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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(2,579 words)

Author(s): Pearson, Birger A.
The Ophites, also called “Ophians”, are a group of Gnostic Christians [→ Gnosticism] discussed by several of the church fathers, so named because they honored the “snake” or “serpent” (Greek ophis) as a revealer of saving gnosis. Another group of Gnostics has a similar basis for their name, → “Naassenes”, based on the Hebrew word nahash (“snake, serpent”). “Ophians” are associated with other heretics called “Cainites” by → Clement of Alexandria ( Stromateis VIII, 17) and Hippolytus ( Refutatio VIII, 20), but those writers provide no discussion of the sect's teachings. The…

Ordo Templi Orientis

(7,098 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
Occultist organisation and initiatic Order, sometimes also spelt as “Order of Oriental Templars”. The OTO was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and has remained, up to the present, an important vehicle for the transmission of esoteric ideas and practices. One of its major features is the practice of sexual magic, which is considered the core of its teaching. The role accorded to Eastern doctrines and sexual magic makes the OTO different from several other magically-oriented, occultist…


(2,180 words)

Author(s): Godwin, Joscelyn
In the current acceptance of the term (based on Said 1979), Orientalism is an attitude towards “the Orient” on the part of a self-defined “Occident” which may or may not correspond with realities in the regions in question. This attitude has prevailed in the religious field, where the distinction between Christian and non-Christian has long carried an emotional charge, and, in the minds of missionaries, a responsibility. It also continues to define the academic discipline. However, when viewed f…

Orléans, Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde d'

(1,903 words)

Author(s): Voss, Karen-Claire
Orléans, Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde d' Duchess of Bourbon-Condé, * 9 Jul 1750 (Saint Cloud), † 10 Jan 1822 (Paris) Bathilde d'Orléans was born in the château of Saint-Cloud just outside Paris. Her father was Louis-Phillipe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans; her mother, Louise-Henriette de Bourbon, was the daughter of Louis-Armond II, Prince of Conti. She was a cousin of Louis XVI and the aunt of Louis-Philippe, who was to become “Roi des Français” in 1830. Louise-Henriette died when Bathilde was nine. Three years later…

Ouspensky, Piotr Dem'ianovich

(1,548 words)

Author(s): Needleman, Jacob
Ouspensky [Uspenskii], Piotr Dem'ianovich, * 5 Mar 1878 (Moscow), † 2 Jan 1947 (London) Russian author, spiritual philosopher and teacher who is now remembered chiefly for his deeply influential book, In Search of the Miraculous: the most authentic account, written by a pupil, of the teaching of → G.I. Gurdjieff. Ouspensky was born and grew up in Moscow. His mother was a painter. His father, who died when Ouspensky was quite young, was a railroad surveyor and also a mathematician interested in the problems of the fourth dimensio…