Christian Cyclopedia

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Dept. of theol. that deals with the work of home missions as administered by pastors and deacons. See also Theology.


(Ger. Diakonus; related to “deacon”). Term used variously in reference to a pastor, 2d pastor, supply pastor, asst. minister, preacher, and deacon. Related Ger. terms: Pfarrverweser; Prediger.


(5th c.). Bp. Photice, Epirus. Works include homily on ascension; 100 Capita Gnostica on the way of spiritual perfection.

MPG, 65, 1139–1212.


(from Gk. dialektos, “discourse”). Theory and practice of logical analytic thought and discussion. Aristotle* held that Zeno* of Velia (Elea), It., discovered the dialectic method. But Heraclitus used a dialectic method before Zeno. He held that law and harmony in the universe exists because opposites are halves of one and the same thing. Dialectic as the art of debating is usually assoc. with Socrates.* Plato* used the dialectic method to analyze ideas. Aristotle held that the purpose of dialectics is to examine the foundations of science. He distinguished bet. dialectical reasoning (which proceeds syllogistically) and demonstrative reasoning (which begins with primary premises). As a result of the Stoics' division of dialectics into logic and rhetoric, dialectic was, till the end of the Middle Ages, regarded as synonymous with logic or as part of it. G. W. F. Hegel* held that all reality is divided into opposite poles, and that truth must be sought through thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. K. Marx* applied dialectic to soc. theories, holding that every class calls into being an opposite class (rulers — subjects; capital — labor), and that progress results from the struggle. (See also Dialectical Materialism). I. Kant* used the dialectical method to show that criteria applied to phenomena cannot be applied to the Ding an sich. K. Barth (see Switzerland, Contemporary Theology in) operated with the dialectical method inasmuch as he showed opposite poles in the “yon-side” and the “this-side” (God — man; eternal — temporal); the synthesis in Barth's thinking does not rise per se from opposite poles but comes from the “yon-side.” See also Dialectical Realism; Dialectical Theology; Historicism, 3. EL

Dialectical Materialism.

School of philos. founded by K. H. Marx* and F. Engels*; holds that matter (nature) is real in its own right, apart from supernatural source. The term “dialectical” refers to dynamic interconnectedness of things and to the radical character of the universality of change. Its basic hypotheses: law of interpenetration, unity, and strife of opposites; law of transformation bet. quantity and quality; law of negation of negation, i. e., each stage of development resolves the contradictions in a preceding synthesis. See also Evolution, III.

Dialectical Realism.

Name given by W. Temple* to the procedure whereby one begins with the natural process, traces it to the highest level (spirit), and turns back and interprets the unity of the whole process in terms of spirit.

Dialectical Theology.

Term used to describe the theol. method of K. Barth* (see Switzerland, Contemporary Theology in), who stressed that God is transcendent, the “Wholly Other,” so that He cannot be characterized in some simple formula. Statements about God must perhaps be paradoxical, with each affirmation balanced by a negation to do justice to God's infinite transcendence. See also Brunner, Heinrich Emil: Neoorthodoxy; Niebuhr, Reinhold.

Diamper, Synod of.

Held 1599 at Diamper (or Udiamperur), India; Port. pressure brought Syrian Christians temporarily into RC Ch. as Malabar Uniate Ch. See also India, 6; Malabar Christians; Uniate Churches.


1. Jews living outside the borders of the Holy Land. 2. Scattered Christians. 3. Luths. living in non-Luth. regions. See also Gustav-Adolf-Verein; Gotteskasten.


(Gk. “through four”). Harmony of the 4 Gospels written to make a continuous narrative; esp. applied to that of Tatian,* written probably ca. 150/160; a part of the Syriac text was discovered in the Brit. Museum 1957. See also Apocrypha, C 2; Harmony of the Gospels, 1.

Diaz, Juan

(d. 1546). B. Cuenca, Sp., native town of A. and J. de Valdes*; studied theol. 13 yrs. at Paris; converted to Lutheranism by J. Enzinas (see Enzinas, Francisco de); to Geneva 1545; cordially received by J. Calvin*; friend of M. Bucer* at Strasbourg; accompanied Bucer to the 1546 Regensburg* Conference; settled in Neuburg, Bavaria, where he pub. Christianae Religionis Summa. His brother Alfonso, an officer at the papal court, tried to persuade him to return to RCm failing, Alfonso had Juan killed. Charles* V and Paul* III did not press charges against Alfonso, since he had killed a heretic. Alfonso later committed suicide.

E. Boehmer, Spanish Reformers of Two Centuries from 1520, I (Strasbourg, 1874), 185–216; M. Bataillon, Érasme et l'Espagne (Paris, 1937), pp. 551 ff., 1st Span. ed., Erasmo y España, tr. A. Alatorre, II (Mexico, 1950), 98–100; G. Gutbrod, Römische Bruderliebe: Eine Geschichte aus der Reformationszeit (Leipzig, [1890]). WGT

Dibble, Sheldon

(January 26, 1809–June 22, 1845). ABCFM miss. to Hawaiian Is. B. Skaneateles, New York; educ. Hamilton Coll. and Auburn Theol. Sem.; ordained and sent to Hawaii 1830; stationed at sem. at Lahainaluna 1836. Tr. part of OT Other works include a hist. of Hawaii and of phases of its missions; textbooks on grammar, natural hist., and sacred hist. in Hawaiian language.

