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(1,121 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Before Easter The apostle Peter apparently came from a Greek-speaking family in Bethsaida. His original name, Simon, is a Greek form of Simeon. His brother Andrew, with whom he worked as a fisherman in Capernaum, had a purely Greek name. Jesus called the brothers, who were at first attracted to John the Baptist, at the beginning of his public ministry (Mark 1:16–18; John 1:35–42). Peter had a leading position among the 12 disciples and was given a new name denoting his character (Mark 3:16 and par.). Derived from Aram. kêpāʾ, this name, research now indicates, does not signify…


(8,330 words)

Author(s): Fahlbusch, Erwin | Preuss, Horst Dietrich | Karrer, Martin | Lochman, Jan Milič | Ciobotea, Dan-Ilie | Et al.
Overview Eschatology is traditionally the doctrine of the last things (from Gk. eschatos, denoting what is last in time). It is of particular interest in modern theology, which speaks of a new phase and of the “eschatologizing” of all theology. At the same time, the haziness of the term (it is also used outside theology) and its varied use seem to make it an example of linguistic confusion in theology. The word was used first by the strict Lutheran theologian Abraham Calovius (1612–86), who, at the end of his 12-volume dogmatics, dealt with death, resurrection, t…

Peter, Epistles of

(1,160 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin | Achtemeier, Paul J.
1. First Peter The Epistle of 1 Peter is the earliest extant writing associating itself with Peter. Because the ecclesiastical and cultural situation reflected in the letter suggests it was written during the period after a.d. 70, scholars since the 19th century have generally assumed deutero-Petrine authorship. F. C. Baur (1792–1860) viewed it as a mediation text between Jews and Pauline Christianity, though one 20th-century line of thought viewed it more as a deutero-Pauline writing. Recent scholars have uncovered several elements suggesting a more independent origin. ¶ Although…


(1,465 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Concept Up to the end of the 19th century and even beyond, the parousia was mainly treated dogmatically in terms of the coming again of Christ to judge and to reign. The “again,” however, cannot be traced back beyond the Constantinopolitan Creed (381); the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed (325; Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) both simply have “come.” What we have, then, is a systematizing at a later stage of statements about the earthly life of Jesus and his expected coming as the exalted Son of Man (Mark 13:26; 14:62) and Lord (1 Thess. 2:19; 4:15). J. Weiss (1863–1914) rejected t…

Apostle, Apostolate

(1,320 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
In the NT the term “apostle” denotes someone who is sent. “Apostolate” designates the task and authority of an apostle. 1. History of the Term “Apostle” In pre-Christian Greek the word apostolos relates to the act of sending or to an object that is sent. The idea of a person who is sent is rare in classical Greek; in the papyri it occurs later. There the emphasis on someone who is commissioned suggests a link with the ancient Near Eastern office of the emissary, in which the envoy authoritatively represents the one who commissioned him. This thought stands behind the only use in the LXX (3 Kgdms. …

Philemon, Epistle to

(491 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
The letter to Philemon was one of Paul’s prison letters, possibly written from Ephesus in 53–55. Though sent to an individual, it is not strictly private, for the recipient is called a coworker with a church in his house (vv. 1–2), and Paul writes in association with other fellow workers (1, 23–24). The letter consists chiefly of thanksgiving (4–7) and a petition on behalf of Onesimus (8–21). Traditionally, expositors have found here a plea on behalf of a slave who had either misappropriated funds and run away or had not returned from a commission (an “example …


(1,357 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
Millenarianism, or chiliasm, was originally the expectation of a thousand-year reign of salvation in which the elect would reign with Christ before the end of world history. It has now become a comprehensive term for programs with a religious origin or reference that aim at a final future salvation within the world. 1. NT The term “millenarianism” took its origin from the solution that the Book of Revelation proposed for the contradictions that early Christians were experiencing: they were facing severe tribulations, yet they believed in the presen…

Emperor Worship

(756 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. In early antiquity an idea of charismatic kingship was widespread from Mesopotamia to Germany. This notion ascribed a divine origin to rulers in their responsibility for the cult, which was the basis of public well-being. In Egypt this impulse resulted in the divine monarchy of the pharaoh, who was regarded as the son of Amon-Re and who was venerated, usually after death, only on the basis of his beneficence. Under Ramses II, however, there is evidence for actual worship of a statue of the li…

Philippians, Epistle to the

(1,252 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. General Features In about a.d. 48/50, and hardly before 40, Paul founded the first Christian church in Europe in Philippi, which, since the decisive Roman battle of 42 b.c., bore the name “Colonia Julia Philippensis.” In the Epistle to the Philippians Paul writes to this church in Greek, although most of the inscriptions from the city are in Latin; he also ignores its military history. The names in the epistle include only one in Latin (“Clement,” 4:3). It seems, then, that most of the members did not bel…


(699 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
The term “antichrist,” which occurs in the NT only in 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7, was coined by primitive Christianity…


(1,001 words)

Author(s): Spieckermann, Hermann | Karrer, Martin
1. OT In the Near East, anointing is almost as essential as eating and drinking, with the three often occurring together in cuneiform texts. We also find anointing in many cultic and legal records. In the OT the main Hebrew word for “anointing” is māšaḥ, with šemen used most oft…

Revelation, Book of

(1,550 words)

Author(s): Karrer, Martin
1. Genre and Place in Religious History As the Book of Revelation itself says in 1:1–2, 9–11, it is a “revelation” (apokalypsis) of Jesus Christ that is meant for Christians and is given through “John.” Though being an epistolary work in dialogue with the churches of Asia Minor (…