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Kitsch, Religious

(551 words)

Author(s): Bahr, Petra
[German Version] The etymological origins of the term “kitsch” have not been explained. On the one hand, it has been derived from the English word “sketch,” and, on the other, from the German verb “kitschen,” which means “to sweep up the street mud with a manure rake.” In the sense of “filth, junk,” the kitsch phenomenon was passed on in the concept of the trash culture of the 1990s. Suspicion of kitsch and the debate surrounding it have their roots in the German-language discourse concerning aest…

Canon/Canonization

(1,210 words)

Author(s): Bahr, Petra
Canonization as a Process 1. The concept of canonization (from Heb., qana, ‘staff,’ ‘[measuring] reed,’ adopted as a loan word in Greek) describes the process in which a set of symbols, texts, actions, or artifacts is fixed as authoritative and normative. The collection, ordering, and commitment to canonical writing of self-evident daily relationships, cultic practices, styles of piety, and moral conceptions serves to reinforce tradition. It is a process of crystalliza…

Purity

(1,738 words)

Author(s): Bahr, Petra
General 1. The didactic distinction between purity and impurity, and the symbols and rituals that realize it, belong to the basic conditions of every religion. Notions of purity articulate a symbolically ordered world of flourishing religious life. The longing for purity is intimately paired with the yearning for salvation. The conception of ‘impure,’ then, or ‘unclean,’ identifies everything that this symbolical cosmos threatens or calls into question. The condition of p…