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Memory

(3,348 words)

Author(s): Andres, Jan | Leppin, Volker
1. DefinitionMemory (Latin  memoria, “faculty of recollection”) is generally understood as a reservoir (in the sense both of content and container) of knowledge of the past, available for recollection or refreshment through the process of “calling to mind” (Greek anamnēsis). Almost all theories of memory seek to link the thesaurus model with the actual act of remembering. Memo…
Date: 2019-10-14

Emotion

(2,539 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang | Leppin, Volker
1. General 1.1. Problems of definitionEmotions are deeply rooted in human developmental history. As a fundamental phenomenon of subjective experience, they were common to humans and higher animals, and are based on a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Tradition

(5,717 words)

Author(s): Walther, Gerrit | Walter, Peter | Leppin, Volker | Reichmuth, Stefan
1. History and culture 1.1. IntroductionTradition (Latin traditio, via Old French  tradicion, “handing over,” “delivery”) denotes customs, beliefs, and the like, that are “handed down” from generation to generation. In theory, it is understood as a specific reservoir of knowledge, techniques, technologies, mores, customs, perspectives, attitudes, norms, and institutions residing within a community and passed down relatively unchanged by one generation to the next, thereby lending continuity and identity to…
Date: 2022-11-07

Identity

(4,038 words)

Author(s): Jarzebowski, Claudia | Schmale, Wolfgang | Leppin, Volker
1. Introduction A universally valid definition of identity is as elusive for the early modern period as for the late. The concept derives from two distinct traditions of research. Anglophone social psychology characterizes identity as a characteristic of the modern individual [6], whereas German ethnology prefers the term Identität in clear rejection of the older and ideologically explosive term  Volksgeist (“folk spirit”) [2]. The concept of identity is disputed among historians [14]. From an actor-centered perspective in particular, doubts are articulated over whether such a concept can be said to be valid in all periods of history. Others locate the potential of the concept of identity in the interaction between the collective and the individual, between ascription and adoption, and between normalization and experience (e.g. [7]…
Date: 2019-10-14

Conscience

(792 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
In the late Middle Ages, the notion of a “spark of conscience” found, for example, in the work of the Latin church father Jerome, was developed productively into the mystical notion of the spark of the soul. For the formation of the early modern term  conscience, the decisive factor was the increasing gap between individual convictions and supraindividual o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Mysticism

(3,883 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Leppin, Volker | Bryner, Erich | Grözinger, Karl Erich
1. IntroductionThe noun mysticism, a general term dating from the 17th century, eluded all attempts of students of religion and the psychology of religion to define it in the 19th and early 20th century [1]; [3]; [5]. More recent researchers therefore use it only as a heuristic term for highly diverse phenomena of an intense individual experience of bonding or union (Latin  unio mystica) with God, the divine, the holy, etc. – always in specific cultural and social contexts. These phenomena are never accessible directly, since we know of them only through (…
Date: 2020-04-06

Popular religion

(4,404 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Michael | Leppin, Volker | Bryner, Erich
1. General 1.1. DefinitionThe term popular religion (French  religion populaire, German  Volksfrömmigkeit) denotes the everyday, practical religion of the masses, regardless of whether it is considered “Christian” or “churchly” from a theological or religio-phenomenological perspective. Popular religion is meant to sanctify the whole of the everyday world and the environment, to relate a person’s life and the world of personal experience to the religious sphere. …
Date: 2021-03-15

Scripture principle, Protestant

(762 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
The conciliarist controversies of the late Middle Ages over the supremacy of the pope or a council within the church made the question of an authoritative basis for ecclesiastical doctrinal decisions outside the human institutions of the church increasingly controversial. Drawing on the thought of William of Ockham, theologians developed concepts that emphasized the questionable nature of decisions by the papacy and councils (Council [ecclesiastical]), while advocating appeal to the Bible to res…
Date: 2021-08-02

Heresy

(1,791 words)

Author(s): Walter, Peter | Leppin, Volker
1. DefinitionThe term heresy (from Greek  haíresis, “school (of thought),” “faction”) denotes a serious deviation in the faith (“false doctrine”), resulting in exclusion from the church (Excommunication). The German synonym Ketzerei is derived from the name of the medieval mass movement of the Cathars (Greek  katharoí, “pure ones”), which formed an anti-church in the 12th century and were persecuted relentlessly. Heresy, as a violation of the integrity of the faith by individuals or groups, must be distinguished from apostasy (Greek  apostasía) as “renunciation” of …
Date: 2019-10-14

Congregation

(1,187 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
1. Christian 1.1. Late Middle Ages, Reformation, and ConfessionalizationThe parochial structure of the church had been the norm since the Carolingian period (i.e. the association of one’s place of residence with membership in an ecclesiastical congregation). In the late Middle Ages, there developed a …
Date: 2019-10-14

Devil, belief in

(1,027 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
1. Concepts of the DevilThe Devil in the early modern period had a double role as an opponent of God in the narrative of salvation and as a negative force whose effects were tangible in the everyday world. The key factor in the shaping of belief in the Devil was how this concept of opposition worked in relation to the omnipotence of God.Concern for this issue in early modern reflection is well exemplified in the works of Martin Luther. On the one hand, there is a pointedly anthropological idea of the human individual as a vehicle for both God and the Devil, with the latter making use of human sinfulness (Sin) for his own purposes. On the other hand, however, God's victory over the Devil is part of the Christian promise founded in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Admittedly, this ultimate annihilation of the power of the Devil as God's opponent was overshadowed by the immediate reality of his presence in Luther's own life. From an early age, Luther endured spiritual crises in which he saw himself overthrown by the Devil, and he felt gratitude for the phases of his life during which he found himself unable to sense the diabolical influence reaching deep into his everyday life (Luther WA 8, 660). If a Christian was not helplessly exposed to the power of the Devil, this was above all by dint of baptism, a ceremony whose apparently self-evident association with exorcism Luther e…
Date: 2019-10-14

Festival

(8,958 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang | Kranemann, Benedikt | Leppin, Volker | Petzolt, Martin | Rode-Breymann, Susanne | Et al.
1. General 1.1. OccasionsFestivals (from Latin  festus, “joyful, festive”) interrupt the routine of the everyday world, to which they contrast as a temporally and spatially limited “anti-structure” of which they are the structuring element [21]. In the early modern period, festivals marked the phases of natural, social, or individual chronologies, which could be either cyclic or linear. Cyclic chronologies included the annual agricultural cycle, the economic cycle, the church year with its recurring saint's days (Saint), and …
Date: 2019-10-14