Content, Mystery Schools



Part I: Concepts, Mystery Schools

1- Abba
Abba is an Aramaic name, meaning father.

2- Abbess
Abbess is the title of a superior of communities of nuns of the Benedictine Rule, of convents of the Second Order of St. Francis (Poor Clares), and of certain communities of canonesses. An abbess must be at least 40 years old to be elected and a professed nun for at least 10 years. Her election gives her the right to certain pontifical insignia: the ring and sometimes the crosier. In medieval times abbesses occasionally ruled double monasteries of monks and nuns and enjoyed various privileges and honours.

3- Abbey
An Abbey is a group of buildings housing a monastery or a convent, centred on a church or a cathedral, under the direction of an abbot or an abbess, and serving the needs of a self-contained religious community. The term abbey is also used loosely to refer to priories, smaller monasteries under a prior. In England, since the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII all that remains in many cases is the abbey church, now simply called an abbey (for instance Westminster Abbey). Monasteries developed in the Middle East and Greece from the hermits' huts, or lauras. Walls were built for defence, and the cells were later constructed against the walls, leaving a central space for church, chapels, fountain, and dining hall, or refectory. This Eastern type of monastery can be seen at Mt. Athos in Greece. The first European abbey was Montecassino in Italy, founded in 529 by St. Benedict of Nursia. An important building within the inner walls housed the novitiate and the infirmary. In the manner of an early isolation hospital, it had its own chapel, bathhouse, refectory, kitchen, and garden. The doctor's house, with its garden of essential medicinal herbs and with small sickrooms, was nearby. Buildings for the intensive agriculture practiced by most orders were to the south of the other buildings. Perhaps the most remarkable abbey was established by the Benedictines on the rocky island of Mont-Saint-Michel in 966.

4- Abbot
An Abbot is the superior of a monastic community that follows the Benedictine Rule (Benedictines, Cistercians, Camaldolese, Trappists) and of certain other orders (Premonstratensians, canons regular of the Lateran). The word derives from the Aramaic ab ("father"), or aba ("my father"), which in the Septuagint and in New Testament Greek was written abbas. St. Benedict of Nursia restored the word abbas in his rule, and to this concept of spiritual fatherhood he added the concept of patria potestas, authority wielded by a father according to Roman law. Thus, the abbot has full authority to rule the monastery in both temporal and spiritual matters. An abbot is elected by the chapter of the monastery in secret ballot. He must be at least 30 years old, of legitimate birth, professed at least 10 years, and an ordained priest. He is elected for life except in the English congregation, where he is elected for a term of 8-12 years. The election must be confirmed by the Holy See or by some other authority. The main privileges of an abbot are the rights to celebrate the liturgy according to pontifical rite, to give blessings normally reserved to a bishop, and to use the pontifical insignia.

5- Abomination
The word abomination generally refers to objects or practices abhorrent to Yahweh and opposed to the moral requirements and rituals of his religion.

6- Abraxas
Abraxas, or Abrasax, is a sequence of Greek letters considered as a word and formerly inscribed on charms, amulets, and gems in the belief that it possessed magical qualities. In the 2nd century AD, some Gnostic and other dualistic sects, which viewed matter as evil and the spirit as good and held that salvation came through esoteric knowledge, or gnosis, personified Abraxas and initiated a cult sometimes related to worship of the sun god. Basilides of Egypt, an early 2nd-century Gnostic teacher, viewed Abraxas as the supreme deity and the source of divine emanations, the ruler of all the 365 heavens, or circles of creation. The number 365 corresponds to the numerical value of the seven Greek letters that form the word Abraxas.

7- Acacian Schism
The Acacian Schism is the split between the patriarchate of Constantinople and the Roman See, caused by an edict by Byzantine patriarch Acacius. With the support of the Byzantine emperor Zeno, Acacius in 482 drew up an edict, the Henotikon (Greek: "Edict of Union"), to secure unity between orthodox Christians and monophysites. This edict incorporated the decisions of the general Councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381) and recognized Christ's divinity, but it omitted any reference to the orthodox distinction of Christ's human and divine essences, as enunciated by the Council of Chalcedon (451). These were concessions to the monophysites. The Henotikon was accepted in the East but Rome and the Western church rejected it. Acacius was deposed (484) by Pope Felix III. His excommunication was reaffirmed in 485 and extended to Acacius' followers, including a part of the Byzantine hierarchy. The condemnation by Pope Felix precipitated the Acacian Schism, which was not resolved until 519.

8- Acrostic
An acrostic refers to a group of phrases, words, or most often, verses, the first letters of which when taken consecutively form a word, name, phrase, or other predetermined entity. If a series of final or internal letters forms an additional such entity, it is termed a double acrostic.

9- Adamites
The Adamites were the members of a Gnostic sect mentioned by Epiphanius whose members tried to live as Adam before the Fall. They renounced marriage and worshipped in full nudity.

10- Adoptionism
The word Adoptionism describes two Christian heresies:
- The first developed in the 2nd and 3rd centuries also known as Dynamic Monarchianism. Dynamic Monarchianism held that Christ was a mere man, miraculously conceived, but constituted the Son of God simply by the infinitely high degree in which he had been filled with divine wisdom and power. Theodotus taught it at Rome about the end of the 2nd century before being excommunicated by Pope Victor. Artemon, who was excommunicated by Pope Zephyrinus, taught it later. About 260 it was again taught by Paul of Samosata. It is the belief of many modern Unitarians.
- The other began in the 8th century in Spain and known from the teaching of Elipandus, archbishop of Toledo. Elipandus referred to Christ in his humanity as "adopted son" in contradistinction to Christ in his divinity, who is the Son of God by nature. The son of Mary, assumed by the Word, thus was not the Son of God by nature but only by adoption. Opposition to this view of Christ led Pope Adrian I to intervene and condemn the teaching. Elipandus gained the support of Felix, bishop of Urgel. In 798 Pope Leo III held a council in Rome that condemned the "Adoptionism" of Felix and anathematised him. Felix was forced to recant in 799. Elipandus remained unrepentant and continued as archbishop of Toledo, but the Adoptionist view was abandoned after his death. It was temporarily revived in the 12th century in the teachings of Peter Abelard and his followers.

11- Aeons
In the beginning, the Gnostics believed that there was only the transcendent God, a male principle that existed for eternity with a female principle, the Ennoia (Thought). Together they produced two archetypes, Mind (male) and Truth (female). In their turn these principles produced thirty pairs of males and females known as Aeons who, together, constituted the Divine Realm, known as the Pleroma or Fullness.

12- Agape
In the New Testament, the Greek word Agape describes the fatherly love of God for man, as well as man's reciprocal love for God. The term extends to the love of one's fellow man. The Church Fathers used agape in the sense of "love feast" to designate both a rite (using bread and wine) and a meal of fellowship to which the poor were invited. Some scholars believe the agape was a form of the Lord's Supper and the Eucharist the sacramental aspect of that celebration. Others interpret agape as a fellowship meal held in imitation of gatherings attended by Jesus and his disciples.

13- Agnosticism
The word Agnosticism comes from the Greek agnostos, "unknowable". It describes the doctrine that humans cannot know of the existence of anything beyond the phenomena of their experience. The term has come to be equated with scepticism about religious questions in general and in particular with the rejection of traditional Christian beliefs under the impact of modern scientific thought.

14- Agnus Dei
Agnus Dei is translated in English as "Lamb Of God". It is a designation of Jesus Christ. It is based on the saying of John the Baptist: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" In the Roman Catholic liturgy the Agnus Dei is employed in the following text: "Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us! Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace!" It comes between the Lord's Prayer and the Communion and sounds the themes of sacrifice and of adoration. It unites the sacrifice of the liturgy to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as the Lamb of God. Both Anglican and Lutheran liturgies have retained the Agnus Dei in their Eucharistic rites.

15- Agrapha
Agrapha are Jesus' sayings or words ascribed to Him only known to us in writing, but not recorded in the canonical gospels.
In 1897 and 1903 papyri containing such sayings were discovered at Oxyrhyncus, in what is now Egypt. A book of such sayings of Jesus was, in early traditions, attributed to Saint Matthew. These sayings represent the survival of an oral tradition that developed independently of the tradition embodied in the written Gospels. Most of the sayings are preserved in the Talmud, in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas, in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and in various Muslim sources.

16- Akeldama (or Aceldama)
This is the name of the field allegedly bought by Judas Iscariot and the scene of his suicide.

17- Albanenses and Garatenses
In the second half of the 12th century the Cathari were in great strength in Bulgaria, Albania, and Slavonia. They divided into two branches, distinguished as the Albanenses (absolute dualists) and the Garatenses (moderate dualists).

18- Albigenses
The Albigenses, better known as Cathari, are the followers of the single most important heresy within the Christian church during the Middle Ages They were named after the town of Albi (Latin Albiga), in southern France, a major centre of the movement. The movement flourished in parts of France, Germany, and Italy during the 1100's and 1200's.

19- Alchemy
Alchemy is an ancient art that was practised above all in the Middle Ages. Alchemists looked for a substance that would transmute the common metals into gold or silver and to find a substance that would cure disease and lengthen life. Alchemy was in many ways the predecessor of modern science, especially the science of chemistry.
The concept of alchemy came from the Aristotelian doctrine that all things tend to reach perfection. Gold being thought to be perfect, it was assumed that gold was made out of other metals deep within the earth and that with sufficient skill and diligence an artisan could duplicate this process.
The birthplace of alchemy was ancient Egypt, in Alexandria, where it began to flourish in the Hellenistic period; simultaneously, a school of alchemy was developing in China. Early Greek philosophers proposed the first chemical theories for instance the theory advanced in the 5th century BC by Empedocles -that all things are composed of air, earth, fire, and water- was influential in alchemy. The Arabian alchemists worked with gold and mercury, arsenic and sulphur, and salts and acids used as chemical reagents. They believed that metals are compound bodies, made up of mercury and sulphur in different proportions
From the Arabs, alchemy moved to Spain and Europe. In Europe, the English monk Roger Bacon and the German philosopher Albertus Magnus believed in the possibility of transmuting inferior metals into gold. Thus, they sought to fabricate or discover a substance, the philosopher's stone, more perfect than gold, which could transfer the baser metals into gold. Roger Bacon believed that gold dissolved in aqua regia was the elixir of life. Albertus Magnus had a great mastery of chemistry. The Italian philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catalan churchman Raymond Lully, and the Benedictine monk Basil Valentine also did much for the progress of chemistry.
The best alchemist was 16th-century Swiss Philippus Paracelsus who believed that the elements of compound bodies were salt, sulphur, and mercury, representing, respectively, earth, air, and water; fire he regarded as imponderable, or nonmaterial.
After Paracelsus, the alchemists of Europe became divided into two groups. One group devoted itself to the scientific discovery of new compounds and reactions. The other group took up the visionary, metaphysical side of the older alchemy and developed it into a practice based on imposture, necromancy, and fraud.
Alchemy was associated with many religious beliefs. It was believed that the techniques used to make gold were symbolically related to death, corruption, regeneration, and resurrection. Alchemy and astrology became closely related because of the belief that each heavenly body represented and controlled a certain metal. Some thought the sun represented gold; the moon, silver; Mars, iron; Venus, copper; Jupiter, tin; Saturn, lead; and Mercury, the metal mercury, also called quicksilver.

20- Alexandria
Alexandria (Egypt) is a city in northern Egypt, in the Nile River delta. Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, founded the city in 332 BC.
In Alexandria the Jews came into contact with Greek learning, which profoundly influenced the later religious thought of the world; here the Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, was made before AD 100. Later philosophers attempted to fuse the doctrines of Christianity with the ideals of Greek philosophy.
Alexandria was made the capital of Egypt and the Ptolemies built many palaces; the Alexandrian Library and Museum were founded, and influential schools of philosophy, rhetoric, and other branches of ancient learning were established. During the early 3rd century BC, the Alexandria Library had almost 500,000 volumes, the largest collection of books in the ancient world. However, the collection was destroyed over several centuries.

21- Alpha and Omega
In Christianity, Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used to designate the comprehensiveness of God, implying that God includes all that can be. In the New Testament Revelation to John, the term is used as the self-designation of God and of Christ. The reference in Revelation likely had a Jewish origin.

22- Altar
An altar is a surface or structure upon which a religious sacrifice is offered. Although the term is sometimes used simply to designate a centre for religious ritual or for the worship of deities, and although in many societies sacrifices are offered without an altar, altar and sacrifice are generally connected in the religious history of humanity.
The altar has been ascribed deep religious and symbolic significance. It has been considered a holy and revered object, a place hallowed by the divine presence, where contact and communication with deities and other spirits could be achieved. At the heart of all altar symbolism lies the idea that it is the centre or image of the universe. The ancient sages saw its different parts as representing the various sections of the universe and concluded that its construction was a repetition of creation. The altar, as a mound of earth, symbolized the sacred mother; its shape was compared with the body of a woman.
In Christianity the altar held important religious meaning: from a simple communion table, the altar became a symbol of Christ and was marked with five symbolic wounds at its consecration. The altar table in Christianity has been the focal point of unity, reverence, prayer, and worship.

23- Amalekites,
A warlike, nomadic tribe, that lived in the southwestern part of ancient Palestine from Judah to Egypt and in the Sinai from the time of the Exodus to the time of King Saul. They are not Israelites and probably lived in this region before the arrival of the Hebrews. Hostility existed between the tribe and the Israelites, and King Saul nearly annihilated them in the 11th century BC. David, king of Israel, later defeated them twice and the descendants of the survivors were finally exterminated in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

24- Amazons
In Greek mythology, the term Amazon describes the members of a race of women warriors. The story of the Amazons probably originated as a tale recurrent in many cultures, that of a distant land organized oppositely from one's own. The ascribed habitat of the Amazons necessarily became more remote as Greek geographic knowledge developed. Traditionally, one of the labours required of the Greek hero Heracles was leading an expedition to obtain the girdle of the Amazons' queen (Hippolyte), during which he was said to have conquered and expelled them from their district. Tales grew up to explain why, if the whole nation consisted of women, it did not die out in a generation. The most common explanation was that the Amazons mated with men of another people, kept the resulting female children, and sent the male children away to their fathers. The Amazons invaded Attica but were finally defeated, and Theseus married one of them, Antiope. In Hellenistic times the Amazons were associated with Dionysus, either as his allies or, more commonly, as his opponents.

25- Ambro
The word Ambro describes a raised platform used in early Christian churches for reading the Scriptures and other forms of Liturgy. Initially only one was used but, later on, a second one was introduced so that the Epistles and the Gospels could be read from the south and the north side at Eucharist.

26- Amen
Amen is a Hebrew form of affirmation, a solemn assent mainly in prayer.

27- Ammon, Ammonites
Amonite is a word that describes a group of people who lived in the Transjordanian territory. Their capital city was called Rabbah.

28- Amorites
This was an ancient aboriginal tribe of Canaanites who inhabited the country northeast of the Jordan River as far as Mount Hermon. In the 13th century BC, the Amorites defeated the Moabites, crossed the Jordan, conquered the Hittites, and overran Canaan to the sea. The Hebrews, under their leader Joshua, at Gibeon, defeated them.
The Amorites have been identified with the Amurru, a people who invaded Babylonia in the 21st century BC and two centuries later founded the first dynasty of Babylon.

29- Amos, Book of
Amos is the third of 12 Old Testament books that bear the names of the Minor Prophets, collected in one book under the Jewish canon titled The Twelve. The book is a collection of individual sayings and reports of visions. Whether Amos wrote personally this book is not known. Amos' message is primarily one of doom. Although Israel's neighbours do not escape his attention, his threats are directed primarily against Israel, which, he believes has neglected the worship of Yahweh to the worship of Canaanite gods. This belief prompts his polemic against the feasts and solemn assemblies observed by Israel. He also pronounces judgment on the rich for self-indulgence and oppression of the poor, on those who pervert justice, and on those who desire the day of Yahweh on which God will reveal his power, punish the wicked, and renew the righteous. That day, Amos warned, will be a day of darkness for Israel because of its defection from Yahweh. The book ends (9:8-15) with a promise of restoration for Israel.

