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Jewish Influences

(11,826 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund | Dan, Joseph | Kilcher, Andreas B. | Hanegraaff, Wouter J.
Jewish Influences I: Antiquity The nature and extent of contacts between ancient Judaism and the assortment of sources commonly labelled “Gnostic” (or more recently “biblical demiurgical”, see Williams) is one of the most fiercely debated issues in Gnostic studies. This, however, is a relatively new phenomenon. The Church Fathers localized the origins of the Gnostic movement in Palestine (→ Simon Magus, Dositheus), but the adherence to a Gnostic sect was never seen as a relapse to something Jewish. For centuries, → Gnosticism was seen predominantly as a Christian heresy. Modern rese…


(399 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] 1. Joseph (acronym: RIKaM, Maistre Petit; 1105? – 1170?, probably Narbonne in Provence), a Jewish grammarian, Bible exegete, translator, and polemicist as well as the father of Moses and David (see 2 below). Born in Spain, Kimchi moved to Narbonne and made known the Judeo-Spanish grammarians Judah ben David Hayyuj and Jonah ibn Janah through his own grammatical works Sefer ha-Sikkaron and Sefer ha-Galuj. He is the author of commentaries on the Torah ( Sefer ha-Torah), the Prophets ( Sefer ha-Miqnah), the book of Job and Proverbs that orient themselves simply …


(612 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund | Necker, Gerold | Kunzler, Michael
[German Version] I. Judaism 1. Antiquity. The Trisagion from Isa 6:3 (Heb. Qedusha, Q ) appears in three places in the synagogal liturgy (VII; see also Worship: II, 3), sometimes in combination with Ezek 3:12 and Ps 146:10: (1) as an interpolation in the third benediction of the ʿAmida ( Q. ha-ʿAmida), (2) in the first benediction of the Shemaʿ ( Q. ha-Yotser), and (3) after the weekly portion ( Q. de-Sidra). The origin and relative age of the individual forms of the Qedusha are disputed; its absence in the liturgical texts from Qumran is noteworthy (esp. the Sabbath Songs). A dating of the e…

Crescas, Hasdai ben Abraham

(141 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] (1367, Barcelona – 1412, Zaragoza), as the leading personality among the Spanish Jews (Sephardim), Crescas devoted himself to the material and intellectual rebuilding of communities after the persecutions of 1391. His polemical work Bittul 'Iqqare ha-Nozrim also served this purpose. In his chief philosophical work, Or Adonai (also known as Or ha-Shem), he proposed, against the Aristotelianism of M. Maimonides the possibility of the infinity of space, time, and causes, thus eliminating the foundations for Maimonides's…

Solomonic Writings

(3,079 words)

Author(s): Lattke, Michael | Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] I. Wisdom of Solomon 1. Canonicity and versions. The Wisdom of Solomon ( Sapientia Salomonis) is classified as a deuterocanonical or apocryphal book (Apocrypha). Both terms reflect its inclusion in the Septuagint, but the Muratorian Canon (Muratorian Fragment) even recognizes the book of Wisdom written in Greek by “friends of Solomon” as part of the New Testament. In general, though, it is classed among the antilegomena of the Old Testament. In the LXX, which itself influenced the (initially an…


(292 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] The Peshitta is a translation of the Old Testament into the Aramaic dialect of Edessa; in an ¶ extended sense, the term also embraces the translation of the New Testament (Bible translations: I, 3.a). It is still in use in the Jacobite and Nestorian churches (Syria: V, 2). The name, in use since the 9th century, means “simple (version),” in contrast to more extensive homiletical translations, probably not the “common” (cf. the Lat. Vulgate) or “single” in contrast to the “sextuple” Hexapla. The Pes…

Tobit/Book of Tobit

(669 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] Reckoned among the apocryphal books (Apocrypha: II) of the Old Testament, the book of Tobit contains a didactic narrative with strong legendary traits. The first part (1:1–3:17) describes the law-abiding Tobit as he is led into Assyrian exile, where he suffers heavy blows of fate (loss of fortune, blindness). At the same time, the text also relates the story of Sarah, who lives in Media and whose seven husbands have been killed by the demon Ashmedai on their wedding nights. God an…


(9,806 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, Franciscus A.M. | Wiggermann, F.A.M. | Betz, Hans Dieter | Baudy, Dorothea | Joosten, Jan | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Antiquity – III. Bible – IV. Church History – V. Practical Theology – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. Religious Studies No definition of magic has as yet found general acceptance. Approaches that go back to the late 19th century (E.B. Tylor, J.G. Frazer) view magic as a primitive cognitive system, the lowest rung on an evolutionary ladder (Evolution) that progresses with religion and science (cf. also Myth/Mythology: I). Magic in this view is charact…

Sirach/Book of Sirach

(1,081 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] (also: Ecclesiasticus, Jesus Sirach, Ben Sira). Until the 1896 discovery of the Hebrew original in the Cairo Genizah, Sirach was known only in Greek, Syriac, and Latin versions and translations dependent on them. Despite initial doubts as to the antiquity of the Hebrew texts (see Reiterer for the history), additional fragments from Masada and Qumran (1962/1965) have confirmed its authenticity (some 68% of the text; Beentjes’s edition is complete). All the extant versions, however,…


