was the Curia’s intensified campaign against liberalism since 1849, especially its struggle against the liberal Catholicism (III) of figures like C.F. de Montalembert (speech at the 1863 Catholic Congress in Mechel…

Sylten, Werner

(208 words)

Author(s): Ruddies, Hartmut
[German Version] (Aug 9, 1893, Hergiswyl, Switzerland – Aug 26, 1942, Schloß Hartheim concentration camp, Austria), Protestant clergyman. After studying in Marburg and Berlin (F. Siegmund-Schultze), he served his pastoral internship in Göttingen and Dannenberg. In 1922 he was appointed associate pastor at the women’s school in Himmelsthür outside Hildesheim. From 1925 to 1936 he served as pastor and director of the Thuringian home for girls in Bad Köstritz. In 1930 he joined the League of Religious Socialists in Thuringia (Emil Fuchs). From 1933 he served on the Thuringian ¶ Council …
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