30- Amphictiony
Amphictiony (also amphictyony) is a word of Greek origin meaning "dwellers around". In ancient Greece it described an association of neighbouring states formed around a religious centre. The most important was the Delphic Amphictyonic League at first formed of 12 tribes from around Thermopylae. The league was based on the shrine of Demeter but, later, it was linked with the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Member states sent deputies (pylagorai and hieromnemones) to a council (pylaia) that met twice a year and administered the temporal affairs of the shrines and their properties, supervised the treasury, and conducted the Pythian Games. In the 4th century BC the league rebuilt the Delphic temple. Although primarily religious, the league had a political influence through its membership oath and protected the member cities; the council could punish offenders and proclaim a sacred war against them. Other important amphictyonies were the Delian and the Calaurian composed of states around the Saronic Gulf.

31- Anamnesis
Anamnesis is a Greek word meaning "memorial". It is used to describe the commemoration of the passion of Christ.

32- Anaphora
Anaphora is a literary or oratorical device involving the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several sentences or clauses. Anaphora (sometimes called epanaphora) is used for emphasis in argumentative prose and sermons and in poetry.
Anaphorais also a Greek word meaning "offering"; it is used to describe the central prayer of the Eucharistic Liturgy.

33- Anathema
Anathema is a word of Greek origin meaning "to set up," or "to dedicate". In the Old Testament it describes a creature or object set apart for sacrificial offering whose profane use was strictly banned; they had to be destroyed. Old Testament describes the enemy and their besieged city anathema, since they were destined for destruction.
In the New Testament the meaning changed. For instance:
- The word anathema means a curse and the forced expulsion of one from the community of Christians.
- Anathema came to mean the severest form of excommunication that formally separated a heretic completely from the Christian church and condemned his doctrines.

34- Ancestor Worship
In some countries, deceased relatives who are believed to have become powerful spiritual beings or to have attained the status of gods are revered. It is based on the belief that ancestors are active members of society and are still interested in the affairs of their living relatives.
The cult of ancestors is common in many countries such as West African societies (the Bantu and the Shona), in Polynesia and Melanesia (the Dobu and the Manus), among several Indo-European peoples (the ancient Scandinavians, Romans, and Germans), and especially in China and Japan. Their ancestors are believed to have great authority, special powers to influence the course of events or to control the well being of their living relatives. Protection of the family is one of their main concerns. They are considered intermediaries between the supreme god, or the gods, and the people, and can communicate with the living through dreams and by possession. The attitude toward them is one of mixed fear and reverence. If neglected, the ancestors may cause disease and other misfortunes. Supplication, prayer, and sacrifice are ways through which the living can communicate with their ancestors.
Ancestor worship is a strong indication of the value placed on the household and of the strong ties that exist between the past and the present. The beliefs and practices connected with the cult help to integrate the family, to sanction the traditional political structure, and to encourage respect for living elders.

35- Anchorites, Anchoress
Anchorites and Anchoress are names of Greek origin meaning "to withdraw". It was used to describe persons who withdrew from society to lead an ascetic life of prayer. Later on, it was used to describe a person confined to a cell, very often attached to a parish church.

36- Animal Worship
This describes the veneration of an animal, generally because of its connection with a deity. The term was used in the west in a pejorative manner, and in ancient Greece and Rome, against theriomorphic religions -those religions whose gods are represented in animal form. Most common examples in primitive religions are not instances of worship of an animal. Instead, the sacred power of a deity was believed to be manifested in an animal seen as an epiphany or incarnation of the deity (for instance fertility deities were often represented as a bull). Animal symbolism in religious iconography and allegory has been used in associating certain qualities with certain animal species (wisdom with the owl). This associative factor does not imply that the animal itself was worshiped.

37- Animism
The term "Animism" implies a belief in spiritual beings. Among biologists and psychologists, animism refers to the view that the human mind is a nonmaterial entity that interacts with the body via the brain and nervous system. As a philosophical theory, animism is the doctrine that all objects in the world have an inner or psychological being.
Tylor defined animism in Primitive Culture as the general belief in spiritual beings and considered it "a minimum definition of religion." He asserted that all religions involve some form of animism and that primitive peoples, defined as those without written traditions, believe that spirits or souls are the cause of life in human beings; they picture souls as phantoms, resembling vapours or shadows, which can transmigrate from person to person, from the dead to the living, and from and into plants, animals, and lifeless objects.
Marett thought that primitive peoples must have recognised some lifeless objects and probably regarded only those objects that had unusual qualities or behaved in some seemingly unpredictable or mysterious way as being alive. He held that the ancient concept of aliveness was not sophisticated enough to include the notion of a soul or spirit residing in the object. Primitive peoples treated the objects they considered animate as if these things had life, feeling, and a will of their own, but did not make a distinction between the body of an object and a soul that could enter or leave it. Marett called this view "animatism".

38- Ankh
It is believed that the original image of the mythical Christian cross is the Egyptian cross known as the "ankh". The basic ankh is a circle above a "T" cross. As the cross that was used for crucifixion was "T" shaped and the early Christian saw Jesus' cross this way. The ankh would then have been seen as Jesus' cross below a circle.

39- Anno Domini
Anno Domini are Latin words meaning "in the year of the Lord or AD". This system of dating events was invented by Dionysius Exiguus (who died in 550); it is based on the presumed year of the Christ's birth, although it is now known that He was born most probably in 4BC.

40- Anointing
Anointing was done to persons and things. Anointing of the body was done with olive oil mixed with perfume. Kings were consecrated for their high office by having oil poured over their head.

41- Anomoeans
The Anomoeans (from Greek anomoios, "unlike") were members of a radical religious group of the 4th century that represented an extreme form of Aryanism, a Christian heresy that held that the essential difference between God and Christ was that God had always existed, while God created Christ. Aëtius, the founder of the Anomoeans, reasoned that the doctrine carried to its logical conclusion must mean that God and Christ could not be alike. Because agennesia ("self-existence") is a part of the essence of God, Christ could not be like God because he lacked this necessary quality. Aëtius' chief convert, and the second leader of the movement, was Eunomius. The movement grew under Eunomius and reached its peak under Eudoxius of Constantinople (dead in 370). It lasted until the second Council of Constantinople.

42- Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of human beings, of their physical character, evolutionary history, racial classification, historical and present-day geographic distribution, group relationships, and cultural history. Anthropology can be characterized as the naturalistic description and interpretation of the diverse peoples of the world.

43- Anthropomorphism
In religion, the word anthropomorphism means any statement that describes the deity as having a bodily form resembling that of human beings, or as possessing qualities of thought, will, or emotion similar to those of the humans. Any reference to the divine as having a human body is anthropomorphism. References to humanlike mental aspects are also regarded as anthropomorphisms (the will of God, the mind of God, the compassion of God, and even the love of God). The word anthropomorphism means literally "in the form of man". The best-known anthropomorphisms in religion are those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose gods resembled humans in almost everything, but their immortality, their places of residence, and their magical powers over nature. The classical Hebrew prophets were vigorous critics of the gross anthropomorphism of their day. However, although their authors took many of the anthropomorphisms in the Old Testament literally, many more are recognized and intended as poetic metaphors.
The concept formulated by the Greek philosopher Xenophanes says that making God in Man's image is a fallacy. He believed that if the animals could carve and draw they would represent gods after their own forms.

44- Antichrist
An antichrist is an opponent or antagonist of Christ but, also, a false Christ. The term was often used by the early Christians to describe any opponent or enemy of Christ, whether a person or power, or to a false claimant of the characteristics and attributes of Christ. The "false Christs" were predicted by Jesus to precede the coming of the Son of man. Antichrist is also identified with paganism. Often the Antichrist was identified with the Roman emperors Nero, Diocletian, Julian, and Caligula; with the Samaritan sorcerer Simon Magus; and with Muhammad, the founder of Islam. At the time of the Reformation, Protestants quite generally held the pope to be the Antichrist, and Roman Catholics regarded Martin Luther similarly. In the controversy between the Roman church and the Greek Church, the name was applied, by those who opposed them, to popes and Byzantine emperors.

45- Antioch, Council of
In AD 341, a non-ecumenical Christian church council was held at Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey) on the occasion of the consecration of the emperor Constantine I's Golden Church there. It was the first of several 4th-century councils that attempted to replace orthodox Nicene theology with a modified Aryanism. In the presence of the Eastern emperor Constantius II and about 100 Eastern bishops, the council adopted four creeds to replace the Nicene, all of them to some degree unorthodox and omitting or rejecting the Nicene statement that Christ was "of one substance" (homoousios) with the Father. The disciplinary 25 canons of Antioch are generally thought to have come from this council, but some scholars believe they were the work of an earlier council (330) at Antioch.

46- Apocalyptic Literature
The world Apocalypse is generally understood as a prophetic description of the end of the world. This literary genre flourished from about 200 BC to AD 200, especially in Judaism and Christianity. At first it was to give hope to religious groups undergoing persecution or cultural upheavals. Apocalypses ("revelation") describe in cryptic language, understood by believers, the sudden, dramatic intervention of God in history on behalf of the faithful. Apocalyptic writers examine the present, determining whether current afflictions are fulfilments of past apocalyptic prophecies, but they concentrate mainly on the future overthrow of evil, on the coming of a messianic figure, and on the establishment of the Kingdom of God and of eternal peace and righteousness. The bad ones are consigned to hell and the righteous or elect as reigning with God, or a messiah in a renewed earth or heaven. The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament and the Revelation to John in the New Testament represent apocalyptic writing.

47- Apocatastasis
Apocatastasis is a Greek word for the doctrine that states that all creatures (men, angels and devils) will be saved at the end. This concept is found in Origen, Clement of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa. It was opposed by Augustine of Hippo and condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 543. It is known today as Universalism.

48- Apocrypha
Apocrypha means the books that are "hidden away" because they were supposed to contain mysterious or esoteric teaching to be communicated only to the initiated.
The word was given by the 5th-century biblical scholar Saint Jerome to the biblical books received by the church of his time as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but that were not included in the Hebrew Bible. In the Authorized, or King James, Version, the books are printed as an appendix or are omitted; Protestants do not consider them canonical.
The books included in the Septuagint that were excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews from their canon were Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and the two books of Maccabees. The Apocrypha includes also the two books of Esdras, additions to the Book of Esther, the Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and the Prayer of Manasseh.
Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians still follow the Septuagint and include in the canon of the Bible all the Apocrypha, except the two books of Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. They refer to the Protestant Apocrypha as deuterocanonical books and reserve the term Apocrypha for those books entirely outside the biblical canon, which Protestants call the pseudepigrapha.
The Apocrypha is important from a historical point of view as it shed valuable light on the period between the end of the Old Testament narrative and the opening of the New Testament. They are also important sources of information on the development of belief in immortality, the resurrection, and other questions of eschatology, as well as the increasing impact of Hellenistic ideas on Judaism.

49- Apocryphal New Testament
The Apocryphal New Testament is a collection of some early Christian writings (mainly from the 2d century AD which were not included in the New Testament) concerning Jesus and other people mentioned in the New Testament. All the New Testament apocrypha are pseudepigraphal, and most of them fall into the categories of acts, gospels, and epistles. There are also some apocalypses and some wisdom books. Most of these works arose from sects that had been or would be declared heretical, such as the Gnostics. Some of them argued against various heresies, and a few are neutral efforts to popularise the life of some saint or other early leader of the church, including a number of women. All sought through their writings, as well as through their preaching and missions, to win believers. Almost all works advocating beliefs that later became heretical were destined to denunciation and destruction. Heretical movements such as Gnosticism and Montanism produced many New Testament pseudepigrapha.

50- Apollinarianism
Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, created the heretical doctrine concerning the nature of Christ called Apollinarianism. With his father, Apollinaris the Elder, he wrote the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry and the New Testament in the style of Platonic dialogues after the Roman emperor Julian had forbidden Christians to teach the classics. Apollinaris denied the existence in Christ of a rational human soul, a position he took to combat Aryanism.

51- Apologists or Apologetics
The word Apologist describes the Christian writers, mainly of the second century, who wrote in defence of Christianity and criticised Greco-Roman culture. Many of their writings were addressed to Roman emperors, and were sent to government secretaries who could accept or reject them. Some of the apologies had the form of briefs written to defend Christians against accusations, especially the charges that their religion was novel or godless or that they engaged in immoral practices. The Apologists tried to prove the antiquity of their religion by emphasizing it as the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy; they argued that their opponents were really godless because they worshipped the gods of mythology; and they insisted on the philosophical nature of their own faith as well as its high ethical teaching. The Greek Apologists include Quadratus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Apollinaris (bishop of Hierapolis), Melito, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria. Latin Apologists included Marcus Minucius Felix and Tertullian.

52- Apostasy
The word apostasy (Greek, "insurrection") means the abandonment of Christianity by a baptised person. In the early church it was one of the three unpardonable sins (the other two being murder and fornication). Apostasy is different from laxity in the practice of religion and from heresy, the formal denial of one or more doctrines of the Christian faith. In Roman Catholic canon law, it also refers to the abandonment of the religious state by a monk or nun who has taken perpetual vows and leaves the religious life without the appropriate dispensation.

53- Apostle Creed
The Apostle Creed, also called APOSTOLICUM, is a statement of faith used in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and many Protestant churches that is not recognized in the Eastern Orthodox churches. According to tradition, the 12 Apostles wrote it, but it actually developed from early interrogations of catechumens (persons receiving instructions in order to be baptized) by the bishop. The bishop would ask, "Dost thou believe in God the Father almighty?" and so forth through the major Christian beliefs. These statements, in an affirmative form, became the official Christian creed also known as baptismal creeds. The present text of the Apostles' Creed is similar to the baptismal creed used in the church in Rome in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It reached its final form in southwestern France in the 6th or 7th century and it replaced other baptismal creeds to be the official statement of faith of the entire Catholic Church in the West when Innocent III was pope (1198-1216).

54- Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Father is the name given to any of the Greek Christian writers, several unknown, who were authors of early Christian works dating primarily from the late 1st and early 2nd centuries. Their works are the principal source for information about Christianity during the two or three generations following the Apostles. They were originally called apostolic men (Apostolici). The name Apostolic Fathers was first applied in the 6th century but the name was not commonly use until the 17th century. These writers include Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Hermas, Barnabas, Papias, and the anonymous authors of the Didache, Letter to Diognetus, Letter of Barnabas, and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Not everything written by the Apostolic Fathers is considered to be equally valuable theologically, but their writings are more valuable historically than any other Christian literature outside the New Testament.

55- Apostolici
Apostolici was the name of the members of an ascetiuc sect of the 3d and 4th centuries in Asia Minor. They were against marriage and private property. The apocryphal Acts of Andrew and Acts of Thomas were parts of their doctrine. They claimed to be the only Christians. They were also known as Apotactites ("renouncers").

56- Apotheosis
Apotheosis is a Greek word meaning deification of a human being, usually after death. The ancient Greek religion believed in heroes and demigods. Worship after death of historical persons or worship of the living as true deities occurred from time to time. Ancient monarchies often used polytheistic conceptions of divine or semi divine individuals in support of the dynasties. Ancestor worship, or reverence for the dead, was another factor, as was also mere flattery. The Romans, under the republic, had accepted only one official apotheosis, Quirinus having been identified with Romulus. The emperor Augustus broke with this tradition and had Julius Caesar recognized as a god, the first of a many deities as the tradition established by Augustus was followed for many emperors and was extended to some women of the imperial family including some imperial favourites. The worship of an emperor during his life was in general confined to the provinces. Apotheosis, after his death did not at once cease, even when Christianity was officially adopted.

57- Apotropaic
Apotropaic is a Greek word meaning "averted" and used to describe magical rites or articles (amulets) worn to avert evil.

