Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

I. Terminology – II. Catholic Understanding – III. Orthodox Understanding – IV. Protestant Understanding

I. Terminology

The term hierarchy, apparently coined (c. 500 ce) by Ps.-Dionysius Areopagita, initially had the metaphysical meaning (etymologically from the Greek ἱερά/hierá and ἀρχή/archḗ, “sacred origin, sacred order, sacred dominion”) of a layered reality and perception (Dion. Ar. Cael. hier. 3.1; 4.3; 6.1). Since…

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Wiedenhofer, Siegfried, Ciobotea, Daniel and Schöpsdau, Walter, “Hierarchy”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 13 April 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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