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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Race / Racism

(2,684 words)

Author(s): Amy Ansell
Abstract: Race refers to the idea that human populations can be divided into meaningful sub-populations base…


(3,220 words)

Author(s): Paul McLaughlin
Abstract: Radicalism is a familiar yet largely unclarified concept. Much can be sa…


(1,150 words)

Author(s): Crawford Gribben
Abstract: The “rapture” is an eschatological concept, paralleling the Christian doctrine of resurrection, that has evolved from its origins in nineteenth-century Britain and…
Date: 2014-09-16

Rational Choice Theory

(2,323 words)

Author(s): Michael Allingham
Abstract: One of the earliest uses of rational choice theory is Pascal’s famous wager on the existence of God. This entry discusses developments in rational choice theory since the time of Pascal whi…


(4,523 words)

Author(s): Ian Jarvie | not-specified | Joseph Agassi
Abstract: Frazer set up the modern problematic of comparing the rationality of magic, r…
Date: 2014-09-16

Reading and Writing

(4,240 words)

Author(s): Laurence Coupe
Abstract: This article offers an overview of the relationship between writer and reader, as understood from the ancient world to the present day. It traces this relationship through Greek philosophy,…

Reception Theory

(3,348 words)

Author(s): James L. Machor
Abstract: Developing primarily in the fields of literary and cultural studies and the history of the book, reception theory asserts that the interpretive activities of readers explain and in many way…

Reductionism / Anti-reductionism

(4,415 words)

Author(s): Robert Segal
Abstract: This entry discusses several conventional views in religious studies: that “religionists,” as I call those in the tradition of Mircea Eliade, have a monopoly on the study of religion; that …


(2,305 words)

Author(s): Axel Michaels
Abstract: Reincarnation means the belief in the transfer, upon death, of a psycho-physical identity — soul, personal self, or spirit of an ancestors into a new body — human, animal, or spiritual. Wha…


(3,374 words)

Author(s): Hugo Strandberg
Abstract: Relativism is a term standing for many different positions. The relativist claims that one thing (e.g. truth) is relative to something else (cultures, paradigms, etc.). This claim can be general, and apply to all truths, or be restricted to some sphere. However, what does “relative to” mean? In one’s own culture, it makes sense to disagree and to discuss the issue in order to try to come to a conclusion. But if two persons in two different cultures say things that contradict each other, it makes no sense for them to discuss the issue in order to try to come to a conclusion or to some new insights: they simply live in different cultures. Beginning with this explication of relativism,…

Religion, Classification / Types of

(9 words)

Classification / Types of Religion

Religion, Definitions of

(5 words)

Definitions of Religion

Religion, Measurements of

(5 words)

Measurements of Religion


(1,966 words)

Author(s): Benson Fraser
Abstract: Four uses of the term revelation are considered. The first usage …

Revitalization Movement

(1,188 words)

Author(s): Alice Beck Kehoe
Abstract: The concept of “revitalization movement” was presented in a now-classic 1956 paper by …
Date: 2014-09-16