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First Human Being

(1,147 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel
[German Version] I. Religions tell of an Urmensch, or first human being, as an element of etiological myths in cosmogony (Creation), anthropogony or anthropology: A primal being anticipates or establishes constants of cosmic or earthly occurrences through his/her…

Supernatural Birth

(463 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel
[German Version] In myths and legends, the motif of supernatural birth distinguishes deities and saviors who procreate, give birth, and are born supernaturally. Zeus’s potency is a token of his divinity and enables him to beget additional deities. Goddesses sometimes give birth without conception; examples include Hephaestus’s birth from Hera and Gaṇeśa’s birth from Parvati. Paradoxically, virginity (Virgin birth) is associated with goddesses of fertility (Ishtar, Venus). Gods appropriate the bir…

Urmensch

(948 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel
[English Version] Urmensch, religionswissenschaftlich. I. Religionen berichten über einen U. als Element ätiologischer Mythen in ihrer Kosmogonie (Schöpfung), Anthropogonie oder Anthropologie: Ein Urwesen nimmt durch seinen anthropomorphen Körper Konstanten des kosmischen und irdischen Geschehens vorweg oder begründet sie; oder der U. entspricht dem ersten Menschen. II. Diese Mythen erfüllen unterschiedliche Funktionen: 1. Sie begründen soziale Normen: Aus den Körperteilen des vedischen Puruṣa, sanskrit »Mensch«, wird in mikro-/makrokosmische…

Rache

(1,223 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Zenger, Erich | Volkmann, Stefan
[English Version] I. Zum Begriff R. ist als eine Form der Kompensation ein soziales Verhaltensmuster. In Rel. erfährt es Deutungen und wird auf Verhältnisse zw. Menschen und Göttern sowie Lebenden und Toten ausgeweitet. Rel. bewerten R. unterschiedlich: Sie kann eine legitime Form des Rechts sein (Talion in tribalen Gesellschaften, Vergeltungsgedanke im AT, u.a. Gen 4,23f.) oder als eine ethisch zu überwindende Verhaltensweise gelten (Buddhismus; Mt 6,12). Meist ist R. ein Randaspekt von Rel. und Theol. und so auch in der religionswiss. Theoriedebatte eher ein Unteraspekt anderer Themen wie der Ethik mit Fragen nach Toleranz/Intoleranz, Töten und Krieg oder des Opfers, das u.a. göttliche R. ab…

Revenge

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Zenger, Erich | Volkmann, Stefan
[German Version] I. Concept Revenge as a form of compensation provides a model for social behavior. Religions interpret it and extend the concept to relationships between human beings and gods as well as between the living and the dead.…

Inspiration/Theopneusty

(4,151 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Koch, Dietrich-Alex | Brändle, Werner
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. New Testament – III. History – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies 1. Terminology The terms inspiration (from Lat. inspiratio, “insufflation”) and theopneusty come from the NT. Prophecy comes through the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21); in 2 Tim 3:16, the adjective ϑεόπνευστος/ theópneustos) ¶ describes Scripture as being “inspired by God.” In many religions, we encounter the idea that communications enter the human sphere through the mediation of other entities. Plato ( Phaidr. 265) was already systematizing m…

Talion

(3,214 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Otto, Eckart | Reeg, Gottfried | Krawietz, Birgit | Ogris, Werner
[German Version] I. Concept Talion is derived from the Roman lex talionis, in which it referred to a regulated act of retribution – in keeping with a legal norm that was meant to place limitations on self-administered justice. This stands in contradiction to the general understanding of talion as “doing as you are done by,” also in the sense of self-administered justice. In modern usage, talion is thus particularly understood in the sense of blood revenge or vendetta. The latter meaning is therefore focused on immediate revenge i…

Prophet/Prophetin/Prophetie

(7,901 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Jeremias, Jörg | Gray, Rebecca | Hayoun, Maurice-Ruben | Aune, David E. | Et al.
[English Version] I. Religionswissenschaftlich 1.Der BegriffProphetie übersteigt in der den Ereignissen zugewiesenen Bedeutung Individualerfahrungen in Mystik, Ekstase oder bei Inspiration sowie situationsbezogene Aktivitäten etablierter Funktionsträger, etwa von Priestern (Priestertum), Schamanen oder Wahrsagern (Divination/Mantik). Von Propheten (P.) auf die jeweilige Gottheit zurückgeführte Offenbarungen haben wegweisenden ethischen Charakter für eine Gemeinschaft.Der Begriff προϕη´της/prophē´tēs entstammt der griech. Religionsgesch., wo er ähnlich funktionalen Parall…

Martyr

(6,592 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Wischmeyer, Wolfgang | Köpf, Ulrich | Strohm, Christoph | Hauptmann, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. The Early Church – III. Middle Ages, Reformation, Counter-reformation – IV. The Modern Period – V. Martyrs of the Orthodox Church – VI. Judaism – VII. Islam – VIII. Missiology I. History of Religion The term martyrium (Greek μαρτύριον/ martúrion) was coined in early Christianity, where it denotes a self-sacrificial death in religious conflict as a witness to faith Historical and systematic references are found in many contexts, in which comparable terms imply something slightly different. For example, the Islamic šahīd, “witness,” generaly falls in battle and submits to that fate motivated by the hope of paradise (V). In Christian usage, martyrium and closely related forms give prominence …

Prophets and Prophecy

(8,753 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Jeremias, Jörg | Gray, Rebecca | Hayoun, Maurice-Ruben | Aune, David E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The term. In the significance ascribed to religious phenomena, prophecy surpasses individual experiences of mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration, as well as the situational activities of established functionaries such as priests (Priesthood), shamans (Shamanism), or diviners (Divination). Revelations ascribed by prophets to the deity they serve give ethical guidance to a community. The term προφήτης/ prophḗ tēs derives from ancient Greek religion, where it referred initially to local specialists, who are hard to …