Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Abbadie, Jacques

(probably 1654–1727). B. Nay, Fr.; exponent of rationalistic-apologetic Calvinism; educ. Saumur and Sedan; pastor Fr. ch. Berlin 1680–88, Fr. ch. London ca. 1689/90–99; dean Killaloe, Ireland, 1699–1717; pastor Marylebone (then near London) 1727.


Originally the title of the superior of certain communities of nuns following the Benedictine rule but later extended to other superiors esp. of the 2d Franciscan Order. See also Abbey.


Monastic house governed by an abbot* or an abbess.* In the Middle Ages the living quarters of the monasteries were usually attached to the abbey ch.


(Abbon; ca. 945–1004). B. near Orléans, Fr.; educ. Paris, Reims, Orléans; taught at abbey of Ramsey, Eng., ca. 985–ca. 987; abbot Fleury 988; scholar, theologian, chronicler; emphasized dialectics; helped prepare way for later scholasticism. Works are source material on papacy during reign of Robert* II. MPL, 139, 375–584.


(from Heb. ab, “father”). The superior in certain communities of monks of the Benedictine family or of certain orders of canons regular. They receive solemn benediction from their diocesan bishop or (if abbot nullius) from any bishop. See also Abbey; Roman Catholic Church, The, C 4.

Abbot, Ezra

(1819–84). Unitarian; b. Jackson, Me.; mem. Am. NT Rev. Co. 1871; prof. Harvard divinity school 1872. Works include The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, which defends the Johannine authorship and shows the relation of Justin* Martyr to this gospel.

Abbot, George

(1562–1633). B. Guildford, Eng.; supported Puritans,* opposed W. Laud*; abp. Canterbury 1611. Helped prepare KJV of NT (see Bible Versions, L 8, 10–11).

Abbott, Lyman

(1835–1922). B. Roxbury, Massachusetts; educ. NYU; pastor Plymouth Ch. (Cong.), Brooklyn, New York, 1890–99. Ed. The Cutlook; coauthor Dictionary of Religious Knowledge; other works include writings emphasizing soc. reform and New Theology (see New Theology, 1). See also United Church of Christ, I A 3.


Persian bp. of Susa; in 414 destroyed a heathen temple and caused a persecution against Christians during the reign of Yazdegerd I.

Abdul Hamid II

(1842–1918). Sultan of Turkey 1876–1909; responsible for Armenian outrages. (see Armenia).

Abdul Masih

(servant of Christ). Name adopted by Sheikh Salih after conversion by H. Martyn* in 1809. First native pastor of CMS in India. Ordained 1823 by Luth. missionaries of the CMS; later ordained acc. to the Angl. rite by R. Heber.*

Abeel, David

(June 12, 1804–September 4, 1846). B. New Brunswick, New Jersey; with E. C. Bridgman* to China 1829 as Am. Seamen's Friend Soc. chaplain at Canton; ABCFM miss. to Batavia 1831; returned to New York 1845. Helped organize Soc. for Promoting Female Educ. in the E. See also Asia, C 4.

Abelard, Peter

(1079–1142; Pierre Abélard). B. Le Pallet (Palais), near Nantes, Fr.; studied under Roscellinus,* William* of Champeaux, Anselm* of Laon; lectured at Melun, Corbeil, and Paris; m. Héloïse secretly; mutilated by her uncle's hirelings; contributed to flowering of scholasticism by using logical analysis to arrive at religious realities; emphasized exemplary love manifested in Christ's death. Works include Sic et non (in which he shows the fathers to be contradictory, ambiguous, or both, thus arousing a critical attitude); Logica ingredientibus; Theologia Christiana; Historia calamitatum. See also Bruys, Pierre de; Conceptualism; Dogmatics, B 2; France, 2; Gottfried, 2; Nominalism; Peter the Venerable; Philosophy; Scholasticism, 3; Tradition; Walter of St. Victor; Wilkens, Cornelius August; William of Saint-Thierry.

J. G. Sikes, Peter Abaelard (Cambridge, 1932); D. W. Robertson, Abelard and Heloise (New York, 1972); MPL, 178.


(Abelians; Abelonians). Small Afr. sect described by Augustine* of Hippo (De haeresibus, 87); married but practiced continence.

