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Augsburg Confession

(1,584 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
1.1. The Augsburg Confession arose out of the political and ecclesiastical situation of the years 1529 and 1530. After making peace with Pope Clement VII (1523–34) and King Francis I of France (1515–47), Emperor Charles V (1519–56), who had left the empire in 1521 for a long sojourn in Spain, could again turn his attention to its affairs. In the interest of his other international political goals, he was looking for a solution to the theological disputes. He was ready for a tactical arrangement …

Athanasian Creed

(318 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
This creed, which is known as the Quicunque vult, from its opening words, is a pregnant summary of the doctrine of the Trinity and Christology. Written in Latin, it does not come from Athanasius (ca. 297–373) but originated instead in southern Gaul or Spain at the end of the fifth century or beginning of the sixth. Works from the fifth to the seventh centuries contain echoes of it. Perhaps Caesarius of Arles (d. 542) knew it in his time. Around the time of the Council of Autun (670) it is plainly attested as the creed of St. Athanasius. The first part of the statement presents a simplifie…

Augsburg, Peace of

(399 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
The Peace of Augsburg, promulgated on September 25, 1555, regulated the coexistence of confessions in the German Empire and gave Protestants who followed the Augsburg Confession (i.e., Lutherans) permanent legal security. It was arranged at the Augsburg Diet among the various states in agreement with King Ferdinand. The emperor, Charles V (1519–56), remained aloof for reasons of conscience. It was meant as a temporary political settlement until religious agreement could be reached, although no time limit was set. In eff…


(596 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
1. Marcion Marcion (d. ca. a.d. 160) was a shipowner from Pontus in Asia Minor (from ancient Sinope?). Under Emperor Antoninus Pius (138–61) he tried to win over the Roman church to his understanding of the Christian message. When he failed, he founded his own church (in 144?). His followers called themselves Marcionites. 2. Doctrines Marcion taught that there are two gods. The anthropomorphic god of the OT is the creator (demiurge) of the world and humanity, with all their faults (Creation). As the lawgiver, he is the Just One. The true and esse…


(2,303 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
Marcion,, * ca 85 (Pontus), † ca. 160 (place unknown) Marcion was a shipowner and maritime merchant from Pontus (according to Epiphanius, Panarion, 42, 1, 3, from Sinope on the Black Sea coast) and the most successful Christian heretic of the 2nd century. He founded a counterchurch for which he claimed divine truth and catholicity against the emerging “great church”. The Marcionite community survived until the 3rd century in the West, the 4th century in most of the East, and for a still longer period in Syria. It was…


(3,749 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] I. General – II. Non-Christian Religions – III. Christianity I. General Today's Republic of Austria (the official designation since 1920) corresponds, with diminished borders, to the Habsburg estate, i.e. the territories in the Danube and eastern Alpine area acquired by the Habsburgs in the 13th–15th centuries forming the center of the imperial Hausmacht. The name Austria first occurs in 996 in the form “Ostarrichi” (“Eastland”). Originally a reference to what is now Lower …


(180 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (Gk Kerdon), a Syrian (?) Gnostic who was active as a Christian teacher in Rome c. 140. According to Irenaeus of Lyon ( Haer. I, 27.2f.), Cerdo came from the school of Simon Magus and introduced Marcion, his disciple and successor in Rome, to the distinction between the good god and the just god. (He is also mentioned in Hipp. Haer. VII, 10; 37.1f.; X, 9.1; Ps.-Tert. Adv. omn. haer. 6; and Epiph. Haer. 41; 42.3f.) The line of succession Simon – Cerdo – Marcion, however, is probably an anti-Marcionite fiction. A specific theology of Cerdo …

Adamantius, Dialogue of

(124 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] Adamantius (“Man of Steel”) is the name of the orthodox principal speaker in a Greek dialogue (subtitled De recta in deum fide) that attacks Marcion, Bardesanites (Bardesanes), and Valentinians (Valentinianism). It was composed some time after 325 ce in Asia Minor or Syria. As early as the 4th century, Adamantius was identified with Origen and considered the author of the dialogue (cf. the Latin translation by Rufinus). The work is dependent on Methodius. Its value as a source of information concerning the heresies attacked is disputed. Gerhard May Bibliography CPG 1,…


(1,720 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] Marcion (c. 85 – c. 160) was the most successful heretic of the 2nd century; when the Catholic Church rejected him, he set up his own alternative church, for which he claimed catholicity. Marcion came from Pontus, probably from Sinope on the Black Sea. By profession he was a ship-owner and maritime trader. Otherwise his biographical tradition is colored by its anti-heretical sources. Early theological conflicts in Asia Minor are historically dubious. His excommunication by his own father, the bishop of Sinope, for seducing a virgin is certainly fictional (Epiph. Haer.

