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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Liberation Theology

(1,252 words)

Author(s): Mattes, Claudio
Socio-Historical Connection 1. Liberation theology, or ‘the theology of liberation,’ is the first comprehensive theological movement within the Christian churches that has reacted to the social relations of the so-called Third World and sought to alter them with the help of the Christian faith—even in revolutionary activity. It stands in close connection with the social and historical development of Latin America (→ South America; Central America). Its appearance in the mid-1960s was no coincidence. This decade saw international capital begin to gain an ever m…

Life Cycle

(3,076 words)

Author(s): Wohlrab-Sahr, Monika
1. The concept of the life cycle refers to a socially regulated succession of life phases, that are divided from one another and articulated by ‘typical’ life events. ‘Cyclical’ therefore refers not to repetitions of phases or events in the life course of the individual, but to the collectively recurring succession of life phases and events. Which life events are typically regarded as being those of the life cycle varies from one society to another. An obviously universal character as life-cycle…


(2,203 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Physical Light and Luminous Bodies (Sun, Mon, Stars) 1. Light—the basic condition of organic life on earth: without light, there can be no photosynthesis, no food chain supplying the needs of the human being. The sun is the source of light par excellence, a mighty nuclear fusion reactor, transforming hydrogen to helium and streaming its energy on earth and moon. Light, as today's physics understands it, is electromagnetic radiation. But for denizens of earth, light is mainly an overwhelming experience—w…

Lines of Tradition in Tibetan Buddhism

(1,160 words)

Author(s): Lováse, Stephanie
Tibetan Buddhist Lines of Tradition: Explanation of the Schema Between the eleventh and the fourteenth centuries, Buddhism was definitively established in Tibet. This involved the formation of the Buddhist traditions of the Kadam-pa, Kaglyü-pa, Sakya-pa, Nyingma-pa, and Gelug-pa, all of which retain some relevance today. a) The founding of the Kadam-pa, the ‘school of oral instruction,’ is ascribed to Atisha and his disciple Dromtön (1003–1064). This school was reformed, in the fourteenth century, by Tsongkhapa, and was absorbed by the Gel…


(2,370 words)

Author(s): Kilcher, Andreas B. | Theisohn, Philipp
Literature as the Medium of Revelation, Revelation as Form of Literature Literature, understood in its literal meaning as written text, has always had a central function for religion in the process of revelation and → tradition. At the same time, literature has essentially been motivated and constituted by this function as well. All of the more extensive religious traditions, especially the ‘revelatory religions’ or the ‘religions of the book’ (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), are build upon processes of lit…


(1,027 words)

Author(s): Moser, Heike
1. The term ‘liturgy’ derives from the Greek leitourgia, which denotes the execution of an act by or for the people—a “public service.” The technical concept was coined in a context of sacred devotion, with the specific meaning of a ritual, publicly performed, service to a deity. In the Church, it is generally understood that the Eucharist (→ Lord's Supper/Eucharist) will be at the center of a liturgy. The world over, liturgical celebrations are closely linked to temporal cycles and calendars, and, in their constant recurrence, receive their own resp…