58- Aramaeans
The Aramaeans were citizens of a tribe part of a confederacy that spoke a North Semitic language (Aramaic). Between the 11th and 8th century BC they occupied Aram, a large region in northern Syria. In the same period some of these tribes seized part of Mesopotamia. In the Old Testament the Aramaeans are said to be close to the Hebrews and living in northern Syria around Harran from about the 16th century BC. About 1030 BC a coalition of the southern Aramaeans, led by Hadadezer, king of Zobah, together with the Ammonites, Edomites, and the Aramaeans of Mesopotamia, attacked Israel but was defeated by King David. To the east the Aramaean tribes spread into Babylonia. By the 9th century the whole area from Babylon to the Mediterranean coast was in the hands of the Aramaean tribes -the biblical Chaldeans. Between Israel and Damascus, intermittent wars continued until Assyria captured Arpad, the centre of Aramaean resistance in northern Syria, in 740 BC, Samaria in 734 and Damascus in 732. Finally, the destruction of Hamath by Sargon II of Assyria in 720 marked the end of the Aramaean kingdoms of the west. Aramaeans along the lower Tigris River remained independent. In 626 a Chaldean general, Nabopolassar, proclaimed himself king of Babylon and joined with the Medes and Scythians to overthrow Assyria. In the New Babylonian, or Chaldean, empire, Chaldeans, Aramaeans, and Babylonians became largely indistinguishable. In religion, Aramaeans had Canaanite, Babylonian, and Assyrian gods, in addition to their own deities. Their chief god was Hadad, or Ramman (Old Testament Rimmon) and their chief goddess was Atargatis (Atar'ate), a fusion of two deities.

59- Aramaic
Aramaic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew. Originally the language of the Aramaeans, it was used, in many dialectical forms, in Mesopotamia and Syria before 1000 BC and later became the lingua franca of the Middle East. Aramaic survived the fall of Nineveh (612 BC) and Babylon (539 BC) and remained the official language of the Persian Empire (539-337 BC).
Before the Christian era, Aramaic had become the language of the Jews in Palestine. Jesus preached in Aramaic, and parts of the Old Testament and much of the rabbinical literature were written in that language. Christian Aramaic, usually called Syriac, developed an extensive literature, especially from the 4th to 7th centuries.
Aramaic began to decline in favour of Arabic at the time of the Arab conquest in the 7th century AD. Aramaic survives today in Eastern and Western dialects, mostly as the language of Christians living in a few little communities in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.

60- Archdeacons
An Archdeacon is the chief administrative officer of a bishop. In the Middle Ages he often succeeded his bishop.

61- Archetype
Archetype is an image, ideal, or pattern that has come to be considered a universal model. Archetypes are found in mythology, literature, and the arts, and are important aspects of both philosophical and psychological thought.
The first aesthetic theory of any scope is that of Plato, who believed that reality consists of archetypes, or forms, beyond human sensation, which are the models for all things that exist in human experience. The objects of such experience are examples, or imitations, of those forms. The philosopher tries to reason from the object experienced to the reality it imitates; the artist copies the experienced object, or uses it as a model for the work.

62- Archimandrites
Archimandrite was the title of the head of a monastery, or group of monasteries, in the Eastern Churches. In modern times it also designate high administrative officials, not necessarily monks. They rank just below a bishop.

63- Archonites
A word that describes a school of Christian Gnosticism that was active also in Rome.

64- Archons
Of all the Aeons only the first, Mind, knew and understood the greatness of the Father and could behold him. The last and youngest Aeon, Sophia (Wisdom) wanted to have the same knowledge and contact with the Father. Without telling her male partner, she projected from her own being a flawed emanation known as the Demiurge who created the material cosmos and saw himself as the absolute God. His cosmos consisted of spheres each ruled by one of the lower powers, the Archons, who together govern man's world, the earth, which is the lowest of the spheres.

65- Aryanism
Aryanism is a Christian heresy of the 4th century that denied the full divinity of Jesus Christ. It was named for its author, Arius, who taught that God is unbegotten and without beginning. The Son, the Second Person of the Trinity because he is begotten, cannot be God in the same sense that the Father is. The Son was not generated from the divine substance of the Father; he did not exist from all eternity, but was created out of nothing like all other creatures, and exists by the will of the Father. In other words, the relationship of the Son to the Father is not natural, but adoptive. By this doctrine, Arius was trying to preserve the absolute transcendence of God.
The teaching of Arius was condemned in 325 at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea. The 318 bishops assembled there stated that the Son of God was "begotten not made," and consubstantial (Greek homoousios, "of the same substance") with the Father -that is, the Son was part of the Trinity, not of creation.
Despite its condemnation, the teaching of Arius did not die. Emperor Constantine I recalled Arius from exile about 334 and soon after, Constantine's successor, Constantius II, was attracted to the Arian doctrine and the bishop and theologian Eusebius of Nicomedia, later patriarch of Constantinople, became an Arian leader. By 359 Aryanism had prevailed and was the official faith of the empire.
The Arians quarrelled among themselves and divided into two parties. The semi-Arians (mostly conservative eastern bishops) agreed with the Nicene Creed but were hesitant about the unscriptural term homoousios (consubstantial) used in the creed. The neo-Arians said that the Son was of a different essence (Greek heteroousios) from the Father. Valens who succeeded Constantius II in 361 persecuted the semi-Arians opening the way for the final victory of Nicene orthodoxy, recognised by Emperor Theodosius in 379 and reaffirmed at the second ecumenical council (Constantinople I) held in 381

66- Aristotle's Philosophy
After Plato's death, the Academy he founded continued to exist for many centuries under various heads. The first was Speusippus, Plato's nephew. Aristotle had become a member of the Academy at the age of 17, in the year 367. It is a controversial question as to how far Aristotle, during the 20 years of his membership in the Academy, developed a philosophy of his own differing from that of his master, Plato. However:
- He soon raised certain objections to Plato's theory of Ideas, for one of the arguments against it attributed to him is discussed in Plato's dialogue Parmenides.
- It was during his membership in the Academy that Aristotle began and elaborated his theoretical and formal analysis of the arguments used in various Socratic discussions, the base of his works on logic.

Aristotle left for Assus, then for the island of Lesbos, but he soon became the educator of the future Alexander the Great, at the Macedonian court at Pella. After the latter had become king, Aristotle returned to Athens and opened there a school of his own, whose members became known as the Peripatetics.
Some time before his return to Athens, Aristotle declared that:
- It is not necessary to assume the existence of a separate realm of transcendent Ideas of which the individual things that men perceive with their senses are but imperfect copies.
- The world of perceived things is the real world.

The last chapters of his Analytica Posteriora (Posterior Analytics) show that he only replaced Plato's transcendent Ideas with something that the human mind can grasp in things. Aristotle said that all living beings develop from an imperfect state, to the more perfect state of the fully developed plant or the full grown mature animal or man, later on to decay and finally die, having reproduced themselves. But not all individuals reach the same degree of relative perfection. The first question, then, is what kind of perfection a human being can reach. Aristotle answer was that man could reach only some of the perfections possible for man as such. Men can lead satisfactory lives only on the basis of a division of labour and distribution of functions. This is an advantage the human species have over all other animals because it enables it to adapt to all circumstances. But the advantage is paid for by the fact that no human individual is able to develop all of the perfections that are possible for the race as a whole. All human activities are directed toward the end of a good and satisfactory life. Aristotle's teleology is entirely based on empirical observation and not on a belief in divine providence. It forms the foundation of Aristotle's ethics and political theory. In later times, Aristotle came to be considered a dogmatic philosopher, however, he was one of the greatest Empiricists of all times.

67- Ark of the Covenant
In Judaism the Ark of the Covenant is the sacred repository mentioned in the Bible and in Exodus. Here it is described as a chest of acacia. It was known also as the Ark of the Law, the Ark of the Testimony, or the Ark of God. The chest was 2.5 cubits (3 ft 9 in) in length and 1.5 cubits (2 ft 3 in) in breadth and height. The ark lay in the Holy of Holies, the sacrosanct enclosure of the tabernacle and of the Temple in Jerusalem. The chest contained, according to the source, Aaron's rod, a pot of manna, and the stone tablets of the Decalogue. In the synagogues today, the term ark designates the repository for the scrolls of the Law used in the sacred service.

68- Armageddon
Armageddon is the name of the place according to Revelation where the king of the Lower World, the Dragon, the Beast and the false prophet assembled to make war on God. It is the battlefield described as the scene of the predicted final struggle between good and evil.

69- Ascension
In Christian belief it refers to the departure of Jesus Christ from the earth to Heaven 40 days after his resurrection from the dead. The event is described as occurring in the presence of the apostles; Christ was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. Its significance centres on the glorification of Christ and its service, as a sign that his earthly mission had been fulfilled. The Feast of the Ascension, one of the great festivals of Christianity, is observed on Thursday, 40 days after Easter.

70- Ascent
The goal of mysticism is a state, or condition, in which the soul is "one with God". This "oneness with God" is because all men, according to mystics, are ultimately called to their origin. Self-realization is basically one in intent with the injunctions of the Greek Mysteries: "Know thyself." This knowing, union, or communion with the divine and the sacred is of the essence of the ascent of man and mystics look upon it as the final end.

71- Asceticism
The word asceticism comes from the Greek "askeo" "to exercise" or "to train". It describes the practice of the denial of physical or psychological desires in order to attain a spiritual ideal or goal. Most religions have traces or features of asceticism.

72- Assassins (The)
They were a band of robbers that operated in Judaea at the time of Felix (first century AD). They participated in the Jewish War.

73- Assyria
Assyria was a small land bounded by the Tigris Valley on the west, the mountains of Armenia and Kurdistan to the north and east and the Lower Zab on the South. It grew to include the Fertile Crescent from Persian Gulf to the Egyptian border with also parts of Asia Minor and Egypt. Assyria came under the influence of Babylonia.

74- Astral Religion
Astral religion is the modern name for a complex of faith and religious practices in the Graeco-Roman society connected with the stars. This was not an organised creed but there was a pattern of belief that was widely diffused and influential.

75- Astrology
Astrology is a kind of divination that forecasts earthly and human events by observing and interpreting the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. As a science, astrology has been used to predict or affect the destinies of individuals, groups, or nations by an assumed understanding of the influence of the planets and stars on earthly affairs. As a pseudo-science, astrology is considered to be opposed to modern science.

76- Asuras
Asuras was the "anti-gods" of Vedic and post-Vedic Hinduism. It is the equivalent of the Iranian "Ahura" (or Ahura Mazda). It is used mainly to describe evil gods at war with the Aryans and threatening human life.
In the Vedic age the Asuras and the Devas were both considered classes of gods, but gradually the two groups came to oppose each other. In Iran Asura, or Ahura, meant the supreme god and the Devas, or Daevas, became demons.

77- Athanasian Creed
The Athanasian Creed, also called Quicumque Vult (from the opening words in Latin), is a Christian profession of faith in about 40 verses. It is regarded as authoritative in the Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches. It has two sections, one dealing with the Trinity and the other with the Incarnation; total acceptation of its statements is said to be necessary for salvation. A Latin document composed in the Western Church, the creed was unknown to the Eastern Church until the 12th century. Since the 17th century, scholars have generally agreed that the Athanasian Creed was not written by Athanasius (died 373) but was probably composed in southern France during the 5th century. The earliest known copy of the creed was included as a prefix to a collection of homilies by Caesarius of Arles (died 542). The creed's influence seems to have been primarily in southern France and Spain in the 6th and 7th centuries and it was used in Germany in the 9th century and later in Rome.

78- Atheism
The word Atheism refers to the critic and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings. It is the opposite of theism, which affirms the reality of the divine and often seeks to demonstrate its existence. Atheism is also distinguished from agnosticism, which leaves open the question whether there is a god or not, professing to find the questions unanswered or unanswerable. It is necessary not only to probe the warrant for atheism but also carefully to consider what is the most adequate definition of atheism.

79- Atonement or expiation
In Christian theology it means the expiation of sin and the propitiation of God by the incarnation, life, sufferings, and death of Jesus Christ; the obedience and death of Christ on behalf of sinners as the ground of redemption; in the narrow sense, the sacrificial work of Christ for sinners. In the theology of much atonement signifies the act of bringing people to God, as opposed to the idea of reconciling an offended God to his creation. Atonement means reconciliation or, more often, expiation, the removal of sin seen as a cleaning act.

80- Audiani
Audiani was the name of an anticlerical movement of the 4th century AD that broke away from the church over the worldliness of the clergy. Audius, a layman, founded the movement.

81- Autocephalous Churches
In Eastern Orthodox canon law, an autocephalous church enjoys total canonical and administrative independence and elects its own primates and bishops. The term autocephalous was used in medieval Byzantine law in its literal sense of "self-headed", or independent, and was applied in church law to individual dioceses that did not depend upon the authority of a provincial metropolitan. Today the Orthodox archbishopric of Mount Sinai, with the historic monastery of St. Catherine, still enjoys this privilege. Most modern Orthodox autocephalies are national churches. The autocephalous churches maintain canonical relations with each other and enjoy communion in faith and sacraments. There is between them a traditional order of precedence, the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople being the first.

82- Avesta
Avesta is a word of uncertain origin, meaning "wisdom" or "knowledge" and the name of sacred scriptures of Zoroastrianism. It is also called Zend-avesta and contains its cosmogony, law, and liturgy, the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushtra). The present day Avesta is all that remains of a larger scripture, apparently Zoroaster's interpretation of a very ancient tradition. The Avesta is in five parts. Its religious core is a collection of songs or hymns, the Gathas, thought to be the words of Zoroaster. They form a middle section of the liturgical part of the canon, the Yasna, which contains the rite of the preparation and sacrifice of haoma. The Visp-rat is a lesser liturgical scripture, containing homages to a number of Zoroastrian spiritual leaders. The Vendidad, or Videvdat, is the main source for Zoroastrian law, both ritual and civil. It also gives an account of creation and the first man, Yima. The Yashts are 21 hymns, rich in myth, to various yazatas (angels) and ancient heroes. The Khurda Avesta (or Little Avesta) is a group of minor texts, hymns, and prayers. Zend-Avesta literally means "interpretation of the Avesta."

83- Babylon
Babylon, the "gate of God") was one of the most important cities of the ancient world; today it only remains a broad area of ruins just east of the Euphrates River, 56 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq. Babylon was the capital of Babylonia in the 2nd and 1st millennia BC. In antiquity the city was located across the main overland trade route connecting the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

84- Babylonia
Babylonia was a region of southeastern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern southern Iraq from around Baghdad to the Persian Gulf). Before Babylon's rise to political prominence (c. 1850 BC) the area was divided into two countries: Sumer in the southeast and Akkad in the northwest. The Sumerian city-states fought one another for the control of the region that became vulnerable to invasion from Akkad and from Elam. Sumer and Akkad developed rich cultures. The Sumerians were responsible for the first system of writing, cuneiform; the earliest known codes of law; the development of the city-state; the invention of the potter's wheel, the sailboat, and the seed plough; and the creation of literary, musical, and architectural forms that influenced all of Western civilization. Under the rule of the Amorites, which lasted until about 1600 BC, Babylon became the political and commercial centre of the Tigris-Euphrates area, and Babylonia became a great empire. The ruler responsible for this rise to power was Hammurabi (c. 1792-1750 BC), the sixth king of the 1st dynasty of Babylon, who forged coalitions between the separate city-states, promoted science and scholarship, and promulgated his famous code of law. After Hammurabi's death, the Babylonian empire declined until 1595 BC, when the Hittite invader Mursil I unseated the Babylonian king Samsuditana, allowing the Kassites from the mountains east of Babylonia to assume power and establish a dynasty that lasted 400 years. During the last few centuries of Kassite rule, religion and literature flourished in Babylonia. Assyria broke away from Babylonian control and developed as an independent empire, threatening the Kassite dynasty in Babylonia. Elam, too, grew powerful and conquered most of Babylonia, replacing the Kassite dynasty (c. 1157 BC). In a series of wars, a new line of Babylonian kings, the 2nd dynasty of the city of Isin, was established. Nebuchadrezzar I (reigned c. 1124-1103 BC) defeated Elam and fought off Assyrian advances for some years. For several centuries following Nebuchadrezzar I's rule, a three-way struggle developed among the Assyrians and Aramean and Chaldean tribesmen for control of Babylonia. From the 9th century to the fall of the Assyrian empire in the late 7th century BC, Assyrian kings often ruled over Babylonia. After the death of the last ruling Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, a Chaldean leader, Nabopolassar, made Babylon his capital and instituted the last and greatest period of Babylonian supremacy. His son Nebuchadrezzar II (reigned 605-562 BC) conquered Syria and Palestine; he is best remembered for the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem in 587 BC and for the ensuing Babylonian captivity of the Jews. The Persians, under Cyrus the Great, captured Babylonia from Nebuchadrezzar's last successor Nabonidus in 539 BC and Babylonia ceased to be independent, passing in 331 BC to Alexander the Great. After Alexander's death the Seleucids abandoned Babylon, bringing an end to one of the greatest empires in history.

