Glossary A-H

  • Arian controversy – a debate in the early centuries of Christianity about whether Jesus and God the Father were the same
  • Ark of the Covenant – a golden chest that continued the tablets of stone on which were written the 10 Commandments given to Moses
  • a posteriori – after experience. A type of philosophical argument that starts with evidence and observation
  • Babylonians – a culture from what is now called Iraq, powerful at different times from 1800BC to 500BC; responsible for the conquering of Israel in 597BC
  • Bible – the holy book of Christians
  • Caliph (Khalifa) – successor of Muhammad; disagreements about the right Caliph led to the division of Sunni and Shia Islam
  • contingent – depends on; a contingent being depends on something else for its existence
  • Council of Nicaea – a meeting called by Emperor Constantine in 325 to decide the Arian controversy
  • covenant – an agreement or promise made between God and his people
  • dhimma – protected status given by Muslim rulers to non-Muslims in that country, usually to other ‘people of the Book’, that is, Jews and Christians.
  • diaspora – Jewish communities living outside of Israel; the word means dispersion or exile and can be sued for groups other than Jews
  • Edict of Milan – published under the emperor Constantine in 313, stating the Christian worship was no longer illegal in the Roman empire
  • excommunicate – expelling a member of a community for committing an offence against that community
  • heresy –  a view that is held to be wrong by a community, a view that is outside the teachings of that community.  Someone guilty of heresy is a heretic
  • Hijra – the journey of Muhammad from Makkah to set up a Muslim state in Medina in 622.  The Islamic calendar begins at this date.