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Brendan, Saint

(169 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] (483 – 577 or 583) founded several Irish monasteries and was abbot of Clonfert (County Galway). He is known to us from the legendary account of a seven-year voyage of Brendan and his companions to a paradisal island in the Atlantic ( Navigatio S. Brendani), written between the 7th and 10th centuries. The work relates more closely to the lives of the desert fathers and Old Irish seafaring literature than to Irish hagiography. It draws on classical …

Tübingen

(1,971 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. University 1. The University of Tübingen was founded in 1477 by count Eberhard the Bearded, during what is known as the “second foundation wave” of German universities. It was the university of the southern part of Württemberg, at that time divided into two. It received the papal privilege in 1476, and imperial confirmation in 1484. For the material support of the professorial chairs, the count devoted eight of the ten regular canonries, and two-thirds of the income of the Sindel…

Devotion (Concept)

(255 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] In German, especially in Protestantism, this term (from Lat. devotio) is still used today only in connection with the Roman ritual of devotio and the late medieval devotio moderna movement. In pre-Christian usage, devotio referred to the dedication of the will to the gods, humans, and laws. In Christian usage, its meaning was restricted to the dedication to God associated with obedience and humility. Thomas Aquinas treated devotion along with prayer as interior actus religionis, from which external actions proceed ( Summa Theologiae 2–2 q. 82). In modern usage,…

Bonaventura, Saint

(1,751 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] (Giovanni Fidanza; c. 1217, Bagno-regio [south of Orvieto] – Jul 15, 1274, Lyon) I. Life – II. Work – III. Influence I. Life Most of the dates for Bonaventura's life prior to 1257 are uncertain. After studying in the Paris faculty of arts, the son of Giovanni and Ritella Fidanza joined the Franciscans around 1243, who gave him the name Bonaventura. He began studying under Alexander of Hales, earning his Baccalaureus biblicus in 1248 and lecturing on the Sentences in 1250–52. In 1253 he received the licentiate and began teachi…

Mentality, History of

(613 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] The German term Mentalität has been used since the 1970s in the scientific language of German historians. It is formed from the French mentalité, adopted in the 18th century from the English “mentality,” which was derived in 17th-century philosophical language from the adjective “mental.” In France, mentalité entered common language during the 19th century. It became popular around 1900 in political language (Dreyfus affair) and in the school of the sociologist E. Durkheim. Through the historians Lucien Febvre (1878–1956) and…

Legend

(1,218 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] The word legend (from Middle Lat. legenda [ sc. vita or acta]) originally denoted a text to be read during worship or within a monastic community, especially at mealtime, in walkways set aside for reading, or in the chapter house. The subject matter was the life and deeds of one or more saints (Saints/Veneration ¶ of the saints: II). For the most part, the legend was regularly read in whole or in part on the festival of the particular saint. In conjunction with the functionalization of the cult of the saints, which had already begun i…

Wilhelmina of Bohemia

(329 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] (of Milan; died 1278/1281, Milan). The only source for her life is the record of the trial of Wilhelmina and her followers conducted posthumously in 1300 by the Inquisition; it indicates that ¶ she was from Bohemia and was of noble birth. We know nothing of her life before her arrival in Milan between 1260 and 1270, but she is said to have had a son. In that period, numerous religious dissidents were living in Milan, which was shaken not only by conflicts with other cities of northern Italy and internal partisan …

Recluses/Hermits

(442 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] Recluses or hermits are men and women who do penance by shutting themselves (or having themselves shut) into a cell, either for a specific period (usually at the beginning of their lives as ascetics) or for the rest of their lives. This extreme form of asceticism surfaced in the Early Church in all regions of the East where there were monastic settlements (e.g. in Egypt, John of Lycopolis; esp. common in Syria) and came to the West in the 6th century, but it reached its climax in …

