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Atheism

(2,127 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. Terminology The word atheism (from Greek átheos, “without  God”, “godless”) denotes both a complex variety of interpretations of the world and life-designs shaped by conscious rejection of the existence of one or more gods, transcendent beings, or powers (positive atheism) and a conscious denial of the earthly influence of such gods or powers, while simultaneously recognizing the theoretical possibility of their existence (negative atheism). Terms such as “God,” “creator,” “absolute,” “supreme being…
Date: 2019-10-14

Protestantism

(2,626 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. The term and its historical contextThe collective singular noun Protestantism and its French equivalent  protestantisme were already in use in the 16th century; the German  Protestantismus did not come into use until the 18th century. The term refers to the protest and reform movements of the 16th-century Reformation and denotes all the Christian churches, free churches, and groups that emerged from it, most of which appealed to the Reformers Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Bucer, Huldrych Zwingli, and Jo…
Date: 2021-03-15

Fundamentalism

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Sparn, Walter
1. The term The term  fundamentalism is a product of the religious conflicts in North American during the early 20th century. It is relevant to the early modern period because the exploration of late modern religious conflicts can contribute to a better understanding of the religious conflicts, confessional antagonists, and theological controversies over the construction of religious identity typical of Eurpean societies in the early modern period.The term was coined around 1920 in the context of the religio-political conflicts between competing groups with…
Date: 2019-10-14

Person

(3,976 words)

Author(s): Schaede, Stephan | Sparn, Walter | Hofer, Sibylle
1. Philosophy and theology 1.1. Definition and cultural contextThe word person (Latin  persona) originates from ancient theater, where it was used to indicate the mask worn by an actor and hence also the identity of his role; in institutional contexts, the word was transferred to the individual holder of rights and duties, as well as to political and (since the Middle Ages) ecclesiastical officials and dignitaries. In grammar, the word is used for the three possible speakers of a verb, that is, the 1st, 2nd…
Date: 2020-10-06

Sacrament

(6,920 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Walter, Peter | Nüssel, Friederike | Wasmuth, Jennifer
1. Introduction 1.1. General considerationsIn the early modern period, sacraments were part of the religious practice of all Christian churches, albeit with varying emphases and interpretations. Nevertheless, all believed that the celebration and administration of the sacraments, like the proclamation of the word of God, was central to the Christian church, and that sacraments, though performed by human beings, provided a place where the promise of Jesus Christ to be present with his flock was fulfi…
Date: 2021-08-02

Church architecture

(5,877 words)

Author(s): Fürst, Ulrich | Strohmaier-Wiederanders, Gerlinde | Sparn, Walter | Faensen, Hubert
1. Introduction Theological and pastoral concepts continued to define early modern Church architecture that had shaped Christian sacral architecture since its very earliest days. The church was a meeting-place for the congregation that had to fulfill a function as the real venue and crucible of the divine service (Worship). Spatial forms and fittings had to support liturgical procedures and make their content available to experience. Still, changing cultural parameters and profound religious and c…
Date: 2019-10-14

Church year

(3,111 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian | Sparn, Walter | Petzolt, Martin | Bärsch, Jürgen
1. Introduction The term “church year,” probably first attested (as German Kirchenjahr) in the postil of the Lutheran pastor Johannes Pomarius (Magdeburg 1585) (see below, 4.1.), denotes the annual cycle of Christian festival and holiday. In the rhythm of the week and year, the church celebrates the memory of Jesus Christ (year of the Lord) [1], with the celebration of the saints’ days (Name day) taking a secondary role (year of the saints).The core and “origin” of the year was the Sunday on which the key events of Easter are celebrated (Passion Week) in the fe…
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

Church and state

(4,982 words)

Author(s): Unterburger, Klaus | Sparn, Walter | Schneider, Bernd Christian | Synek, Eva
1. Introduction The reciprocal but never symmetrical relationship between Church andState in early modern Europe was the result of a historical development that in some respects remained indebted to the political ethics of the New Testament (Rom 13; Rv 13), while in other respects confronting profound changes in both ecclesiastical and secular political institutions, specifically the emergence of the early modern territorial and nation state. At first, the underlying assumption was that the Europe…
Date: 2019-10-14

Truth

(4,345 words)

Author(s): Sparn, Walter | Mizrahi, Moti | Steinle, Friedrich | Großhans, Hans-Peter
1. BackgroundThe Indo-European word behind  Latin  veritas, French  vérité, German  Wahrheit (English “truth”) meant “respect,” “assent,” “fidelity”; Greek  alḗtheia (literally “unconcealment”) was also important for the history of the term. The pragmatic questions concerning whether an assertion or message is true and what criteria we should use to assess and recognize its truth have been answered implicitly or explicity in every culture. The question of what truth is arises whenever a culture reflects on its…
Date: 2022-11-07

Music, ecclesiastical

(7,037 words)

Author(s): Kremer, Joachim | Sparn, Walter | Fischer, Michael | Petzoldt, Martin | Totzke, Irenaeus
1. IntroductionThe term ecclesiastical or church music encompasses all music that is heard within Christian churches. This purely functional sense implies no musical genres or stylistic properties. The abundance of manifestations of music in the Catholic (see below, 5.2.), Protestant (see below, 5.3.), and Orthodox churches (see below, 5.4.) precludes an absolute definition valid across the whole of history. Using the term “spiritual music” makes matters no easier, for spiritual music need not be…
Date: 2020-04-06
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