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Prohibition of Images

(1,982 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph
[German Version] Closely related to the commandment to worship and confess one God only (Monotheism and polytheism) as well as rejection of the veneration of images, the prohibition of images has left its mark on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – each in a different way – to this day. The biblical prohibition of images is neither a general ban on all art, nor is it a blanket prohibition of particular phenomena of the visible world. It does not reject mental images of God or figurative language bu…

Ashdod

(371 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph
[German Version] is situated approx. 9 miles northeast of Ashkelon, 2.5 miles from the Mediterranean with a separate harbor on the coast. Its Canaanite name ʾaṭdādu, “trade fair,” suggests its importance as a commercial center. The site has been settled since the Middle Bronze; in the Late Bronze it traded with Ugarit and Enkomi. Sub-Mycenaean (“Philistine”) pottery appears at the t…

Ashkelon

(423 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph
[German Version] (Ascalon) is a port city about 20 km north-northeast of Gaza; since the 2nd millennium bce its area has encompassed over 60 hectares, according to text witnesses spanning four millennia. Settled since the 4th millennium bce, it is cited first in the execration texts of the 19th and 18th century bce as “* 'i/ asqaluna” (“trading place” or similar). From the Middle Bronze Age fortifications and cult relics (bonze statuette of a young steer), among other things, have been found. In…

Gaza

(807 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Hahn, Johannes
[German Version] I. Pre-Hellenistic Period – II. Antiquity I. Pre-Hellenistic Period Gaza was considered the most important city in southwestern Palestine, with a large, fertile trading area on the highway from Egypt to Syria, the destination point of the Frankincense Road from Arabia to the ¶ Mediterranean. It has been almost continuously inhabited since the second half of the 2nd century bce. The history of Gaza began, according to the evidence of its name (Canaanite ‘azzat, Heb. ‘azzāh, “strengthened, fortified”), toward the end of the Middle Bronze Age with the est…

Snake/Serpent

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Staubli, Thomas
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Charms against snakebite and techniques for taming snakes are part of the repertoire of many religions. Frequently repeated, controlled snakebites can make a person immune to the venom and allow it to be used as a drug. The assessment of snakes and serpents varies, depending on whether they appear as enemies (Egyp. Apophis, Indian Vṛṭṛa, Hitt. Illuganka, West Sem. Leviathan, Bab. Tiamat) or as companions and guardians (Egyp. Mehen, Indian Śeṣa) of mighty deities, heroes, or kings. In mythological contexts, hostile ophidian monsters…

Schlange

(864 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Staubli, Thomas
[English Version] I. ReligionsgeschichtlichBeschwörungen gegen Schlangenbiß und Techniken, Sch. zu bändigen, gehören zum Repertoire vieler Rel. Oft wiederholter, kontrollierter Schlangenbiß kann für das Gift unempfindlich machen und erlaubt dessen Nutzung als Arznei. Sch. werden ambivalent beurteilt, je nachdem, ob sie als Feinde (äg. Apophis, indisch Vṛṭṛa, heth. Illuyanka, westsem. Leviathan, bab. Tiamat) oder als Begleiter und Beschützer (äg. Mehen, indisch Śeṣa) mächtiger Gottheiten, Heroe…

Siegel

(878 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Köpf, Ulrich
[English Version] I. Archäologisch S. sind im AO seit dem präkeramischen Neolithikum (um 7000 v.Chr.) bezeugt, zuerst als einfache, runde oder ovale Platten oder als Tierfigur gestaltete Stempel, ab dem späten 4.Jt. (Susa, Uruk) auch walzenförmig als sog. Roll- oder Zylindersiegel (Guter Hirte: I., s. dort Abb.). Letztere hielten sich bis zur Zeitenwende, sind aber auch in Ägypten und im östlichen Mittelmeerraum belegt. In Kulturen mit Papyrus oder Leder als gebräuchlichsten Schriftträgern bevorzug…

Amulet

(1,267 words)

Author(s): Beltz, Walter | Uehlinger, Christoph
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Archaeology I. History of Religions Lat. amuletum (etymologically “giver of power”; Gk φυλακτήριον/ phylaktḗrion) is a term borrowed by religious studies from Patristic usage (e.g. Severus of Antioch, PO 29, 1, 79) to denote objects that people attach to their bodies, clothing, or dwellings to maintain harmony between themselves and the …

