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Meditation/Contemplation

(3,115 words)

Author(s): Brück, Michael v. | Nicol, Martin | Bäumer, Bettina | Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. The Religions of India – IV. Buddhism I. Religious Studies Meditation is a general term for different, variously contextualized methods of training consciousness that are found in various religions. The term itself originated in the Platonic/Neoplatonic Christian tradition (Platonism, Neoplatonism), where it means “intensively focused thought.” The works of Hugh and Richard of St. Victor as well as Bonaventura and J. de Gerson treat meditation as a stage in the progress of the spiritual life: lectiomeditatio – ( o…

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 Monasticism is a collective term for an alternative way of life, always religiously motivated, that includes asceticism but is also characterized by a more or less radical withdrawal from society (the “world”) as well as from the monastics' own community of faith. The term monk commonly used in Christianity (from secular Gk μοναχός/ monachós, “solitary,” Lat. monachus, borrowed by way of a hypothetical 8th-century monichus* into Old High German [ munih] and othe…

South-East Asia

(1,659 words)

Author(s): Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] comprises the modern continental countries Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Singapore, together with the island states of Indonesia, Brunei, East Timor, and the Philippines. The territory of Malaysia comprises both continental and insular regions (see the map at Asia). In the year 2000, the population was about 522 million; 27.2% were Buddhists, 2% Hindus, 26.8% Muslims, 21.4% Christians (14.7% Catholics), and 22.6% other. South-East Asia is extraordinarily varied – ethnically, linguistically, culturally, and religiously.…

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 monastery (or cloister) derives from the Christian tradition, where it denotes the living and working quarters, relatively secluded from the outside world, of a monastic community leading some type of ascetic life (Asceticism; see II below). In the broader context of other religions, the term is also tied to the context of monasticism. When certain social structures in non-Christian reli…

Buddhism

(10,901 words)

Author(s): Astley, Ian | Mürmel, Heinz | Sagaster, Klaus | Baumann, Martin | Yaldiz, Marianne | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Missiology I. History of Religion 1. The Buddha and his Teaching. Although the biographical dates of the historical Buddha are uncertain, scholars generally put them at 563–483 bce. The Buddha understood his own teaching as a path to redemption, i.e., to liberation from the wretched cycle of rebirths. This teaching (Dharma) is often expressed in a medical…

Gift

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Mürmel, Heinz | Bayer, Oswald
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Systematic Theology I. Religious Studies In the religious studies context, gifts are usually not understood in terms of a present, and such an idea is ¶ based on a misunderstanding (M. Douglas, preface to Mauss, VII). Each gift is one part within a system of reciprocities between those giving and those receiving at the time. Participants in this system may belong to various levels: closer or more distant groups or individuals among the living of varying generations, the dead (ancest…

Redemption/Soteriology

(10,262 words)

Author(s): Gunton, Colin | Filoramo, Giovanni | Spieckermann, Hermann | Popkes, Wiard | Hübner, Michael | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology All the major concepts in soteriology have biblical roots. Of central importance today is the notion of reconciliation (II), which bridges the theological and secular realms. The original Greek word καταλλαγή/ katallagḗ involves the notion of exchange, which was early taken to imply that Christ takes the place of the sinner before God, so realizing atonement (at-one-ment) and making expiation. Associated ideas include substitution and representation, which conceive Christ as standing in for the sinner before God. Particular theolo…

Aśoka

(220 words)

Author(s): Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] was the third ruler of the Indian Maurya dynasty and ruled approximately 270-230 bce. A bloody campaign against Kālinga is claimed to have contributed to the change in his disposition. Subsequently, he promoted Buddhism, according to Buddhist sources. That he himself became a Buddhist is not undisputed. Apart from the Buddhist Saṃgha he supported other religious groups (Jainas [Jaini…

Asia

(5,377 words)

Author(s): Sautter, Hermann | Seiwert, Hubert | Mürmel, Heinz | Koschorke, Klaus
[German Version] I. Geopolitical Considerations, Concept – II. History of Religions – III. Modern Asian Religions outside Asia – IV. Christianity I. Geopolitical Considerations, Concept Culturally, economically, and politically, Asia is extraordinarily heterogeneous. The Islamic states of the Near East with their oil wealth are part of this continent, as are the multireligious societies of South and Southeast Asia, relatively poor in resources, and the countries of East Asia with their extraordinarily dynamic economies (at least through the mid 70s). Equally diverse are the…

Dharmapāla, Anagārika

(346 words)

Author(s): Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] (Sep 17, 1864, Colombo as Don David Hevāvitharana [also: Hewavitarne] – Apr 29, 1933, Benares as Siri Devamitta Dharmapāla) was a leading personality in the Buddhist reform movement and the Singhalese renewal movement (Buddhism: I, 2.e,f). Dharmapāla, who attended Christian schools, already established close ties with important Buddhist reformers during this peri…

Suffering

(8,720 words)

Author(s): Mohn, Jürgen | Mürmel, Heinz | Halm, Heinz | Fabry, Heinz-Josef | Avemarie, Friedrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. General Suffering is a concept that needs to be approached constructively in comparative religious study as it takes fundamental negative human experiences to a comparative level. On this interpretive level, suffering is understood as one of the fundamental experiences of human life. What people experience as suffering depends on their particular interpretation of the world and hence on their religious system for interpreting the world. The point at which religi…

