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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(2,495 words)

Author(s): von Braun, Christina
The Body as Salvific Message 1. Inasmuch as human mortality is evinced in the transience of the body, the body becomes a central topos of all discourses of salvation. The myth of origins itself, through which a community defines itself as an indivisible ‘body,’ contains the wish for a defeat of death: the individual person is thought of as part of an immortal cosmos or collective body. In rough outline, four distinct ‘strategies’ of a religious defeat of death can be distinguished: (1) The participat…


(2,042 words)

Author(s): Reichert, Andreas
The Book as a Medium 1. The book (from Middle English bok, derived in turn from bohiz, Proto-Germanic for ‘beech,’ or beechwood tablets with rune carvings), for the recording and transmittal of written content, had its forerunners in the high cultures of the ancient East, in various forms and materials: clay tablets in Babylon and Assyria, papyrus, leather, or parchment scrolls (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans), but also stone tablets and metal plates (with or without a wax coating). The field of ancient Eastern, Egy…


(596 words)

Author(s): Pflüger, Tobias
Until the beginning of 1992, Bosnia-Herzegovina was a province of Yugoslavia. From April 1992 until November 1995 (Dayton Peace Agreement), war reigned in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Through the war in Bosnia, many persons experienced for the first time the new possibility of war in Europe ( Conflict/Violence). The population of Bosnia-Herzegovina belongs essentially to three religious groups or communities: the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and Islam. The distribution of the groups is n…


(177 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Georg
Human beings draw boundaries to ‘bound themselves off’ as members of one group against ‘the others’: in order to erect identities of their own and to specify their own territories vis-à-vis the outer world. ‘We-they’ thinking leaves its traces in almost all areas of human behavior. Fences, boundary stones, and turnpikes cannot be overcome by everyone at all moments: They show persons whether they may enter, as they belong there, or whether they must remain without. The temple (in Greek, témenos, ‘bounded space’) is the religious space par excellence. The living spaces of re…


(1,272 words)

Author(s): Frohn, Elke Sofie
General 1. Breathing influences psychic well-being, and in religious texts is often connected with life: as long as one has breath, one is alive. In religions and cultures in which body and spirit are thought of as separate, and which believe in a less corporeal soul, breathing is used in connection with spiritus (Lat., ‘spirit’) or anima (Lat., ‘soul’). The power of the spirit, and a person's way of thinking, are also frequently connected with breathing. To some extent, the various religions have developed special breathing exercises and techniques,…


(1,344 words)

Author(s): Oberlies, Thomas
The Historical Buddha 1. According to tradition, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was sprung of a noble family of the Śākya people. Presumably he was born in the fifth century BCE (today's research places his life span c. 450–370), the offspring of Śuddkodana and Māyā(devī), in the border region between today's Nepal and India, and given the name Siddhārtha. Shortly after the birth of his son, Rahula, deeply stirred by a meditative experience, he left his family and began to embrace variou…


(2,972 words)

Author(s): Oberlies, Thomas
Concept 1. ‘Buddhism’ is the term used to denote the religion descending from the ascetic movement founded by Gautama Buddha. To be sure, the teachings of early Buddhism have been developed in very different ways over the course of time. A large number of schools, at times with considerably divergent philosophical systems and corresponding monastic rules, were and are scattered across an immense geographical space (today nearly all of Asia, with the exception of India, Buddhism's land of origin). The three great directions are Tantric ( Tantra), Mahāyāna (Northern), and Hīnayāna (Sou…

Buddhism: Time Chart

(4,162 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
1. Chronology Era 1: Early Doctrinal Development and First Expansion 4th/5th cent. BCE Lifetime of the historical Buddha in the North of India The biographical dates of Siddhartha Gautama, who, after his awakening ( bodhi), is called the Buddha, cannot be determined with certainty. until 1st cent. BCE Early Buddhism in Indian First “Councils:” Oral transmission Tradition reports ‘councils’ (probably local assemblies of monks) for agreement on doctrine and the Order's law, immediately after the Buddha's death in Rajagrha, and 100 years later in Vaishali. 268–232 Rule of Maurya Kin…