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Heresy

(1,791 words)

Author(s): Walter, Peter | Leppin, Volker
1. DefinitionThe term heresy (from Greek  haíresis, “school (of thought),” “faction”) denotes a serious deviation in the faith (“false doctrine”), resulting in exclusion from the church (Excommunication). The German synonym Ketzerei is derived from the name of the medieval mass movement of the Cathars (Greek  katharoí, “pure ones”), which formed an anti-church in the 12th century and were persecuted relentlessly. Heresy, as a violation of the integrity of the faith by individuals or groups, must be distinguished from apostasy (Greek  apostasía) as “renunciation” of the fa…
Date: 2019-03-20

Congregation

(1,187 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
1. Christian 1.1. Late Middle Ages, Reformation, and ConfessionalizationThe parochial structure of the church had been the norm since the Carolingian period (i.e. the association of one’s place of residence with membership in an ecclesiastical congregation). In the late Middle Ages, there developed a strong sense – especially in urban areas – of the congregation as a social nexus politically as well as religiously, so that in this context we can even speak of a  corpus Christianum (“Christian body”) in microcosm [3]. This self-conception, both communal and parochial, g…
Date: 2019-03-20

Festival

(8,815 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang | Kranemann, Benedikt | Leppin, Volker | Petzolt, Martin | Rode-Breymann, Susanne | Et al.
1. General 1.1. OccasionsFestivals (from Latin  festus, “joyful, festive”) interrupt the routine of the everyday world, to which they contrast as a temporally and spatially limited “anti-structure” of which they are the structuring element [21]. In the early modern period, festivals marked the phases of natural, social, or individual chronologies, which could be either cyclic or linear. Cyclic chronologies included the annual agricultural cycle, the economic cycle, the church year with its recurring saint's days (Saint), and …
Date: 2019-03-20

Conscience

(737 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
In the late Middle Ages, the notion of a “spark of conscience” found, for example, in the work of the Latin church father Jerome, was developed productively into the mystical notion of the spark of the soul. For the formation of the early modern term  conscience, the decisive factor was the increasing gap between individual convictions and supraindividual obligations to social norms and laws imposed by the state – a gap that first became identifiable in the religious question. The Protestant theologian Karl Holl has even called the Reform…
Date: 2019-03-20

Identity

(3,798 words)

Author(s): Jarzebowski, Claudia | Schmale, Wolfgang | Leppin, Volker
1. Introduction A universally valid definition of identity is as elusive for the early modern period as for the late. The concept derives from two distinct traditions of research. Anglophone social psychology characterizes identity as a characteristic of the modern individual [6], whereas German ethnology prefers the term Identität in clear rejection of the older and ideologically explosive term  Volksgeist (“folk spirit”) [2]. The concept of identity is disputed among historians [14]. From an actor-centered perspective in particular, doubts are articulated ov…
Date: 2019-03-20

Devil, belief in

(1,027 words)

Author(s): Leppin, Volker
1. Concepts of the DevilThe Devil in the early modern period had a double role as an opponent of God in the narrative of salvation and as a negative force whose effects were tangible in the everyday world. The key factor in the shaping of belief in the Devil was how this concept of opposition worked in relation to the omnipotence of God.Concern for this issue in early modern reflection is well exemplified in the works of Martin Luther. On the one hand, there is a pointedly anthropological idea of the human individual as a vehicle for both God and the Dev…
Date: 2019-03-20

Emotion

(2,539 words)

Author(s): Behringer, Wolfgang | Leppin, Volker
1. General 1.1. Problems of definitionEmotions are deeply rooted in human developmental history. As a fundamental phenomenon of subjective experience, they were common to humans and higher animals, and are based on a physiological state with measurable physical reactions (e.g. changes in pulse or breathing, motor expression in mime and gesture). However, they are characterized by cultural variation [4] in the expression and moral evaluation of emotions, as well as in their precise definition and frequency. To this extent, emotions are also subject …
Date: 2019-03-20