Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

In religious studies, fanaticism (from Lat. fanum, “holy precinct”; fanaticus, “functionary of non-Roman cults”; fanari, “rage about”) originally referred to religious behavior that was viewed as deviant, exaggerated, and excessive. The term also served to refer to deviant religions during the post-Reformation period. Enthusiasts and emergent sects were referred to as fanatici, the emotional excessiveness of their religiosity being particularly rejected. Since the 19th century, the term has been increasingly psychologized and now …

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Murken, Sebastian, “Fanaticism”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 19 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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