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(1,276 words)

Author(s): Preißler, Holger
Concept 1. The expression ‘martyr’ (from the Greek mártys, ‘witness’) denotes a person who consciously accepts death for his or her religious position and religious community, and who, after death, receives privileges, becoming also a role model for those who remain behind. The concept is familiar to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and to other religions too—one need only recall the self-immolation of Buddhist monks during the Vietnam War. In a broader sense, as well as a secularized one, victims of poli…

Eastern Mediterranean

(2,404 words)

Author(s): Preißler, Holger
Historical Region 1. The countries of the Near East that border on the Eastern Mediterranean between Asia Minor and Egypt belong to the regions of the earth that, with their Eastern and Southern hinterlands, possess special meaning for the history of religion. The area is one of the oldest regions of human habitation. In the ninth millennium BCE, the Neolithic Revolution began in this region and spread out from here. Since the seventh millennium BCE, medium-large urban settlements are in evidence …