Bullae and Seals

(587 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Kalb, Herbert
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Church History and Canon Law I. Archaeology Sealed balls or lumps of clay with a diameter of 1–3 cm were pressed onto strings or knots to keep documents safe and authenticate them (1 Kgs 21:8; Jer 32:10–14; Neh 10:1; Dan 12:4), and to seal vessels, bags (Job 14:17), doors (Deut 32:34; Song 4:12; Dan 14:11,17; cf. 6:18), etc. The use of bulls seems to have begun in Egypt c. 2000 bce (11th/12th dynasties); in Palestine, bulls ranging from the 18th century bce to the Byzantine period have been discovered. Important …

Dragon

(1,730 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Böcher, Otto
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. History of Art I. History of Religions The word “dragon” (from Gk δράκων/ drákōn, “staring one”?) denotes especially snakes and (mostly gigantic) snake-like composite beings with a numinous aura, but also other composite beings (e.g. the Mesopotamian “lion dragon”: RLA VII, 97–99). Dragons have only positive connotations in East Asia, where they appear as kind heavenly beings, providers of rain and light, and guarantors of fertility. Dragons are also known positively in West Asia, especially in the early Sumerian period, as em…

Seal/Stamp

(1,059 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Köpf, Ulrich
[German Version] I. Archaeology Seals are attested in the ancient Near East since the pre-pottery Neolithic (c. 7000 bce), initially in the form of simple round or oval disks or theriomorphic stamps. Beginning in the late 4th millennium (Susa, Uruk), we also find cylinder seals (Good Shepherd: I, fig.). The latter were in use until the end of the first millennium bce, but they are also found in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean region. In cultures where papyrus or leather was the commonest writing material, smaller stamp seals were preferred. In Egypt c. 2300 bce, carved stamp seals ca…

Jewelry

(1,031 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Müller-Clemm, Julia
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Archaeology – III. Bible I. History of Religions Jewelry, attested since the Middle Paleolithic (75,000 bce), is part of the primarily visual repertoire of signs expressing group membership, social roles (such as gender, office, status or function) and identity, and used for communicating hopes, wishes, obligations and the like. Depending on whether jewelry is worn openly or concealed, the positive effect on the person her- or himself, intimate identity or its function…

Schmuck

(887 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Müller-Clemm, Julia
[English Version] I. Religionsgeschichtlich Sch., seit der Mittleren Altsteinzeit (75 000 v. Chr.) bezeugt, ist Teil des primär visuellen Zeicheninventars des Menschen, um Gruppenzugehörigkeit, soziale Rollen (wie Gender, Amt, Status oder Funktion) und Identität auszudrücken, auch Hoffnungen, Wünsche und Verpflichtung zu kommunizieren. Je nachdem, ob Sch. offen oder verborgen getragen wird, steht mehr die positive Wirkung auf die Person selber, die intime Identität oder die Signalfunktion im Vorder…

Composite Beings

(862 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, F.A.M. | Uehlinger, Christoph
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology I. Religious Studies Composite beings are imaginary zoomorphic beings that consist of a combination of animal and human body ¶ parts. In this respect, they are closely related to giants, dwarfs, shape-shifters and animals that behave like humans. Composite beings are products of the human imagination and remain ambiguous as long as they are only represented by imprecise linguistic descriptions. Only those composite beings that become public symb…

Numismatik

(2,484 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Ulrich | Uehlinger, Christoph | Sommer, Andreas Urs | Ilisch, Lutz
[English Version] I. Zum Begriff N. ist die Wiss. vom hist. Geld- und Münzwesen. Namensgebend ist die Münze (griech. n̆ο´μισμα, lat. nummus). Nach ersten Versuchen in der Renaissance etablierte sich die N. spätestens seit Johann Hilarius Eckhel (1737–1798) als moderne Wiss. und entwickelte ein eigenes methodisches Instrumentarium. Ulrich Hübner II. Bedeutung 1.Für die Archäologie Als meist autorisierte offizielle Dokumente haben Münzen durch ihre epigraphischen und ikonographischen Informationen einen hohen hist. Quellenwert für die Kultur-, Rel…