Vikings

(188 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] The Vikings were marauding seafarers from Scandinavia, who plagued large sections of Europe from ¶ the 8th century to the 11th century. Swedes descended on Novgorod and Kiev via the Gulf of Finland, advancing as far as the Black Sea (Varangians). Norwegians conquered Scotland and the northern and eastern parts of Ireland, settled Iceland, and sailed as far as Greenland, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia. Danes settled between the mouths of the Oder and Vistula and landed on the southern and eastern …

Remigius of Auxerre (Saint)

(119 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] (after 841 – May 2, probably 908, Paris), a monk from the monastery of St. Germain in Auxerre, where he succeeded his teacher Heiric ( Heiricus). Remigius was involved in the renewal of the school of Reims around 893 and taught in Paris from 900 onward. He authored more than 20 works that were widely read in the Middle Ages, although most of them have never been printed: commentaries on ancient and early medieval grammarians and poets, on Genesis and the Psalms, and on Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae and Opuscula sacra; he also wrote an exposition of the mass. Ulrich Kö…

Libri sententiarum

(992 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] Authoritative dicta with significant content (Gk γνώμη/ gnṓmē [earliest: Sophoc. Ajax 1091] alongside more specialized terms; Lat. sententia [since Cicero]) were already in use in pre-Christian times in literary and rhetorical contexts; later they were collected for more convenient use ( gnomology, similar to anthology [Florilegium]). Examples are Μενάνδρου γνώμαι μονόστιχοι/ Menándrou gnṓmai monóstichoi ¶ (probably begun in the 2nd cent. bce; continued into the Byzantine period) and Σέξτου γνώμαι/ Séxtou gnṓmai (c. 200 ce). During the Trinitarian contr…

Quaestio

(422 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] A true (as opposed to “rhetorical”) question (Gk ζήτημα/ zḗtēma, πρόβλημα/ próblēma, ἀπορία/ aporía, Lat. quaestio), seeking an answer that will solve a problem, is a fundamental tool for rational argumentation. It was used already by the ancient Greeks (beginning with the questions of Socrates in the dialogues of Plato) and rabbinic Judaism (in give and take between teacher and student). Formulation of questions became common early on in the theology of the Early Church (reaching a high point in Augustine, e.g. De diversis quaestionibus ad Simplicianum; Quaestione…

Oxford University

(900 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] The city is first mentioned in 912. It was founded in the Anglo-Saxon period and walled by the Normans, and lies at the intersection of important routes. As early as the 12th century there were schools for the artes liberales , law and theology, from which the university developed by the beginning of the 13th century. Following a conflict with the townspeople, most masters and students left Oxford in 1209; some of them founded Cambridge University. When others returned to Oxford in 1214 the university…

Carmelites

(510 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] The Carmelite Order goes back to a community of occidental hermits on Mount Carmel, who were granted a rule by the patriarch of Jerusalem in 1210. It obligated them to a strict contemplative life. The spirituality of the community, led by a prior, was marked by anachoretic traditions, the example of the prophet Elijah, and veneration of the Virgin Mary. In 1240, the Carmelites fled before the growing threat of the Saracens into their European homelands, where …

Pico della Mirandola

(799 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] 1. Giovanni (Feb 24, 1463, Mirandola near Modena – Nov 17, 1494, Florence), son of the count of Mirandola. From 1477, he studied canon law, artes liberales, philosophy, and literature, especially in Bologna, Ferrara, Padua, Paris, and Perugia. In addition to Greek, he learned Hebrew and Arabic. He paid several visits to Florence, where he made friends with Lorenzo de’ Medici and his circle, especially with M. Ficino, Angelo Poliziano (1454–1494), and Girolamo Benivieni (1453–1542). …

