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Ashrams, Christian

(499 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (cf. Āśrama) Christian ashrams are found in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. They are places for religious observance, reflection, and a spiritual life deepened by prayer and meditation. They involve small groups of men and/or women who give concrete shape to the Christian faith in the context of their own culture and social environment. They prac…


(23,143 words)

Author(s): Schnelle, Udo | Fischer, Georg | Becker, Hans-Jürgen | Fischer Georg | Müller, Hans-Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Dogmatics – V. Practical Theology – VI. Missiology – VII. Judaism – VIII. Cultural History I.  Concept “Bible” is the predominant designation in church, theology, and society for the collection of OT and NT scriptures recognized by the church. The word “Bible” and its close equivalents in other European languages derive from the middle Latin “biblia.” This Latin feminine derives from the Greek neuter plural τὰ βιβλία/ tá biblía. Grammatically, the sg. βιβλίον/ biblíon is a diminu¶ tive form of ἡ βίβλος/ hē b…

Westermann, Claus

(453 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (Oct 7, 1909, Berlin – Jun 11, 2000, Heidelberg), Old Testament scholar. His father Diedrich Westermann was a specialist in African languages. After schooling and university studies, he served in the Confessing Church; after military service and imprisonment, he served as a pastor in (West) Berlin, where after 1949 he also taught as a lecturer in the theological seminary, being appointed professor in 1954. From 1958 until his retirement in 1977, he was a professor in the faculty o…


(22,095 words)

Author(s): Filoramo, Giovanni | Müller, Hans-Peter | Lindemann, Andreas | Sautter, Gerhard | Rosenau, Hartmut | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. History of Dogma – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Philosophy of Religion – VIII. Judaism – IX. Islam (cf. Present and Future Eschatology, Consistent Eschatology) I. Religious Studies 1. The Problem of Terminology Eschatology (“discourse” or “doctrine” [Gk λόγος/ lógos] concerning the “last things” [Gk ἔσχατα/ éschata]) is a neologism that was introduced in the late 18th century in the con- text of the definition of the “last things,” i.e. of the novissima of medieval theology (death, …

Song of Songs, The

(1,290 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter | Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. Place and Date While individual poems like Song 1:9–11 may go back to the preexilic period, collections, redaction(s), and linguistic revision(s) date from just before and especially during the 3rd century bce. The text contains several loanwords: pardēs (4:13: “orchard,” from Old Iranian), ¶ ʾ appiryôn (3:9: “palanquin,” most likely from Gk), and qinnāmôn (4:14: “cinnamon,” ultimately from Malay kayu manis, “sweet wood”), along with several words borrowed from Old Indic. Beside numerous lexical and grammatical Aramaisms, it exhibits fea…

Myth and Mythology

(12,158 words)

Author(s): Segal, Robert Alan | Kamel, Susan | Müller, Hans-Peter | Graf, Fritz | Cancik, Hubert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Fundamental Theology. – V. Missiology I. Religious Studies 1. The Concept and Its History Myth may be defined by either content or function. Defined by content, myth is a belief about something significant, such as the world or society. Defined by function, myth accomplishes something significant, such as explaining the world or supporting society. Most theories of myth are concerned with the function of myth, but many are also concerned with either the origin or the subject matter of myth. Myt…


(297 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] Swāmī (born Narendranāth Datta; Jan 12, 1863, Calcutta – Jul 4, 1902, Belur, Karnataka). As a member of the upcoming middle class, the multi-talented youth attended English colleges. Plunged into an existential crisis by the death of his father, he turned increasingly to the sainted Rāmakrishna and became his disciple. In 1887 he performed the ritual of renouncing the world and dedicated himself to the study of the religious literature of India. From 1890 to 1893 he traveled throu…

Roy, Raja Rammohun

(412 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (May 22, Radhanagar, Bengal – Sep 27, 1833, Bristol, England). During the era of British colonial rule in India, Roy was an advocate of religious and social reforms in Hinduism. Drawing on Vedānta and the Upaniṣads while appealing to reason and common sense, Roy argued for aniconic worship of the one God and a philanthropic ethics, which he defended against both Western and Hindu traditionalist critics as original, authentic features of Hinduism. At the same time, he called for o…

