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Hermeticism/Hermetism

(2,928 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Holzhausen, Jens | Lory, Pierre | Blum, Paul Richard | Colpe, Carsten
[German Version] I. Literature – II. History of Influence I. Literature The literature that has come down to us under the name of the Greek-Egyptian god Hermes (Hermes Trismegistus) is not a unity, neither literarily nor in terms of content. Its beginnings reach back into the 3rd century bce to Egypt (III, 2), and its influence extends beyond the Arabic-Islamic and Christian-European Middle Ages into the 18th century (see II below). This literature has been divided into “popular” or “occult” and “scholarly” or “philosophical” writings. The …

Schaeder

(776 words)

Author(s): Voigt, Friedemann | Colpe, Carsten | Schwöbel, Gerlind
[German Version] 1. Erich (Dec 22, 1861, Clausthal – Feb 18, 1936, Berlin). After studying in Berlin and Greifswald from 1881 to 1886, Schaeder began lecturing in systematic theology at Greifswald in 1891. In 1894 he was appointed adjunct professor at Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) and in 1895 at Göttingen. In 1899 he was appointed ¶ to a full professorship at Kiel and in 1918 at Breslau (Wrocław). He was one of the theologians of the Greifswald school led by A.H. Cremer. In his most important work, Theozentrische Theologie (vol. I 1909, 31925; vol. II 1914, 21928), Schaeder criticized th…

Hell

(1,543 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten | Heron, Alasdair I. C.
1. Religious History The word “hell” comes from Old Ice. hel, the term in Nordic mythology for the place of the dead in the underworld and for its female ruler. All the dead are there or under her rule except for those killed in battle. The idea was not negative from the outset, as the etymology also shows, for the meaning of the root is “hide, conceal.” The concept became a negative one only with the demonization of virtually all pre-Christian material by the repressive methods of missionaries and by those who after conversion engaged in committing German myt…

History of Religion

(1,016 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. According to the view one takes of religious studies, the history of religion is either one department of such studies or it is the main discipline itself. In about 1694 G. W. Leibniz (1646–1716) became the first to differentiate the histoire des religions from church history. In his Natural History of Religion (1757), D. Hume (1711–76) became probably the first to juxtapose critically religion’s “natural history” (terminology adopted by the whole Enlightenment) with the salvation history represented by the church. In French and Italian, for ex…

Iranian Religions

(2,807 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. Definitions Iranian religions are the authentic religions of peoples and tribes that spoke or speak Iranian languages. One may also refer to other religions whose features appear in Iranian religions and are material variants of them. We do not include religions in non-Iranian languages that are native to territories that came under the rule of Iran (e.g., the Elamites) or that came to Iran later and in so doing underwent changes (e.g., the many Turkic tribes) or that are regarded as their own only by a few Iranian speakers (e.g., the Buddhism of the Sakas and Sogdians). The Iranian la…

Animism

(630 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Georg Ernst Stahl (1660–1734), a German physician and chemist who established the phlogiston theory, used the term “animism” from the psychology of the early modern period, wanting as a doctor to give scientific form to the classical identification of the life principle and the soul. The English anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917) then took it over from Stahl, proposing it in a lecture to the Royal Asiatic Society in London in 1867 as a substitute for the term “fetishism” to denote m…

Nature Religion

(661 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
The term “nature religion” has been used in a great variety of senses, of which seven are distinguished here. Philosophical. In the second and first centuries b.c. (later, the Stoics), and also in the 18th century (D. Hume), early doctrines of human nature came to completion with the observation or postulation of a disposition that in the modern period would be called religious. Theological. In the light of the revelation of the true knowledge of God, such a religious disposition became a problem for the second-century Christian apologists. Various terms wer…

Divine Light Mission

(470 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
The Divine Light Mission originated as a humanitarian organization seeking to propagate a method of meditation for the achievement of “perfect knowledge.” It was founded in 1960 at Patna (Bihar, India) by Shree Hans (Skt. haṇsá, “goose,” symbol of the white color of the soul and the migratory bird), who died in 1965. At the funeral of Shree Hans, his son, Prem Pal Singh Rawat, who was born on December 10 or 16, 1957, in Hardwar (Uttar Pradesh, India), comforted those who mourned his father’s death with the thought that they still had perfect kn…

Egypt

(2,787 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten | Swanson, Mark N.
1. Data

Ecstasy

(940 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. Scope of the Term The broadest usage of “ecstasy” encompasses several semantic domains. Ethologically, the moment when the earliest hunter and his prey first met was probably one of united concentration on the encounter, of holding of breath and silence, of tense quiet along with the ability to spring very quickly into action. 1.…

