The Brill Dictionary of Religion

Get access 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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Wholeness/Holism

(1,601 words)

Author(s): Grätzel, Stephan
1. While the term ‘whole’ has been one of the fundamental concepts of Western philosophy and science from the outset, the concept of wholeness, as a scientific one, is a neologism, having come into use only toward the end of the nineteenth century. Here it is especially biology and psychology that give the concept the meaning that it still has today in scientific theory (‘holism’), medicine (‘holistic medicine’), or psychology (‘holistic psychology’). Concepts and Theories of Wholeness: Goethe 2. The concept of wholeness has a close affinity with the German word Gestalt (originally, ‘…

Will, Free

(1,426 words)

Author(s): Mohn, Jürgen
1. In general, ‘will’ (in Lat., voluntas; in Ger., Wille; in Fr., volonté) denotes the motivation of an acting subject in the direction of a particular goal. The subject of a will is not necessarily an individual human being, but, in the transferred sense, can also be a collectivity (‘general will,’ Fr. volonté générale), or a power conceived as transcendent, and as influencing the human being and the world (will of God). Insofar as the will is qualified as free, it presupposes the possible autonomy of the actor/agent. A distinction must then be m…

Witch/Persecution of Witches

(1,833 words)

Author(s): Tschacher, Werner
Meaning of the Word and Determination of the Concept 1. ‘Witch’ (from Old English wicce/wicca, ‘sorceress’) denotes, generally, a female person who can use magic, sorcery, spells, and/or enchantment to evoke hurtful reactions and results. The concepts for ‘witch’ present in European languages and societies betray various accentuations of meaning, depending on different aspects of the person or her activity. In the Italian word strega (from Lat., striga, ‘owl’), the witch is interpreted as a flying, child-abducting being. The French sorcière (from Lat., sors, ‘lot’) indicates w…