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Punishment

(4,817 words)

Author(s): Neu, Rainer | Otto, Eckart | Schuck, Martin | Loos, Fritz | Hermann, Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies All religions share the conviction that human actions hold a significance that reaches far beyond a person’s current life situation. On the precise manner in which an equitable balance between personal behavior and current or future life is achieved, however, there is considerable divergence of views – depending on the historical and social context of the respective religion. From the perspective of religious studies, it is advisable to differentiate between the…

Death Penalty

(3,790 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | de Boer, Martinus C. | Reichman, Ronen | Owens, Erik C. | Gräb-Schmidt, Elisabeth
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Law – V. Ethics I. Old Testament The death penalty in the Old Testament has three causes: 1. blood revenge as a direct legal reaction by a family damaged by a homicide; 2. cultic law involving severe violations of religious taboos such as witchcraft, sodomy and apostasy (Ex 22:17–19); 3. family property …

Settlement/Settlement Traditions

(1,194 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] The canonical Old Testament describes the settlement as a military conquest of Palestine by the 12 tribes of Israel, beginning in Transjordan under Moses’ leadership with a victory over Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites, and the capture of Heshbon (Num 20f.; 32; Deut 1–3). After Moses’ death (Deut 34), the settlement continued west of the Jordan under Joshua’s leadership, initially in Benjaminite territory with the capture of Jericho (Josh 6) and Ai (Josh 7–8) and a treaty with …

Israel

(10,133 words)

Author(s): Gutmann, Emanuel | Knauf, Ernst Axel | Otto, Eckart | Niehr, Herbert | Kessler, Rainer | Et al.
[German Version] I. The State of Israel – II. History – III. Society I. The State of Israel The formal full name, State of Israel (Heb. Medinat Yisrael), calls attention to the spatial divergence between the political entity and the geographical and historical Erets Israel (Land of Israel, Palestine and its linguistic equivalents). Israel is located in southwest Asia, on the southern stretch of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. In its northern half, inland from the shore, is the coastal area and further east are the hills, from n…

Zion

(1,425 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. Etymology, Topography, and Historical Significance The toponym “Zion” (Heb. צִיּוֹן/ ṣiyyôn, a cognate of צִיָּה/ ṣiyyāh, “dry”) signifies “dry place” and, in derivation therefrom, “mountain ridge.” In this meaning, Zion entered into the designation of a “fortress of Zion” (Heb. מְצֻדַת צִיּוֹן/ meṣudat ṣiyyôn) on the southeastern hill of Jerusalem overlooking the Gihon, which David renamed “City of David” (Heb. עִיר דָּוִד/ʿ îr dāwid; 2 Sam 5:7, 9). David expanded this pre-Israelite acropolis into a “palace” (2 Sam 5:11) that lost its func…

Economy

(6,870 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Rüpke, Jörg | Schneider, Helmuth | Otto, Eckart | Penslar, Derek | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Economic Systems and their Theories – III. Economy and Religion I. The Concept The term economy encompasses the totality of all individual actions and social interactions that serve to produce goods (commodities or services [Service sector]) for the purpose of satisfying human needs (Consumption). As a rule, the “production” of commodities means that human labor and …

Fraternal Ethics

(747 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In the Old Testament, fraternal ethics refers to an ethos that gives, first every Judean, and later also foreigners, the solidarity owed to the closest natural members of one's family. Fraternal ethics originated in Deuteronomy in reaction to the dissolution of natural fraternal ethics in the 8th/7th century Assyrian crisis through the destruction of extended families and their solidarity-stabilizing cult of ancestors (III) as a consequence of Judean and Assyrian resettlements and…

Justice and Righteousness

(8,833 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Klaiber, Walter | Höffe, Otfried | Holmes, Stephen R. | Anzenbacher, Arno | Et al.
[German Version] I. Bible – II. Philosophy – III. History of Theology and Dogmatics – IV. Ethics – V. Law – VI. Social Politics, Social Ethics – VII. Missiology – VIII. Islam I. Bible 1. Ancient Near East and Old Testament The concept of justice in the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible is basically one of connectivity. It designates the positive relation of the king to the gods and to his people, of the individual to the various collectives ranging from the family to the entire nation, of the deed to the doer's well-being,…

Moses

(5,249 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Kraus, Wolfgang | Niehoff, Maren | Klein, Birgit
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament – III. Judaism I. Old Testament 1. History of scholarship For the biblical tradition of the Torah, Moses, born in Egypt (Exod 2:1–10), was the founder of Israel's religion and its lawgiver at Sinai (Exod 3f.; Exod 19 – Num 10), the designer of its judicial system (Exod 18*), the leader of the people in Egypt and during the exodus (Exod 2; 5–15) and ¶ the subsequent journey from Egypt to the land of Moab (Exod 16f.; Num 10 – Deut 34), who before his death (Deut 34:5f.) put the Torah into writing (Deut 31:9) and w…

Biblical Scholarship

(11,819 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Weder, Hans
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. New Testament I. Old Testament 1. The rational spirit of the Hebrew Bible and biblical scholarship. Modern biblical scholarship, with its historico-reflexive self-understanding, has its first precondition in the Hebrew Bible, which is not only the object of biblical studies, but also the subject in the sense that the rational and historically aware spirit …

