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(99 words)

Author(s): van Ess, Josef
[German Version] (Arab.), plural of mutakallim (lit. “someone who speaks or argues dialectically”), denotes an Islamic theologian who presents the content of faith in a rational, deductive form, and defends it to those who have other beliefs. Mutakallimũn were characteristic of the first centuries of Islam; their style of thinking appears in the Mu‘tazilah and elsewhere. Their theology is called in Arabic (ʿilm al-)kalām. M. Maimonides calls them medabberim; Thomas Aquinas speaks of loquentes in lege Maurorum. Josef van Ess Bibliography ¶ L. Gardet, “ʿIlm al-kalām,” EI 2 III, 1970…

Šahrastānī, Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdalkarīm

(175 words)

Author(s): van Ess, Josef
[German Version] (1086, Šahristān, a village on the edge of the Qara Qum desert [modern Turkmenistan] – 1153, Šahristān), trained in Šāfiʿite law and Ašʿarite theology, he was noted primarily for a doxographic work in which he described the Islamic “sects,” as well as the orientations of the other Eastern religions and the views of ancient and modern philosophers. The book remains impressive for its transparency, but its value as a source is slight. More important were Šahrastānī’s dispute with Av…


(1,489 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Winrich | van Ess, Josef
[German Version] I. Christianity – II. Islam I. Christianity 1. Early Church Docetism (Gk δοκέω/ dokéō, “to seem”) can be defined as any type of Christology that (a) limits the true humanity of the Son of God Jesus Christ through the assumption of a body of special quality, that (b) teaches the suffering and death of Jesus Christ as merely apparent, or that (c) characterizes the hum…

Names of God

(1,714 words)

Author(s): Rebiger, Bill | Assel, Heinrich | van Ess, Josef
[German Version] I. Judaism – II. Christianity – III. Islam I. Judaism The main biblical names of God are the tetragram YHWH and the expression אֶהְיֶה אֶשֶׁר אֲהְיֶה/ ʾeh eyeh ʾašer ʾeh eyeh (lit. “I am who I am”) or also ʾeh eyeh alone (Exod 3:14); during the Second Temple period, the tetragram was allowed to be spoken only on the Day of Atonement (Feasts and festivals: II) by the high priest. Biblical attributes and epithets of God are understood as additional names of God. Rabbinic literature knows certain circumlocutions for God …


(1,448 words)

Author(s): Dan, Joseph | Köpf, Ulrich | van Ess, Josef
[German Version] I. Judaism – II. Christianity – III. Islam I. Judaism Talmudic tradition includes several examples of disputations between Jewish scholars and pagan philosophers or Roman emperors, dealing mainly with the questions of divine unity, the creation and the role of Israel ( b. Sanh. 91a–b; ' Abod. Zar. 10a–11a, etc.). Disputations with representatives of Islam and, especially, of the Christian religion became a central subject in the historical and apologetical literature (…

Holy War

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Weippert, Manfred | van Ess, Josef | Reuter, Hans-Richard
[German Version] I. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – II. Islam – III. Ethics I. Ancient Near East and Old Testament The theory that ancient Israel was, under certain circumstances, accustomed to wage “holy wars” in addition to profane ones goes back to G. v. Rad (1947/1951), at least in the form that became a milestone of scholarly research. Drawing on the depictions of war in the OT, he developed a “theory of the holy war” based on three constitutive features: 1. the embedding of the war in rituals that made…


(8,918 words)

Author(s): Neu, Rainer | Fabry, Heinz-Josef | Alkier, Stefan | Gregersen, Niels Henrik | Evers, Dirk | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Philosophy of Religion – VI. Fundamental Theology – VII. Dogmatics – VIII. Education and Practical Theology – IX. Judaism – X. Islamic Theology I. History of Religions Miracles are extraordinary, mystifying human experiences that cannot be explained by normal causes, which in many cases suggest the intervention of a deity or superhuman power. Miracles are found in all cultures and are among the traditions of almost all religi…