Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Editors: Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan and Lukas Vischer

The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online describes modern-day Christian beliefs and communities in the context of 2000 years of apostolic tradition and Christian history. Based on the third, revised edition of the critically acclaimed German work Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon. The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online includes all 5 volumes of the print edition of 1999-2008 which has become a standard reference work for the study of Christianity past and present. Comprehensive, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and socio-cultural picture in which the Christianity finds itself.

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(3,118 words)

Author(s): Elwert, Georg | Hoppe, Günter | Schweitzer, Friedrich
1. Socioeconomic Development Descriptively, the term “development” denotes historical changes made to produce the form of society desired by its members; normatively, it denotes the structural changes made toward this goal. Whether the development or its basic mechanisms represent progress in some absolute sense is immaterial. In the normative sense, socioeconomic developments are the processes that can bring a poor society closer to its desired form. Politically, various indicators stand in the fo…

Development Education

(725 words)

Author(s): Boerma, Coenraad M.
1. History Development education arose in the 1970s as a relatively independent activity alongside mission and aid. The economic growth of the period, as well as the widening gulf between rich and poor countries (Third World), posed a demand for information as well as assistance. Wrestling with the causes of the gulf would also bring an awareness of existing problems. Working parallel to, and sometimes in conjunction with, such international bodies as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Conf…

Development Services

(7 words)

See Christian Development Services


(2,130 words)

Author(s): Colpe, Carsten
1. Concept 1.1. Gk. diabolos, from which the Eng. “devil” is derived, is the usual LXX translation of śāṭān (adversary). In the NT it is used more in the Greek sense as “accuser” or “slanderer.” By way of the Gothic Bible it was taken over in Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, and German. It has retained its full meaning only as a Christian term, which also refers to the leader and representative of unbelief and heresy (Heresies and Schisms) and to the seducer and perverse paramour of witches (Witchcraft). To this extent, as one might say also of “God” (G. van der Leeuw, Phänomenologie der Religion [4…

Devil’s Advocate

(6 words)

See Promotor fidei

Devotional Images

(233 words)

Author(s): Schilling, Johannes
Devotional images are cultic objects that believers piously venerate in holy places and from which, as representations of the saints (DH 1823), they expect miracles and salvation (Piety). Pilgrimages to devotional images sprang up besides pilgrimages to places of remembrance, graves, and relics of saints. Veneration of Mary, which developed from the 12th century and was promoted by the orders and later by the Counter-Reformation, especially the Jesuits, greatly increased pilgrimages to devotional images, since Mary was not a martyr, and there were no bodily relics of Mary. Devotio…

Devotional Literature

(3,296 words)

Author(s): Mennecke-Haustein, Ute | Bintz, Helmut
1. Term Over the centuries the phrase “devotional literature” has continually expanded its reference, today being used for any kind of literature that helps to promote piety as an overall religious attitude (R. Mohr) or that strengthens the religious aspirations of believers (S. Ringler) or that leads to a fuller life of Christian virtue. In short, it has become an omnibus term for religious writing. 1.1. The first reference of devotional literature was to the works of Pietism. Then by way of Roman Catholic ascetic literature, the term came to be used for the …

Devotion, Devotions

(850 words)

Author(s): Merkel, Friedemann
The term “devotion” denotes the fixing of one’s senses and mind totally on God and the things of God. The pl. “devotions” denotes various private and public exercises aimed at giving a spiritual orientation to life, at enhancing one’s devotion. These may be at set times of the week or of the day (morning ¶ or evening), or they may be customized for specific groups (…

Devotion to Mary

(8 words)

See Mary, Devotion to
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