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Gandharvas and Apsarases

(4,400 words)

Author(s): Oberlies, Thomas
Gandharvas and apsarases, often mentioned as being closely associated as either lovers or married couples ( AVŚ. 2.2.5; 4.37.7, 12; AVP. 1.89.2), have been conceived of as a class of semidivine beings throughout the history of Hinduism. According to the Aitareyabrāhmaṇa (3.31), they form a group besides “gods and men, serpents and fathers” (see also JaiUBr. 1.41.1). They are supposed to associate with human beings, but not always without danger for the latter. Especially the Atharvaveda emphasizes their dangerous features, naming them in one breath with piśācas and rākṣasas ( AVŚ.…
Date: 2019-01-30

Non-Violence

(1,896 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Schmälzle, Udo Friedrich | Oberlies, Thomas
[German Version] I. Bible Hebrew Bible uses violence (חָמָס/ ḥāmās; שׂד/ šōd) to denote the illegal use of physical force (Gen 49:5), false ¶ testimony in court (Exod 23:1; Deut 19:16), economic exploitation (Amos 3:10; Zeph 1:9), especially of the poor (Jer 22:3), and assault on God (Job 21:27) or his laws (Ezek 22:26). All violence against human beings is also violence against God (Gen 6:11, 13). Law (Law and jurisprudence: III) with its fundamental function of settling conflicts and preventing the transgression of norms that provokes violence is the primary …

Priesthood

(7,504 words)

Author(s): Friedli, Richard | Otto, Eckart | Dignas, Beate | Elm, Dorothee | Kraus, Georg | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Etymologically the term priest derives from Greek πρεσβύτερος/ presbýteros, “elder”; it denotes a religious functionary, especially an expert responsible for the cult. The Greek word did not originally have this meaning. A second semantic strand puts a priest (Gk ἱερεύς/ hiereús, Lat. sacerdos) in charge of things that are sacred (Sacred and profane). The characteristics that comparative religion usually associates with priesthood are often transferred globally from Christianity, especially Roman Cathol…