85- Bacchantes
Dionysus, the son of Zeus and Semele was brought up by the bacchantes (Maenads, or Thyiads) of Nysa, an imaginary place, at the request of Hermes. According to tradition, Pentheus, king of Thebes, was torn to pieces by the bacchantes when he attempted to spy on their activities, while the Athenians were punished with impotence for dishonouring the god's cult. While they were under the god's inspiration, the bacchantes were believed to possess occult powers, the ability to charm snakes and suckle animals, as well as preternatural strength that enabled them to tear living victims to pieces before indulging in a ritual feast (omophagia). The bacchantes hailed the god by his titles of Bromios (Thunderer), Taurokeros (Bull-Horned), or Tauroprosopos (Bull-Faced), in the belief that he incarnated the sacrificial beast.

86- Baal
Baal is a Hebrew word meaning "owner", "possessor" or "lord". It was applied to Canaanite gods as manifestation of Baal, fertility-god of Canaan. This god was in fact the Amorite god of winter rain and storm known as Adad or Hadad, the Thunderer. Baal was worshiped in many ancient Middle Eastern communities, especially among the Canaanites, who considered him a fertility deity and one of the most important gods in the pantheon and his title was Prince, Lord of the Earth. He was also called the Lord of Rain and Dew, the two forms of moisture that were indispensable for fertile soil in Canaan. Fertility was envisaged in terms of seven-year cycles. In the mythology of Canaan, Baal, the god of life and fertility, locked in mortal combat with Mot, the god of death and sterility. If Baal triumphed, a seven-year cycle of fertility would ensue; but, if he lost to Mot, seven years of drought and famine would follow. But Baal was not exclusively a fertility god. He was also king of the gods after seizing the divine kingship from Yamm, the sea god. The worship of Baal was popular in Egypt from the later New Kingdom in about 1400 BC to its end (1075 BC). Through the influence of the Aramaeans the god became known as the Greek Belos, identified with Zeus. Various communities also worshipped Baal as a local god. The Old Testament speaks frequently Baal. In the beginning of Israel's history, the presence of Baal names did not necessarily mean apostasy or even syncretism. For the early Hebrews, "Baal" designated the Lord of Israel. What made the very name Baal anathema to the Israelites was Jezebel's proposal, in the 9th century BC, to introduce into Israel her Phoenician cult of Baal in opposition to the official worship of Yahweh.

87- Bacchanalia
Bacchanalia were the orgiastic rites of Dionysus. They were also called Dionysia in Greco-Roman religion meaning any of the several festivals of Bacchus (Dionysus), the wine god. They originated as rites of fertility gods. The most famous of the Greek Dionysia were in Attica and included the Little, or Rustic, Dionysia (simple, old-fashioned rites); the Lenaea, which included a festal procession and dramatic performances; the Anthesteria, a drinking feast; the City, or Great, Dionysia, accompanied by dramatic performances in the theatre of Dionysus, which was the most famous of all; and the Oschophoria ("Carrying of the Grape Clusters"). Coming to Rome from lower Italy, the Bacchanalia were at first held in secret, attended by women only, on three days of the year. Later, admission was extended to men, and celebrations took place as often as five times a month. The reputation of these festivals as orgies led in 186 BC to a decree of the Roman Senate that prohibited them throughout Italy, except in certain special cases. Bacchanalia long continued in the south of Italy.

88- Baptism
In Christian churches baptism (Greek baptein, "to dip") is the universal rite of initiation, performed with water, usually in the name of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) or in the name of Christ. Orthodox and Baptist churches require baptism by total immersion. In other churches, pouring (affusion) and sprinkling (aspersion) are more common. Most churches regard baptism as a sacrament, or sign of grace; some regard it simply as an ordinance, or rite, commanded by Christ.

89- Barbarians
Barbarian, at the time of Jesus, meant foreigner, someone speaking an unknown language.

90- Barbeloites or Barbelo-Gnostics
The Barbeloites were members of a school of Christian Gnosticism, active also in Rome. Irenaeus described barbelo-gnostics; they were quite similar to other Gnostic sects. According to Irenaeus, Barbelo was a primordial Virginal Spirit or Aeon, to whom the "unnameable Father" revealed himself. Barbelo was first a series of Aeons, and produced light, which the father anointed as Christ.

91- Beatitudes
Beatitude describes any of the blessings said by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as told in the biblical New Testament in Matthew and in the Sermon on the Plain in Luke. Named from the initial words (beati sunt, "blessed are") of those sayings in the Latin Vulgate Bible, the Beatitudes describe the blessedness of those who have certain qualities or experiences peculiar to those belonging to the Kingdom of Heaven. The four blessings in the Sermon on the Plain may have been the nucleus of the expanded nine in the Sermon on the Mount. In addition to these two compilations, other Beatitudes are found in other places in the New Testament.

92- Bogomils
The Bogomils -lovers of God- were members of a religious sect that became important in the 10th century in the Balkans. Some scholars believe that they are the followers of a sect of Paulicians from Asia Minor who were exiled to Macedonia in 872. From Bulgaria the cult spread among other Slavic peoples. The movement was a blending of Eastern dualism and an evangelical attempt to reform the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Bogomils, whose fundamental doctrines are attributed to a priest called Bogomil, held that the first-born Son of God was Satanael. Satanael rebelled and created, in opposition to the original spiritual universe, a world of matter and human beings. The Supreme Father gave these human beings a life spirit. This life spirit, however, was kept in slavery by Satanael until a second son of God, the Logos, or Christ, came down from heaven and, assuming a phantom body, broke the power of the evil spirit, who was then called Satan, the divine name, El, being dropped. The Bogomils practised asceticism, despised images, and rejected the sacraments. They accepted the whole of the New Testament, but only the Old Testament Psalms and Prophets, which they interpreted allegorically.
In 1118 the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus executed the leader of the sect for heresy. When Muslim conquered Bosnia in the 15th century, the majority of the Christians who embraced Islam were Bogomils. The Bogomils influenced the development of the Albigensian and Cathari groups of France and Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries.

93- Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy founded by Siddhartha Gautama in northeast India during the period from the late 6th century to the early 4th century BC. Spreading from India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, Buddhism has played an influential role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of much of the Eastern world. During the present century it has attracted some adherents in the West.

94- Bythos
In the biblical, Hellenistic (Greco-Roman cultural), and Islamic worlds of thought the celestial realm, generally composed of seven heavens or spheres dominated by the seven then-known planets, was the realm of the divine and the spiritual. At the highest level of the celestial sphere was the ultimate of the sacred or holy:
- Yahweh, the God of Judaism, whose name was so holy it should not even be spoken.
- Bythos, the unknowable beginning beyond beginnings of Gnosticism. (Others are the heavenly Father of Christianity, known through his Logos -the divine Word, or Reason, Jesus Christ- and Allah, the powerful, the almighty, and the sublime God of Islam).

95- Cabala or Kabbalah
Cabala is the name for the Jewish mysticism. The term -also spelled Kabala, or kabbala- means "what is handed down or received" in Hebrew.
The teachings of Kabbalah started 2,000 years ago. The early writings describe the journeys of sages who ascend through palaces in heaven filled with angels to adore the Divine Presence on His throne. Other early works explore the secrets of creation as well as magical formulas and practices.
The greatest period of Kabbalah came in the Middle Ages, above all in the 1200's in Spain. There a mystic named Moses de Leon "discovered" and published the Zohar (Book of Splendor). Leon and his followers claimed the Zohar was written by an ancient sage named Simeon bar Yohai but most modern scholars believe he was the author. The Zohar describes the different aspects of God. These aspects consist of qualities such as Beauty, Glory, Judgement, and Mercy that are called Sefirot (Emanations). The Zohar urges believers to study and meditate on these Sefirot. The book also stresses religious observances and ethical deeds.
Kabbalah arose also in Palestine in the early 1500's. Adding to the Zohar's teachings, a Jerusalem-born rabbi named Isaac Luria taught the doctrine of Tikkun (repair). Luria taught his followers that observance of Jewish law, understood mystically, could release sparks of imprisoned divine light and hasten the coming of the Messiah.
Kabbalah then came anew in Hasidism, a mystical movement that began in the 1700's in Poland and spread throughout Jewish Eastern Europe. Hasidism emphasises prayer and song and other religious experiences as a way of communicating with God.
Some people associate Kabbalah with fantastic interpretations of the hidden meanings of numbers and letters in the Bible and with miraculous acts. These elements play a smaller role in Kabbalah than generally assumed.

96- Cabeiri
The Cabeiri (or Cabiri) were an important group of deities, probably of Phrygian origin, worshiped over much of Asia Minor, in Macedonia and northern and central Greece. They were promoters of fertility and protectors of seafarers. In classical times there were two male deities, Axiocersus and his son and attendant Cadmilus, or Casmilus, and a less-important female pair, Axierus and Axiocersa. The cult included worship of the power of fertility, rites of purification, and initiation. The Cabeiri are often identified with the Great Gods of Samothrace, where the mysteries attracted great attention and initiation was looked upon as a general safeguard against misfortune.

97- Caduceus
In Greek this was the name of the staff, a symbol of peace, carried by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans it became the badge of heralds and ambassadors, signifying their inviolability. Originally the caduceus was a rod or olive branch ending in two shoots and decorated with garlands. Later two snakes entwined in opposite directions replaced the garlands. A pair of wings, in token of Hermes' speed, was attached to the staff above the snakes. Its similarity to the staff of Asclepius the healer resulted in modern times in the adoption of the caduceus as a symbol of the physician.

98- Caesars
Caesar is a title of the Roman Emperors derived from their forerunner, Julius Caesar who died in 44BC.

99- Caesaropapism
The word Caesaropapism describes a political system in which the head of the state is also the head of the church and supreme judge in religious matters. The term is associated with the late Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. It was normal practice for the Eastern Roman emperor to act as the protector of the universal church and as the manager of its administrative affairs. Emperors presided over councils, and their will was decisive in the appointment of patriarchs and in determining the territorial limits of their jurisdiction. Caesaropapism was more a reality in Russia, where the abuses of Ivan IV the Terrible went unopposed and where Peter the Great transformed the church into a department of the state (1721), although neither claimed to possess special doctrinal authority. The concept of caesaropapism existed in Western Christendom, for example, during the reign of Henry VIII in England.

100- Cainites
The Cainites were the members of a Gnostic sect mentioned by Irenaeus and other early Christian writers as flourishing in the 2nd century AD, probably in the eastern area of the Roman Empire. Origen declared that the Cainites had "entirely abandoned Jesus." Their interpretation of Old Testament texts is that Yahweh (the God of the Jews) was not merely an inferior demiurge, as many Gnostics believed, but that he was an evil because the world he created was designed to prevent the reunion of the divine element in man with the unknown perfect God. The Cainites also worshipped such rejected figures as Cain (whence their name), Esau, and the Sodomites, all of whom were thought to have an esoteric, saving knowledge (gnosis). These above biblical persons were said to have been punished by a jealous, irrational creator called Hystera (Womb). The Cainites also honoured Eve and Judas Iscariot and had gospels bearing their names. The Cainites are sometimes called libertine Gnostics for believing that true perfection, and hence salvation, comes only by breaking all the laws of the Old Testament. Because it was difficult to violate all biblical laws during a single lifetime, the Cainites did not look for salvation in the created world but rather escape from it. Their subversion of biblical stories allowed them to use Sacred Scripture to support their dualistic view of existence.

101- Canaanites
In the Old Testament, they were the original inhabitants of the land of Canaan. According to the Book of Judges, the Israelites, during the 2nd millennium BC or earlier, took over the Canaanite cities. By the end of the reign of Solomon, king of Israel, the Canaanites had been assimilated into the Hebrew people. Biblical scholars now believe that the Hebrew language was derived from Canaanite sources, and that the Phoenician language was an early form of Hebrew.

102- Canaan
Canaan was the name of different regions in historical and biblical literature, but always centred on Palestine. Its original pre-Israelite inhabitants were called Canaanites. The names Canaan and Canaanite occur in cuneiform, Egyptian, and Phoenician writings from about the 15th century BC as well as in the Old Testament. There, "Canaan" refers sometimes to an area encompassing all of Palestine and Syria, sometimes only to the land west of the Jordan River, and sometimes just to a strip of coastal land from Acre ('Akko) northward. Most scholars agree that initially Canaan meant Phoenicia (the costal area of Syria) before being used for the whole of Palestine.

103- Cannanite Religion
The Canaanite religion was a set of beliefs and practices prevalent in ancient Palestine and Syria during the 2nd and 1st millennia BC. The Canaanite religion was based on the worship of the divinities El, Baal, Anath, and Ashtoreth. From time to time it threatened the essential monotheism of the Israelites after they occupied Canaan, the Promised Land of the Old Testament.

104- Canon law
In Latin JUS CANONICUM, it describes a body of laws made within certain Christian churches (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, independent churches of Eastern Christianity, and the Anglican Communion) by the ecclesiastical authority for the government of the Church and of the behaviour and actions of individuals. The term includes precepts of divine law incorporated in the canonical collections and codes. Although canon law is historically continuous from the early church to the present, it has, as a result of doctrinal and ecclesiastical schisms, changed with time to adapt to the new environment. The canon law of the Eastern and Western churches was much the same until these two groups of churches separated in the Schism of 1054. Canon law in the Western churches after 1054 developed without interruption until the Reformation of the 16th century. Though other churches of the Reformation rejected the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England retained the concept of canon law and developed its own type. It is not a static body of laws, it reflects the social, political, economic, cultural, and ecclesiastical changes that have taken place in the past.

105- Capernaum
Capernaum was a town of ancient Palestine, on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (now Lake Tiberias), Israel. Excavations at the village of Tell Hum in 1905 identified it with Capernaum, the setting for many events in the Galilean ministry of Jesus Christ described in the Gospels. It is thought to be the headquarters of Jesus in Galilee and the home of his first disciples, St. Andrew, St. Matthew, and St. Peter. Today only a few ruins of the old town remain, among them a synagogue built between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD.

106- Carpocratian
The Carpocratian sect flourished in Alexandria. Carpocratians revered Jesus not as a redeemer but as an ordinary man who remembered that his soul had its origin and true home in the realm of the perfect God. In other words, Jesus was to them a fellow Gnostic and a model. Carpocratians rejected the created world and identified themselves with spiritual reality. They claimed to communicate with demonic spirits, a proof of their power and superiority over the material world. The Carpocratians were called libertine Gnostics because they claimed that the attainment of transcendent freedom depended on having every possible experience, sinful or otherwise. They had a more developed cult than other Gnostic groups; they made coloured icons with images of Plato, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Jesus, and others. They were members of the first sect to have used pictures of Christ. They also practiced magic for such purposes as the making of love potions.

107- Cathars (or Cathari)
Cathars (Greek katharos, "pure"), is the name given to many heretical Christian sects of the Middle Ages. The Cathari practiced rigid asceticism and their dualistic theology asserted that the universe comprised two conflicting worlds, the spiritual world created by God, and the material world created by Satan a view similar to the doctrine of Manichaeism.
The Cathari believed that the principles of good and evil continually opposed each other in the world, that worldly things represented the evil force, and that the human spirit was the only good. They taught that the spirit had been imprisoned in the body as punishment for sinning, and that the highest good was to free the spirit from the body.
The Cathari were divided in two groups:
- The perfects vowed themselves to lives of extreme asceticism. Renouncing all possessions, they survived from donations given by the other members although they normally had a job. They were forbidden to take oaths, to have sexual relations, or to eat meat, eggs, or cheese. Only the perfects could communicate with God through prayer.
- The simple believers could become perfects through a long initiation period followed by the rite called consolamentum, or baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. Some would receive this rite only when they were near death. They would then ensure their salvation by abstaining from all food and drink, in effect committing a form of suicide.
The Cathari were very popular until the church pronounced them heretics in the mid-1100. The nobility and the townsfolk supported them. The Cathari reached their greatest numbers in southern France; here they were also called Albigenses or Poblicants, the latter term being a corruption of Paulicians, with whom they were confused. By the late 14th century, however, the Cathari had all but disappeared.
The Christian church initially attempted to reconvert the Cathari through peaceful means. When every attempt failed, Pope Innocent III launched a Crusade (1209/1229) in Languedoc, which brutally repressed the local population. Small groups of Cathari survived in isolated areas and were pursued by the Inquisition as late as the 14th century.

