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Worship

(20,376 words)

Author(s): Dondelinger, Patrick | Auffarth, Christoph | Braulik, Georg | Reif, Stefan C. | Johnson, Luke T. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The German word Gottesdienst (“worship,” lit. “service of God”) is attested since the 13th/14th century as a German translation of Latin cultus (Cult/Worship). It came into common use in the 16th century, especially in Luther’s works. Starting with an ethical understanding of the word, Luther himself used it as a technical term for the common celebration of the Word of God, as it evolved from the evangelical reform of the Catholic sacrifice (IV) of the mass. For centuries the term Gottesdienst remained limited to this specific form of worship of …

Syncretism

(5,112 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Hutter, Manfred | Auffarth, Christoph | Leicht, Reimund | Roxborogh, John | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word syncretism in its broadest sense denotes any blend or combination of diverse cultural phenomena. This usage derives from an apparently reasonable but false etymology: syncretism is commonly derived from the Greek verb συνκεράννυμι/ synkeránnymi, “mix.” In fact, however, it is a neologism coined by Plutarch ( Mor. 490b), who called the way Cretans came together in the face of external enemies synkretismos. Erasmus of Rotterdam than borrowed the term and introduced it into the language of Christian theology. In theology th…

Apollo

(561 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (᾽Απόλλων/Apollōn; Dorian Apellon). The Greek god Apollo was worshiped in all the cities of Greece, but was recognized as the city deity above all by Argos, Sparta, and Miletus (together with its colonies). Panhellenic sanctuaries of Apollo, visited by pilgrims from afar, included Delphi with its oracle and Delos. Social analysis indicates that Apollo was apt to be …

Cosmology

(3,917 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Hülser, Karlheinz | Herrmann, Klaus | Mühling-Schlapkohl, Markus | Stoeger, William R.
[German Version] I. Terminology – II.#x2002;Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III.#x2002;Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity – VI. History of Modern Science I. Terminology Cosmology is a specific culture's orientation in space and time as conceived in words, images, and rituals. The orientation combines signs that can be perceived with signs that are set. Only in the complementarity of the construed other does the “natural” phenomenon acquire the meaning of a significant marke…

Zeus

(535 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The fact that Zeus is addressed as “father of men and gods” (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶv τε ϑεῶv τε/ patḗr andrṓn te theṓn te: Homer Iliad 1, 544; 4, 235 etc.) implies that he is creator and ruler, the central god of the Greek pantheon. This is however a mythological title, later filled also with theological content, that does not reflect the low place of this god in the cultus. His function is rather that of a distant god; other gods are closer to human beings. Like this formula, other mythical ideas about Zeus belon…

Athena

(278 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (᾽Αθήνη/ Athḗnē, Athenaía). Many Greek poleis chose the goddess Athena (with the epiclesis Poliás) as their patron deity. Several cities, including Rome (where Athena was identified with Minerva), claimed to have secured her protection in the form of a portable statue ( palladion) at the time of their founding. In the internal social structure of the polis, Athena was chosen as goddess by different groups. (1) The armed Pállas was chosen by the male citizens as …

Mater Magna

(316 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The veneration of Mater Magna is one of the major cults in Roman religion and must therefore be strictly distinguished from other cults of “motherly” goddesses in the ancient Near East. While Kubaba of Carchemish, who had already been venerated as an all-embracing female goddess during the Bronze Age in northern Syria and southeastern Anatolia, did in fact influence the cult of the goddess Cybele of Pessinus, the transferring of the cult from Pessinus to Rome in 205 bce no longer bore any relation to the goddess from Carchemish. The introduction of Cybele w…

Anthropogony

(542 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The question behind the story of the “origin of humankind” is not so much how the human species came into being as why we are not immortal and eternally healthy, why we must work and suffer, but also why we live in spite of impending doom: an anthropology in narrative form. The question “Where do human beings come from?” can be raised for each individual – the Sitz im Leben of many creation stories is indeed birth – but more often anthropogony initiates a thought experiment, “Must the reality …

Cabeiri

(201 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The two or perhaps more Cabeiri constitute a nameless group of gods for whom local cults were established in the eastern and northern Aegean. A cult in mainland Greece existed only in Boeotia. Sometimes identified with other cultic groups such as the Curetes, ¶ the Corybants, the Dioscuri or the Daktyloi, they reflect male cultic associations to which admittance was effected through initiation (Rites of passage). The mysteries of Samothrace, in which especially seafaring persons sought to acquire protec…

Local Cults

(381 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] commonly refers to those cults and corresponding personifications (Local Deities) that are tied to a specific location. Such local cults are anchored in the social community of people who live together in one place and who also function and understand themselves as a community in their non-religious relations. As a local unit, and as the community with the highest rate of interaction after the family, the local cult may be largely identical with the political community; yet at the…

