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Transcendence

(360 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
Transcendence is originally a philosophical concept that distinguishes the immediately accessible, differentiated world of reality from a foundational space that lies behind it. The theological theme of God's quality as a reality ‘beyond’ was open to a corresponding development, which has indeed been realized. Since antiquity, transcendence is essentially a space reached neither by sensory perception nor by speech. Thus, God remains in the realm of the ineffable. Approaches to the transcendent G…

God/Gods/The Sacred

(3,221 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
1. Should one seek to apply the expression ‘God,’ ‘the Sacred,’ or ‘the Holy,’ academically, one would first have to become clear on the presuppositions involved. The Christian tradition has long opposed the one true God to the many false gods, first those of antiquity. God is essentially a ‘person,’ that is, a ‘vis-à-vis.’ The concept of God implies evaluations (true/false, good/bad) and a distinction between monotheism and polytheism. The one excludes alternatives, and the other presupposes them. This classification underwent a relativization in the Renaissance. Antiquity then…

Sanctification

(2,262 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Strecker, Georg | Peters, Albrecht
1. OT 1.1. Term “Sanctification” denotes the transition from the ordinary secular sphere to the sphere of the holy (Sacred and Profane), but then also the analogous transition from the sphere of impurity (on the margin) to the normal sphere of purity (e.g., Lev. 11:44). On the OT view God himself is the quintessence of the holy (he is the Holy One, or the Holy One of Israel, and the beings around him are holy ones; see Isa. 6:3; Ps. 89:7; 99:5, 9). Primarily, then, sanctification is movement into proximity to God, though this movement can be understood in different ways. 1.2. In Space and Time First…

Ark of the Covenant

(420 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
The ark was a portable sanctuary of the Israelites, a wooden chest that could be carried on poles. According to the later, but probably accurate, information in Exod. 25:10, it measured about 125 X 75 X 75 cm. (50 X 30 X 30 in.). According to common scholarly opinion, the ark appears for the first time in the Shiloh temple as part of the priestly cultus. It was lost in the war against the Philistines but was regained and brought to a neighboring sanctuary (1 Samuel 4–6). Later David, probably in order to integrate religious traditions from the North with his national cultus, br…

Prophet, Prophecy

(6,407 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Barton, John | Böcher, Otto
1. Religions 1.1. Definition In Greek the term prophētēs (prophet) refers to one engaged in public proclamation, as by oracles or poets. The word became significant when used to describe an OT phenomenon, as it came to denote the OT prophets in particular and then, by extension, similar NT figures, even though they were not specifically modeled on the OT prophets. The term then became a significant one in Islam, but again with characteristic modifications. In the history of Christianity and Islam (His…

Holy War

(483 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
War as the resistance of one’s orderly world to an alien and dangerous nonworld has always been integrated into religion. It is only recently that there have been real “secular” wars, and the term “holy war” raises problems not merely in relation to Israel (§1). Warlike acts are often accompanied by ritual acts, and in many religions (e.g., Islam) war is also the theme of theoretical religious reflection. In fact, wars are seldom exclusively or even predominantly religiously motivated. In Israel, where war could be differentiated from ordinary marauding (see 1 Sam. 21:5), it was self-…

Priest, Priesthood

(4,566 words)

Author(s): Gerlitz, Peter | Stolz, Fritz | Garhammer, Erich | Siegele-Wenschkewitz, Leonore
1. Religion 1.1. Definition No adequate definition of “priest” or of the institution of the priesthood exists (Religious Studies). We cannot make generalized statements about the functions of the office and its social status, for they depend on each culture-specific context. Yet structures of priestly action may be found in all religious systems, even in those in which priests in the strict sense are unknown (e.g., Islam and Theravada Buddhism). Help in understanding the term may perhaps be found in the Babylonian term for priest, ērib bīti (i.e., one who may go into the temple…

Sanctuary

(2,328 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Stolz, Fritz | Fife, John
1. In Religion The sanctuary (Lat. sanctus, “sacred, holy”), or holy place, is a central element in religion and its visible form of expression. Even today one can easily identify a geographic region by its sanctuaries (churches in Christian areas, mosques in Muslim, stupas in Buddhist, and temples in Hindu). In this way religion has had an impact on landscape. The sanctuary may be situated on, in, or by a particular place in nature (a hill, river, fountain, lake, grove, cave, or rock), or it may involve something made by humans (a house, altar, hearth,…

Covenant

(6,223 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Gertz, Jan Christian | Backhaus, Knut | Sanders, E.P. | Amir, Yehoyada | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity I. History of Religions Immediate and comprehensive solidarity appertains only in the most elementary form of human society (in the “family,” which can be variously structured according to culture); all other forms of solidarity are “artificial,” determined by more or less explicit rules; one can subsume this under the term “covenant,” in which the purposes, realms of social…