108- Catharmos
The Pagan Gnostics call the first stage of initiation "catharmos", meaning "purification" (the second stage is called "paradosis"). During this first stage of initiation the initiates are purified through ethical teaching.

109- Catechumens
Catechumens described the people following instructions for baptism in the Early Church. The formation was long and baptism was only taking place at Easter. They were allowed to attend the first part of Eucharist or mass known as "Missa Catechumenorum" while the full Mass, "Missa Fidelium", was only attended by baptised people. Today a catechumen is a person who receives instruction in the Christian religion in order to be baptized. According to the New Testament, the apostles instructed converts after baptism, and Christian instruction was given to all converts. As the number of Gentiles in the church increased and, in the 4th century, with the rise of heresy, detailed doctrinal teaching was given. But by this time the postponement of baptism had become general and a large proportion of Christians belonged to the catechumenate. As infant baptism became general, the catechumenate decreased.

110- Celibacy of the Clergy
Celibacy of the clergy, in its narrow sense, is the term applied only to those for whom the unmarried state is the result of a sacred vow, act of renunciation, or religious conviction. Celibacy has existed in some form or another throughout religious history and in virtually all the major religions of the world. Wherever celibacy has appeared, it has generally accompanied the view that the religious life is essentially different from the normal structures of society and the normal drives of human nature.
Celibacy of the clergy was required in the Apostolic period but it soon was seen as a sign of devotion to the Church. In the 3d century AD some local synods required celibacy from those in holy orders. Celibacy requirements grew with monastic movement and became a custom through the Western Church. In the Middle Ages, celibacy was imposed in the Church but the Catholic Church was not always successful with all the clergy until the modern era.

111- Cenobitic monasticism
This was a form of monasticism based on "life in common", characterized by strict discipline, regular worship, and manual work. St. Pachomius was the founder of the cenobitic rule, which was later developed by St. Basil the Great (c. 329-379). Western Cenobitic monasticism was introduced by St. Benedict of Nursia and became the rule of the Benedictine. In the East its major centres were the monastery of Stoudios in Constantinople and several monastic communities on Mount Athos, in Greece.

112- Chapter
Chapter is the name of the assembly of monks in the monasteries. It is derived from the custom of assembly to hear a chapter of the rule read each day.

113- Chrestians
From the middle of the first century AD to the 5th century many Christians preferred to call themselves "Chrestians".

114- Christianity
Christianity is the most widely distributed of the world religions. Its total membership may exceed 1.7 billion people.
Like any system of belief and value Christianity is comprehensible only "from the inside," to those who share the beliefs and strive to live by the values. Christianity is a community, a way of life, a system of belief, a liturgical observance, and a tradition. Each of these aspects of Christianity has affinities with other faiths, but each also bears unmistakable marks of its Christian origins.

115- Circumcision
Circumcision is the operation of cutting away all or part of the foreskin (prepuce) of the penis. The origin of the practice is unknown. Circumcision is a ritual used in many ethnic groups; the widely use of a stone knife rather than a metal one suggest a great antiquity of the operation. When the operation is performed as a traditional rite, it is done either before or at puberty and sometimes, as among some Arab peoples, immediately before marriage. Among the ancient Egyptians, boys were generally circumcised between the ages of 6 and 12 years. Among the Ethiopians, the Jews, the Muslims, and a few other peoples, the operation is performed shortly after birth (among Jews, on the eighth day after birth) or a few years after birth. The ritual operation is regarded as having a profound religious significance. For the Jews it represents the fulfilment of the covenant between God and Abraham, the first divine command of the Pentateuch, that every male child shall be circumcised. That Christians were not obliged to be circumcised was first recorded in Acts 15. The operation at puberty represents a beginning of the initiation into manhood.

116- Codex
Codex (plural codices or codexes) describes an ancient manuscript text in book form.

117- Colyridians (or Collyridians)
The Colyridians were a 4th century sect of women members of a school of Christianity. They offered sacrifices of little cakes to the Virgin Mary. The sect was Arabian but its members were mainly immigrant Thracians and Scythians. According to the Literalist Christian Epiphanius, its initiates celebrated the Eucharist in the name of "Mary, Queen of Heaven".

118- Conclave
The term "Conclave" (Latin: cum clave, "with a key"), in the Roman Catholic Church, describes the assembly of cardinals gathered to elect a new pope and the system of strict seclusion (in the locked enclosure) to which they submit. The custom began in 1271 after two years during which the cardinals failed to elect a new pope. They were locked in a room until they reached a decision.

119- Constantinople, Councils of
Eight councils of the Christian church were held at Constantinople (now Istanbul). The Western Church recognises only four of these councils as ecumenical: the first three and the sixth, which is called the Fourth Council of Constantinople.
First Council of Constantinople
This council (381) was the second ecumenical council of the church. Theodosius I, the emperor of the East, convened it. The 150 bishops meeting at the council condemned various religious sects as heretical, reaffirmed the resolutions of the first ecumenical council of Nicaea (325), defined the Holy Spirit as consubstantial and coeternal with the Father and the Son in the divine Trinity, and proclaimed the bishop of Constantinople second in precedence to the bishop of Rome.
Second Council of Constantinople
This meeting (553) was the fifth ecumenical council of the church. Justinian I, Byzantine emperor, convoked it to consider the writings of the Greek theologians Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, and Ebas of Edessa. These writings, known as the Three Chapters, had been approved by the fourth ecumenical council, held at Chalcedon in 451. The council of 553 condemned the Three Chapters and anathematised their authors.
Third Council of Constantinople
The third council (680) was the sixth ecumenical council. It met at the request of Constantine IV, Byzantine emperor (reigned 668-85), to condemn Monothelitism, a doctrine declaring that Jesus Christ had only one will, even though he had two natures (human and divine).
Fourth Council of Constantinople
The fourth meeting (691) was called by Justinian II, Byzantine emperor (reigned 685-95; 705-11) to enact a legislative code for the church. This code later became part of the canon law of the Orthodox Church, but was largely rejected by the church in the West. The council of 691 was regarded in the East as supplementary to the previous ecumenical councils (the fifth and sixth).
Fifth Council of Constantinople
The fifth council (754) was called by Constantine V, Byzantine emperor (reigned 741-75), to deal with the problem of image worship. The council condemned the worship of images; the seventh ecumenical council, held at Nicaea in 787, however, rejected this position, and the council of 754 was not recognised as ecumenical in the West.
Sixth Council of Constantinople
The sixth council (869/870) is considered the Fourth Council of Constantinople by the Western church and as the eighth ecumenical council. Basil I, Byzantine emperor, convened it to confirm his deposition of Photius, patriarch of Constantinople. Photius, who was the principal instigator of the 9th-century schism between the Eastern and Western churches, was formally deposed. The council of 869-70 was not recognised by the Eastern Church.
Seventh Council of Constantinople
The seventh council (879) was recognised in the East as the eighth ecumenical council of the church. Photius, who had been reinstated as the patriarch of Constantinople in the previous year, called it. This council, which repudiated the council of 869-70, was not recognised by the church in the West.
Eighth Council of Constantinople
The last council (1341) was recognised in the East as the ninth ecumenical council of the church. It deals with the problem of the Hesychasts, a mystical sect of monks living on Mount Áthos. The council condemned the Greek monk Barlaam as a heretic for his opposition to the sect.

120- Coptic Church (Catholic)
The Eastern Catholic church of the Alexandrian rite in Egypt is part of the Roman Church since 1741 when Athanasius, a Monophysite Coptic bishop, became a Roman Catholic. Two succeeding bishops remained unconsecrated because they were unable to travel to Europe and there was no Egyptian bishop to perform the ceremony. In 1893 the Franciscans in Egypt gave the Catholic Copts 10 churches. In 1895 Pope Leo XIII divided the 5,000 Catholic Copts into three dioceses directed by an administrator, who, four years later, was appointed patriarch of Alexandria, with residence in Cairo.

121- Coptic Orthodox Church
The Coptic Orthodox Church, also called simply Coptic Church, is the principal Christian church in predominantly Muslim Egypt. From the 5th century onward, the Egyptian Christians belonged to a Monophysite church, calling themselves simply the Egyptian Church. In the 19th and 20th centuries they began to call themselves Coptic Orthodox to be distinguished from Copts who had converted to Roman Catholicism and from Eastern Orthodox, who are mostly Greek. In the 4th and 5th centuries a theological conflict arose between the Copts and the Greek-speaking Romans, or Melchites ("Emperor's Men"), in Egypt over the Council of Chalcedon (451), which rejected Monophysite doctrine. After the Arab conquest of Egypt in the 7th century, the Copts ceased speaking Greek, and the language barrier added to the controversy. Various attempts at compromise did not succeed. Apart from the Monophysite question, the Coptic and the Eastern Orthodox churches agree in doctrinal matters. Arabic is now used in the services of the Coptic Orthodox Church for the lessons from the Bible and for the hymns. The service books, using the liturgies attributed to St. Mark, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, are written in Coptic, with the Arabic text in parallel columns.

122- Coptic language
This was an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt from the 2d century AD, the final stage of the ancient Egyptian language. Whereas the previous Egyptian languages were written in hieroglyphs, hieratic script, or demotic script, Coptic was written in the Greek alphabet. Coptic replaced the religious terms and expressions of earlier Egyptian with Greek words. Coptic has six dialects.
- The Fayyumic dialect of Upper Egypt, spoken along the Nile River valley survived until the 8th century.
- Asyutic, or Sub-Akhmimic, spoken around Asyut, flourished in the 4th century. In it are preserved a text of the Gospel According to John and of the Acts of the Apostles, and many Gnostic documents.
- Akhmimic was spoken in and around the Upper Egyptian city of Akhmim.
- Sahidic (from Arabic, as-Sa'id [Upper Egypt]) was originally the dialect spoken around Thebes; after the 5th century it was the standard Coptic of all of Upper Egypt.
- Bashmuric, a dialect of Lower Egypt is not well known.
- Bohairic, originally spoken in the western part of Lower Egypt including the cities of Alexandria and Memphis. All Coptic Christians have used Bohairic for religious purposes since the 11th century.

123- Corpus Christie (Feast of)
Corpus Christie is a festival of the Western Christian Church in honour of the Real Presence of the body (corpus) of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. It is observed on the Thursday (or, in some countries, the Sunday) after Trinity Sunday. It originated in 1246 when Robert de Torote, bishop of Liège, ordered the festival celebrated in his diocese at the request of Blessed Juliana, prioress of Mont Cornillon near Liège (1222-58), who had experienced a vision. Jacques Pantaléon, formerly archdeacon of Liège, who became pope as Urban IV, ordered in 1264 to the whole church to observe the feast. By the mid-14th century the festival was well accepted, and in the 15th century it became the principal feast of the church. The procession, the most prominent feature was a pageant in which sovereigns and princes took part, together with magistrates and members of guilds. In the 15th century the procession was followed by the performance of miracle and mystery plays. After the doctrine of transubstantiation was rejected during the Reformation, the festival was suppressed in Protestant churches.

124- Corpus Hermeticum
The Corpus Hermeticum is composed of 17 treatises of theological writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistos. Though the setting of these is Egyptian, the philosophy is Greek. The Hermetic writings, in fact, present a fusion of Eastern religious elements with Platonic, Stoic, and Neo-Pythagorean philosophies.

125- Cosmogony
Cosmogony is the study of the origin and development of the universe, or of a particular system in the universe, such as a planetary system. The age of the solar system has allowed sufficient time for all the planets to settle down into orbits that are in the same direction and in nearly the same plane. Its size, mass, and speed of rotation suggest that it condensed from a much more massive cloud of gas and dust. Stars are formed from clouds of gas and dust in the spaces between other stars, particularly in nebulae. A large or rapidly rotating cloud can condense into a double star. If the cloud is small or rotates slowly then all the mass is pulled into a single star. In between these extremes a nebular cloud, parts of which may subsequently condense to form planets, surrounds the condensing star.

126- Cosmology
Cosmology is the study of the structure and evolution of the universe. It can also describe a particular theory of the universe, such as the Big Bang. It has also largely replaced the older term cosmogony. Each civilization has developed its own picture of the universe, the best-known ones of ancient times being those of the Greeks Ptolemy and Aristotle. Prior to this Aristarchus of Samos had postulated a heliocentric solar system with the stars as distant suns. The Chinese also favoured this cosmology until the arrival of European culture in the early Middle Ages. Modern cosmology originates from the theory of Copernicus that the Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun. The dominant force in large-scale interactions is gravitation that led to Newton's Law of Gravitation that explains the motion of the planets and predicted the subsequent discovery of the planet Neptune. During the 20th century scientists have reached an understanding of the universe as a whole and discovered the concept of an expanding universe.
In the 1920s it was discovered that the Milky Way is one galaxy among millions of others, with the Sun just one of millions of stars in the Milky Way. While studying external galaxies, it was found that they are all receding from our own galaxy, with the more distant galaxies having the highest recession velocities; this led to the notion of expanding universe.
The invention of radio astronomy in the 1950s led to more discoveries over the next two decades. It was realized that most of the radio sources in the sky such as quasars and radio galaxies, are associated with distant objects. Since the distances involved are a fraction of the size of the universe, the radio and light waves take a period of time approaching the age of the universe to reach us. Therefore by looking at faint radio sources we are looking at earlier epochs in the history of the universe. Counting the number of radio sources in each range of signal intensity gives results that are in disagreement with all the theories that the universe has looked the same at all times that is the Steady State theory of cosmology of Hoyle, Hermann Bondi, and Thomas Gold. This led the scientists to believe that there was a time when there were no radio sources, followed by an epoch with many sources, and the present time with few sources. This confirms the Big Bang or evolutionary cosmologies.

127- Cosmos
Man has always been concerned with what makes him different from other animate beings and what makes his community, and thus his world, different from other communities and other worlds. The cosmos may be viewed as monistic, as in Hinduism, in which the cosmos is regarded as wholly sacred or part of a single divine principle. The cosmos may also be viewed as dualistic, as in Gnosticism, in which the world of matter was regarded as evil and the realm of the spirit as good. A third view of the cosmos, found in the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam, is centred on a tripartite universe: celestial, terrestrial, and sub-terrestrial.

128- Covenant
A covenant is a binding promise in the relations between individuals, groups, and nations. It can have social, legal, religious, and other aspects. Covenants in the ancient world were solemn agreements by which societies attempted to regularize the behaviour of both individuals and social organizations. A covenant is a promise that is sanctioned by an oath. This promise in turn was accompanied by an appeal to a deity or deities to "see" or "watch over" the behaviour of the one who has sworn, and to punish any violation of the covenant by bringing into action the curses stipulated or implied in the swearing of the oath. Legal procedure, on the other hand, may be entirely secular. Further, in ordinary legal procedure the sanctions of the law are carried out by appropriate agencies of the society itself, not by transcendent powers beyond the control of man and society. Because a person can bind only himself by an oath, covenants in the ancient world were usually unilateral. The oath was usually accompanied by a ritual or symbolic act like the ritual identification of the promissory with a sacrificial animal, so that the slaughter and perhaps dismemberment of the animal dramatized the fate of the promissory if he were to violate the covenant.

129- Cribolium
Cribolium is the name used to describe the sacrifice of a ram in rites of Cybele.

