The new and impressively comprehensive Brill Dictionary of Religion addresses religion as an element of daily life and public discourse. Richly illustrated and with more than 500 entries, the dictionary is a multi-media reference source on the many and various forms of religious commitment. It is unusual in that it not only addresses the different theologies and doctrinal declarations of the official institutionalized religions but it also gives equal weight and consideration to a multiplicity of other religious phenomena.
People perceive and express religious experiences in many different ways: through dance, sensuality, in relations between sexes and in compassion at death. Religions help determine how people form and perceive their identity as part of a social group. The diverse effects of religions can also be perceived in the environment, society and the public sphere. The Brill Dictionary of Religion helps map out and define the networks and connections created by various religions in contemporary societies, and provides models for understanding these complex phenomena.
Kocku von Stuckrad (1966) is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is co-editor of the Numen Book Series (Brill) as well as the Religion and Society book series (Walter de Gruyter). His publications include an introduction to the study of religion (2003, with H.G. Kippenberg) and, most recently, Western Esotericism: A Brief History of Secret Knowledge (2005). Currently, he is working on methodological issues in the study of religion and the role of Western esotericism in early modern discourse.
The editors of the original German version are Christoph Auffarth, Jutta Bernard, and Hubert Mohr
"This vital reference source approaches religion as it is understood by the intersection of theory and society. […] Photographs, detailed maps, and extensive rigorous charts make this work especially useful; each entry has elucidatory marginalia that illustrate the thematic fields. This set is highly recommended for upper-level undergraduates and graduate programs in religious studies. " – Stephan J. Shaw, in: American Reference Books Annual (2007)
"Brill continues the long-trusted tradition of publishing superb resources with The Brill Dictionary of Religion. This reference title delivers more than 500 entries focusing on religion through every day living and community dialogue. While maintaining amazing scholarship, the entries cover the diverse expressions of all religions. The entries include an overview and a ‘historical sketch’ allowing the user an excellent description, accessible for the general reader to the scholar. This title should be the foundation of the religion section in all public and academic library’s reference collections. " – Dr. William R. Taylor "The unexpected strength of religions in the world today requires a new kind of dictionary. The new Brill Dictionary of Religion answers that need. Instead of conveying religious subjects independent of their present significance, it focuses on contemporary issues that affect religions and are affected by them; it dissects historical notions that feed the illusion of a timeless tradition (e.g. 'gnosticism'); it evaluates methods and theories in terms of their capacity to shed light on religions in our culture; it discloses the impact modernity has on what seems to be old. Labor migration, media, violence, law, bioethics: these and other contemporary phenomena are the new arenas of religions. Religions are entering the public realm; the Brill Dictionary of Religion accompanies the process and helps the user grasping it. " – Prof. Hans G. Kippenberg, Max Weber Center, University of Erfurt "Every time one consults the Brill Dictionary of Religion one is reminded, through texts and images, that religions are to be approached neither as self-contained entities, nor as the summation of doctrinal developments; that religion, rather than having to do with disembodied speculation or with purely private experiences, is part of the material fabric of everyday life; that the study of religion cannot be undertaken without engaging in constant reflexivity. Indeed, readers of this important reference work will be guided as much through the world of religious practices as through the current theoretical debates concerning what constitutes religion. Highly recommended for private and institutional libraries. " – Gustavo Benavides, Villanova University "Kocku von Stuckrad, the editor of the dictionary [...] has proved an excellent choice as editor. [...] The Brill Dictionary of Religion is delightfully user-friendly. [...] The Brill Dictionary of Religion is a most worthy investment. " – Robert A. Segal, in: Times Higher Education Supplement (2006)