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Mountains, Holy

(279 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl
[German Version] Holy mountains play a major role in many religious traditions. Little is known of the origins of this phenomenon and the real reasons for it – whether specific mountains were holy from the outset or came to be considered holy after the example of others. Apparently, though, neither Olympus, Kailas, Fuji, nor the mountains of Yahweh – not to mention the high places with sanctuaries of Canaanite and Germanic deities – owe their holiness simply to their physiogeographic features. As …

Firmicus Maternus, Julius

(173 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl
[German Version] Firmicus Maternus, Julius, member of a respected Sicilian family. Trained in both Latin and Greek, toward the end of this career as a lawyer c. 335 he composed the most comprehensive Latin handbook of astrology, the Matheseos libri VII (ed. Kroll-Skutsch, 1897–1913, repr. 1968; ET: Astrology Theory and Practice: Matheseos Libri VIII, 2005). He converted to Christianity, probably from philosophically excessive astral beliefs; then in De errore profanarum religionum (ed. Turcan, 1982) he was the first Christian (c. 350) to summon the emperors Consta…

Typology of Religion

(1,039 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl

Foundation Deposits

(294 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl
[German Version] Virtually all over the world and among the most varied cultures, excavators of temples, fortifications, dikes, and other significant structures have found human and animal skeletons and vessels with vegetables, household objects, money, or decorations beneath foundations. In the case of human remain…

Intoxication

(413 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl
[German Version] In religious studies, intoxication is often understood as the state that is induced through the intake of euphoric substances. This is misleading because in an unfavorable setting or basic psycho- mental disposition of the consumer, it is not euphoria but states of anxiety (Anxiety a…

Hair

(343 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl
[German Version] The care and style of one's hair is governed by the conventions prevailing at any one time, and a full head of hair is regarded everywhere as a sign of health, while its loss through violence or age is seen as dishonor or as powerlessness and decreasing vitality. This has resulted in hair being ascribed with a fairly constant symbolic and magical significance. As the hair (and nai…

Soul Bird

(169 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl
[German Version] The fugitive soul is represented pictorially in many forms. Late, principally Roman sarcophagi depict Prometheus (Culture hero) forming a human being as a statuette, to which Athena adds a butterfly (Gk ψυχή/ psychḗ ). Frequently the soul is represented as a bird. The soul bird itself comes from ancient Egypt. In the earliest period, a bird resembling a stork, later a falcon, was considered the embodiment of divine powers called

Prostitution

(1,583 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Kirchhoff, Renate
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Prostitution, the “oldest profession,” is a form of surrendering one’s own body, tendentially at will, to other people for sex. It can have various motivations, but here we shall consider primarily its religious context. Sacral prostitutes, male and female, have often been associated with temples. The phenomenon was widespread in the ancient Near East, with prostitutes devoted to various goddesses. Even in Jerusalem, prostitutes of both sexes ¶ apparently were not banned from the temple until after the Babylonian Exile (586 bce). According t…

Occultism

(1,213 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Streib, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Especially in Germany, occultism (from Lat. occultum, “what is hidden [in the mysteries]”) became a collective term for all theories and practices dealing with “extrasensory” and “supernatural” forces after the appearance of H.P. Blavatsky’s theosophy in the 19th century. It differs from spiritualism in explaining spiritualist phenomena as being caused by an unspecified natural force. But since religions, Gnosis, and esotericism a…

Parapsychology

(1,636 words)

Author(s): Watts, Fraser | Hoheisel, Karl | Streib, Heinz
[German Version] I. Natural Science – II. Religious Studies – III. Practical Theology I. Natural Science Parapsychology is the study of supranormal psychic phenomena (also known as psy-phenomena) such as extrasensory perception, telepathy, telekinesis or psychokinesis, remote viewing or second sight, spiritual healing, out-of-body and near-death experiences. All these phenomena are (psychic) effects from a distance, and therefore mental connections that obviate physical causal connections. Scientific research i…

House/Household

(1,345 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Ulrich | Hoheisel, Karl | Osiek, Carolyn | Sprondel, Walter M.
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Religious Studies – III. House Church (in Early Christianity) – IV. Sociology I. Archaeology Functionally, the house was a building which, in contrast to a palace, served as a private dwelling. While circular structures have been identified in prehistoric Palestine, from the Chalcolithic to the Early Bronze Age the broad-room type of house dominated, that is, a one-room and one-floor structure with a single entrance on the long side. In addition, there were sometimes apsidi…

Suicide

(4,006 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Kuhlemann, Frank-Michael | Kuhn, Thomas K. | Aebischer-Crettol, Ebo | Honecker, Martin
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Suicide is the violent taking of one’s own life by one’s own hand; it also includes voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide. Cultural traditions vary greatly regarding the admissibility of suicide. In tribal cultures, the aged and infirm in the Kalahari or other extremely arid regions ask their relatives for death. Kings and chiefs in African tribal cultures must kill themselves when the fortunes of war turn against them or they grow frail. To avoid dying in bed…

Vision/Vision Account

(4,201 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Jeremias, Jörg | Reed, Annette Yoshiko | Heininger, Bernhard | Dinzelbacher, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies The term vision (from Lat. visio) denotes a clear perception of images of individual scenes or long sequences (some coupled with auditory [Auditory hallucination] or olfactory elements) in a waking state. Visions can arise spontaneously or be induced by rhythms, asceticism, meditation, psychedelic drugs, or rituals (Rite and ritual). They are experienced without exception as coming from without, although related external stimuli cannot be verified. Religiously dispose…

Soul

(8,968 words)

Author(s): Hoheisel, Karl | Seebass, Horst | Gödde, Susanne | Necker, Gerold | Rudolph, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. Phenomenology Western, Christian connotations of the concept of the soul, imposed on the religio-historical evidence by outside studies, must be generally excluded if the soul is understood as the principle of manifestations of life that are perceptible (or culturally considered to be perceptible), although they are rarely categorized under a common umbrella term. It is therefore reasonable to speak of a multiplicity of souls – for example four among the Ob-Ugrians (Hasenfratz, Einführung, 38–41), five among the Proto-Germanic peoples ( ib…