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(1,142 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] I. Mythology – II. Art I. Mythology The stories of Orpheus reflect the emergence and rejection of a religious movement in Archaic Greece: a prince from Thrace in northern Greece enchants everyone with his artistry; the psychagogic and ecstatic power of music (Ecstasy) is recalled in a journey to the netherworld. Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus, dies; to win her back, he descends into Hades. Through his music, he charms even the rocks and persuades the implacable gods of the dead to release…


(194 words)

Author(s): Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] Orants, standing figures with arms raised and onstretched, appear in catacomb paintings and on sculpted sarcophagi in Late Antiquity; they also appear in various genres of the minor arts, depending on the primary iconographic theme. Pagan art had already used such figures to represent prayer; early Christian art employed them to symbolize powerful or salvific prayer, as in representations of Daniel in the lion’s den, Noah in the ark, and the young men in the fiery furnace. In cata…


(787 words)

Author(s): Deines, Roland | Arnulf, Arwed | Eder, Manfred
[German Version] I. Name – II. Art and Liturgy – III. Roman Catholic Congregations I. Name The Greek interpretation of the Aramaic Golgotha as Κρανίου Τόπος/ Kraniou Topos, “Skull Place” (Matt 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17; cf. Luke 23:32), is rendered almost uniformly in the Latin versions (Old Latin, Vulgate) as c alvariae locus. The Latin form gave rise to “Calvary” and similar terms in other European languages. It is based on the Latin noun calvaria, “cranium, skull,” which makes its first appearance in the middle of the 1st century ce in medical works (Aurelius Cornelius Celsus,…

John, Apocalypse of/Book of Revelation

(5,137 words)

Author(s): Aune, David E. | Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] I. Exegesis – II. Art History I. Exegesis 1. Historical issues a. Authorship The author of Revelation or the Apocalypse repeatedly tells us in the framework of his book that his name is John (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). This, together ¶ with the frequent use of first-person verb forms that regularly punctuate the vision narratives, underscores the author's role as witness to the revelatory visions he narrates, a strategy typical of early Jewish apocalypses (Apocalypse). The pseudonymous character of all early Jewish apocalypses …


(6,550 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Güntram | Arnulf, Arwed | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Finster, Barbara | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Iconography and the Bible – IV. Christian Iconography – V. Jewish Iconography – VI. Islamic Iconography – VII. Buddhist Iconography – VIII. Hindu Iconography I. Religious Studies Iconography (Gk εἰκονογραϕία/ eikonographía) originally meant the description of images (Arist. Poet. XV; Strabo XV 1.19), but nowadays is used to refer to the methodical study of images. Where scholars distinguish between iconography, iconology , and iconics (Ger. Ikonik), iconography denotes the description of the object, …

Prophets and Prophecy

(8,753 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Jeremias, Jörg | Gray, Rebecca | Hayoun, Maurice-Ruben | Aune, David E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The term. In the significance ascribed to religious phenomena, prophecy surpasses individual experiences of mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration, as well as the situational activities of established functionaries such as priests (Priesthood), shamans (Shamanism), or diviners (Divination). Revelations ascribed by prophets to the deity they serve give ethical guidance to a community. The term προφήτης/ prophḗ tēs derives from ancient Greek religion, where it referred initially to local specialists, who are hard to …

John the Baptist, Saint

(2,577 words)

Author(s): Lupieri, Edmondo | Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Art I. New Testament 1. Sources John the Baptist is the Jewish preacher and prophet who baptized Jesus. Flavius Josephus ( Ant. XVIII5:2 [116–119]), the four gospels, and the Book of Acts are the only six texts we can use for the reconstruction of his historical figure. In Luke's account John was born of a priestly family during the reign of Herod the Great (46–4 bce). Mark, Matthew, and Josephus report that he was executed by Herod Antipas (4 bce–39 ce). Josephus places John's execution prior to the victory of Aretas, king of Nabataeans, …