data (DA·ta), pl. data, sing. datum. Used chiefly in the plural data is a reference to a set of details forming the basis for an inference or an argument. In anthropology, as in science in general, data constitutes a collection of facts from which findings and conclusions may be drawn. Scientists look for patterns in data to perceive relationships.
Days of Unleavened Bread (days of un·LEAV·ened bread). In the Mosaic covenant the seven-day festival period, often called the Passover, beginning with Nisan 15 and ending at the conclusion of Nisan 21. Both Nisan 15 and 21 were high Sabbaths or holy days. During this time the ancient Israelites were to possess neither leavening nor leavened products. By Herodian times the Days of Unleavened Bread included Nisan 14 as well.
Decapolis (de·CAP·o·lis), "ten cities", see Matthew 4:25, Mark 5:20, Mark 7:31. A ten-city Greco-Roman federation, or league, created under Pompey the Great about 64-63 BCE as part of his eastern settlement. The cities of the Decapolis according to Pliny the Elder (CE 23-79) were: Scythopolis [Bet She'an], Hippos [Susieh], Gadara [Umm Qais], Pella [Tabaqat Fahl], Philadelphia [Amman], Gerasa [Jerash], Dion [Adun], Kanatha [Kanawat], Damascus, and Raphana [Abila] (see Pliny: Natural History v. 18). See also Decapolis.
dead (dead). Not living nor showing characteristics of life. "For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten" (Eccleasties 9:5).
dendrochronology (DEN·dro·chro·NOL·o·gy). A chronometric dating method based upon marking time through the analysis of the annual growth rings of trees found in relatively dry climates, e.g., the southwestern United States.
diachronic (DI·a·CHRON·ic). Refers to changes in phenomena as they occur over time such as in diachronic linguistics. Evolutionary anthropology and historical anthropology are diachronic approaches. See synchronic.
Diasporá (di·AS·por·a). See Dispersion.
Didache (DID·ache). Known as the "The Teaching of the Lord by the Twelve Apostles to the Gentiles" this is a work discovered in Constantinople among remains of early Christian literature. It claims to reflect the style and method of Christian teaching in the age immediately succeeding that of the apostles.
diffusion (dif·FU·sion). The spread of cultural traits from one sociocultural system to another.
Dispersion (dis·PER·sion). A scattering, generally referring to the people of Israel and Judah, or in the times of the apostles to the Church of God, resident in Gentile countries. The Jews of Herodian times, having lost their awareness of the location of the ten "lost" tribes of Israel, their being assimilated into Gentile populations following the collapse of the Kingdom of Israel in 723722 BCE, regarded the Dispersion to be fellow Jews living outside the Roman province of Judea. The apostles saw the Dispersion as Judeo-Christians who lived outside the Jewish homeland. Today the term refers to Jews living outside Eretz Israel.
DNA (d-n-a). Deoxyribonucleic acid. Reproduction of DNA in reproductive or "sex" cells, known as gametes, permits transfer of genetic material, called genes, from parent to offspring. An offspring's genetic endowment consists of the genes acquired from the offspring's parents.
Docetism (DO·cet·ism). An early heresy. Docetists maintained that Jesus' body was not physical, but only appeared that way. They also rejected the idea of the physical birth of Jesus Christ.
doctrine (DOC·trine). Generally teaching and instruction. In theology a principle of faith, belief, or body of belief, or authoritative tenant taught, held, or understood as true by a religious teacher, a school of thought, or a religious group.
dogma (DOG·ma). A body of beliefs or set of doctrines promulgated by a religious group considered true and correct by their members. When used in reference to Christian theology, the term applies to the doctrines set down by the different churches and taught as biblical truth.
Druse (druse). A religious faith of Arabic people living primarily in the Levant, combining elements of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, founded in the 11th century by Ismail ad-Darazi. They separated from the Mohammedan Arabs in the 9th century. Their characteristic ideology is the unity of God.
dualism (DU·al·ism). The philosophical theory that the world is ultimately composed of, or explicable in terms of, two basic entities, as mind and matter, e.g., soul and flesh. In dualism the realm of matter is illusory, evil, or both. It regards the body as a tomb from which the immortal soul must be released.
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