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Commonwealth of Independent States

(203 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a voluntary association that includes 12 of the 15 republics of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union). Proclaiming itself a successor to the USSR in some aspects of international affairs, the commonwealth provides a framework for unified military policy, a single currency, and a single “economic space.” The Minsk Agreement of December 8, 1991, which established the commonwealth, was signed by the three Slav republics Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Later that month, eight other for…

Qatar

(735 words)

Author(s): Koszinowski, Thomas | Editors, the
1. General Situation The State of Qatar lies along the peninsula of the same name on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula. East Arab Bedouin tribes began to settle there in the 18th century. Among them the Al Thani family played a leading role from the end of the 19th century. In 1872 the territory came under Ottoman rule with a Turkish garrison in Doha, the capital. When the Turks left at the beginning of World War I, Qatar became a British protectorate. By a treaty concluded in 1916, Britain took over responsibility for its defense and foreign policy (Colonialism). 1.1. Britain left the gu…

UNESCO

(421 words)

Author(s): Kimminich, Otto | Editors, the
The founding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was proposed in 1943 by the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, which was meeting to seek ways of rebuilding the systems of education crippled by the war. The UNESCO charter was signed in London by 37 countries on November 16, 1945. Its model was the International Committee of Intellectual Co-operation, which the League of Nations had organized in January 1921. As of October 2005, UNESCO had 191 member states and 6 associate members. Because of tensions between states,…

Brunei

(964 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
The sultanate of Brunei (official name: Negara [State of] Brunei Darussalam) is a small enclave on the northwestern coast of Borneo. It is bordered by the South China Sea and, on land, is surrounded entirely by Sarawak, an eastern state of Malaysia. In 1997 the sultan was Sir Muda Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzadin Waddaulah, who, upon succeeding his father in October 1967, became the 29th ruler in a single family of sultans tracing back to Sultan Mohammed (reigned 1405–15), the first Brunei leader to embrace Islam. According to the official census, in 1991 the population of Brunei was…

Azerbaijan

(791 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
Azerbaijan is a Transcaucasian republic bordering on the Caspian Sea. Two parts of its territory have been claimed by neighboring Armenia: the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, an exclave to the southwest separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by a strip of ¶ Armenia; and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, an area wholly within Azerbaijan populated largely by Armenians. Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh became violent in February 1988 and continued so until May 1994, when a cease-fire mediated by Russia was signed by the warring parties.…

Creation

(7,608 words)

Author(s): Elsas, Christoph | Crenshaw, James L. | Horn, Friedrich Wilhelm | Editors, The | Frey, Christofer
1. In the History of Religion 1.1. Perspectives on Creation Philosophy and natural science trace the origin of the world and humanity back to impersonal, law-governed causes. Religion, however, finds a suprahuman plan behind life and its foundations. In addition to the elementary language of confession (Confession of Faith), reflection on creation also can draw on philosophical and scientific argumentation, which makes use of elements and general concepts familiar from the world around us. It may also use the language of myth, which presents creation ¶ in the story of a one-time,…

University

(2,067 words)

Author(s): Goldschmidt, Dietrich | Vortkamp, Wolfgang | Editors, the
1. Term and Founding From the Middle Ages onward, universities have been cooperative amalgamations of teachers and students devoted to scholarship (universitas magistrorum et scholarium). The learned academies of Greece (Greek Philosophy), of the Roman Empire, and of Islam were predecessors. The church’s monasteries and schools played a part in preserving the early scholastic tradition (Monasticism). As an independent search for knowledge grew, it involved a desire to link faith to reason and science. Scholasticism led to the formation of the first c…

Communication

(2,311 words)

Author(s): Hemels, Joan M. H. J. | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Editors, The
1. Term As a special form of social action, communication denotes the exchange of signs between a communicator and a recipient. This method of conveying meaning relates to the thinking, feelings, and acts of others. In communication science the term “communication” is normally limited to exchanges between one ¶ person or persons and another or others with the help of spoken language, signs, and symbols, including nonverbal. It is usual to think of the verbal elements as being auditorily perceived and primarily rationally or cognitively process…

Bahamas

(1,201 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, a West Indies nation independent since July 10, 1973, comprises an archipelago of 700 islands and over 2,000 cays and rocks extending southeastward from off the coast of Florida in the United States to just north of Haiti. Not more than 30 islands are inhabited, with the population divided ethnically between Afro-Caribbean (85 percent) and Euro-American (15 percent, largely from Great Britain, Canada, and the United States). The official language of the Bahamas is English, which ¶ reflects the dominant role of the British in …

Creed

(72 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
A creed is a concise statement of Christian doctrine, typically produced by one of the councils of the early church. In this encyclopedia, the fullest treatment of “creed” appears in “Confessions and Creeds.” See Apostles’ Creed; Athanasian Creed; Barmen Declaration; Darmstadt Declaration; Niceno Constantinopolitan Creed The EditorsBibliography J. N. D. Kelly, ed., Early Christian Creeds (3d ed.; London, 1972) J. H. Leith, Creeds of the Churches (3d ed.; Atlanta, 1982).

