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Abaddon

Abaddon

The name given to a satanic angel in Revelation 9:11, who appears as king of a horde of hellish locust-monsters sent to plague rebellious humankind. The Greek translation of the name is ho Apollyon (the Destroying One). In the OT ʾăbaddôn occurs several times as an epithet of Sheol or Hades and literally signifies "destruction" (the verb ʾābad means "to become lost, be destroyed"). It occurs, for example, in Psalm 88:11: "Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in [the place of] Destruction (ʾăbaddon)?" (similarly Prov. 15:11; 27:20; Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12).

G. L. Archer Jr.

See also Baal-zebub; Satan.

Abba

Abba

Occurs three times in the NT: Mark uses it in Jesus' Gethsemane prayer (14:36), and Paul employs it twice for the cry of the Spirit in the heart of a Christian (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). In each case it is accompanied by the Greek equivalent, ho pater (father). Abba is from the Aramaic abba. Dalman (Words of Jesus, 192) thinks it signifies "my father." It is not in the LXX. Perhaps Jesus said only "Abba" (HDCG 1:2), but Sanday and Headlam think that both the Aramaic and Greek terms were used (Romans [ICC], 203). Paul's usage suggests that it may have become a quasiliturgical formula.

R. Earle

See also Father, God as; God, Names of.

Bibliography. O. Hofius, NIDNTT 1:614-21; J. Jeremias, Central Message of the New Testament; New Testament Theology; Prayers of Jesus; G. Kittel, TDNT 1:5-6; HDCG 1:1-3; A. J. MacLean, HDCG 1:1-3; T. M. Taylor, "'Abba Father' and Baptism," SJT 2:62-71.

Abelard, Peter

Abelard, Peter (1079-1142)

Philosopher, theologian, and teacher, Peter Abelard lived in constant turmoil and confrontation with authority. Born in Brittany, he studied with some of the most respected theologians of his day and eventually became the brightest intellectual star of the Cathedral School of Paris. But for his tragic love affair and marriage with the beautiful and talented Héloise, he undoubtedly would have been the dominant thinker of the century.

Philosophy. During Abelard's time, the ruling doctrine of universals was that of Boethius (d. ca. 524), who considered them to be realities. This traditional realism was then under attack by nominalists, who looked upon universals simply as words. Abelard worked out a moderate realism that avoided the dangers and salvaged the strong points of both nominalism and extreme realism. He accomplished this by demonstrating the logical consequences of some important distinctions, such as that between the word that stands for the thing, the thing itself, and the concept of the thing in the mind. Thus, universals are not mere sounds or words, as the nominalists held, nor are they things-in-themselves, as extreme realists thought. Rather, they are concepts in the mind that have an objective reality derived from a process of mental abstraction. Abelard's philosophy placed universals in a distinct category of reality, so that God was not a universal nor were particulars the only reality.

Theology. Abelard's view of the atonement is usually called the moral influence theory. He rejected the position set forth by Anselm in the previous generation that the satisfaction made by Jesus was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, arguing instead that God had forgiven sins as an unqualified act of grace before Christ came. In contrast to Anselm, Abelard declared that God is love and had voluntarily assumed the burden of suffering brought on by human sin. This act of God's grace—taken freely and without any demand for compensation for sin—awakens in people gratitude and love for God. In Jesus Christ, the God-man, individuals see what they should be, by contrast are brought to a realization of their sin, and by God's love as seen in Jesus are won to a response that releases new springs of love, resulting in right conduct. In this fashion, the forgiven sinner becomes a truly new creation.

Abelard's important Sic et Non (Yes and No). written around 1120, in which he participated in the main philosophical dispute of the time over the role of faith and reason in theology, suggested several seminal methodological innovations and demonstrated the inadequacy of extracts from the church fathers then used for significant theological work. In Sic et Non he listed 158 theological propositions and cited the authorities affirming and denying each one, thus emphasizing that merely quoting authorities was methodologically insufficient. Instead, students had to apply their own intellectual skills to the question and to the opinions about it. In short, Sic et Non suggested that reason must play as large a role as revelation and tradition in determining truth. This method made Abelard the main representative of a new school of speculative theologians and prepared the way for the work of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Thus Abelard was one of the pioneers of medieval scholasticism.

