The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(1,162 words)

1. Laicism is a political ideology developing in Catholic-dominated France, under the name laïcité, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. The French word laïcité is a neologism, derived from laïque (French, ‘secular,’ or ‘lay’), which is in turn derived from the Greek laós (‘simple people,’ as distinguished from their rulers and priests). It arises as a counter-concept to the polemical expression ‘clericalism,’ which has been used since the Revolution of 1848 as a depre…

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Grasmück, Oliver, “Laicism”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 15 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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