Dibelius, Friedrich Karl Otto

(1880–1967). B. Berlin; cousin of Martin Franz; educ. Berlin; pastor Crossen on the Oder, Scot., Danzig, Lauenburg (Lebork; in Pomerania), Berlin; gen. supt. of the Kurmark; dismissed from all offices by Nazis 1933; a leader of the Bekennende Kirche (see Kirchenkampf); ev. bp. Berlin 1945; pres. EKD council 1949; pres. WCC 1954. Works include Das Jahrhundert der Kirche; Vom Erbe der Väter; Grenzen des Staates; Vom ewigen Recht.

Dibelius, Martin Franz

(1883–1947). Ger. theol.; b. Dresden; prof. Heidelberg 1915; specialist in early Christian hist.; belongs to the Formgeschichtliche Schule (see Isagogics, 3), but holds that the Passion narrative was essentially a continuous account from earliest times. Works include commentaries; Die Formgeschichte des Evangeliums; Urchristentum und Kultur; Die Botschaft von Jesus Christus; Evangelium und Welt; Botschaft und Geschichte; Paulus (Eng. tr. F. Clarke, Paul); Jesus (Eng. tr. C. B. Hedrick and F. C. Grant, Jesus).

Dictatus papae.

Document dictated or drafted by a pope; esp. 3 letters and 27 theses on the supremacy of the pope and RC Ch., ascribed to Gregory VII (see Popes, 7), but contested as to authenticity and hist. and pol. significance.

Didascalia Apostolorum.

Ancient Christian writing; mixture of moral and ecclesiastical instruction; probably written in Syria in the 3d c.

Diderot, Denis

(1713–84). “Pantophile”; Fr. philos.; educ. by Jesuits; became deist, then materialist. finally pantheistic naturalist; forerunner of positivism*; as ed.-in-chief of the Encyclopédie he greatly influenced the Enlightenment.* Works include polemics against Christianity. See also Deism; Encyclopedists; Freethinker; Materialism; Naturalism; Pantheism.


of Alexandria (ca. 313–ca. 398). Blind from age 4; leader of catechetical school in Alexandria. Works include De Trinitate; De Spiritu Sancto; Contra Manichaeos; commentaries.

MPG, 39, 131–1818.

Dieckhoff, August Wilhelm

(1823–94). Ger. Luth. theol.; b. Göttingen; d. Rostock; prof. Göttingen and Rostock; wrote against J. C. K. v. Hofmann* and A. Ritschl*; in the controversy on election and conversion he sided with the opponents of the Mo. Syn. Wrote esp. on the hist. of Luth. doctrine.

Diedrich, Julius

(1819–99). Seceded from the Prussian* Union to join the Breslau* Syn. because of differences on polity; he and 6 other pastors withdrew from the Breslau Syn. and formed the Immanuel Syn. 1864.

Dieffenbach, Georg Christian

(1822–1901). Ger. Luth. theol. and poet. B. Schlitz, Hesse; educ. Giessen and Friedberg; taught at Darmstadt; vicar Kirchberg and Vielbrunn; asst. pastor Schlitz 1855, chief pastor 1873. Helped found Evangelische Konferenz-hauptsächlich für die Lutheraner in der Landeskirche 1876. Issued Für unsere Kleinen, an illustrated monthly. 1884–98. Contributed to liturgical literature.

Diehl, Wilhelm

(1871–1944). Pastor Darmstadt and Hirschhorn 1895; prof. Friedberg sem. 1913; pres. Hesse state ch. 1920, prelate 1923; deposed for pol. reasons 1933; historian of Hesse-Darmstadt. Works include Hassia sacra.

Diekamp, Franz

(1864–1943). RC Thomistic theol.; patrol.; prof. Münster. Works include 3-vol. dogmatics.

Dies dominica

(Lat. “Lord's day”). Ecclesiastical term for Sunday.

Dies irae

(Lat. “day of wrath”). Medieval sequence,* or hymn, ascribed to Thomas* of Celano; opening words drawn from Zph 1:15 (Vulgate); expresses hope of redemption through Christ. See also Millennium, 4.


1. Heinrich van (1595–1673). B. Altona, Ger.; educ. Herborn and Heidelberg; Ref. pastor Emmerich 1624; prof. Heb. and theol. Harderwijk 1627, Deventer 1629; follower of J. Cocceius.* 2. Samuel van (1631–94). Son of Heinrich; Ref. theol.; educ. Deventer, Leiden, and Utrecht; prof. Duisburg, Harderwijk 1664, and Deventer 1681; follower of Cocceius; opposed Cartesianism.*

Diesterweg, Friedrich Adolf Wilhelm

(1790–1866). Ger. educ.; introd. J. H. Pestalozzi's* educ. ideas and methods into Ger. Works include Wegweiser zur Bildung für deutsche Lehrer.


The diet (deliberative assembly) of the Holy Roman empire originated in the Frankish annual spring meeting of all degrees of men, to deliberate on military matters and other great affairs of state, with the king presiding. By the time of Charlemagne* there had also developed a smaller body composed of lay and clerical leaders. The imperial diet (Reichstag) of the Middle Ages arose from this smaller body and was composed of lay and clerical princes (Fürsten) of Ger. (sometimes from It.). Seven electors (the abps. of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne; the king of Bohemia; the count palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony, and the margrave of Brandenburg) became a separate element of the diet (finalized by the Golden* Bull of 1356). In the last half of the 13th c. representatives of imperial and episyc. towns were added to the diet. It dealt with such matters as taxes, legislation, and military expeditions. Its acts as compiled and enunciated at its close were called “recess” (Reichsabschied).

