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Elders in the Old Testament

(319 words)

Author(s): Rüterswörden, Udo
[German Version] In Mesopotamia, the elders constituted a body of local authorities, as already in the Gilgamesh Epic ( TUAT III, 658, 686; cf. 549ff.). The functions of city elders in the OT ( ziqnê hā'îr) included ritual (1 Kgs 21), political (Judg 8; 1 Kgs 12; 2 Kgs 10), and legal (Deut 21:18ff.; Lam 5:14) tasks. In the Pentateuch, the elders of Israel participate in the theophany and covenant at Sinai (Exod 24), and are present at Aaron's first sacrifice (Lev 9:1). Deuteronomistic h…

Trees and Plants

(1,210 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Rüterswörden, Udo | Gemünden, Petra von
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The worldwide significance that trees and plants have in cultus and mythology is connected to the essential relationship between plants, animals and human beings. Trees and plants play an important part in archaic cultures and tribal religions. In religious studies three overlapping areas may be identified: 1. Cosmic connections. The world tree holds the cosmos together as axis mundi, with its roots in the underworld, its trunk in the human world, and its top in the ¶ world of the gods; for example Yggdrasil (Germanic peoples), Yaxche (Ma…


(5,597 words)

Author(s): Udolph, Jürgen | Figal, Günter | Hutter, Manfred | Assel, Heinrich | Rüterswörden, Udo | Et al.
[German Version] I. Linguistics – II. Philosophy – III. Religious Studies – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Old Testament – VI. New Testament – VII. Church History – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Linguistics Linguistically, a name is a proper noun ( nomen proprium) as opposed to a common noun ( nomen appellativum); both function grammatically as substantives. Proper nouns (names) designate individual persons, places, things, and ideas or collectives thought of as individuals; they do not ascribe common attributes to their referents. Outside…


(332 words)

Author(s): Rüterswörden, Udo
[German Version] Jehoshaphat, Judean king (868–847 bce), whose story is told in 1 Kgs 15:24; 22:1–38, 41–51; 2 Kgs 3:1–27; 12:19; 1 Chr. 3:10, and 2 Chr. 17:1–21:1. In his time, Judah (see also Tribes of Israel) became heavily dependent on the northern kingdom of Israel (II, 1) so that one can almost speak of a veiled vassal relationship. 1 Kgs 22 is based on a war account in which the king of the northern kingdom is not mentioned by name. 2 Kgs 3 is an account into which the Elisha episode in vv. 9b-…

Universalism and Particularism

(2,366 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Rüterswörden, Udo | Wander, Bernd
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In the classical phenomenology of religion, the universalism/particularism dichotomy denotes the difference between universal religions (Typology of religion) and so-called folk religions (Folk piety); the latter are “limited to a single people,” whereas the former “spread to include many peoples” (Mensching, 286f.) and proclaim a “universal” message, addressed in principle to all humanity. The universal religions are primarily those with founding figures: Buddhi…

Gesenius, Wilhelm

(275 words)

Author(s): Rüterswörden, Udo
[German Version] (Feb 3, 1786, Nordhausen – Oct 23, 1842, Halle). After studies at Helmstedt and Göttingen, ¶ Gesenius was appointed professor at Halle in 1810; his lectures on the OT drew as many as 500 people. As compiler of the first corpus of Phoenician inscriptions, he was the father of Northwest Semitic epigraphy (I); he also pioneered the field of Samaritan studies and deciphered Old South Arabic. Averse to all philosophico-linguistic speculation, the young Gesenius refined the treatment of verbs and nouns…


(9,171 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Burtchaell, James Tunstead | Lips, Hermann von | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Early Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Systematic Theology – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Law – IX. Missiology I. Religious Studies Over the course of history, the word office has been used for a wide variety of functions. In every case, however, what is peculiar to the term is that it refers to an activity independent of the unique personal characteristics of the officeholder. In the context of religious studies, what first comes to mind is the office…


(5,842 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Banks, Robert J. | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Marquardt, Manfred | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Church Law – IX. Judaism – X. Islam I. History of Religion In the following comments the term community will refer exclusively to a religiously motivated association of people. From the standpoint of the history of religion, the formation of communities is more the exception than the rule. The fact that associations such as tribes, as well, howe…