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Heresy

(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…

Secret Societies

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Olupona, Jacob | Hempelmann, Reinhard
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The function of secret societies in traditional cultures (esp. African) is closely associated with a social structure based on age groups; the phenomena in question have therefore been the subject of anthropological and sociological as well as religious study. Traditional secret societies in indigenous cultures are closely linked to the structure of their religious and sociocultural life. These are often associations of men and to some extent women that are of great benefit to the entire society – morally, ¶ judicially, socially, and religio…

Enthusiasm

(1,527 words)

Author(s): Gladigow, Burkhard | Dunn, James D.G. | Hempelmann, Reinhard
[German Version] I. Greco-Roman Antiquity – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics I. Greco-Roman Antiquity In the Greek realm, enthusiasm refers to a person's special relationship to a god, as was made apparent to others. The term offers something like an implicit theory for those alterations of behavior and claim that would otherwise be described as ékstasis or manía (see also Ecstasy). Linguistically, the relationship is encompassed within the bounds of “to enter into a person” ( éntheon eínai), to inspire a person ( empnoeín), or to take possession of a person ( katochḗ, katokōchḗ, Lat. posses…

Christadelphians

(472 words)

Author(s): Hempelmann, Reinhard
Christadelphians (meaning “Christ’s brothers,” with allusion to Heb. 2:11) are fellowships that claim to have kept the early Christian faith in its original and unfalsified form (Primitive Christian Community). They arose from the teachings of John Thomas (1805–71), a doctor who emigrated from England to the United States and who originally joined Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander (Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]; Churches of Christ). In studying Scripture, Thomas concluded that there were…

Temple Society

(450 words)

Author(s): Hempelmann, Reinhard
1. The Temple Society is a small Christian fellowship that was apocalyptic at first but then became interested in social and international reforms. It stands for a Christianity free of dogma; its main concern is setting up the kingdom of God on earth by creating a Christian outlook and a Christian society (first focused on Palestine) under the symbol of the temple (§2; see Eph. 2:21). 2. The society was founded by a Württemberg Pietist (Pietism 2.7), theologian C. Hoffmann (1815–85), and he was closely identified with its early beginning and development. Comin…