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Simchat Torah

(235 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] feast of “rejoicing in the Torah” on 22 Tishri in Israel (the eighth and last day of the Feast of Booths [Feasts and festivals: III]), on 23 Tishri in the Diaspora. On this day the annual cycle of Torah readings is concluded and immediately begun again, to emphasize that study of Torah never ends. The lector who reads the final section of Deuteronomy is called chatan Tora, “bridegroom of the Torah,” and the lector who reads the first section from Genesis is called chatan bereshit, “bridegroom of Genesis” (generally the rabbi of the synagogue, a biblical scholar, …

Enoch, Books of

(1,226 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] I. Ethiopic Enoch – II. Slavonic Enoch – III. Hebrew Enoch I. Ethiopic Enoch Ethiopic Enoch (or 1 Enoch) contains the most extensive collection of apocalyptic Enoch traditions; they are preserved in their entirety only in Ethiopic, since this book enjoyed special esteem in the Ethiopian Church, and it has even been included in the Old Testament canon since the 15th century. The importance of the book in …


(581 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] (Heb. חֲנוֹך/ Ḥanôḥ, Gk Ἐνώχ/ Enṓch) is, according to the source transmitted in Gen 4:17f. and attributed by biblical scholars to the Yahwist (Pentateuch), the son of Cain after whom his father named a ¶ city; in contrast, according to Priestly s…


(257 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus


(360 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] (Aramaicized form, Aggada), derived from Hebrew נגד/ ngd “to recount,” “to tell,” is already defined in medieval Jewish tradition, mostly negatively, as the non-legal branch of rabbinic literature and was employed as a complement to Halakhah. The source for the Haggadah is the material of the Hebrew Bible, which is presented – sometimes simply retold, sometimes supplemented with many new details – with educational, parenetic, promissory or some other homiletic intention and interpreted in relation to current life circumstances. The individual statements


(492 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] Memra, Aramaic מימר/ mymr or מימרא/ mymr' (from אמר/ 'mr, “say, speak”) means “word,” “speech,” and is found…

Shemoneh Esreh

(738 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] Shemoneh Esreh, “Eighteen Benedictions,” so called for the number of its berakhot; also called the Amida, “Standing,” since it is recited standing (Prayer: IX, 1), or ha-tefilla “the prayer ( par excellence)”. Together with the Shema, it is one of the cornerstones of Jewish worship (II, 3; see also Liturgy: VII). In its present ¶ form, it comprises 19 benedictions, since in Babylonian Judaism the 14th benediction, a prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah, was divided into two berakhot. The original Palestinian version, with 18 benedi…

Phylactery (Tefillin)

(268 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] Phylacteries (Heb. tefillin) are two black cube-shaped capsules (Heb. bayit, “house”), that are “positioned” by leather straps on the left upper arm (also called “hand” or “arm phylacteries”), “over the heart,” and “between the eyes” (“head phylacteries”). Both capsules contain the four Bible passages Exod 13:1–10 (sanctification of the firstborn, Passover); Exod 13:11–16 (exodus from Egypt); Deut 6:4–9 (the one God, the call to love and obey him); and Deut 11:13–21 (acknowledgment of God’…


(1,115 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] (from the Heb. הלך/ hlḥ; literally “to go, to walk”) described, in rabbinic usage, “the (particular) standardized religious rule, the prevailing precept” (Bacher), and later it also stood for Judaism's entire legal system. In addition to the Haggadah, i.e. the non-legal matters, the Halakhah represents one of the two main strands of rabbinic tradition. In this, the former is not of a legally binding character, and no Halakhah may be derived from the Haggadah. As for the derivation of the term Halakhah, the biblical usage of the verb הלך, as especially encountered in its later writings, demonstrates its transmitted application in the religious and ethical sense of “to live, to behave, to act.” The complex of Deuteronomic/Deuteronomist traditions in particular recognizes this “walking” as the proper course of life and one that acts in accordance with the divine commands and therefore secures Israel's future. The basic themes of the Halakhah are specified by the legal ordinances of the Bible. According to later Jewish tradition, these comprise 248 commandments (corres…


(879 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] I. Antiquity

Prayer Shawl (Tallit)

