Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism

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Subject: Religious Studies

Edited by: Wouter J. Hanegraaff, in collaboration with Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek and Jean-Pierre Brach

Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism Online is the comprehensive reference work to cover the entire domain of “Gnosis and Western Esotericism” from the period of Late Antiquity to the present. Containing around 400 articles by over 180 international specialists, Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism Online provides critical overviews discussing the nature and historical development of all its important currents and manifestations, from Gnosticism and Hermetism to Astrology, Alchemy and Magic, from the Hermetic Tradition of the Renaissance to Rosicrucianism and Christian Theosophy, and from Freemasonry and Illuminism to 19thcentury Occultism and the contemporary New Age movement. Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism Online also contains articles about the life and work of all the major personalities in the history of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, discussing their ideas, significance, and historical influence.

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Labrunie, Gérard

(7 words)

→ Nerval, Gérard de

Lacuria, Paul-François-Gaspard

(638 words)

Author(s): Laurant, Jean-Pierre
Lacuria, Abbé Paul-François-Gaspard, * 6 Jan 1806 (Lyon (Rhône)), † 3 Mar 1890 (Oullins (Rhône)) The third of six children of a couple of goldsmithery and jewelry workers, Paul was educated at the seminary of Oullins. He enrolled in 1826, in the company of Charles Ozanam (1804-1888?), at the moment when death struck the majority of his family. After teaching in the “experimental” colleges of Saint-Nizier and Oullins, near Lyon, of which Lacuria was co-founder, he was ordained p…

Lanz, Adolf Josef

(9 words)

→ Lanz von Liebenfels, Jörg

Lanz von Liebenfels, Jörg

(1,612 words)

Author(s): Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas
Lanz von Liebenfels, Jörg (Adolf Josef Lanz), * 19 Jul 1874 (Vienna), † 22 Apr 1954 (Vienna) Cistercian monk, journalist and author, creator of a racial-esoteric doctrine known as → Ariosophy, and founder of the Ordo Novi Templi (ONT), a Christian gnostic order based on a cult of Aryan race. Born Adolf Josef Lanz, the son of a Viennese schoolmaster, he developed a fascination for religious and chivalrous orders at an early age. In 1893 he entered the noviciate at Heiligenkreuz Abbey near Vienna as Frater Georg. …

Lavater, Johann Caspar

(1,639 words)

Author(s): Marie, Gisèle
Lavater, Johann Caspar, * 15 Jan 1741 (Zürich), † 2 Jan 1801 (Zürich) A Swiss Lutheran minister and theologian, Lavater is mostly known as the founder of the “modern” science of physiognomy. As a poet he acquired some notoriety by his Schweizer Lieder (1767). A prolific author, he wrote nearly 130 works (mostly religious books, sermons, canticles, a diary, and Christian handbooks with moral advice). His correspondence amounts to more than 11.000 letters exchanged with people belonging to practically all social milieus, from simple worke…

Law, William

(1,436 words)

Author(s): Versluis, Arthur
Law, William, * 1686 (King's Cliffe), † 9 Apr 1761 (King's Cliffe) Law was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, of which he became a fellow in 1711. His personal history is somewhat parallel to that of → John Pordage. Like Pordage, Law refused to take the oath of allegiance to, in Law's case, King George I in 1714, making him a Nonjuror, forcing him to resign his college position, and disallowing him other public positions as well. Law then lived in Putney, near London, at the home of Edward Gibbon from…

Lazzarelli, Lodovico

(2,984 words)

Author(s): Hanegraaff, Wouter J.
Lazzarelli, Lodovico, * 4 Feb 1447 (San Severino), † 23 Jun 1500 (San Severino) Italian humanist, poet, Christian hermetist, and pioneer of Christian kabbalah [→ Jewish Influences III]. Lazzarelli was born the youngest son of a physician, Alessandro Lazzarelli, in San Severino. His father died soon after his birth, and his mother moved with her children to Campli, where Lodovico began his studies under a certain Christoforo da Montone. Introduced by t…

Leadbeater, Charles Webster

(1,218 words)

Author(s): French, Brendan
Leadbeater, Charles Webster, * 16 Feb 1854 (Stockport (England)), † 1 Mar 1934 (Perth (Australia)) Prime ideologue of the → Theosophical Society following the death of → Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and author of over 40 Theosophical books, many of which have remained in print. Second Presiding Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church and 33° Co-Mason. Introduced adventist expectation into the Theosophical Society in the figure of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), acknowledged by Leadbeater as the ‘Vehicle for the Coming of the World-Teacher’. Born in Stockport, England, Leadbeater…

Lead(e), Jane

(1,936 words)

Author(s): Versluis, Arthur
Lead(e), Jane, * 1623 (Norfolk), † 19 Aug 1704 (London) Lead was born as Jane Ward in – according to her own account – a reasonably wealthy upper-class family. She and her family lived a good life, and she received a fine education. When she was fifteen, on a Christmas eve, she was dancing and celebrating with her family and friends, but heard a voice that told her ‘Cease from this, I have another Dance to lead thee in, for this is Vanity’. For three years she lived in melancholy isolation, occasionally r…

Leene, Jan

(7 words)

→ Rijckenborgh, Jan van

Le Fèvre de La Boderie, Guy

(767 words)

Author(s): Roudaut, François
Le Fèvre de La Boderie, Guy, * 9 Aug 1541 (Falaise), † 10 Jun 1598 (Falaise) Le Fèvre received his education in Caen, then in Paris, where he learned Hebrew, Arabic and Syriac. He became a disciple of → Guillaume Postel and a familiar of the duke of Alençon, brother of Henri III. His first important work was a Latin version of the Syriac New Testament, made in 1560 (Antwerp: Plantin 1571). In view of the interest that this work had raised, in 1568 Le Fèvre was invited by Arius Montanus to assist in the producti…

Lefèvre d'Étaples, Jacques

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Janssen, Frans A.
Lefèvre d'Étaples, Jacques (Jacobus Faber Stapulensis), * ca. 1455 (Étaples), † 1536 (Nérac) French theologian and humanist. Having completed his studies in Paris, he lectured in philosophy there. He visited Italy three times: in 1491-1492 (during which trip he met with → Ficino and → Pico della Mirandola), in 1499-1500, and in 1507. From 1507 on, Lefèvre was in the service of his maecenas Guillaume Briçonnet Junior. Because of religious repression by the Faculty of Theology of the Sorbonne, he spent some ye…

Lévi, Éliphas

(2,403 words)

Author(s): Laurant, Jean-Pierre
Lévi, Éliphas (ps. of Alphonse Louis Constant), * 8 Feb 1810 (Paris), † 31 May 1875 (Paris) The founder, and one of the most influential authors, of French occultism. The son of an artisan of the Saint-Sulpice quarter of Paris, and having lost his father at an early age, Constant was admitted to the seminary on a scholarship, his mother hoping to give him access to a good social position through the Catholic Church. His education at Saint-Sulpice deeply affected him, notably the teaching of the Abbé Frère-Colonn…

Lewis, Harvey Spencer

(1,036 words)

Author(s): Edighoffer, Roland
Lewis, Harvey Spencer, * 25 Jan 1883 (Frenchtown (New Jersey)), † 2 Aug 1939, (San Jose (California)) Of both Welsh and German descent, Lewis was raised in Protestantism. Gifted with a fertile imagination and motivated by a boundless ambition, he devoted most of his life to promoting various Rosicrucian societies [→ Rosicrucianism]. Having accompanied his father in 1909 on a business trip to France, he devised a first legend. Perhaps influenced by the “Society of the Tower” in Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship), but more probably in r…