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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(1,296 words)

Author(s): Zinser, Hartmut
A Commandment of Peace 1. Tolerance means the ‘enduring,’ ‘bearing,’ or (colloquially) ‘standing’ or ‘putting up with’ the views, lifestyles, goals, interests, and so forth, of others, which do not conform to one's own positions, or that, indeed, contradict them. Socially, or societally, an obligatory organization, like a political state, which possesses the corresponding (or necessary) means of power to impose its position, can accord ‘tolerance’ to deviant groups, minorities and individuals. Howev…


(1,924 words)

Author(s): Schlatter, Gerhard
“The Tourist Way of Knowledge” 1. “The Tourist Way of Knowledge” was a performance by David Byrne in the Public Theater in New York at the beginning of the 1980s. Taking the denotations of the title, we seem to see something like the hero of old, the seeker of knowledge and new impressions. These ‘heroes,’ however, carry their limited, limitable knowledge along with them, within their own limits, everywhere they go, all of it available on the inside of their own limitations. They are not requited wit…


(1,827 words)

Author(s): Engler, Steven
The concept of ‘tradition’ plays an important role in the study of religion. It invokes the continuity that justifies historical analysis and comparison. Were there no religious tradition(s), scholars would have nothing to study, no threads with which to card and spin their own academic traditions. The fact that ‘tradition’ can serve as a synonym for both → ‘religion’ and ‘culture’—terms notoriously fraught with definitional and ideological tensions—hints at hidden depths. Tradition raises compl…


(1,948 words)

Author(s): Welte, Frank Maurice
1. The word ‘trance’ derives from the Latin prefix trans- (‘over,’ ‘beyond’), and occurs for the first time at the end of the eighteenth century, in connection with Mesmerism. It means a condition of consciousness ‘beyond’ normal waking consciousness. It denotes a sleep-like condition in which those involved seem no longer to be themselves. Anthropologists of the twentieth century have observed that trance plays an important role in the rites and cults of all cultures. Here it is described as a condition…


(360 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz
Transcendence is originally a philosophical concept that distinguishes the immediately accessible, differentiated world of reality from a foundational space that lies behind it. The theological theme of God's quality as a reality ‘beyond’ was open to a corresponding development, which has indeed been realized. Since antiquity, transcendence is essentially a space reached neither by sensory perception nor by speech. Thus, God remains in the realm of the ineffable. Approaches to the transcendent G…


(1,685 words)

Author(s): Engler, Steven
Insofar as → religion is a cross-cultural phenomenon—and because its academic study is international—translation is integral to its history and study. Yet scholars of religion rarely critically examine the creativity, limitations, or biases of translation. This omission is surprising given that complex relations between → language, → meaning, culture, and ideology clearly undermine the ideal of a simple, transparent correspondence between statements in different languages. Several issues present…


(1,334 words)

Author(s): Weis, Michael
What Is a Trickster? 1. The concept of the ‘trickster’ is a concept of figure typology. In the anthropology of religion, cultural anthropology, and literary studies, it expresses the being and activity of (usually male) mythical, literary, or historical (but now inserted into literature) figures, now more precisely identified as in human or animal form. In the eighteenth century, in English, ‘trickster’ meant someone of dubious morality and principles, but appreciable intelligence. English philosoph…


(1,394 words)

Author(s): Buntfuß, Markus
Levels 1. The dimension of the religious problem of truth is determined according to the levels on which the question of truth is posed. a) On the level of historical facts and empirical perception, truth is related to the correctness of enunciations. Religious propositions are true or false in this sense, to the extent that they are related to historical or empirical facts. The designation “the five books of Moses” is untrue on this level, because these writings do not come from one author, but from various sources. b) Furthermore, the question of truth indicates a need for compulsory knowl…