After the Peace of Westphalia* (1648), which acknowledged Ger. as a confederacy of sovereign princes, the diet was a congress of envoys. The N Ger. confederation (1867–70) had a Bundesrat (congress of envoys) and a Reichstag (elected representatives), an arrangement continued in the constitution of Ger. after 1870.

Dietenberger, Johannes

(ca. 1475–1537). B. Frankfort on the Main; mem. of Dominicans*; present at Augsburg 1530; among those chosen to refute the AC; prof. Mainz 1532; tr. Bible into Ger. See also Bible Versions, M.

Dieterich, Albrecht

(1866–1908). B. Hersfeld, Ger.; prof. classical philol. Giessen 1895, Heidelberg 1903; adherent of Religionsgeschichtliche* Schule.

Dietrich, Christian

(1844–1919). B. Gschwend, Ger.; dir. Evangelisches Töchterinstitut, Stuttgart. Works include Die Privaterbauungsgemeinschaften der evangelischen Kirchen Deutschlands; ed. Philadelphia Organ für Gemeinschaftspflege.

Dietrich, Fritz

(1905–ca. 1945). B. Pforzheim, Ger.; Luth. musicologist. Works include articles on organ works of J. S. Bach*; Geschichte des deutschen Orgelchorals im 17. Jahrhundert.

Dietrich, Johann Konrad

(Conrad Dieterich; 1575 to 1639). B. Gemünden on the Wohra, Ger.; chaplain Marburg 1600; deposed and exiled by the Ref. govt. for staunch Lutheranism 1605; prof. and dir. Giessen; supt. and dir. Ulm. Works include Institutiones catecheticae, an exposition of M. Luther's* catechism, tr. into Ger. by F. W. A. Notz*; a shorter ed., long used in Ger. and Eng. tr. by the Ev. Luth. Synodical* Conf. of N. Am.

Dietrich, Sixt(us)

(ca. 1492–1548). B. Augsburg, Ger.; Luth. composer; a number of his chorale-based works were pub. by G. Rhau.*

H. Zenck, Sixtus Dietrich (Leipzig, 1928).

Dietrich, Veit

(1506–49). B. and d. Nürnberg; educ. Wittenberg; M. Luther's* secy. 1527; with Luther at Marburg 1529 and at Coburg 1530 (see Lutheran Confessions, A 2); private instructor; mem. Wittenberg philos. faculty; pastor Nürnberg 1535; attended 1546 Regensburg* Conference; involved in pol. of Schmalkaldic* War; removed from office 1547; opposed Interim* in Nürnberg. Works include Summaria über die ganze Bibel; Agendbüchlein; joint author with Luther of Hauspostille. See also Luther, Table Talk of; Medler, Nikolaus.

Dietrichson, Johannes Wilhelm Christian

(April 4 [or August 23], 1815–November 14, 1883). Luth. cleric; b. Fredrikstad, Norw.; educ. Christiania (Oslo); ordained February 26, 1844; to Am. later in 1844; organized congs. in Wisconsin; to Norw. 1845 and persuaded some pastors to come with him to Am.; returned to Norw. 1850, held 2 pastorates, and served as postmaster at Porsgrund 1876–82. Works include Reise blandt de norske emigranter i “De Forenede nordamerikanske fristater” (Travels among the Norwegian Emigrants in “The United North American Free States”).

Dietrich von Niem

(Nieheim; Nyem). See Niem.

Diets, Lutheran, in America

(December 27–28, 1877; November 5–7, 1878; December 27–29, 1898). Free assemblies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of clergy and laity of various syns.; purpose was educational. At the first two, ca. 100 pastors and as many laymen attended; none officially represented a particular Luth. body; papers read and discussed were later pub. in 2 vols. The 3d was called “The First General Conference of Lutherans in America.” Similar conferences were held 1902 and 1904. See also United Lutheran Church in America, The, I.

First Free Lutheran Diet in America, ed. H. E. Jacobs (Philadelphia, 1878); Second Free Lutheran Diet in America, eds. W. M. Baum and J. A. Kunkelman (Philadelphia, 1879); The First General Conference of Lutherans in America, preface by H. E. Jacobs (Philadelphia, 1899).


Theory in anthropology which holds in contrast to the theory of evolution* that cultural similarities prove hist. contact.


Equalitarian group of Levellers* led by Gerrard Winstanley (1609–52). Fl. 1649–50. Cultivated common lands in protest against private property.

Dilfeld, Konrad Georg

(Conrad Dielefeld; d. 1684). B. Nordhausen, Ger.; defender of the Luth. confessions, esp. against pietism. Works include Theosophia Horbo-Speneriana (see also Horb, Johann [es] Heinrich) against P. J. Spener's* view that only the converted could effectively teach and administer the sacraments.

Dilherr, Johann Michael

(1604–69). B. Themar (near Meiningen), Ger.; prof. Jena 1631; dir. gymnasium at Nürnberg 1642; pastor St. Sebald ch., Nürnberg, 1646; wrote commentary on Jb for Das Weimarische* Bibelwerk; hymnist.

