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Religious Studies

(4,620 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Seiwert, Hubert | Hock, Klaus
[German Version] I. History 1. The history of religious studies, or the science of religion (Ger. Religionswissenschaft) is a function of its definition or conception; it is thus somewhat ambiguous at ¶ times and is viewed in a variety of ways. Strictly speaking, religious studies did not acquire a more or less fixed framework of tasks and standard methods in Europe until the 20th century; this framework subsequently gained acceptance throughout the world, especially through the efforts of the International Association for the…


(4,324 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Aune, David E. | Fitschen, Klaus | Leppin, Volker | Boyer, Paul S | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. New Testament – III. Church History – IV. North America – V. Systematic Theology – VI. Islam – VII. China I. Religious Studies Millenarianism (chiliasm) refers to the notion of a 1,000-year (Lat. millenarius, Gk χίλια/ chília) period ¶ immediately preceding the Last Judgment and the end of the world. This conception of world history (see also II) derives from Jewish apocalypticism (III) and became widespread over time, being interpreted in various ways depending on the age and cultural envi…

Ancestors, Cult of

(3,486 words)

Author(s): Balz, Heinrich | Harich-Schwarzbauer, Henriette | Podella, Thomas | Seiwert, Hubert | Michaels, Axel | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Greco-Roman Antiquity – III. Old Testament – IV. China – V. India – VI. Missiology I. Religious Studies All ancestors that are worshiped are dead, but not all dead people are ancestors, and not every mortuary ritual represents an ancestor cult. For an ancestor cult, there must be a consciousness of a familial and genealogical connection with the ancestors over one or more generations, …


(154 words)

Author(s): Seiwert, Hubert
[German Version] (638 – 713). Huineng is the sixth patriarch of Chinese Chan Buddhism (Japanese: Zen). According to various traditions, he sought out Hongren (602–675), the fifth patriarch of the Chan school, in 674. Although he had no formal education and was unable to read, he achieved enlightenment and was secretly entrusted with the patriarchal dignity by Hongren. Afterwards he lived in obscurity for several years; at the age of 39 he took monastic vows. His major work is the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch ( Liuzu Tanjung [ Liu-Tsu t'an-ch'ing]), which was written down by h…


(561 words)

Author(s): Seiwert, Hubert
[German Version] After Buddhism and Catholicism, Caodaism is the third largest religion in Vietnam (practiced by an estimated 3% to 10% of the population). Its name derives from the title of the supreme divinity, Cao Dai (lit. “highest palace”). Caodaism combines Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and Christian elements with aspects of Vietnam's indigenous religion. Outside Vietnam, Caodaism is practiced almost exclusively by Vietnamese emigrants. The founder of Caodaism was Ngo Van Chieu (1878–1932, also known as Ngo Minh Chieu), a civil servant in the Fre…


(4,368 words)

Author(s): Seiwert, Hubert | Reiter, Florian C.
[German Version] I. History Philosophical Taoism (Daoism) is associated with names from the history of China’s traditional literature such as Lao Tsu (Tao te Ching) and Zhuangzi. Their influence can be seen in belles lettres and in philological and philosophical commentaries. The situation of religious Taoism (“Celestial Master” Taoism: Tianshidao or Cheng Yi Taoism), which first appeared as a religion in China in the 2nd century ce, is quite different. Its history falls into three periods: (1) the formative period, 2nd–6th centuries; (2) the period of consoli…

China, People's Republic of

(8,374 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Seiwert, Hubert | Chi Chung Lee, Archie | Tze Ming Ng, Peter
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Civilization – III. History of Religion – IV. Chinese Religions and Missiology – V. Christianity I. General 1. Geography, climate, population. Over the centuries, China has integrated a wide variety of cultures, including influences from far distant lands. It has not always included all the territory it does today. With a current area of approx. 9.6 million km2, China is broken up by long, high mountain ranges (Altai, Tien Shan, Kunluns, Himalayas) and great river systems, essentially flowin…


(5,377 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Seiwert, Hubert | Mürmel, Heinz | Koschorke, Klaus
[German Version] I. Geopolitical Considerations, Concept – II. History of Religions – III. Modern Asian Religions outside Asia – IV. Christianity I. Geopolitical Considerations, Concept Culturally, economically, and politically, Asia is extraordinarily heterogeneous. The Islamic states of the Near East with their oil wealth are part of this continent, as are the multireligious societies of South and Southeast Asia, relatively poor in resources, and the countries of East Asia with their extraordinarily dynamic economies (at least through the mid 70s). Equally diverse are the…

Tao Tsang

(86 words)

Author(s): Seiwert, Hubert
[German Version] (Pinyin: Dào Zàng), “Treasury of the Tao,” a canonical collection of Taoist texts (Canon: VIII). The standard 1926 edition (with several reprs.) is based on a 1445 printing of more than 5,300 scrolls ( juan), with supplements added in 1607; it comprises almost 1,500 titles, including liturgical, historical, and philosophical texts. Hubert Seiwert Bibliography N. Ōfuchi, “The formation of the Taoist Canon,” in: H. Welch & A. Seidel, eds., Facets of Taoism, 1979, 253–267 J.M. Boltz, “Taoist Literature,” EncRel (E) XIV, 1987, 317–329.

Bailian Jiao

(329 words)

Author(s): Seiwert, Hubert
[German Version] (Pai-lien chiao), lit. “White Lotus teaching,” is the common term used by most Chinese sources to designate a popular sectarian tradition that attained great social and religious significance in China from the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) onward. Traditionally, the name Pai-lien (“White Lotus”) is traced back to a society founded by the Buddhist m…