The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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1. The expression nihilism (from Lat., nihil, ‘nothing’) is used in the broadest sense, and frequently with polemical intent, to denote a radical skepticism, as handed on in classical form by Sophist Gorgias (c. 480–380 BCE): “First, there is nothing. Second, even if there were something, it would still be unknowable for human beings; third, even if it were knowable, it could not be transmitted to our fellow human being, or made understood” (Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Matt., VII, 65ff.: DK 82, B3). Inasmuch as the reproach…

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Hartmann, Georg, “Nihilism”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 05 March 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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