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Religious Instruction

(2,966 words)

Author(s): Wegenast, Klaus
1. Historical Data Religious instruction in schools occurred first in the Latin and native-language schools of the 16th century. It centered on the catechism, doctrine, and their biblical basis. J. A. Comenius (1592–1670), Pietism, and the Enlightenment regarded Holy Scripture as the alpha and omega in all schools. We see this value in the German tradition, for example. H. J. Hübner’s (1668–1731) Zweymal zwey und funfzig auserlesene Biblische Historien (Twice 52 selected biblical stories, 1713/14), A. H. Francke’s (1663–1727) Kurtzer und einfältiger Unterricht (Short and simp…


(1,827 words)

Author(s): Wegenast, Klaus
1. Term and History 1.1. “Catechesis” is the term for the instruction in the Christian faith that is connected with baptismal preparation or administration (Baptism). The underlying Greek word katēcheō, “teach by word of mouth” (originally used in drama), acquired in primitive Christianity the sense of communicating the content of the faith by instruction (1 Cor. 14:19; Gal. 6:6; Acts 18:25, etc.). In Heb. 6:1–2 the content is listed: “repentance from dead works and faith toward God … baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal j…


(2,122 words)

Author(s): Wegenast, Klaus
1. Term The term “catechism” comes from the Greek by way of the Late Lat. catechizo. It refers to the process of oral instruction for baptism (Catechesis). When infant baptism replaced adult baptism, the term came to be used for Christian education in general. From the time of the Reformation it has also been a term for published works summarizing Christian faith and Christian life. Today there is uncertainty as to whether a catechism is meant for teaching or for learning, for children or for adults, for memorizing or as an argumentative introduction to the …