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Laying-On of Hands

(1,802 words)

Author(s): Mohn, Jürgen | Janowski, Bernd | Lips, Hermann v. | Biehl, Peter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies The laying-on or imposition of hands is a physical gesture usually performed in the context of a ritualized series of actions or as a symbol by itself. It can be ascribed to a divine being conceived anthropomorphically. The ritual gesture is attested in many cultures, especially in the ancient Near East, but it is not universal – it is unknown, for example, in Buddhism and Islam. Its mean…

Symbols/Symbol Theory

(9,049 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Use of the Greek word σύμβολον/ sýmbolon in a sense relevant to religious studies is attested quite early in the history of European religions; Dio of Prusa (1st/2nd cent. ce), for example, used it in his speech on Phidias’s statue of Zeus in Olympia ( Oratio 12.59). In this context, the Greek term reflects the problem posed by images of the gods: what is intrinsically inaccessible to human vision (Vision/Intuition) is somehow to be represented visually. In religious studies, especially in the phenomenology of religion, the concept of sy…