The concepts of ghosts and spirits are culturally located: One person’s ‘ghost’ may be, for someone else, the living spirit of a deceased ancestor or deity. Terms such as ghosts and spirits defy definitions because they are widely and variously understood, depending on cultural locations, religious contexts, histories, and power hierarchies. This entry offers a typology of ghosts and spirits relevant to the study of religion and this encyclopaedia, discusses how scholars have tried to understand the role of ghosts and spirits in religions, and provides a brief overview of historical and current trends.

Most religions share to some extent a common belief in a ‘this world’ of the material and present and an ‘other world’ of the immaterial and eternal. It is in that or ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles