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Subject Religion

Key-Topics spirituality

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxxiv ] (1) The most general term (a spirit, spirits) for any superhuman (usually invisible) being. Most cultures, past and present, have accepted the existence of spirits, of a more or less personal kind, able to affect human life in some way. The individual human may be held to possess one or more spirits, separable from the physical body. As surviving bodily death, spirits may be the objects of a cult ( see A ncestor-worship ). Events in the physical environment or in human consciousness may be attributed to spirits ( see A nimism ; S haman ). Superior, named and well-characterized spirits are G ods. (2) The singular concept defies definition. Denoting the form of being which has no distinctively material properties, ‘spirit’ (derived like its equivalents in many languages from words for breath or wind, as invisible, yet powerful and lifegiving), connotes life, consciousness, self-activity. R eligion is often regarded as having to do with ‘the things of the spirit’, what is spiritual [127: 193–6]. To elucidate such language is a major task for R eligions-wissenschaft and the P hilosophy of religion. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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