Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism

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(3,536 words)

1. Esoteric

The adjective “esoteric” (ἐσωτερι;κός) has often been attributed to Aristotle, but in fact he uses only the word “exoteric” (ἐξωτερι;κός; see references in Riffard 1990, 65) and opposes it to “acroamatic” (from ἀκρόα;μα;, oral instruction). It is in a satire by Lucian of Samosata (2nd century C.E.) that the term “esoteric” makes its first appearance. Zeus and Hermes are sellin…

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Hanegraaff, Wouter J., “Esotericism”, in: Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism. Consulted online on 25 June 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1873-8338_dgwe_DGWE_109>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004141872, 20061031

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