Just the facts on religion.

Glossary of Religion

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Hallel
Psalms 113-118, recited at the end of morning service on festival days.
haftarah
Portion of the Prophets read in synagogue services.
haggadah
(Hebrew, "discourse" or "telling"). Non-legal material in the Talmud and Midrash, including stories, legends, theology, and sermons.
hagiography
A biography of a saint, usually written from an admiring and idealized perspective.
Haifa
City in northern Israel that is second to Akko in importance for Bahá'ís. It contains the Shrine of the Bab, the Universal House of Justice, and the Bahá'í Archives. As such it is the administrative headquarters of the Bahá'í Faith.
hajj
("pilgrimmage"). Pilgrimage to Mecca required of every able Muslim at least once during his or her life. One of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Halakhah
Halakhah
halakhah
(Hebrew, "the walk"). Jewish Law. Consists of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah plus rabbinic law and custom.
halo
In Christian art and symbolism, a circle or disc of light around the head. It was used in the Hellenistic period for gods and demi-gods and later for Roman emperors, and was not adopted by Christians until the 3rd or 4th centuries. In modern Catholicism, a halo is permitted only for saints.
Han Hsiang-tzu
One of the Eight Immortals. He is depicted as a peaceful mountain-dweller with a flute, flowers and a peach. He is the patron of music.
Hanukkah
(Hebrew, "dedication"). Also spelled Chanukah. An eight-day holiday beginning on 25 Kislev (mid-December) that commemorates the revolt of the Maccabees in 164 BCE and the miraculous oil that burned for eight days.
Hashem
(Hebrew, "The Name"). God. Used especially by Orthodox Jews to avoid saying a name of God.
Hashkiveinu
Evening prayer for God's protection while sleeping.
Hatha Yoga
The yoga (path) focusing on bodily postures to improve meditation. Popular in the West as a means to health, fitness, and relaxation.
hechsher
(Hebrew) The "seal of approval" on kosher foods.
hell
The word used in English translations of the Bible for both the Hebrew Sheol (the place of the departed) and the Greek Gehenna (the place of punishment for the wicked after death). In Christian theology, hell is generally believed to be the place or state into which unrepentant sinners pass after this life. The popular idea of Hell as a place of punishment and fire derives from such NT passages as Matthew 13:42 and 25:30, Revelation 2:11, 20:14, 21:8 and others.
hell-beings
Beings in the lowest of the six realms of existence, who have accumulated massive amounts of bad karma due to extremely harmful actions such as murder. Hell-beings experience the most suffering of any of the realms.
heresy
(Greek, "choice"). Belief or opinion that is contrary to orthodox (accepted and defined) religious doctrine, or the formal denial of orthodox doctrine. Mainly used in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
hierodouloi
"Sacred slaves." The term can refer to slaves who are technically the property of a god and live on land owned by temples, slaves who are attached to the service of a god through a gift or civic decree, and slaves who were manumitted through a fictitious sale to a god. Occasionally it was also used by devotees of a cult to refer to themselves as "slaves of the god."
hieros gamos
("holy marriage") Specifically, a festival in Athens celebrating the marriage of Zeus and Hera and also known as Theogamia. More generally, the mythical or ritual presentation of a solemn sexual union involving at least one divine partner.
Hijira
The Prophet's flight to Medina in 622 CE, marking the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
Hindu temple
The house of worship for Hindus.
Hinduism
(Persian hindu, Sanskrit sindhu, literally "river," meaning "of the Indus Valley" or "Indian"). The ancient religion of India, which has around 1 billion adherents.
Ho Hsien-ku
The only female Immortal.
Hochmut
Amish concept meaning pride, arrogance, or haughtiness, which is to be carefully avoided.
Holi
The Hindu festival of colors, celebrated in early spring with bonfires, colored powders, and general merrymaking.
holy water
In Christianity, water that has been blessed by a priest or bishop
Homer
The real or legendary author of the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey, which were written in the 8th century BCE.
homoousios
(Greek, "one substance" or "one in being"). The Christological doctrine introduced by Athanasius and accepted as orthodox at the Council of Nicea in 325. The doctrine arose in the context of the heresy of Arius, who contented that Christ was created by the Father and was thus not fully divine.
hsien
(Chinese, "fluttering") The Immortals, who are described in the Chuang-tzu. Perhaps originally intended to be allegorical, the nature and abilities of these beings became a practical goal for later Taoists.
hsin
Chinese, "heart" or "mind."
hun
In Taoism, the three heavenly human souls. These leave the body upon a human's death.
hungry ghost
Beings who populate the second to the lowest of the six realms of existence in Mahayana Buddhism. Usually depicted as having small mouths or necks and giant stomachs, hungry ghosts experience continual frustration and unsatisfied craving.

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