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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Hallucinogens and Entheogens

(3,440 words)

Author(s): Michael Winkelman | Mark Hoffman
Abstract: The religious use of psychoactive substances called hallucinogens and psychedelics has numerous manifestations across pre-history, history, and the contemporary world. Sympathetic understandings of these practices led to coining of the term “entheogens” — referring to the activation of “the god within” — to convey the inherent theological implications of these biologically-induced spiritual experiences. Entheogens include many plant substances that evoke experiences interpreted as sacred which have been central to shamanism, spirituality, and religion of many societies. In addition to prehistoric use and similar practices in pre-modern cultures of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, entheogens were also found in the early periods of the major religious traditions of the world. Cross-cultural similarities in the use of entheogens and the associated beliefs and experiences reflect effects on human biology. The direct effects of entheogens on the serotonin neurotransmitter system provide a basis for biological theories of the origins of experiences of the sacre…


(3,024 words)

Author(s): Adrian Furnham
Abstract: This entry considers what we know about the causes and consequences of happiness — a…
Date: 2014-09-16

Healing / Disease

(3,330 words)

Author(s): John Swinton
Abstract: Healing and disease are open to varying understandings across cultures and contexts. What the terms mean depends on who is asking the question and why. This entry will explore the concepts …


(2,390 words)

Author(s): Jeff Levin
Abstract: Scholarly discourse on medicine and health has a longstanding history within religious and theological writing, across the world’s faith traditions. This includes contemporary traditions of…
Date: 2014-09-16


(2,102 words)

Author(s): Jonathan Joseph
Date: 2014-09-16


(6 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Heaven / Hell Bibliography 


(1,234 words)

Author(s): Janne Arp-Neumann
Date: 2014-09-16

Hermeneutics and Interpretation

(4,867 words)

Author(s): Richard Briggs
Abstract: The wide-rangin…
Date: 2014-09-16