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Ark of the Covenant

(420 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
The ark was a portable sanctuary of the Israelites, a wooden chest that could be carried on poles. According to the later, but probably accurate, information in Exod. 25:10, it measured about 125 X 75 X 75 cm. (50 X 30 X 30 in.). According to common scholarly opinion, the ark appears for the first time in the Shiloh temple as part of the priestly cultus. It was lost in the war against the Philistines but was regained and brought to a neighboring sanctuary (1 Samuel 4–6). Later David, probably in order to integrate religious traditions from the North with his national cultus, br…

Prophet, Prophecy

(6,407 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Barton, John | Böcher, Otto
1. Religions 1.1. Definition In Greek the term prophētēs (prophet) refers to one engaged in public proclamation, as by oracles or poets. The word became significant when used to describe an OT phenomenon, as it came to denote the OT prophets in particular and then, by extension, similar NT figures, even though they were not specifically modeled on the OT prophets. The term then became a significant one in Islam, but again with characteristic modifications. In the history of Christianity and Islam (His…

Holy War

(483 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
War as the resistance of one’s orderly world to an alien and dangerous nonworld has always been integrated into religion. It is only recently that there have been real “secular” wars, and the term “holy war” raises problems not merely in relation to Israel (§1). Warlike acts are often accompanied by ritual acts, and in many religions (e.g., Islam) war is also the theme of theoretical religious reflection. In fact, wars are seldom exclusively or even predominantly religiously motivated. In Israel, where war could be differentiated from ordinary marauding (see 1 Sam. 21:5), it was self-…

Priest, Priesthood

(4,566 words)

Author(s): Gerlitz, Peter | Stolz, Fritz | Garhammer, Erich | Siegele-Wenschkewitz, Leonore
1. Religion 1.1. Definition No adequate definition of “priest” or of the institution of the priesthood exists (Religious Studies). We cannot make generalized statements about the functions of the office and its social status, for they depend on each culture-specific context. Yet structures of priestly action may be found in all religious systems, even in those in which priests in the strict sense are unknown (e.g., Islam and Theravada Buddhism). Help in understanding the term may perhaps be found in the Babylonian term for priest, ērib bīti (i.e., one who may go into the temple…

Sanctuary

(2,328 words)

Author(s): Rudolph, Kurt | Stolz, Fritz | Fife, John
1. In Religion The sanctuary (Lat. sanctus, “sacred, holy”), or holy place, is a central element in religion and its visible form of expression. Even today one can easily identify a geographic region by its sanctuaries (churches in Christian areas, mosques in Muslim, stupas in Buddhist, and temples in Hindu). In this way religion has had an impact on landscape. The sanctuary may be situated on, in, or by a particular place in nature (a hill, river, fountain, lake, grove, cave, or rock), or it may involve something made by humans (a house, altar, hearth,…

Sanctification

(2,262 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Strecker, Georg | Peters, Albrecht
1. OT 1.1. Term “Sanctification” denotes the transition from the ordinary secular sphere to the sphere of the holy (Sacred and Profane), but then also the analogous transition from the sphere of impurity (on the margin) to the normal sphere of purity (e.g., Lev. 11:44). On the OT view God himself is the quintessence of the holy (he is the Holy One, or the Holy One of Israel, and the beings around him are holy ones; see Isa. 6:3; Ps. 89:7; 99:5, 9). Primarily, then, sanctification is movement into proximity to God, though this movement can be understood in different ways. 1.2. In Space and Time First…

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 socialization, and regulating mechanisms of an artificial establishment of solidarity can be quite varied. In many societies, the regulations governing relationship and marriage have the greatest importance; an important objective of marriage consists in the establishment of social relations, with a distinction between exogamy and endogamy. The former forms relationships between different groups, which relationships are often treated in religious terms, the latter promotes homogeneity within the group (external solidarity is then mediated otherwise). Other types of covenant are only defined by the exchange of goods, which often involves not only consumer goods, but also “prestige goods” or “religious” symbolic objects (boundaries are frequently vague). Such “trade covenants” are known especially from the Melanesian realm. Here, too, higher beings are involved in the process, especially if they or elements of their representation are themselves involved in the exchange. Relationship, as “artificial relationship,” can be established temporarily or permanently, for purposes of arbitrated peaceful coexistence, occasionally also for solidarity (in the first instance militarily and politically). The simplest form of this regulation consists of the law of hospitality that guarantees reciprocal protection and implies an exchange of gifts (on one side, of lodging and provision, sometimes even in the realm of sexuality, on the other side, a gift to the host). Similarly, in the micro-realm, adoptions are effective if one remains without an heir and the continuation of the family needs to be insured; often…

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…

Agriculture and Stock-farming

(2,368 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Hopkins, David C.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Palestine – III. In Literature I. History of Religion 1. The forms of economy consisting of agriculture and stock-farming do not influence the formation of systems of religious symbols in such a way as to constitute a consistent pattern for specific historical religions. Nonetheless, systems of religious symbols in all societies not structured according to …

Firstlings

(745 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Borowski, Oded
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament I. Religious Studies A sense of “firstness…

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 pers…

Frustration

(1,300 words)

Author(s): Winkler, Klaus | Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] I. Concept and Theories – II. Religious Studies – III. Ethics I. Concept and Theories Frustration is a common term in everyday use. As a rule, the phenomenon is identified by its symptoms: people feel reluctant and listless, their customary demeanor disturbed because a frustrating experience has had a sustained effect on the way they feel and think. This may lead to resignation and feelings of paralysis. People feel restricted in some of their actions. In terms of scientific behavioral resear…

Deviant Behavior

(411 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] Human behavioral patterns are influenced by cultural norms, not biologically …

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…

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 injury, aggression, disruption (Menstruation), war, etc. The meanings of colors are often systematized in a classification system that contains multiple associations. The color system of the Ndembu (Africa) is based on the three primary colors white (associations: the sap of a certain tree, mother's milk, purity, power, laughter), red (blood, violence, disruptions) and black (misfortune, magic, sexual lust, marginality). In China, the colors yellow, black, red, green and white correspond to particular senses, flavors, times, elements, cardinal points, etc. In India, the four colors in the deck of cards are associated with cardinal points, planets, and deities. Ancient astrology also produced similar modes of classification, which later acquired a certain degree of significance in alchemistic (Alchemy) and esoteric literature (Esotericism), as well as in the popular beliefs of…

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 “within” the social, moral, cosmic, or politico- historical orders of life (in contrast to apotropaic rites, which are meant to ward off external evi…

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…

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

Sexual Intercourse

(407 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz

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…

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 importan…

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 …

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. Along with the medieval cult of the dead, Protestants eleminated prayers for the dead and the media…

Dema Deities

(177 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
[German Version] were venerated by the Marind-Anim (Irian Jaya [Papua]). On the one hand, they were considered the predecessors of today's people, who populated the earth in primordial times and are described in the myths as human-, …

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…

Spirit

(3,560 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Clayton, Philip | Stolzenberg, Jürgen | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Since time immemorial, the use of the term spirit has been influenced by Christian usage, especially by the concept of the Holy Spirit, including connotations of Latin spiritus and Greek πνεύμα/ pneúma. Spirit has a wide range of meaning; it can denote both a spiritual and a mental attitude, dynamic, or quality ascribed to an individual and a projection of such phenomena into the external world. An anthropomorphic concretion of such projections can then refer to “beings” that in earlier times might have been called “trolls” or the like. 2. In religi…

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 …

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 secondary developments. The primitive monotheism theory of W. Schmidt and…
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