The Brill Dictionary of Religion

Get access 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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(1,118 words)

Author(s): Gladigow, Burkhard
1. With the discovery of electricity and magnetism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the → European history of religion changed, too, with the new bands of attachment between the sciences on the one side and religious patterns on the other. Attraction or repulsion, energy working at a distance (or arriving via other objects), and, finally, even experimental little bolts of lightning could now be generated, and they supplied fundamentally new ‘plausibility schemata’ for areas until now…

Eliade, Mircea

(2,376 words)

Author(s): Rennie, Bryan
Between Academy and Fiction Born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1907 Mircea Eliade began to write imaginative fiction at the age of 12. In 1925 he enrolled in the department of philosophy of the University of Bucharest and his thesis of 1928 examined ‘Contributions to Renaissance Philosophy’ including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Giordano Bruno. With a licentiate degree and a grant from the Maharaja of Kassimbazar to study in India, Eliade left Romania in 1928 with the hope of ‘universalizi…


(338 words)

Author(s): Reibnitz, Barbara von
Etymologically, ‘emblem’ means ‘that which has been set in’ (Gk., émblema): the mosaic or intarsia work. As a genre in history of art and literature, ‘emblem’ denotes a particular combination of word and image, defined by three constituents: a motto, a pictorial image (Lat., pictura, ‘picture’), and a text (Lat., subscriptio, ‘under-writing’) expounding the picture in its relation to the motto. In this specific form, the emblem developed in the Renaissance and the baroque period into a phenomenon of mode and style. The point of departure and mo…


(3,406 words)

Author(s): Stubbe, Hannes
Conception and Foundation 1. Although feelings are once more in vogue, and psychologists currently even speak of an ‘emotional turn’ (Euler/Mandl 1983), scientific research into feelings and emotions is still in its infancy. This state of affairs can be seen in the fact that the concept of emotions is accompanied by considerable imprecision. And so the word ‘feeling’ in psychological parlance is best understood in an enumeration of particular sensations. Feelings are experiences such as joy, hatred…


(1,167 words)

Author(s): Boneberg, Hemma
Actions for an End in the Biological Order 1. The expectation and experience of ‘end’ and ‘eschaton’ can ultimately be associated with evolutionary biology—as a consideration of the successful development of goal-directed appetites for goods necessary to survival, as individual living organisms have developed this thrust. If the quests for nourishment and territory, mating and child rearing, reach their possible fulfillment, they attain to their goals through ‘ actions for an end’: the quest for nourishment in taking nourishment, for search for a habitat in marking…


(1,105 words)

Author(s): Pahlitzsch, Johannes
Definition 1. An endowment or foundation produces income through certain property or assets, provided by the founder, with which a long-term purpose, stipulated by the founder, is to be financed. Unlike a donation, then, an endowment is not a simple act, but a continuously repeated gift, bestowed without a time limit. Antiquity 2. a) From ancient times to the present, comparable institutions are found in the most varying cultural milieus, as in ancient Egypt, Greco-Roman antiquity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. With ancient foundations, the found…


(161 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Georg
The concept enérgeia (Gk., ‘efficacy,’ ‘activity’) becomes important for religion—especially for the European history of religion of the outgoing nineteenth century and the opening of the twentieth—by way of the Weltanschauung of W. Ostwald (1853–1932), against a background of the momentous successes of science. In the doctrine of the Monistenbund (“Monist League”), which Ostwald co-founded, energy is the essence of all things. This idea is a departure, of course, from the hitherto controlling schema of interpretation of a mechanistically conn…

Enlightenment (Age of)

(1,360 words)

Author(s): Grätzel, Stephan
Concept of the Age 1. In an affirmation now become famous, Kant describes the Enlightenment as “the emergence of man from self-accusatory sheepishness.” This definition of ‘Enlightenment’ means a change in the human being's self-knowledge and place in the universe, and has led to the conception of a new change of the ages of the world. Kant is putting all of his emphasis here on 'self-accusatory’ (in Ger., selbstverschuldet). Every person, Kant holds, is outfitted with reason, and therefore has the duty to act ‘reasonably,’ or ‘according to reason’ ( vernunftgemäß). Here Kant means t…


(183 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
Even more than the ‘enthusiasm,’ as the word is used loosely, that ‘arises’ when a ‘spirit’ takes hold of an assembly or gathering, the Greek word enthousiasmos ( en-, ‘in,’ + theos, ‘god’) describes the moment at which a god ‘comes into a person.’ This phenomenon can be attributed to a ‘medium,’ as for instance in ancient prophecy; of a poet, who senses the Muse at work within; or of the God received as wine, who alters consciousness. It does not actually refer to → possession by a demon. (→ ‘Ecstasy,’ for its part, indicate…


(2,713 words)

Author(s): Taylor, Bron
Environmentalism and Religion In the United States, political conservatives who work in Washington DC sometimes complain that in the federal Environmental Protection Agency, officials approach their work with religious zeal. Christian religious conservatives sometimes object, in a similar way, to the ‘paganism’ and earth-reverence that they perceive to underlie environmentalism (→ Paganism/Neopaganism; Nature Piety), considering such religion blasphemous. The question such reactions pose is whether there is anything religious about environmentalism. Environmentalis…