Diller, Michael

(ca. 1500–70). Little known about early youth; matriculated Wittenberg 1523; prior Augustinian monastery at Speyer ca. 1530. Began preaching justification by faith, but did not engage in polemics. The city council, recognizing the need of regular services for people who had broken with Rome, appointed him pastor 1538 and protected him against pressures from his superiors. When Charles* V came to Speyer (1541, 1544, 1548), Diller left. Introd. Communion under both kinds 1543. During the Interim* was in Switz. Chaplain of Count Palatine Ottheinrich 1553. The count became elector, and Diller went with him to Heidelberg 1556; helped write Heidelberg and Baden ch. orders and took part in ch. visitations 1556; attended Consultation of Worms* 1557; elector Frederick* III (1515–76), who succeeded Ottheinrich 1559, retained Diller as adviser. In the controversies of the times he followed a mediating course; rebuffed by T. Hesshus,* he sided more and more with the Reformed, e.g., at the 1564 colloquy at Maulbronn; appeared little in pub. during last 6 yrs. of his life; d. Heidelberg. WGT

Dilliger, Johann

(Dillinger; 1593–1647). B. Eisfeld, Ger.; to Magdeburg 1611; entered Wittenberg U. 1618; to Coburg 1625; pastor Gellershausen 1633; deacon St. Moritz, Coburg, 1634; composer.

Dillmann, Christian Friedrich August

(1823–94). B. Illingen, Ger.; ev. Biblical scholar and orientalist; prof. Tübingen, Kiel, Giessen, and Berlin; known for work on the Ethiopic Bible and commentaries on OT books.

Dilthey, Wilhelm Christian Ludwig

(1833–1911). Ger. hist. and philos.; prof. Basel, Kiel, Breslau, Berlin; student of biography; constructed new methodology and interpretation of soc. and culture.

Held that in natural sciences we are spectators describing phenomena without entering into their inner essence; in human sciences we know the subject matter from the inside and can describe the reality of its process and content. The individuality of human sciences is overcome by the common structure of the human spirit expressed in “objective mind,” that is, all things belonging to civilization and culture (e.g., instruments, towns, laws, literature, art, language).

Religion is a manifestation of metaphysical consciousness which seeks solutions for enigmas of life. Metaphysical systems can be divided into 3 worldviews: naturalism,* objective idealism,* idealism of freedom (subjective idealism).

Works include Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften; Das Wesen der Philosophie; Der Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geisteswissenschaften; Das Leben Schleiermachers.

See also Historicism, 4; Philosophy.

H. A. Hodges, The Philosophy of Wilhelm Dilthey (London, 1952); W. Kluback, Wilhelm Dilthey's Philosophy of History (New York, 1956); W. Dilthey, Gesammelte Schriften, 12 vols. (Berlin, 1914 to 1936; reissued Göttingen and Stuttgart, 1957 to 1960). EL

Dimitrij of Rostov

(Danilo Touptala; Daniil Savic Tuptalo; 1651–1709). E. Orthodox hagiographer; opposed raskolniks*; metropolitan of Serbia 1701, Rostov 1702.

Ding an sich

(thing-in-itself). Term used by I. Kant* to denote the real objects that underlie phenomena and exist outside of consciousness, in distinction from phenomena (appearance) by which they become perceptible to the senses.

Dinsmore, Charles Allen

(1860–1941). Am. Cong. minister; lecturer at Yale U. Divinity School 1920; Dante scholar. Works include The Teachings of Dante; Aids to the Study of Dante; Life of Dante; Atonement in Literature and Life.

Dinter, Christian Gustav Friedrich

(1760–1831). Ger. cleric and educ.; pastor at Kitzscher, near Borna, 1787; dir. normal school, Dresden, 1797; pastor Görnitz 1807; mem. of consistory and of educ. council, Königsberg, Prussia, 1816; prof. theol. there 1817. Works include Schullehrerbibel; Die vorzüglichsten Regeln der Katechetik.


(Gk. dioikesis, “housekeeping; administration”). Territory administered by a bishop* normally assisted by lesser clergy; usually divided into parishes.

The word “diocese” was originally used in the Roman empire for an administrative subdivision. In the reorganization of Diocletian* and Constantine* I the empire was divided into 12 (later 14) “dioceses” of which provinces were subdivisions.

The ecclesiastical use of “diocese” was derived from the civil, beginning in the 3d-4th c. Originally ecclesiastical dioceses tended to correspond to civil units also beyond the territory of the empire. But once established, the area of dioceses tended to remain fixed despite civil change. The word became prominent for the territory of a bp. in the 9th c. and was used interchangeably with paroecia or parochia (Lat. for Gk. paroikia, “parish”) until the 13th c. Thereafter “diocese” is the territory of a bp. and “parish” is a subdivision thereof.

See also Cathedral; Curia, 2 f; 3; Eparchy.


(Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; Jovius; ca. 245–313 [some say 316]. Father-in-law of Galerius*; Roman emp. 284–305; coemperor with Maximian* from 286; inst. longest and most severe of the early persecutions* of Christians. Abdicated.

Diodati, Giovanni

(1576–1649). Calvinist theol. of noble It. extraction; pastor Geneva; prof. Heb. and theol. Geneva; attended Syn. of Dordrecht* 1618 to 1619; tr. Bible into It. and Fr.

Diodorus of Tarsus

(Diodore; d. ca. 392). Bp. Tarsus 378; a leader of the Antioch school (see Schools, Early Christian, 4); fought Arianism*; opposed Apollinaris* of Laodicea; condemned as Nestorian 499 (see Nestorianism). See also Patristics, 6.

Diogenes of Babylonia

(or of Seleucia). See Stoicism.


(2d or 3d c.). Addressee of Epistle to Diognetus; identity not est. See also Apologists, 9; Apostolic Fathers, 7; Christian Church, History of the, I 2.


See also Denis.


(3d c.) Pope 259–268 (some say 260–267); reorganized Roman ch. after Valerian persecution; sent help to ch. of Caesarea when it was invaded by barbarians; accepted defense of Dionysius* of Alexandria against charges of tritheism.*

MPL, 5, 99–136.

