Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

Get access

(710 words)

The word gift has two meanings. In the figurative sense, it denotes a skill based on a natural aptitude, such as the gift of eloquence. In the literal sense, it means something that is given. In the latter sense, gifts are a cross-cultural phenomenon. In the religious sphere, a gift in the form of a sacrifice is directed toward the sphere of the divine and is generally understood as a response to a gift already bestowed on the believers. A gift may be unconditional or may imply and require reciprocity (this distinction is reflected in German usage, where Schenkung is an unconditional donat…

Cite this page
Gareis, Iris, “Gift”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 03 December 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019585>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

▲   Back to top   ▲