The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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Human beings draw boundaries to ‘bound themselves off’ as members of one group against ‘the others’: in order to erect identities of their own and to specify their own territories vis-à-vis the outer world. ‘We-they’ thinking leaves its traces in almost all areas of human behavior. Fences, boundary stones, and turnpikes cannot be overcome by everyone at all moments: They show persons whether they may enter, as they belong there, or whether they must remain without. The temple (in Greek, témenos, ‘bounded space’) is the religious space par excellence. The living spaces of re…

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Hartmann, Georg, “Boundary”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 19 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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