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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Dialectic / Dialectical Materialism

(1,184 words)

Author(s): Terrell Carver
Abstract: Dialectic originated in ancient philosophy as a mode of reasoning through argumentative contradiction to truthful conclusions. It developed as a practice of disputation in the European midd…


(1,487 words)

Author(s): Arvind Sharma
Abstract: Dialogue has replaced conversion as the model of interreligious relations in the post-War years. Various forms of it can be identified — but at the heart of all lies the willingness to be c…


(2,630 words)

Author(s): Paul Christopher Johnson
Abstract: “Diaspora” has gained force as a key word for the study of religion, along with the phrase, “diasporic religion.” This essay interprets the reasons for the expansion, gives definitional par…


(6 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Food and Diet Bibliography 

Differentiation (Social)

(2,347 words)

Author(s): William Mirola
Abstract: Differentiation remains a core concept in the debates over secularization and its significance for religion in a post-modern world. In its most basic formulation, differentiation refers to …

Diffusion and dispersion

(1,924 words)

Author(s): Alice Beck Kehoe
Abstract: Religions and religious ideas and images move through and between populations. If a religion, idea, or image is accepted throughout a receiving society, it is said to have diffused. Christi…

Dionysian and Apollonian

(8 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Apollonian and Dionysian Bibliography 


(1,230 words)

Author(s): Hugh Urban
Abstract: Derived from the Latin dis- claudere, disclosure refers to the exposure or opening of things that have been hidden or concealed. In a religious context disclosure is the exposure, opening, or reve…
Date: 2014-09-16


(5,463 words)

Author(s): Kocku von Stuckrad
Abstract: This entry sketches the diversity of discourse research and then focuses on approaches to discourse that are informed by the sociology of knowledge and the work of Michel Foucault. After ha…


(6 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Healing / Disease Bibliography 


(1,402 words)

Author(s): Hans Kippenberg
Abstract: The notion of disenchantment  is central to Max Weber’s sociology of religion. In the history of religion the expectation of salvation became independent of external means such as magic, sp…


(7 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Diffusion and Dispersion   Bibliography 


(1,182 words)

Author(s): Sebastian Murken | Franziska Dambacher
Abstract: Dissociation is a disruption of the integrative functioning of consciousness, memory, and identity. The entry describes various forms of dissociative disorders and investigates the relation…
Date: 2014-09-16

Dissonance (Cognitive)

(2,135 words)

Author(s): Simon Dein
Abstract: Religious believers frequently experience dissonance between their convictions and empirical reality. Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance has been most influential in the study …
Date: 2014-09-16


(3,374 words)

Author(s): Amar Annus
Abstract: Divination can be divided into natural and inductive kinds. The natural kind empathizes with the divine. The inductive kind analyzes the patterns in portents. Those patterns can be discover…

Divine Kingship

(1,518 words)

Author(s): Nicole Brisch
Abstract: Divine kingship, the deification or self-deification of kings during their lifetimes, is a widely attested phenomenon, yet not all kings at all times were divine. The deification of kings i…
Date: 2014-09-16


(3 words)

 God / Goddess