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Hildegard of Bingen

(1,164 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
1. Hildegard—primer of self-redemption, economic wonder of the factories of alternative health, figurehead of feminists, symbol of integration for a new Europe, comes to us at the turn of the millennium with her salutary guidance. Established for a scant twenty years now as one of the female quantities of the Middle Ages, Hildegard is enjoying a renaissance, standing as she does at the head of a virtual Hildegard community of the most varied interest groups, and inspiring a cultic practice in a …

Veneration of Saints

(1,258 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
Saints and Divine Persons 1. Non-Christian and Christian saints are considered divine persons, in the sense of enjoying a special religious bestowal of grace, although, in their lifetime, in society, they have frequently occupied the position of an outsider. On the basis of the exemplary life ascribed to them, they become phenomena of the daily piety or devotion of believers and groups. → Charisma and the attribution of miracles can raise persons to the status of saints in their own lifetime, since …


(997 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
Religious Procession and Public Act 1. The religious procession (from Lat., processio, ‘procession,’ ‘walk in order to demonstrate a request’ or to demonstrate ‘gratitude’) today stands in the field of tension between an act of expression on the part of believers, conveyed by religion, and a secularized → ‘publicity’ or public act whose primary appeal is to popular tradition or → tourism. Processions are liturgical and corporative kinds of cult, which ‘walk’ an established topography (a stretch of a road or street, a locality, or a sacred → ‘landscape’) in…


(1,287 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
Ethnicity as a Pattern of Explanation 1. a) Since the 1970s, ‘ethnicity,’ with all of the catchwords it comports—awareness, group, conflict, cleansing, religion—has served as an explanatory variable for descriptions of relations between groups in multi-ethnic national states. It also functions in the attempt to meet the set of problems attaching to the formation of a state and/or nation, or to processes of globalization. In these cases, ethnicity offers a theory that seeks to explain the conditions an…

Feasts and Celebrations

(2,418 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
Meaning and Function 1. Holidays (cf. ‘holy day’) or feast/festivals (Lat., festum) have at least two peculiarities. For one, they are established in religious, cultural, and social frameworks as repeatable happenings; for another, on their occasion, persons are spontaneously inclined to gather in gladsome social celebration. In the festivity itself, an ebullient zest for life is the hallmark, and pleasing sensory events (festive meal, play, dance) set the tone. The holiday is a corporative event, to be ce…


(1,506 words)

Author(s): Gronover, Annemarie
Anthropological and Religious Aspects 1. According to the biblical myth, Adam and Eve, through personal sin, destroyed the harmony with God and nature that had prevailed in Paradise. The supervening shame at their transgression—not having followed God's word—and the nakedness of which they had become aware, they covered using fig leaves. Thereby they set themselves off as physically and spiritually distinct persons from each other, as well as with respect to God. The account of the Fall (Gen 3) unde…

Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide

(1,598 words)

Author(s): Gest-Gronover, Werner | Gronover, Annemarie
Social Context 1. Concrete, conscious dealing with dying raises social, ethical, and political questions. Institutions like clinics, nursing homes, or special establishments for dying (such as hospices) are interpreted in the public debate over assisted dying/euthanasia as proof of a social ousting, as well as a tabooing of death (→ Death and Dying). The marginalization of the aged and infirm here includes social death. The key question where the individual is concerned is whether she or he has a …