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Polyvalence

(243 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria
[German Version] In chemistry polyvalence is the potential of an element to combine with other elements in different ways, producing a variety of chemical compounds. In an extended sense, polyvalence can be used in various contexts to express a potential for multiple uses. In religious discourse, the …

Topography

(187 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria
[German Version] Topography is the representation and description of geographical areas (Geography of religion). As such it also plays a role in the treatment of religious symbol systems, which highlight territory in various ways. In urban areas and villages, the presence of religious orientation is signaled primarily by special structures. In settled rural areas but also in open country (in forests, in the mountains, along watercourses, etc.), the religious significance of specific…

Orientation (Space Perception)

(642 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria
[German Version] The concept of orientation of objects, persons, buildings, movements, etc. to the east (Lat. oriens; Orientation [Prayer and architecture]), is used in religious studies with regard to representations and conceptions of space and time, but also in reference to religious actions and religious behavior. Orientation is predefined in each worldview that is constituted and mediated by a religious symbolic system. Various reference patterns provide orientation in any given religious context. The orientations, demar…

Settlements

(530 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria
[German Version] Generally speaking, settlements include various types of construction: individual buildings in isolation as well as villages, towns, and cities with various types of internal organization, functions, and networks. These tend to generate different forms of religious symbol systems. In ancient societies, the distinction between urban centers (Town and city) and other forms of settlement played a central role. The city or town was the center, the surrounding settlements the periphery. Cities were characterized by centralized exercise of power, concentration of specialized activities, and a hierarchical social structure, while the surrounding settlements produced food. Between the center and the periphery there was an exchange necessary to both. This relationship is reflected in religious symbol systems. In the city the supporting structures and the production of religious goods (rituals, festivals, texts, images, music, monuments, architecture) are centralized. Religion is therefore normatively shaped by the urban center, where forms of written fixation, production of art, and construction of monumental buildings are possible, along with organizations of religious specialists. This central function of the city is also marked by reversals of the exchange between center and periphery. In certain situations (festivals, fixed occasions in the calendar, facing extraordinary threats or destruction), a peripheral settlement (e.g. an isolated temple complex) can become a religious center and the city a periphery. Pilgrimages, processions, etc. then cancel this reversal and restore the city ceremonially to its original function. A city is conceived theologically as a form through which gods and human beings tame untamed nature; it is the center of the cosmos (World), which takes on an orienting function for the entire world. This inside view of the city is closely related to its socioeconomic structure. The role of the city as the center of the cosmos is often reflected and justified theologically, especially in ancient Near Eastern civilizations. It is noteworthy that the cosmic quality of the city is challenged or even discarded in crisis situations (wartime, epidemics, et…

Stolz, Fritz

(238 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria
[German Version] ( Jul 16, 1942, Männedorf, Switzerland – Dec 10, 2001, Männedorf ). After studying theology and Near Eastern philology in Zürich and Heidelberg, he taught Hebrew and Old Testament at the seminary in (Bielefeld-)Bethel from 1969 to 1980. In 1980 he was appointed professor of the history of religions and the study of religion in Zürich, where he taught until his death. He was also active in several bodies both within and outside the university, for example as a member of the researc…

Blessing and Curse

(3,866 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Steymans, Hans Ulrich | Lehnardt, Andreas | Fitzgerald, John T. | Greiner, Dorothea | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. Historical and Systematic Theology– VI. Practical Theology …

Holy Scriptures

(1,139 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Veltri, Giuseppe | Drecoll, Volker Henning | Graham, William A.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Judaism – III. Christianity – IV. Islam I. Religious Studies Any kind of written document relating to a religious symbol system (Symbols/symbol theory) can be considered a holy Scripture. The existence of a written text as a criterion is a convenient starting point for a systematic orientation within the variety of religious texts produced throughout history. The process of reducing something to written form always implies more or less distanced reflection on what …

Hospitality

(2,520 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Wilson, Walter T. | Dell, Katharine | Koenig, John | Leppin, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Ancient Near East – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. Old Testament – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion “Hospitality” refers to the customs that regulate …

Millenarianism/Chiliasm

(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 …

Paradise

(5,515 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Leiner, Martin | Rebiger, Bill | Heine, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. History of Doctrine and Dogmatics – IV. Judaism – V. Islam – VI. Buddhism – VII. History of Art and Literature I. Religious Studies The history of the term “paradise” is informative for determining its meaning. The word “paradise” is derived from the ancient Iranian * paridaēza, literally “surrounding wall.” It appears as a loanword in many other languages, for example as the Akkadian pardēsu, the Hebrew פַּרְדֵּס/ pardes or the Greek παράδεισος/ parádeisos. These terms denote an enclosed park or garden (cf. Xeno-¶ phon, Anabasis VI 29,4) and in the Achaemenid period particularly the royal domain. Only in the Septuagint, through the use of parádeisos to translate גַּן…

Canon

(4,367 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Schindler, Alfred | Huizing, Klaas | Troianos, Spyros N. | Felmy, Karl Christian | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Church History – III. Fundamental Theology – IV. Orthodox Law – V. Eastern Poetry – VI. Islam – VII. Buddhism – VIII. Taoism I. History of Religion The canon can be defined as a complex process of selection of documents regarded as authoritative; from the totality of the extant written tradition, documents are set apart according to certain criteria as holy or inspired (Inspiration/Theopneustia). Although the concept of the canon as a normative collection of Holy Scriptures was developed in the framework of the Judeo-Christian tradition, it has become a technical term in the study …

Exegesis

(13,995 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Cancik, Hubert | Seidl, Theodor | Schnelle, Udo | Bienert, Wolfgang A. | Et al.
[German Version] (Biblical Scholarship, Hermeneutics, Interpretation) I. Religious Studies – II. History of Religions – III. Greco Roman Antiquity – IV. Bible – V. Church History – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Biblical Scenes in Art – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam I. Religious Studies Exegesis (for etymology see III below) is the explanation, interpretation, or analysis of sacred or otherwise religiously central documents by experts; it enables and encourages the access of a …