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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Drama, Sacred

(1,349 words)

Author(s): Moser-Achuthath, Heike
1. The theatrical production of a mythological story in a ritual connection before a community of believers can be designated as sacred drama. In the Christian tradition, one is familiar today with the manger play at Christmas, for instance, or the Passion of Christ as performed at Easter (recall the Spanish or Italian Good Friday processions). In many threshold rituals ( Rites of Passage) celebrated in ethnic religions, such as the initiation of a youth into the adult world, a vivid presentation of gods, demons, or spirits frequently comes into play. …


(1,389 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine
Dream as a Universal Phenomenon 1. An unambiguous, if at first very limited, definition of dream is available if one considers dreams as experiences during sleep.1 On the other hand, there are also dreamlike phenomena apart from sleep, such as ‘daydreams’ and hallucinations. Furthermore, a thought-like experience during sleep can occur that does not present the usual ‘dreamlike’ characteristics, as bizarreness, incoherence, condensation of ‘events.’ Psycho-physiologically, the dream is a universal human phenomenon, but …


(1,764 words)

Author(s): Schmoll, Friedemann
1. Drinking, like eating, belongs to the elementary processes that maintain the human body biologically. At the same time, however, its religious, social, and cultural implications far transcend these natural functions. The twin relationship of a natural and a cultural ‘membership,’ along with the status of ‘world-openness’ (H. Plessner)—that is, human beings' ability to establish themselves in different environments—make the process of drinking a symbolical field of activity as well, that is no…


(549 words)

Author(s): Kurre, Silvia
Etymologies Greek and Roman authors who wrote about Gaul or Britain between the second century BCE and the fourth century CE designated the religious specialists and scholars there as ‘druids.’ Two etymologies are adduced: (a) In the Celtic dru-vides, ‘much knowing’ or ‘farseeing,’ could be the correct one (the Old Irish drúitheach means ‘impressive,’ ‘piercing,’ ‘influential’); (b) the other conjectural derivation, ‘oak expert,’ goes back to Pliny the Elder, who also describes the importance of mistletoe, which grows on oaks, in druid worship. …


(3,801 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
We/Not-We 1. The most unambiguous and most simple way to ascertain one's own place in a complicated reality consists in dividing the world into ‘ We’ and ‘ Not-We.’ The social identity determining which individuals belong to ‘ We,’ and which as ‘ Not-We’ are to be left out, is constituted as the result of many criteria. After all, in many ways the members of a group are alike, while they are distinct in others. Culture operates precisely through the perception of difference. Since no individual case is unambiguous, dualism contributes to…