Wiener Neustadt

(143 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (Vienna Newtown), a town in the Viennese basin south of Vienna, established by design in 1194. It became a bishopric in 1469, when Emperor Frederick III received approval for an episcopal see for his Wiener Neustadt residence from Pope Paul II. Internal tensions and inadequate endowment made purposeful development difficult. Outstanding bishops included Leopold v. Kollonitsch (1670–1685), pastor of the Viennese during the Turkish siege of 1683, and the irenic theologian C. de Roja…


(1,597 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] I. City and Archbishopric 1. City. Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and (since 1922) a state in the Austrian federation, with a population of 1,723,000 (2009). The Roman legionary fortress of Vindobona was destroyed during the Migration Period along with the neighboring civilian town, but the site was settled continuously until the early Middle Ages (also called Vindomina and Venia). A great expansion took place under the late Babenbergs. Vienna became an ecclesiastical …

Vienna Newtown

(143 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (Wiener Neustadt), a town in the Viennese basin south of Vienna, established by design in 1194. It became a bishopric in 1469, when Emperor Frederick III received approval for an episcopal see for his Vienna Newtown residence from Pope Paul II. Internal tensions and inadequate endowment made purposeful development difficult. Outstanding bishops included Leopold v. Kollonitsch (1670–1685), pastor of the Viennese during the Turkish siege of 1683, and the irenic theologian C. de Roja…


(164 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (c. 150 – c. 210), a painter by profession, was a Christian teacher in Syria (Antioch?), later in Carthage. The most important sources for his writings, which have been lost, are Tertullian Adversus Hermogenem and Hippolytus Refutatio omnium haeresium VIII 17. Influenced by Middle Platonism, Hermogenes taught that the world was created from eternal matter (citing Gen 1:1f.) and sought to defend the unity and goodness of God. For him evil was associated with matter. Other notions resemble Gnostic ideas (Gnosis/Gosticis…


(129 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (died after 180), the most important disciple of Marcion, was a Christian teacher in Alexandria and Rome. He moderated his master's dualism: below the highest, good God there are two angelic deities, namely the creator of the world and the “fiery” God of the OT. Christ forms his body from the matter of the heavenly bodies. Apelles applied rationalist criticism to the OT. His norms were Marcion's “NT” canon (and a gospel of his own?), as well as the Revelations ( phaneroseis) of the prophetess Philumene. The latter are no longer extant, nor are his Syllogisms. Gerhard May Bibli…


(110 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] (c. 180), is mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea as an orthodox author ( Hist. eccl. IV 21) and especially as the author of an anti- Marcionite writing (IV 25). The context points to a date of c. 180. Jerome ( Vir. ill. 32) confirms this statement: he has Modestus write during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius (161–180) and Commodus (180–192). According to Eusebius, Modestus, in his writing against Marcion, exposed the heretic's error “better than the others.” The work is lost, and it is not known where Modestus lived. Gerhard May Bibliography A. v. Harnack, Marcion, TU 45, 1921, 219…

Dogma, History of

(3,213 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard
[German Version] I. History of Dogma before the Enlightenment – II. History of Dogma as a Historical-Theological Discipline – III. Present and Future Tasks of the History of Dogma I. History of Dogma before the Enlightenment 1. What is meant by the history istory of dogma is, first, the process of the origin and reception of binding ¶ ecclesiastical decisions on doctrine and, second, the historical-theological discipline of their study. Roman Catholic theology usually speaks of the development of dogma and reserves the term “history of dogma” for the historical discipline. 2. The r…


(154 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] Christian teacher from Asia Minor, active in Rome and North Africa (?) between 190 and 220. The main source is Tertullian ( Adversus Praxean, after 210). P. convinced Bishop Victor [5] of Rome to exclude Montanism from Church fellowship (Tert. Adversus Praxean 1,4 f.). As a proponent of modalist monarchianism, he taught the identity of Father and Son so as to preserve the unity of God (ibid. 2,1.3; 13,1; 23,7). P. explained the relationship between the divine and human natures in Christ by equating God …

Sabellius, Sabellianism

(208 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] After having spent a number of years in Rome, the Christian theologian S. (perhaps originally from Libya) was excommunicated by bishop Callistus (217-222) because of his teachings on the nature of God. Little is known about the rest of his life. S. was a leading Modalist (Modalism). Like Noetus before him, he equated God the Father with God the Son in order to maintain monotheism (Monarchianism). It was probably only later on that the designation of God as Son-Father ( hyiopátōr) and the thesis that God acted in the history of salvation successively in the 'm…


(521 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] The term monarchianism is derived from the word  monarchiani (Tert. Adversus Praxean 10,1), apparently a neologism of Tertullianus's. It denotes the position of Christian theologians of the 2nd and 3rd cents., who refused to interpret Christ as a pre-existing logos of God, in order to circumvent the assumption of a differentiated deity and a consequent implication of ditheism (the belief in two gods), and thus to protect the monarchia (personal rule of God), i.e. strict monotheism. Monarchianism was widespread among intellectuals, but also among o…


(39 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[German version] The term modalism, which was used probably as early as the second half of the 17th cent., was finally established as a subcategory of Monarchianism by the work of A. von Harnack. May, Gerhard (Mainz)


