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(449 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
In the Orthodox Church, Hesychasm (from Gk. hēsychia, “quietness, stillness”) is the tradition of quiet, inner, prayerful contemplation of God. The early monks (Monasticism) of the 3d and 4th centuries sought this stillness in their ascetic program by outward flight from the world and the combating of inner unrest (Anchorites). Simeon the New Theologian (949–1022), who described his encounters with God as visions of light, must be regarded as the pioneer of Hesychasm. Tractates of the 12th to the 14th centuries (esp. by Nicephorus of Athos and Gregory of Sinai) show that …


(181 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
Anchorites (from Gk. anachōreō, “separate oneself, withdraw”) form the basic impulse of monasticism. From the end of the third century, male and female anchorites left the civilized world both outwardly and inwardly to meet with God in the isolation of the desert. Athanasius (ca. 297–373) describes the life of an anchorite in his Vita Antonii, and the Vita of Syncletica tells us about a female anchorite. The Apophthegmata patrum gives us an insight into the world of the anchorites, who lived either alone or in small groups. Cenobitic monasticism ultimately be…

Basilian Monks

(180 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
The rules of Basil the Great (ca. 330–79; Cappadocian Fathers) were meant as spiritual reading for individual monks, not as the rule of an order. Eastern monks live according to this tradition, but they properly should not be called Basilians, as is commonly done. Basilian monasteries and congregations arose only under Western influence in the Eastern churches in union with Rome. In Italy (even today in the abbey Grottaferrata) and Spain, Greek monks have been called Basilians from the 12th century. …


(575 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
The Christian church has always had its martyrs, but the model comes from the early church. In the middle of the second century the Martyrdom of Polycarp provided the first example and the terminology. ¶ The martyr is a disciple and imitator of Christ (Discipleship 2) who, in a situation of persecution, holds fast the confession of Christ and thus comes under sentence of death. Death seals faith in Christ as the witness (Gk. root martyr-) of blood, that is, martyrdom. Only those who give up their lives can be called martyrs. Those who survive persecution and torture w…

Martyrs, Acts of the

(300 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
Persecutions in the early church resulted in a specific literary genre, the acts of the martyrs. We find two types. The first consists of a record of the trials of martyrs, for example, that of Justin Martyr in Rome about 165 (Martyrium Sancti Iustini et Sociorum), or that of the 12 martyrs of Scillium (near Carthage?), North Africa, in 180 (H. Musurillo, 86–89), or that of Cyprian of Carthage in 258 ( Acta Proconsularia, Musurillo, 168–75). The second type consists of a report of events before and during the imprisonment and then of the execution of the death sentence. Examples are the Martyrdo…


(213 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[English version] (Θέκλα, lat. Thecla). Trotz der erst relativ späten lit. Bezeugung (Paulusakten; E. 2. Jh. n. Chr.) der Paulusschülerin Th. avancierte diese zur prominentesten weiblichen Heiligen der christl. Spätant. Die auf Enthaltsamkeit abzielende Predigt des Paulus motivierte die aus dem kleinasiat. Ikonion stammende junge Frau dazu, von der geplanten Eheschließung Abstand zu nehmen, um sich stattdessen dem Apostel anzuschließen. Durch wunderbares göttliches Eingreifen überstand Th. zwei Veru…


(415 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[English Version] Neander, Joachim (1650 Bremen – 31.5.1680 ebd.). In Bremen begann N. das Studium der ref. Theol. In Gottesdiensten Th. Undereycks kam er in Berührung mit pietistischem Ideengut (Pietismus). 1671 begleitete er als Informator Söhne einer Kaufmannsfamilie zum Studium nach Heidelberg. Mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit nahm er Kontakte zu den luth. Pietisten in Frankfurt auf. Seine erste Anstellung erhielt N. 1674 durch die ref. Gemeinde in Düsseldorf, wo er als Rektor die Lateinschule lei…

Lestonnac, Jeanne de (Saint)