(234 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] A prayer shawl (Heb. tallit) is a rectangular scarf, usually of wool but today often made of silk, corresponding to the outer garment worn by men during antiquity; eight tassels or fringes (Heb. ziziot) are attached to its four corners as reminders of God’s commandments. The custom of attaching these fringes is based on Num 15:37–41 and Deut 22:12; it is also mentioned in the New Testament (Matt 23:5). Rabbinic literature contains precise regulations governing the fringes (esp. in the extracanonical tractate Zizit of the Talmud). The prayer shawl is donned befo…


(200 words)

Author(s): Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] or fringes (Heb. ṣîṣit/ tsitsit) are attached to the four ends of the Prayer shawl (tallit) as a reminder of God’s commandments. The custom of wearing these ¶ fringes or tassels is based on Num 15:37–41, a text that is also part of the Shema (esp. v. 38: “. . . . tell them to sew tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and to put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner”) and Deut 22:12 (“You shall make tassels on the four corners of the cloak with which you cover yourself ”); i…


(1,982 words)

Author(s): Gilhus, Ingvild Sælid | Braulik, Georg | Schramm, Tim | Horne, Brian | Herrmann, Klaus
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Te…


(1,832 words)

Author(s): Beck, Herman L. | Herrmann, Klaus | Molinski, Waldemar | Herms, Eilert | Krawietz, Birgit
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Judaism – III. Christianity – IV. Islam I. Religious Studies Casuistry (from Lat. casus, “case”) is a method of practical and dialectical reasoning and argumentation in which the formulation of a specific case that is perceived to be problematic is followed by the application of general moral principles, norms, and guidelines to th…


(12,278 words)

Author(s): Nicol, Martin | Beutel, Albrecht | Fuchs, Ottmar | Felmy, Karl Christian | Hermelink, Jan | Et al.
[German Version] I. General Preaching (from Lat. praedicare, “proclaim publicly”) is spiritual or religious speech, in contrast, for example, to forensic speech, political speech, or celebratory speech. Its setting is the worship of the community (Ministerial offices), church activities such as evangelism, devotions (Devotion [Attitude]), and ordinations (Consecration/Ordination/Dedication), and – in various forms – the media (see IV below). ¶ Communication in preaching, reduced to its basic elements, can be represented as a triangle of the preacher, the text, and the audience (see IV and V below). Theologically, preaching stands between the poles of the Word of God and human speech (K. Barth), between a rhetorical exercise and a divine event. Preaching essentially presents itself as an exposition of a biblical pericope (II) or words addressed to the gathered congregation (homily). In expounding texts of the Hebrew Bible, the church in the New Testament period was already drawing on Jewish preaching (see VII below). In the Christian churches, preaching expounds texts from both parts of the Bible. It was not the emergence of historical criticism that turned the Christian preaching of the Old Testament into a problem demanding a particular hermeneutic. Recently dialogue between Christians and Jews has opened prospects for a “relationally self-sufficient” approach to preaching the OT (Schöttler). In addition there has always been topical preaching, using scriptural resour…


(5,988 words)

Author(s): Woschitz, Karl M. | Görg, Manfred | Wischmeyer, Oda | Sparn, Walter | Lohberg, Gabriele | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament– IV. Church History – V. Philosophy of Religion – VI. Dogmatics – VII. Art History – VIII. Practical Theology – IX. Judaism – X. Islam I. Religious Studies Religious conceptions include numinous intermediary beings of the most varied types and origins that mediate between the divine sphere and humanity and also serve higher powers. These are sometimes …


(17,207 words)

Author(s): Brück, Michael v. | Gordon, Richard L. | Herrmann, Klaus | Dan, Joseph | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Religious Studies – III. History – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Practical Theology – VI. Islamic Mysticism – VII. Hindu Mysticism – VIII. Taoist Mysticism I. The Concept The concept of mysticism is closely linked to the development of the history of religion in Europe and the term must not be taken and applied uncritically as a general term for a phenomenologically determined group of phenomena in other religions (see also II, 3 below). Attempts at definition are either phenomenolog…


(11,110 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Janowski, Bernd | Herrmann, Klaus | Wischmeyer, Oda | Gunton, Colin E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. New Testament – V. History of Theology – VI. Creation and Preservation – VII. Religious Education – VIII. Islam – IX. Science – X. Art History I. History of Religion 1. Fundamentals Life, nature, the environment, the passage of time – these are everyday experiences for any society. But reality also includes the danger that this world may be imperiled or perilous. Chaos and death are part …