The Brill Dictionary of Religion

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Kocku von Stuckrad

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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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Gandhi, Mahatma

(885 words)

Author(s): Guzy, Lidia
Biographical Data 1. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, surnamed Mahatma (Sanskrit, ‘of the great atman’ or principle of life and consciousness in everyone, carrying or represen…


(1,542 words)

Author(s): Boneberg, Hemma
Horticulture 1. There are steppes, wasteland and forest, mountain crag and open field, and then again there are gardens—things purposely shaped by the human hand, bound off and protected by hedge, fence, or wall—inner reserves for specially selected animals or plants. In comparison with the economy of the beasts of the wild, which live ‘from h…

Gender Stereotypes

(2,534 words)

Author(s): Grieser, Alexandra
Thematic Overview 1. Through prescriptions, myths, narratives and theologies, religions have a strong influence on imagined and real gender roles. ‘Gender’ is usually differentiated from ‘sex’ as denoting the social and cultural construction of the differences between male and female, while the latter refers to the biological differences. Images of the ‘real man,’ or of the ‘feminine’ or ‘unfeminine’ woman and her place in society, work, and family mark individual identities, social and political structures, and …

Genetic Engineering

(1,311 words)

Author(s): Engels, Eve-Marie
The Concept Genetic engineering encompasses all methods by which the genetic material (genome) of organisms is isolated, characterized, altered and/or recombined with foreign genetic material (‘recombinant DNA’), in part across species boundaries. In nature, genetic transfer is only found in bacteria and other microorganisms; it is not possible, using classic breeding methods, to selectively transfer certain DNA sequences. Therefore the term ‘genetic engineering’ refers to direct intervention of human beings into the genetic material of living organisms. The term ‘ transgen…


(639 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Georg
Antiquity In Greek and especially Roman antiquity, the figure of the genius is met, for example, in the conceptualization of a procreative power residing in the male human being. Genius, which is also regarded as a protective divinity, and enjoys cultic veneration, can be ascribed to an exalted personality (as Lat., genius Augusti); but it can also, collectively, be seen in the (Roman) people, and, last but not least, in a place (Lat., genius loci, ‘genius of the place’). The genius comes into view in, for example, the form of a serpent (that from time to time emerges from the earth and attests the ‘sacredness’ of the place), or of a horn of plenty. After the prohibition of the old worship, by Theodosius I (392 CE), the notion of the genius survived in Christian reinterpretation, as a spiritual principle. From Origen on, a merger obtained between the genius and the Christian guardian angel. The genius of Christian reception also adopted …