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Rituals of Movement

(591 words)

Author(s): Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] may be divided into three types: dance, procession, and perambulation. The central feature of dance is movement of the human body, whereby the body may function as a single whole, or, as in Africa, different parts of the body may execute quasi-autonomous movements. Dance may carry a wide variety of religious meanings; they range from entertaining the Egyptian goddess Hathor and bacchantic frenzy to inducing ecstasy, which may lead to possession ¶ by non-human beings. Dance that induces possession by the spirit of Christ seems to be acknowledged by Pau…

Proverb

(438 words)

Author(s): Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] Proverbs and proverbial expressions are found in all languages and cultures, and often represent international material. The traditional appreciation of proverbs is based on the observation that they preserve the ethos of “ordinary people,” whose values, informed by common sense, coalesce in a “simple morality” (Bollnow) of decency, industry, frugality, and respect for age and authority. In the Golden Rule this ethos has its measure, in proverbs its collective archives. The devil …

Elephantine

(262 words)

Author(s): Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] The small island situated near the modern Asswan in the Nile, called Elephantine by the Greeks, marks the southern boundary of ancient Egypt. Ezekiel 29:10 mentions it by the name Syene (Heb. seweneh). Today, two Nubian villages and an extended, partially excavated area with ancient Egyptian structures and an archeological museum, can be found on the island. It has been the site of German and French excavations (1906–1911), and German and Sw…

Elephantine Documents

(1,630 words)

Author(s): Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] I. History of the Discovery – II. The Jewish Military Colony – III. Literary Texts On the island of Elephantine in the Nile a large number of ancient inscriptions and documents came to light. Of special importance among them are the Aramaic papyri dating from the 5th century bce that provide insight into the culture, religion, and fate of a Jewish community consisting of mercenaries in Persian service. The following will discuss only these Aramaic documents. I. History of the Discovery More than 50 papyri were found, and in addition several ostraca, some of…

Hell

(5,978 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Houtman, Cornelis | Frankemölle, Hubert | Lang, Bernhard | Sparn, Walter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Judaism – VII. Islam – VIII. Buddhism – IX. Contemporary Art I. Religious Studies 1. Hell as a place of retribution in the afterlife for those who continually transgress the religiously sanctioned rules of their community is not specifically Christian or monotheistic. But it is also not an idea that springs automatically from the question of how the dead exist (Death). Although hell was long viewed as a…

Heaven

(3,990 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Houtman, Cornelis | Rowland, Christopher | Lang, Bernhard | Farrow, Douglas B. | Et al.
[German Version] Cosmology and Kingdom of God I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament –III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Contemporary Art I. Religious Studies 1. To a vision that has not been tamed by scientific theory, heaven is a realm of the beyond (Hereafter, Concepts of the). Like the netherworld, it invades the human world as air or earth and sea, but it is beyond the experience of mortals; it is concrete, but cannot be entered. Observation of the concrete phenomena confirms the symbol …

Processions

(986 words)

Author(s): Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Processions (on the history of the term, see II below), structured and set apart from everyday life by specific rules, are among the most widespread religious rituals. They involve festive parades of groups of various sizes, usually on foot. They may be carried out in isolation or, more often, as part of larger cultic observances or festivals. Processions may be described as functional, theophoric, mimetic (Mimesis), or demonstrative, so that four pure types can…

Riddle

(383 words)

Author(s): Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] ( in religious studies). The riddle is one of the oldest contrived formations of human speech. Most riddles are encrypted descriptions of persons, things or facts. As indirect communications they challenge the astuteness of the hearer or reader. Appreciation of riddles arises from the enjoyment of playful concealing, seeking, and finding of meaning, and also from the insight that no deeper knowledge can be acquired without striving to understand. Thus oracles can also take the form o…

Ethnology

(2,732 words)

Author(s): Hefner, Philip | Thiel, Josef Franz | Lang, Bernhard
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Comparative Religion – III. Old Testament – IV. Ethnology and Theology I. The Concept The scholarly disciplines of ethnology, anthropology, social psychology, and cultural semiotics are closely related. The specific terminology employed in these disciplines differs at a number of important points in German- and English-speaking countries…

Devil

(8,622 words)

Author(s): Felber, Annelies | Hutter, Manfred | Achenbach, Reinhard | Aune, David E. | Lang, Bernhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Names and Terms – II. Religious Studies – III. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – IV. New Testament – V. Church History – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Fundamental Theology – VIII. Dogmatics – IX. Judaism – X. Islam – XI. History of Art and Literature I. Names and Terms 1. Devil The secular Greek noun διάβολος/ diabolos comes from one of the meanings of the verb διαβάλλω/ diaballō, “separate, sever,” which led to meanings such as “accuse, slander, deceive.” From the Greek noun came Latin diabolus, from which the English …