Introducing World Religions:
The eBook

Introducing World Religions Online:
Comprehensive Glossary of Terms

Term Definition

La Chingada

Culturally-packed (nearly unspeakable) term meaning the violated woman, used by Mexicans with reference to La Malincha, the mother Martín Cortés (16th century CE) who is considered to be the first mestizo.


Stages of the path; genre of Tibetan Buddhist literature outlining meditations according to topics designed to lead to realization of emptiness and generation of compassion.


Sikh free community meal where all devotees eat together without divisive ritual taboos.


Founder of the Daoist tradition; he may be a legendary figure, but Daoists traditionally say he lived in the sixth century BCE; the Dao de jing is attributed to him.

Leeuw, Gerardus van der

Phenomenologist of religions (1890-1950) who spoke of the human tendency of people to become Religious Subjects in response to their perception of objects that carry spiritual meaning for them (i.e., Religious Objects).


The Byzantine emperor who ordered the destruction of Christian images in an edict of 730 CE, in the midst of the iconoclastic controversy; he argued that the use of sacred art was a major obstacle to the conversion of Jews and Muslims to Christianity.


(1) Ancient Chinese rituals as prescribed in the Book of Rites; Confucius added the sense of propriety; (2) Derived from a different Chinese character it means principle; in the neo-Confucian School of Principle it is the principle (archetype, law) that governs the form of all material things.

liberation theology

A branch of Christian theology that promotes the social values of peace, justice, and equality. It emerged in Latin America in the 1960s, and spread worldwide.

liminal beings

Beings that move betwixt-and-between two realms of existence or experience (i.e., players in the drama of world religions that inhabit the imaginal realm).

Lonkā Shāh

(ca. 1450) Śvetāmbara Jain who led a movement that declared use of idols as heretical, and thus was a precursor to Jains who later formed the Sthānakavāsi sect.

Louis G. Gregory

(1874-1951) African-American lawyer from South Carolina and son of a freed slave, he worked for social justice and converted to the Bahá’í Faith; posthumously designated as Hand of the Cause of God.

Luria, Isaac

(1534-1572) Jewish mystic who taught that people should work toward tikkun, the mystical repair of the world achieved by gathering sparks of light that were scattered at the time of creation.

Luther, Martin

(1483-1546) Founder of a Christian Protestant sect; after being excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, he developed a theology founded on the idea that the institution of the priesthood as a channel of God's grace was not valid.

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