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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Philippe, Anthelme-Nizier

(1,609 words)

Author(s): Var, Jean-François
Philippe, Anthelme-Nizier known as “Maître Philippe”, * 2 Apr 1849 (Loisieux (Savoy)), † 2 Aug 1905 (l'Arbresle (near Lyon)) “Thaumaturge”, “unknown master”, “spiritual master”, “man of God”, “friend of God”: thus his disciples and admirers referred to the man they respectfully addressed as “Monsieur Philippe” or, later on, “Maître Philippe of Lyons”. Since he himself wrote nothing but a few cursory letters, the available information about him derives from these disciples, apart from a few newspaper articles and p…

Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni

(4,162 words)

Author(s): Lelli, Fabrizio
Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni, * 1463 (Mirandola), † 17 Jan 1494 (Florence) Born to the noble family of the Counts of Mirandola and Concordia near Modena, Pico lived on the edge of two distinct cultural periods, the former rooted in medieval scholasticism, the latter characterized by the humanistic revival of classical thought. Pico's strong curiosity led him to study thoroughly both medieval and classical traditions in the most renowned cultural centers of his age. His multifaceted interests in all kinds …

Pierre d'Ailly

(1,031 words)

Author(s): Smoller, Laura Ackerman
d'Ailly, Pierre (Petrus de Alliaco), * 1350 or 1351 (Compiègne), † 1420 (Avignon) Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1389 to 1395; Bishop of Le Puy from 1395 to 1396, of Noyon in 1396 to 1397, and of Cambrai from 1397; and Cardinal from 1411 until his death. A prolific author in matters of theology, ecclesiology, and natural philosophy (including → astrology), d'Ailly was primarily known as one of the leading churchmen during the years of the Great Schism (1378-1414). A noted proponent of the concili…


(3,565 words)

Author(s): Blaufuß, Dietrich
The term Pietism refers to a widely influential reform movement in the 17th and 18th centuries, the first on the Continent since the Reformation. Historical, geographical and personal factors have all affected the definitions of Pietism, but since the second half of the 19th century a “broad” concept has become common currency. No longer restricted to the Lutheran movement deriving from Philipp Jacob Spener (1635-1705) and August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), together with related currents in the…

Plethon, Georgios Gemistos

(2,010 words)

Author(s): Tambrun, Brigitte
Plethon, Georgios Gemistos, * ca. 1355-1360 (Constantinople), † 26 Jun 1452 (?) (Mistra) George Gemistos, best known under his nickname “Plethon”, was one of the most notable philosophers of the end of the Byzantine era. After following the traditional course of studies at Constantinople, he made a long stay at the Ottoman court in Adrianople, staying with a Jew named Elisha who was well-versed in the Arab and Persian commentators on Aristotle (Averroes, → Avicenna, and the school of Sohrawardî). From Elisha…