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(1,597 words)

Author(s): Imhof, Agnes
Concept 1. The Arabic word Ramaḍān designates the ninth of the twelve months of the Islamic lunar year, to which a special holiness is ascribed in the Qur'an itself (sura 2:185, Paret ed.), where it is the only month to be mentioned. Ramadan has twenty-nine or thirty days (depending on the moment of the new moon), and annually shifts some eleven days vis-à-vis the solar year, so that it travels through the seasons. The Arabic root rmḍ refers to summer heat, so that it can be assumed that, in the pre-Islamic solar year, it fell in the hot season. In the Islamic calendar,…


(2,252 words)

Author(s): Imhof, Agnes
Concept 1. The world of thought, the maxims and teachings, the myths, and the concepts of the Greek philosopher Plato and his school are among the most influential traditions of European thought. ‘Platonism’ rested not only on an astonishing ancient continuity of doctrine—the Platonic Academy lasted a good nine hundred years, until 529 CE—it also influenced, just as did → Aristotelianism, the philosophical formation of theory until well into modern times. From the viewpoint of religious history, …

Islam: Festal Calendar

(198 words)

Author(s): Imhof, Agnes
Due to the method of observation of the moon, the pure lunar calendar used by Muhammad, which determines the times of religious duties, etc. (e.g., fasting), is very inexact. Accordingly, even in Islamic antiquity, additional months of twenty-nine and thirty days were introduced. This device occasions a shift vis-à-vis the solar calendar. In parallel with the Islamic lunar year, other calendars were used from the outset, such as that of Yazdegird (Iran, 365 days), resting on the solar year, or t…


(2,122 words)

Author(s): Imhof, Agnes
General 1. Mecca (in Arab., al-Makka—often with the suffix al-Mukarrama, ‘the Venerable’) is the sacred city, and most important place of pilgrimage, of → Islam. The central sanctuary, the Ka'ba (Arab., ‘cube’), a rectangular building, in whose northeastern wall the Black Stone is fixed, with its religious importance from pre-Islamic times, stands in the center of the Great Mosque. Mecca (provincial capital of the emirate of the same name) lies on the West coast of the Arabian Peninsula, in the mountainous region of the Hij…


(1,083 words)

Author(s): Imhof, Agnes
Concept 1. The word church is derived from the Greek (from kýrios, ‘Lord,’ and kyrikón, ‘house of the Lord’), and denotes, on the one hand, a sacred (Christian) building ( Architecture [sacred]), and on the other the community of believers (usually with reference to Christianity), and this either in the sociological sense of a religious organizational form or in the sense of ‘true community of God,’ the meaning maintained in Christian theology. In Latin texts, and in the Romanic languages, the synonym ekklesía is used (Gk., ‘assembly,’ ‘gathering’; whence Span., iglesia; Ital., chiesa)…


(2,206 words)

Author(s): Imhof, Agnes
Concept and Period 1. The concept of ‘Renaissance’ (in Ital., Rinascimento, ‘Rebirth’) was coined by the historiography of the nineteenth century. Jacob Burckhardt adopted it from the French of Honoré de Balzac, and made it popular through his Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (Ger., “The Culture of the Renaissance in Italy”; 1860). The denomination was intended to mark an era in European art history and intellectual history, that seemed especially characterized by a resumption of attention to now ‘classical’ objects and thought, and…