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Emergency Baptism

(491 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
Since the early church saw baptism not merely as a rite of initiation but as a means of conferring salvation, as early as the second century it could ¶ be administered by laymen as well as clergy when there was danger of death (so-called clinical baptism). Tertullian and the Fourth Council of Carthage, however, would not allow women to administer it. Because of the consecration of the water and the anointing, which were reserved for priests, the East hesitated to allow emergency baptism by laymen ( Apos. Const.  3.10.1–2). In the West the bishop would subsequently lay on hands (3d cent., Afr…


(229 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
A benediction, from the Lat. benedicere (praise, bless, consecrate), was originally praise directed to God (Heb. bĕrākôt, LXX eulogia and then doxologia), whether in the form of public worship, house (table) fellowship, or individual prayer. The Eucharist (from Gk. eucharisteō, be thankful, return thanks) took its name from this practice. The NT supplemented Jewish eulogies (Eulogia) by the wishing of grace ( charis) and by formulas of greeting and blessing. In the church there developed blessings of persons (at worship, official acts, ordinations, installations, etc.)…

Days of Prayer and Repentance

(301 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
Israel has its yearly Yom Kippur (day of atonement), with sacrifices for the sins of the people (Leviticus 16). In times of crisis a fast or day of prayer and repentance might also be proclaimed (Judg. 20:26; 1 Sam. 7:5–6; 31:13; Joel 1:13–14, etc.). The Western church developed weekly fasts on Wednesday and Friday, the Lenten fast before Easter, and in a limited sense the Advent fast and seasonal Ember Days based on pagan models. The authorities might also order fasts for special occasions. In Europe and America the Protestant churches followed this tradition. New England Pur…

Eucharistic Prayer

(180 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
[German Version] From its first instance (Hippolytus, c. 215) until today, the eucharistic thanksgiving over the bread and the wine has a unified structure: a tri-partite dialogue, a salvation-historical preface (since the 4th cent., the sanctus), a christological post-sanctus with an account of the institution, anamnesis, epiclesis, a prayer for consummation, and doxology. Origins in the Jewish prayer after the meal ( birkat ha-mason: dialogue – praise of the Creator – salvation history – after 70 ce: prayer for the restoration of the ¶ temple) are clearly evident. For the …


(933 words)

Author(s): Kellermann, Mechthild | Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
[German Version] I. Bible – II. Liturgy I. Bible Together with water, bread was the staple food in the ancient Near East and was prepared with barley, millet, spelt, or wheat. It was the task of the housewife to prepare fresh bread daily (Prov 31:15). She began before daybreak to crush, pound, and grind the grain on a grindstone, in a mortar, and later in a hand-mill, then to knead the dough in…

Agnus Dei

(330 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph | Flynn, W.T.
[German Version] I. Liturgy – II. Music I. Liturgy Already at an early stage the Eastern Church describes the Eucharistic bread as Amnos (Lamb) and signifies the breaking of bread as Christ's sacrifice (John 1:29; Rev 5:6f.). The Syrian pope Sergius I (died 701) introduced the Agnus Dei – known from the Gloria and litany – as a frequently repeated chant for the breaking of bread. With the introduction of eucharistic wafers its use lapsed; the now three-fold acclamation changes to the Peace and closes with the petition “give us your peace.” Hans-Christoph Schmidt-Lauber Bibliography J.A. J…


(6,849 words)

Author(s): Sfameni Gasparro, Giulia | Fritz, Volkmar | Häußling, Angelus A. | Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph | Plank, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Israel – III. Christianity I. Religious Studies The term comes from the Lat. “altare,” which is derived from “adolere,” “burn” (thus already Sextus Pompeius Festus, De verborum significatione, v. 14: “altaria sunt in quibus igne adoletur”). In addition to “altare/altaria”, the common term “ara” (from “areo,” “burn”) has the same meaning. Accordingly, the Roman altar could be defined as “place of fire” or “sacrificial hearth.” In Greek, there are a number of alternating terms. Of these θυμέλη/ thymélē and θυσιαστήριον/ thysiastḗrion (fr…


(19,016 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph | Mitchell, Nathan D. | Senn, Frank C. | Galadza, Peter | White, James F. | Et al.
1. NT and Early Church 1.1. Term and Usage The term “worship” (from “worth-ship”) has established itself as a general word for the service that is rendered to God in praise, prayer, proclamation and hearing of the Word, and administration of the sacraments. An older term is “divine service” (cf. the German Gottesdienst, which M. Luther used as a technical term for gatherings for worship), though along with its specific use this term has a broader reference to Christian life and diakonia. A common phrase today for gatherings for worship is “worshi…