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Supreme Being

(391 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] a term that entered religious studies in the 19th century; rejecting evolutionary theories of all kinds, scholars used it to denote universal supreme deities (or in some cases divine couples) even among peoples with very simple social organizations. Andrew Lang in particular considered belief in a supreme being a basic component of all human religions: polytheism (Monotheism and polytheism), magic, etc. are…

Dema Deities

(177 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz

Exclusion, Rites of

(323 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] In the history of religions, eliminatory rites, or rites of exclusion, serve to neutralize a dangerous or disturbing complex of experiences coming from “wi…

Substitutionary Gift

(223 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] In human societies, exchange transactions always involve exchanging different things, of equal or unequal value; the symmetry or asymmetry of the exchange is an expression of a particular relationship. This holds not just for exchanges of goods but for other types of exchange, for example in the system of justice (Blood revenge), and not least in contacts with the powers that dominate life, articulated in part by exchanges of gifts. In special cases, the “normal” gifts given by hu…

Alter ego

(99 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] represents (in comparative religion) the concept that a “counterpart to the self” is assigned to a person in the extra-human sphere. Often, it is imagined that a kind of soul parts from persons and takes form in animals, plants, etc., or else can seek a “dwelling” – temporarily or permanently. Other concepts grow out of the notion that an alter ego exists in the uncontrollable environment with which one is fatefully linked (nagualism). The concept can also be integrated into theistic systems (alter ego as guardian angel, etc.). Fritz Stolz Bibliography Bibl.: Soul. …

Deviant Behavior

(411 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] Human behavioral patterns are influenced by cultural norms, not biologically determined. To this extent there exists in every culture a (broader or narrower, dependent on the culture) range of “normal” behavior and a corresponding way of dealing with behavior that deviates from this norm. Both th…

Sexual Intercourse

(407 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] Because of the biological nature of human beings, sexual intercourse is the goal of a fundamental drive (Drive theory); at the same time, it is influenced by precise cultural rules. The biological unity of pleasure and procreation is often dissolved: the pursuit of pleasure is diverted into art or commerce (with various religious and cultural assessments); occasionally procreation is defined as the only religiously legitimate purpose of intercourse (as is still true in Catholicism…

Birth

(529 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] Human birth – like death – is not regarded as a “natural” phenomenon in any human society; it is ¶ an event that is treated and processed culturally (and religiously). It is important to distinguish between the actions that shape birth (as well as the pregnancy preceding it and the phase immediately following) and the ideas that accompany these actions. The actions have both a functional and a symbolic aspect. There are often certain things that pregnant women must avoid; when they give birth, they are occasionally isolat…

Firstlings

(745 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Borowski, Oded
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament I. Religious Studies A sense of “firstness” plays a role in every culture. In the life cycle of the individual, in the annual cycle of nature, and in history, something occurring for the first time (and likewise something occurring for the last time) is celebrated as deserving special attention. “Firstlings” are part of this range of phenomena. The firstfruits produced by various realms of nature are consecrated and ¶ sacrificed, or possibly just destroyed, but in any case removed from everyday use (Sacrifice). In the cycle of the agricultural year, the first (and last) sheaves, fruits, etc. are brought to a sacred site or left lying in the open. The firstborn of animals are sacrificed, that is, dedicated to “otherworldly” use. This action acknowledges that the supernatural power rightfully has these offerings at its disposal; at the same time, it initiates communication and exchange with the supernatural realm. To a certain extent, the action also serves to represent and regulate human communication, since firstlings are offered by the community. This communal element is especially clear when the offering is associated with a meal. In many cultures, the sacrifice of human firstborn is thought to be required, but never seems to have been carried out in practice; instead the sacrifice is redeemed by a substitutionary gift, legitimated in narratives (e.g. the non-sacrifice of Isaac in Gen 22), which affirms the deity's claim on the life in questio…

Frustration

(1,300 words)

Author(s): Winkler, Klaus | Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] I. Concept and Theories – II. Religious Studies – III. Ethics

Colors

(569 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Saliers, Don E.
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Liturgy I. Comparative Religion Individual cultures perceive colors and assign religious values to them in very different ways. A distinction is often made between colors and “non-colors”: white and black represent non-life (death, transitions in general), and are therefore regarded as the colors of mourning, but also of weddings and feasts, and this not only in Europe. Red is often associated with blood, and accordingly also with…