(133 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[English version] Christl. Lehrer aus Kleinasien, wirkte zw. 190 und 220 in Rom und Nordafrika (?). Hauptquelle ist Tertullianus ( Adversus Praxean, nach 210). P. veranlaßte Bischof Victor von Rom, dem Montanismus die Kirchengemeinschaft zu verweigern (Tert. adv. Praxean 1,4 f.). Als Vertreter des modalistischen Monarchianismus lehrte er, um die Einheit Gottes zu wahren, die Identität von Vater und Sohn (ebd. 2,1.3; 13,1; 23,7). Das Verhältnis von Gottheit und Menschheit in Christus erklärt P. so, daß er Gott-Vater …


(463 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[English version] Der Begriff M. ist von dem anscheinend von Tertullianus gebildeten Wort monarchiani (Tert. adversus Praxean 10,1) abgeleitet. Er bezeichnet die Position von christl. Theologen des 2. und 3. Jh., die es ablehnten, Christus als präexistenten Logos Gottes zu deuten, um der Annahme einer gestuften Gottheit mit der Konsequenz des Ditheismus (Zweigötterlehre) zu entgehen und um die monarchia (Alleinherrschaft Gottes), d.h. den strengen Monotheismus, zu wahren. Der M. war zw. 190 und 220 in Kleinasien, Rom und Afrika unter Intellektuellen, …


(29 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[English version] Die Bezeichnung M., wohl schon in der 2. H. des 17. Jh. aufgekommen, wurde durch A. von Harnack endgültig eingeführt als Unterbegriff zu Monarchianismus. May, Gerhard (Mainz)

Sabellius, Sabellianismus

(168 words)

Author(s): May, Gerhard (Mainz)
[English version] Der (vielleicht aus Libyen stammende) christl. Theologe S. wurde nach mehrjährigem Aufenthalt in Rom von Bischof Kallistos (217-222) wegen seiner Gotteslehre exkommuniziert. Sein weiteres Leben ist in Dunkel gehüllt. S. war ein führender Modalist (Modalismus). Wie vor ihm Noëtos setzte er Gott-Vater und Gott-Sohn gleich, um den Monotheismus zu wahren (Monarchianismus). Die Bezeichnung Gottes als Sohn-Vater ( hyiopátōr) und die These, daß Gott sukzessive in den “Erscheinungsformen” ( prósōpa) Vater, Sohn und Geist in der Heilsgesch. wirke, sind S.…


(1,829 words)

Author(s): Jürgensmeier, Friedhelm | May, Gerhard
[German Version] I. City and Bishopric – II. University I. City and Bishopric Mainz, laid out as a military camp between 18 and 13 bce, became the capital of the Roman province Germania prima; by the 4th century at the latest, it was an episcopal see. Medieval lists identify its first bishop as Marinus or Martinus. In the 10th century, in competition with Trier and Cologne, its episcopal succession was traced back to Crescens (2 Tim 4:10). The Roman civitas, coextensive with the see, collapsed during the migration period. A Frankish settlement since the 5th or 6th centur…

Literature, Biblical and Early Christian

(9,082 words)

Author(s): Schmitt, Hans-Christoph | Paulsen, Henning | May, Gerhard
1. OT 1.1. Task Viewing the OT as literature means engaging in critical literary analysis (Exegesis, Biblical) of the individual books. There is then an attempt to achieve ¶ a synthetic picture of the development of the entire literature of Israel from its early beginnings to the age of the Maccabees. This study will also take account of Israel’s life settings. First, however, this endeavor must survey the forms and genres of the preliterary tradition. 1.2. History of Research H. Gunkel (1862–1932) initiated this kind of study, at least in outline (Die israelitische Litera…


(577 words)

Author(s): Schmälzle, Udo Friedrich | May, Gerhard | Maxson, Rachel E.
[German Version] I. History – II. Canon Law – III. Meaning in the English-speaking World I. History (Middle Lat.: capellanus; Ger: Kaplan), cleric at the Carolingian royal court (Carolingians) (first attested 741) with wide-ranging rights (accompanying the king on campaigns, capacity of registrar, diplomatic service, pastoral care at the capella regis); reduced after the ¶ Investiture Controversy following the papal decretal, Ad Audientiam of Alexander III, to clerical functions (responsibility for enforcing attendance at services and distribution o…


(7,453 words)

Author(s): Feldtkeller, Andreas | Mell, Ulrich | le Boulluec, Alain | Jorissen, Hans | Schuck, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Philosophy and Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Practical Theology – IV. Church Law – V. Judaism – VI. Islam I. Philosophy and Religious Studies The word “heresy” derives from Gk αἵρεσις/ haíresis (“act of choice,” “decision”). In the Hellenistic period, when a plurality of philosophical schools had developed, the word was used to express the need of budding philosophers to choose between these schools. Hence it came to be used to denote both a philosophical school and the school's teaching; in…
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