Vocabulary for the Study of Religion

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Edited by: Robert A. Segal & Kocku von Stuckrad.

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The Vocabulary for the Study of Religion offers a unique overview of critical terms in the study of religion(s). This first dictionary in English covers a broad spectrum of theoretical topics used in the academic study of religion, including those from adjacent disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, historiography, theology, philology, literary studies, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, and political sciences.

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Death and Burial

(3,391 words)

Author(s): Christina Lee
Abstract: Death is one of the most profound experiences witnessed by humans and is central to many religions which believe that this life is only one stage in the human existence. Death rituals are a…


(2,702 words)

Author(s): Barry Stocker
Abstract: This article on deconstruction focuses on the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, though other authors are also noted. Derrida’s work on religion is tied to his views of the limits of experience…


(2,919 words)

Author(s): Stephen Kent | Ashley Samaha
Abstract: Researchers use “deconversion” and related terms for the process of leaving a community. That decision often involves intellectual doubts, emotional suffering, disagreements, and loss of so…
Date: 2014-09-16

Definitions of Religion

(2,515 words)

Author(s): Daniel Dubuisson
Abstract: There are many competing definitions, both of a religion — a specialized human institution, proper to a given culture — and of religion — a distinctive, yet very extensive, area of human activity. In evaluating d…
Date: 2014-09-16


(2,981 words)

Author(s): Göran Larsson
Abstract: Demography focuses on how a population changes over time, for example, because of birth and death rates and movements (migration, urbanization, emigration, etc.), but also because of politi…


(1,466 words)

Author(s): David Fergusson
Abstract: Rudolf Bultmann’s project of demythologization sought to reject the long outmoded, pre-scientific worldview of the New Testament while retaining its real content, which is not an explanatio…


(2,463 words)

Author(s): Christian Karner
Abstract: Relating the standard sociological definition of deprivation — as “inequality of access to social goods” — to a multi-axial understanding of power, this entry makes the case for a context-bound approach to examining the …


(6 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Secularization and De-secularization Bibliography 

Deus otiosus

(1,272 words)

Author(s): Robert Segal
Abstract: The term deus otiosus refers to the widespread, whether or not universal, belief that the creator God, upon finishing creation, withdrew permanently from the world into inactivity. The concept m…


(1,964 words)

Author(s): Jay Johnston
Abstract: ⁧The term “deviance” refers to characteristics, qualities, or behaviors of an individual or group that are considered to be different from the “normal.” The term can also be applied to beli…