The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Kocku von Stuckrad

The impressively comprehensive Brill Dictionary of Religion (BDR) Online addresses religion as an element of daily life and public discourse, is richly illustrated and with more than 500 entries, the Brill Dictionary of Religion Online is a multi-media reference source on the many and various forms of religious commitment. The Brill Dictionary of Religion Online addresses the different theologies and doctrinal declarations of the official institutionalized religions and gives equal weight and consideration to a multiplicity of other religious phenomena. The Brill Dictionary of Religion Online helps map out and define the networks and connections created by various religions in contemporary societies, and provides models for understanding these complex phenomena.


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Baha'i

(1,121 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred
Baha'i Today 1. The Baha'i religion rests on traditions of Iranian Islamic history of religion, as well as on interweavings with the more ancient revelatory religions Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. Thus, its type is that of a monotheistic prophetical religion. The cultural conditions of its appearance in Islamic Iran in the nineteenth century weigh upon relations between the Islamic world and Baha'i to this day. At present the religion extends across the globe, with some 6.5 million …

Baptism

(696 words)

Author(s): Weber, Jürgen
The Ritual 1. a) Baptism is the celebration of the ritual, common to all Christian churches, that establishes reception into the Church as a religious community. Thus it is a rite of initiation. Water, and the Trinitarian formula, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” are the twin essential elements of this ritual. At baptism, candidates are immersed, either totally or partially, in water, or water flows over them, or they are sprinkled with water. Luther derives the word Taufe (‘Baptism’), with etymological correctness, from tief (‘deep’).1 b) In…

Baptists

(1,650 words)

Author(s): Weber, Jürgen
Radical Evangelical Christians 1. The Baptists (originally, German Täufer) base their lives radically on the Bible, refusing all compromise; consequently, they refuse military duty. Unlike other churches, they practice only adult baptism. Their origins lie in sixteenth-century Central Europe. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, another group appeared, in the Anglo-Saxon region, the “Baptists” (from the Greek, baptízein, ‘baptize,’ ‘immerse’). Owing, presumably, to cultural reservations and differences, there was scarcely any contact between the ‘baptist’ ( Täufe…

Benares (Banāras, Vārāṇasī)

(1,104 words)

Author(s): Gengnagel, Jörg
1. The northern Indian city of Benares (in Sanskrit, Vārāṇasī), in the federal state of Uttar Pradesh, is one of the most important Hindu places of pilgrimage. With a population of 920,000 (1991), it lies, like so many other Indian cities of pilgrimage, on the bank of a river, the Ganges. The bathing areas in places of pilgrimage, like the places themselves, are called fords ( tīrtha). The fords here favor the transition to other ‘forms of being.’ Benares's eminent status among Indian cities of pilgrimage is a function of its special site on the Ganges. The ri…