Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

At the end of the 15th century (1490), humanistic scholars coined the Latin word encyclopaedia after a Greek equivalent (ἐνκύκλιος παιδεία/enkýklios paideía, “comprehensive education”). While the Greek expression originally, in the 5th century bce (Sophistic School), referred to the artistic education of the free, now, in reference to Quintilian and other Roman authors, it indicates the totality of knowledge, symbolized by a circle (κύκλος/kýklos; orbis).

The program of the encyclopedia as a general presentation of knowledge subsequently includ…

Cite this page
Kronauer, Ulrich, “Encyclopedia”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 30 September 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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