Dionysius Exiguus

(fl. 1st half of 6th c.). Scythian monk; computed probable dates of great events in world hist., esp. that of the birth of Christ; introd. the division of world hist. into periods BC and AD, which is still used, though several yrs. in error (i. e., Christ was born several yrs.BC”); made a collection of canon law. See also Anno Domini; Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals, 1 a; Time.

Dionysius of Alexandria

(Denis; ca. 190–ca. 264). “The Great.” B. of heathen parents; pupil of Origen*; head of catechetical school at Alexandria (see Schools, Early Christian, 1) ca. 232; bp. Alexandria ca. 247; fled ca. 250 in Decian persecution (see Persecution of Christians, 4); returned ca. 251; banished in Valerian persecution 257 (see Persecution of Christians, 4); returned 260. Involved in controversies. Readmitted lapsed into the ch. Opposed Sabellianism and Paul* of Samosata. Accused of tritheism* but defense accepted by Dionysius* of Rome. Athanasius defended his orthodoxy. Works include On Nature (against materialism* of Epicureanism*) and On the Promises (against Chiliasm; see Millennium, 3). See also Monarchianism, B 6.

MPG, 10, 1233–1344 and 1575–1602.

Dionysius of Corinth

(fl. ca. 170). Bp. Corinth. Works include letters dealing with dogmatic, ethical, exegetical, polemical, and disciplinary topics written to chs. in Lacedaemon, Rome, Athens, Nicomedia, Pontus, and Crete.

Eusebius, HE, II, xxv, 8; IV, xxiii, 10–12.

Dionysius the Areopagite.

1. Converted by Paul at Athens (Acts 17:34); tradition regards him as the 1st bp. Athens (Eusebius, HE, III, iv, 11; IV, xxiii, 3). 2. Unknown author (ca. AD 500), long identified wrongly with Paul's convert. Works include The Celestial Hierarchy; The Divine Names. Called “Pseudo-Areopagite” and “Pseudo-Dionysius.” See also Angels, Good, 5.

Dionysius the Carthusian

(1402–71). Also called Denys van Leeuwen, or de Leeuwis, after his family name, and Denys van Rijkel (Rickel, Ryckel) after his birthplace in Belgian Limburg. Called “Doctor ecstaticus”; mystic; theol. Works include commentaries on books of the Bible; editions of the fathers; books on moral theol.; homilies.


(Dioscurus; d. 454). Patriarch of Alexandria 444–451, as successor of Cyril* of Alexandria; supported Eutyches*; deposed, but not condemned as heretic, by council of Chalcedon* 451; exiled. See also Coptic Church, 1; Ephesus, “Robber Synod” of.


(Dioscurus; d. 530). Antipope; b. Alexandria; deacon; emissary to Theodoric* the Great; prominent in delegation to Constantinople that ended the Acacian* schism; antipope to Boniface II (b. Rome; pope 530–532) September 22–October 14, 530.


Branch of archaeol. that deals with such ancient writings as literary and public documents, letters, charters, and decrees, esp. with regard to their decipherment, authenticity, signatures, and dates.

Dippel, Johann Konrad

(1673–1734). Ger. physician, alchemist, and Pietist theol.; lived for a time in the Neth., Altona (Den.), and Swed. Works include Ein Hirt und Eine Heerde; most of his writings were pub. 1747 under the title Eröffneter Weg zum Frieden.


Lists of names of those included in special pub. prayers in RC and E Orthodox chs. The term is derived from the 2-leaved folders on which the names were written. Reading of the names in the canon* of the mass led to the term “canonization.*”

Dircksz, Willem

(d. 1525). Lived in Utrecht, Neth.; martyred for Luth. views, antipapalism, sacramentarianism.


Technical name for the Office of the Dead derived from the antiphon “Dirige Domine Deus meus in conspectu tuo viam meam” (Ps 5:8) in the 1st nocturn of the office. More commonly the word means a lyrical or musical composition expressing grief.

Discernment of Spirits.

Gift possessed in apostolic times whereby the sources of prophecy (divine, human, or demonic) were discerned (1 Co 12:10; 1 Jn 4:1). It was a gift needed at a time when many false prophets were in the world (2 Jn 7). Later (by Ignatius [see Apostolic Fathers, 2] and in the Didache [see Apostolic Fathers, 8]), rules for judging prophets were given.


1. One who receives instruction from another, accepts doctrines of another, and implements and spreads them. In Scripture the word is used for a follower of a prophet (Is 8:16), of Jesus (Mt 5:1; 8:21), of John the Bap. (Mt 9:14), of the Pharisees (Mt 22:16). 2. One of the 12 apostles (Mt 10:1; 11:1; 20:17). 3. Adherent of a school (e.g., in theol., philos., pol., and art). 4. Mem. of the Disciples* of Christ.

Disciples of Christ

(Christian Churches [Disciples of Christ], International Convention; name changed 1968 to Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]). Am. religious body organized to restore primitive Christianity and to unite all Christians on the basis of the Bible alone.

1. Antecedents. Though the Disciples originated in Am., similar movements arose at ca. the same time in Scot., Ireland, Eng., and Wales. a. J. Locke* emphasized that Christians should unite on the basis of such teachings as the Holy Spirit has in Scripture declared, in express words, to be necessary for salvation. b. The Glassites (Glasites), founded by John Glass (Glas; 1695–1773), opposed connection of ch. with state and sought to conduct affairs of the ch. after the primitive Christian pattern; also known as Sandemanians (Robert Sandeman, 1718–71, son-in-law of Glass, modified teachings of the group). A similar movement was led by Robert Haldane (1764–1842; Cong. evangelist and author) and his brother, James Alexander Haldane (1768–1851; 1st Cong. cleric in Scot.). The chs. in these movements were often called Churches* of Christ. See also Scotland, Reformation in, 4.

