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(13,709 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo | Frankemölle, Hubert | Feldtkeller, Andreas | Collet, Giancarlo | George, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Judaism – IV. Buddhism – V. Islam I. Religious Studies 1. Overview. Mission is not a fundamentally universal phenomenon in the history of religions; neither is every form in which religion is passed on eo ipso mission. “Primary,” tribal religions are not missionary religions. Their domain is coterminous with their society and its way of life; they are handed down from one generation to the next in the course of natural life. The question of truth does not arise. An individual is born into this religion. Only “secondary” religions, founded by reformers or spiritual leaders, are essenti…


(7,296 words)

Author(s): Ustorf, Werner | Sundermeier, Theo | Yates, Timothy E. | Küster, Volker | Blaser, Klauspeter | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of the Discipline – II. Methodology – III. Missiology and Other Disciplines – IV. Missiological Hermeneutics – V. Topics of Missiology – VI. Research and Study I. History of the Discipline From the outset, Christians have reflected on the practical and theological questions posed by the Christian mission, as illustrated, for example, by the Pauline Epistles, the book of Acts, and, c. 600, the well-known missionary instructions of Gregory the Great. At certain critical times in the history of Christianity, this reflection has produced focused systematic and conceptual attention – for instance in the era of the Crusades on Islam (Peter the Venerable, R. Lull) and in the Age of Disco…

Hahn, Carl Hugo

(154 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo
[German Version] (Oct 18, 1818, Riga, Latvia – Nov 24, 1895, Cape Town, South Africa). Sent by the Rhenish Mission to southwest Africa (Namibia) in 1842, Hahn studied the Herero language, wrote the first Herero grammar and translated first sections of the Bible. In 1844, he founded a so-called “mission colony” in which Christian life was to be shared and into which the converted Herero were to be incorporated. During his activity, Hahn laid the cornerstone for the Lutheran stamp on mission and chu…


(3,916 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard | Sundermeier, Theo | Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] I. Greco-Roman Antiquity – II. Drama and Religion – III. Drama and the Christian Tradition I. Greco-Roman Antiquity 1. Concept The noun δρᾶμα/ dráma, derived from the verb δρᾶν ( drán, “do, act”), seldom means “action, deed” in the general sense. Especially in the tragedies of Aeschylus, the verb and noun form the antithesis of παϑεῖν ( patheín, “suffer”) and πάϑος ( páthos, “suffering”), for example in Aesch. Ag. 533. Predominant is the special meaning “drama, play” (Theater), in which the aspect of staging and stage action stands out (e.g. Arist., Ranae 920). Deriv…


(4,480 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo | Taeger, Jens-Wilhelm | Köpf, Ulrich | Slenczka, Notger | Stock, Alex
[German Version] I. The Cross in Non-Christian Religions – II. Crucifixion in Antiquity – III. The Crucifixion of Christ – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatic Theology – VI. The Cross in Modern Art I. The Cross in Non-Christian Religions From prehistoric times to the present, various forms of the cr…


(1,999 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo
1. Term The term “syncretism” (Gk. synkrētismos) appears first in the Moralia (490ab) by Plutarch (ca. 46-after 119). Popular opinion or perhaps Plutarch himself derived the term on the basis of a false etymology from the Cretans, who in times of danger would set aside all differences in order to make common cause against the enemy. The term appears first in its theological meaning in the late Middle Ages (Erasmus), where it means the mixing together of various confessionally related doctrines that originally did not…

Tribal Religions

(1,733 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo
1. History of Research and Definition The religions of so-called primitive peoples, which G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831; Hegelianism; Idealism 6) would not recognize as religion according to his definition, became an object of research in the 19th century, not on their own account, but to offer material for wide-ranging theories and to provide an answer to the question of the origin of religion as such. The presuppositions of the Enlightenment and the concept of evolution included the idea that these religions were at the lowest stage of what was regarded as the progressive course of the history of religion. A. Lang (1844–1912) and W. Schmidt (1868–1954) took an opposite view. They tried to show that at the first there was a belief in God that regressively declined into idolatry. É. Durkheim (1858–1917) and the contribution he made to ethnosociology (followed by B. Malinowski and his school) represented a big step forward. Under the influence of psychoanalysis, depth psychology, and structural theorizing (Structuralism), newer research has embraced studies of individual religions. Through symbol res…