Aegean/Minoan/Mycenaean Religions

(977 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] I. In the Context of the East – II. Historical and Regional Differentiation – III. Religion and Cults I. In the Context of the East All around the Aegean in the 2nd millennium bce cultures emerged with an orientation toward the East, borrowing eastern systems, such as the economic, military, high-societal, religious centrality of cities with sophisticated palaces, the archive system with clay tablets an…

Epiclesis/Invocation

(1,338 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Felmy, Karl Christian
[German Version] I. Invocation – II. Epiclesis I. Invocation In order to get into touch with a given deity, one must know the procedure whereby one gets that deity's attention, how to get to the locus of its presence, and how to invoke an epiphany or visit the image representing it. There are also forms that are not necessarily tied to the deity's local presence, such as prayer, imprecation, …

Anthropology

(1,411 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Scientific Anthropology I. Philosophy The study of human beings, first of all, and from the 16th century a philosophical discipline that developed from rational psychology and moral philosophy; since the 20th century anthropology has been a philosophical school of thought. Philosophical anthropology first flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries as a view of human beings that neither rests on the metaphorical and theological assumption of the image…

Greece

(4,584 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Hölscher, Fernande | Theodorou, Evangelos | Begzos, Marios
[German Version] I. Antiquity – II. Church History – III. Theology in Greece I. Antiquity 1. Religion The model of Greek religion is of central importance to theology. In the tradition of the humanistic gymnasium study of the Christian religion even today presupposes knowledge of Greek religion. The Platonic conception in particular (by no means typical of Greek religion) constitutes the model against which the statements of the Bible are measured. G. Kittel's Theolo-¶ gisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (1960; ET: Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 2000) canonized …

Chaos

(3,417 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Janowski, Bernd | Yarbro Collins, Adela | Drees, Willem B. | Gregersen, Niels Henrik | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Biblical – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Dogmatics – V. Ethics – VI. Science I. History of Religions 1. So-called chaos research (see VI below) has renewed a positive meaning of the term with the model of the “creative” self-organization of matter (thus without the goal-oriented will of an ordering creator). Previously, since Late Antiquity, a negative evaluation of chaos had prevailed: Since creation demonstrates the existence of God, chaos was a negative in relation to the Creator God in a dualistic system, as disorder ( confusio: Augus…

Panathenaea

(366 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] . The annual midsummer festival in Athens, a major celebration every four years (since 566 bce), otherwise a minor celebration, brought together the whole polis, which included the city and the entire surrounding region of Attica. Later the Athenians traced the celebration of the Panathenaea to Theseus’s unification of the settlements in Attica (Plut. Theseus 24), making it the festival of “all Athens.” But when the procession approached the central temple of Athena, the protectress of the city, it embodied the earlier significance o…

Organs/Parts of the Body

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Religious traditions know various ways of establishing correlations between the organs (or parts) of the human body and the cosmos, partly in combination with a mythological justification that views the world as having been created from the parts of the first human being’s body. Thus, hair may symbolize vegetation, eyes (and other bodily orifices) lakes, and the spinal column the axis of the world. In addition to such correlations between microcosm (human being) and macrocosm (wor…

Hades

(340 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Hades is the realm of the dead (Death) lying beneath the earth (DeathDeath) or at the end of the world, i.e. beyond the reach of the sun, where the capacity to see and to enjoy life thus lapses into a state of slumber “without seeing” (ἀίδης/ a-ídēs, aspirated only in the Attic dialect as ᾅδης/ hadēs). Escorted by Hermes the “guide of souls” (ψυχοπομπός/ psychopompós), the dead are separated from the living by the burial mound, a gate, a river (Hom. Od. XI). The personification of this realm is the god Hades who, though powerful, cannot be propitiated through …

Nilsson, Martin Persson

(282 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (Jul 12, 1874, Ballingslöv – Apr 7, 1967, Lund), Swedish classical scholar. Both archaeologically and philologically, Nilsson vastly expanded our positivistic material knowledge for the investigation of Greek religion (Greece: I, 1). By emphasizing ritual (Rite and ritual) over ancient expositions and myths (Myth: II, 2), he put himself in a position to interpret Greek religion from the perspective of its origins: classical Greek religion is essentially a survival of an earlier ag…

Messiah/Messianism

(10,414 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Wandrey, Irina | Dan, Joseph | Karrer, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Christianity – V. Dogmatics – VI. Islam I. History of Religions The terms messiah and messianism derive from the Hebrew word māšîaḥ, “anointed one.” Under the impact of foreign rule in Israel and Judah beginning in the 6th century bce, the word took on a new meaning: the Messiah was expected to bring deliverance from foreigners and oppressors, and in part to inaugurate the eschatological age of salvation (see II–IV below). The word's meaning was expanded in the …
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