Abelly, Louis

(1602–91). RC theolo; b. Paris, Fr.; opposed Jansenism* and Gallicanism.* Wrote Medulla theologica.

Abercius, Inscription of.

Epitaph of Abercius Marcellus of Hierapolis, Phrygia Salutaris, near Synnada (d. ca. 200), discovered by W. M. Ramsay* 1883. Earliest monument mention of the Eucharist. See also Anatolia.

J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, II i (London, 1885), 477–485.

Abgar, Letters of.

Letters supposedly exchanged by king (or toparch) Abgar V of Edessa* (4 BCAD 50) and Jesus. Abgar, according to the legend, requested Jesus to heal him, and Thaddaeus or Addai* was sent by Thomas after the ascension (Eusebius, HE, I xiii; II, i, 6–7). See also Apocrypha, C 4; Valla, Lorenzo.


1. The Vedic rite of sprinkling rulers and officials. 2. The 10th Buddhist stage of perfection. 3. Hindu ceremonial bathing.


Solemn renunciation of (1) heresy, (2) rights of pretender to Eng. throne, (3) specific RC doctrines (required by Charles II of Eng.).


The cleansing of the celebrant's mouth (since the 5th c.) and of his fingers and the chalice (since the 9th c.) after Communion to insure that all of the consecrated species has been consumed. The practice persisted in the Luth. Ch. after the Reformation.


Termination of pregnancy before independent viability of the fetus is attained. The practice has gen. been condemned by Christians, e.g., by syns. of Ancyra* and Elvira.* In many parts of the world, medical codes and civil laws regard willful abortion as a criminal act. Yet therapeutic abortion (when the mother's health, life, or reason is endangered) is permitted in most countries. Many non-RC moralists and theologians approve this practice. RC moral theol. condemns abortion as an end in itself but allows operations for other purposes that may also result in abortion. References to abortion are found in works on ethics.* Part of the oath of Hippocrates* reads: “… especially I will not aid a woman to procure abortion.”

Abraham a Sancta Clara.

Monastic name of Ger. preacher Hans Ulrich Megerle (1644–1709); educ. by Jesuits and Benedictines; held high positions in order of barefooted Augustinians; a forceful preacher, appealing to popular fancy. Works include Auf, auf, ihr Christen (against Turks); Judas der Erzschelm (an imaginary autobiography); Grammatica religiosa (a compend of moral theol.).

Abraham Ecchelensis

(or Echellensis, or Ekchellensis) (perhaps ca. 1599/1605–1664). B. Eckel (or Ekchel, or Hekel), (Mt.) Lebanon, Syria; educ. Maronite Coll., Rome; taught Oriental languages at the Coll. of the Propaganda (founded by Urban* VIII) at Rome and at the Collège royal at Paris. Works include writings on Oriental languages and ecclesiastical literature.

Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie Ecclésiastiques, I (1912), 169–171.

Abrahams, Israel

(1858–1925). B. London, Eng.; educ. Univ. Coll., London; reader in Rabbinic literature, Cambridge; leader of “Liberal Judaism”; studied Christian origins in their relation to Rabbinic background.

Abrahamson, Laurentius Gustav

(Lars; March 2, 1856–November 3, 1946). B. Medáker, Swed.; brought to US 1868; educ. Augustana Coll. (Rock Island, Illinois) and Theol. Sem.; ordained Augustana Syn. 1880; pastor Altona and Wataga, Illinois, 1880–86; Chicago, 1886–1908; ed. Augustana (official Augustana Syn. Swed. organ), 1908–40;


Archaic form of the word “renunciation.*”


(or Axel) (ca. 1128–1201). B. on the island of Sjaelland (Zealand; Seeland), Den. Soldier, statesman; abp. Lund 1178.


(from Lat. for “set free,” “complete”). That which is self-sufficient. Philosophers use the term in various ways. G. W. F. Hegel* applied it to the totality of the real. In cosmogony it is applied to the First Cause. Christians have applied the term to God. See also Oversoul.


