Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism

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

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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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Khunrath, Heinrich

(1,105 words)

Author(s): Telle, Joachim
Khunrath, Heinrich (ps.: Ricenus Thrasibulus), * 1560 (Leipzig), † 1605 (Leipzig or Dresden) Physician and alchemist, “Philo-Theosophus” and theo-alchemical author. After graduating as Dr. med. at the the University of Basle (1588), Khunrath initially made a living as the physician of the Bohemian magnate Wilhelm von Rosenberg in Bohemia (1591), then chiefly in North and Central Germany, namely Berlin (1601), Magdeburg (1603) and Gera (1604). He became acquainted with → John Dee (at Bremen in 1589) and Johan…

Al-Kindī, Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq

(1,472 words)

Author(s): Travaglia, Pinella
Al-Kindī, Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq, * 800? (Kufa or Basra), † 866 Al-Kindī is considered the first Arabian philosopher. We know little about his life. He was born maybe at Kufa, maybe at Basra; in any case, it was in Basra that he studied languages and theology before moving to Baghdad, where he took active part in the rich cultural life of the city, under the protection of the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Maʾmūn (813-833) and his successor, al-Muʿtaṣim (833-842). The ʿAbbāsid dynasty encouraged interest in the arts, science and philosophy, and the caliph al-Maʾmūn had founded the bayt al-ḥikma (“ho…

Kingsford, Anna Bonus

(1,789 words)

Author(s): Kluveld, Amanda
Kingsford, Anna Bonus, * 16 Sep 1846 (Stratford (Essex)), † 22 Feb 1888 (London) Christian occultist [→ occult / occultism] and animal rights activist. Anna Kingsford's father, John Bonus, was a wealthy city merchant of Italian descent; her mother had a combined German and Irish ancestry. Anna was the youngest of a family of twelve children. Since her health left much to be desired – she suffered from asthma – she spent much of her childhood in her father's library, where she read the classics and books on re…

Kirchberger, Niklaus Anton

(757 words)

Author(s): Faivre, Antoine
Kirchberger, Niklaus Anton Baron von Liebisdorf, * 13 Jan 1739 (Bern), † 27 Sep 1799 (Bern) Member of the Grand Council of Bern from 1776 until his death and simultaneously officer in the Swiss army. Member of several academic societies and Government Committees. Well-read in classical and contemporary philosophy and literature, in science (mostly agriculture), and particularly in spirituality and western esoteric traditions. Theosophical essays of his, notably on → Jacob Boehme, originally meant for publicatio…

Kircher, Athanasius

(2,663 words)

Author(s): Kilcher, Andreas B.
Kircher, Athanasius, * 2 May 1602 (Geisa/Röhn), † 27 Jan 1680 (Rome) Kircher was one of the great universal scholars of the 17th century. His life is well documented in early biographies. His comprehensive education began with his theologian father's homeschooling in music, Latin, geography and mathematics. From his tenth year, Kircher attended a series of Jesuit schools, firstly in Fulda, where he learnt Hebrew from a rabbi, then in Mainz. In 1618 he entered the Jesuit order as a novice in Paderborn, where…

Knorr von Rosenroth, Christian

(1,240 words)

Author(s): Kilcher, Andreas B.
Knorr von Rosenroth, Christian, * 15/16 Jul 1636 (Alt-Raudten/Schlesien), † 4/8 May 1689 (Groß-Albershof bei Sulzbach) Knorr von Rosenroth studied theology, philosophy, medicine, classical and modern languages at the University of Leipzig, from 1655 to 1660. In 1659 he joined the “Deutschgesinnte Genossenschaft” of Philipp von Zesen (1619-1689). From 1663 to 1666 he made an educational journey through the Netherlands, France, and England. In April 1663 he enrolled at the University of Leiden as a student of the…