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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 Religions 1. Orphic-Dionysian mysteries. The earliest Greeks anticipated a short and active life without any form of existence after death. The 6th century bce saw the appearance of religious alternatives that promised an afterlife in the beyond. One of these spread anonymously under the name of Orpheus; myths of Orpheus speak of deliverance from a senseless and cheerless netherworld. There was never a coherent religion practiced by Orphics, but there is discu…

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 of the “one” god. This local dimension of a god is manifested in the construction of his house, of his local domain. The fixing of a deity w…

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 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 …

Parousia

(2,661 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph

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 local guides, because he focused his attent…

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 successors to the royal family or to a small number of aristocr…

Artemis

(479 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph

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 un…

Syncretism

(5,112 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Hutter, Manfred | Auffarth, Christoph | Leicht, Reimund | Roxborogh, John | Et al.
[German Version]

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…

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

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 …

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 …

Cabeiri

(201 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph

Local Cults

(381 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph

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 presen…

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 bein…

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 this confrontation between Hebrew and Greek thought. This article deals particularly with questions raised by the comparison of ancient Greek rel…

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 …

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 before the wedding;…

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 …
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