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Incense
(362 words)

Incense (from the Latin for “burning”) is made of woods and resins that, when burned or heated, give off a fragrant odor. Frankincense, a pure incense (also called olibanum), was given as a gift to the Christ child by the Magi (Matt. 2:11). Incense is burned in a bowl or a thurible. It is stored in a vessel called an incense boat, from which it is spooned into the thurible.

Incense is widely used in world religions. In the OT it symbolized the presence of Yahweh in the temple (Isa. 6:4); it was a pleasing offering; it had a purificatory significance, not only hygienically (Cultic Purity), but also …

Cite this page
Senn, Frank C., “Incense”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 30 May 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_I138>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512



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