Ivory Carving

(3,777 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Bühl, Gudrun | Kahsnitz, Rainer | Haag, Sabine
[German Version] I. From the Beginnings to the Hellenistic Period – II. Roman Antiquity, Late Antiquity, Byzantium – III. Western Middle Ages to the Gothic – IV. Baroque to the Modern Era I. From the Beginnings to the Hellenistic Period Ivory carving is attested in Egypt from the 5th millennium bce, whence it reached the Levant by the end of the Chalcolithic. Tusks from African and Asian elephants served as the raw materials, in addition to tusks from hippopotamuses who lived in herds in Nubia, Egypt and Palestine (rarely, tusks of wild pig…

Iconography

(6,550 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Güntram | Arnulf, Arwed | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Finster, Barbara | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Iconography and the Bible – IV. Christian Iconography – V. Jewish Iconography – VI. Islamic Iconography – VII. Buddhist Iconography – VIII. Hindu Iconography I. Religious Studies Iconography (Gk εἰκονογραϕία/ eikonographía) originally meant the description of images (Arist. Poet. XV; Strabo XV 1.19), but nowadays is used to refer to the methodical study of images. Where scholars distinguish between iconography, iconology , and iconics (Ger. Ikonik), iconography denotes the description of the object, …

God, Representations and Symbols of

(7,207 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Guntram | Stietencron, Heinrich v. | Kleine, Christoph | Wädow, Gerd
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman World – IV. Religions of India – V. Buddhism – VI. Chinese Religions – VII. Japan I. Terminology Gods manifest themselves in the human world; after the analogy of human beings, they are usually envisioned biomorphically, with ascribed sex and genealogy, as well as varying levels of differentiation and autonomy (Demons, Angels, Spirits). Natural entities felt to be supremely powerful (e.g. mountains, rivers, springs, constellation…

Numismatics

(2,847 words)

Author(s): Hübnerr, Ulrich | Uehlinger, Christoph | Sommer, Andreas Urs | Hübner, Ulrich | Ilisch, Lutz
[German Version] I. Definition Numismatics is the historical science of money and coinage. The name derives from the Greek and Latin words for “coin”: νόμισμα/ nómisma, nummus. Following some pioneering work in the Renaissance, numismatics has established itself as a modern science at least since Johann Hilarius Eckhel (1737–1798), with its own methodological tools.…

Veneration of Images

(6,489 words)

Author(s): Gladigow, Burkhard | Uehlinger, Christoph | Levine, Lee I. | Barrucand, Marianne | Ohme, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Veneration of gods in the form of man-made images (I) is part of the development of human ideas about God. The nature of such images varies widely, from natural objects with little or no human work involved (rocks, posts, trees) to professionally produced works of “art.” For the structure of the idea of God reflected in images, the crucial question is whether they “merely” facilitate epiphany rituals or whether the gods regularly manifest themselves in the images through ritual guarantee, i.e. are made present through them. The answer to this question may also suggest the difference between a figurine and a cultic image. A figurine facilitates worship of the gods, whereas an image is an immediate object of ritual veneration. The notion that a deity is fundamentally present in an image “necessitates” a regular image cult. Invocation, prayer, and sacrifice are not limited exclusively to the image; especially if it is housed in a permanent structure (temple), however, the image provides for them a fixed structure that determines how people conceive the deity. Anthropomorphic and theriomorphic images in particular encourage a mode of veneration reflecting a basic schema of social interaction. Differentiation (sex, size, apparel) and location give rise to cultic forms that are regularly associated with other complexes of the rituals in question. Images are provided with food, washed, clothed, made up – in short, venerated in the manner in which a ruler would usually be honored. As the conception of cultic images as objects of communicative actions would suggest, the actions and reactions …

Symbols/Symbol Theory

(9,049 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Use of the Greek word σύμβολον/ sýmbolon in a sense relevant to religious studies is attested quite early in the history of European religions; Dio of Prusa (1st/2nd cent. ce…

Symbol/Symbole/Symboltheorien

(7,938 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[English Version] I. Religionswissenschaftlich Eine religionswiss. relevante Verwendung des griech. Wortes συ´μβολοn̆/sýmbolon findet sich schon früh in der eur. Religionsgesch., z.B. bei Dion von Prusa (1./2.Jh. n.Chr.) in seiner Rede über die Zeus-Statue des Pheidias in Olympia (Oratio 12,59). Der griech. Symbolbegriff …
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