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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Folk Religion

(1,859 words)

Author(s): Henk Driessen
Abstract: This entry traces the history of the notion of folk religion from the nineteenth century through the beginning of the third millennium. It discusses the complexities of the terms “folk” and…
Date: 2014-09-16

Food and Diet

(3,483 words)

Author(s): Elizabeth Koepping
Abstract: The essay covers Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, local religion, Judaism, Hinduism, and Sikhism, discussing links between religious identity and prohibitions, restrictions and prescriptions…

Founder / Foundation

(1,599 words)

Author(s): Stanley E. Porter
Abstract: There have been various efforts to explain the origin of religions.  One approach has been to seek the common origin of religions. That approach has often been tied to an evolutionary view …
Date: 2014-09-16

Framework (Conceptual)

(1,721 words)

Author(s): Darrell P. Rowbottom
Abstract: This entry discusses frameworks of inquiry. It focuses on Thomas Kuhn’s notion of a paradigm, or a “disciplinary matrix.” It also considers a related issue in scientific method — namely, th…


(1,829 words)

Author(s): Jens Kreinath
Abstract: Framing refers to the deliberate transformation and reconfiguration of human relations through forms of communication that go beyond the transmission of information between sender and recei…


(3,150 words)

Author(s): Richard Gale✝
Abstract: It has often been contended that God’s essential perfections of omniscience, sovereignty, and benevolence get in the way of human freedom as well as God’s own freedom. There are numerous ar…
Date: 2014-09-16

Function / Functionalism

(2,469 words)

Author(s): Nancy Frankenberry
Abstract: This entry considers several exemplars of functionalism as a theory in the study of religion. Melford Spiro is considered as an outstanding example of a sophisticated form of functionalism …

Functions of Religion

(2,542 words)

Author(s): Lori G. Beaman
Abstract: The functions of religion seek to answer the question “What does religion do?” But this way of posing the issue makes religion itself an actor. In actuality, religion does not act by itself…
Date: 2014-09-16


(4,370 words)

Author(s): Henry Munson
Abstract: Many scholars believe the word fundamentalist has become a term of polemical abuse rather than of serious analysis—except when used to refer to conservative Protestants who speak of themselves as …
Date: 2014-09-16


(2,923 words)

Author(s): Eric Venbrux
Abstract: Funerals are ceremonies marking the transition from life to death. They provide a status passage for the deceased and help the survivors to adjust to the death. Funerals are an almost unive…