Religion Past and Present

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning†, Bernd Janowski and Eberhard Jüngel

Religion Past and Present (RPP) Online is the online version of the updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide: the peerless Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (RGG). This great resource, now at last available in English and Online, Religion Past and Present Online continues the tradition of deep knowledge and authority relied upon by generations of scholars in religious, theological, and biblical studies. Including the latest developments in research, Religion Past and Present Online encompasses a vast range of subjects connected with religion.

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(192 words)

Author(s): Bangert, Michael
[German Version] A nunnery that followed the constitutions of the Cistercians in addition to the Benedictine rule (Benedict, Rule of), although it was not incorporated into the order. It was founded in 1229 as the burial place of the counts of Mansfeld, near their home castle. In 1235, it was relocated to Rodarsdorf and in 1258 to Helfta, a village in the vicinity of Eisleben. The restricted number of canonesses were recruited from the local nobility. Under the able and independent-minded leadersh…

Helgesen, Poul

(203 words)

Author(s): Lausten, Martin Schwarz
[German Version] (Paulus Helie; c. 1485, Varberg [then Denmark, now Sweden] – c. 1535), Bacc.Theol., priest, lecturer in the Carmelite College and at the University in Copenhagen, and a provincial. He was extremely critical of Scholasticism, while maintaining that the Roman Church was the sole way to salvation. The Church, however, was in need of reform with the aim of “a unity of devout theological doctrine and a devotion shaped by it.” As a student of Erasmus, Helgesen acknowledged elements of L…


(207 words)

Author(s): Langer, Otto
[German Version] Old Saxon poetic account of the life of Jesus, c. 840. It consists of approx. 6,000 alliterative long lines, transmitted in two almost complete manuscripts (9th and 10th cents.) and three fragments. According to the praefatio of a lost manuscript transmitted in a copy by M. Flacius (1562), the sponsor was Ludouicus piissimus Augustus (Louis the Pious [814–840] or Louis the German [843–876]?). The place of origin cannot be determined, and the poet remains anonymous. His treatment of sources and knowledge of theologi…


(5 words)

[German Version] Sun


(5,978 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph | Houtman, Cornelis | Frankemölle, Hubert | Lang, Bernhard | Sparn, Walter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Judaism – VII. Islam – VIII. Buddhism – IX. Contemporary Art I. Religious Studies 1. Hell as a place of retribution in the afterlife for those who continually transgress the religiously sanctioned rules of their community is not specifically Christian or monotheistic. But it is also not an idea that springs automatically from the question of how the dead exist (Death). Although hell was long viewed as a…


(3,230 words)

Author(s): Timpe, Dieter | Känel, Rudolf | Veltri, Giuseppe | Wyrwa, Dietmar | Lilie, Ralf J.
[German Version] I. Definition – II. Historical Expansion I. Definition Hellenism as a periodization concept goes back to J.G. Droysen, who gave a positive assessment of the amalgamation of Greek and Near Eastern cultures, seeing this as a characteristic feature of the period and as a precondition for Christianity. Thus, instead of a negative judgment of the period equaling it with a time of decline, its distinct character was highlighted in the definition of the concept. The Greek usage (ἑλληνισμός/ hellēnismós, for the assimilation of non-Greeks to the Greek language an…

Hellenistic Philosophy

(385 words)

Author(s): Hülser, Karlheinz
[German Version] Hellenistic Philosophy, designation for the philosophy of the period stretching from Alexander the Great's death (323 bce) to the death of Cleopatra (30 bce). In spite of this blanket definition, it is taken to apply not to all philosophies of this period but rather to Epicureanism, Stoicism, and the ubiquitous skeptic tradition (Skepticism). The first direction of philosophy is representedin particular by Epicurus; the most prominent representatives of the Stoics were Zeno of Citium and Chrysippus of S…

Hellenistic Religions

(982 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas
[German Version] are thus named after the historical period known as Hellenism. The term refers to the religions practiced in the various states of the Hellenistic world. As a classification of religious history, it proves as problematic as the periodization concept from which it is derived. For a long time, its attractiveness was based on an implicitly assumed and, from the 18th century, explicitly applied decadence model (Archaism) in the periodization of history. This model postulated that the …


(435 words)

Author(s): Marguerat, Daniel
[German Version] The rare term “Hellenists” appears in the Acts of the Apostles and in a number of patristic texts from the post-Nicean period. It is derived from the verb ἑλληνίζειν/ hellēnízein and designates a group that belongs to the Greek culture. The Lukan usage is not entirely clear: Luke applies the term sucessively to a Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1), to Jews that are hostile to Paul (Acts 9:29), and to the non-Jewish population of Antioch (Acts 11:20); however, his intention throughout is to emphasize …

Hellenization of Christianity

(435 words)

Author(s): Wyrwa, Dietmar
[German Version] Awareness of the hellenization of Christianity as a historical phenomenon in the Early Church first arose in the period of Humanism and the Reformation and was already subject to contrary evaluations then, as is evident from the comments of Erasmus (exemplary importance of cultural blending for the revival of Christian piety), of G. Budé (emphasis on the differences for fear of a relapse into paganism) and Melanchthon (a demand to preserve the purity of the gospel in view of the i…

Hellmund, Egidius Günther

(312 words)

