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(2,034 words)

Author(s): Reichmuth, Stefan | Gierlichs, Joachim
1. History and functionsThe mosque (Arabic  masjid, “place of prostration for prayer”) [4] as a building for mandatory community prayers, especially Friday prayers, was already developing into the central religious and cultural institution of Islamic communities in the earliest phase of Islam, used for an abundance of communal and political functions (e.g. political addresses, announcements, and consultations, administration of justice, accommodation of guests). Along with the large, central Friday mosques (Arabic  jami`), the growth of Muslim cities spawned a p…
Date: 2020-04-06


(7,822 words)

Author(s): Laube, Martin | Reichmuth, Stefan | Kummels, Ingrid | Rüther, Kirsten
1. Christianity 1.1. Preliminary noteOne of the unique aspects of Christianity is that from the very outset it developed a theology, and in order to explicate its own faith made use of the conceptual tools of contemporary (i.e. Greek and Roman) philosophy. This interweaving of theological and philosophical thought was constantly reflected quintessentially in the doctrine of God. A series of fundamental tensions pervaded the development of the idea of God even in the early modern period. These includ…
Date: 2019-10-14

Literate cultures beyond Europe

(5,913 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Reichmuth, Stefan | Rinke, Stefan | Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Frese, Heiko
1. IntroductionTo be considered first in this exploration of the non-European literate cultures are the various manuscript cultures that developed independent dynamics in many parts of Asia and Africa and among the indigenous cultures of Central and South America (American indigenous peoples; see below, 3.). Specific interrelations with oral forms of textual culture are evident here. Also important is the issue of the spread of printing with movable type, which reached other continents from Europ…
Date: 2019-10-14

Language, literary

(18,024 words)

Author(s): Lüsebrink, Hans-Jürgen | Reichmuth, Stefan | Schwarze, Sabine | Gil, Alberto | Rothmund, Elisabeth | Et al.
1. Introduction 1.1. PrinciplesA literary language, also known as an official, high, standard, cultural, or art language, language of literature, etcetera, is a language used in literature shaped by aesthetic considerations. The development of literary languages in the early modern period displays two fundamental dimensions. First, in the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period there was an increasing use of the vernacular in place of Latin in literary texts, and secondly specifi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Cultural contact, global

(9,702 words)

Author(s): Rinke, Stefan | Falola, Toyin | Aderinto, Saheed | Reichmuth, Stefan | Liebau, Heike | Et al.
1. Introduction The term cultural contact was long taken to mean the meeting of different cultural units that was homogenous and static in themselves. Modern approaches to an understanding of the concept proceed on the basis of a different idea of culture, seeing it as a “self-woven web of meaning” [3. 9] in human consciousness, subject to perpetual change in dynamic processes of the construction of symbols. Interpretations are thus made both individually and collectively, and these give rise to meanings and identities. This interpretation br…
Date: 2019-10-14

Muslim societies

(7,555 words)

Author(s): Reichmuth, Stefan
1. Problems of perceptionMuch as in Christian Europe, there was great continuity in forms of Muslim society and culture from the Middle Ages to the early modern period. European travelers and observers at the time generally made no such distinction of period. Indeed, growing contacts between Europeans and Muslim regions engendered in Europeans, through their exchanges, an image of Islam that incorporated the entire Islamic past in an effectively timeless perception. Even in the late 17th century, t…
Date: 2020-04-06


(4,040 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Nolte, Hans-Heinrich | Reichmuth, Stefan | Hölck, Lasse
1. IntroductionIt is striking in the context of the world history of the early modern period and the global interaction that characterized it that the dominance of nomadic and cattle-farming societies over sedentary peasant societies waned from around the 15th century. Nomads had become strong in Asia and Africa thanks to the military superiority of their mounted armies, generally in combination with the recruitment of sedentary peasants [28], the conquest of cities, the seizure of administrative structures, and the securing of major transregional tradin…
Date: 2020-04-06

Mahdi movements

(837 words)

