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.

Subscriptions: Brill.com

Taboo

(1,307 words)

Author(s): John Morton
Abstract: Taboo refers to socio-religious prohibitions which connote both purity and danger. While James Frazer treated taboo as a form of magical thinking, Émile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud stressed the ambiguous religious qualities of the idea. Most recent studies of taboo have buil…

Teleology

(2,483 words)

Author(s): Mariska Leunissen
Abstract: This entry discusses the historical and contemporary uses of teleology in philosophy, theology, science, and history, with a focus on three of the most pervasive uses of teleology: providen…

Temple

(8 words)

Abstract:   ⸙Sanctuary / Shrine / Temple Bibliography 

Texts / Textuality

(5,717 words)

Author(s): Wesley A. Kort
Abstract: Three questions concerning the status and role of texts and textuality in the study of religion are addressed. The first concerns the importance of texts and textuality relative to other aspects of religious studies, such as practices, experiences, and material objects. It is argued that, while texts and textuality, given the largely Protestant ethos affecting the rise of the study of religion, may have been overemphasized in the past, they continue to be basic. The second question concerns conditions that cause or accelerate the separation of some texts from other texts and their elevation over them. This process, while often also attributable either to perceived characteristics of particular texts or to the exercise of authority, is most commonly caused by social and political conditions that produce uncertainty and conflict, and it is a process that is neither inevitable nor the result of increasing cultural sophistication. The third question concerns the recurring tendency to view texts as secondary and derivative and to affirm something behind texts that is more originating and significant but cannot be retrieved or reached. Reasons for and the religious importance of this evaluation of and d…