2. History.

a. T. Campbell* formed the Christian Association of Washington, Pennsylvania, 1809, and wrote Declaration and Address, regarded as the Magna Charta of the Disciples.

b. A. Campbell* joined his father Thomas 1810 and soon led the movement, headquarters at Brush Run, Pennsylvania; the Brush Run ch. joined the Redstone Bap. Assoc. of Pennsylvania 1813 and led a reform movement in the Bap. Ch.; as a result of disagreements, the Baps. excluded the followers of the Campbells, who repudiate the name Campbellites.

c. Chs. with the simple name “Christian” originated 1801 in the Cane Ridge Camp Meeting, Kentucky They adopted principles similar to those of the followers of the Campbells (emphasis on primitive Christianity, autonomy of the local cong., and the spiritual indep. and competence of the laity). By 1832 the Christian Churches under B. W. Stone* had merged with the main current of the Disciples.

d. The followers of the Campbells joined the Mahoning Bap. Assoc. 1823. W. Scott* (1796–1861) began his work in the Assoc. 1827; his formula for salvation: 1. faith (persuasion based on rational evidence); 2. repentance; 3. baptism by immersion; 4. remission of sins; 5. gift of the Holy Spirit and eternal life. He regarded the first three as within human power, the last two as works of God. The reform movement led to the separation bet. the followers of the Campbells and the Baps. that began before 1830 and was completed ca. 1833; because it was a gradual process involving various groups, the beginning of the Disciples as such cannot be dated precisely. During the following yrs. the Disciples continued to grow, without organization and without headquarters, and developed a sense of unity. Need for consolidation came to be felt, but first efforts at it met resistance in antipathy against human organizations. The 1st nat. conv. met Cincinnati 1849 and created the Am. Christian Miss. Soc.; but most miss. work continued to be done by individuals and local groups.

e. 1860–75 may be called “the era of controversy” in the hist. of the Disciples. The group passed through the Civil War without division, but questions, e.g., of open communion, instrumental music, creeds, clergy, and miss. socs. caused dissension. Later a group of conservatives withdrew because of their opposition to miss. socs. and instrumental music.

f. Succeeding yrs. were marked by expansion, organization of miss. socs. (merged 1920 into the United Christian Missionary Soc.), and federation.

3. Doctrine. Since their fundamental purpose is to restore in faith, spirit, and practice the Christianity of Christ and the apostles, the Disciples endeavor to avoid all ecclesiastical terminology, creeds, and ch. names not found in the NT Their position and message are set forth in T. Campbell, Declaration and Address, which advocates Christian unity, regards creeds as useful for instruction but not as tests of fitness for membership, holds the NT to be a perfect const. for worship, discipline, and govt. of the NT ch., and holds full knowledge of revealed truth unnecessary for membership; A. Campbell, The Christian System; P. Ainslie,* The Message of the Disciples for the Union of the Church; and Isaac Errett (1820–88), Our Position. The Disciples define the Trin. as the revelation of God in a 3-fold personality. They deny total depravity and the election of grace as contrary to reason. Christ is viewed as King with universal authority and leadership; the distinction bet. Law and Gospel consists in rejecting the binding character of the OT and making the NT the perfect const. for the worship, discipline, and govt. of the NT ch.; baptism by immersion is viewed as an act of obedience for the remission of sins; the Lord's Supper is celebrated every Sunday as a memorial feast. In recent yrs. liberalism has gained the upper hand among the Disciples.

4. The polity of the Disciples is cong. The local ch. is usually called “Christian Ch.” The chs. unite in dist. and state convs., but these are advisory. The Internat. Conv., composed of individual mems. of the chs., meets annually and is advisory.

5. Bacon Coll., est. 1836 at Georgetown, Kentucky, moved 1839 to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, subsequently became Transylvania Coll., Lexington, Kentucky; Bethany Coll., Bethany, West Virginia, was est. 1840; Butler U., Indianapolis, Indiana, grew out of Fairview Academy, est. 1843.

6. The Disciples have played a prominent role in interdenom, movements.

See also Christian Union; Foreign Christian Missionary Society; United Church of Christ, I B; Voliva, Wilbur Glenn.

W. E. Garrison and A. T. DeGroot, The Disciples of Christ (St. Louis, 1948); J. DeF. Murch, Christians Only (Cincinnati, 1962); O. R. Whitley, Trumpet Call of Reformation (St. Louis, 1959); see also entries under Religious Bodies (US), Bibliography. of. EL

Disciplina arcani

(Lat. “discipline of the secret”). Term used since the 17th c. for the withholding of certain parts of Christian teaching and worship from pagans and from catechumens till the last stages of their preparation. Some scholars find an approach to this practice in some NT books (e.g., Rv). Justin* Martyr seems not to know the practice but there may be traces of it in the ch. order ascribed to Hippolytus* of Rome. The most extensive use occurs in the era of mass conversions after the end of the persecutions AD 313 (see Persecution of Christians, 4). At this time it included the rites, ceremonies, and statements of the significance of Baptism and Holy Communion, and such liturgical forms as the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. The arcane discipline disappeared almost wholly in the 5th c. ACP

Discipline, Books of.

