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Mystical Union

(1,208 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter
1. Experience In religion mystical union (unio mystica) is an ecstatic experience (Ecstasy) of perfect union with God. We meet it in various religions, including Hinduism and Islam. In Christianity it has the form of ontological union, bridal mysticism, and passion mysticism. The biblical root lies in the metaphor of union with Christ in both Paul (e.g., Gal. 2:20; 3:27) and John (e.g., John 15:4, 7; 17:22). We may also refer to the divine indwelling of the Spirit (Rom. 8:8–11). The East pointed the way to a union in love, especially Origen (ca. 185-ca. 254; Origenism), Gregory of…

Middle Ages

(10,034 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter | Clark, Anne L.
1. Church History 1.1. Terminology In his theology of history Joachim of Fiore (d. 1202) referred to his own age as the media aetas (middle age) of the Son of God, between the past age of the Father and the coming age of the Spirit. Not until humanism, however, do we find the idea, albeit negative, of a period between antiquity and renaissance. Johannes Andreae of Aleria (1417–75) spoke of the media tempestas (middle time) in a 1469 letter. Christopher Cellarius (1638–1707), especially in his Historia medii…

Revelatory Literature

(1,019 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter
[German Version] As in other religions of the book, in Christianity the official fundamental text, the Bible, was soon joined by a wealth of so-called private revelations (Revelation). In written form, they constitute the body of revelatory literature, consisting primarily of (actual or fictional) visions, dreams, appearances, auditory hallucinations, and messages and transcripts received in a trance, as well as revelations resulting from possession and letters from heaven or the devil. Formally these texts generally either embody a single great revelation given to…


(333 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter
[German Version] Until the 11th century, little significance was attributed to individual self-flagellation, as a form of asceticism which had been taken over from the ecclesiastical penal law. It was primarily viewed as a means of ecclesiastical repentence (IV, 2). After becoming more common among monks during the High Middle Ages, from the late Middle Ages on into the 19th century it not only became part of the usual devotions (Devotion [Concept]) in more rigorous monasteries ( disciplina), but also was practiced by devout laypersons, the general penitential and asceti…

Vision/Vision Account

(4,201 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Jeremias, Jörg | Reed, Annette Yoshiko | Heininger, Bernhard | Dinzelbacher, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The term vision (from Lat. visio) denotes a clear perception of images of individual scenes or long sequences (some coupled with auditory [Auditory hallucination] or olfactory elements) in a waking state. Visions can arise spontaneously or be induced by rhythms, asceticism, meditation, psychedelic drugs, or rituals (Rite and ritual). They are experienced without exception as coming from without, although related external stimuli cannot be verified. Religiously dispose…