Vocabulary for the Study of Religion

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

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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(1,148 words)

Author(s): John J. Collins
Abstract: An apocalypse is a revelation of heavenly mysteries and/or the eschatological future, typically involving the judgment of the dead. The genre developed in Judaism in the second century B.C.…
Date: 2014-09-16


(2,253 words)

Author(s): Bernd U. Schipper
Abstract: Introduced by protestant theologians in the nineteenth century, the term “apocalypticism” stands for a wide range of phenomena from antiquity to the present. Despite the reception of certai…

Apollonian and Dionysian

(1,091 words)

Author(s): Robert Wicks
Abstract:  The terms, “Apollonian” and “Dionysian,” refer generally to the basic opposition between rationality and instinct, usually in philosophical, artistic or psychological contexts. Deriving fr…
Date: 2014-09-16


(2,537 words)

Author(s): Anders Klostergaard Petersen
Abstract: Apologetics has traditionally been linked to Christianity, Judaism, and one strand of the ancient Greek rhetorical tradition. In scholarly parlance the notion designates ancient Jewish and …
Date: 2014-09-16


(1,473 words)

Author(s): Hans Kippenberg
Abstract: The entry addresses abandonment of one’s belief for another in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While in ancient pagan society people could freely choose the deities they worshipped, Judai…


(2,413 words)

Author(s): Roderick Main
Abstract: This entry explains the meaning of the term ‘archetype’ and its uses in ancient philosophical and religious writing, in some modern sources, and, at greater length, in the two most influent…
Date: 2014-09-16


(3,585 words)

Author(s): Diane Apostolos-Cappadona
Abstract: A mode of creative expression, communication, and self-definition, art is fundamental to human existence and to religion. By visualizing doctrines, dogmas, myths, and rituals through signs …


(2,397 words)

Author(s): Oliver Freiberger
Abstract: In the study of religion asceticism normally refers to religiously motivated practices of renunciation, discipline, and bodily self-restraint, often combined into a specific arrangement tha…


(1,909 words)

Author(s): Kocku von Stuckrad
Abstract: Astrology is a system of knowledge that interprets the connection between heavenly phenomena and events on earth. The article discusses the relationship between astrology and astronomy, the…


(2,960 words)

Author(s): Gavin Hyman
Abstract: This entry traces the history of the term “atheism” from its earliest use in antiquity down to the present day. The term originally denoted heresy or heterodoxy and not, as it came to be, t…


(2,012 words)

Author(s): Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
Abstract: The concept of attitude has been central to social science research over the past century, because so much of our social contacts, relations, and ideas have to do with evaluations, whether …
Date: 2014-09-16

Attribution (theory)

(1,825 words)

Author(s): Richard Hutch
Abstract: Attaching meaning to a person’s behavior is attribution theory. For example, is someone happy because the person is predisposed to look on the bright side of things or because something goo…


(1,158 words)

Author(s): Ralph W. Hood Jr.
Abstract: Authoritarianism is a term closely linked to the aftermath of the Second World War, when an interdisciplinary group of scholars at the University of California at Berkeley sought both to ex…
Date: 2014-09-16


(4,792 words)

Author(s): Almut-Barbara Renger
Abstract: This article provides a definition of “authority,” focusing on religious and spiritual forms of leadership. It follows the development of the term from its origins in Roman law through to i…


(1,661 words)

Author(s): Peter Lamarque
Abstract: Questions about authorship are at the heart of debates about interpretation, both in literature and in theology. The “death of the author” and the “death of God” are akin. For some critics,…
Date: 2014-09-16