1. The 1st Book of Discipline was drafted 1560 at Edinburg on govt. request by J. Knox* et al.; Dealt with doctrine; sacraments; abolition of idolatry; ministers and their lawful election; provision for ministers; rents and patrimony of the ch.; ch. discipline; election of ch. officers; gen. ch. policy. Signed by some nobles but not ratified by the Privy Council. See also Presbyterian Churches, 1. 2. The 2d Book of Discipline was drawn up in the 1570s by A. Melville* et al. Dealt with relation bet. ch. and state; province, duties, relations, and election of ch. officers; operation of Ch. of Scot. Gen. Assem., syns., and presbyteries. Sanctioned and endorsed by Gen. Assem. but never received full civil recognition. 3. For other disciplines see Methodist Churches, 2; Presbyterian Confessions, 3.

Discipline, Church.

In its ecclesiastical sense the word “discipline” denotes actions partly of a penal and partly of a reformatory nature directed against one who has offended against ch. law or morality. Discipline existed in the ch. in early and medieval times. At the beginning of Lent those convicted of notorious sins were put to pub. penance for their spiritual benefit and as warning to others. When the papacy was at its height, excommunication was a weapon so formidable that even powerful kings quailed at the thought that it might be directed against them. In the Ch. of Eng. excommunication has given place to the commination service on Ash Wed. In Presb. chs., discipline is exercised by the session, an appeal being allowed to the presbytery or syn. and thence to the Gen. Assem. In the constitutions of the Ref. chs. of Am. (e.g., Ger. and Dutch) the principles and rules of discipline laid down are very similar to those of the Presb. Ch. In the Luth. Ch., discipline is administered by the local cong. on the basis of the Word of God (Mt 18). In the M. E. Ch., discipline is by admonition, followed by trial and expulsion if convicted; appeal is allowed to a judicial conf. and thence to the gen. conf. See also Keys, Office of the; Penitential Discipline; Polity, Eccelesiastical; Western Christianity 500–1500. 8.


Relaxation of a law in a special case by the legislator or another authorized by the legislator to dispense. By the 5th c. AD dispensations were granted by bps. of Rome and, to a more limited extent, by other bps., councils, and priests. By the late Middle Ages the right of dispensation belonged to the pope. This view was upheld by the Council of Trent.* Dispensations in specific instances from universal laws are regarded as necessary in a just administration.

In RCm, the pope, as vicar of Christ, has communicated to him the right to dispense from all ecclesiastical laws and self-imposed obligations (vows, oaths). The ch. cannot dispense from ius naturale or ius divinum. The pope delegates some of his dispensing rights to bps. and other officials. A sufficient cause is required for a dispensation from a superior's law to be both valid and licit. Dispensation is void if a false statement has been made in securing it. A bp. can dispense from his own laws and those of his predecessors. Vicars-gen. have the ordinary dispensing power of bps. The parish priest by his own ordinary right can dispense in particular cases from the observance of fasting, abstinence, holy days, and certain diocesan statutes.

Henry VIII abolished the pope's dispensing power in Eng. and conferred it in restricted form on the Abp. of Canterbury 1534. In 1838 the right was restricted still more.

F. Suárez, Tractatus de legibus ac de Deo legislatore (Coimbra, Port., 1612); J. Brys, De dispensatione in lure canonico praesertim apud decretistas et decretalistas usque ad medium saeculum decimum quartam (Brugge, Belgium, 1925); M. A. Stiegler, Dispensation, Dispensationswesen und Dispensationsrecht im Kirchenrecht (Mainz, 1901); W. J. S. Simpson, Dispensations (London, 1935); E. M. Riley, The General Norms of Dispensation (Washington, 1939). EL


The Scofield Reference Bible, which advocates dispensationalism, defines a dispensation as “a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.” Elements of millennialism are found in Jewish opinions in OT times and in some early Christian writers. Among the forerunners of modern millennialism: the Shakers* and J. N. Darby (see Brethren, Plymouth). Modern dispensationalists divide the hist. of man into 7 dispensations, the last constituting the millennial reign of Christ on earth. They hold that in previous dispensations God and Christ could not carry out the divine plan for mankind because of man's perversity and that God will therefore test man's obedience in a final dispensation. Premillennialists say that because of man's disobedience in gen. and the Jews' obstinacy in particular, Christ was unable to fulfill many Messianic prophecies, e.g., that of the reest. of the throne of David, conversion of the Jews, and building of His kingdom. Therefore He founded only the ch. as the kingdom of God during His first coming and awaits the est. of His own kingdom at His 2d advent, at the beginning of the final dispensation. In this final period of God's special revelation the Jewish race will accept Christ as its king, est. a glorious kingdom in Palestine, and rule with Christ 1,000 yrs. All nations will recognize Christ's sovereign rule. In support of these vagaries many premillennialists appeal to the theory that God's will is revealed in 7 dispensations, and that as God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th, so the hist. of man must comprise 6 periods of labor and 1 of rest. Prominent dispensationalists, e.g., C. I. Scofield* and W. E. Blackstone,* see in the number 7 the sacred rock on which their whole Scripture interpretation seems to be built. Levitical worship, they say, revolved about the week. There was a “week of weeks” (Lv 23:15–16), a “week of months” (Lv 23:27–28), a “week of yrs.” (Lv 25:4), and a “week of weeks of yrs.” (Lv 25:8–12). All millennialists assume that 2 Ptr 3:8 (“one day is … as a thousand years”) applies in prophecy. Dispensationalists therefore claim that each day of the creation week prophetically typifies a corresponding 1,000 yrs. in world hist. But they are not agreed in fixing the chronology of the “world-week.” Some divide the hist. of man into 7 periods of 1,000 sun yrs. each. The yr. 6,000 since the creation is said to be imminent, and the beginning of the world-Sabbath may be expected momentarily. Some say that each dispensation begins with catastrophe and ends with new revelation, even as in Gn 1 evening is mentioned before morning. Most hold that every dispensation begins with revelation and ends with catastrophe (the latter as punishment for man's disobedience), some dispensations being relatively short, others long.

