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Mysticism

(17,207 words)

Author(s): Brück, Michael v. | Gordon, Richard L. | Herrmann, Klaus | Dan, Joseph | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Religious Studies – III. History – IV. Philosophy of Religion – V. Practical Theology – VI. Islamic Mysticism – VII. Hindu Mysticism – VIII. Taoist Mysticism I. The Concept The concept of mysticism is closely linked to the development of the history of religion in Europe and the term must not be taken and applied uncritically as a general term for a phenomenologically determined group of phenomena in other religions (see also II, 3 below). Attempts at definition are either phenomenolog…

Mystagogy

(1,551 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. | Felmy, Karl Christian | Tebartz-van Elst, Franz-Peter
[German Version] I. Greco-Roman Antiquity – II. The Orthodox Church – III. Practical Theology I. Greco-Roman Antiquity Mystagogical theology is a useful term for the doctrine of the so-called “Platonic underworld,” the main features of which are: a dualistic view of the cosmos (Dualism); a clear distinction between an absolutely good supreme being and an often feminine demiurgical principle; a negative view of material existence; a fundamental change from philosophical to mythical discourse, and belief in a s…

Mystery Religions

(3,778 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. | Betz, Hans Dieter | Felmy, Karl Christian | Brüske, Gunda | Stolz, Michael | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. The Christian Cult and the Mysteries – III. Art History I. Religious Studies Modern discussion of the Greek mysteries goes back to the material collected by the Dutch scholar Jan de Meurs (1619), which served as the main source for I. Casaubon's argument that the Early Church borrowed but changed some terminology and institutions from the mysteries ( Exercitationes, 1655). The belief that there was a specific religious phenomenon, “the mystery cults of antiquity,” that could be compared directly with the practice…

Mysteries

(486 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L.
[German Version] The basic meaning of the Greek root μυ/ my is “to close”; the noun μύστης/ mýstēs, “initiate,” refers to the oath by which initiates swore not to give away the content of the rites. The basic form of the Greek mysteries is the cult of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis in Attica (from the 7th cent. bce). Its rites were directly imitated elsewhere in the Greek world, for example Pausanias II 14.1 (Keleiai); VIII 15.1–4 (Pheneus). However, the term “mysteries” itself is extremely imprecise in the classical period. It is best to speak not of “my…

Zagreus

(351 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ζαγρεύς/ Zagreús). The name Z. (or 'Dionysus Z.') is used as a useful if also problematic term for Dionysus, the son of Zeus (and the daughter of Zeus Persephone) who, according to the Orphic anthropogony (Orphism), had been killed and eaten as a small child by the Titans. Ancient lexica cite Callimachus's Aítia (fr. 43,177) as the sole source for the epiclesis of Dionysus Z.; but this is not used until the 6th cent. AD (in Ps.-Nonnus, Commentaria in Greg. Naz. Serm. 5,30 Nimmo Smith) in the context of the Z. myth. The name, which…

Logos

(3,385 words)

Author(s): Ierodiakonou, Katerina (Oxford) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin)
[1] Philosophical [German version] A. Term The Greek noun lógos (λόγος) is derived from the verb légein, ‘say’. Greek philosophers made extensive use of it in a wide range of meanings: what has been said, word, assertion, definition, interpretation, explanation, reason, criterion, proportion, relation, argument, rational discourse. Ierodiakonou, Katerina (Oxford) [German version] B. Pre-Socratics Attempts to trace the use of the word in detail have proved to be unsuccessful. It is, however, evident that logos was already being used by the Pre-Socratics, chiefly in re…

Cannophori

(155 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] ( cannofori, καννηφόροι; kannēphóroi). The younger of the two colleges connected with the cult of Magna Mater; founded as part of Antoninus Pius' reorganization of the cult (2nd cent. AD). It was their ritual function in Rome, on 15 March to carry a bundle of reeds to the temple on the Palatine as part of the joyful procession commemorating the discovery of the young Attis by the Magna Mater on the banks of the  Gallus (Iul. or. 5,165b) [1] ( canna intrat, calendar of Philocalus, CIL I2 p. 260). On the same day, the Archigallus and the C. sacrificed a bull to ensur…

Magical papyri

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] I. General information Loose term for the constantly increasing body of Graeco-Egyptian magic texts (standard editions: [1; 2], since then, newly published texts in [3]). The most important distinction is to be made between the handbooks (until now more than 80 published copies) on papyrus, which contain the instructions for acts of magic, and directly used texts (at least 115 published copies) on papyrus, metal (lead tablets), pottery shards, wood, etc., corresponding to the extant …

Magic doll

(426 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Loose term for an anthropomorphous statuette made from a variety of different materials for specific ritual purposes. The conceptual condition for such statuettes, which function as signs or images of a physical and social existence, is the context-contingent abolishment of the difference between living creatures and objects that are incapable of self-determination [1]. Such statuettes were used for beneficial as well as harmful purposes in the ancient Oriental empires, while in M…

Arimaspi

(126 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἀριμασποί; Arimaspoí). Mythical group of one-eyed people in the extreme North, beyond the Issedones and before the land of the griffins, whose gold, according to the epic by  Aristeas of Proconnesus, they apparently repeatedly stole (Hdt. 3,116; 4,13; 27). The earliest iconographic evidence is the mirror of Kelermes, c. 570 BC [1. 260 pl. 303]. In contrast to older interpretations [2. 112-6], these days the historical aspect of this is understood as a component of a sophisticated representation of the foreigner -- with the Greek world as its point of reference. …

