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Athena

(278 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (᾽Αθήνη/ Athḗnē, Athenaía). Many Greek poleis chose the goddess Athena (with the epiclesis Poliás) as their patron deity. Several cities, including Rome (where Athena was identified with Minerva), claimed to have secured her protection in the form of a portable statue ( palladion) at the time of their founding. In the internal social structure of the polis, Athena was chosen as goddess by different groups. (1) The armed Pállas was chosen by the male citizens as …

Kingship, Sacral

(577 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Kingship as a pre-state and proto-state form of rule is at first confined to the person of the ruler; with his death, the order that he had guaranteed goes under. In order to avoid this anarchy, the ruling families first attempt to find procedures that guarantee the stability of the community beyond the life of the person, for instance through establishing the successor early on, or restricting eligibility of possible successors to the royal family or to a small number of aristocr…

Nilsson, Martin Persson

(282 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (Jul 12, 1874, Ballingslöv – Apr 7, 1967, Lund), Swedish classical scholar. Both archaeologically and philologically, Nilsson vastly expanded our positivistic material knowledge for the investigation of Greek religion (Greece: I, 1). By emphasizing ritual (Rite and ritual) over ancient expositions and myths (Myth: II, 2), he put himself in a position to interpret Greek religion from the perspective of its origins: classical Greek religion is essentially a survival of an earlier ag…

Chaos

(3,417 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Janowski, Bernd | Yarbro Collins, Adela | Drees, Willem B. | Gregersen, Niels Henrik | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Biblical – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Dogmatics – V. Ethics – VI. Science I. History of Religions 1. So-called chaos research (see VI below) has renewed a positive meaning of the term with the model of the “creative” self-organization of matter (thus without the goal-oriented will of an ordering creator). Previously, since Late Antiquity, a negative evaluation of chaos had prevailed: Since creation demonstrates the existence of God, chaos was a negative in relation to the Creator God in a dualistic system, as disorder ( confusio: Augus…

Panathenaea

(366 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] . The annual midsummer festival in Athens, a major celebration every four years (since 566 bce), otherwise a minor celebration, brought together the whole polis, which included the city and the entire surrounding region of Attica. Later the Athenians traced the celebration of the Panathenaea to Theseus’s unification of the settlements in Attica (Plut. Theseus 24), making it the festival of “all Athens.” But when the procession approached the central temple of Athena, the protectress of the city, it embodied the earlier significance o…

Messiah/Messianism

(10,414 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Wandrey, Irina | Dan, Joseph | Karrer, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Christianity – V. Dogmatics – VI. Islam I. History of Religions The terms messiah and messianism derive from the Hebrew word māšîaḥ, “anointed one.” Under the impact of foreign rule in Israel and Judah beginning in the 6th century bce, the word took on a new meaning: the Messiah was expected to bring deliverance from foreigners and oppressors, and in part to inaugurate the eschatological age of salvation (see II–IV below). The word's meaning was expanded in the …

Corinth

(402 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The location at the large east-west connection of the Mediterranean Sea, where ships had to be drawn across a short stretch of land from one sea to the other (with the harbors Cenchrea and Lechaion), made Corinth a junction of cultural contact in antiquity. With its colonies, the city was a water bridge and a land bridge from east to west and north to south. It attracted merchants and artisans – along with their religions –, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Jews, and the tent-maker Paul`. As the center of opposition against the Romans, Corinth was destroyed in 146 bce, but it did n…

Greece

(4,584 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Hölscher, Fernande | Theodorou, Evangelos | Begzos, Marios
[German Version] I. Antiquity – II. Church History – III. Theology in Greece I. Antiquity 1. Religion The model of Greek religion is of central importance to theology. In the tradition of the humanistic gymnasium study of the Christian religion even today presupposes knowledge of Greek religion. The Platonic conception in particular (by no means typical of Greek religion) constitutes the model against which the statements of the Bible are measured. G. Kittel's Theolo-¶ gisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (1960; ET: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 2000) canonized …

Pausanias

(340 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] In the ten books of his Περιήγησις τῆς ῾Ελλάδος/ Periḗgēsis tḗs Helládos, Pausanias records a journey through various sites of mainland Greece. Writing in Greek, he conducts Romans and Romanized Greeks on a tour of an imagined ancient Greece. Since he has seen everything himself and has inquired critically into the earliest traditions (c. 155–180 ce), he claims to be the true expert on the original religion of Greece (I, 1). As an interpreter of that religion, he avers his superiority to the local guides, because he focused his attent…

Artemis

(479 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (῎Αρτεμις, Doric Artamis, Latin Diana). The cult of the Greek goddess Artemis was probably the most popular in all the Greek poleis; even though she was rarely chosen the city goddess, as she was in Ephesus, Sparta, and Kalydon-Patrai. Artemis's limited significance in the (male) polis rests in the fact that primarily the women chose the virgin Artemis, who was averse to male desire, as their goddess: the maidens, such as the Athenians in Brauron, learned female …

