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Benedictines

(1,363 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
1. The term “Benedictine” applies in a general sense to all monks who live communally according to the rule of Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480-ca. 547). More narrowly Benedictines are members of a Benedictine confederation set up in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903). To this group belong 21 autonomous congregations with some 9,000 male members and 18,500 female members under an abbot primate in Rome ( Catalogus monasteriorum OSB 17 [1990]). 2. Benedict composed the rule that would decisively shape Western monasticism originally for ¶ his own monastery at Monte Cassino (after 529). …

Cluny, Order of

(807 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
1. The Benedictine monastery of Cluny, northwest of Mâcon in Burgundy, was founded in 910 by Duke William III of Aquitaine. In the 10th and 11th centuries it became the center of a reforming movement that began as a return to the original goals of monasticism (i.e., renunciation of the world in anticipation of the life of paradise in adoration and praise). In the course of time, it radically changed the Christian world in the West. 2. The basis of the reform was the demand for a stricter following of the Benedictine Rule in the tradition of Benedict of Aniane (d. 821). This demand was made i…

Modalism

(609 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] Modalism, the opposite of tritheism, is a collective term for a heterodox interpretation of the Trinity; in order to maintain the unity of God, it understands the divine triad – Father, Son, and Spirit – not as truly distinct persons but merely as aspects or manifestations ( modi) of the one divine being. The term was already in common use in the 18th century (e.g. J.F. Buddeus, 1723). Since the 19th century, it has been used primarily in the history of dogma (Dogma, History of) to categorize certain early Christian heresies, …

Beryllus of Bostra,

(127 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] bishop of Bostra in Arabia (Jordan), was one of the “learned churchmen” (Eusebius Hist. eccl. VI, 20) of the 3rd century. His writings and letters were kept in the library established by Alexander of Jerusal…

Sabellius/Sabellians

(304 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] In the theological conflicts of the 4th century, the Modalistic Monarchianism that was condemned as a heresy was often called Sabellianism. Marcellus of Ancyra and his followers in particular were considered “Sabellians,” because they rejected the doctrine of three divine hypostases (Hypostasis; cf. Origen) as tritheism, emphasizing God’s unity as μονάς/ monás instead, citing John 10:30. Eusebius of Caesarea considered Marcellus a “new Sabellius” but had nothing more to say about the author of this heresy, so that later the teachi…

Liberius, Pope

(214 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (episcopate May 17, 352 – Sep 24, 366). Liberius, the successor to Julius I as bishop of Rome, refused to sign the condemnation of Athanasius, because the proceedings against him had not followed ecclesiastical norms. He was therefore exiled to Beroea in Thrace (356–358) by Emperor Constantius II. His experience in exile soon caused him to change his mind. Although he was fundamentally an adherent of the Nicene Creed, he signed the theological formula of the Homoeans in 357 (Sirmi…

Peter of Alexandria

(238 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (died 311, Alexandria), head of the “Catechetical School” of Alexandria (III), possibly together with Pierius and Achillas in the time of Bisho…

Schneemelcher, Wilhelm

(296 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (Aug 21, 1914, Berlin – Aug 6, 2003, Königswinter), Protestant theologian (church historian, with a focus on patristics; student of H. Lietzmann), scholarly organizer, and ecumenist. He earned his Lic.theol. in 1940 in Berlin and received his habilitation in 1949 in Göttingen (documents on the history of the Arian conflict, Athanasian studies). In 1953 he was appointed professor of New Testament and church history (1954) at Bonn, a position he held until his retirement in 1979. Schneemelcher was known internationally for his two-volume Neutestamentliche Apokryph…

Nepos of Arsinoe

(193 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] Nepos of Arsinoe, Egyptian bishop (early 3rd cent.). He defended the millenarianism of the book of Revelation in a literal, physical sense in his writing Refutation of the Allegorists. A schismatic movement arising from this was led, after Nepos’s death, by a certain Korakion. Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria opposed the movement in discussions and in two books On the Promises. He distinguished between the writings of John the Apostle and the book of Revelation, on philological and historical grounds; accordingly, they were written by diffe…

Pantaenus

(204 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (died c. 200), a Stoic from Sicily (perhaps), who converted to Christianity. He is said to have carried the gospel to the peoples of the East, traveling as far as India. From about 180, he was a member of the Alexandria presbytery and led there, as one famous for his learning, “the school of the faithful” (Eus. Hist. eccl., V 10.1). Eusebius of Caesarea describes him as the le…

Didymus the Blind

(403 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (c. 313–398) was a distinguished and influential teacher of theology in the tradition of Origen in Alexandria (III; Exegesis: V, 1) who wrote commentaries on almost all the books of the Bible. His students included Jerome, …

John of Jerusalem

(252 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (c. 356 – Jan 10, 417). As a young monk, John succeeded Cyril of Jerusalem as bishop of this city in 387. In the Origenist controversies, he defended the position of Origen against Epiphanius of Salamis, Jerome and Theophilus of Alexandria. Rufinus, whom he had ordained to the priesthood in 390, supported him. When the British ascetic Pelagius, fleeing Rome, sought refuge in the East, John received him and upheld his orthodoxy at a Synod in Lydda (Diospolis) in 415. This led to a …

Pierius

(244 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.

Junilius (Junillus) Africanus

(192 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A.
[German Version] (born in North Africa), high official ( Quaestor sacri palatii) at the court of Justinian I (527–565). Around 542, he translated an exegetical handbook by the Nestorian (Nestorianism) Paul of Nisibis from the Greek into Latin and edited it as a textbook. The book especially emphasized the literal meaning of the Bib…

Patristics, Patrology

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Wilken, Robert
1. Term Patristic theology came into use among Lutherans in the later 17th century (Orthodoxy 1) in an effort to provide evidence from early Christian tradition that the teaching of the Reformers was in agreement with that of the church fathers. Patristics, which was distinguished from both biblical theology and systematic theology, served to stress continuity between the Reformation and the early church. The term “patrology” occurs for the first time in the title of a work by the Lutheran theologian Johann Gerhard (1582–1637): Patrologia, sive de primitivae ecclesiae Christian…

Catechesis and Catechetics

(3,702 words)

Author(s): Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Fraas, Hans-Jürgen | Schoberth, Ingrid | Schweitzer, Friedrich | Phan, Peter
[German Version] I. History – II. Practical Theology – III. Latin America, Asia, Africa

Conversion

(6,787 words)

Author(s): Bischofberger, Otto | Cancik, Hubert | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Zumstein, Jean | Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Greco-Roman Antiquity – III. Bible – IV. Church History – V. Systematic Theology – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Missiology – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. History of Religions “Conversion” denotes the religiously interpreted process of total reorientation in which individuals or groups reinterp…

Allegory

(3,568 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Most, Glenn W. | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Rieger, Reinhold | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Classical Antiquity – III. Bible– IV. Church History – V. Systematics – VI. Practical Exegesis– VII. Religious Art I. History of Religions
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