(from Lat. absolvo, “loosen, release”). In gen., a setting free from guilt, sin, or penalty; forgiveness. In particular, the formal act of a clergyman in which, by virtue of his office and in the name and stead of Christ, he pronounces forgiveness of sins upon those who have confessed their sins, affirm their faith in Christ, and promise to amend their lives. The Biblical basis is Mt 16:19; 18:18; Jn 20:19–23. In the primitive ch. (3d c. on) scandalous sinners who had been under pub. discipline received absolution at the time of their reconciliation to the ch. From the 5th c. on, notably in monastic communities, absolution was imparted privately. From the 10th c. on in the W a pub. confession spoken by or in the name of the worshiping cong. was sometimes followed by absolution. While recognizing that private confession was a human (although highly praiseworthy and useful) institution, the Luth. Ch. retained individual absolution (normally after private confession) as “the very voice of the Gospel” and declared that it would be impious to abolish it. (AC XI; Ap XI 2; SA-III VIII; SC V). Ap XIII 4 calls it a genuine sacrament along with Baptism and the Sacrament of the Altar. FC SD XI 38 teaches that the individual can infer God's saving will toward him from private absolution. In a grace emergency, when a clergyman cannot be had, a layman can act for the whole ch. in absolving a penitent (Tractatus 67). In some parts of the Luth. Ch. the confessor imparts individual absolution to the penitents by laying hands on each one after the group of penitents has spoken a gen. confession of sins together. While the gen. practice in the Luth. Ch. is still to administer absolution to all the penitents present at a pub. service, the old Luth. practice of private confession and individual absolution, which had disappeared almost wholly by the end of the 19th c., is slowly gaining ground again. The formula of absolution implied by Scripture (e.g., Mt 16:19; 18:18; Jn 19:23) and the Luth. Symbols and in common use in the Luth. Ch. is indicative (“In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins …”). Until the 15th c. the precative form (“May God forgive you all your sins …”) was almost universal; this form, still in exclusive use in E Christianity, is used in the Luth. Ch. (as will as in the RC and Angl. communions) as a less formal kind of absolution. Absolution is usually, although not necessarily, a part of the preparation for receiving the Sacrament of the Altar.

The RC Ch. uses the name “absolutions” for a ceremony that follows a requiem mass either in the presence of the body of the departed is not present, also on the 3d, 7th, and 30th days after the death, and on the anniversary. It includes prayers for the dead. During the Lord's Prayer the body, or the coffin or catafalque, is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. The ceremony originated in the Middle Ages. ACP

See also Keys, Office of the.


1 In theol. this word is used in reference to God's absolute sovereignty, esp. as exhibited in predestination.* 2. In philos. it is an alternate name for absolute idealism, with emphasis on complete reality as belonging only to the absolute. 3. In politics the term refers to the view that absolute power is to be vested in rulers.


Denial of appetites; expressed in non-indulgence, e.g., in certain food and drink and sexual intercourse. Examples of abstinence from certain food: Lv 3:17 11; Nm 6:3–4. The NT gives everyone liberty acc. to the dictates of conscience* and love regarding abstinence in adiaphora* (Acts 15; Ro 14:1–3; 1 Co 8), condemns legalism (1 Ti 4:3–4), and enjoins abstinence from all that has the appearance of evil (1 Th 5:22). See also Asceticism; Chastity; Monasticism.

“Abstract of Principles.”

Statement of faith adopted by Southern Bap. Sem., Louisville, Kentucky, 1859 and Southeastern Bap. Theol. Sem. 1950. Its 20 articles treat fundamental doctrines and affirm the universal as well as the local ch.


(“Father of the virgin”; the name occurs in several forms, including Abu Bekr; 573–634). Muhammad's* father-in-law and successor. See also Caliph; Shi'ites.


(full: abu-Hanifa[h] al-Nu'man ibn-Thabit; 699–767). B. (Al) Kufa(h), Iraq; perhaps Persian; founded Hanafi(tes), one of the 4 orthodox (or Sunnite) schools of Muslim law; regarded by orthodox as infallible interpreter of the Koran. See also Sunnites.

Abu Qurra, Theodorus

(Abukara; 740–820). Bp. Kara (or Harran, or Haran). Pupil of John* of Damascus. Works include apologetics against Judaism and Islam.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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