Summa theologiae

(401 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] In the 12th century, a scholarly work briefly summarizing the totality of important knowledge in a particular field (Robert of Melun: singulorum brevis comprehensio) came to be called a Summa (later also Summula). Various disciplines were represented: Summa grammaticae/grammaticalis; Summa super Priscianum; Summa dictaminis/artis notariae; Summa logicae ( Summulae dialectices/logicales/logicae); Summa de modis significandi; Summa philosophiae; Summula philosophiae naturalis; Summa de anima, etc. Compendia of civil and canon law were also called Summae…

Physis/Natura

(1,828 words)

Author(s): Hornauer, Holger | Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The Greek Φύσις/ Phýsis is an abstract personification and an effective divine power. It is not restricted to any particular area of responsibility, and has no cult of its own or special iconography, with two exceptions: the votive relief of Archelaus of Priene (so-called “Apotheosis of Homer,” c. 120–130 bce), and the mosaic of Merida (2nd cent. ce; natura is between heaven, the sea, the Euphrates, the Nile, Tellus etc.). 2. In pre-Socratic natural philosophy (see also Nature), Physis may be personified and thought of as divine power (…

Seal/Stamp

(1,059 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Archaeology Seals are attested in the ancient Near East since the pre-pottery Neolithic (c. 7000 bce), initially in the form of simple round or oval disks or theriomorphic stamps. Beginning in the late 4th millennium (Susa, Uruk), we also find cylinder seals (Good Shepherd: I, fig.). The latter were in use until the end of the first millennium bce, but they are also found in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean region. In cultures where papyrus or leather was the commonest writing material, smaller stamp seals were preferred. In Egypt c. 2300 bce, carved stamp seals ca…

Ebeling, Gerhard

(1,181 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Lange, Dietz
[German Version] I. Life – II. Church Historian – III. Systematic Theologian Jul 6, 1912, Berlin-Steglitz – Sep 30, 2001, Zollikerberg/Zürich), Protestant German theologian. I. Life Ebeling began his theological studies in 1930; after studying at Marburg, Berlin, and Zürich, he passed his first theological examination for the examination office of the Confessing Church in Berlin. He prepared for pastoral ministry under …

Ireland

(2,091 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Richter, Michael
[German Version] I. General Facts – II. Christianity I. General Facts Lying west of Great Britain in the North Atlantic, Ireland belongs to the British Isles and covers an area of 84,421 km2. Its (esp. in the west) strongly cleft coastline has a total length of 3,173 km. Numerous small offshore islands and reefs played an important role in the history of Ireland as places of refuge, bridgeheads, and the like. The island's interior is relatively flat with a general altitude of approx. 60–120 m above sea level. Mountains, whic…

Town and City

(4,189 words)

Author(s): Dangschat, Jens S. | Köpf, Ulrich | Grünberg, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Sociology The popular idea of a town or city is primarily a densely populated and heterogeneous collection of buildings having various uses, provided with specific rights, and always having a market place. The “European city” is however principally understood as being also the arena of city society. Sociology has studied the development of urban societies for about 150 years, because towns are places of close-knit economic growth, social diversity, and innovations and conflicts. To modern sociology the town was simply the laboratory of society. Today in Europe …

Blood of Christ

(1,937 words)

Author(s): Breytenbach, Cilliers | Köpf, Ulrich | Hunsinger, George
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics I. New Testament 1. General: The Greek word αἷμα ( haîma, “blood”) first of all denotes the blood of humans (Mark 5:25; John 19:34) as well as of animals (Heb 9:7, 18–25). Apart from flesh (σάρξ / sárx) blood constitutes a major component of the human body. Thus the expression “flesh and blood” designates the human (Matt 16:17; 1 Cor 15:50; Gal 1:16; Eph 6:12). The blood is the origin (John 1:13), the locus of life (Matt 27:4; Lev 17:11; Wis 7:2; Jub. 6:7; Philo Spec. IV 122f.), the psyche (“…

Teachers

(2,641 words)

