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Divination

(2,094 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert | Editors, The
1. Term The term “divination” comes from Lat. divinatio, meaning “divine inspiration; soothsaying.” Divination is a social practice of choosing and evaluating signs. It is related to such phenomena as the interpretation of events, the seeking of causes (diagnosis), and the planning of action (prognosis). But it also carries with it the extraordinary claim of being the disclosure of what is hidden (Apocalypticism 1), of having privileged access to a special “pool” of signs (e.g., the anatomy of sheep livers), and of having unquestionable authority. Divination practic…

Museum

(2,227 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] I. The Institution: Definition and Function – II. History – III. Religion in the Museum: A Typological Survey – IV. Religions in the Museum: Forms of Reception and Areas of Conflict I. The Institution: Definition and Function Museums are complex institutions of Europe's modern secular civil society, especially, since the 18th century, of urban culture and its system of knowledge ( episteme). The creation of the modern museum forms part of the discursive unfolding of a historical and national consciousness in historicism, and of the esta…

Neo-Paganism

(1,580 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] The most recent phase of paganism, the anti- and a-Christian religious reception of ancient and non-European religions, may be called neo-paganism. It began around the mid-20th century, drawing on 19th-century predecessors (Romanticism, F. Nietzsche, Life Reform movement). Neo-paganism is characterized by the fact that its members turn the negative stereotype “heathen” into a positive self-image, developing a religious role as “new pagans,” and appearing in public to an unprecedented extent. Although 20th-century neo-paganism has roots in the tradit…

Mafia

(525 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] Mafia is a collective term of uncertain etymology (Arab.?) that referred initially to criminal groups in Sicily but has been applied more recently to comparable criminal secret societies elsewhere (“Russian Mafia,” “Chinese Mafia”). The self-designation Cosa Nostra (“Our Affair”) was probably introduced in the recent past (Hess). The role of the mafioso is a by-product of Sicilian agrarian feudalism: mafiosi were originally estate managers ( gabellotti) who acted as agents (“power brokers”: Wolf) of the absent feudal lords, guaranteeing and enf…

Paganism

(2,417 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert | Becker, Dieter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History – III. Missiology I. Religious Studies Paganism (from Lat. paganus “pagan, rustic, civilian”; Pagandom) is the modern scientific term for the deliberate resumption (“reception”) or revival (“revitalization,” “reconstruction”) of ancient or recent ethnic religious traditions or elements of them (Cults; myths, symbols) outside Christianity and biblical Judaism. Although the religious occupation of an outgroup is structurally conceivable in other exclusive religious ¶ communities, such as Judaism or Islam, paganism …

Otto, Walter Friedrich

(622 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] ( Jun 22, 1872, Hechingen – Sep 23, 1958, Tübingen), classical philologist and specialist in religious studies. Otto was professor of classical ¶ philology at Basel (1913/1914), Frankfurt am Main (1914–1934), and Königsberg (today Kaliningrad; 1934–1944); from 1946 until his death in 1958 he taught at Tübingen as visiting professor and emeritus professor. His work and influence are important for the study of religion in antiquity and the history of religions. He began his career as a Latinist, studying under Franz Büchler ( Aufsätze zur römischen Religionsgesch…

Renaissance

(9,034 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Cancik, Hubert | Buttler, Karen | Imorde, Joseph | Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] I. Concept The French term “Renaissance,” which was also borrowed by German and English, belongs to the large group of organic metaphors applied to historical occurrences. Used from the 19th century in sole reference to animal/human life and understood in the sense of “rebirth,” it is assigned in recent research (since Jost Trier) more appropriately to the botanical sphere and explained as “renewed growth,” i.e. as a renewed sprouting of shoots ¶ from felled trees and bushes. Pre-Christian Latin already employed renasci (from nasci, “to be born, to become, to ar…

Relics

(5,513 words)

Author(s): Felber, Anneliese | Köpf, Ulrich | Plank, Peter | Hafner, Johann Ev. | Mohr, Hubert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Relics are the remains (Lat. reliquiae) of individuals endowed with power, such as warriors, chiefs, sorcerers, heroes, prophets, martyrs, and saints – their bodies, their clothing, or objects they have used. Veneration of relics reflects the belief that these forces continue beyond the grave; the intent is to benefit from this power or blessing by erecting structures over the grave, lighting candles or leaving flowers, processions, touching or kissing, or burial near…