(5,112 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Hutter, Manfred | Auffarth, Christoph | Leicht, Reimund | Roxborogh, John | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word syncretism in its broadest sense denotes any blend or combination of diverse cultural phenomena. This usage derives from an apparently reasonable but false etymology: syncretism is commonly derived from the Greek verb συνκεράννυμι/ synkeránnymi, “mix.” In fact, however, it is a neologism coined by Plutarch ( Mor. 490b), who called the way Cretans came together in the face of external enemies synkretismos. Erasmus of Rotterdam than borrowed the term and introduced it into the language of Christian theology. In theology th…


(18,301 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Antes, Peter | Otto, Eckart | Horn, Friedrich Wilhelm | Leicht, Reimund | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept and Scope – II. Religious Studies – III. Bible – IV. Judaism – V. As a Theological Discipline – VI. As a Philosophical Discipline (Business Ethics, Discourse Ethics, Economic Ethics, Ethics, Bio-Medical Issues, Ethics Commissions, Ethics Education, Ethics of Conviction, Ethics of Duty, Ethics of Goods, Ethics of Responsibility, Evolutionary Ethics, Fraternal Ethics, Individual Et…


(8,426 words)

Author(s): Filoramo, Giovanni | Markschies, Christoph | Logan, Alastair H.B. | Koslowski, Peter | Leicht, Reimund | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Philosophy – IV. Judaism – V. Islam I. Religious Studies Gnosis (Gk γνῶσις/ gnṓsis, “knowledge”) is a particular form of religious knowledge that brings salvation per se. It is not dependent on a particular object but has its value and its justification in itself. It is total knowledge, since it overcomes the dichotomy between subject and object – in fact every dichotomy –, because it is absolute knowledge of the absolute. From the point of view of the history o…

Saadia Gaon

(368 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] (acronym RaSaG; 882, Faiyum, Upper Egypt – 942, Sura, Babylonia), from 928 the first non-Babylonian head (Gaon) of the rabbinic academy in Sura. As a philologist, exegete, controversialist, and philosopher, he was an outstanding figure in 10th-century Judaism. In 915 he settled in Palestine, where he wrote his first philological work, Sefer ha-Agron. From the year 921 at the latest, Saadia – who appears to have been a contentious character all his life – lived in Babylonia. There he became involved in the so-call Ben Meir controver…

Judeo-Persian Language

(256 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] Judeo-Persian is the common term for the language of all New Persian documents written in Hebrew script. Despite several differences from standard New Persian, it is not a distinct language but the local Persian dialect of the various regions where it emerged. The earliest Judeo-Persian document is the Tang-i Azao inscription, the oldest written example of New Persian. From the 8th-13th centuries only a few documents of religious or secular content have survived. The real beginning of Judeo-Persian literature, associated with th…

Manasseh, Prayer of

(358 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] Manasseh, Prayer of, a penitential psalm classified among the Old Testament apocrypha (II). It probably represents a later continuation of the new tradition of 2 Chr 33, as against 2 Kgs 21, to the effect that the otherwise negatively portrayed king did penance during his Assyrian captivity and that his prayer is preserved in the “Chronicle of the Kings of Israel” (2 Chr 33:18). In spite of a number of parallels to the biblical text, the authenticity of the attribution remains unc…

Esther, Additions to

(320 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
[German Version] The six passages in the LXX not extant in the MT (A, F=Mordecai's dream before Esth 1 and at Esth 10:3; B, E=the king's letters at Esth 3:13 and 8:12; C=prayers of Esther and Mordecai at Esth 4:17; D=Esther before the king at Esth 5:1), which were first placed as additions at the end of Esth in the Vulgate (Bible translations: I, 2.c), are, …


(4,991 words)

Author(s): Beutel, Albrecht | Leicht, Reimund
1. Christianity 1. TerminologyThe German abstract noun Frömmigkeit (piety) and the adjective it is based on –  fromm (pious, devout) – were long polysemous. Until the late 19th century, they preserved their original meaning: OHG  fruma meant “benefit,” “usefulness”; the derived MHG adjective  vrum ( frumb) was used in the sense of “beneficial,” “useful” (e.g.  ein frommes Pferd [a useful horse];  zum Nutz und Frommen [to the benefit (of someone)]). As an expression of orderliness, God himself is extolled as fromm in hymns (Hymn [church anthem]): the apostrophe O Gott du…
Date: 2020-10-06


(3,704 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
Durch die neuzeitliche Lösung vom dominierenden Einfluss der Theologie hat sich innerhalb der Philosophie die Disziplin einer eigenständigen Religionsphilosophie herausgebildet, in der Religion zum Gegenstand philosophischer Reflexion wird. In diesem Rahmen wurde auch die jüdische Religion als konkrete historische Erscheinung Gegenstand genuin philosophischer Reflexion, Deutung und Wertung. Neben Moses Mendelssohn und Baruch Spinoza ist die jüdische Religionsphilosophie der Moderne vor allem mit…


(3,021 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
If the question of right action is viewed as the object of ethics in general, the term “Jewish ethics” designates first of all those norms and ideals by which human action is organized, or should be organized, in the context of Jewish culture and religion. Concretely, widely different historical, cultural, and religious phenomena of Judaism could be included in this concept, which overlap only partially with comparable manifestations in other cultures. In the modern period, alongside traditional…
Date: 2018-11-16

Philosophy of Religion

(4,198 words)

Author(s): Leicht, Reimund
Modernity’s release from the dominant influence of theology has enabled the emergence within philosophy of an independent discipline, the philosophy of religion, in which religion becomes the subject of philosophical reflection. In this larger framework, the Jewish religion as a concrete historical phenomenon also became the subject of genuine philosophical reflection, interpretation, and evaluation. Aside from Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786) and Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), modern Jewish philosoph…
Date: 2021-07-13
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