Author(s): Rau, Eckhard | Köpf, Ulrich | Lämmermann, Godwin
[German Version] I. Earliest Christianity According to CIJ 2, 1266 and passim, religious teachers known as διδάσκαλος/ didáskalos or רב/ rab (addressed as: διδάσκαλε/ didáskale; רבי/ rabbi; rabbi) existed in Palestine prior to 70 ce (Zimmermann). All four Gospels portray Jesus as a teacher with a circle of disciples who were also responsible for the preservation of his teaching. Q (Logia/Sayings Source/Q), furthermore, emphasizes the teacher’s superiority over the disciple (Luke 6:40 par.). Mark has Jesus being addressed as a διδάσκαλε or ῥαββί/ rhabbí who, in a singular show …

Edifying Literature

(3,117 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Weismayer, Josef | Beutel, Albrecht
[German Version] I. To the Reformation – II. Modern Era – III. Present I. To the Reformation The term “edifying literature” (or “devotional literature”) embraces all Christian literature that is not liturgical, juristic, merely informative, or scholarly (history, theology) but is meant to edify and encourage piety and Christian conduct. But the boundaries distinguishing e…

Hagiography

(2,226 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Plank, Peter | Dan, Joseph
[German Version] I. Western Hagiography – II. Eastern Hagiography – III. Medieval and Modern Judaism I. Western Hagiography Western hagiography, as a literature that has no scholarly purpose but serves to venerate saints, first followed Greek examples. Its most important genre, the lives of the saints, is shaped less by the panegyric biography of the martyr bishop Cyprian of Carthage, written by the deacon Pontius (2nd half of 3rd cent. ce), than by the vitaes of the desert father Anthony of Padua, written by Athanasius (with two Latin translations), and of Martin …

Discipleship, Christian

(4,235 words)

Author(s): Sim, David | Köpf, Ulrich | Ulrich, Hans G.
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Church History – III. Ethics I. New Testament 1. Discipleship of Jesus in the Gospels An important aspect of the description of Jesus' activity in the Gospels is his call to discipleship. This call is issued unconditionally and requires an immediate decision. When the disciples hear Jesus' invitation to follow him, they obey at once and follow him (ἀκολουϑεῖν/ akoloutheín; Mark 1:16–20 parr.; 2:13–14 parr.; cf. Luke 5:1–11; John 1:35–51). Others, however,…

Universities

(5,637 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | vom Bruch, Rüdiger | Roxborogh, John
[German Version] I. History 1. Middle Ages and Reformation. The university, the most important academic institution devoted to teach-¶ ing (Education/Formation) and research today, is a creation of the medieval West. Its appearance marked a deep caesura in the history of Western science, especially in the history of theology (Theology, History/Historiography of). The multiplicity of institutions involved in acquiring and transmitting knowledge (monasteries, cathedral schools, monastery schools, schools run by inde…

Disputation

(1,448 words)

Author(s): Dan, Joseph | Köpf, Ulrich | van Ess, Josef
[German Version] I. Judaism – II. Christianity – III. Islam I. Judaism Talmudic tradition includes several examples of disputations between Jewish scholars and pagan philosophers or Roman emperors, dealing mainly with the questions of divine unity, the creation and the role of Israel ( b. Sanh. 91a–b; ' Abod. Zar. 10a–11a, etc.). Disputations with representatives of Islam and, especially, of the Christian religion became a central subject in the historical and apologetical literature (…

Monasticism

(13,595 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Freiberger, Oliver | Mürmel, Heinz | Horstmann, Monika
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Religious Studies – III. Church History – IV. Buddhism – V. India I. Terminology Monasticism is a collective term for an alternative way of life, always religiously motivated, that includes asceticism but is also characterized by a more or less radical withdrawal from society (the “world”) as well as from the monastics' own community of faith. The term monk commonly used in Christianity (from secular Gk μοναχός/ monachós, “solitary,” Lat. monachus, borrowed by way of a hypothetical 8th-century monichus* into Old High German [ munih] and othe…

