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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Everyday Life

(3,453 words)

Author(s): Michael Sheringham | Olivia Sheringham
Abstract: This entry explores some ways in which a focus on “everyday life” can provide insights into religion. It begins with a general discussion of how “everyday life” has been understood by vario…


(3,836 words)

Author(s): Chad Meister
Abstract: Evil in this context signifies all that is profoundly harmful, malevolent, and unjust as understood within the major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.…

Evolution / Evolutionism

(4,437 words)

Author(s): Sebastian Schüler
Abstract: This entry discusses the varying relations between evolution/evolutionism and religion. Early attempts to apply evolutionary theory to the phenomena of religion are considered, as are more …


(3,569 words)

Author(s): Gregory D. Alles
Abstract: Exchange is often conceived of in terms of reciprocal transactions in free markets, but it also encompasses many other forms, among them gift-giving, redistribution, “generalized” exchange,…


(2,853 words)

Author(s): Ann Taket | Beth R. Crisp
Abstract: This entry begins with the conceptualization of exclusion. It presents the shift from understanding exclusion as a state associated with defining a rigid opposition between the excluded and…


(3,510 words)

Author(s): Thomas Ryba
Abstract: Contrary to some assumptions, excommunication, expulsion, and exclusion have been practiced by religions since antiquity. Originally responses to taboo behavior or qualities, these practice…


(1,117 words)

Author(s): Jonathan Schofer
Abstract: Exegesis is a form of interpretation. Narrowly defined, exegesis is the interpretation of texts, particularly sacred texts. Broadly understood, exegesis can be productively considered along…


(2,286 words)

Author(s): Peter Sedgwick
Abstract: The word “existentialism” is associated with philosophers and writers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Jaspers, Heidegger, Camus, …
Date: 2014-09-16


(1,628 words)

Author(s): Frederick Smith
Abstract: Exorcism is practiced throughout the world. Allegedly evil beings or spirits are eliminated from an individual through a ritual. These rituals almost always invoke familiar or primary deiti…

Explanation and Interpretation

(3,328 words)

Author(s): Robert Segal
Abstract: One perennial issue in the study of religion is the relationship between explanation and interpretation. Explanation provides causes. Interpretation provides meanings. The issue is the rela…


(935 words)

Author(s): Pieter Nanninga
Abstract: This entry first provides an overview of the academic use of the concept of extremism over the last few decades, then discusses the difficulties…
Date: 2014-09-16