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Pilgrimage, local

(1,772 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Michael
1. GeneralA pilgrimage (German  Pilgerfahrt, Betfahrt, Bittfahrt, Wallfahrt; Latin  peregrinatio religiosa) is a religiously motivated journey (Travel) to a cultic site. The narrower German term Wallfahrt, in common use from after the 14th century, is derived from MHG  wallen (walk, wander; i.e. walk-faring). The religious phenomenon of the pilgrimage was based on the belief that the experience and agency of the holy or divine manifest themselves in a special way in particular places. There was also the notion that a pilgrimage is a…
Date: 2020-10-06

Prayer book

(2,128 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Michael | Matthias, Markus
1. GeneralA prayer book (German  Gebetbuch, earlier  Betbuch) is a collection of prayers in book form, manuscript or printed. Like the hymnal, with which it is frequently combined, it belongs to the genre of edificatory literature.Prayer books had been created by the early Middle Ages. While hand-written prayer books ( siddur) were demonstrably in use in Judaism for congregational synagogue prayer and private prayer as early as the 9th century, Christian prayer books go back to the 8th century – for the clergy and other members of religiou…
Date: 2021-03-15


(2,604 words)

Author(s): Matthias, Markus | Fischer, Michael
1. DefinitionA hymnal is a printed collection of liturgical songs (Hymn [church anthem]), with or without notation of the melody and/or setting. The term dates back to the 16th century and came into widespread use in the 18th century.  The hymnal shared the full range of publication possibilities with the new technology of printing. This affected both its external (production, facilities, distribution, circulation, dissemination, serial publication) and internal (selections, commentaries, functional design) design, as well as its actual usage.Markus Matthias2. Protestant 2…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,277 words)

Author(s): Fischer, Michael | Albrecht, Christian | Hauptmann, Peter
1. General In Late Antiquity, the term “catechism” (Latin  catechismus from Greek  katéchesis, “oral instruction”) came into use for the instruction of adult catechumens; when infant baptism was introducted in the 2nd/3rd century, it was applied to the instruction of the faithful (Catechetics). In the early modern era, the term came to be applied to systematically organized works designed for elementary religious instruction. Other terms used included  ench( e) iridion (Greek, “small handbook”),  institutio (Latin, “instruction”), and  summa (Latin, “sum”). Catec…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,602 words)

Author(s): Grethlein, Christian | Fischer, Michael | Felmy, Karl Christian
1. IntroductionFrom the perspective of the academic study of religion, prayer (Latin  oratio, preces) is the “dialogical approach of an individual to his or her God, in order to represent their own existence to him in its neediness or satisfaction as the sphere of action of  this God” [3. 32]; it is a fundamental form of human communication. Prayer is an expression of both personal, individual practice (private prayer) and institutionally organized practice (liturgical prayer; see Worship). Both types of prayer influence and partially shape…
Date: 2021-03-15

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. Recent German-language scholarship prefers to speak of  populäre or  populare  Frömmigkeit or simply o…
Date: 2021-03-15


(4,449 words)

Author(s): Rode-Breymann, Susanne | Fischer, Michael | Beutel, Albrecht
1. TerminologyThe word “song” – denoting (a) the act of sustaining a melody with the voice, and (b) a composition for singing – dates back to Old English and has virtually identical cognates in all the Germanic languages (e.g. ON söngr, Dutch zang, OHG sang). NHG Gesang, however, was superseded in the sense of “composition for voice” by Lied in the 15th century. According to Grimm’s  Deutsches Wörterbuch, Lied (compare ON  ljóð, OE leóð, ME leth, “lay”) originally denoted making music by plucking strings; OHG glosses render the Latin bardus (bard) as liudari, and the explanatory carminu…
Date: 2022-08-17

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