Monasteries

(3,085 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver | Köpf, Ulrich | Mürmel, Heinz | Kalb, Herbert
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Christianity – III. Buddhism – IV. Monastic Law I. Comparative Religion The term monastery (or cloister) derives from the Christian tradition, where it denotes the living and working quarters, relatively secluded from the outside world, of a monastic community leading some type of ascetic life (Asceticism; see II below). In the broader context of other religions, the term is also tied to the context of monasticism. When certain social structures in non-Christian reli…

Poverty

(3,579 words)

Author(s): Klinger, Elmar | Ebach, Jürgen | Stegemann, Wolfgang | Köpf, Ulrich | Reinert, Benedikt
[German Version] I. Concept Poverty is a major source of distress. It is a historical circumstance, not a natural condition. We speak of relative poverty when someone’s income is below the mean, absolute poverty when it is below subsistence level. From the perspective of the Bible and contemporary theology, poverty means deprivation but also marginalization, incapacitation, and disfranchisement. Wealth means affluence but also power, exploitation, and oppression (see III and V below). Poverty is a life and death matter. Elmar Klinger Bibliography E. Klinger, Armut, 1990 E.-U. Hu…

Experience

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Willaschek, Marcus | Stock, Konrad | Köpf, Ulrich | Loder, James E.
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Church History – IV. Fundamental Theology – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology I. Philosophy In a broad sense shaped by daily life in the world, “experience” has been understood since Aristotle ( Metaph. 980b28–982a3) as a kind of knowledge of reality that rests on practical contact and is related to paradigmatic individual cases (Gk ἐμπειρία/ empeiría; Lat. experientia). It does not, therefore, lead to systematic knowledge but remains “knowledge of…

Effective History/Reception History

(5,400 words)

Author(s): Steinmann, Michael | Schüle, Andreas | Rösel, Martin | Luz, Ulrich | Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Fundamental Theology – III. Applications I. Philosophy The concept of effective history ( Wirkungsgeschichte) takes on philosophical significance in the hermeneutics of H.G. Gadamer, where it represents the attempt to clarify the fundamental requirement for understanding texts and make this understanding transparent in its own historically conditioned context. …

Renaissance

(9,034 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Cancik, Hubert | Buttler, Karen | Imorde, Joseph | Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] I. Concept The French term “Renaissance,” which was also borrowed by German and English, belongs to the large group of organic metaphors applied to historical occurrences. Used from the 19th century in sole reference to animal/human life and understood in the sense of “rebirth,” it is assigned in recent research (since Jost Trier) more appropriately to the botanical sphere and explained as “renewed growth,” i.e. as a renewed sprouting of shoots ¶ from felled trees and bushes. Pre-Christian Latin already employed renasci (from nasci, “to be born, to become, to ar…

Literature, History of

(11,666 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Utzschneider, Helmut | Reiser, Marius | Hezser, Catherine | Heinzmann, Michael
[German Version] I. The Concept and its Problems – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Church History I. The Concept and its Problems Since the emergence of historical consciousness in the late 18th and early 19th century, literary historiography has attempted to present literary phenomena not simply as a sequential chronological or lexical (alphabetical) list but in their internal, substantial coherence and its historical development. The notion of literary history goes back to antiquity, but to …

Humility

(4,021 words)

Author(s): Jödicke, Ansgar | Mathys, Hans-Peter | Reeg, Gottfried | Wengst, Klaus | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Dogmatics and Ethics I. Religious Studies Humility is an attitude of conscious abasement (Humiliation) and submission. Some modes of expressing humility, such as postures or gestures, can be traced to biological roots; others are conventional, for example a “humble glance” or foot washing. In many cases we encounter an inversion of what is culturally normal, for example nakedness in the poverty (IV) movements of the Middle Ages. Basically, a distinction must b…

Clothing and Vestments

(3,745 words)