Olcott, Henry Steel

(294 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (Aug 2, 1832, Orange, NJ – Feb 17, 1907, Adyar near Madras). Olcott grew up in a Presbyterian family. As a young man he turned to spiritualist circles (Spiritualism). Following a career as a journalist (from 1853), he was an agricultural expert, an officer of the Union in the American Civil War (1861–1865), and an attorney (from 1868). In 1875, he, together with H.P. Blavatsky, founded in New York the ¶ Theosophical Society (Theosophy) for scientific research into paranormal experiences. Two additional aims appeared later: to spread in the West the “…

Semitic Languages

(2,070 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter | Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] I. General Survey 1. Origin and classification. Like the Indo-European and Hamitic languages, the Semitic languages are inflectional; in contrast to isolating and agglutinative languages, they can change the form of a root, for example Arabic singular rūḥ, “spirit, breath,” plural ʾ arwāḥ. The relationship between the Semitic and Hamitic languages is clearly the product of prehistoric migrations of groups speaking proto-Afro-Asiatic (formerly called Hamito-Semitic) from North Africa – from a Sahara still “green” from the …

Monotheism and Polytheism

(5,621 words)

Author(s): Ahn, Gregor | Müller, Hans-Peter | Hübner, Hans | Gunton, Colin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament. – III. New Testament – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Monotheistic ideas of God, which take as their starting point the existence and activity of a single God, have long dominated the understanding of religion in historically Christian Europe. The term monotheism itself is a modern coinage, first appearing in 1660 in the work of the English philosopher Henry More. As a contrast ¶ to the term polytheism, which goes back originally to Philo of Alexandria and was rediscovered for the…

Tilak, Nārāyan Vāman

(244 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (1862, Karazgāon, Ratnāgiri district – May 9, 1919, Bombay [Mumbai]). Tilak’s father, a Chitpavan-Brahmin, was a registrar. Tilak studied Sanskrit with a Vedic scholar and attended an English highschool for two years. His literary gifts were apparent early on. In 1880 he married Manubai (later Kakshmibai), an 11-year-old from the Brahmin family of the Gokhales. He spent the next ten years traveling through India, visiting holy men and working as a reciter and teacher. In 1893 he b…

Upadhyaya, Brahmabandhab

(325 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (real name Bhavani Charan Banerjee; Feb 11, 1861, Khanyan, Bengal – Oct 27, 1907, Calcutta [Kolkata]). Upadhyaya’s father, a Brahmin, was a police inspector in British service. Upadhyaya attended English schools and colleges as well as a traditional Sanskrit school. He became familiar with Christianity through his uncle, the Protestant pastor Kalicharan Banerjee (1847–1907) and the Brāhmo Samāj, which he joined in 1887. He worked as a teacher and journalist, publishing his own per…

Gandhi, Mahātmā

(493 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[German Version] (honorific title meaning “great self,” actual name: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi; Oct 2, 1869, Porbandar, India – Jan 30, 1948, New Delhi). Gandhi's parents were Vaiṇava Hindus and belonged to the merchant caste of the Banias in Rajkot and Porbandar, where Gandhi's father was a government minister. Gandhi studied law in London from 1888 to 1891. While living in South Africa (1893–1914), he gradually assumed the role of civil rights attorney for the Indian minority and organized thei…


(344 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[English Version] Westermann, Claus (7.10.1909 Berlin – 11.6.2000 Heidelberg), Sohn des Afrikanisten Diedrich W., war nach Schule und Studium im Dienst der Bekennenden Kirche, nach Kriegsdienst und Gefangenschaft Pfarrer in (West-)Berlin, dazu ab 1949 Dozent für AT an der dortigen Kirchl. Hochschule, ab 1954 als Prof. Von 1958 bis zu seiner Emeritierung 1977 war er o. Prof. an der Theol. Fakultät der Universität Heidelberg. – W. hat – nach H. Gunkel u.a. – die Gattungsgesch. der Pss, Prophetensprüc…


