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Corinth

(402 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] The location at the large east-west connection of the Mediterranean Sea, where ships had to be drawn across a short stretch of land from one sea to the other (with the harbors Cenchrea and Lechaion), made Corinth a junction of cultural contact in antiquity. With its colonies, the city was a water bridge and a land bridge from east to west and north to south. It attracted merchants and artisans – along with their religions –, Egyptians, Carthaginians, Jews, and the tent-maker Paul`. As the center of opposition against the Romans, Corinth was destroyed in 146 bce, but it did n…

Aphrodite

(546 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (᾽Αφρδίτη; Lat. Venus). Most of the Greek cities dedicated shrines to the Greek goddess Aphrodite; she is rarely found as the city deity, as in Aphrodisias in Asia Minor; Corinth is considered her city. Within the internal social structure of the polis Aphrodite was chosen as goddess in the following contexts: 1. By young women on the day befo…

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…

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 …

Cybele and Attis

(330 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Cybele does not occur first in Greco-Roman Antiquity as a “late oriental” deity, instead, she is venerated as “Mother of the gods” or simply as “Mother” (Mother goddesses) already in the 6th century bce with a temple in the center of Athens. In Rome in 205/204 bce, the Stone of Pessinus (a baityl) was introduced by one of the most prominent families and was provided with a temple at a central location in the city on the Palatine and with an important festival, the ludi Megalenses. The high priest bore the title Áttis; ordinary priests were called Gálloi. Ma…

Orpheus

(1,142 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Arnulf, Arwed
[German Version] I. Mythology – II. Art I. Mythology The stories of Orpheus reflect the emergence and rejection of a religious movement in Archaic Greece: a prince from Thrace in northern Greece enchants everyone with his artistry; the psychagogic and ecstatic power of music (Ecstasy) is recalled in a journey to the netherworld. Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus, dies; to win her back, he descends into Hades. Through his music, he charms even the rocks and persuades the implacable gods of the dead to release…

Orphism

(1,858 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Wandrey, Irina | Graf, Fritz
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Responses I. History of Religi…

Local Deities

(540 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Local adherents of a religion are identified by the representation of “their” god, be it (as in polytheism; Monotheism and Polytheism) in the form of various local deities with individual names, or (as in universal religions) in the guise of secondary local deities, saints (Saints/Veneration of the Saints) or heroes, or in local divine images…

Theocrasia

(276 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] is a neologism coined in the debate over syncretism around 1900. In the background is the negative assessment of racial mixing in 19th-century racial theory and the Protestant historical vision of national character, national religion, and a national church in the works of J.G. Herder. According to this theory, ethnic mixing in the Roman Empire necessarily led to the “mixing of gods,” a reification of the invasion of oriental cults in the late period of classical religion. Theocra…

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 vis…

Parousia

(2,661 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] I. Classical Antiquity – II. The New Testament – III. Dogmatics I. Classical Antiquity The common Greek verb παρεῖναι/ pareínai, “be present, assist,” has a special sense when used with reference to deities. In the Hellenistic period, the noun παρουσία/ parousía became a technical term, referring to a ritual staging of the advent in which a god or king comes to dwell among his people (e.g. Tegea celebrates Hadrian’s visit as the advent of God: IG 5.2, 50). The emphasis on presence presupposes the preceding absence of the deity (ἀποδημεῖν/ apodēmeín) when other gods rul…

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 esse…

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 …

Pausanias

(340 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] In the ten books of his Περιήγησις τῆς ῾Ελλάδος/ Periḗgēsis tḗs Helládos, Pausanias records a journey through various sites of mainland Greece. Writing in Greek, he conducts Romans and Romanized Greeks on a tour of an imagined ancient Greece. Since he has seen everything himself and has inquired critically into the earliest traditions (c. 155–180 ce), he claims to be the true expert on the original religion of Greece (I, 1). As an interpreter of that religion, he avers his superiority to the loca…

Kingship, Sacral

(577 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] Kingship as a pre-state and proto-state form of rule is at first confined to the person of the ruler; with his death, the order that he had guaranteed goes under. In order to avoid this anarchy, the ruling families first attempt to find procedures that guarantee the stability of the community beyond the life of the person, for instance through establishing the successor early on, or restricting eligibility of possible successor…

Asylum

(2,217 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Derlien, Jochen | Schenker, Adrian | Wall, Heinrich de | Frey, Christofer
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Greco-Roman Antiquity – III. Biblical – IV. Law – V. Ethics I. History of Religions It was not until after the Second World War, in the course of which whole peoples had been murdered and critics persecuted, that in 1948 the UN proclaimed asylum to be a human right; not however in terms of the right of every persecuted human being to seek protection from others,…

Artemis

(479 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
[German Version] (῎Αρτεμις, Doric Artamis, Latin Diana). The cult of the Greek goddess Artemis was probably the most popular in all the Greek poleis; even though she was rarely chosen the city goddess, as she was in Ephesus, Sparta, and Kalydon-Patrai. Artemis's limited significance in the (male) polis rests in the fact that primarily the women chose the virgin Artemis, who was averse to male desire, as their goddess: the mai…
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