(194 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1536, Bordeaux – Feb 2, 1640, Bordeaux). In the milieu of French post-Tridentine Catholicism, Lestonnac, who had been given a Calvinist upbringing by her mother, created a new model of connecting cloistered monastic life and pedagogical work with girls. The niece of the philosopher M. de Montaigne, she married Gaston de Montferrat (Montferrand) in 1573 and gave birth to seven children. Widowed in 1597, she founded in 1605/1606 in Bordeaux the “Filles (or Compagnie) de Notre Dame,…

Dutoit, Jean-Philippe

(177 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Sep 27, 1721, Moudon – Jan 21, 1791, Lausanne); Jean-Philippe Dutoit-Membrini. After studying theology, Dutoit became ¶ active in Lausanne as a Reformed pastor, but abandoned this post after a few weeks. Illness and his engagement with the writings of the mystic J.M. de la Motte Guyon led him to a reclusive lifestyle wherein he could devote himself entirely to his work as an author. Among his significant …

Guyon, Jeanne Marie

(467 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (neé Bouvier de la Motte; Apr 13, 1648, Montargis, France – Jun 9, 1717, Blois, France). Both Guyon's writings and her way of life deepened the mystical doctrine concerning immersion in God, self-denial, and serenity (Mysticism: III). The formation of the mystical heritage under early modern conditions prepared the ground for a broad reception history that reached into the 19th century. Guyon reflected on the development of her life as a mystic and author beyond all preformed models in her autobiography La vie. Although Guyon maintained contact with many in rel…

Marillac, Louise de, Saint

(202 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Aug 12, 1592, near Paris – Mar 15, 1660, Paris). In 1633 Marillac and Vincent de Paul founded the Filles de la Charité in Paris, a community of women who took only simple vows and were therefore not required to be enclosed like women in monastic orders. This enabled them to be active in the care of the poor, the sick, orphans, and prisoners (they were later called Merciful Sisters [Merciful ¶ Brother and Sisters] or Vincentian Sisters). From 1613 to 1625, Marillac had been married to Antoine Le Gras and bore a son. As a widow, inspired by Francis of …

Chantal, Jane Frances of

(195 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Jeanne-Françoise Frémyot de) (Jan 23, 1572, Dijon – Dec 13, 1641, Moulins). Canonized in 1767. Chantal, a devout Catholic, deliberately remained a widow after the death of her husband Christophe de Rabutin, Baron de Chantal, seeking an explicit form of religious life. Francis de Sales became her spiritual director. In 1610, she founded ¶ the “Ordo de Visitatione Beatae Mariae Virginis” (Salesian Sisters) in Francis's episcopal see Annecy; the order flourished rapidly under her leadership. Except for her extensiv…

Lancelot, Claude

(192 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1615, Paris – Apr 15, 1695, Quimperlé, Département Finistère, France). Lancelot was one of the men who settled as solitaries near the Parisian Cistercian Abbey of Port-Royal. The group, known as the Messieurs de Port-Royal, included prominent members of the Arnauld family; they were supporters of Jansenism and published works on theology, philosophy, and education. They also devoted themselves to practical instruction in schools they operated. It was in this context that Lancelot…

Bourignon, Antoinette

(171 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (Jan 13, 1616, Ryssel, Lille – Oct 30, 1680, Franeker) was born a Catholic. She moved to Amsterdam in 1667 and had contact with Mennonites, Quakers, Labadists (J. de Labadie) and isolated figures such as J.A. Comenius and C. Hoburg. Between 1671 and 1676, she attempted from Schleswig-Holstein to set up a communi…

Neander, Joachim

(438 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (1650, Bremen – May 31, 1680, Bremen). Neander began his studies of Reformation theology in Bremen. In worship led by T. Undereyck he came into contact with Pietistic ideas (Pietism). In 1671, he accompanied the sons of a merchant family to their studies in Heidelberg as tutor. It is very probable that he made contact with Lutheran Pietists in Frankfurt. In 1674, Neander obtained his first post through the Reformed congregation in Düsseldorf, where he became rector of the Latin sc…

