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Alpha and Omega

(290 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
[German Version] Exegetical Findings: that God is the first and the last is affirmed in Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12. The rabbis found in the divine epithet “truth” אֱמֶת the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet ( Mek. Ex. 23.13b; Gen. R. 81.2). Revelation offers Greek alphabetical symbolism: God, the Beginning and the End, as Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) links every word and – since the letters also stand for numbers – every number to himself. He, the ruler of all and maintainer of all ( pantokrator), lays claim to every statement and …

Presbyter/Presbytery

(3,654 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Lindner, Herbert | Germann, Michael
[German Version] I. New Testament Social structures that entrusted older individuals with functions on behalf of the community were widespread in the ancient Mediterranean world. In the memory of Israel, they were particularly important in the early history of the people (Num 11– 1 Sam 30:26ff.; 2 Sam 2:4; 12:17; Elders in the Old Testament). Their entrustment with local and regional judicial functions continued (reflected in Deut 19:12; cf. 11QT XLII 13f.) albeit often in diminished form. In the Ne…

Messiah/Messianism

(10,414 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Wandrey, Irina | Dan, Joseph | Karrer, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Christianity – V. Dogmatics – VI. Islam I. History of Religions The terms messiah and messianism derive from the Hebrew word māšîaḥ, “anointed one.” Under the impact of foreign rule in Israel and Judah beginning in the 6th century bce, the word took on a new meaning: the Messiah was expected to bring deliverance from foreigners and oppressors, and in part to inaugurate the eschatological age of salvation (see II–IV below). The word's meaning was expanded in the …

Son of God

(2,958 words)

Author(s): Zeller, Dieter | Karrer, Martin | Nüssel, Friederike
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Son of God as a title applied to an individual must be distinguished from children of God (Child of God) applied to several individuals or a group (e.g. the Israelites). The New Testament title alludes to Davidic messiahship, based on 2 Sam 7:14a (Messiah: II, 2), where God promises Solomon fatherly oversight and appoints him as his representative on earth. Ps 2:7 (cf. Pss 89:27f.*; 110:1–3) uses that text to assert the worldwide dominion of the king of Israel. The “begetting” a…

Christology

(26,944 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin | Williams, Rowan D. | Hauschild, Wolf Dieter | Flogaus, Reinhard | Gunton, Colin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Primitive Christianity – II. History of Doctrine – III. Dogmatics – IV. Forms of Extra-ecclesial Christology I. Primitive Christianity 1. History of research and preliminary questions a.  The term Christology, which originated in the early 17th century, was coined for systematic reflection concerning Jesus Christ. Initially, conceptions and Christologies dealing with the salvation history of the whole Bible beginning with the Old Testament were as highly valued as the New Testament (cf. e.g. G.F. Händel's Messiah). NT Christology went its own way…