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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Everyday Life

(3,629 words)

Author(s): Hoffmann, Barbara
Research into the Everyday Everyday life, or ‘the everyday,’ as it might be called, usually refers to daily life and living. As the subject of research, however, ‘everyday/daily life,’ or ‘the everyday’ does not present itself as an evident fact; rather, it is the object of quite varied research interests. Developed by Marxist sociologists in recent decades for the dynamization of political praxis, the concept of the ‘everyday’ has had a powerful influence on the humanities. Originally, the ‘everyda…

Evil/Evil One

(1,149 words)

Author(s): Häring, Hermann
Evil 1. The linguistic use of the word ‘evil' spans a spectrum of meaning, extending from an undifferentiated everyday meaning (unhealthy, threatening, or dangerous), to a religious classification (anti-salvific), to a metaphysical explanation of the world in terms of a good and bad principle (evil). It is always elucidated in antithetical correspondence with a counter-concept of good, and always stands in connection with a general explanation of the world. Altogether generally, what is called ‘b…

Evil Eye

(1,386 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia
General 1. The expression ‘Evil Eye’ (Ital., malocchio, jettatura; Span., mal de ojo) denotes the belief that human beings, as well as many animals, can by their glance or gaze exercise a harmful influence on animate and inanimate objects. The notion was widespread in antiquity itself: the power of the Evil Eye was ascribed especially to the gods who, through the insalubrious power of their jealous eye, were thought to be in a position to bring whole realms down in ruin. This concept is found ever since, in…


(1,152 words)

Author(s): Hartmann, Stefan
Stage Model of Cultural History 1. In the shadow of the biological → theory of evolution, persistent attempts have been made to accommodate this basic notion of development to the cultural and social sciences. The prevailing paradigm of scientific biology seemed suited to serve as a universal model of explanation of historical, social, spiritual, political, ethical, and theological questions. Beginning in mid-nineteenth century, a veritable inflation occurred in ‘step models’: models of cultural hist…


(1,249 words)

Author(s): Kathöfer, Karin
Exchange of Gifts 1. In societies that do not employ governmental institutions and the medium of money in the establishment of interpersonal relationships, an exchange of gifts has a greater burden of meaning than that of a mere transaction in goods. By contrast with forms of exchange, usually profane, determined directly by economic requirements, an exchange of gifts is a social process and follows ritual rules, which frequently appear in the form of ritual laws, sacred ceremonies, and magic. The …


(178 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph
Exegesis (Gk., ‘explanation’; etym., ‘out-leading,’ ‘ex-position’) denotes the interpretation or explanation of a text or a passage of a text, especially one from the Bible, and especially at the hands of an expert. In Greek sanctuaries, exegetes stood ready to ‘translate’ oracles of the god into human speech, or to explain to strangers the meaning of the chunks of boulder, or the tree, in the sanctuary, having to find an answer for everything. In theology, professionals concern themselves with …


(1,194 words)

Author(s): Mohn, Jürgen
1. Existentialism is the colloquial designation of a philosophical current of the twentieth century. The common element of the philosophies in question is the methodological reduction of their content to the existence of the individual person. Existentialism presents a generalizing, alien designation for otherwise quite different philosophical outlines of the world. As a specific designation, the concept is found solely with Jean-Paul Sartre. A synonym antedating Sartre's application is philosophy of existence, which was current as early as 1929, and in German-spea…


(945 words)

Author(s): Schmidt, Joachim
Concept 1. ‘Exorcism’ (from Gk., exorkizein, ‘adjure to go out’) can be defined generally as the ritual expulsion of spirits from persons (→ Possession) or (other) animate or inanimate objects. As such, it is to be encountered in many historical ages and cultures. Exorcism is always practiced by → specialists (shamans, priests, etc.), and according to prescribed rules. Possession can express itself in illness or in extraordinary conditions seemingly uncontrollable by the subject of the possession. Su…


(2,111 words)

Author(s): Jensen, Debra
‘Religious Experience’ is a term widely used and seldom explained, especially in western scholarship on religion. This is not surprising as both → ‘religion’ and ‘experience’ are notoriously difficult to define with the attempt to do so giving rise to a miniature industry in academic scholarship.1 After briefly discussing some of the philosophical issues that arise in relation to ‘experience,’ I will turn to a more in-depth look at the notion of ‘religious experience.’ Problems of Definition Dictionary definitions of experience tend to focus on experience in two senses. …