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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(1,114 words)

Author(s): Alexandrow, Kathinka
Definition 1. Hierarchy (from Gk., hierá arché, ‘sacred origin,’ ‘rule,’ ‘government,’ ‘order’) is a fixed system of subordination and ‘super-ordination,’ a pyramidal order of rank, with a narrow apex and a broad base. Put simply, a hierarchy is a ‘stepladder’ of authority or command, whose lower instances are in organic contiguity with the higher. However, it need not always be a matter of hierarchies of power. ‘Hierarchy’ can also simply designate status. Grounds for differentiation within a hierarc…

Hildegard of Bingen

(1,164 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
1. Hildegard—primer of self-redemption, economic wonder of the factories of alternative health, figurehead of feminists, symbol of integration for a new Europe, comes to us at the turn of the millennium with her salutary guidance. Established for a scant twenty years now as one of the female quantities of the Middle Ages, Hildegard is enjoying a renaissance, standing as she does at the head of a virtual Hildegard community of the most varied interest groups, and inspiring a cultic practice in a …


(5,387 words)

Author(s): Stapelfeldt, Sylvia
‘Hinduism’ as a Problematic Term 1. The concept of Hinduism, introduced by Western scholars only in recent times, stands for a whole complex of religious currents and social phenomena appearing on the Indian subcontinent, partly in very diverse historical, socioeconomic, and geographical conditions, at various times over the last two-and-one-half millennia. These currents have drawn, in a multiplicity of manners, on a common fund of tradition, so that crisp lines of demarcation cannot be drawn between th…


(3,583 words)

Author(s): Mohn, Jürgen
Happenings and Histories 1. The word ‘history’ is a translation of the Greek historía (basic meaning: ‘gaining of information,’ ‘investigation,’ ‘narration’). Toward the turn of the eighteenth/nineteenth centuries, this word developed into the latinized form história. Between the ‘happenings’ and (hi-)story, however, four fields of meaning can be distinguished: (1) History means past events, connections or structures, how they change in the temporal succession of their human world and environment, and the history of collective groupin…