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Laity

(5,415 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Karrer, Leo | Schneider, Johann | Plasger, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Dogmatics – IV. Practical Theology – V. North America – VI. Missiology I. Religious Studies Generally speaking, the term laity (from Gk λαος/ laós, “people”) denotes adherents of a religious tradition who do not act as religious specialists or function within a defined socio-religious class (Priesthood, Monast…

Monasteries

(3,085 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver | Köpf, Ulrich | Mürmel, Heinz | Kalb, Herbert
[German Version] I. Comparative Religion – II. Christianity – III. Buddhism – IV. Monastic Law I. Comparative Religion The term monas…

Nirvāṇa

(440 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver
[German Version] The Sanskrit word nirvāṇa (Pāli nibbāna; lit. “extinction”) is one of several terms for the final stage and goal of the path of salvation in Indian religions, especially Buddhism. Early Buddhist texts view nirvāṇa as the state attained through awakening ( bodhi; Enlightenment [Spiritual]) or liberating knowledge ( ājñā, Pāli añña; Redemption: IX). In this state, ignorance, desire, and hate, which lead to suffering and rebirth, are “extinguished,” ending the imprisonment of the individual in the universal, painful cycle of rebirth ( Samsāra ). …

Monasticism

(13,595 words)

Author(s): Köpf, Ulrich | Freiberger, Oliver | Mürmel, Heinz | Horstmann, Monika
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Religious Studies – III. Church History – IV. Buddhism – V. India I. Terminology

Sannyāsin

(259 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver
[German Version] The Sanskrit word saṃnyāsin (“renouncer”) is one of several terms for an ascetic in the Indo-Brahmanic tradition (Asceticism: VIII). A saṃnyāsin renounces “the world,” especially all forms of ritual. In the classic formulation of the four stages of life (Āśrama: Brahmin student, householder, hermit, itinerant ascetic), saṃnyāsa (“renunciation”) represents the fourth and final stage: having completely fulfilled his duties, the ideal twice-born man – someone who has experienced his “second birth” through initiation, in other…

Fasting

(4,168 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver | Podella, Thomas | Böcher, Otto | Bieritz, Karl-Heinrich | Troickij, Aleksandr | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Old Testament – III. Christianity – IV. Ethics – V. Judaism – VI. Islam I. History of Religions “Fasting” is a universally attested cultural technique to produce an expansion of mental and social control, power, or awareness (Asceticism) by restricting the intake of food. Many different types of and reasons for fasting can be found in the history of religions, and they are combined in various ways. Several studies have been produced with regard to individual…

Saṃgha

(282 words)

Author(s): Freiberger, Oliver
[German Version] Saṃgha (also saṅgha; Sanskrit/Pali; lit. “assembly”) is the monastic community originally founded by the Buddha (I; Buddhism: I, 4); according to the Buddhist rules governing such communities, it consists of ordained bhikṣus and bhikṣuṇīs (“monks and nuns”; monasticism: IV; monasteries: III). Since monastic Buddhism never developed an overall organizational structure, the idea of the “