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Disciplina arcani

(214 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns (Erlangen/Nürnberg)
[German version] (arcane discipline) Disciplina arcani (DA) refers to a religiously motivated obligation to secrecy to be observed by members of religious communities, not to divulge their religious teachings and practices to strangers and those who are not yet full members. Despite documentary evidence of various forms of religious secrecy in ancient religions, predominantly in some of the  Mysteries, the term DA refers specifically to the ancient Christian obligation to maintain secrecy. However, t…


(1,641 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns (Erlangen/Nürnberg)
[German version] I. Definition Trinitas ('trinity'), translated from τριάς/ triás, is a new word formation of Christian Latin (earliest occurrence: Tert. Adversus Praxean 2,4). It defines the monotheist belief in one God in three persons as the foundation of Christian identity and doctrine. As the basis of Christian identity, the Trinity was not only a subject of intellectual debate; above all it belonged to piety and liturgical practice where the need to formulate a doctrine originated. There was no doc…


(1,803 words)

Author(s): Brennecke, Hanns (Erlangen/Nürnberg) | Leppin, Hartmut (Hannover) | Gatti, Paolo (Trento) | Pollmann, Karla (St. Andrews)
[1] D. of Carthage, Donatists [German version] A. Definition Donatism is a derogatory term for an ethically radical Christian movement that attached itself to traditional elements in the African Church in Roman North Africa in the 4th-7th cents. AD. It led to a schism in the African Church during disputes over the consequences of the Diocletian persecutions of Christians, i.e. the question of how to deal with lay persons and clerics who had given in to the governmental authorities and in some way had become lapsi, e.g. had surrendered Holy Scriptures ( traditores). A separate Donatist …