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(1,012 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter
1. It is the property of the mechanisms of psychic release in all cultures to project vague fears and unfulfilled aggressions on nonhuman beings. In tribal religions—as in the medieval popular belief of Europe—the dead (and various animals), as dangerous revenants, in manifold versions, become hostile demons of this kind. Devils (Gk., diáboloi, ‘pell-mell throwers’) appear in collective myths or in the ‘theologized’ form of such ( Demon/Demonology; Evil/Evil One). Hebrew Bible 2. Judaism regarded the highest of the fallen angels as the—admittedly always inferior—adv…


(1,660 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter
Main Themes 1. In the life of adults of the Western culture of the present, religious fears generally carry no weight. More impressive seems an unspecified ‘fear of existence,’ or Weltangst. Ultimately, a fear of death, however unconscious, underlies this feeling, along with, doubtless, the awe before an essence that inspires reverence or dread, a numen, or mysterium tremendum (Rudolf Otto; → Holy). Furthermore, the arousal of fear no longer figures among the pastoral concerns of the Christian churches, so that fear can readily be undervalued as an imp…

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…


(3,637 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Jeremias, Jörg | Reed, Annette Yoshiko | Heininger, Bernhard | Dinzelbacher, Peter | Et al.
[English Version] I. ReligionswissenschaftlichVision (V.; von lat. visio, »Sehen, Schau«) bez. die klare Wahrnehmung von Bildern einzelner Gestalten oder langen Sequenzen (auditive [Audition], olfaktorische u.a. Elemente können einfließen) im Wachzustand. V. können sich spontan einstellen oder durch Rhythmen, Askese, Meditation, psychedelische Drogen oder Rituale (Ritus) induziert sein und werden ausnahmslos als von außen ausgelöst erlebt, obwohl entsprechende Außenreize nicht zu verifizieren sind…


(903 words)

Author(s): Dinzelbacher, Peter
[English Version] . Wie in anderen Buchreligionen, trat auch im Christentum zum offiziellen Grundtext der Bibel bald eine Fülle von sog. Privatoffenbarungen (Offenbarung). Ihre schriftliche Fixierung bildet das Textkorpus der O., das somit v.a. aus (tatsächlich erfahrenen oder fingierten) Visionen, Träumen, Erscheinungen, Auditionen, Einsprachen und Niederschriften in Trance besteht, wozu noch die Enthüllungen Besessener (Besessenheit) und die Himmels- und Teufelsbriefe kommen. Formal betrachtet, bestehen diese Texte in der Regel entweder aus einer einzig…