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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…

Luna

(960 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Angeli Bertinelli, Maria Gabriella (Genua)
[English version] [1] röm. Mondgöttin Lat. für Mond. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [English version] A. Allgemeines Sowohl Himmelskörper als auch Gottheit, wurde L. als untergeordnetes (weibliches) Gegenstück zu Sol, der Sonne, betrachtet. Röm. Etym. leiten den Namen von lat. lucēre, “scheinen” (Varro ling. 5,68; Cic. nat. deor. 2,68), moderne vom F. des entsprechenden Adj. * louqsna (verwandt mit Lucina , vgl. losna in Praeneste, CIL I2 549) ab. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [English version] B. Öffentlicher Kult und Tempel Die röm. Antiquare glaubten, daß der Kult de…

Maskelli Maskello

(196 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[English version] (Μασκελλι Μασκελλω). Die ersten beiden “Namen” in einem der gebräuchlichsten lógoi ( lógos II. 2) in graeco-ägyptischen magischen Texten (Magie). Der lógos tritt hauptsächlich in sog. agṓgima (gewaltsamen Liebeszaubern; z.B. PGM IV 2755-2757, XIXa 10f.) auf, erscheint jedoch auch in anderen Gattungen (nicht bei Schutz verleihenden Amuletten) und wird oft ausdrücklich als eine Formel der “Notwendigkeit” identifiziert (z.B. katá tēs pikrás Anánkēs, ‘gemäß der bitteren Anánkē’, PGM VII 302; vgl. XII 290f.). Der Vorschlag, M.M. sei von hebr. mśkel, “Lobpsalm”…

Anaitis

(245 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[English version] (Ἀναῖτις). Iranische Göttin. Der avest. Name, Aredvī-Sūrā-Anāhitā, Göttin der Gewässer, besteht aus drei Epitheta (z. B. anāhitā = unbefleckt). Der ind.-iran. Name war wohl Sarasvatī, “die die Gewässer besitzt”. Yašt 5 beschreibt sie als schöne, mit Biberpelzen bekleidete Frau, die ein Viergespann lenkt. Sie reinigt den männlichen Samen und die Gebärmutter bei Tier und Mensch, führt die Muttermilch herbei, spendet aber auch Wohlstand und Sieg. In achäm. Zeit gefördert (Berossos, FGrH 680 F11); zu einer unbestimmten Phase zuvor war sie mit eine…

Arimaspoi

(118 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[English version] (Ἀριμασποί). Mythisches Volk Einäugiger im hohen Norden, jenseits der Issedones und diesseits des Landes der Greifen, deren Gold es nach dem Epos von Aristeas von Prokonnesos angeblich wiederholt entwendete (Hdt. 3,116; 4,13; 27). Der früheste ikonograph. Beleg ist der Spiegel von Kelermes, ca. 570 v. Chr. [1. 260 Taf. 303]. Im Gegensatz zu älteren Interpretationen [2. 112-6] wird die Gesch. h. als Bestandteil einer anspruchsvollen Darstellung des Fremden - mit der griech. Lebenswelt als Bezugspunkt - verstanden. Skythai; Aristeas von…

Molpoi

(512 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Μολποί/ Molpoí). Term for the members of a society responsible for performing the paean at public sacrifices, documented almost exclusively in the towns of the Ionic Dodecapolis (especially Miletus and Ephesus) and their colonies. Although colleges of M. are only sparsely attested, the number of personal names formed from Μολπ- in the Ionic Aegean [1], the Dodecapolis (e.g., Hdt. 5,30,2; IEph 4102) and the Milesian colonies (e.g., SEG 41, 619, Olbia) indicates their political and …

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…

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…

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 ‘…

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…

Brahmin

(137 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Βραχμᾶνες, also Βραχμάναι, Βραχμῆνες; Brachmânes, Brachmánai, Brachmênes). Collective name of the Indian priestly caste. Sanskrit brāhmaṇa ‘praying person, priest’, members by birth of the highest caste, together with the samanaioi (Sanskrit śramaṇa) scholars, clerics and people of high social standing in Ancient Indian society (Str. 15,1,39). Entirely unknown in the Greek world prior to Alexander's campaign (Arr. Anab. 6,16,5; Str. 15,1,61), viewed as exemplary ascetics, were immediately described as the teac…

Dolichenus

(268 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Jupiter Optimus Maximus D., highest divinity of Dolichē in  Commagene, now Dülük near Gaziantep. The original temple on the Dülük Baba Tepe has not been excavated. However, the god's pose on the bull, his thunderbolt and his double axe suggest his descent from the Hittite storm-god Tesšub. In Rome he was venerated as conservator totius mundi, preserver of the universe (AE 1940, 76). The counterpart of Jupiter Optimus Maximus D. was named  Juno Sancta/ Regina. Two other pairs occur, sun and moon, and the Dioscuri. There is no literary …

Zurvan

(215 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] The Iranian god of time (Avestan: zruuan; Pahlavi: zamān). Z. had two forms: as the eternal time of divine existence he is zruuan akarana- (Avestan), 'the boundless time', as the period of the confrontation between Good and Evil, zruuan darengō.xvadāta, 'the time of long dominion'. Earlier it was assumed that within the Zoroastrian religion (Zoroastrianism) 'Zurvanism' represented a Median sonderform, a degeneration or a heresy. The myth in which the cosmogonic deity Z. enables both the transient rule of Evil (Ahriman) and the ultimate vi…

Magical spells

(1,227 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(ὀνόματα βάρβαρα/ onómata bárbara, Lat. nomina barbarica). [German version] I. General Broad term for names, words and sounds used in ancient incantation practices of ritual magic and popular medicine. Their obscurity or indefiniteness was often understood by ancient observers as a synecdoche for the otherness of magic, above all in poetical depictions of fictional witchcraft rituals (e.g. Lucan, 6,685-693; Lucian, Dialogi Meretricii 4,5). From the magician's perspective, such utterances underpinned his au…

Boukoloi

(280 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Βουκόλοι; Boukóloi). Male members of Dionysian communities with different tasks, including dance (Lucian. Saltatione 79; schol. Lycoph. 212). The term relates to 1. shepherds in mythical stories who have been converted to servants of the god by witnessing a miracle (Eur. Bacch. 660-774); 2. the transformation of Dionysus from human to animal form, especially as a bull (idem 616-22; Plut. Quaest. Graec. 299b) [1]. The place associated with mythical shepherds is the mountains, the c…

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…

Caelestis

(290 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Latin name for the female counterpart of the highest Punic-Berber deity  Saturnus. The earliest iconographic portrayal, on the denarii of Q. Caecilius Metellus 47-46 BC, show C. as a lion-headed figure, genius terrae Africae (RRC 1. 472, no. 460. 4. pl. LIV). Literary sources describe her as the city goddess of Carthage; C. was also the protective goddess of Thuburbo maius, Oea and probably of other towns; ruler of the stars in the heavens, and of the Earth with all its produce and its inhabitants, as well as of …
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