The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(309 words)

Most often, ‘fanaticism’ is a pejorative designation applied to others. Especially since the Enlightenment, it has become a polemical stereotyping and defamation of the person thus represented. Too often, the criticism being leveled would suit the person(s) making the criticism as well. Unlike the historical denotations of the term—which is derived from fanum (Lat., ‘sacred precinct’), and was applied in Christian antiquity to any of various enthusiastic, non-Christian forms of religion, and then, in the post-Reformation era, to ‘delusory’ piety—…

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Bernhardt, Reinhold, “Fanaticism”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 21 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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