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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…

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…

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 si…

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-evidently encompassed with ritual, as in other lands in its day. As regards Israel, certain literary strata present a relatively unified picture of the “war of Yahweh” (see …

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).…

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,…

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 …

Spirit

(3,560 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Clayton, Philip | Stolzenberg, Jürgen | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Since time immemorial, the use of the term spirit has been influenced by Christian usage, especially by the concept of the Holy Spirit, including connotations of Latin spiritus a…

Spirit/Holy Spirit

(8,121 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Oeming, Manfred | Dunn, James D.G. | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Leppin, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies and History of Philosophy The dogmatic definition of the Holy Spirit as a person within the one divine substance (Trinity/Doctrine of the Trinity) presupposes not only a particular philosophical context but also a religio-historical horizon. A formative influence on the conceptualization of the Holy Spirit was exercised by the various anthropomorphic interpretations of elemental anthropological or normative qualities in the context of polytheistic interpretations of the world, the transformation of such concepts in the c…

Supreme Being

(391 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz

Agriculture and Stock-farming

(2,368 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Hopkins, David C.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Palestine – III. In Literature I. History of Religion 1. The forms of economy consisting of agriculture and stock-farming do not influence the formation of systems of religious symbols in such a way as to constitute a consistent pattern for specific historical religions. Nonetheless, systems of religious symbols in all societies not structured according to …

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 tow…

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…

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…

Firstlings

(745 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Borowski, Oded
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament I. Religious Studies A sense of “firstness” plays a role in every culture. In the life cycle of the individual, in the annual cycle of nature, and in history, something occurring for the first time (and likewise something occurring for the last time) is celebrated as deserving special attention. “Firstlings” are part of this range of phenomena. The firstfruits produced by various realms of nature are consecrated and ¶ sacrificed, or possibly just destroyed, but in any case removed from everyday use (Sacrifice). I…
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