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(1,091 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] I. Early Use of the Term In Neoplatonism (Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus,Damascius, Magical papyri), the term ϑεοσοφία/ theosophía (“wisdom concerning divine things”) denotes a knowledge of God combining elements of wisdom, mysticism, speculative metaphysics, and initiation into mysteries. For the church fathers, theosophy and theology were often used synonymous (adverbially in Clement of Alexandria, theosophy since Eus. Praep. I 5.12 and esp. in the works of Dionysius Areopagita). Theosophy is also the name given to a group of texts that combine …

Melito of Sardis

(343 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] a versatile theological writer c. 160–180 ce (according to Eusebius of Caesarea, bishop of Sardis). A list of his works is given in Eus. Hist. eccl. IV 26. 2–14. Most are lost, but the number of fragments has increased in recent years. The Easter homily περὶ πάσχα/ perí páscha, known from papyri, is one of the earliest extant Christian sermons. In Asian rhetoric, with many Old Testament allusions, it develops an exodus typology in which Israel's liberation from Egypt is compared with humanity's liberation from sin. The New Testament is not quoted, though the Gospel of Peter

Muratorian Fragment

(393 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] (Canon Muratori), discovered by Ludovico Antonio Muratori in a Milan codex miscellany (c. 8th cent.); a fragment, published in 1740, of an early list of New Testament books with commentary, the text of which was complemented by four fragments of 11th–12th century codices from Montecassino (but no early Christian citations). As liturgical readings the following are recommended: the four Gospels (in the order Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; (text for Matthew and the beginning of Mark not…

Pentecostalism/Charismatic Movements

(5,310 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Robins, Roger G. | Gerloff, Roswith | Bergunder, Michael
[German Version] I. Church History 1. On Jan 2, 1901, the Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, headed by C.F. Parham, experienced pneumatic phenomena, which were interpreted as missionary preparation and “baptism in the Spirit” (as in Acts 2). From 1906 to 1913, the “Azusa Street Revival” in Los Angeles, led by Pastor W.J. Seymour, the son of a black slave, became the birthplace of the modern Pentecostal movement. “Pentecostal churches” sprang up almost overnight (see II, 1 below). In 2002 some 20% …


(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…

Transfiguration of Christ

(2,102 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Oberdorfer, Bernd | Kunzler, Michael | Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane
[German Version] I. New Testament The legend in Mark 9:2–13 proclaims Jesus as Son of God in the presence of his innermost circle of disciples. This is clearly an important compositional element for Mark: the beginning (1:1, 11), middle (9:7), and end (15:39) of the Gospel bear witness to Jesus as God’s Son. The combination with 8:27–33 breaks through Jesus’ incognito and defines his mission – passion (Passion/Passion traditions) and resurrection (II). For a moment, the disciples receive an insight i…

Christ, Symbols of

(2,026 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] I. Symbols of Christ (verbal or visual symbols) vicariously represent Christ himself but are also shorthand for the event of salvation (the boundary is fluid: the cross is both, the manger only the latter) and thus tokens of Christian identity and building-blocks of Christian art. Most symbols of Christ come from the New Testament; verbal symbols are, therefore, prior to visual symbols (see also Image; Iconology). Christ is the Lamb (of God) (John 1:29; Rev 5:6–13), the heavenly bridegroom of the Church (Eph 5:32; Rev 19:7; the church's interpretatio…


(246 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] (λάβαρον, λάβωρον). According to Eusebius of Caesarea Vita Const. I 26–31 (cf. II 7; Autopsy), a labarum is a vexillum (military standard) with a Christogram at the top, medallions of the emperor and his sons, and drapery attached to a crossbar. Introduced in the context of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (Oct 28, 312) with the victory over Maxentius, it appears to have originated in the (probably one and only) vision of Constantine the Great, during which he allegedly saw a solar cross …

Lentulus, Letter of

(247 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] The Letter of Lentulus is an apocryphal “contemporary” description of Jesus' personality and appearance: long, dark brown hair, parted in the middle and curling below his ears, a short, slightly forked beard, bluish-gray eyes; a handsome, serious radiance (cf. Ps 45:3*). First mentioned c. 1350 by Ludolf the Carthusian, it probably dates from the 13th or 14th century (Italy?). It is preserved in manuscripts dating from the 14th through the 16th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries…

Lamb (of God)

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Taeger, Jens-Wilhelm | Benga, Daniel | Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Eastern Liturgy – III. Christian Art I. New Testament Apart from Luke 10:3 and John 21:15, where it designates the disciples and the community (otherwise sheep), the word lamb appears only in christological contexts. Its Old Testamant associations are clear in 1 Cor 5:7, where Paul refers to Christ as “our paschal lamb that has been sacrificed,” whose death – according to the context – sets Christians free for new life, and in Acts 8:32–35, where a quotation from Isa 53:7f. LXX is applie…


(2,036 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Arneth, Martin | Feldmeier, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Temptation is a theologoumenon of many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It arises in the presence of free will when evil makes its appearance as fascinating, enticing cajolery, often insinuating. There are various forms of temptation: by a deity, by human individuals, by demons, in a nontheistic con-¶ text, and even human temptation of a deity. Temptation is often interpreted as the work of a demonic power that takes on symbolic significance – for example Māra in Buddhism; cf. e.g. Saṃyut…


(1,115 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco
[German Version] are an emphatic assurance of salvation or of a fulfilled life, and are employed in sapiential, prophetic, liturgical, and other (even profane) contexts; this genre is related to blessings and to oracles of salvation. In general, the beatitude is signaled by a predicate ( ʾašrê in Hebrew with the character of an interjection, makários in Greek, tūbēi in Aramaic), which is followed by a subject qualified by relative and conditional clauses or participles, and sometimes by a future, …

New Age

(2,886 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Bauernfeind, Hans
[German Version] I. The Concept From the 1970s into the 1990s, New Age was a buzz word for the expectation of a global new era marked by evolutionistic optimism (versus the apocalyptic scenarios of the Cold War), a monistic worldview, recovery of a unity of humankind with the natural world (end of the age of technocracy), and a “new consciousness” of a spiritual, ecological, and peaceable society, along with “holistic” approaches and increased appreciation of spiritual experiences vis-à-vis systems, including religious systems. The New Age movement combined utopian, myst…