Vocabulary for the Study of Religion

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Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Robert A. Segal & Kocku von Stuckrad.

The Vocabulary for the Study of Religion offers a unique overview of critical terms in the study of religion(s). This first dictionary in English covers a broad spectrum of theoretical topics used in the academic study of religion, including those from adjacent disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, historiography, theology, philology, literary studies, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, and political sciences.

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Action

(2,992 words)

Author(s): Kocku von Stuckrad
Abstract: The article argues that “action” is one of the basic categories in our attempt to understand human behavior, and thus also in the study of religion. “Action” is differentiated from “behavio…
Date: 2015-08-17

Adaptation

(5,836 words)

Author(s): Steven Orzack
Abstract: Adaptation in evolutionary biology refers to a trait of an organism or the process by which an organism evolved a particular trait. Famous examples of adaptations as a trait include the beaks of birds, th…

Aesthetics

(5,765 words)

Author(s): Alexandra Grieser
Abstract: In recent years, the role of the body and the senses has become a crucial object of study in religious studies. This development has included a critical revision of biased categories that h…

Afterlife

(2,921 words)

Author(s): Jeffrey Burton Russell
Abstract: The word “afterlife” has three main denotations along with scores of connotations. The question whether afterlife exists depends largely on one’s definition of reality and falls outside the…

Agency

(4,744 words)

Author(s): Dorothy Holland | William Lachicotte✝
Abstract: This entry maps recent research in the social sciences and to a lesser extent in philosophy and psychology about human agency. It identifies central topics, such as theories of everyday age…

Agents (Superhuman / Counterintuitive)

(2,206 words)

Author(s): Brian Malley
Abstract: Some of the most widespread cultural concepts used in fantasy, fiction, and mythology are counterintuitive in the sense that they match some innate expectations and violate others. Among th…

Aggression

(2,341 words)

Author(s): Ulrike Popp-Baier
Abstract: In social and behavioral sciences, aggression is usually defined as intentional behavior aimed at harming another person, who in turn wants to avoid such harm. A widely acknowledged distinc…
Date: 2014-09-16

Agnosticism

(1,605 words)

Author(s): Robin Le Poidevin
Abstract: Originally introduced by T.H. Huxley as a principle constraining belief systems in general, agnosticism is now regarded specifically as a stance on theism. Different strengths of agnosticis…

Agriculture

(3,249 words)

Author(s): Evy Johanne Håland
Abstract: In agricultural societies, fertility rituals and death rituals are used to secure crops. They are important in connection both with dead ancestors and with water. In both past and present s…