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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Jehovah's Witnesses

(1,854 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Robert
Origin 1. Jehovah's Witnesses (until 1931 the International Association of Bible Scholars) are an independent international Christian religious community that has performed intensive Bible and mission work since the 1870s. The name ‘Jehovah's Witnesses’ goes back to the biblical passage Isaiah 43:8–13: Jehovah (instead of Yahweh) takes a reading of the ancient Hebrew word for God YHWH that has altered vocalization (and a wordplay on adonai, ‘Lord’), which Jewish believers use out of reverence for the → name of God itself. One meets Jehovah's Witnesses on the street, in publi…


(1,600 words)

Author(s): Meyer, Christof
The Holy City 1. For the Judeo-Christian tradition, Jerusalem is ‘The Holy City’ plain and simple, the center of the world and the most important pilgrimage location. Jews, Christians, and Muslims revere the city as a kind of showcase of divine revelation and salvation. As a ‘heavenly Jerusalem,’ it is a major symbol of religious longing, and a driving force of religious utopias. As an ‘earthly city,’ it was always the bone of contention when it came to claims of possession and power interests. Today it is claimed by two nations, Israeli and Palestinian, as their capital city. Jerusalem lies…


(1,576 words)

Author(s): Bayreuther, Sabine
1. ‘Jesuits’ is the general designation for the Catholic community and → order founded by Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), the ‘Society of Jesus’ (Lat., Societas Jesu, abbr. ‘S. J.’; in Span., Compañia de Jesús). The Order's principal concern is worldwide apostolic and missionary activity. To this end, the Order has placed itself directly under the Pope as representative of the Church as a whole—in contradistinction from the regional church or diocese (fourth vow: obedience to the Pope). Further characteristics are a centralized…


(1,302 words)

Author(s): Feldtkeller, Andreas
The Historical Jesus 1. Jesus was a Jewish preacher and healer appearing in Galilee (in today's Israel), especially in the region of Lake Gennesaret. His biography is visible only sketchily behind the religious reception of his activity, which reception forms the content of the four “Gospels” (writings of the Christian Canon) and related sources. That Jesus was born shortly before the death of King Herod the Great (4 BCE) may be a historically accurate approximation. His father and he were building…