130- Cross
The cross is an ancient symbol found in many cultures, but especially associated with Christianity.
Its design consists of two lines at right angles but there are many variations. The tau cross is T-shaped; the Saltire, or St. Andrew's cross, is X-shaped; the Latin cross has a short horizontal member near the top of the longer vertical member; the Greek cross has members of equal length and intersects in the centre. The Russian cross has two unequal horizontals set on the vertical member above a small slanting bar. The cross of Lorraine has two unequal horizontals; the papal cross has three unequal horizontals, with the shortest near the top end of the vertical member. The Maltese cross is a Greek cross with V-shaped members widening from the centre and being notched at the ends. The Celtic cross is like a Latin one with the addition of a circle surrounding the intersection. In the swastika the members, of equal length, are bent at the ends.
The cross may be simply decorative, or it may have symbolic meaning. The tau cross, for example, was a symbol of life to the ancient Egyptians; when combined with the circle, it stood for eternity. For most ancient peoples the Greek cross was a metaphor for the four indestructible elements of creation (air, earth, fire, and water). The swastika was common in both the Old World and the New World; it originally represented the revolving sun, fire, or life and later, by extension, good luck. To Buddhists, a swastika represented resignation; to the Jains, it symbolized their seventh saint. To Hindus, a swastika with arms bent to the left symbolized night, magic, and the destructive goddess Kali. In mid-20th-century Germany, the right-facing swastika was the Nazi party emblem.
The cross was also used in the ancient world as a symbol of execution by crucifixion. In Roman times only the lowest class of criminals was crucified. In Christianity the cross became not only a symbol of the death of Jesus Christ as a criminal on a tau-shaped Roman cross, but also of his subsequent resurrection to eternal life and of his promise of salvation to Christian believers.
The cross became an important part of Christian liturgy and art. Christians make a sign of the cross with the right hand both to profess their faith and to bestow a blessing. Early Christian clergy used small hand-held crosses to bestow blessings. Larger crosses were carried in processions. In time, crosses were placed on altars in churches and erected outdoors in markets and along roads. Most large medieval churches were built on the plan of a Latin or Greek cross, symbolic of Christ's body.
The cross, as first used in Christian art, did not show the body of Jesus, because the empty cross symbolised Jesus' resurrection rather than his death. By the 7th century the whole figure of Jesus was shown, alive and robed, as the triumphant Christ, in front of the cross but not attached to it. Later, as more emphasis was put on his suffering and death, Christ was portrayed in a loincloth and crown of thorns, nailed to the cross with the wound in his side visible.

131- Crowns
A crown is a headdress symbolising sovereignty, or other high rank or special condition. The word is also used to refer to a monarchy as an institution.

132- Crucifixion
Crucifixion refers to the execution of a criminal by nailing or binding to a cross. It was a common form of capital punishment from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, especially among the Persians, Egyptians, Carthaginians, and Romans. The Romans used crucifixion for slaves and criminals but never for their own citizens. Roman law provided that the criminal be scourged before being put to death; the accused also had to carry either the entire cross or, more commonly, the crossbeam from the place of scourging to the place of execution. Constantine the Great out of respect for Jesus Christ, who died on the cross, abolished the practice in 337. All four Evangelists record the crucifixion of Christ between two thieves in the New Testament.

133- Cult
Cult is the term commonly used for a new religious group devoted to a living leader and committed to a fixed set of teachings and practices. Such groups range in size from a few followers to worldwide organisations. Members of these groups generally consider them to be legitimate religions and rarely call them cults. A more neutral term is "new religious movement" instead of cult.
AS there is not one clear definition of cults, their numbers and membership today cannot be accurately measured. Some scholars estimate that 3,000 cults exist in the world with a total membership of more than 3 million people, mostly young adults.
Traditionally, the term cult referred to any form of worship or ritual observance, or even to a group of people pursuing common goals. Many groups accepted as religions today were once classified as cults. Christianity began as a cult within Judaism and developed into an established religion. Other groups that began as cults and developed into organised churches include the Quakers, Mormons, Swedenborgians, Christian Scientists, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Seventh-day Adventists. The Amish, who trace their history to the 1500's, are an example of a cult that has changed little over the centuries.
Today, the term is applied to groups that follow a living leader who promotes new and unorthodox doctrines and practices. Some leaders demand that members live apart from everyday society in communities called communes. Leaders claim that they possess exclusive religious truth, and they command absolute obedience and allegiance from their followers. Some cults require that members contribute all their possessions to the group.

134- Cushitic languages
Cushitic languages form a group of languages spoken by some 16 million people in Ethiopia and adjacent areas south and east. Scholars differentiate five Cushitic subgroups: (1) Beja, (2) Agau, (3) Eastern Cushitic (including Oromo and Somali), (4) West Cushitic (including Kaffa in southwest Ethiopia), and (5) Southern Cushitic (including Mbugu and Mbulunge [Burungi] in Tanzania). The most widespread languages are Oromo, Somali, and Beja.

135- Cynics
Cynics were the members of a school of Greek philosophers founded during the second half of the 4th century BC. Diogenes of Sinope is generally regarded as the founder, but Antisthenes, a pupil of Socrates, has also been proposed. According to Aristotle, Diogenes was a well-known figure, nicknamed Kyon, the Greek word for "dog."
The Cynics taught that civilization was an artificial, unnatural condition and that it should be held in contempt. Hence, they advocated returning to a natural life, which they equated with a simple life, maintaining that complete happiness can be attained only through self-sufficiency. Independence is the true good, not riches or luxuries. It follows that the Cynics were exceedingly ascetic, regarding abstemiousness as the means to human liberation.

136- Cyrene
Cyrene was the capital of Libya in North Africa.

137- Dadouchos
The leaders of the Old Mystery cults included the dadouchos ("torchbearer").

138- Daemon (daimon, demon)
The term demon is derived from the Greek word daimon, which means a "supernatural being" or "spirit." Though it has commonly been associated with an evil or malevolent spirit, the term originally meant a spiritual being that influenced a person's character. An agathos daimon ("good spirit"), for example, was benevolent in its relationship to men. The term gradually was applied to the lesser spirits of the supernatural realm who exerted pressures on men to perform actions that were not conducive to their well-being. The dominant interpretation has been weighted in favour of malevolence and that which forbids evil, misfortune, and mischief. In religions of non-literate peoples, spiritual beings may be viewed as either malevolent or benevolent according to the circumstances facing the individual or community. The positions of spiritual beings or entities viewed as benevolent or malevolent may, in the course of time be reversed. Such has been the case in the ancient Indo-Iranian religion, from which evolved early Zoroastrianism and the early Hinduism reflected in the Vedas. In Zoroastrianism the daevas were viewed as malevolent beings, but their counterparts, the devas in ancient Hinduism, were viewed as gods. The ahuras of Zoroastrianism were good "lords," but in Hinduism their counterparts, the asuras, were transformed into evil lords.

139- Damascus
Damascus or Dimashq is capital and chief city of Syria, in southwestern Syria. The greater part of Damascus, including the rectangular ancient city, is on the south bank of the Baradá. Damascus has long been an important commercial centre. In former times it was famous for dried fruit, wine, wool, linens, and silks. The city was notable also for the manufacture of damascened steel sword blades, which were exceptionally hard and resilient.

140- Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls is the name of a collection of about 600 Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts discovered in caves near Khirbat Qumran in Jordan. The leather and papyrus scrolls came to light in a series of archaeological finds that began in 1947. The manuscripts have been attributed to members of a previously unknown Jewish brotherhood. The scrolls include manuals of discipline, hymnbooks, biblical commentaries, and apocalyptic writings; two of the oldest known copies of the Book of Isaiah; fragments of every book in the Old Testament except that of Esther. Among the latter is a paraphrase of the Book of Genesis. Also found were texts, in the original languages, of several books of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. These texts that were not included in the Hebrew canon of the Bible are Tobit, Sirach, Jubilees, portions of Enoch, and the Testament of Levi.
The seven main scrolls were discovered by Bedouins and were purchased partly by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and partly by the Syrian monastery of Saint Mark in Jerusalem. The government of Israel later purchased the scrolls in the possession of the Syrian monastery.
The manuscripts belonged probably to the library of a community located in what is now Khirbat Qumran, near the place of the scrolls' discovery. Palaeographic evidence indicates that most of the documents were written between about 200 BC and AD 68. Archaeological evidence supports the latter date. Presumably the documents were hidden between AD 66 and 68.
Similarities between the beliefs and practices described in the scrolls and those of the Essenes have suggested to many scholars that the Qumran brotherhood is related to that sect.

141- Decapolis
Decapolis meant initially a league of ten Greek cities (Scythopolis, Pella, Don, Gerasa, Philadelphia, Gadara, Raphana, Kanatha, Hippos and Damascus) organised for mutual defence against the Semitic tribes; it started in the beginning of the Christian era.

142- Deism
Originally deism meant the belief in the existence of a god or gods. Today it means more specifically the belief in the existence of a supreme being who is the ground and source of reality but who does not intervene or take an active interest in the natural and historical order.

143- Deluge
In biblical history deluge described the flood of waters described in Genesis 6-9 that inundated the entire earth or a large part of it. The only survivors were the occupants of the ark, a vessel built by Noah at God's command. On the ark, besides Noah, were his wife, his three sons and their wives, and mated pairs of every species of animal. According to the Yahwist sections of the narrative the flood is caused by a rain lasting 40 days. Noah sends out a raven at the end of this period, but it fails to return. He then releases a dove, which returns with an olive leaf. Sent out again seven days later, the dove does not return. Noah disembarks after another seven-day interval, builds an altar, and offers a sacrifice. In the Elohist sections, the flood is accompanied by an upsurge of subterranean waters. It increases in intensity for 150 days, or five months of a solar year, and begins to recede in the seventh month. The ark then grounds "upon the mountains of Ararat." On the first day of the next solar year, Noah leaves the ark and is blessed by God, who causes a rainbow as a sign of his covenant that such a flood will not occur again.

144- Demiurge
Demiurge (Greek dêmiourgos, "artisan," "craftsman," "manual labourer") is a term used in history and in philosophy. In ancient Attica, the Demiurges were one of three classes of the population, along with the nobility and the farmers. Demiurge was also the name that was given to the ten or twelve officers of the assembly of the Achaean League, a democratic confederation of Greek cities.
In Plato's dialogue Timaeus, the Demiurge was the creator of the world, the builder of the material universe. In later Neoplatonic and Gnostic philosophies, the Demiurge was still considered the architect of the world, but an entity distinct from and inferior to the supreme God.

145- Demons
The word demon, also spelled daemon, in religions worldwide describes numerous malevolent spiritual beings, powers, or principles. In ancient Greece a demon (Greek daimon) was a supernatural power similar to a god. It became commonly the power determining a person's fate, and an individual could have a personal demon. The Christians attributed the actions of the pagan gods to demons identified as fallen angels. In Zoroastrianism, the hierarchy of demons (daevas) is headed by Angra Mainyu (later called Ahriman), the Evil, or Destructive, Spirit. The hierarchy of demons in Judaism is quite varied. The prince of the forces of evil was called by different names: Satan (the Antagonist), Belial (the spirit of perversion, darkness, and destruction), Mastema (Enmity, or Opposition), and other names. The hierarchy of demons in Christianity is based on various sources: Jewish, Zoroastrian, Gnostic, and various indigenous religions. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of Beelzebub as the chief of demons and equates him with Satan. In the European Middle Ages and the Reformation period, various hierarchies of demons were developed, such as that associated with the seven deadly sins: Lucifer (pride), Mammon (avarice), Asmodeus (lechery), Satan (anger), Beelzebub (gluttony), Leviathan (envy), and Belphegor (sloth). The Islamic hierarchy of demons is headed by Iblis (the devil), who also is called Shaytan (Satan) or 'aduw Allah ("Enemy of God"). In Hinduism, the asuras are the demons who oppose the devas (the gods). Buddhists often view their demons as forces that inhibit the achievement of Nirvana (bliss, or the extinction of desire.

146- Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy, ("Words" in Hebrew) is the fifth book of the Old Testament; Moses wrote it as a farewell address to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land of Canaan. The document recalls Israel's past, reiterates laws that Moses had communicated to the people at the Sinai, and emphasises that observance of these laws is essential for the well-being of the people. The title Deuteronomy, derived from Greek, means a "copy," or a "repetition," of the law and not a "second law". Although Moses presents Deuteronomy as an address, scholars generally agree that it dates from a much later period of Israelite history. The earliest existing edition has been identified with the book of the Law discovered in the Temple of Jerusalem about 622 BC that contains the chapters 5-26 and 28 of Deuteronomy as it now stands. Other materials were added in the years following the reforms instituted by King Josiah (reigned c. 640-609 BC). The final form includes a second introduction (chapters 1-4) and makes Deuteronomy the book of first principles for his history of the Israelite people in the land of Canaan. The principles governing the presentation of Israel's history are: faithfulness to Yahweh and obedience to his commands bring blessings; the worship of foreign gods and negligence of Yahweh's statutes bring a curse; Yahweh can be worshiped in only one sacred place (Jerusalem) by all Israel; priests, prophets, and kings are subject to Yahweh's law granted through Moses.

147- Devil
The Devil, in Hebrew and in Christian belief, is the supreme spirit of evil. In later Jewish tradition and in early Christian thought, the title becomes a proper name; he then is seen as an adversary not only of human beings but also-and even primarily-of God.
According to many religions, the Devil is an evil spirit that opposes God or good spirits. The Devil tempts people to be wicked. He is the chief Tempter and may command many lesser devils. In Judaism and Christianity, the Devil is also known as Satan. In Islam, the religion of the Muslims, the Devil is known as Iblis.
In the Old Testament, the Devil is a Satan, a Hebrew word that means adversary. In the Book of Job, God let the Devil test the faith of Job by overwhelming him with misfortunes. Through the centuries, the Devil has been perceived as an evil angel. In the New Testament, he is seen as the opponent of God who had been expelled from heaven. Since then, the Devil has been portrayed as tempting humanity to turn against God. According to medieval thought, the Devil rules hell where the damned are punished.
In the Middle Ages the devil played important roles in art and in folklore, being almost always seen as an evil, impulsive animal-human with a tail and horns, sometimes accompanied by subordinate devils.
In many works of art and literature, Satan and other devils are portrayed with animal features, particularly bat's wings, split hooves, and a barbed tail. These features probably symbolise the Devil's beastly lust and passion. Many modern theologians consider the Devil to be a symbol of the power of evil, of the worst qualities of human nature, or of the destructive forces in the universe.

148- Devil worship
Devil worship is the practice of worshipping demons or other evil spirits. Only a few groups actually worship devils or other beings they consider evil. Members of a Brazilian religious group worship evil spirits called Exus, who they believe, will harm their enemies. An anti-Christian movement called Satanism has a small number of followers in Europe and North America. Satanism involves elements of magic and witchcraft. Its chief ceremony is the Black Mass, a distorted version of a Christian church service in which the worshipers praise Satan and ridicule God.

People to describe a religion other than their own sometimes use the term "devil worship". Individuals who consider their religion the only true one may regard the gods of others as devils. People also may use the term devil worship for practices they misinterpret. For example, some groups offer gifts to evil spirits to calm the spirits' anger. Such offerings may seem like devil worship to other people.

149- Dianoetic
This term means lower mind as human reason and intelligence.

150- Diaspora
Diaspora (Hebrew Galut for Exile) means the dispersion of Jews among the Gentiles after the Babylonian Exile as well the Jews and Jewish communities scattered "in exile" outside Palestine or present-day Israel. Although the term refers to the physical dispersal of Jews throughout the world, it also carries some religious, philosophical, political, and eschatological aspects, since the Jews perceive a special relationship between the land of Israel and themselves. The first significant Jewish Diaspora was the result of the Babylonian Exile of 586 BC. After the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah, part of the Jewish population was deported into slavery. Although Cyrus the Great, the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, permitted the Jews to return to their homeland in 538 BC, part of the Jewish community remained there. The largest and more important Jewish Diaspora in early Jewish history was in Alexandria where, in the 1st century BC, 40 percent of the population was Jewish. Around the 1st century AD, an estimated 5,000,000 Jews lived outside Palestine, most of them within the Roman Empire, but they looked to Palestine as the centre of their religious and cultural life. Diaspora Jews outnumbered the Jews in Palestine even before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Some lived in peace in many countries but others became victims of anti-Semitism. Many Jews believe that Jewish life and culture are doomed in the Diaspora because of assimilation, and only those Jews who migrate to Israel have hope for continued existence as Jews. Support for a national Jewish state was greater after the annihilation of Jews during World War II.