Author(s): Berlejung, Angelika | Köpf, Ulrich | Allen Jr., Horrace T. | Schneider, Johann | Miletto, Gianfranco
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Judaism I. Religious Studies 1. General Clothing fulfills the need for ornamentation and presentation, protection against the weather, and, in certain cases, magic. Appearance and materials follow climatic conditions, economic and technical capabilities (sewing, weaving, etc.), social or fashion conventions, and can be specified according to function (professional attire) or situation (festal attire). Clothing increases the complexity of the optical appearance of its ¶ wearer. It visualizes and makes m…

Spirituality

(5,031 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth | Grethlein, Christian | Kim, Kirsteen | Mendes-Flohr, Paul
[German Version] I. Terminology The growing popularity of the term spirituality and its equivalents in other Western languages in religious and theological literature is a 20th-century phenomenon. Although the adjective spiritalis (or spiritualis) appeared in early Christian Latin, translating Pauline πνευματικός/ pneumatikós (1 Cor 2:13–3:1, etc.), along with its antonym carnalis (for σαρκικός/ sarkikós) and rapidly became common, the noun spiritualitas did not appear until the 5th century and then only sporadically. In the 12th century, it began to app…

Papacy

(20,018 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns Christof | Zimmermann, Harald | Mörschel, Tobias | Wassilowsky, Günther | Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Early Church – II. Middle Ages and Reformation – III. Modern Period and Today – IV. Chronological List of the Popes I. Early Church 1. Definition. If papacy is defined as the claim (based on Matt 16:16–19; 28:20; Luke 22:31f.; John 21:15–19) of the bishops of Rome as successors and heirs to Peter to leadership along with jurisdictional and magisterial primacy (I) within the universal church, papacy in the strict sense dates only from the Middle Ages in the Latin West. In the Early Church, the point at iss…

Wealth

(3,273 words)

Author(s): Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth | Liwak, Rüdiger | Riches, John K. | Köpf, Ulrich | Reinert, Benedikt
[German Version] I. Terminology The term wealth belongs to the semantic field that includes kingdom, empire, violence, dominion, and glory. In that context it suggests first an abundance of earthly goods that brings power, then abundance or profusion of almost anything. A distinction must be made between an economic sense of wealth and a broader figurative sense. In its economic sense it means property, possessions, the sum of available goods and values (Value/Values) that substantially exceeds what is considered …

Cross/Crucifixion

(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 cross have appeared in many non-Christian cultures and religions, used both as a religious symbol and as an ornamental design (the boundaries are fluent). It is a primal human symbol. As such it is polysemous and has …

Relics

(5,513 words)

Author(s): Felber, Anneliese | Köpf, Ulrich | Plank, Peter | Hafner, Johann Ev. | Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Relics are the remains (Lat. reliquiae) of individuals endowed with power, such as warriors, chiefs, sorcerers, heroes, prophets, martyrs, and saints – their bodies, their clothing, or objects they have used. Veneration of relics reflects the belief that these forces continue beyond the grave; the intent is to benefit from this power or blessing by erecting structures over the grave, lighting candles or leaving flowers, processions, touching or kissing, or burial near…

Sacraments

(10,176 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Nocke, Franz-Josef | Felmy, Karl Christian | Kandler, Karl-Hermann | Busch, Eberhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Church History In Christian usage, the term sacrament has two meanings: a broad meaning corresponding to the New Testament term μυστήριον/ mystḗrion (“mystery”), used as a term for mysteries of the faith in general, and a narrower meaning in the sense of certain liturgical actions that enable believers to share in the salvific grace effected by Christ. While medieval Scholastic theology in the West developed the narrower understanding of sacraments with increasingly precise and subtle definitions, …

Asceticism

(6,235 words)