Quaternity

(423 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
The number four ranks high among the symbolically significant numbers (Symbol). In translations of Monophysite arguments both for and against Apollinarius of Laodicea (d. ca. 390), theological Latin refers to quaternitas along with trinitas. “Two natures,” it was argued, means “two sons,” and hence we have a tetrad instead of a triad (Trinity). In religious history the term “quaternity” denotes a fourfold structure. On the basis, for example, of the four points of heaven, the four ages, the four sides of a square, the four temperaments, the four…

Transcendental Meditation

(819 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a spiritual, neo-Hindu movement (Hinduism). 1. Founder The founder of TM was Mahesh Prasad Warma (b. 1911 or 1918). He was initiated into the traditions of meditation by Himalayan and South Indian masters. The last of these, and the most influential, was Shankara (700?–750?). When Mahesh had developed his own method, Transcendental Meditation (TM), he put “Maharisha” (great seer) before his name and “Yogi” (one who practices yoga) after it. In Madras on January 1, 19…

Cao Dai

(755 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Cao Dai is the religion of the Vietnamese god Cao Dai, whose name means “great palace.” The full self-designation is (Dai-Dao) Tam-Ky Pho-Do, or “(Great Way of) the Third Forgiveness of God.” Along this way, the unity of all religions is to be recovered, a unity that had already been divided in a “first forgiveness” under the forerunners of Confucius, Lao-tzu, and Buddha Sakyamuni, and then in a “second forgiveness” under these…

Devil

(2,130 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. Concept 1.1. Gk. diabolos, from which the Eng. “devil” is derived, is the usual LXX translation of śāṭān (adversary). In the NT it is used more in the Greek sense as “accuser” or “sla…

Marranos

(373 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
A Marrano is a Christianized Jew or Moor of medieval Spain, especially one who converted only to escape persecution (Conversion 1). From the 11th century Spanish Jews (Judaism), showing that they too had to avoid things, borrowed from the Arabs the term maḥram (something prohibited), which, in its Castillian form marrano, they used to refer to pigs. The reconquistadores then took over the word and applied it to the Jews themselves. When baptism was forced on the Jews, it became a common term of contempt for those thus baptized (they called themselves ʾănûsı̄m, “coerced ones”), who were always suspected of clinging to their original faith. The term took hold when persecutions of Jews became more common (Anti-Semitism, Anti-Judaism) after 1391, and especially with th…

God

(13,726 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten | Heintel, Erich | Reichenbach, Bruce R. | Preuss, Horst Dietrich | Roloff, Jürgen | Et al.
1. Ideas of God in the Religions Ideas are phenomena. We may interpret them in broader social and intellectual contexts, but they also speak for themselves in images, words, names, and texts. Even when deity is their content, they can display only themselves, not show whether revelation or merely human imagination underlies them, though this observation does not mean that we can rule out divine revelation. To speak of an idea of God tacitly presupposes horizontal comparison between societies and cultures. We set different ideas of God on different levels, thou…

Fire

(503 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
Fire has played a role in human history at least since Peking man (dated perhaps as early as 500,000 b.c.). In its use by the human race, fire can be both positive (providing light, warmth, and a means of cooking) and negative (bringing burning and destruction). It has been regarded as of heavenly origin, especially when kindled by lightning. When kindled by rubbing, it is a manifestation of human culture. When it came to be viewed as a symbol can be decided only in connection with the development of forms of religion that offer representations and symbols, which differ from culture to culture. I…

Phenomenology of Religion

(1,533 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. Term and Beginnings 1.1. Between G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831; Hegelianism) and E. Husserl (1859–1938), “phenomenology” was a simple methodological term designed to indicate the fullest possible recording of facts and data. The phrase “phe…

Llullian Method

(359 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
“Llullian method” denotes the overall approach of Ramón Llull (ca. 1233-ca. 1315)—Catalan writer, Scholastic, polymath, adviser of popes and princes, ¶ Islamic and Jewish scholar and missionary—whose basic goal in his writings was to see Jews and Muslims converted. Of his 263 writings, 36 contain the word ars (method, way, art) in the title. Llull called this literary work, and especially the summary of it, Ars generalis ultima (1305–8), or Ars magna. This title, similar to the Ars maior and Ars minor of Roman grammarian Aelius Donatus (4th cent. a.d.…

Rite

(1,912 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich
1. Religious History The term “rite” (Lat. ritus, orig. “what is correctly reckoned,” then “what is appropriate; usage, custom”) came into use in Roman religion for an ordered and solemn ceremony. The adjective ritualis thus means “that which relates to religious usage.” 1.1. Theology tends to use “rites,” and religious studies and social anthropology prefer “ritual,” for religious ceremonies or for sequences of such ceremonies. Ethnology recognizes that whole groups of human actions and animal modes of behavior have a set and standardized character. Hence that which originally gives a rite its meaning is simply that it takes place. 1.2. For this reason a rite is open to all the meanings that an event may have when it relates to a rit…
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