Saturday, March 31, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: ProtestantismMartin Luther at age 46 (Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529)
The theological system of any of the churches of western Christendom that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation in the 16th century.

Protestantism is a movement within Christianity, representing the splitting away from the Roman Catholic Church during the mid-to-late Renaissance in Europe —a period known as the Protestant Reformation.

Commonly considered one of the three major branches of Christianity (along with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy); the term "Protestant" represents a diverse range of theological and social perspectives, churches and related organizations.

Originally, "protestant" meant "to be a witness for something" rather than "to be against something", as the current popular interpretation of the word seems to imply. The prefix pro means "for" in Latin. The Latin adjective protestans refers to "a person who gives public testimony for something or who proves or demonstrates something". The term Protestant originally applied to the group of princes and imperial cities who "protested" the decision by the 1529 Diet of Speyer to reverse course, and enforce the 1521 Edict of Worms. The 1521 edict forbade Lutheran teachings within the Holy Roman Empire. The 1526 session of the Diet had agreed to toleration of Lutheran teachings (on the basis of Cuius regio, eius religio) until a General Council could be held to settle the question, but by 1529, the Catholic forces felt they had gathered enough power to end the toleration without waiting for a Council.

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Fulda a stronghold of Catholicism in GermanyCatholicism
Catholicism has two main ecclesiastical meanings, described in Webster's Dictionary as: a) "the whole orthodox Christian church, or adherence thereto"; and b) "the doctrines or faith of the Roman Catholic church, or adherence thereto."

The term Catholicism, derived from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "general" or "universal", is widely understood to refer to the Church, governed by the Bishop of Rome and the bishops in communion with him. However, other Churches that trace their historic episcopate to the apostolic succession — such as the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and the Old-Catholics — consider themselves to be branches of the Catholic Church. Neo-Lutheranism argues that Lutheran Churches are simply a Protestant reform movement that remains within the greater Church catholic.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

The core Religions in the Middle EastTheological Dictionary word of the day: Sunni Muslims
Sunni Muslims are by far the largest denomination of Islam, the second largest being Shia Islam They are also referred to as Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'h (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة) (people of the example (of Muhammad) and the community) which implies that they are the majority, or Ahl ul-Sunna (Arabic: أهل السنة; "The people of the example (of Muhammad)") for short. The word Sunni comes from the word sunna (Arabic : سنة ), which means the words and actions or example of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. They represent the branch of Islam that accepted the caliphate of Abu Bakr due to him being chosen by majority, thus elections, or Shurah, on the caliphate being the first distinguishing factor in Sunni Islam. Most Sunni lawyers define themselves as those Muslims who are rooted in one of the four orthodox schools of Sunni law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii or Hanbali).

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Christianity
Christ with the crown of thorns, 1623, Oil on canvas, 106 cm x 136 cm, Catharijne convent, UtrechtChristianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus, the Christ, as recounted in the New Testament.

With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents, Christianity is the world's largest religion. Its origins are intertwined with Judaism, with which it shares much sacred text and early history; specifically, it shares the Hebrew Bible, known in the Christian context as the Old Testament. Christianity is considered an Abrahamic religion, along with Judaism.

In the Christian scriptures, the name "Christian" and so "Christianity" is first attested in Acts 11:26: "For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people.

And in Antioch Jesus' disciples were first called Christians" (Gr. χριστιανους, from Christ Gr. Χριστός, which means "the anointed").


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Judaism
A Torah scroll, the Torah contains the five books of Moses, which are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, with around 14 million followers (as of 2005). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The values and history of the Jewish people are a major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions such as Samaritanism (see Samaritan), Christianity, and Islam.

Judaism has seldom, if ever, been monolithic in practice, and has not had any centralized authority or binding dogma. Despite this, Judaism in all its variations has remained tightly bound to a number of religious principles. the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to be involved in its governance.

According to Jewish thought, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Jewish people, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. The practice of Judaism is devoted to the study and observance of these laws and commandments, as they are interpreted according to the Tanakh, Halakha, responsa and rabbinic literature.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Islam
Muslims performing salah Islam (Arabic: الإسلام, "submission (to the will of God)") is a monotheistic faith, considered one of the Abrahamic religions, and the world's second-largest religion. Followers of Islam are known as Muslims. Muslims believe that God revealed his divine word directly to mankind through many prophets and that Muhammad was the final prophet of Islam.

In Arabic, Islām derives from the three-letter root Sīn-Lām-Mīm (س-ل-م), which means "submission; to surrender; to obey; peace". Islām is a verbal abstract to this root, and literally means "submission/obedience," referring to submission to Allah.

Compare that root with the cognate word in Hebrew, shalom, which derives from the root shin-lamedh-mem (ש-ל-ם), which has cognates in many Semitic languages, and means completeness, fulfillment, wellbeing, a concept usually encapsulated by translation in the word peace.

The Christian and Jewish faiths do not consider Allah to be the same deity as Yahwey, the God of Israel.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Theological Dictionary word of the day: Isaac
The angel hinders the offering up of Isaac, by RembrandtIsaac (Yitschak or Yitzhak) (יִצְחָק "He will laugh") is the son and heir of Abraham and the father of Jacob and Esau as described in the Hebrew Bible. His story is told in the book of Genesis 25:29-34.

Isaac was named because when his mother, Sarah, overheard that she would bear a child in her old age, she laughed (Genesis 18:10-15, 21:6-7). Some commentators believe that in the Book of Amos there is some suggestion that Israel may actually be another name for Isaac (Amos 7:9, 16) despite the Bible stating that Israel is the later name given to Isaac's son Jacob (Genesis 32:22-28, especially 28).

Isaac was born to Abraham by his wife Sarah, and the only child they had together. He was the longest lived of the three patriarchs (Genesis 21:1-3). Isaac was circumcised by his father when eight days old (Genesis 4-7); and a great feast was held in connection with his being weaned.

The next memorable event in his life is that connected with the story of God testing Abraham by asking him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice on a mountain (Mount Moriah) in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22, current location of The Temple Mount).


Theological Dictionary word of the day: Ishmael
Expulsion of Ishmael and His Mother. Part of Art by Gustave DoréIshmael or Yishma'el (יִשְׁמָעֵאל "God hears or obeys") is Abraham's eldest son, born by his servant Hagar. Ishmael the son of Abraham, is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Genesis as the eldest son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah's female Egyptian maid-servant or slave.
In Islam and the Qur'an, Ishmael is considered one of the prophets.

In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Ishmael's life is described in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 16, 17, 21, 25) and later texts. In Genesis 16 Sarai (Abram's wife) gives him her maid-servant Hagar to bear him children, since she believed that God had kept her from having children (Genesis 16:2).

Hagar became pregnant and despised Sarai (Genesis 16:4) who then expelled Hagar from the home of Abraham in retaliation. Hagar fled from Sarai and ran into the desert, where an angel found her near a spring.