Real Lexicon for Antiquity and Christianity

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Volumes of the RAC
Open volume of the RAC

The Reallexikon for Antiquity and Christianity ( RAC ) is a encyclopedia that deals with the interaction between early Christianity and paganism and Judaism of antiquity apart sets. It is intended as a “non-fictional dictionary for dealing with Christianity and the ancient world” (subtitle). It is published by Anton Hiersemann Verlag , Stuttgart.


The RAC was founded in 1935 on the initiative of Theodor Klauser , Helmut Kruse and the Dutch Latinist Jan Hendrik Waszink , who were able to get their teacher Franz Joseph Dölger and Hans Lietzmann to collaborate. Their approach was based on the (preliminary) work of Dölger, who had been dealing with the subject of "Antiquity and Christianity" since his doctorate in 1904. Methodologically, it was about an interdisciplinary bundling of the special competencies of the traditional subjects Ancient History , Church History , Classical Archeology , Christian Archeology , Classical Philology and Patristic / Patrology . In 1939 Klauser presented her plan at the Congress for Classical Archeology in Berlin . The majority of the feedback was positive and many important scholars agreed to cooperate. The first delivery finally appeared in 1941. With the exception of the last delivery, Volume 1 could be completed by the end of the Second World War despite all the obstacles . The new beginning after the end of the war turned out to be difficult: Dölger and Lietzmann had died, Kruse gave up his academic career for professional reasons, Waszink, whose family had suffered greatly from the Germans during the war, supported the continuation of the RAC as a German-speaking company cautious about it, Klauser had to take on a variety of tasks in the reconstruction of the science industry in Germany. In addition, many of the manuscripts that Klauser had kept in his apartment in Bonn were destroyed along with the apartment in a bomb attack. The completed first volume of the RAC does not have a publication date until 1950.

When Klauser realized that he could not carry out this project on his own and finish it successfully, he initiated an institution that was to bring it to an end - the Franz Joseph Dölger Institute . The sponsor of the institute, which was located at the University of Bonn and is now part of it, was initially an association. In addition, an expanded editorial board was installed, which included Klauser and the co-founder Waszink, the church historian Bernhard Kötting (another Dölger student), the religious scholar Carsten Colpe and the Graecist Albrecht Dihle . The first volume appeared again in 1950.

When it became clear that the private association could not secure the sponsorship of such a company in the long term, it was converted into a pure sponsorship association and the scientific work was transferred to the remit of today's North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and the Arts . On their behalf, the RAC is being processed today in the Franz Joseph Dölger Institute. This is also the "Institute for Research into Late Antiquity " at the University of Bonn.

Other series of publications of the institute are the yearbook for antiquity and Christianity (JbAC) , its supplementary volumes and the monograph series Theophaneia .

Founder and Editor


Current editor

Former editor


In general, there is a section on antiquity and a section on Christianity for each keyword. Contrary to what one might suspect, the parts of the article that deal with antiquity are independent research on antiquity and not from a Christian point of view.

The lexicon focuses on research into late antiquity and the beginning of the early Middle Ages, as well as the early Byzantine period. The Roman imperial period that preceded late antiquity is also dealt with, if it is thematically necessary. The main question is how the multi-layered, by no means uniform, ancient culture that emerged from the Hellenistic period in the Mediterranean world developed into the late ancient Christian culture of the following centuries. The importance of this question should result from the fact that this late antique Christian culture is a preliminary stage of the medieval and thus partly of today's culture.

Supplements were initially preprinted in the Yearbook for Antiquity and Christianity . Since 1985 there have been supplementary articles in supplementary volumes (RAC Suppl.).

In 2013 the RAC reached the letter N ; Volume 25 ( Mosaic - Nymphaeum ). An average of four deliveries appear annually, so one volume every two years. The articles, which often reach the length of a technical essay, are usually written by leading experts, which is why the lexicon enjoys great authority in the professional world. The RAC can be cited without restrictions .


Publishing year Editor-in-chief content included
part 1 1950 Theodor Klauser A and O - building 1–8
Volume 2 1954 Farmer - Christ Delivered 9-16
Volume 3 1957 Image of Christ - Dogma I. Delivered 17-24
Volume 4 1959 Dogma II - gallery Run 25-32
Volume 5 1962 Endelechius - inventor Run 33-40
Volume 6 1966 Fulfillment - Exitus illustrium virorum Delivered 41-48
Volume 7 1969 Excommunication - curse formulas 49-56
Volume 8 1972 Escape Table (Defixion) - Prayer I. 57-64
Volume 9 1976 Prayer II - Generatianism Run 65-72
Volume 10 1978 Genesis - giant Delivered 73-80
Volume 11 1981 Garland - God's names Run 81-88
Volume 12 1983 Divine show (Visio beatifica) - belt Run 89-96
Volume 13 1986 Theodor Klauser /
Ernst Dassmann
Community of goods - healing gods 97-104
Volume 14 1988 Ernst Dassmann Holy - witch Delivered 105-112
Volume 15 1991 Hibernia - hope Delivered 113-120
Volume 16 1994 Court ceremony - Ianus Delivered 121-128
Volume 17 1996 Iao - Indicatio feriarum Run 129-136
Volume 18 1998 India - Italia II 137-145
Volume 19 2001 Itinerarium - cannibalism Ran. 146-153
Volume 20 2004 Georg Schöllgen Canon I - clothing I. Delivered 154-161
Volume 21 2006 Clothing II - Sign of the Cross Ran. 162-169
Volume 22 2008 War - Lexicon I. Ran. 170-177
Volume 23 2010 Lexicon II - Manes Run 178-185
Volume 24 2012 Manethon - Montanism Ran. 186-193
Volume 25 2013 Mosaic - Nymphaeum Run 194-201
Volume 26 2015 Nymphs - Pegasus Run 202-209
Volume 27 2016 Pelagius - portrait Delivered 210-217
Volume 28 2018 Poseidon - repentance Delivered 218-225
Volume 29 since 2018 Rhetoric - ... Delivery 226 -...

Supplement volumes

Publishing year Editor-in-chief content included
Supplement volume 1 2001 Theodor Klauser /
Ernst Dassmann
Aaron - biography II 1–8


  • Theodor Klauser : The Real Lexicon for Antiquity and Christianity and the FJ Dölger Institute in Bonn. Reports, considerations, guidelines . 2nd ext. Ed., Anton Hiersemann Verlag , Stuttgart 1970, ISBN 3-7772-7014-8 .
  • Ernst Dassmann (Ed.): The Real Lexicon for Antiquity and Christianity and the FJ Dölger Institute in Bonn. With indexes for the keywords A to Ianus and the authors, volumes 1–16 . Anton Hiersemann Verlag, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-7772-9427-6 .
  • Ernst Dassmann: Origin and development of the “Real Lexicon for Antiquity and Christianity” and the Franz Joseph Dölger Institute in Bonn . In: Yearbook for Antiquity and Christianity . No. 40, Aschendorff Verlag , Münster 1997, pp. 5-17.
  • N. Borengässer: Correspondence between Theodor Klauser and Jan Hendrik Waszink 1946–1951. A historical contribution to the continuation of the RAC after World War II . In: Yearbook for Antiquity and Christianity . No. 40, Aschendorff Verlag , Münster 1997, pp. 18-37.
  • N. Borengässer: Helmut Kruse - a denied research life. In: Roman quarterly for Christian antiquity and church history. No. 108, Herder , Rome / Freiburg / Vienna 2013, pp. 145–149.

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