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.

Subscriptions: see


(1,284 words)

Author(s): Unger, Frank
The Jewish Ghettos 1. The word ‘Ghetto’ emerges for the first time in the early sixteenth century, in Italy. Here the Republic of Venice erected for the Jews (once more admitted, after a long banishment) their own closed quarter, which probably got its name from the foundry (Ital., getto) in the vicinity. Once the diaspora had begun, the Jews lived together in certain urban quarters just like many minorities, until about the beginning of the second millennium in Catholic Western Europe. At that moment, by church law, they were compelled to wi…


(4,190 words)

Author(s): Hanegraaff, Wouter J.
Problems of Definition The Greek word gnôsis means ‘knowledge,’ and refers more specifically to a salvational knowledge of one's own Self and its divine origin. Emphasis on gnosis is found not only in the late antique currents and ideas that have become known as ‘gnosticism,’ but also in e.g. Clement of Alexandria and, notably, in → Hermetism/Hermeticism. Until recently, it was widely assumed that the ‘heretics’ attacked in the second and third centuries CE by orthodox Christian authors such as Justinus Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Hippolytus of Rome, and Epiphanius of Salamis belonged to an identifiable ‘gnostic current’ or ‘gnostic religion.’ Gnosticism in this sense was characterized by a strong → dualism between the completely transcendent God of light whence originated man's…