During the latter part of Abelard's life, Bernard of Clairvaux accused him of misleading students and employing unorthodox theological methods. In 1141 several of Abelard's teachings were condemned by the Council of Sens. He appealed to the pope, but died in 1142 near Cluny on his way to Rome.

R. D. Linder

See also Atonement, Theories of; Nominalism; Realism; Scholasticism.

Bibliography. P. Abelard, Historia Calamitatum (Story of My Misfortunes). J. T. Muckle, trans.; E. Buytaert, ed., Peter Abelard; É. Gilson, Héloise and Abelard; L. Grane, Peter Abelard; R. Lewis et al., Pierre Abelard; D. E. Luscombe, School of Peter Abelard; J. R. McCallum, Abelard's Christian Theology; A. V. Murray, Abelard and St. Bernard; R. Pernoud, Héloise and Abelard; B. Radice, ed., Letters of Abelard and Héloise; K. M. Starnes, Peter Abelard: His Place in History; H. Waddell, Peter Abelard.

Abolitionism

Abolitionism

Movement in America and Western Europe to abolish the slave trade and slavery. The term was often applied to those urging immediate (instead of gradual) emancipation of slaves.

By the end of the seventeenth century slavery was legally recognized in Britain's American colonies. Throughout the eighteenth century, however, there were increasing questions about its morality, coming from both religious leaders and secular thinkers influenced by the Enlightenment's emphasis on personal liberty. Some of the strongest opposition came from Quakers, who by the late eighteenth century had banned slaveholding by members. In Great Britain, William Wilberforce, who was deeply influenced by evangelical Christianity, vigorously led the successful fight in Parliament to abolish the slave trade (1807). In 1808 the importation of slaves became illegal in the United States, and many hoped slavery would eventually die out. Such hopes were doomed, however, by the invention of the power loom and the cotton gin, which enormously increased the demand for slave-cultivated cotton.

As slavery became more firmly entrenched in the American South, its opponents sought a practical way to eliminate it. One proposal was to send freed slaves back to Africa, a scheme that led to the formation of the American Colonization Society (1817) and established the colony of Liberia on the west African coast for freed slaves, but was unable to gather widespread support. The implicit racism of colonization also offended some slavery opponents.

More significant was the emergence of groups favoring immediate abolition. Best known was the American Anti-Slavery Society, formed in Philadelphia (1833) primarily through the efforts of William Lloyd Garrison, fiery editor of the Liberator, and Lewis and Arthur Tappan, two wealthy brothers involved in many evangelical causes. At its height the society had 150,000 members. Many of its leaders had been influenced by the revivals of Charles Finney and saw their antislavery convictions as a logical outcome of their evangelical faith.

Militant abolitionism had a galvanizing effect on the South, which became increasingly withdrawn and intolerant of dissent. The strident tone of some abolitionists also offended many Northerners who favored gradual emancipation. Nevertheless, the lectures and writings of such abolitionists as Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin), Theodore Weld, and James Birney had enormous influence. Although many Northerners did not identify with the abolitionists, their efforts gradually persuaded many that slavery was an evil that only radical measures could eliminate. Abolitionist goals were finally achieved through the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1865). Abolitionism was the most important reform movement in the nineteenth century.

J. N. Akers

Bibliography. J. R. McKivigan, War against Proslavery Religion: Abolitionism and the Northern Churches; J. M. McPherson, Struggle for Equality; L. Ruchames, ed., Abolitionists; G. Sorin, Abolitionism: A New Perspective; D. M. Strong, Organized Liberty: Evangelical Perfectionism, Political Abolitionism and Ecclesiastical Reform in the Burned-Over District; J. L. Thomas, ed., Slavery Attacked; R. G. Walters, American Reformers, 1815-1860.