Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(2,006 words)

1. Concept and medieval origins

1.1. Superstitio and Deisidaimonia

The word “superstition,” which in English dates back to the 13th century, derives from the Latin superstitio, the original meaning of which was “standing still over a thing.” It has yet to be satisfactorily explained why it came, in the 1st century bce, to be used to translate the Greek deisidaimonia. This essentially neutral or even positive Greek term, which denoted general religiosity…

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Brennecke, Hanns Christof, “Superstition”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 07 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_016531>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

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