151- Didache
The Didache, also called "Teaching Of The Twelve Apostles", is the oldest surviving Christian order, probably written in Egypt or Syria in the 2nd century. In 16 chapters it deals with morals and ethics, church practice, and the eschatological hope of the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time; it also presents a program for instruction and initiation into the primitive church. Some early Christian writers considered the Didache canonical, and Egyptian authors and compilers quoted it extensively in the 4th and 5th centuries. Eusebius of Caesarea quoted it in his Ecclesiastical History (early 4th century); the 4th-century Apostolic Constitutions, a collection of early Christian ecclesiastical law, uses it as a reference. It was known only through references in early Christian works until a Greek manuscript of it, written in 1056, was discovered in Istanbul in 1873 and published in 1883. Two fragments of the work were later discovered, a 4th-century Greek papyrus in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and a 5th-century Coptic papyrus in the British Museum. The Didache is not a unified and coherent work but a compilation of regulations that had acquired the force of law by usage in scattered Christian communities. Evidently several pre-existing written sources were used and were compiled by an unknown editor.

152- Didascalia Apostolorum
The "Didascalia Apostolorum" (The Catholic Teaching of the Twelve Holy Apostles and Disciples of the Saviour also named the Directions of the Apostles) was written by Epiuphanius in the early 3d century for a Jewish-Christian Church in northern Syria by its bishop. The original is lost but a Syriac translation exists as well as a partial Latin copy, and Coptic, Ethiopic and Arabic versions.

153- Dionysia
Dionysia is a feast in honour of the Greek god Dionysus also known as Bacchus.

154- Disciples
In ancient time every teacher had many followers known as disciples or learners who were learning his message. In early Christianity it meant the direct followers of Jesus Christ including the twelve Apostles.

155- Dispersion
See Diaspora

156- Divine
All religious experience can be described in terms of three basic elements:
- The personal concerns, attitudes, feelings, and ideas of the individual who has the experience.
- The religious object disclosed in the experience or the reality to which it is said to refer.
- The social forms that arise from the fact that the experience in question can be shared.
Religious experience is always found in connection with a personal concern and quest for the real self. A wide variety of individual experiences are thus involved such as the experience of being converted or of having the course of life directed toward the divine; the feeling of relief stemming from the sense of divine forgiveness; the sense that there is an unseen order or power upon which the value of all life depends; the sense of being at one with the divine and of abandoning the egocentric self.
Four basic conceptions of the divine may be distinguished:
- The divine as an impersonal, sacred order (Logos, Tao, rta, Asha) governing the universe and man's destiny.
- The divine as power that is holy and must be approached with awe, proper preparation, or ritual cleansing.
- The divine as all-embracing One, the ultimate Unity and harmony of all finite realities and the goal of the mystical quest.
- The divine as an individual or self transcending the world and man and yet standing in relation to both at the same time.
The two most important concepts developed by theologians and philosophers for the interpretation of the divine are transcendence and immanence:
- Transcendence means going beyond a limit or surpassing a boundary. The divine is said to transcend man and the world when it is viewed as distinct from both and not wholly identical with either. The conception of the divine as an individual or self represents the extreme of transcendence, since God is taken as not wholly identical with either the world or any finite reality within it.
- Immanence means remaining within or existing within the confines of a limit. The divine is said to be immanent when it is viewed as wholly or partially identical with some reality within the world, such as man or the cosmic order. The conception of the divine as an impersonal, sacred order represents the extreme of immanence.

157- Docetism
Docetism is an early Christian heresy affirming that Jesus Christ had only an apparent body. The doctrine took various forms: some proponents flatly denied any true humanity in Christ; some admitted his incarnation but not his sufferings, suggesting that he persuaded one of his followers-possibly Judas Iscariot or Simon of Cyrene-to take his place on the cross; others ascribed to him a celestial body that was incapable of experiencing human miseries.
This denial of the human reality of Christ stemmed from dualism, a philosophical doctrine that viewed matter as evil. The Docetists, acknowledging that doctrine, concluded that God could not be associated with matter. They could not accept a literal interpretation of John 1:14 that the "Word became flesh."
Although Docetism is alluded to in the New Testament, it was not fully developed until the 2nd and 3rd centuries, when it found an ally in Gnosticism. It occasioned vigorous opposition by early Christian writers, beginning with Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus early in the 2nd century. Docetism was officially condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

158- Doctrine and Dogma
Doctrine and Dogma mean the explication and officially acceptable version of a religious teaching. The development of doctrines and dogmas has significantly affected the traditions, institutions, and practices of the religions of the world.
- Doctrine in theology (Latin doctrina; Greek didaskalia, didache) is a generic term for the theoretical component of religious experience. Doctrines seek to provide religion with intellectual systems for guidance in the processes of instruction, discipline, propaganda, and controversy.
- Dogma (Latin decretum, Greek dogma) has a more specific reference to the distillate of doctrines: those first principles at the heart of doctrinal reflection, professed as essential by all the faithful.
This distinction appears in Christianity in the New Testament, in which didaskalia means "basic teachings" (as in I and II Tim.) whereas dogma is used only in the sense of an official judgment or decree (as in Acts 16:4). Later, however, many theologians of the early church use the term dogma in the sense of doctrine. As late as the Roman Catholic reformatory Council of Trent (1545-63), "doctrine" and "dogma" were still roughly synonymous. Most modern historians have stressed the differences: Dogma is not doctrinal opinion, not the pronouncement of any given teacher, but doctrinal statute (decretum). The dogmas of a church are those doctrines that it declares to be the most essential contents of Christianity.

159- Donatism
Christianity grew much more rapidly in Africa than in any western province. For instance it was firmly established in Carthage and other Tunisian towns by the 3rd century; during the next 50 years there was a remarkable expansion; more than 80 bishops attended a council at Carthage in 256, some from the distant Numidia.
Christians were still a minority at the end of the 3rd century in all levels of society even after Constantine's adoption of Christianity as the state religion. In AD 313, a division occurred among the African Christians that lasted more than a century. Some Numidian bishops rejected Caecilian as the new bishop of Carthage and they chose successive rival bishops. The second was Donatus who gave his name to the schism. Donatus was well accepted especially in Numidia and his followers claimed that they were the true church. Outside Africa, however, Caecilian was recognized as bishop of Carthage, and the emperor Constantine, when appealed to by the Donatists, recognised Caecilian and his followers as the true church. For the rest of the century the Donatians probably made up half of the Christians in North Africa. In 347 the emperor Constans exiled a number of Donatist bishops and took repressive measures against the Donatists. In 362 Julian the Apostate allowed the return of the exiles and the movement proved as strong as ever. Augustine of Hippo Regius allowed orthodox Christian rulers to use force against schismatics and heretics. In 411 an imperial commission summoned a conference at Carthage and the Donatists had to obey the decision that broke the schism as a powerful movement although some communities still existed in the 6th century.
Donatism is said to have been particularly associated with the rural population of less Romanised areas and with the poorer classes in the towns, whereas orthodox Christianity was the religion of the Romanised upper classes. In Numidia it was at least as strong in the towns as in the rural areas.

160- Dorian
Dorian is the name of the members of a major division of the ancient Greek people, distinguished by their dialect and by their subdivision into the "tribes" of Hylleis, Pamphyloi, and Dymanes. The Dorian people are thought to be the conquerors of the Peloponnese (1100-1000 BC). In Greek tradition, the Dorians took their name from Doris, a small district in central Greece. In fact, the origins of the Dorians are obscure, but it is now believed that they originated in northern and northwestern Greece (Macedonia and Epirus). From there they went southward into central Greece and then into the southern Aegean area in successive migrations beginning about 1100 BC, at the end of the Bronze Age. The Dorians had a low cultural level, and their only innovation was the iron sword. The Dorians defeated the Mycenaeans and Minoans of southern Greece and draw the region into a dark age from which the Greek city-states emerged almost three centuries later.

161- Dualism
In philosophy, Dualism is the theory that the universe is composed of two distinct and mutually irreducible elements. In Platonic philosophy the ultimate dualism is between "being" and "non-being" -that is, between ideas and matter. In the 17th century, dualism took the form of belief in two fundamental substances: mind and matter. French philosopher René Descartes, was the first to emphasise the irreconcilable difference between thinking substance (mind) and extended substance (matter). The difficulty created by this view was to explain how mind and matter interact in human experience. Some Cartesians denied any interaction between the two; they asserted that mind and matter are inherently incapable of affecting each other, and that any reciprocal action between the two is caused by God, who, on the occasion of a change in one, produces a corresponding change in the other.
In the 20th century one of the most interesting defender of dualism was the Anglo-American psychologist William McDougall, who divided the universe into spirit and matter and maintained that evidence, psychological and biological, indicates the spiritual basis of physiological processes. French philosopher Henri Bergson likewise took a dualistic position, defining matter as what we perceive with our senses and possessing in it the qualities that we perceive in it, such as colour and resistance. Mind, on the other hand, reveals itself as memory, the faculty of storing up the past and utilising it for modifying our present actions. In his later writings, however, Bergson abandoned dualism and came to regard matter as an arrested manifestation of the same vital impulse that composes life and mind.
Dualism in ethics describes the recognition of the independent and opposing principles of good and evil. This dualism is exemplified in Zoroastrianism and in the Manichaean religion.

162- Earth Mother
The Earth Mother, in antiquity and today less advanced societies, is the source of everything. She is simply the mother. All things come from her, return to her, and are her. The most archaic form of the Earth Mother transcends all specificity and sexuality. She simply produces everything, inexhaustibly, from herself. She may manifest herself in any form. In other mythological systems she becomes the feminine Earth, consort of the masculine sky; she is fertilized by the sky in the beginning and brings terrestrial creation. More limited concepts of the Earth Mother occur in agricultural traditions where she is only the Earth and its fertility.

163- Eastern Church
See "Orthodox Church".

164- Ebionites
By the middle of the first century AD there were at least three schools of Christian Gnosticism. Among them was the Ebionites School or "Poor Ones", the other being the Paulists and the Simonians. They were divided by the definition of the relationship of Christianity to traditional Jewish religions. The Paulists were internationalists who wanted to free Christianity from close ties with Judaism, but their view was moderate. They saw Christianity as fulfilling, and therefore surpassing Judaism. The Simonians were radical internationalists who rejected Judaism and their god Jehovah as Literalist nonsense.
Ebionites (Hebrew ebyön, "poor") is the name given in the 2nd and 3rd centuries to a group of Jewish Christians who retained much of Judaism in their beliefs. The Ebionites were nationalist who saw Christianity as a Jewish cult and wanted Christians to conform to all the traditional Jewish religious customs. The sect probably originated when the old church of Jerusalem was dispersed by an edict of the Roman emperor Hadrian in AD 135; some of the Jewish Christians migrated across the Jordan River into Peraea, cutting themselves off from the main body of the Christian church. They adopted a conservative Pharisaic creed at first, but after the 2nd century, some of them espoused a mixture of Essenism, Gnosticism, and Christianity. According to Irenaeus, they differed from orthodox Christians in denying the divinity of Christ and in considering Paul an apostate for having declared the supremacy of Christian teaching over the Mosaic Law. Origen classified the Ebionites in two groups, those who believed in the virgin birth and those who rejected it. Both the Sabbath and the Christian Lord's Day were holy to them, and they expected the establishment of a messianic kingdom in Jerusalem. Until the 5th century, remnants of the sect were known to have existed in Palestine and Syria.

165- Ecclesia (or Ekklesia in Greek)
In ancient Greece, "gathering of those summoned", that is the assembly of citizens in a city-state. The Athenian Ecclesia, for which exists the most detailed record, was already functioning in Draco's day (c. 621 BC). Following Solon's codification of the law (c. 594 BC), the Ecclesia became the assembly of male citizens over 18 years and had final control over policy, including the right to hear appeals in the heliaia (public court), take part in the election of archons (chief magistrates), and confer special privileges on individuals. In the Athens of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the prytaneis, a committee of the Boule (council), summoned the Ecclesia both for regular meetings, held four times in each 10th of the year, and for special sessions. Since motions had to originate in the Boule, the Ecclesia could not initiate new business. After discussion open to all members, a vote was taken, a simple majority determining the result. Assemblies of this sort existed in most Greek city-states, continuing to function throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods, though under the Roman Empire their powers gradually atrophied. The similarity of the religious vocabulary is also great with, for instance, the mystery religions adopting many expressions like Ekklesia for the assembly of the mystai.

166- Eclecticism
Eclecticism (Greek, "to pick out"), in philosophy and art describes the formulation of systems of thought by choosing from the doctrines of other already developed systems. Eclectic thinkers combine what, according to them, are the most valid doctrines.
Eclecticism flourished in Greece, beginning about the 2nd century BC when there was a decline in the intellectual inquiry that had motivated the great Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle. Later Greek philosophers adopted the doctrines that pleased them most: Antiochus of Ascalon combined Stoicism and scepticism, and Panaetius (circa 185-109 BC) did the same with Platonism and Stoicism. Roman thinkers were notably eclectic.
The early Christian philosophers, Clement of Alexandria and Origen developed their systems from elements of Greek metaphysics combined with Judeo-Christian thought expressed in the Old and New Testaments. Meister Eckhart formulated a system of Christian philosophy based on Aristotle and his medieval Arabic commentators, on Neoplatonism, and on Jewish doctrine.

167- Ecstasy
Ecstasy means "to stand outside of, or transcend oneself"; in mysticism it is the experience of an inner vision of God or of one's relation to, or union, with the divine. Various methods have been used to achieve ecstasy:
- Purgation (of bodily desire).
- Purification (of the will).
- Illumination (of the mind).
- Unification (of one's being or will with the divine).
Other methods are: dancing; the use of sedatives and stimulants; and the use of certain drugs, such as peyote, mescaline, hashish, LSD, and similar. In certain ancient Israelite prophetic groups, music was used to achieve the ecstatic state. The Pythia (priestess) of the Greek oracle at Delphi often went into an ecstatic state during which she uttered sounds revealed to her by the python (the snake, the symbol of resurrection), after drinking water from a certain spring. In primitive religions, ecstasy was a technique highly developed by shamans.

168- Egalitarians
Christian Gnostics, like the Pagan philosophers Antiphon, Epicurus, Diogene and Zeno, were political radicals who preached liberty, equality, and fraternity centuries before the French revolution. Carpocrates and his son, Epiphanes,

169- Egyptian Mythology
Mythology was the religion of ancient Egypt. The religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians were the dominating influence on their culture, although they never had a true religion. The Egyptian faith was based on a loose collection of ancient myths, nature worship, and innumerable deities.

According to the Egyptian account of creation, only the ocean existed at first. Then Ra, the sun, came out of an egg (a flower, in some versions). Ra brought forth four children, the gods Shu and Geb and the goddesses Tefnut and Nut. Shu and Tefnut became the atmosphere. They stood on Geb, who became the earth, and raised up Nut, who became the sky. Ra ruled over all. Geb and Nut later had two sons, Set and Osiris, and two daughters, Isis and Nephthys. Osiris succeeded Ra as king of the earth, helped by Isis, his sister-wife. Set hated his brother and killed him. Isis embalmed her husband's body with the help of the god Anubis, who thus became the god of embalming. The charms of Isis resurrected Osiris, who became king of the netherworld, the land of the dead. Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, later defeated Set in a great battle and became king of the earth.

From this myth of creation came the conception of the ennead, a group of nine divinities, and the triad, consisting of a divine father, mother, and son. Every local temple in Egypt possessed its own ennead and triad. The greatest ennead was that of Ra and his children and grandchildren. This group was worshipped at Heliopolis, the centre of sun worship. The origin of the local deities is obscure; some of them were taken over from foreign religions, and some were originally the animal gods of prehistoric Africa. Gradually, they were all fused into a complicated religious structure. The important divinities included the gods Amon, Thoth, Ptah, Khnemu, and Hapi, and the goddesses Hathor, Mut, Neit, and Sekhet. Their importance increased with the political ascendancy of the localities where they were worshipped. During the 5th Dynasty the pharaohs began to claim divine ancestry and from that time on were worshipped as sons of Ra.

The Egyptian gods were represented with human torsos and human or animal heads. Sometimes the animal or bird expressed the characteristics of the god. Ra, for example, had the head of a hawk, and the hawk was sacred to him because of its swift flight across the sky; Hathor, the goddess of love and laughter, was given the head of a cow, which was sacred to her; Anubis was given the head of a jackal because these animals ravaged the desert graves in ancient times; Mut was vulture headed and Thoth was ibis headed; and Ptah was given a human head, although he was occasionally represented as a bull, called Apis. Because of the gods to which they were attached, the sacred animals were venerated. The gods were also represented by symbols, such as the sun disk and hawk wings that were worn on the headdress of the pharaoh.

