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Change of Religion

(333 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin
[German Version] While the phenomenological approach in religious studies (Phenomenology of religion) placed the supposed “essence” and immutability of religion at the center of its considerations, contemporary systematic approaches to religion emphasize the transformations and the nature of religion and religions as a process. Religious traditions are not static constructs in an ahistorical realm. Instead, the practices, contents, forms of expression, and…


(8,661 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin | Hezser, Catherine | Liss, Hanna | Schröter, Jens | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies In general usage, tradition (from Lat. transdare/ tradere, “hand on, transmit”) connotes retention and safeguarding, understood as a conservative handing down of mores, customs, norms, rules, and knowledge. The emphasis is on continuity with the past. Jan Assmann interprets tradition as an exemplary case of “cultural memory,” an enduring cultural construction of identity. In religions appeal to tradition is a prominent element justifying interpretations, practices, clai…


(10,901 words)

Author(s): Astley, Ian | Mürmel, Heinz | Sagaster, Klaus | Baumann, Martin | Yaldiz, Marianne | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Missiology I. History of Religion 1. The Buddha and his Teaching. Although the biographical dates of the historical Buddha are uncertain, scholars generally put them at 563–483 bce. The Buddha understood his own teaching as a path to redemption, i.e., to liberation from the wretched cycle of rebirths. This teaching (Dharma) is often expressed in a medical…


(2,671 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin | Rajak, Tessa | Dan, Joseph | Fleischmann-Bisten, Walter | Gerloff, Roswith
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Jewish Diaspora – III. Christian Diaspora I. History of Religions The Greek noun διασπορά/ diasporá derives from the composite verb διασπείρω/ dia-speírō, translated “to disperse, scatter, be separated.” Epicurus, following Plutarch, used diasporá in the context of his philosophical doctrine of the atom in the sense of “dissolution down to the last units, to have become without context.” The Jewish tran…


(3,414 words)

Author(s): Britz, Gabriele | Baumann, Martin | Fleischmann-Bisten, Walter | Wendehorst, Stephan | Malik, Jamal
[German Version] I. Social Sciences – II. Religious Studies – III. Christianity – IV. Judaism – V. Islam I. Social Sciences Minorities are groups whose members perceive themselves or are perceived by others as a (related) portion of society distinct from the rest. The distinction is based on actual or supposed features divergent from the characteristics of the rest, often with negative connotations. Sometimes relative powerlessness in comparison to the dominant group, exclusion, and discrimination are considered constitutive. The term is used in different ways. (1) I…


(886 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin | Falkenburg, Brigitte | Rosenau, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy – III. Fundamental Theology I. Religious Studies The term “boundary” is used spatially, temporally, and metaphorically. Spatially, a boundary separates localities and territories, signaled by boundary markers (cf. OE mearc, “boundary, landmark”). In certain cases, boundaries must not be crossed; in sacred sites onl…

Turner, Victor Witter

(156 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin
[German Version] (May 28, 1920, Glasgow – Dec 18, 1983, Charlottesville, VA), British ethnologist. After doing fieldwork among the Ndembu in Africa in the 1950s, he turned his attention to pilgrims and pilgrimages. He developed a theory of comparative symbolism and an analysis of ritual processes (Rite and ritual: I; Cult/Worship: II, 4) and coined the term social drama (II, 1) to describe social and normative processes of negotiation. Turner used the analytic categories of liminality (Rites of passage) and communitas (Community and the individual) to interpret social proce…

World Society and Religion

(357 words)

Author(s): Baumann, Martin
[German Version] The sociological concept of a world society constitutes the existence of a global social system, conceived of as a unity on the basis of a specific concept of society as an empirical object. The idea was put forward in the 1970s by Peter Meintz, John Meyer, Immanuel Wallerstein, and N. Luhmann, each on the basis of his own theoretical premises; its guiding notion is that there is a distinct global dynamic and global level of social interaction that represents the benchmark for oth…