Marxism

(6,678 words)

Author(s): Fleischer, Helmut | Starke, Ekkehard | Editors, The
1. Historical Development Marxism is the social doctrine that the disciples of Karl Marx (1818–83)—especially E. Bernstein, K. Kautsky, A. Bebel, F. Mehring, and G. V. Plekhanov, in partnership with F. Engels (1820–95)—developed in the 1880s and 1890s from various elements of thought that they regarded as the essence of Marx’s teaching. Marx himself disliked being called a Marxist, and we cannot really view him as the founder of Marxism. His revolutionary theories were not meant to be doctrines but, in the strict sense, merely an account of a real movement of history ( MECW  6.498). The …

Sanctuary Lamp

(90 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
In Roman Catholic churches the sanctuary light is the hanging light that shines constantly before the altar, where the reserved sacrament is kept in the tabernacle (§2). The purpose of the lamp is “to indicate and honor the presence of Christ” (1983 CIC  940). Evidence exists of the use of this light in the West from the 11th and 12th centuries. The Rituale Romanum (1614) made it obligatory. Oil or wax is usually burned, but electric light is permitted. See Eucharist; Eucharistic Spirituality; Liturgical Books The Editors

Taizé Community

(443 words)

Author(s): Frey, Jakob | Editors, the
The founder and first prior of the ecumenical community of Taizé was Roger Schutz (1915–2005), ¶ born in Switzerland as the son of a Reformed pastor. After studying theology, he bought a house in 1940 in Taizé, near Cluny in Burgundy, started regular worship there (Hours, Canonical), and took in refugees. The first Protestant brothers joined him in 1942, the first Roman Catholics in 1969. In 2005 the community included more than 100 brothers, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant. Entry into Taizé involves vows binding one to community life (Monasticism) and celibacy. F…

Belize

(379 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
Formerly British Honduras (to 1973), Belize lies between Guatemala and Mexico on the Caribbean coast of Central America. From the middle of the 17th century British traders exploited the coast from Campeche to Belize, cutting timber (for dyeing) and building factories. After 1680 Spanish pressure forced the British out of the Yucatán peninsula and into the stretch of coast in Belize between the Río Hondo and the Río Belize. With the Dallas-Clarendon agreement they secured control over a territory enlarged from 6,000 to 20,000 sq. km. (2,300 to 7,700 sq. mi.). In 1859 Guatemala re…

Niger

(624 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The Republic of Niger, a landlocked country in West Africa, borders on Algeria and Libya to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, and Burkina Faso and Mali to the west. Europeans first entered Niger in the late 18th century, with the French making Niger part of French West Africa in 1904 (Colonialism). It became a colony within French West Africa (1922), an overseas territory of France (1946), an autonomous republic within the French community (1958), and…

Bahrain

(736 words)

Author(s): Editors, The
1. General Situation The State of Bahrain is an archipelago nation lying along the Arabian Peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Roughly two-thirds of the population are Bahrainis, with the remainder resident foreign workers (Foreigners 2), divided among Asians (13 percent, mostly Indians and Pakistanis), other Arabs (10 percent, mainly Palestinians, Egyptians, and Saudis), Iranians (8 percent), and smaller groups of Europeans. The main island, Bahrain, is linked to Saudi Arabia by a 25-kilometer (15-mi.) causeway, and by shorter causeways to the other main islands, Muharr…

Uniate Churches

(1,884 words)

Author(s): Suttner, Ernst C. | Editors, the
1. Phenomenon So-called Uniate Churches are churches of Eastern Christendom that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The term “uniate” was first used by those opposed to the Union of Brest-Litovsk (1595/96), which brought many Ukrainian Orthodox believers into allegiance with Rome. The churches thus united with Rome, which prefer to call themselves Eastern Catholic (EC) churches, belong to various traditions, following Byzantine, Coptic, Syrian, and other rites. The several EC churches of the Byzantine tradition, which were given the designation “Greek-…

Pakistan

(2,270 words)

Author(s): Schimmel, Annemarie | Editors, the
Pakistan became an independent state on August 14, 1947. The idea of a Muslim area in the northwest of the subcontinent was first suggested and supported by Muhammad Iqbāl (1877–1938), the poet-philosopher of Indian Muslims, at the annual gathering of the All India Muslim League in Allahabad on December 30, 1930. 1. History Muslims (Islam) came to India in 711 and took over the lower Indus Valley up to Multan (now southern Pakistan). By 800 a second wave came and, from Ghaznī in present-day Afghanistan, set up Muslim rule in northwest India. Ben…

City

(3,219 words)

Author(s): Editors, The | Schäfers, Bernhard | Grünberg, Wolfgang
1. Biblical Aspects 1.1. General Biblical history includes a rich theology of the city, which we might see as a parable of all human history and destiny in its vertical relation to God. From the first narratives in Genesis (4ff.) to their counterpart in Revelation (17ff.), the city is a central locus of the development of sinful humanity and of the drama of God’s action both in a response of judgment and in an initiative of grace and salvation. 1.2. Negative Only when the age of innocence in the garden (Genesis 2) ended with disobedience and expulsion (chap. 3) did the history of the city be…

Divination

(2,094 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert | Editors, The
1. Term The term “divination” comes from Lat. divinatio, meaning “divine inspiration; soothsaying.” Divination is a social practice of choosing and evaluating signs. It is related to such phenomena as the interpretation of events, the seeking of causes (diagnosis), and the planning of action (prognosis). But it also carries with it the extraordinary claim of being the disclosure of what is hidden (Apocalypticism 1), of having privileged access to a special “pool” of signs (e.g., the anatomy of sheep livers), and of having unquestionable authority. Divination practic…
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