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Sacred Sites

(2,374 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Reichert, Andreas | Dan, Joseph | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Characterization of a place as “sacred” or “holy” lends it a special status vis-à-vis its environment. Usually specific regulations govern how it is entered and used. Traditionally this status has been grounded in the belief that the site is proper to a deity or another spiritual being, or that a special power emanates from it. Sacred sites are particularly common at the center and on the fringes of group territories: the “men’s house” or festival ground defines the center of a village, just as the temple complex on …

Chastity

(2,198 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Geissner, Hellmut K. | Schlosser, Marianne
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ethics – III. Church History I. Religious Studies All cultures subject human reproductive behavior to certain norms; certain situations or periods of life require sexual abstinence. In traditional societies, chastity as an ethical value (Asceticism) is usually an integral part of the religious symbol system. Young people in particular are restricted in their sexual behavior; only when they are able to be economically independent are th…

Cult/Worship

(8,783 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Xella, Paolo | Ego, Beate | Niebuhr, Karl-Wilhelm | Lehmkühler, Karsten | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History of Scholarship – III. Ancient Near East – IV. Old Testament and Early Judaism – V. New Testament – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Christianity – VIII. Liturgical Practice – IX. Ethics I. Religious Studies 1. Concept The word “cult” comes from Lat. cultus. Cicero ( De senectute 56) uses the phrase cultus deorum in the sense of “worship of the gods.” It invariably refers to acts of “care and tending”; in secular contexts the word denotes agrarian work (cf. agriculture). There are analogous words in other ancient languages…

Magic

(9,806 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, Franciscus A.M. | Wiggermann, F.A.M. | Betz, Hans Dieter | Baudy, Dorothea | Joosten, Jan | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Antiquity – III. Bible – IV. Church History – V. Practical Theology – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. Religious Studies No definition of magic has as yet found general acceptance. Approaches that go back to the late 19th century (E.B. Tylor, J.G. Frazer) view magic as a primitive cognitive system, the lowest rung on an evolutionary ladder (Evolution) that progresses with religion and science (cf. also Myth/Mythology: I). Magic in this view is charact…

Omen

(2,294 words)

Author(s): Lorenz, Günther | Albani, Matthias | Baudy, Dorothea | Iwersen, Julia
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. The Milieu of Modern Alternative Religions I. Religious Studies An omen (Lat. omen, related semantically to prodigium, “portent,” and auspicium [ oblativum], “[spontaneous] divination from the flight of birds”) is a phenomenon that is interpreted as a portent (Premonition) of an important event, mostly negative but sometimes positive; unlike oracles, omens are not sought deliberately. Often they involve encounters with an…

Ethology of Religion

(724 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea
[German Version] is a relatively new subdiscipline of religious studies that examines the anthropological bases of religious behavior from a biological perspective. Its cornerstone was laid by Julian Huxley in 1914 when (following the lead of C.R. Darwin) he compared the courtship behavior of great crested grebes with human ceremonies and developed a theory of ritualization, i.e. of the origins of formalized communicative behavior (see also Rite and Ritual: I). The possibility that the biological model could be applied to various topics in the humanities and cultural studies ¶ was t…

Shame

(1,346 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] I. Religious Studies A sense of shame is a fundamental element of being human. It is a social feeling that ensues when one becomes aware of a shortcoming that might offend others. Unlike a sense of guilt, it does not presuppose an actual transgression. Shame is therefore not just a concomitant of behavior subject to social condemnation, such as violation of a sexual taboo, dishonesty, cowardice, or disloyalty; it is also a reaction to situations for which the individual has no respon…

Sacred Times

(1,513 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Metzger, Marcel | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Sacred times are ritually observed periods of time of varying duration that serve to modulate life within a community through reference to an exceptional shared experience. Someone who prays at an appointed hour knows that he or she is united with like-minded others even when alone. When people live close to nature, the necessary cooperation requires adaptation to the environment’s seasonal changes. There the ritual organization of temporal caesuras addresses bot…

Religionsethologie

(665 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea
[English Version] . R. ist eine noch im Entstehen begriffene Teildisziplin der Religionswissenschaft, die sich von einem biologischen Ansatz her mit den anthropologischen Grundlagen rel. Verhaltens befaßt. Den Grundstein dazu legte Julian Huxley i.J. 1914, als er (im Anschluß an Ch.R. Darwin) das Balzverhalten von Haubentauchern mit menschlichen Zeremonien verglich und daraus eine Theorie der Ritualisierung, d.h. der Entstehung formalisierten kommunikativen Verhaltens entwickelte (s.a. Ritus/Ritua…

Scham

(1,195 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Huxel, Kirsten
[English Version] I. Religionswissenschaftlich Das Schamempfinden gehört zur menschlichen Grundausstattung. Es ist ein soziales Gefühl, das sich beim Gewahrwerden eines Defizits einstellt, an dem andere Anstoß nehmen könnten. Anders als das Schuldgefühl setzt es kein konkretes Vergehen voraus. Sch. ist daher nicht nur eine Begleiterscheinung von Verhalten, das sozialer Ächtung unterliegt, etwa der Verletzung sexueller Tabus, Unehrlichkeit, Feigheit oder Treulosigkeit, sondern auch eine Reaktion auf…

Omen/Omina

(2,063 words)

Author(s): Lorenz, Günther | Albani, Matthias | Baudy, Dorothea | Iwersen, Julia
[English Version] I. Religionswissenschaftlich O., lat. in semantischer Nähe zu prodigium (»Vorhersage«) und auspicium (oblativum; »[spontanes] Vogelzeichen«), meint ein Geschehnis, das als Vorzeichen wichtiger überwiegend negativer, aber auch positiver Erlebnisse gedeutet, doch nicht willentlich gesucht wird wie Orakelantworten (Orakel) o. ä. Oft handelt es sich um Begegnungen mit Tieren (bes. größere Vogelarten, Spinnen, Schlangen, Katzen) oder das Hören von Stimmen (z.B. Eulenvögel, Schakal) ode…