The most popular theory identifies these dispensations: 1. The state of innocence, ending with the fall. 2. Man is governed by conscience, proves unfaithful again, and is punished by the Flood. 3. The period of civil govt., Gn 9:6, ending with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. 4. God revealed the messianic promise to the patriarchs; the destruction of Pharaoh shows the inadequacy of this dispensation. 5. In the Mosaic period God revealed Himself as the covenant-God; the crucifixion was the catastrophic end of this period. 6. We are in the period of grace (also called the period of mystery because of Rom 16:25; Eph 3:3–6; Cl 1:24–27), in which Christ reveals Himself through the Gospel; this period will end with the great tribulation and the 2d coming of Christ, the judgment of the nations as to their attitude toward Christ's brethren (the Jews), and the destruction of Antichrist. 7. The dispensation of manifestation, the millennium, corresponding to the Sabbath of creation week; it is to last 1,000 yrs.; but even in this period not all will obey; the world-Sabbath will end with judgment at the white throne and the destruction of Satan and the earth, Rv 20:11–15; the believers will now enter heaven and the unbelievers eternal destruction. FEM

See also Millennium.

O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia, 1945); C. N. Kraus, Dispensationalism in America (Richmond, Virginia, 1958); C. B. Bass, Backgrounds to Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960); W. E. Cox, An Examination of Dispensationalism (Philadelphia, 1963); C. C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago, 1965).

Displaced Persons.

People deported or forced to leave their native land by war or persecution. After WW II, chs. gave much attention to material and spiritual needs of displaced persons.

Disselhoff, Julius August Gottfried

(1827–96). B. Soest, Westphalia; educ. U. of Halle; ev. theol.; T. Fliedner's* helper at Kaiserswerth institute for deaconesses; after Fliedner's death, dir. his institutions.


(from Lat. dissentire, “to disagree”). In its broadest sense, one who disagrees in matters of opinion or belief; hence one who departs from an est. or state ch.

Gen. refers to a mem. of a religious body in Eng. which has separated from the Est. Ch.; usually restricted to the Prots. (e.g., Presbs., Congs., Baps., Quakers) referred to in the Act* of Toleration of 1689 (which did not include RCs and Unitarians). See also Puritans.

Because the term acquired a contemptuous connotation it was replaced by “nonconformist.*” Later groups not assoc. with state or est. chs. were called “free chs.

See also Conventicle.

Distler, Hugo August

(1908–42). B. Nürnberg; composed choir and organ music; organist in Lübeck (St. Jacobi) 1931, Stuttgart 1933, Berlin 1940. Works include Mörike-Chorliederbuch. See also Passion, The.

L. Palmer, Hugo Distler and His Church Music (St. Louis, 1967).

Diterich, Johann Samuel

(1721–97). B. Berlin; pastor Berlin; advocated a rationalism that left room for revelation; hymnist.


An occult art practiced extensively in ancient and modern times; claims ability to discover the will of the gods, to forecast the future from certain indications and auguries, and to decide from phenomena of an alleged supernatural kind the correct course of action to be followed in a given instance. The power of divination was often ascribed to persons in an abnormal state of mind, either ecstasy or demoniac* possession; but it was usually assoc. with the office of priests, who used such objects as waves of the sea, twigs of trees, intestines of animals, and flames of fire, and such phenomena as motions of stars and planets, movements of fish, and casting of lots.

Divine Comedy

([Divina] Commedia). See Dante Alighieri.

Divine Liturgy.

Regarded as the chief and crowning service by the E Orthodox Ch. Divided: 1. Credence, in which the eucharistic elements are prepared on the prothesis* (side table); 2. Liturgy of the Catechumens, in which the cong. by Psalms and other Bible passages, sermon, and hymns prepares for the sacramental act; 3. Liturgy of the Faithful, from which catechumens and unbaptized persons are excluded and in which the faithful receive the Lord's Supper.

Liturgical services: 1. That of James (oldest and longest) is rarely celebrated, perhaps only at Jerusalem; 2. That of Basil, shorter than that of James, used 10 times a yr., esp. in Lent; 3. That of J. Chrysostom,* still shorter, the most usual; 4. That of the Presanctified, shortest, used on Wednesday and Friday in Lent (in RCm only on Good Friday), with elements consecrated on preceding Sunday.

Divine Right.

Theory of kingship according to which the right to rule inheres by divine inst. in the person of the king and his heirs to the throne; advocated in Eng. esp. by the Stuarts. See also Roman Catholic Church, The, D 2.

Divine Science.

New* Thought group. Its principles and practice were worked out by 3 sisters from Denver, Colorado: Althea Brooks Small, Fannie Brooks James, and Nona Lovell Brooks, with Malinda E. Cramer of San Francisco, California Divine Science Coll., Denver, was inc. 1898, and the 1st Divine Science Ch., Denver, founded 1899. In 1957 many Divine Science chs. and colleges organized the Divine Science Federation International.

Dix, Gregory

(George Eglinton Alston Dix; 1901–52). Angl. liturgical scholar; Benedictine monk; works include The Shape of the Liturgy, which popularized liturgical study.

Dix, William Chatterton

(1837–98). B. Bristol, Eng.; educ. Grammar School, Bristol, for a mercantile life; hymnist. Hymns include “Come unto Me, Ye Weary”; “As with Gladness Men of Old.”

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

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