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It has been evident for many years that no authoritative, reliable, and up-to-date reference work on Buddhism yet exists in any language. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism aims to fill that gap with a comprehensive work, presented in two phases: a series of six thematic volumes including an index volume, addressing issues of global and regional importance, to be followed by an ever-expanding online resource providing access both to synthetic and comprehensive treatments and to more individuated details on persons, places, texts, doctrinal matters, and so on.
Illustrated with maps and photographs, and supplemented with extensive online resources, the print version of the thematic encyclopedia will present the latest research on the main aspects of the Buddhist traditions in original essays written by the world’s foremost scholars. The encyclopedia aims at a balanced and even-handed view of Buddhist traditions, presenting the most reliable accounts of well-known issues and filling gaps in heretofore-neglected areas. In doing so, it emphasizes that Buddhism is simultaneously constituted by a plurality of regional traditions and a far-reaching phenomenon spanning almost all of Asia, and more recently far beyond as well.
Volume I, published in 2015, surveys Buddhist literatures, scriptural and nonscriptural, and offers discussions of the languages of Buddhist traditions and the physical bases (manuscripts, epigraphy, etc.) available for the study of Buddhist literatures. Subsequent volumes will address issues of personages, communities, history, life and practice, doctrine, space and time, and Buddhism in the modern world.

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Nicolas Roth

Abstract

Persian, Braj Bhāṣā, and Urdu literatures in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Mughal India evolved a common repertoire for the depiction of gardens. Drawing on earlier Persian and Sanskrit models but reflecting material developments of the time, including the influx of new American plants, this mode of writing gardens appeared primarily in a particular type of garden set piece in narrative or descriptive works, but also in references across genres. Apart from allowing for elaborate literary conceits, these conventions served to display knowledge and convey specific notions of material luxury and sensory pleasure.

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Esther Eidinow

Abstract

This article discusses the challenges facing scholars exploring the nature of belief in ancient Greek religion. While recent scholarship has raised questions about individual religious activities, and work on ritual, the body, and the senses has broadened our methodological palette, the nature and dynamics of generally held “low intensity” beliefs still tend to be described simply as “unquestioned” or “embedded” in society. But examining scholarship on divine personifications suggests that ancient beliefs were — and our perceptions of them are — more complex. This article first explores the example of Tyche (“Chance”), in order to highlight some of the problems that surround the use of the term “belief.” It then turns to the theories of “ideology” of Slavoj Žižek and Robert Pfaller and argues that these can offer provocative insights into the nature and dynamics of ritual and belief in ancient Greek culture.

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Arresting Alternatives

Religious Prejudice and Bacchantic Worship in Greek Literature

Marika Rauhala

Abstract

Ancient Greek descriptions of ecstatic and mystic rituals, here broadly labeled as Bacchantic worship, regularly include elements of moral corruption and dissolution of social unity. Suspicions were mostly directed against unofficial cult groups that exploited Dionysiac experiences in secluded settings. As the introduction of copious new cults attests, Greek religion was receptive to external influences. This basic openness, however, was not synonymous with tolerance, and pious respect for all deities did not automatically include their worshippers. This article reconsiders the current view of ancient religious intolerance by regarding these negative stereotypes as expressions of prejudice and by investigating the social dynamics behind them. Prejudices against private Bacchantic groups are regarded as part of the process of buttressing the religious authority of certain elite quarters in situations where they perceive that their position is being threatened by rival claims. It is suggested that both the accentuation and alleviation of prejudice is best understood in relation to the relative stability of the elite and the religious control it exerted.

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Anne Fawcett

Abstract

Animal shelters, pounds and rescue organisations have evolved over time. Today they serve three purposes: to reduce animal welfare harms, to reduce harms to the community associated with free-roaming, stray or unwanted companion animals, and to reduce their associated environmental harms. This discussion explores the evolution of animal shelters, and argues that they are justified on utilitarian grounds. It explores unintended harms of shelters on animal welfare, including humane killing for the purposes of population control and shelter population management, as well as risks associated with confinement including behavioural deterioration and infectious diseases. It also explores harms to non-human animals, including moral distress and compassion fatigue. Finally, it explores potential environmental harms of shelters. The One Welfare concept, utilised in the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) Global Animal Welfare Strategy, acknowledges the interplay between animal welfare, human well-being and environmental sustainability. It is argued that the One Welfare framework is critical in minimising harms and maximising benefits associated with animal shelters.