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Elements, The

(329 words)

Author(s): Burger, Maya
[German Version] The concept of the elements as chemically indivisible material dates to the 17th century. The importance of the elements for religious studies depends on their value in cosmogony, symbolism, ritual, and the total visions of the world and humanity (e.g. traditional science, medicine, alchemy, astrology, anthropology, metaphysics). Earth, water, and fire occur in a…


(1,365 words)

Author(s): Burger, Maya | Gunton, Colin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. History of Dogma and Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Until very recently, the use of the term incarnation in religious studies was borrowed from ideas current in Christianity. From the perspective of systematics, incarnation or “enfleshment” goes hand in hand with a body and soul polarity, implying a particular conceptualization ¶ of the relationship between God and the world as well as with the concept of the individual and person, and with religious legitimation of authority (rev…


(5,320 words)

Author(s): Burger, Maya
“Kabīrpanth” designates a religious community having Kabīr, the 15th-/16th-century poet, as its central reference and founding figure. Though usually the term “Kabīrpanth” is used in the singular, there are many branches ( śākhās) and sub-branches ( upaśākhās) that can be very different from one another. The adherents to the Kabīrpanth are known as the Panthīs. The study of the Kabīrpanth bears testimony to the complex and controversial heritage of Kabīr, and some methodological precautions may be useful. Firstly, it is necessary …
Date: 2020-05-18


(5,093 words)

Author(s): Burger, Maya
In the 15th–16th centuries, there lived in Benares a poet-singer known as Kabīr (?–1518), weaver by trade and rebel in religious matters, who bequeathed to posterity a living tradition of singing his “truth” about worldly and divine questions and proposing a new, direct practice to experience extraworldly dimensions. For the last five hundred years, his poem-songs have enjoyed tremendous acclaim, locally and internationally, and are a source of inspiration and imitation. For many adherents to his views, he is a spiritual master ( guru) and founder of a recognized community ( panth); h…
Date: 2020-05-18