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redemption: concept prevalent in Christian doctrines, that the death of Jesus of Nazareth paid the ransom necessary to deliver (i.e., redeem) humanity from the penalties of its sinful condition.

reductionism: the intellectual tendency to explain away the complexities of a phenomenon being examined, by oversimplifying its causes or nature.

reincarnation: term for a soul being reborn into another body after death; for Buddhism rebirth is a more accurate term due to its doctrine of anatman, no soul; see also transmigration.

religion: a person or group’s collective of beliefs, values, and activities concerning their relationship to their conceptions of ultimate reality.

religionist: students or scholars of the discipline of Religious Studies; in older usage for someone deeply committed to a particular faith.

religionswissenschaft: German term for science of religion.

Renaissance: rebirth; post-medieval (c. 14th to early 17th century) movement in the West that ushered in a revival of creativity, especially in the arts, music, and literature, inspired by access to classical Greek and Roman literature.

renunciant: a religious practitioner who renounces ordinary, secular, lay life in the pursuit of religion; could live a solitary ascetic existence or in a religious community.

revelation: disclosure of truth or knowledge from a divine source.

rites of passage: rituals that mark a change in status, e.g. birth, puberty, marriage and death.

ritual: series of traditional actions deemed to be necessary, meaningful, or appropriate in particular situational contexts.




  1. (C)Hillary Rodrigues and John S. Harding 2008; Courtesy Routledge


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