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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(1,651 words)

Author(s): Douglas Allen
Abstract: “Pacifism” has many diverse meanings and uses, ranging from the usual sense of strong principled opposition to war and warfare, along with a central commitment focused on working for peace,…
Date: 2014-09-16


(3,931 words)

Author(s): Richard North
Abstract: Modern varieties of paganism are considered first, then the leading European polytheisms before the dominance of Christianity and Islam. The meaning of the term pagan is examined in relation to its roots in Latin paganus and …


(4,938 words)

Author(s): Peter Bräunlein
Abstract: Pain and suffering point to one central feature of the conditio humana: the imperfection of man. Pain and suffering are to be avoided and alleviated. In the context of ritual and religion, however, the …


(3,415 words)

Author(s): Michael Levine
Abstract: Pantheism is a metaphysical and religious position. Broadly defined it is the view that (1) “God is everything and everything is God … the world is either identical with God or in some way …
Date: 2014-09-16

Participant Observation

(1,213 words)

Author(s): Paul Roscoe
Abstract: Participant observation is a largely informal method used by cultural anthropologists to study other cultures. Anthropologists consider participant observation to be their signature methodo…
Date: 2014-09-16


(6 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Matriarchy / Patriarchy Bibliography 

Peak Experience

(1,536 words)

Author(s): Daniel Meckel
Abstract: This entry summarizes Abraham Maslow’s psychology of religion with respect to human motivation, self-actualization, and “peak experiences,” and it discusses the critical reception of Maslow…

Performance / Performativity

(4,130 words)

Author(s): Ulrich Demmer
Abstract: Performance has become a key concept across many academic disciplines. It first emerged in linguistics, as a way to study the social functions of speech, as opposed to its linguistic struct…

Person / Personality

(4,099 words)

Author(s): Ann Macaskill
Abstract: The term personality as used by psychologists is distinguished from lay usage. The aims of research on personality are outlined. The person/situation debate that has been so influential in …