(309 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[English Version] Upadhyaya, Brahmabandhav (eigentlich Bhavani Charan Banerji; 11.2.1861 Khanyan, Bengalen – 27.10.1907 Kalkutta). U.s Vater, ein Brahmane, war Polizeiinspektor in Diensten der Briten. U. besuchte engl. Schulen und Colleges sowie eine traditionelle Sanskrit-Schule. Das Christentum lernte er über seinen Onkel, den prot. Pfarrer Kali Charan Banerji (1847–1907), und über den Brāhmo Samāj kennen, dessen Mitglied er 1887 wurde. U. betätigte sich als Lehrer und Journalist, der selbst Ze…


(389 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[English Version] Roy, Raja Rammohun (22.5.1772 Radhanagar, Bengalen – 27.9.1833 Bristol, England). Z.Z. der brit. Kolonialherrschaft in Indien trat R. für rel. und soziale Reformen im Hinduismus ein. Im Rückgriff auf den Vedānta und die Upaniṣaden sowie unter Berufung auf Vernunft und common sense plädierte R. für eine bildlose Verehrung des einen Gottes und eine philanthropische Ethik, die er gegen hindutraditionalistische und westliche Kritiker als urspr., wahre Wesenszüge des Hinduismus verteid…


(266 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[English Version] Vivekānanda, Swāmī (eigentlich Narendranāth Datta; 12.1.1863 Kalkutta – 4.7.1902 Belur, Karnataka). Vielseitig begabt, besuchte V. als Angehöriger der aufstrebenden Mittelschicht engl. Colleges. Durch den Tod des Vaters in eine existentielle Krise gestürzt, wandte sich V. verstärkt dem Heiligen Rāmakrishna zu und wurde dessen Jünger. 1887 vollzog er das Ritual der Weltentsagung und widmete sich dem Studium der rel. Schriften Indiens. 1890–1893 pilgerte V. durch Indien und faßte de…

Semitische Sprachen

(1,849 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter | Knauf, Ernst Axel
[English Version] I. Allgemeiner Überblick 1.Ursprung und Einteilung. Die sem. S. gehören zus. mit den indogerm. und hamitischen zu den flektierenden Sprachen, die im Gegensatz zu isolierenden und agglutinierenden Sprachen ihre Wortwurzeln abwandeln können, z.B. arab. Sg. rūḥ, »Geist, Odem«, Pl. ʾarwāḥ. Die Verwandtschaft von sem. und hamitischen Sprachen hat ihre Ursache offenbar in vorgesch. Wanderungen protohamitisch-sem. sprechender Gruppen aus Nordafrika – auch aus einer im 7. – 4.Jt. noch »grü…


(229 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[English Version] Tilak, Nārāyan Vāman (1862 Karazgāon, Distrikt Ratnāgiri – 9.5.1919 Bombay). T.s Vater, ein Chitpāvan- Brahmane, war Standesbeamter. T. studierte Sanskrit bei einem vedischen Gelehrten und besuchte zwei Jahre eine engl. Highschool. Seine dichterische Begabung zeigte sich früh. 1880 heiratete er die elfjährige Manubai (später Lakshmibai) aus der Brahmanenfamilie der Gokhales. Danach wanderte er zehn Jahre durch Indien, suchte Heilige auf und betätigte sich als Rezitator und Lehrer. …


(262 words)

Author(s): Müller, Hans-Peter
[English Version] Olcott, Henry Steel (2.8.1832 Orange, NJ – 17.2.1907 Adyar bei Madras). O. wuchs in einer presbyterianischen Familie auf. Als Jugendlicher wandte er sich spiritistischen Zirkeln (Spiritismus) zu. Nach einer Karriere als Journalist (seit 1853), landwirtschaftlicher Experte, Offizier der Union im amer. Bürgerkrieg (1861–1865) und Anwalt (seit 1868) gründete er 1875 in New York mit H.P. Blavatsky die Theosophische Gesellschaft (Theosophie) zur wiss. Erforschung paranormaler Erfahrunge…
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