Enlightenment (Spiritual)

(1,584 words)

Author(s): Elsas, Christoph | Mühling-Schlapkohl, Markus | Marquardt, Manfred | Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Christian Theology – IV. Buddhism I. Religious Studies Verbalizing the internal light (Symbols/Symbol theory) of the mysteries and mysticism, enlightenment denotes salvific knowledge that comes through sudden ineffable existential experience. Interreligious contacts (reception of ancient conceptions of enlightenment in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; modern encount…

Hīnayāna

(554 words)

Author(s): Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] (Sanskrit: euphemistic trans. “small vehicle”; originally used pejoratively by the adherents of Mahāyāna in the sense of “lesser vehicle”) designates a number of sometimes quite disparate early Buddhist orientations (Buddhism: I, 6). Bareau (1964) proposed adopting the objectively more correct designation “Early Buddhism/Old Buddhism.” The path to salvation (Redemption/Soteriology: IX) is often considered the unifying element, which is sometimes qualified as selfish: The arhat who strives only for personal salvation is supposed to be the main…

Compassion

(1,239 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max | Huxel, Kirsten | Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Buddhism I. Religious Studies The term compassion bears Christian connotations: compassion (cf. Lat. compassio; Gk συμπάϑεια/ sympátheia) refers to the capacity or ability to share concretely in the suffering of others, to sympathize and to draw consequences for one's own behavior. In this regard, the religions answer the question of the appropriate object for compassion – for example all people, only people of a certain group, …

Journals, Religious

(4,530 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf | Mürmel, Heinz | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Felmy, Karl Christian | Schwarz, Johannes Valentin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religio-Cultural Journals – II. Journals of Religious Studies – III. Christianity – IV. Judaism – V. Islam I. Religio-Cultural Journals During the second half of the 19th century, the publication of German-language journals experienced a tremendous upsurge. While the year 1890 saw the publication of 3,203 individual titles, the number had grown to 5,231 by the year 1900 and to 6,689 by 1914. Journals became the preferred medium in academia and culture. In the field of theology, the proportion …

Sociology of Religion

(3,710 words)

Author(s): Knoblauch, Hubert | Mürmel, Heinz | Otto, Eckart | Ebertz, Michael N. | Stuckrad, Kocku v. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The sociology of religion studies religion’s social aspects and manifestations, clearly including religious institutions, organizations, and social groups. It also studies more situational forms, less clearly defined, such as gatherings, ceremonies, and collective rituals (e.g. processions [Rite and ritual]). In an extended sense, characteristic of the German-language tradition since M. Weber, religious sociology deals with all social or socialized behavior focused on…

Südostasien

(1,506 words)

Author(s): Mürmel, Heinz
[English Version] umfaßt die heutigen kontinentalen Staaten Myanmar (Birma), Thailand, Laos, Kambodscha, Vietnam, Singapur sowie die insularen Staaten Indonesien, Brunei, Osttimor und die Philippinen. Malaysias Territorium umfaßt sowohl den kontinentalen wie den insularen Bereich (s. Karte Asien). Die Bevölkerung betrug i.J. 2000 ca.522 Mio. Davon waren 27,2% Buddhisten, 2% Hindus, 26,8% Muslime, 21,4% Christen (14,7% Katholiken) und 22,6% Sonstige. Ethnisch, sprachlich, kulturell und rel. ist S. außerordentlich vielfältig. Die heutige sprachliche Situ…

Religionssoziologie

(3,376 words)

Author(s): Knoblauch, Hubert | Mürmel, Heinz | Otto, Eckart | Ebertz, Michael N. | Stuckrad, Kocku v. | Et al.
[English Version] I. Zum Begriff: Religionssoziologie und Religionswissenschaft R. oder Soziologie der Rel. beschäftigt sich mit den sozialen Aspekten und Ausformungen der Rel. Dazu gehören offensichtlich die rel. Institutionen, Organisationen sowie soziale Gruppen. Auch weniger feste, situative soziale Formationen, wie Versammlungen, Zeremonien und kollektive Rituale (z.B. Prozessionen [ Ritus/Ritual]), zählen zum Forschungsbereich der R. In einem weiteren Sinn, der v.a. die deutschsprachige Tradition…

Zeitschriften

(3,729 words)

Author(s): Hübinger, Gangolf | Mürmel, Heinz | Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Felmy, Karl Christian | Schwarz, Johannes Valentin | Et al.
[English Version] I. Religiös-kulturelle Zeitschriften In der 2. Hälfte des 19.Jh. erlebte das deutschsprachige Zeitschriftenwesen einen großen Aufschwung. Für 1890 waren 3203, für 1900 bereits 5231 und für 1914 6689 Einzeltitel erfaßt. Die Z. wurde zum Leitmedium in Wiss. und Kultur. In der Theol. stieg ihr Anteil an den Gesamterscheinungen zw. 1800 und 1908 von 8,3 auf 26,5%. Zw. Fachzeitschriften und Gemeindeblätter schob sich im Zuge der Differenzierung der Zeitschriftenprofile der Typus der rel…