Author(s): Reichmuth, Stefan
1. Early Islam“The Rightly-Guided One” (Arabic  al-mahdī) in Islam is an attribute of the prophet and his first successors, the Caliphs, whose “right guidance” (Arabic  al-hudā) by God was generally recognized by early Muslims. This consensus collapsed in the course of the rapid expansion of the Caliphate and in the deep conflicts of interest that came with the construction of state institutions and the distribution of profits from conquest. For a time, these led to the splitting of the Caliphate and two early Muslim civil wars (656-661, 683-692 CE).The hope for the restoration…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,706 words)

Author(s): Herbers, Klaus | Reichmuth, Stefan
1. Europe 1.1. Etymology and purposeLatin  peregrinatio (journey, pilgrimage) is derived from  per agrum (across the field, i.e. over land). The etymology suggests primarily an arduous path to a goal. The goal could be defined variously: the most important motives were probably thanksgiving, penance, petition, quest for religious companionship, and expectation of other religious benefits. This marked a change from the conception, still dominant in antiquity and late antiquity, that saw life itself as a pilg…
Date: 2020-10-06

Ottoman Empire

(8,899 words)

Author(s): Reichmuth, Stefan | Sievert, Henning
1. Dynasty, empire, stateBeginning in the 14th century, the Turkmen emirate of the “House of Osman” (Ottoman Turkish  Āl-i ʿOs̠mān) developed from a small Seljuk successor princedom into an expanding realm that brought various countries and regions of Asia Minor and southeastern Europe under its sway from northwestern Anatolia. With its conquest of Constantinople in 1453, this sultanate fell heir to the Byzantine imperial legacy of the northeastern Mediterranean, and became an enduring factor in the politics of th…
Date: 2020-10-06


(2,147 words)

Author(s): Stengel, Friedemann | Reichmuth, Stefan
1. EuropeOccultism took institutional shape in Europe in 1875, with the foundation of the Theosophical Society by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott (Theosophy). At the same time, it developed as a theoretical system opposed to contemporary materialism and directed against the established churches, and closely associated with 19th-century esoterica. The essence of this theory was the assumption of immaterial, supra-sensory forces arising from a “fluid,” “astral light,” or “animal so…
Date: 2020-04-06

Conversion between faiths

(8,464 words)

Author(s): Siebenhüner, Kim | Bock, Heike | Carl, Gesine | Helbig, Annekathrin | Reichmuth, Stefan | Et al.
1. General considerations 1.1. Terminology In religious and cultural history conversion (Lat. conversio; “turn-about,” “transformation”) means a person's change of religion or confession. Conversion between religions and confessions is not always easily distinguishable from the experience of conversion per se: while the latter is more to do with commitment to a (more) spiritual life and a turn to God, conversion between religions is a conversion with the acknowledgment of a new religious truth, often associated with a new confession of faith [2] (Faith; Confession of faith…
Date: 2019-10-14


(9,689 words)

Author(s): Reichmuth, Stefan | Bobzin, Hartmut
1. Introduction By the dawn of the early modern period, Islam was the religion of the overwhelming majority of the populations of its historic heartlands in the Near and Middle East and North Africa. It was also growing in South and Southeast Asia as far as China, and in sub-Saharan Africa. It was also represented in Europe in Spain, the Balkans, and the Tatar Khanates. Prior to the end of Islamic rule in Spain (1492) and the beginning of European expansion and the Christian mission in the America…
Date: 2019-10-14

Knowledge systems beyond Europe

(14,466 words)

Author(s): König, Hans-Joachim | Reichmuth, Stefan | Raina, Dhruv | Mittag, Achim | Mathias, Regine
1. Introduction The beginnings of a project to “conquer nature” that became apparent in European science and technology from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the sense of superiority this engendered, distorted views of the accomplishments of non-European civilizations (World perception) [2. 81 ff.]. This was particularly true of perceptions of and attitudes towards the countries of Asia and the “Orient” as a whole (Orientalism). During the 16th and 17th centuries, this region of the world had found its way to an albeit volatil…
Date: 2019-10-14