Vocabulary for the Study of Religion

Purchase Access
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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(3,024 words)

Author(s): Adrian Furnham
Abstract: This entry considers what we know about the causes and consequences of happiness — a matter which has only recently been subjected to scientific study, although the topic has been dicussed …
Date: 2014-09-16

Healing / Disease

(3,330 words)

Author(s): John Swinton
Abstract: Healing and disease are open to varying understandings across cultures and contexts. What the terms mean depends on who is asking the question and why. This entry will explore the concepts …


(2,390 words)

Author(s): Jeff Levin
Abstract: Scholarly discourse on medicine and health has …
Date: 2014-09-16

Heaven / Hell

(3,116 words)

Author(s): Jeffrey Burton Russell
Abstract: The concepts of heaven and hell constitute a specific view of afterlife that focuses on morality, character, and judgment. Though not unique to the three main monotheistic religions — Judai…


(2,102 words)

Author(s): Jonathan Joseph
Abstract: Hegemony is an important concept in various social and political fields. Emerging in ancient Chinese and Greek thought,…
Date: 2014-09-16


(6 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Heaven / Hell Bibliography 


(1,234 words)

Author(s): Janne Arp-Neumann
Abstract: The term “henotheism” was introduced to the study of the hymns of the Veda to denote the genre …
Date: 2014-09-16

Hermeneutics and Interpretation

(4,867 words)

Author(s): Richard Briggs
Abstract: The wide-ranging terms “hermeneutics” and “interpretation” are most naturally applied to texts. Texts are first interpreted, and the subsequent articulation, analysis, and evaluation of an interpretation constitutes “hermeneutics.” Hermeneutics encourages the interaction of multiple criteria in interpretative activity, and it is productive to think of hermeneutics as fostering a range of dialogues concerning key aspects of the practice of interpretation. This entry explores four kinds of dialogue: between text and reader in the pursuit of appropriate emphases in interpretation; between trust and suspicion as modes of hermeneutical engagement with texts; between traditional and innovative interpretations in the ongoing reception of texts; and between theological and more broadly conceived understandings of hermeneutics. Examples are furnished from the Christian tradition and its engagement with biblical texts, while acknowledging that each tradition will formulate specific issues differently and also that hermeneutics can pertain to more than texts …
Date: 2014-09-16

Hero / Heroism

(4,662 words)

Author(s): Robert Segal
Abstract: This entry discusses the changing conceptions of heroism, the relationship between heroes and gods, and the differences between classical heroes and modern ones. It then presents the four m…