Theoi Megaloi, Theai Megalai

(494 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(θεοὶ μεγάλοι/ theoì megáloi, θεαὶ μεγάλαι/ theaì megálai, Latin di magni). [German version] I. General Term for a variety of deities or groups of gods in the Greek world. A distinction is made between deities or groups of gods for whom the adjective 'great' was used as an honorary epithet (e.g. Megálē Týchē, Theòs hýpsistos mégas theós) and those whose cultic nomen proprium was 'Great God' or 'Great Gods', such as the TM in Caria (SEG 11,984; 2nd cent. AD). Inscriptions record a broad range of use between these two poles. Often the TM are deities or groups…

Ma

(730 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(Greek Μᾶ/ , Lat. Ma-Bellona). One of a number of powerful Anatolian deities, whose cult was concentrated on the great temples (cf. Anaitis in Zela, Cybele/ Mḗtēr in Pessinus, Men Pharnaku in Cabira). The basic meaning of the word [1], widespread as a feminine proper name, is ‘mother’. [German version] A. Temple and cult in Anatolia The original centre of the cult was Comana [1]/Hierapolis in Cappadocian Cataonia. The local temple was already significant at the time of Suppiluliuma I ( c. 1355-1320 BC) ( Ḫattusa B. 3). A second ‘temple state’ arose in Comana [2]/Hierocaesa…

Syncretism

(1,979 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Gippert, Jost (Frankfurt/Main)
I. In the context of religious studies [German version] A. General remarks In a religious context, syncretism can be defined as the process of either a peaceable or a contentious mutual permeation of elements taken from two or more traditions [1]. Here 'tradition' is inevitably an ambiguous concept; in considering Antiquity, scholars traditionally distinguish between 'internal syncretism' and 'contact-based syncretism'. 'Internal syncretism' refers to the transfer of manifestations, names and epithets from one deity to another within a single polytheisti…

Luna

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Angeli Bertinelli, Maria Gabriella (Genoa)
[German version] [1] Roman Goddess of the moon Latin for moon. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] A. Overview Deity as well as celestial body, L. was considered the subordinate (female) counterpart to Sol, the sun. In Roman etymology, the name derives from the Latin lucēre, ‘to shine’ (Varro, Ling. 5,68; Cic. Nat. D. 2,68), in modern etymology from the feminine form of the corresponding adjective * louqsna (connected to Lucina , cf. losna in Praeneste, CIL I2 549). Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] B. Public cult and temple The Roman antiquarians believed…

Dendrophoroi

(240 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (δενδροφόροι; dendrophóroi). Collegium, probably founded by the Emperor Claudius in connection with the reorganization of the cult of  Mater Magna. The first epigraphical evidence, dating from AD 79, is CIL X 7 (Regium Iulium). The founding date ( natalicium) was 1 August. The association's ritual function involved felling, decorating and carrying the sacred pine in the mourning procession on 22 March in memory of Attis (Lydus, Mens. 4,59; cf. the bas-relief in the Musée d'Aquitanie, Bordeaux [1]). The association's G…

Enyo

(150 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἐνυώ; Enyṓ). Pale feminine counterpart to Enyalius, of whose name E. is a shortened form; goddess of bloody close combat. In Homer's Iliad she appears in 5,333 with Athena and in 592 with Ares, whom she joins in encouraging the Trojans. Her identifying characteristic is Kydoimos (demon of close combat), which she swings like a weapon (Il. 5,592, cf. 18,535; schol. Hom. Il. 5,593). Genealogical constructions starting from these passages made E. the mother or daughter or wet-nurse o…

Meleager

(1,931 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Günther, Linda-Marie (Munich) | Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna)
(Μελέαγρος/ Meléagros, Lat. Meleager). [German version] [1] Hero from the pre-Trojan period, Argonaut, [1] Hero from the pre-Trojan period, Argonaut Mythological hero. Hero from the generation before the Trojan War, from Calydon [3], the capital city of the Aetolians. As one the Argonauts ( Argonautae) M. participated in the funereal games for Pelias (Stesich. PMG 179; Diod. 4,48,4). As the brother of Deianeira he is also linked with the Hercules cycle (Bacchyl. 5,170-175; Pind. fr. 70b). First and foremost, however, he is associated with the local legend of Calydon. In the archaic …

Maskelli Maskello

(215 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Μασκελλι Μασκελλω). The two first ‘names’ in one of the most common lógoi ( lógos II. 2) in Graeco-Egyptian magic texts ( Magic). The lógos appears mainly in so-called agṓgima (coercive love spells; for example PGM IV 2755-2757, XIXa 10f.), but it also appears in other genres (albeit not with protective amulets) and is often identified expressly as a formula of ‘necessity’ (e.g. katà tês pikrâs Anánkēs, ‘according to bitter Anánkē ’, PGM VII 302; cf. XII 290f.). The suggestion that M.M. is derived from the Hebrew mśkel, ‘psalm of praise’, and represents a type of ‘…

Priests

(4,255 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia From the 3rd millennium to the end of Mesopotamian civilization, the staff of Mesopotamian temples consisted of the cult personnel in the narrower sense - i.e. the priests and priestesses who looked after the official cult in the temples, the cult musicians and singers - and the service staff (male and female courtyard cleaners, cooks, etc.). In addition, there was the hierarchically structured administrative and financial staff of the temple households, which constit…

Enyalius

(584 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἐνυάλιος; Enyálios, also dialect forms). Deity of close combat, called upon in historical times in the moment battle began. In antiquity it was already disputed whether E. was just an epithet of  Ares in literary texts or originally an independent deity (schol. Hom. Il. 17,211; 22,132; schol. Soph. Aj. 179; schol. Aristoph. Pax, 457 = Alcm. fr. 104 Bergk/44 PMG). A partial answer to this question was attempted by pointing to the fact that E. appears as E-nu-wa-ri-jo in a list of four deities from Knosos. Independent of how the Mycenaean deity was imagined…
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