Gersdorf, Henriette Katharina von

(179 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth
[German Version] (baroness; née von Friesen; Oct 6, 1648, Sulzbach – Mar 6, 1726, Grosshennersdorf). Gersdorf received a thorough education and was considered a scholar. In 1672 she married Nikolaus von Gersdorf (1629–1702), who ended his career as head of the privy council of Electoral Saxony and governor of Upper Lusatia. She gave birth to 13 children and assumed the responsibilty for the upbringing of her grandson N. von Zinzendorf. She strongly supported the pietistic goals of P.J. Spener and …


(690 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth (Hamburg)
[English version] The term eclecticism, widely used today in a negative sense to denote an imitative, dependent, combinative mode of philosophising, stands from Antiquity on for a model of philosophical reflection that, eschewing connection with a particular school (or sect), instead selects the best from all teachings. At the turn of the 15th cent., Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola recalled the 'selective philosophers' (Diog. Laert. 1.21), who, like bees, chose everywhere the things that please…


(242 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth (Hamburg)
[German version] (Θέκλα/ Thékla, Latin Thecla). Despite the only relatively late literary evidence (Paul, Acts of; end of the 2nd cent. AD) for Paul's pupil T., she went on to become the most prominent female saint of Christian Late Antiquity. A sermon by Paul on abstinence motivated the young woman from Iconium in Asia Minor to abandon her plans to marry, in order to follow the Apostle instead. By miraculous divine interventions, T. survived two death sentences, but was nevertheless worshipped as a …


(1,109 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth | Schwanda, Tom
1. Background Like the Waldenses, the Hussites were a medieval movement summoning the church back to its original Christian form. The condemnation and burning of Jan Hus (ca. 1372–1415) at the Council of Constance (Reform Councils) on July 6, 1415, provoked a national protest in Bohemia that led to the adoption of reforming ideas and the rise of the Hussites. In 1414 Jacob of Mies, with the approval of Hus, had given the cup to the laity in Prague (Eucharist), a departure from custom that became a symbol of the Hussites. The moderate Hussites of Prague thus came to be known as Utraquists (from La…


(269 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth (Hamburg)
[English version] (Πρίσκα, in der Apg Priskilla/Πρίσκιλλα; lat. Prisca, Priscilla). P. und ihr Ehemann Aquila [4] waren Mitte des 1. Jh. n. Chr. als christl. Missionare tätig. Infolge des Edikts des Kaisers Claudius [III 1] (Ausweisung der Juden, Apg 18,2; Suet. Claud. 25) verließ das judenchristl. Ehepaar Rom, um in Korinth das Zeltmachergewerbe fortzusetzen, begegnete um das J. 50 n. Chr. Paulus [2] und begleitete ihn nach Ephesos. Die Bed. P.s als Missionarin, Apostelin, Lehrerin und Leiterin einer Ha…


(360 words)

Author(s): Albrecht, Ruth (Hamburg) | Bleckmann, Bruno (Strasbourg)
[German version] [1] Missionary, 1st cent. (Πρίσκα/ Prísca, in Acts Πρίσκιλλα/ Prískilla; Latin Prisca, Priscilla). In the middle of the 1st cent. AD, P. and her husband Aquila [4] worked as Christian missionaries. As a result of the edict of emperor Claudius [III 1] (expulsion of the Jews, Acts 18:2; Suet. Claud. 25), the Jewish-Christian couple left Rome to continue their tent making in Corinth (spreading the Gospel whilst supporting themselves through additional, unrelated work). They encountered Paulus [II 2] c. AD 50, accompanying him to Ephesus. P.’s importance as a …