Author(s): Sträter, Udo
[German Version] (Aug 6, 1678, probably in the region of Neunheilingen near Langensalza – Feb 6, 1749, Wiesbaden). After studying in Jena and Halle, where he aligned himself with the Pietism of A.H. Francke, Hellmund was a Saxon-Weimarian military chaplain in the War of the Spanish Succession (1700–1707), then adjunct pastor in Berka/Werra, pastor in Daaden, Westerwald (1708), and pastor in Wetzlar (after 1711). Confronted with the vigorous hostility of his anti-Pietist colleague, J. Geibel and th…

Helmbold, Ludwig

(185 words)

Author(s): Bunners, Christian
[German Version] (Jan [Feb] 13, 1532, Mühlhausen – Apr 8, 1598, Mühlhausen), poet and theologian. Helmbold worked as professor and dean at the university in Erfurt, and simultaneously as the co-rector of the Protestant Ratsgymnasium. Ousted by Catholic forces in 1570, he worked in his home town as teacher, pastor, and, after 1586, as superintendent. Helmbold's life and poems manifest a vital, self-defensive Lutheranism, centered around the theology of justification and based on the Bible and doctrine. Helmbold cast the ¶ Lutheran catechism, the Augsburg Confession and the Su…

Helmold of Bosau

(129 words)

Author(s): Hauptmann, Peter
[German Version] (c. 1120 – post 1177). Helmold worked in eastern Holstein from 1143, after attending the cathedral school in Braunschweig, and as pastor in Bosau on the Plöner See (from 1156). Between 1163 and 1172, he composed, from the notes of Adam of Bremen, oral tradition and his own experience, his Chronica Slavorum which covered the time period up to 1170. In it, despite clear partisanship, he reports vividly and generally reliably the Christianization and Germanization of the Slavs settled east of the lower Elbe (Slavic missions). His wor…


(791 words)

Author(s): Wappmann, Volker
[German Version] 1. Johann Baptist van (Jan 12, 1579, Brussels – Dec 30, 1644, Brussels) was a Flemish physician and a natural philosopher. Helmont regarded himself as the co-founder of a medicine based on the foundations of natural philosophy and epistemology. His skepticism of traditional authorities corresponded to a high regard for methodical experiments “with fire.” Helmont attributed revelatory status only to the Bible and individual mystical experience, but also borrowed from the Platonic and N…

Helmstedt, University of

(623 words)

Author(s): Mager, Inge
[German Version] On Oct 15, 1576, the Academia Julia was founded as the first Protestant university in northern Germany and on the sole basis of an imperial privilege granted by Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1568–1589). It was shut down by Jérôme Bonaparte in the spring of 1810. Until 1634, the quite generously endowed university stood under the patronage of Wolfenbüttel, becoming an institution of the Guelphs from 1635 to 1745, thereafter belonging to the newly founded house of Brauns…


(728 words)

Author(s): Strohm, Theodor
[German Version] is a key anthropological concept that at all times has defined the way human beings live together and that has been shaped by religion. In the biblical tradition, it is taken for granted that believers are willing to help. This is based on the religious traditions and moral laws not only of the Judaism of the Hellenistic period ¶ but also of the ancient Near East, in which both private ethics and public or royal ethics were grounded. Plato, for example, distinguished between material, bodily, professional, and legal help. For him, in addi…

Helsinki, University of

(288 words)

Author(s): Kvist, Hans-Olof
[German Version] Helsinki, University of, dedicated on Jul 15, 1640 as the Royal Academy in Åbo in Turku, it was reopened on Oct 1, 1828 in the new capital city of Helsinki and named the Kejserliga Alexanders-Universitetet (Imperial Alexander University of Finland). Since 1919, the university bears the name University of Helsinki. It has nine faculties (theology, law, medicine, humanities, natural sciences, education, agriculture and forestry, and veterinary medicine) with a total of 32,327 studen…

Helt, Kaspar

(159 words)

Author(s): Blázy, Árpád
[German Version] (Casper Helth, Hung. Gáspár Heltai) (c. 1515, Cisnădie [Ger. Heltau], Romania – 1574, Cluj-Napoca [Ger. Klausenburg], Romania), humanist, reformer, author (founder of the Hungarian literary language), translator, publisher (after 1550 more than 200 vols.). The Transylvanian Saxon (Transylvania) finished his studies in Wittenberg (1542/1543). Nevertheless, he was initially a Catholic priest in Klausenburg, where he introduced the Reformation in 1544. He was a man of great energy wh…

Helwig, Christoph

(129 words)

Author(s): Friedrich, Martin
[German Version] (Helvicus; Dec 26, 1581, Sprendlingen – Sep 10, 1617, Gießen), educationalist, orientalist and theologian, and professor at Gießen (1605). Helwig became known through his many textbooks on grammar, poetry and history, meant, first, to secure Lutheran orthodoxy (I, 2.a). After 1612, he was a zealous proponent of W. Ratke's “new style of teaching” and developed his approaches into a universal grammar. His major theological interest was missions to the Jews (Jewish Missions), which he sought to advance with writings on talmudic and rabbinic literature. Martin Friedr…


(103 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred
[German Version] As a technique of divination/manticism, day-selection is a practice that assumes that specific days are auspicious or inauspicious for carrying out certain actions. Hemerologies containing lists of such days have come down to us from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the cultures of Classical Antiquity, and Judeo-¶ Christian tradition, as well as from the Chinese and Aztec cultures. Manfred Hutter Bibliography M. Kalinowski, “Les traités de Shuihudi et l'hémérologie chinoise à la fin des Royaumes-Combattants,” T'oung Pao 72, 1986, 175–228 C. Leitz, Tagewählerei. …
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