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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Race / Racism

(2,684 words)

Author(s): Amy Ansell
Abstract: Race refers to the idea that human populations can be divided into meaningful sub-populations based on biological conformity. The criteri…


(3,220 words)

Author(s): Paul McLaughlin
Abstract: Radicalism is a familiar yet largely unclarified concept. Much can be said about the connotations, etymology, an…


(1,150 words)

Author(s): Crawford Gribben
Abstract: The “rapture” is an eschatol…
Date: 2014-09-16

Rational Choice Theory

(2,323 words)

Author(s): Michael Allingham
Abstract: One of the earliest uses of rational choice theory is Pascal’s famous wager on the existence of God. This entry discusses developments in rational choice theory since the time of Pascal whi…


(4,523 words)

Author(s): Ian Jarvie | not-specified | Joseph Agassi
Abstract: Frazer set up the modern problematic of comparing the rationality of magic, religion, and science. His rationalism was inductivist and, following the distinction between truths by nature an…
Date: 2014-09-16

Reading and Writing

(4,240 words)

Author(s): Laurence Coupe
Abstract: This article offers an overview of the relationship between writer and reader, as understood from the ancient world to the present day. It traces this relationship through Greek philosophy,…

Reception Theory

(3,348 words)

Author(s): James L. Machor
Abstract: Developing primarily in the fields of literary and cultural studies and the history of the book, reception theory asserts that the interpretive activities of readers explain and in many way…

Reductionism / Anti-reductionism

(4,415 words)

Author(s): Robert Segal
Abstract: This entry discusses several conventional views in religious studies: that “religionists,” as I call those in the tradition of Mircea Eliade, have a monopoly on the study of religion; that …


(2,305 words)

Author(s): Axel Michaels
Abstract: Reincarnation means the belief in the transfer, upon death, of a psycho-physical identity — soul, personal self, or spirit of an ancestors into a new body — human, animal, or spiritual. Wha…


(3,374 words)

Author(s): Hugo Strandberg
Abstract: Relativism is a term standing for many different positions. The relativist claims that one thing (e.g. truth) is relative to something else (cultures…

Religion, Classification / Types of

(9 words)

Classification / Types of Religion

Religion, Concept of

(5 words)

Concept of Religion

Religion, Definitions of

(5 words)

Definitions of Religion

Religion, Measurements of

(5 words)

Measurements of Religion

Religion, Origins of

(5 words)

Origins of Religion

Religion, Secular

(3 words)

Secular religion

Religion, Theories of

(5 words)

Theories of Religion


(1 words)



(1,966 words)

Author(s): Benson Fraser

Revitalization Movement

(1,188 words)

Author(s): Alice Beck Kehoe
Abstract: The concept of “revitalization movement” was presented in a now-classic 1956 paper by Anthony F.C. Wallace.  Exampl…
Date: 2014-09-16