(1,540 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Groß-Albenhausen, Kirsten (Frankfurt/Main) | Albrecht, Ruth (Hamburg) | Petersen, Silke (Hamburg)
I. Roman women [German version] [I 1] Name of two sisters of C. Marius [I 1] Name of two sisters of C. Marius [I 1]; one was the wife of M. Gratidius [2] and mother of C. Marius [I 7] Gratidianus, the other one was the mother of C. Lusius [I 1]. Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) [German version] [I 2] Possibly wife of Honorius Mentioned by Claudianus (Laus Serenae 69), possibly wife of Honorius [2], the brother of Theodosius I, therefore the mother of Serena and Thermantia. Groß-Albenhausen, Kirsten (Frankfurt/Main) Bibliography J. R. Martindale, Notes on the Consuls of 381 and 382, in: Hi…


(1,414 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Groß-Albenhausen, Kirsten (Frankfurt/Main) | Albrecht, Ruth (Hamburg) | Petersen, Silke (Hamburg)
I. Römerinnen [English version] [I 1] Name zweier Schwestern des C. Marius [I 1] Name zweier Schwestern des C. Marius [I 1]; eine war die Ehefrau des M. Gratidius [2] und Mutter des C. Marius [I 7] Gratidianus, die andere Mutter des C. Lusius [I 1]. Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) [English version] [I 2] vielleicht Ehefrau des Honorius Erwähnt bei Claudianus (Laus Serenae 69), vielleicht Ehefrau des Honorius [2], des Bruders Theodosius' I., somit Mutter der Serena und Thermantia. Groß-Albenhausen, Kirsten (Frankfurt/Main) Bibliography J.R. Martindale, Notes on the Consuls o…


(3,667 words)

Author(s): Osiek, Carolyn | Albrecht, Ruth | Zentgraf, Martin | Turre, Reinhard | Tiling, Peter v. | Et al.
[German Version] I. New Testament – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics – IV. Practical Theology – V. Church Law – VI. Catholic Church – VII. Orthodox Church I. New Testament Neither “deaconess” nor “diaconate” is an appropriate term for the NT era, and “deacon” should not be used as an exact translation of διάκονος/ diákonos, since the three terms only later underwent an institutionalization that did not exist in NT times. The occurrence of the terminology in the NT can be differentiate…


(4,768 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Feucht, Erika (Heidelberg) | Brosius, Maria (Oxford) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt) | Et al.
I. Alter Orient, Ägypten und Iran [English version] A. Einführung Die Kenntnis über den Status von F. beruht weitgehend auf Texten juristischer Natur (Rechtsurkunden, Rechtsbücher, königliche Erlasse). Dementsprechend betont die bisherige Forschung v.a. die rechtlichen Aspekte der Stellung von F. in Familie und Gesellschaft. Nichtjuristiche Texte unterschiedlicher Genres enthalten Nachrichten über das Wirken von F. aus den Familien der Eliten, insbes. denen der königlichen Clans. So nimmt die hethit. Köni…


(7,947 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Feucht, Erika (Heidelberg) | Brosius, Maria (Oxford) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | RU.PA. | Et al.
I. Ancient Orient, Egypt and Iran [German version] A. Introduction Knowledge of the status of women is largely based on texts of a legal nature (legal documents, law books, royal decrees). Accordingly, research to date emphasizes primarily the legal aspects of the position of women in family and society. Non-legal texts from a variety of genres contain information on the activities of women from the families of the elite, particularly those of the royal clan. Thus, the Hittite royal wife Puduḫepa (13th ce…


(11,554 words)

Author(s): Heller, Birgit | Bird, Phyllis A. | Wischmeyer, Oda | Ehrenschwendtner, Marie-Luise | Albrecht, Ruth | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Traditionally research on religion has rarely dealt with women. Exceptions include Moriz Winternitz ( Die Frau in den indischen Religionen, 1915–1916) and F. Heiler ( Die Frau in den Religionen der Menschheit, 1977). In the 1970s, gender studies introduced a broad paradigm shift, which also affected religious studies. The principle that has guided this change from the traditional approach is that homo religiosus is not coincident with vir religiosus but equally has to include femina religiosa. The various questions can be assigned to th…
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