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Albertus Magnus

(2,962 words)

Author(s): Fanger, Claire
Magnus, Albertus, * ca. 1200 (near Lauingen), † 15 Jan 1280 (Cologne) 1. Life German philosopher and theologian, one of the most influential Aristotelian [→ Aristotelianism] synthesizers of the 13th century, Dominican friar, teacher of Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274). Albert was born into a Swabian family of knights and joined the Dominican order when he was a student at Padua, receiving the habit from Jordan of Saxony in 1223. It seems likely that he was sent to Cologne to make his novitiate and study theology from the local lector. Later, probably in the early 1240s, he was sent to…

Fortune, Dion

(1,574 words)

Author(s): Fanger, Claire
Fortune, Dion (ps. of Violet Mary Firth), * 6 Jan 1890 (Bryn-y-Bia, Llandudno, Wales), † 8 Jan 1946 (London) Occultist [→ occult / occultism] author, founder of the group which eventually became the Society of the Inner Light, originally conceived as an “outer court” of the → Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Fortune was initiated into the Golden Dawn in 1919 (adopting the magical motto Deo non Fortuna, whence her pen name) but was subsequently evicted on account of personal conflicts with Moina Mathers (1865-192…

Bacon, Roger

(1,324 words)

Author(s): Fanger, Claire
Bacon, Roger, * ca. 1215 (place unknown), † ca. 1292 (place unknown) English philosopher, educated at the Universities of Oxford and Paris (where he lectured on Aristotle in the 1240s), author of works on a broad array of topics including optics, semantics, physics, and theology. Bacon entered the Franciscan Order in the late 1250s, perhaps after returning to Oxford. Between 1265 and 1268, he compiled his encyclopedic and ambitious works, the Opus Maius, Opus Minus and Opus Tertium, undertaken for Pope Clement IV (Pope from 1265-1268) in the hope of persuading him to aut…


(9,856 words)

Author(s): De Jong, Albert | Fanger, Claire | Faivre, Antoine
Secrecy I: Antiquity 1. Introduction The only fruitful way to study secrecy in ancient cultures and religions is to study it as a social phenomenon. The private secrets of individuals, that is knowledge of facts kept hidden from everyone (for example a woman who hides from her husband the fact that the child she is bearing is not his), are not only lost to us forever, but also do not really constitute a subject that could be analysed profitably. That is why, following a lead from the German sociologi…

Intermediary Beings

(12,281 words)

Author(s): Broek, Roelof van den | Fanger, Claire | Brach, Jean-Pierre | Hanegraaff, Wouter J.
Intermediary Beings I: Antiquity 1. Introduction The belief in angels, demons and other intermediary beings has become an important aspect of Western religious thought and imagination, in mainstream Christianity as well as in esoteric currents. Its emergence was mainly the result of the combination of Greek and Jewish ideas about good and evil spirits that have a direct influence on human life. Sometimes these beings are individually distinguished by name, but often they are thought to operate as name…


(22,787 words)

Author(s): Hanegraaff, Wouter J. | Graf, Fritz | Fanger, Claire | Klaassen, Frank | Brach, Jean-Pierre
Magic I: Introduction When contemporary academics discuss “magic”, in most cases the assumptions which guide their understanding of it are variations on a few influential theories. First, there is the “intellectualist” understanding of magic linked to the names of E.B. Tylor and J.G. Frazer. Tylor, in his foundational Primitive Culture of 1871, defined magic as based upon ‘the error of mistaking ideal analogy for real connexion’ (Tylor 1771, I, 116). Tylor's assumption was that primitive man, ‘having come to associate in thought those things w…