Homo Religiosus - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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Homo Religiosus as Religious Leader

In one meaning, homo religiosus refers to a particularly religious person within a given (religious) community, that is, to a religious leader. The roots of this usage are much older than the Enlightenment and Linnaeus's Systema naturae. In antiquity religiosus denoted persons who were scrupulously but not excessively attentive to observances due to gods and humans (Festus, pp. 278 and 289 M; Cicero, De natura deorum 2.72). In this sense, Cicero could speak of homines religiosi (Epistulae ad familiares 1.7.4). Christianization brought overtones of distinctiveness—religiosi became persons of special ecclesiastical standing—and this usage was transferred to the vernaculars, as in the English noun religious and expressions such as "religious folk" (Romance of the Rose 6149).

Later, in reaction to the Reformation's universalization of the religious life, Pietist and Puritan movements emphasized a religious distinctiveness whose center was subjective and individual rather than objective and...

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This section contains 2,324 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Homo Religiosus Encyclopedia Article
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Homo Religiosus from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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