The following text is from Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion, first published by InterVarsity Press, Carol Stream, USA, 1994, second edition, Regent College Press, Vancouver, 1999.
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Copyright © Irving Hexham 1994, 1998.
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For further information about the book and the sources used to compile this text see the PREFACE.
For a Religious Studies READING LIST
Cross-references are indicated by the use of CAPITAL LETTERS.
YAHWEH: the personal name of GOD in the HEBREW BIBLE which is sometimes translated Jehovah or simply "the Lord." It comes from the consonants YHVH the vowels being unknown since it was so SACRED that it could not be pronounced.
YAHWIST: a term used in BIBLICAL CRITICISM to designate certain passages of the HEBREW BIBLE which are said to be distinguished by the writer's use of the name YAHWEH for GOD.
YAJURVEDA: the third of Four Collections of the VEDAS consisting of sacrificial formulas. It was composed some time after the G VEDA and was intended for use in RITUAL.
YAKKHA: a class of semi-divine SPIRITS mentioned in the BUDDHIST PALI CANON.
YAMA: the BUDDHIST Lord of death.
YAZDIS: an ancient Kurdish RELIGION whose followers believe in TRANSMIGRATION and one GOD. They have two SACRED books the Kitab al-jilwa and Mashaf Rash which are written in Arabic. Their other BELIEFS and practices are believed to reflect CHRISTIAN, ZOROASTRIAN and ISLAMIC influences.
YEN WANG: the Chinese Lord of death who was originally one of the ten Kings of HELL.
YIMA: a semi-divine Iranian BEING who lives in an underground PARADISE awaiting the last days when he will emerge to re-populate the earth.
YIN-YANG: the Chinese philosophical theory that everything originates from and depends on the interaction of two opposite and complementary principles which proceeded from the GREAT ULTIMATE. Yin is Earth, negative, passive, dark, female and destructive while Yang is Heaven, light, positive, male and constructive. Through their perpetual interplay all things exist and are continually transformed.
YOGA: a SANSKRIT term meaning "to yoke." It is used to describe a process of SPIRITUAL discipline or harnessing of physical and mental powers to attain self-control and ultimate ENLIGHTENMENT. Generally it means a system of MEDITATION which is essentially common to BUDDHISM, HINDUISM and JAINISM and which shares many associated assumptions such as a view of KARMA, DHARMA and some notion of METEMPSYCHOSIS. The term also refers to one of the Six Schools of HINDU PHILOSOPHY which teaches and utilizes the practice of yoga to attain LIBERATION which is conceived as a state of perfect isolation.
YOGACARAS: a school of MAHYNA BUDDHISM that subscribed to the idea that consciousness alone is real while objects of consciousness are not, thus making MEDITATION rather than intellectual analysis the central concern of the movement.
YOGI: a practitioner of YOGA.
YOGIC RELIGION: a term used to refer to those religious TRADITIONS where the practice of YOGA is the central experience and the doctrines associated with it such as KARMA for the basis of BELIEF. Yogic religion is the main rival to ABRAMIC RELIGION.
YOM KIPUR: the most HOLY day in JUDAISM known as the Day of ATONEMENT.
YOMEI SCHOOL: a Japanese school of CONFUCIANISM based on the teachings of WANG YANG-MING pioneered in Japan by Nakae-Tju which promoted devotion to the COSMIC SOUL of which man is a microcosm through SPIRITUAL training.
YOUNG, Brigham (1801-1877): the "Saint Paul" of MORMONISM who assumed the leadership of those Mormons who accepted POLYGAMY after the death of Joseph SMITH. A brilliant leader, he created the Utah branch of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS. Despite his numerous gifts, he taught many strange doctrines, now repudiated by his followers, including "Blood-ATONEMENT" and the "Adam-GOD" theory which have proved troublesome for Mormon intellectuals today.
YÜ HUANG: the Jade Emperor who is the most important GOD in the TAOIST pantheon and the source of all justice. Popular BELIEF in Yü Huang was incorporated into BUDDHISM where he was recognized as the ruler of GODS and SPIRITS but subordinate to the BUDDHA.