The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Kocku von Stuckrad

The impressively comprehensive Brill Dictionary of Religion (BDR) Online addresses religion as an element of daily life and public discourse, is richly illustrated and with more than 500 entries, the Brill Dictionary of Religion Online is a multi-media reference source on the many and various forms of religious commitment. The Brill Dictionary of Religion Online addresses the different theologies and doctrinal declarations of the official institutionalized religions and gives equal weight and consideration to a multiplicity of other religious phenomena. The Brill Dictionary of Religion Online helps map out and define the networks and connections created by various religions in contemporary societies, and provides models for understanding these complex phenomena.


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Zarathustra

(1,227 words)

Author(s): Stausberg, Michael
No one knows exactly when and where Zarathustra, the ‘founder’ of → Zoroastrianism, lived. In fact, it is not even certain whether Zarathustra represents a historical individual at all. Even in the most ancient sources, the ‘historical Zarathustra’ appears as a remarkably nebulous figure, later to be repeatedly overlaid with mythology, theology, ritual, literature, iconography, and ideology. The Gathas The name Zarathustra (or Zarathushtra) appears in five very ancient hymns, the ‘Gathas’ (‘songs’), composed in an ancient Iranian language. It is not cer…

Zen Buddhism

(2,668 words)

Author(s): Bayreuther, Sabine
1. Zen is the Japanese designation for the Chinese ch'an (in Sanskrit, dhyāna, ‘meditation,’ ‘immersion’), and denotes a tradition of Mahayana Buddhism for which the key religious practice is ‘→ meditation sitting’ (in Jap., zazen). What is characteristic of Zen can be summarized in four brief enunciations: (1) Zen understands itself as a special tradition outside of orthodox teaching; it emphasizes (2) independence of the authority of sacred scriptures; (3) a transmission of the teaching ‘from heart to heart,’ from master to pu…