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Initiation Rites
(2,721 words)

1. Religious

1.1. Term

Deriving from Lat. initium, the term “initiation” denotes the ceremony of joining a mystery fellowship. Initium means “entry”; its use in the plural became linked with the concept of the sacred or holy (Sacred and Profane), which had much the same sense as “mysteries” had in late antiquity. At the same time, in a play on words, the Greek teletē for initiation into the mysteries came to be associated with teleutaō (finish, die). In an extension of usage the term then denot…

Cite this page
Elsas, Christoph and Fischer, Balthasar, “Initiation Rites”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_I212>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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