The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(1,113 words)


1. Generally, the ancient Greek concept catharsis denotes ‘cleansing’ or ‘purification.’ By way of a determinate, prescribed action—usually cultic and ritual—a condition regarded as unclean is forsaken, and, either as novelty or anew, replaced with a state of purity. The opposition of clean and unclean is universal and enters a system of classification as an orderin…

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Treml, Martin, “Catharsis”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 25 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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