Asylum

(2,217 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Derlien, Jochen | Schenker, Adrian | Wall, Heinrich de | Frey, Christofer
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Greco-Roman Antiquity – III. Biblical – IV. Law – V. Ethics I. History of Religions It was not until after the Second World War, in the course of which whole peoples had been murdered and critics persecuted, that in 1948 the UN proclaimed asylum to be a human right; not however in terms of the right of every persecuted human being to seek protection from others,…

Cybele and Attis

(330 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Cybele does not occur first in Greco-Roman Antiquity as a “late oriental” deity, instead, she is venerated as “Mother of the gods” or simply as “Mother” (Mother goddesses) already in the 6th century bce with a temple in the center of Athens. In Rome in 205/204 bce, the Stone of Pessinus (a baityl) was introduced by one of the most prominent families and was provided with a temple at a central location in the city on the Palatine and with an important festival, the ludi Megalenses. The high priest bore the title Áttis; ordinary priests were called Gálloi. Ma…

Orphism

(1,858 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Wandrey, Irina | Graf, Fritz
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Responses I. History of Religions 1. Orphic-Dionysian mysteries. The earliest Greeks anticipated a short and active life without any form of existence after death. The 6th century bce saw the appearance of religious alternatives that promised an afterlife in the beyond. One of these spread anonymously under the name of Orpheus; myths of Orpheus speak of deliverance from a senseless and cheerless netherworld. There was never a coherent religion practiced by Orphics, but there is discu…

Anthropology

(1,411 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Scientific Anthropology I. Philosophy The study of human beings, first of all, and from the 16th century a philosophical discipline that developed from rational psychology and moral philosophy; since the 20th century anthropology has been a philosophical school of thought. Philosophical anthropology first flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries as a view of human beings that neither rests on the metaphorical and theological assumption of the image…

Hades

(340 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Hades is the realm of the dead (Death) lying beneath the earth (DeathDeath) or at the end of the world, i.e. beyond the reach of the sun, where the capacity to see and to enjoy life thus lapses into a state of slumber “without seeing” (ἀίδης/ a-ídēs, aspirated only in the Attic dialect as ᾅδης/ hadēs). Escorted by Hermes the “guide of souls” (ψυχοπομπός/ psychopompós), the dead are separated from the living by the burial mound, a gate, a river (Hom. Od. XI). The personification of this realm is the god Hades who, though powerful, cannot be propitiated through …

Apollo

(561 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (᾽Απόλλων/Apollōn; Dorian Apellon). The Greek god Apollo was worshiped in all the cities of Greece, but was recognized as the city deity above all by Argos, Sparta, and Miletus (together with its colonies). Panhellenic sanctuaries of Apollo, visited by pilgrims from afar, included Delphi with its oracle and Delos. Social analysis indicates that Apollo was apt to be …

Zeus

(535 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The fact that Zeus is addressed as “father of men and gods” (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶv τε ϑεῶv τε/ patḗr andrṓn te theṓn te: Homer Iliad 1, 544; 4, 235 etc.) implies that he is creator and ruler, the central god of the Greek pantheon. This is however a mythological title, later filled also with theological content, that does not reflect the low place of this god in the cultus. His function is rather that of a distant god; other gods are closer to human beings. Like this formula, other mythical ideas about Zeus belon…

Syncretism

(5,112 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Hutter, Manfred | Auffarth, Christoph | Leicht, Reimund | Roxborogh, John | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word syncretism in its broadest sense denotes any blend or combination of diverse cultural phenomena. This usage derives from an apparently reasonable but false etymology: syncretism is commonly derived from the Greek verb συνκεράννυμι/ synkeránnymi, “mix.” In fact, however, it is a neologism coined by Plutarch ( Mor. 490b), who called the way Cretans came together in the face of external enemies synkretismos. Erasmus of Rotterdam than borrowed the term and introduced it into the language of Christian theology. In theology th…

Cabeiri

(201 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The two or perhaps more Cabeiri constitute a nameless group of gods for whom local cults were established in the eastern and northern Aegean. A cult in mainland Greece existed only in Boeotia. Sometimes identified with other cultic groups such as the Curetes, ¶ the Corybants, the Dioscuri or the Daktyloi, they reflect male cultic associations to which admittance was effected through initiation (Rites of passage). The mysteries of Samothrace, in which especially seafaring persons sought to acquire protec…

Theocrasia

(276 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] is a neologism coined in the debate over syncretism around 1900. In the background is the negative assessment of racial mixing in 19th-century racial theory and the Protestant historical vision of national character, national religion, and a national church in the works of J.G. Herder. According to this theory, ethnic mixing in the Roman Empire necessarily led to the “mixing of gods,” a reification of the invasion of oriental cults in the late period of classical religion. Theocra…
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