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Philo of Byblos

(147 words)

Author(s): Arneth, Martin
[German Version] (Byblius; also Herennios Philo Byblos; c. 70 – 160 ce), Phoenician historian and grammarian. His writings include a Phoenician history (Φοινικικὴ ἱστορία/Φοινικικά; Phoinikikḗ historía/Phoinikiká; c. 100 ce), fragments of which are preserved in the Praeparatio evangelica of Eusebius of Caesarea. It deals with cosmogony, anthropogony, the origin of culture, and (Primordial history). Philo claims to have translated the work of the Phoenician scholar Sanchuniaton. Although Hellenistic tendencies are unmistakable (esp…

Literary Criticism and the Bible

(1,048 words)

Author(s): Arneth, Martin
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Procedure – III. Limitations I. Terminology In the context of historical studies (J.G. Droysen, Rüsen), literary criticism (Ger. Literarkritik) is associated with source criticism; it is therefore among the regulative disciplines of history: heuristics (discovering historical material through exploration of a particular question), criticism (ascertaining what was the case, and when and where), and interpretation (placing facts ascertained by criticism in their historical context…

Vatke, Johann Karl Wilhelm

(299 words)

Author(s): Arneth, Martin
[German Version] (Mar 14, 1806, Behndorf, near Magdeburg – Apr 19, 1882, Berlin). After his parents’ death, Vatke attended school at the Franckesche Stiftungen (A.H. Francke) in Halle beginning in 1820; from 1824 he studied theology in Halle, Göttingen, and Berlin. His teachers included W. Gesenius, ¶ H. Ewald, J.W.A. Neander, and G.W.F. Hegel. In 1830 he was appointed to a lectureship at Berlin, where he served from 1837 to 1875 on the theological faculty as associate professor of biblical studies and philosophy of religion. His appointment…

Kuenen, Abraham

(172 words)

Author(s): Arneth, Martin
[German Version] (Sep 16, 1828, Haarlem – Dec 10, 1891, Leiden) began studying theology in Leiden in ¶ 1846, became associate professor there in 1852 and professor of New Testament, encyclopedia, and methodology in 1855, also of ethics from 1860. He was professor of Old Testament and ethics from 1877 onward. In addition to his scholarly and church-political involvement (main proponent of “modern theology” in Holland), Kuenen made significant contributions above all to the literary and religious history of the OT (esp. Historisch-kritisch onderzoek naar het ontstaan en de verz…

Reusch, Franz Heinrich

(312 words)

Author(s): Arneth, Martin
[German Version] (Dec 4, 1825, Brilon, Westphalia – Mar 3, 1900, Bonn). From 1843 to 1848, Reusch studied Catholic theology and philosophy at Bonn, Tübingen (J.E. v. Kuhn, K.J. v. Hefele), and Munich (I. v. Döllinger, J. v. Görres et al.); in 1848 he was ordained to the priesthood in Cologne. In 1854 he completed his Habilitation at Bonn, where he was appointed associate professor of Old Testament in 1858 and made full professor in 1861. His publications include a Lehrbuch der Einleitung in das Alte Testament (1853, 41870). In his Bibel und Natur (1862, 41876; ET: Nature and the Bible, 1886), …

Flood, The

(1,427 words)

Author(s): Winter, Franz | Arneth, Martin
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament I. History of Religions The concept of a flood of gigantic proportions that destroys the whole world is attested in many cultures and their religious traditions. The starting-points were ¶ probably locally limited natural events that were stylized as occurrences of cosmic proportions. The following are the most important motifs of flood traditions: 1. An immense flood (often connected with additional phenomena of the force of nature, such as fire, volcanoes, etc.) extermin…

Original State

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Arneth, Martin | Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Myths of an original state are usually associated with cosmogonic and anthropogonic (Anthropogony) myths concerning the origins of the world, life, animals, and human beings, for the original state refers to a primal age (Protology) before all time, falling between creation and history. Many religious traditions describe a harmonious, even paradisal eon when humans or (sometimes theriomorphic) protohumans were “still” in d…


(2,036 words)

Author(s): Frenschkowski, Marco | Arneth, Martin | Feldmeier, Reinhard | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Temptation is a theologoumenon of many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It arises in the presence of free will when evil makes its appearance as fascinating, enticing cajolery, often insinuating. There are various forms of temptation: by a deity, by human individuals, by demons, in a nontheistic con-¶ text, and even human temptation of a deity. Temptation is often interpreted as the work of a demonic power that takes on symbolic significance – for example Māra in Buddhism; cf. e.g. Saṃyut…

Tales and Legends

(3,589 words)

Author(s): Feistner, Edith | Wißmann, Hans | Arneth, Martin | Sellin, Gerhard | Roggenkamp, Antje
[German Version] I. Literary History 1. Unlike fairy tales, which are set in a fictional world that takes wonders for granted, tales (Ger. Sagen) and legends recount the irruption of miracles and wonders into the real world. Tales treat this irruption as a mysterious and terrifying experience, while legends embed it in a religiously structured explanatory context. 2. The etymology of the terms tale and legend points to two different forms of transmission: oral in the case of tales (“what is told”) and sagas (“what is said”), written in the case of legends (Lat. legenda, “what is to be re…

Primordial History

(2,632 words)

Author(s): Feldtkeller, Andreas | Arneth, Martin | Cancik, Hubert | Strutwolf, Holger
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The concept of a primeval or primordial history (Ger. Urgeschichte), as used in scholarly discourse, starts with the biblical text of Gen 1–11, but may be transferred to other contexts in religious studies. However, this makes sense only where identity-forming narratives proceed on a chronological basis (History/Concepts of history) in their notions of time, and where they are guided by the idea of a special quality in the origin of the world and/or their own society and…