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(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…


(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…


(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…


(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…


(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…


(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…


(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…

Reception, Modes of

(4,675 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert (Tübingen) | Mohr, Hubert
Cancik, Hubert (Tübingen) [German version] A. The Conceptual Field (CT) The relationship of the Mediterranean (Ancient Oriental, Hellenistic, Roman, Etruscan, etc.) cultures to one another and of Post-Antiquity to Antiquity is described with a broad lexical field which expresses the various types of relationship, their intensity and the assessment of these influences more or less clearly. More organological (biomorphic) metaphors are ranged alongside more technical or economic ones: assimilation, heritage…


(7,378 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Mohr, Hubert A. Concept and Theory (CT) [German version] 1. Concept (CT) Paganism is the modern, scholarly term for the intentional resumption ('reception') and resurgence ('revitalisation', 'reconstruction') of ancient, or ethnic, religious traditions or of their constituent parts (cults, myths, symbols), insofar as these occurred outside of Christianity and Judaism, and opposed the two. The underlying concept of Judeo-Christian polemic, 'heathenism', should be distinguished from the religious-historical …


(4,102 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert | Mohr, Hubert
Cancik, Hubert [English version] A. Das Begriffsfeld (RWG) Das Verhältnis der mediterranen (altorientalischen, hell., röm., etrusk. etc.) Kulturen zueinander und das der nachant. zu den ant. wird mit einem reichen Wortfeld beschrieben, das die verschiedenen Arten der Beziehung, ihre Intensität und die Bewertung dieser Einflüsse mehr oder weniger deutlich ausdrückt. Mehr organologische (biomorphe) Metaphern stehen neben mehr technischen oder ökonomischen: Einverleibung, Nachleben, (kollektives) Gedächtn…


(5,911 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Mohr, Hubert A. Begriff und Theorie (RWG) [English version] 1. Begriff (RWG) Paganismus ist der mod. wiss. Begriff für die bewußte Wiederaufnahme (“Rezeption”) und Wiederbelebung (“Revitalisierung”; “Rekonstruktion”) ant. (oder rezenter ethnischer) rel. Trad. oder deren Teilelemente (Kulte; Mythen, Symboliken), sofern sie außerhalb von Christentum und Judentum und gegensätzlich zu diesen geschieht. Zu unterscheiden ist der zugrundeliegende Begriff jüd.-christl. Polemik (“Heidentum”) von dem religionshisto…

Perception/Sensory System

(6,155 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
1. “On Sundays, my father takes me to Mass, and when the ladies sing Hosanna I think I won't get out of there in a thousand years. Hosanna, Hosanna, they screech, without letup, and nobody can put the brakes on them, not the Chief of Police or anybody […] The beautiful things about Mass are: all the lamps are lit, and all the flowers smell wonderful […] The bad things about Mass are: you have to kneel too long, it lasts too long at Easter […]”1 No one's tastes are the same, and so neither are their sense impressions. The Neapolitan grammar-school girl describes Sunday Mass in her…

Pagan Religions and Paganism: The Pre-Christian Religions of Ancient Europe and the Mediterranean Regions, and Their Reception [Time Chart]

(1,689 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Era 1: Late Antiquity: Paganism as formation of reaction to Christendom 253–268 Under the influence of his mentor Plotinus, Emperor Gallienus fosters Greek philosophy and the Mysteries of Eleusis Egypto-Greek philosopher Plotinus (205–270) develops the Platonic teaching to the religio-philosophical system of “Neoplatonism.” 361–363 (reg.) Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus (Julian the Apostate) After a personal, philosophically grounded conversion, Julian fosters the Greco-Roman religion at the cost of Christianity (reconstruction of temples), lec…


(2,203 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Physical Light and Luminous Bodies (Sun, Mon, Stars) 1. Light—the basic condition of organic life on earth: without light, there can be no photosynthesis, no food chain supplying the needs of the human being. The sun is the source of light par excellence, a mighty nuclear fusion reactor, transforming hydrogen to helium and streaming its energy on earth and moon. Light, as today's physics understands it, is electromagnetic radiation. But for denizens of earth, light is mainly an overwhelming experience—w…

Social Myths and Fantasy Images

(1,155 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
The Rumor of Orleans 1. On May 10, 1969, in the lovely French city of Orleans, a shop for women's clothing opened. Its name was provocative: Aux Oubliettes—Fr., “In the Dungeons.” The management had thought up something quite special that was certainly expected to stimulate attention: the changing cubicles were outfitted after the fashion of a medieval dungeon. This idea did not remain without consequence. A scant month later, a number of shops and city-centers began to display the motto: “Don't buy from Jews. They traffi…

Ascona/Monte Verità

(1,443 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
1. Monte Verità (Ital., “Mount of Truth”) was a cultic site frequented by devotees of the European, especially the German-speaking, alternative culture of the first third of the twentieth century. The level elevation overlooking the village of Tessino and today's tourist center of Ascona, on the Swiss northern bank of Lago Maggiore, received its name from the homonymous sanatorium at the same location. From 1900 to 1920, Belgian industrial heir Henri Oedenkoven (1875–1935) and pianist Ida Hofman…


(2,044 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Human Beings in Crowds and Masses 1. ‘Mass,’ like ‘crowd,’ means first of all a multitude of persons. ‘Mass,’ however, goes beyond ‘crowd,’ and denotes a ‘perceptual’ form of crowd, special from without as from within: a multitude arising and understood politically, religiously, or aesthetically, as an independent social condition of aggregate. This aggregate is not defined in terms of an absolute number: the community of believers itself, in its → architecture, is a (prayer) mass. Human masses make t…


(6,742 words)

Author(s): Auffarth , Christoph | Mohr, Hubert
The Power of Definition 1. a) The boundary between what religion is and is not, has important effects: it excludes it from undeserved privileges, and lays out its concerns as either illegitimate or unlawful. These issues arise in the debates over ‘fundamentalism,’ Islamic religious education, or over ‘sects and cults,’ as, for example, in the disagreement over whether Scientology is a religion or a (criminal) ‘economic undertaking.’ An example may clarify the point. In December 1992, Hindus destroye…

Vision/Auditory Experience

(4,198 words)

Author(s): Mohr, Hubert
Heroldsbach 1949–1952 1. On October 9, 1949, four ten and eleven-year-old girls went to the park of the Castle of Heroldsbach, in Franken (Germany), to gather fall foliage.1 They had just participated in an evening meditation on Mary. Upon leaving the wood, first one of the girls, then the others, felt a sudden compulsion to pray. Immediately thereafter, they saw, first, a black figure between the trees, then the abbreviation ‘JHS’ (in the popular German reading, Jesus—Heiland—Seligmacher, ‘Jesus—Savior—Beatifier’), in green script between two birch trees, and finally, …
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