Book of the Covenant

(674 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Following Exod 24:7, the law collection in Exod 20:22–23:13(19) is termed the Book of the Covenant. The oldest legal corpus in the Old Testament, dating to the middle to late monarchial period, although pre-deuteronomic, the Book of the Covenant was edited together from several originally independent, smaller, thematically self-contained colle…

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…

Law and Legislation

(7,555 words)

Author(s): Michaels, Axel | Otto, Eckart | Räisänen, Heikki | Sparn, Walter | Starck, Christian
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Dogmatics and Ethics – V. Politics and Jurisprudence I. History of Religion Laws are generally regarded as formulated, i.e. sentential and often codified rules of life and coexistence; this ¶ refers especially to principles of nature (Law/Natural law) and norms of action (Commandment, Ethics). For the modern age, the validity of natural laws arises from hypothetical laws that have been verified through observation and experiments, and have thereby been proven or j…

Priesthood

(7,504 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Otto, Eckart | Dignas, Beate | Elm, Dorothee | Kraus, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Etymologically the term priest derives from Greek πρεσβύτερος/ presbýteros, “elder”; it denotes a religious functionary, especially an expert responsible for the cult. The Greek word did not originally have this meaning. A second semantic strand puts a priest (Gk ἱερεύς/ hiereús, Lat. sacerdos) in charge of things that are sacred (Sacred and profane). The characteristics that comparative religion usually associates with priesthood are often transferred globally from Christianity, especially Roman Cathol…

Judah/Judea

(201 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] As a regional designation (“the hollowed out, washed out region”; cf. also Arab. wahda), Judah (Heb. יְהוּדָה/ yehûdāh; Gk ‘Ιουδα/Iouda) refers to the southern range in the hills to the west of the Jordan. It gave the name to the tribe of Judah (Tribes of Israel) that settled there, from which the allied state of Judah developed in the time of David. Until the death of Solomon part of a state with the other tribes of Israel, Judah became independent again alongside the northern kingdom of Israel aft…

Habakkuk/Book of Habakkuk

(1,298 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] I. The Prophet – II. The Book – III. Effective History I. The Prophet The prophet Habakkuk lived in Jerusalem around 600 bce. His name is Assyrian in origin and derives from the Akkadian term for a garden plant ( ḫabb[m]aqūqu). He is described as a cult prophet ( nabı̑) (1:1), which is confirmed by the fact that he receives the word in a cultic location (2:1–3). Whether, however, his critique of the social abuses caused by the political and economic elite of Judah was part of his function or contradicted it, must remain as op…

Deuteronomy

(2,337 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] In accordance with LXX and Vulgate (Bible translations: I), the fifth book of the Pentateuch is termed Deuteronomy (Deut); in the Jewish tradition it is named “discourses” ( debārïm) after the beginning of the book. The name Deut is a summary of the law (Law and legislation), which is stylized as a collection of farewell discourses by Moses in 1–4; 5–28; 29–32; 33 and which, in the final form o…

Jerusalem

(8,314 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Hezser, Catherine | Dan, Joseph | Küchler, Max | Bieberstein, Klaus | Et al.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Judaism – III. New Testament – IV. Early Church – V. Patriarchates – VI. Islam – VII. Religious and Political Situation Today – VIII. Archaeology I. Old Testament Jerusalem (ירושׁלם/ yerûšālēm, MT yerûšālayim) was founded c. 1800 bce as a fortified town in the central Palestinian uplands at a strategic point for transportation between northern and southern Palestine. Outside the Bible, the name appears from the 18th century on in the Egyptian execration texts and the Amarna letters (as Akkad. uruu-ru-sa-lim). It derives from the verb yrh I…

Josiah/Josiah's Reform

(1,320 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart
[German Version] Josiah reigned as king of Judah in the years 639 to 609 bce (2 Kgs 22f.; 2 Chr 34f.). When the eight-year-old boy ascended to the throne, the Neo-Assyrian Empire under King Asshurbanipal had already passed the zenith of its power with the loss of Egypt and a civil war in Mesopotamia (652–648 bce). Josiah experienced the ultimate end of Neo-Assyrian hegemonic power with the destruction of Nineveh (612 bce). After Assyria's withdrawal from Palestine (626–623 bce), Josiah was formally subject to Egyptian supremacy, which, as an ally of Assyria in the struggl…

Feasts and Festivals

(7,156 words)

Author(s): Borgeaud, Philippe | Otto, Eckart | Veltri, Giuseppe | Schramm, Tim | Wiggermann, Karl-Friedrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Early Christianity – V. Church History – VI. Liturgical and Practical Aspects I. Religious Studies The words “feast” and “festival” (cf. fête, festa, fiesta, Fest, etc.) derive from the Latin festus ( dies). They refer to the calendar and also evoke the notion of the divine: a feast day is a special day set aside and dedicated to a certain supernatural being. “Feast” or “festival” can therefore be understood as synonyms for religious celebrations. To speak,…
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