Author(s): Harich-Schwarzbauer, Henriette | Ries, Julien | Podella, Thomas | Niederwimmer, Kurt | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Ethics – VI. Judaism – VII. Indian Religions I. Religious Studies 1. Greece and Rome. The term “asceticism,” the Western meaning of which was shaped by Christianity, derives from Gk ἄσκησις/ áskēsis, a noun denoting activity; ἄσκεῖν/ askeîn originally meant “to craft/to decorate.” In the 5th century bce, the primary meaning became “to train/to exercise.” The exercise was mostly physical (gymnastics, …

Historiography

(5,830 words)

Author(s): Hecker, Karl | Cancik, Hubert | Dietrich, Walter | Plümacher, Eckhard | Brennecke, Hanns Christof | Et al.
[German Version] I. Ancient Near East – II. Greece – III. Rome – IV. The Bible – V. Christianity – VI. Judaism I. Ancient Near East Historiography in the classic sense, with a reflective account of historical linkages, developed rudimentarily at best in the cuneiform cultures of the ancient Near East in Hittite and Neo-Assyrian annals and the introductions to treaties; even these documents were usually written to justify the political actions. Around the middle of the 3rd millennium bce, however, there appeared an immense number of all sorts of texts containing more …

Saints/Veneration of the Saints

(4,185 words)

Author(s): Bergunder, Michael | Köpf, Ulrich | Müller, Gerhard Ludwig | Ivanov, Vladimir | Barth, Hans-Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In comparative religious studies, veneration of saints generally refers to the posthumous cultic veneration of a holy person more or less identifiable as a historical individual; it is centered at the place that preserves the saint’s mortal remains, thought to have miraculous powers. Occasionally veneration of living individuals is subsumed under the same category, but this extension results in a dubious diminution of terminological precision, since to this day no one …

Martyr

(6,592 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Wischmeyer, Wolfgang | Köpf, Ulrich | Strohm, Christoph | Hauptmann, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. The Early Church – III. Middle Ages, Reformation, Counter-reformation – IV. The Modern Period – V. Martyrs of the Orthodox Church – VI. Judaism – VII. Islam – VIII. Missiology I. History of Religion The term martyrium (Greek μαρτύριον/ martúrion) was coined in early Christianity, where it denotes a self-sacrificial death in religious conflict as a witness to faith Historical and systematic references are found in many contexts, in which comparable terms imply something slightly different. For example, the Islamic šahīd, “witness…

Mysticism

(17,207 words)

Author(s): Brück, Michael v. | Gordon, Richard L. | Herrmann, Klaus | Dan, Joseph | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Religious Studies – III. History – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Practical Theology – VI. Islamic Mysticism – VII. Hindu Mysticism – VIII. Taoist Mysticism I. The Concept The concept of mysticism is closely linked to the development of the history of religion in Europe and the term must not be taken and applied uncritically as a general term for a phenomenologically determined group of phenomena in other religions (see also II, 3 below). Attempts at definition are either phenomenolog…

Burial

(5,942 words)

Author(s): Schulz, Hermann | Wenning, Robert | Kuhnen, Hans-Peter | Hachlili, Rachel | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Old Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity – VI. Missiology – VII. Funerary Art I. Religious Studies A burial manifests and represents the culture-bound nature of personality and religious traditions that shape community; consequently, it is also a key to the metaphysics of cultural and civil religion. The history of research in religious studies is associated on many levels with the problem of burial. Studies examine agreements and differences …

Magic

(9,806 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, Franciscus A.M. | Wiggermann, F.A.M. | Betz, Hans Dieter | Baudy, Dorothea | Joosten, Jan | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Antiquity – III. Bible – IV. Church History – V. Practical Theology – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. Religious Studies No definition of magic has as yet found general acceptance. Approaches that go back to the late 19th century (E.B. Tylor, J.G. Frazer) view magic as a primitive cognitive system, the lowest rung on an evolutionary ladder (Evolution) that progresses with religion and science (cf. also Myth/Mythology: I). Magic in this view is charact…
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