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Introduction to World Religions

Religion a system of symbols, myths, doctrines, ethics, and rituals for the expression of ultimate relevance
Symbol something that is used to represent something else
Rituals prescribed, formalized actions that are used to dramatize religious symbols
Magic the attempt to manipulate spiritual forces
Doctrine the specific teachings of a denomination on the nature of adeity
Monotheism the position that only one Deity exists
Polytheism the position that many Deitiesexist
Syncretism the blending that takes place when different religions come into contact
Animism the doctrine that there are spirits in everything
Atheism the position that no deities exist
Scripture term for sacred writings
Fundamentalists people who are strict about their religious doctrine and ethics and take a literal interpretation of scriptures
Theologians Attempt to use philosophy and rational elaboration in order to explain or argue religious doctrine
High God father, creator god has withdrawn from active intervention in the world
Magic use of ritual to manipulate spirits or natural phenomena
Megaliths stone monument centers for rituals
Sacrifice ritual offering of something to deity; human sacrifice practiced by some religions
Shaman medicine man figure prominent in religion of tribal cultures
Taboo something forbidden for ordinary use
Vision quest puberty rite of American Indians; young man is sent into wilderness for communion with spirits
Mesopotamia a region of civilizations arising between Tigris and Euphrates rivers
Alexander the Great Macedonian conqueror, spreading Greek culture to Middle East, bringing in Hellenistic era around 300 B.C.E.
Anthropomorphic a deity having human form
Apollo Greek Olympian deity representing reason, moderation
Aristotle 384-322 B.C.E. Greek philosopher; emphasized reason, observation, moderation; influenced
Aquinas (Catholic), Averroes (Muslim), and Maimonides (Jewish)
Axial, Axis Age period of great religious and philosophical speculation, 600 B.C.E. - 200 C.E.
Chthonic deities representing powers of the earth (Greek)
Cybele mother goddess from Asia Minor, popular in Rome in the early common era; self-castration ritual
Cynics Greek philosophy offshoot of Socrates; reject all social conventions; asceticism, members were hermits
Cyrenaics Greek philosophy offshoot of Socrates; reject all social convention; pursue pleasure
Democritus 460-370 B.C.E. Greek philosopher; "Atoms are the material from which everything is made"; no afterlife, hedonistic
Dionysus Greek god of wine and ecstatic rites, son of Zeus; his mystery cult involved devouring live animals
Divination attempting to foretell the future through various rituals
Eleatics Greek monistic philosophers who denied the existence of change
Eleusinian mysteries Greek, Hellenistic cult; mother-daughter goddesses; secret initiation rites
Epicureanism Greek philosophy, materialist, hedonist; "We free man from fear of death and religion"
Great Mother fertility goddess prevalent in Hellenistic times
Hellenistic Greek culture in the time after Alexander (300 B.C.E.)
Heraclitus 6-5th century B.C.E. Greek philosopher "All is flame, change"; attacked popular religion as superstition
Isis Egyptian and Hellenistic mother goddess, theistic, answered prayer
Mithra, Mitra Iranian son god who became an important cult among Roman soldiers; secret rituals, bull sacrifice
Monism "all reality is of a single thing"
Olympian ancient Greek pantheon which included anthropomorphic deities such as Zeus
Oracle Greek shrines for divination
Orphics 6th century B.C.E. ancient Greek mystery cult, emphasized afterlife, vegetarianism, asceticism, secret rituals, music
Osiris Egyptian and Hellenistic god; dying and rising, judge of the dead
Pantheon a structured relationship between polytheistic deities
Plato 429-347 B.C.E. Greek philosopher; "The physical world is but a physical manifestation of ideal forms"; dualist, reincarnation, ideal controlled society
Pythagorus 570-500 B.C.E. Greek mathematician and cult leader; reincarnation, vegetarianism, and secret rituals, ascetic
Socrates 470-399 B.C.E. Greek philosopher, executed for allegedly challenging traditional religion
Zeus head deity of thunderbolt in Greek Pantheon; known as Jupiter in Rome; anthropomorphic
Created by: 241152