Authority

(2,384 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Lütcke, Karl-Heinrich | Schieder, Rolf | Steck, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. History and Theology – III. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies In human societies, power is wielded by culture-specific structures of authority. Various dimensions of authority may be distinguished, such as the power to control daily matters (family, larger communal units), war, the sacral realm, etc. Segmentary societies distribute authority relative…

Exclusion, Rites of

(323 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] In the history of religions, eliminatory rites, or rites of exclusion, serve to neutralize a dangerous or disturbing complex of experiences coming from “within” the social, moral, cosmic, or politico- historical orders of life (in contrast to apotropaic rites, which are meant to ward off external evil). The disruption can affect the individual or society as a…

Substitutionary Gift

(223 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] In human societies, exchange transactions always involve exchanging different things, of equal or unequal value; the symmetry or asymmetry of the exchange is an expression of a particular relationship. This holds not just for exchanges of goods but for other types of exchange, for example in the system of justice (Blood revenge), and not least in contacts with the powers that dominate life, articulated in part by exchanges of gifts. In special cases, the “normal” gifts given by hu…

Superstition

(3,603 words)

Author(s): Küenzlen, Gottfried | Sparn, Walter | Stolz, Fritz | Hollenweger, Walter J.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Terminology. Like the equivalent German term Aberglaube, the word superstition is pejorative in tone and so is inherently critical and polemical: to speak of superstition as a perverted belief implies that the speaker is doing so from the perspective of correct belief or knowledge. 2. Semantic history. The normative, judgmental character of the term shaped its semantic history. In ancient Rome, superstitio was used to describe an exaggerated religious anxiety, just as Greek δεισιδαιμονία/ deisidaimonía meant anxious servility toward …

Sexual Intercourse

(407 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] Because of the biological nature of human beings, sexual intercourse is the goal of a fundamental drive (Drive theory); at the same time, it is influenced by precise cultural rules. The biological unity of pleasure and procreation is often dissolved: the pursuit of pleasure is diverted into art or commerce (with various religious and cultural assessments); occasionally procreation is defined as the only religiously legitimate purpose of intercourse (as is still true in Catholicism…

Allegory

(3,568 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Most, Glenn W. | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Rieger, Reinhold | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Classical Antiquity – III. Bible– IV. Church History – V. Systematics – VI. Practical Exegesis– VII. Religious Art I. History of Religions Allegory (from Gk ἀλληγορέω/ allēgoreō, “say something other [than the literal meaning]”), is a hermeneutical technique (Hermeneutics). The moment a religious message becomes fixed (esp. in writing), a need for interpretation arises. One way to meet this need is t…

Birth

(529 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] Human birth – like death – is not regarded as a “natural” phenomenon in any human society; it is ¶ an event that is treated and processed culturally (and religiously). It is important to distinguish between the actions that shape birth (as well as the pregnancy preceding it and the phase immediately following) and the ideas that accompany these actions. The actions have both a functional and a symbolic aspect. There are often certain things that pregnant women must avoid; when they give birth, …

Christianity

(28,993 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Markschies, Christoph | Koschorke, Klaus | Neuner, Peter | Felmy, Karl Christian | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Survey of the Christian Confessions – IV. Systematic Theology I. Religious Studies For an overview of Christianity at the end of the second millennium of its development, it is reasonable to give a comparative presentation against the background of the world of religion. It must be remembered, however, that “religion” is not an immutable, ahistorical quantity: it is variable and controversial. The modern concept of religion is …

Graveyard/Cemetery

(2,341 words)

Author(s): Happe, Barbara | Sörries, Reiner | Hüttenmeister, Frowald-Gil | Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] I. History – II. Graveyard/Cemetery Art – III. Practical Theology – IV. Judaism – V. Islam I. History The early Christians called their burial sites coemeteria (cemetery, Fr. cimetière, Ital. cimietiero; Burial: V). In the Middle Ages, the churchyard was commonly used for burials; in the 16th and 17th centuries, a burial site outside the city or town was often called “God's acre.” Temporary plague cemeteries were already established in the 14th century. Only after the Reformation, how-¶ ever, were general burial sites established in great numbers. Alon…

Dema Deities

(177 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] were venerated by the Marind-Anim (Irian Jaya [Papua]). On the one hand, they were considered the predecessors of today's people, who populated the earth in primordial times and are described in the myths as human-, animal- and plant-like, for example, the myth of Hainuwele (the “coconut girl”). On the other hand, they are deities who delivere…

Brotherhoods

(2,906 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Dörfler-Dierken, Angelika | Oswalt, Julia | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Church History – III. Current Situation I. History of Religions Brotherhoods are a special form of community, not constituted by traditional forms of relationship (Covenant). They are mono-gendered groupings (also “sisterhoods”) distinguished by certain homogeneous characteristics. Initiation groups are often the origin of brotherhoods in cultural histo…
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