From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy (perceived by religious individuals as associated with the divine) or sacred (considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion; or inspiring awe or reverence among believers in a given set of spiritual ideas). In other contexts, objects are often considered 'holy' or 'sacred' if used for spiritual purposes, such as the worship or service of gods. These terms can also be used in a non-spiritual or semi-spiritual context ("sacred truths" in a constitution). It is often ascribed to people ("a holy man" of religious occupation, "holy prophet" who is venerated by his followers), objects ("sacred artifact" that is venerated and blessed ), times ("holy days" of spiritual introspection, such as during winter holidays), or places ("sacred ground", "holy place").
The word "sacred" descends from the Latin sacrum, which referred to the gods or anything in their power, and to sacerdos, priest; sanctum, set apart. It was generally conceived spatially, as referring to the area around a temple.
The English word "holy" dates back to at least the 11th Century with the Old English word hālig, an adjective derived from hāl meaning "whole" and used to mean "uninjured, sound, healthy, entire, complete". The Scottish hale ("health, happiness and wholeness") is the most complete modern form of this Old English root. The modern word "health" is also derived from the Old English hal. As "wholeness", holiness may be taken to indicate a state of religious completeness or perfection. The word "holy" in its modern form appears in Wyclif's Bible of 1382.
- Durkheim, Emile (1915) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. London: George Allen & Unwin (originally published 1915, English translation 1915).
- Eliade, Mircea (1957) The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Translated by Willard R. Trask. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World).
- Thomas Jay Oord and Michael Lodahl (2006) Relational Holiness: Responding to the Call of Love. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill.
- Pals, Daniel (1996) Seven Theories of Religion. New York: Oxford University Press. US ISBN 0-19-508725-9 (pbk).
- Sharpe, Eric J. (1986) Comparative Religion: A History, 2nd ed., (London: Duckworth, 1986/La Salle: Open Court). US ISBN 0-8126-9041-9.
- Sacred-profane dichotomy
- Sacred architecture
- Sacred art
- Sacred dance
- Sacred geometry
- Sacred history
- Sacred language
- Sacred music
- Sacred Mysteries
- Sacred prostitution
- Sacred text
- Sacred waters