Religion Past and Present

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(160 words)

[German Version]

(anglicized form of Sanskrit masc. brāhmaṇa, “priest, scholar”). In classical Hinduism, the Brahmins constitute the highest of the four castes (I), namely priests and scholars. A Brahmin is the bearer of Brahman; his hereditary status entitles and obligates him to learn the Vedas by heart and to offer sacrifice. The Brahmin caste includes not only domestic priests and scholars, but also – in order of diminishing status and respect – ascetics (Asceticism: VIII), temple priests, astrologers, healers, pilgrimage priests, and mortuary priests. It is cons…

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Michaels, Axel, “Brahmin”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 12 August 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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