Birth Control

(1,916 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Reiter, Johannes | Badry, Roswitha
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ethics – III. Islam I. Religious Studies The notion that birth can be understood, not as a “natural” but a “cultural” process includes, among other things, what we today call birth control. Whether and how a child is accepted into the framework of human society is, thus, not least the object of a – both socially (or religiously) and individually determined…

Spirit

(3,560 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Clayton, Philip | Stolzenberg, Jürgen | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version]

Graveyard/Cemetery

(2,341 words)

Author(s): Happe, Barbara | Sörries, Reiner | Hüttenmeister, Frowald-Gil | Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] I. History – II. Graveyard/Cemetery Art – III. Practical Theology – IV. Judaism – V. Islam I. History The early Christians called their burial sites coemeteria (cemetery, Fr. cimetière, Ital. cimietiero; Burial: V). In the Middle Ages, the churchyard was commonly used for burials; in the 16th and 17th centuries, a burial site outside the city or town was often called “God's acre.” Temporary plague cemeteries were already established in the 14th century. Only after the Reformation, how-¶ ever, were general burial sites established in great numbers. Alon…

Brotherhoods

(2,906 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Dörfler-Dierken, Angelika | Oswalt, Julia | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Church History – III. Current Situation I. History of Religions Brotherhoods are a special form of community, not constituted by traditional forms of relationship (Covenant). They are mono-gendered groupings (also “sisterhoods”) distinguished by certain homogeneous characteristics. Initiation groups are often the origin of brotherhoods in cultural histo…

Authority

(2,384 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Lütcke, Karl-Heinrich | Schieder, Rolf | Steck, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. History and Theology – III. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies In human societies, power is wielded by culture-specific structures of authority. Various dimensions of authority may be distinguished, such as the power to control daily matters (family, larger communal units), war, the sacral realm, etc. Segmentary societies distribute authority relative…

Superstition

(3,603 words)

Author(s): Küenzlen, Gottfried | Sparn, Walter | Stolz, Fritz | Hollenweger, Walter J.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Terminology. Like the equivalent German term Aberglaube, the word superstition is pejorative in tone and so is inherently critical and polemical: to speak of superstition as a perverted belief implies that the speaker is doing so from the perspective of correct belief or knowledge. 2. Semantic history. The normative, judgmental character of the term shaped its semantic history. In ancient Rome, superstitio was used to describe an exaggerated religious anxiety, just as Greek δεισιδαιμονία/ deisidaimonía meant anxious servility toward …

Christianity

(28,993 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Markschies, Christoph | Koschorke, Klaus | Neuner, Peter | Felmy, Karl Christian | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Survey of the Christian Confessions – IV. Systematic Theology I. Religious Studies For an overview of Christianity at the end of the second millennium of its development, it is reasonable to give a comparative presentation against the background of the world of religion. It must be remembered, however, that “religion” is not an immutable, ahistorical quantity: it is variable and controversial. The modern concept of religion is …

Covenant

(6,223 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Gertz, Jan Christian | Backhaus, Knut | Sanders, E.P. | Amir, Yehoyada | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity I. History of Religions Immediate and comprehensive solidarity appertains only in the most elementary form of human society (in the “family,” which can be variously structured according to culture); all other forms of solidarity are “artificial,” determined by more or less explicit rules; one can subsume this under the term “covenant,” in which the purposes, realms of social…

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 Allegory (from Gk ἀλληγορέω/ allēgoreō, “say something other [than the literal meaning]”), is a hermeneutical technique (Hermeneutics). The moment a religious message becomes fixed (esp. in writing), a need for interpretation arises. One way to meet this need is t…

Spirit/Holy Spirit

(8,121 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Oeming, Manfred | Dunn, James D.G. | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Leppin, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies and History of Philosophy The dogmatic definition of the Holy Spirit as a person within the one divine substance (Trinity/Doctrine of the Trinity) presupposes not only a particular philosophical context but also a religio-historical horizon. A formative influence on the conceptualization of the Holy Spirit was exercised by the various anthropomorphic interpretations of elemental anthropological or normative qualities in the context of polytheistic interpretations of …
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