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Omen

(2,294 words)

Author(s): Lorenz, Günther | Albani, Matthias | Baudy, Dorothea | Iwersen, Julia
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. The Milieu of Modern Alternative Religions I. Religious Studies An omen (Lat. omen, related semantically to prodigium, “portent,” and auspicium [ oblativum], “[spontaneous] divination from the flight of birds”) is a phenomenon that is interpreted as a portent (Premonition) of an important event, mostly negative but sometimes positive; unlike oracles, omens are not sought deliberately. Often they involve encounters with an…

Satanism

(923 words)

Author(s): Iwersen, Julia | Streib, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Satanism is not a scientific term but a protean concept – it has no agreed definition, nor do we know exactly when and in what context it was first used. In the context of religious studies, it falls into three categories: (1) biblical texts, apocryphal literature, and Christian theology record heterogeneous notions of a power hostile to God (e.g. Satan or the devil). Generally for polemical purposes, throughout the history of Christendom various social groups (e…

Pentagram

(435 words)

Author(s): Iwersen, Julia
[German Version] The pentagram or five-pointed star drawn with a single line is an esoteric and magical symbol with a broad spectrum of meanings in astral symbolism and the symbolism of crosses and knots, as well as the symbolism of the number five itself. The earliest examples are petroglyphs from the Alpine region and on potsherds found in Palestine (c. 4000 bce). In Sumer (Mesopotamia), the pentagram was in use as a cosmic symbol from roughly 2700 bce. Beginning c. 2000 bce, the pentagram is found on and in Egyptian tombs and also as a pendant, although its significance i…