Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Hereditary enemy
(1,596 words)

1. Terminological history

In the German tradition in particular, the concept of the “hereditary enemy” is related to the Christian concept of the struggle between good and evil. The modern German Erbfeind (“hereditary enemy”) derives from the Middle High German erbevînt, which meant the Devil. Two views of the early modern hereditary enemy can be discerned and will be discussed here: he was either in an eschatological sense the absolute “sworn enemy” of Christe…

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Wrede, Martin, “Hereditary enemy”, 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 05 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_018842>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

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