The only important god who was worshipped with consistency was Ra, chief of cosmic deities, from whom early Egyptian kings claimed descent. Beginning with the Middle Kingdom (2134-1668 BC), Ra worship acquired the status of a state religion, and the god was gradually fused with Amon during the Theban dynasties, becoming the supreme god Amon-Ra. During the 18th Dynasty the pharaoh Amenhotep III renamed the sun god Aton, an ancient term for the physical solar force. Amenhotep's son and successor, Amenhotep IV, instituted a revolution in Egyptian religion by proclaiming Aton the true and only god.

Burying the dead was important, and Egyptian funerary rituals and equipment became very elaborate. The Egyptians believed that the vital life-force was composed of several psychical elements, the most important being the ka. The ka, a duplicate of the body, accompanied the body throughout life and, after death, departed from the body to take its place in the kingdom of the dead. As the ka could not exist without the body every effort had to be made to preserve the corpse. Bodies were embalmed and mummified according to a traditional method supposedly begun by Isis. Wood or stone replicas of the body were put into the tomb in the event that the mummy was destroyed.
After leaving the tomb, the souls of the dead supposedly were beset by innumerable dangers. The tombs were furnished with a copy of the Book of the Dead, a guide to the world of the dead, which consists of charms designed to overcome these dangers. After arriving in the kingdom of the dead, the ka was judged by Osiris, the king of the dead. If the judges decided the deceased had been a sinner, the ka was condemned to hunger and thirst or to be torn to pieces. If the decision was favourable, the ka went to the heavenly realm of the fields of Yaru.

170- Eidolon
Eidolon is a noun that describes an image, a spectre, or a phantom. Eidolon is a Gnostic concept that can be explained as our apparent identity or "image". It is like a reflexion in a mirror of who we appear to be but not who we really are. In modern spiritual language, the ideolon is the "ego".

171- Elephantine Papyri
The elephantine papyri are Aramaic documents of the 5th century BC found on Elephantine Island opposite Aswan, Egypt around 1900. They refer to the period of Ezra and Nehemiah and are useful for Old Testament and Semitic studies.

172- Eleusinian mysteries
The Eleusinian mysteries were the most important sacred rituals of the religious festivals in ancient Greece. They were based on the divinities Demeter and Persephone and they got their name from the town of Eleusis, in Attica, near Athens. Long before the rise of Athens, the people of Eleusis observed the mysteries, which were later on adopted by Athens. The most important part of the festival was the initiation of the candidates that took place every year for centuries in the Telesterion at Eleusis. A series of rituals started in the spring with the celebration of the Lesser Mysteries at Agrae, near Athens. At that time the mystoe, the candidates for the first of four stages in the revelation of the mysteries, were told the legend of Demeter and Persephone or Kore (Greek, "the maiden"). Purification rites were part of the ceremony of the Lesser Mysteries. The autumn ceremonies, called the Greater Mysteries, began with carrying sacred objects from Eleusis to Athens by youths known as ephebi. The ceremonies included an address by a priest to the candidates, a cleansing in the sea, a sacrificial rite, and a great procession from Athens to Eleusis, where the initiation occurred in secret ceremonies.
The tale of Demeter's search through the underworld for her daughter Persephone, a part of the initiation, was related to the search for immortality and happiness in a future world, the presumed purpose of the ceremony.

173- Elkesaites
The Elkesaites were members of a Gnostic Judeo- Christian Baptist sect founded by Elkesai. Elkesai (the hidden power of God) was a Syrian prophet (about 100 AD) who claimed special revelations. Like the Ebionites they held Docetic views of Christ, kept Mosaic Laws, they denounced Paul and the "Way of the Greeks", and believed in the redeeming efficacity of baptism. Mani's father was a member of this sect.

174- Elohist Source
Elohist Source, also called E Source, describes a biblical source and one of four that comprises the original literary constituents of the Pentateuch. It is so called because of its use of the Hebrew term Elohim for God, and hence labelled E, in contrast with another discerned source that uses the term YHWH and is labelled J (after the German transliteration of YHWH).

175- Elyon
Elyon is a word meaning "Most High".

176- Emanation
Emanation (to flow out in Latin) means, in philosophy and theology, an outflowing of the transcendentally divine that accounts for the origin of the universe. The word emanation was first used to describe divine procreation in Hellenistic Jewish works of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. The use of the concept of emanation to explain universal origins was due to Gnostic and Neoplatonic speculation. The process is understood in Gnostic works as the overflowing of the highest deity's superabundant greatness. In most Gnostic cosmologies, the last emanation, Wisdom, attempts to accomplish a creation on her own. This results in an inferior emanation, a demiurge that is ultimately responsible for the creation of the material world, in which the divine essence of humanity is held captive. This imprisoned spirit (pneumatic) must then be recalled and redeemed to the higher divine order. Under the influence of Neoplatonic works, theories of emanation were elaborated by later Christian, Muslim, and medieval Jewish philosophers. Orthodox Christian and Jewish theologies, however, emphasize the clear distinction between the divine and the mundane in the creative.
177- Emperor, Roman
The title "Emperor" was given to the sovereigns of the ancient Roman Empire. In republican Rome (c. 509-27 BC), imperator denoted a victorious general, so named by his troops or by the Senate. Under the empire (after 27 BC), it was regularly adopted by the ruler as a forename and gradually came to apply to his office. The first was Augustus (31BC-14AD) and the second Tiberius (14-37 AD).

178- Encratite
The Encratite were the members of an ascetic Christian sect led by Tatian, a 2nd-century Syrian rhetorician. The name derived from the group's doctrine of continence. The sect forbad marriage, the eating of flesh, and the drinking of intoxicating beverages, even substituting water or milk for wine in the Eucharist. Tatian, after Justin's martyrdom (c. AD 165), became a dualist and a Gnostic, severed his ties with the church, and returned to Syria, where his association with the Encratites began. He reinterpreted some of the Pauline texts of the New Testament to make them concur with the Encratite view that marriage was licentious and a service of the devil. Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that the Encratites rejected the Pauline Letters and The Acts of the Apostles.

179- Ennoia
In the beginning, the Gnostics believed that there was only the transcendent God, a male principle that existed for eternity with a female principle, the Ennoia (Thought). Together they produced two archetypes, Mind (male) and Truth (female).

180- Epicurianism
Epicurianism is the philosophy of the ancient Greek Epicurus (341-270 BC. Epicureanism includes:
- In physics, Atomism and a largely mechanical conception of causality, with the gods remaining extraneous.
- In ethics, the identification of good with pleasure and the absence of pain, utility and the limitation of desire.
- A withdrawn and quiet life enriched by the company of friends.
As the society that he gathered round him included women as well as men, it frequently met with public scandal and even persecution. Epicurian communities were founded throughout the Mediterranean world.

181- Epiphany
Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning "manifestation". It is one of the three oldest feasts of the Christian Church (including Easter and Christmas); it is celebrated on January 6. It commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi, and the manifestation of his divinity, as it occurred at his Baptism and at his first miracle at Cana. The festival originated in the Eastern Church, where it included a commemoration of Christ's birth. From 354, the Roman Catholics celebrated Christ's birth on December 25 and, in the 4th century, the church in Rome began celebrating Epiphany on January 6. In the Western Church the festival primarily commemorates the visit by the Magi to the infant Jesus. In the East it primarily commemorates the Baptism of Jesus.

182- Epithumia
Epithumia is a term describing the irrational and animal nature or life. It is found in Matter, and when in harmony with the Soul's intelligence, it manifests itself as Courage and does not fear.

183- Erinyes
Erinyes, were avenging spirits in Greek mythology. Their origin is obscure.

184- Eschatology
Eschatology means, "discourse about the last things". It is a doctrine concerning life after death and the final stage of the world. The origin of this doctrine is almost as old as humanity; archaeological evidence of customs in the Old Stone Age indicates a rudimentary concept of immortality. Speculation about things to come was never limited to the individual's fate. Such natural phenomena as floods, conflagrations, cyclones, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions have always suggested the possibility of the end of the world. The development of eschatological speculation reflects the growth of human intellectual and moral perceptions, the larger social experience of men, and their increased knowledge of nature

Belief in a life of the spirit, a substance inhabiting the dead body, is typical of primitive eschatology. The concept of the future life improved as civilisation advanced and cosmic forces became objects of worship associated with departed spirits. The belief in judgement after death was introduced and the spirits were thought to be subject to the laws of retribution. Accordingly the future life was made spiritual and assumed a moral character, as in ancient Egypt. In Persia and Israel, the old conception of a shadowy existence in some subterranean realm endured. In India, the spirit was conceived as entering into another body after death to live again and die and become reincarnated in new forms. The ancient Greeks considered the mind as a purely spiritual essence, independent of the body, and having no beginning or end; this concept of immortality led to the anticipation of a personal life after death.

The belief in a coming destruction of the world by fire or flood is found in the Pacific islands and among Native Americans. The ancient Persians, who adopted the doctrines of Zoroaster, developed the idea of the future destruction of the world by fire into the concept of a great moral ordeal. This concept is found in the Gathas, the earliest part of the Avesta, the bible of Zoroastrianism. The ancient Greek concepts of heaven and hell and those of Christian doctrine have similarities. The Greeks saw the future of the soul in Elysium or in Hades. Through the Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries this thought was deepened.

In early Israel the "Day of Yahweh" was a coming day of battle that would decide the fate of the people. Although the people looked forward to it as a day of victory, prophets such as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah feared that it would bring near or complete destruction, associating it with the growing military threat from Assyria. The Book of Daniel voices the hope that the kingdom of the world will be given to the Jewish people. After the conquest of Palestine in 63 BC, the Jews longed for a descendant of the line of David, king of Israel and Judah, who would break the Roman yoke, establish the empire of the Jews, and rule as a righteous king over the subject nations. This desire ultimately led to the rebellion in AD 66-70 that brought about the destruction of Jerusalem. When Jesus Christ proclaimed the coming of the kingdom of heaven he was seen by some Jews to be a claimant to the kingship of the Jews and his disciples were convinced that he would return as the Messiah. Christian eschatology has traditionally included the second advent of Christ, or Parousia, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgement, the immortality of the soul, and the concepts of heaven and hell. In the Roman Catholic Church, eschatology includes also the beatific vision, purgatory, and limbo. Islam adopted from Judaism and Christianity the doctrine of a coming judgement, a resurrection of the dead, and everlasting punishments and rewards. Later, the belief in the reincarnation of some great prophet from the past was accepted.

Liberal modern Christian thought has emphasised the soul and the kingdom of God, coming on earth in each individual and not as an apocalyptic event at the end of time. In modern Judaism the return of Israel to its land, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and everlasting retribution are still expected by the Orthodox, but the liberal base the religious mission of Israel upon the regeneration of the human race and upon hope for immortal life independent of the resurrection of the body.

185- Essenes
The Essenes were members of a Jewish religious order, organised on a communal basis and practicing strict asceticism. The order existed in Palestine and Syria from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. The main settlements were on the shores of the Dead Sea. The Essenes are not mentioned in the Bible or in rabbinical literature. Information regarding them is confined to the writings of Philo Judaeus, Pliny the Elder Flavius Josephus. The fundamental teachings of the order were love of God, love of virtue, and love of one's fellow humans.
Important features of the organization were community of property, distributed according to need; strict observance of the Sabbath; and scrupulous cleanliness, which involved washing in cold water and wearing white garments. Prohibited were swearing, taking oaths, animal sacrifice, the making of weapons, and participation in trade or commerce. The order drew its recruits either from children it had adopted or from the ranks of those who had renounced material things. A probation of three years was required before the novice could take the oath of full membership, which demanded complete obedience and secrecy. Breaking the oath was punishable by expulsion. The requirement that no unclean food should be eaten led, very often, to death by starvation.
After 1947 new light was thrown on the Essenes by certain ancient Hebrew scrolls discovered near the Dead Sea at Khirbat Qumran, which may have been the site of an Essene community of the 1st century AD.

186- Eternity
Man who saw the sky as the image of transcendence has long recorded the apparent regularity of the heavenly bodies. The orderly course of Sun, Moon, and stars suggested a time that transcended man's, in short, eternity. Many myths and mythological images concern themselves with the relationship between eternity and time on earth. Some mythologies, for example those of the Maya in Central America, have developed sophisticated views interrelating time and space. Mythological accounts of rebirth of worlds after their destruction occur not only in India but also in Orphism and in the Stoic philosophy.

187- Eucharist
Eucharist or Lord's Supper is the central rite of the Christian religion, in which bread and wine are consecrated by an ordained minister and consumed by the minister and members of the congregation in obedience to Jesus' command at the Last Supper, "Do this in remembrance of me." In the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and in the Anglican, Lutheran, and many other Protestant churches, it is regarded as a sacrament, which both symbolises and realises the union of Christ with the faithful. Baptists and others refer to Holy Communion as an "institution," rather than a sacrament, emphasizing obedience to a commandment. See Also Grace.
The practice of eating meals in remembrance of the Lord and the belief in the presence of Christ in the "breaking of the bread" were universal in the early church.

188- Evangelist
Evangelist is a term used in the New Testament to designate any of the workers in the apostolic church who travelled to distant places to announce the gospel and to prepare the way for more extensive missionary work on the part of the apostles.
In post apostolic times the term evangelist was applied to a writer of a Gospel, that is, to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Traditionally, the four evangelists are symbolized by emblematic figures derived from the prophetic vision of Ezekiel and from Revelation. It was agreed that Matthew should be represented by the head of a man; Mark by a lion, the inhabitant of the desert; Luke by a sacrificial ox; and John by an eagle.
Since the Reformation, especially in Methodism, the term evangelist has been applied to any itinerant preacher who attempts to bring about conversion among masses of people.

189- Evil
Evil means that which is morally bad or wrong, or that which causes harm, pain, or misery. In theology, the problem of evil arises if it is accepted that evil exists in a universe governed by a supreme being who is both good and omnipotent.
The problem of evil has been a central concern of philosophers and of all the major religions. Some of the solutions proposed have rested on a denial either of the existence of evil or of the omnipotence of God. In Hindu teaching, for instance, evil has no real existence, being part of the illusory world of phenomena. In the ancient Persian religion Zoroastrianism and the related ancient Middle Eastern sect known as Manichaeism, evil is attributed to the existence of an evil deity, against whom the good deity must struggle.

190- Excommunication
Excommunication is an ecclesiastical censure where a member of a church is deprived of the benefits and privileges of membership. Excommunication is the most serious ecclesiastical censure; it is intended, as a corrective rather than a vindictive form of punishment.
In the time of Christ, excommunication was a recognized penalty among the Jews. The Mishnah distinguishes between two degrees of excommunication:
- The milder (niddui) involved exclusion from community life for 7 to 30 days, with the performance of penance and the wearing of mourning.
- The heavier sentence (cherem) was more formal, involving a ritual of solemn curses and lasting an indefinite time.
A similar power of excommunication was recognized in the early Christian church with two degrees:
- Minor excommunication involved exclusion from the sacrament of the Eucharist and from the full privileges of the church.
- Major excommunication was pronounced upon obstinate sinners, relapsed apostates, and heretics; its form was more solemn, and it was less easily revoked.
In the early church no civil consequences were connected with excommunication, but later on, major excommunication implied the loss of political rights and exclusion from public office.
The leaders of the Reformation also claimed the power of excommunication. Civil disabilities followed excommunication in communities associated with the Reformed Churches, but this practice eventually ceased to be the rule. Nevertheless, in England until 1813, persons excommunicated were barred from bringing legal actions into civil court, from serving on juries, from appearing as witnesses in any legal proceeding, and from practicing as attorneys in any court of the realm.

191- Exile
Exile, in this context, refers to the banishment of the Jews into captivity in Babylonia after the fall of the Kingdom of Judah.

192- Exodus
Exodus, in this context, refers to the escape of the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt in the 13th century BC under the leadership of Moses and accomplished by their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea.

193- Exorcism
Exorcism is the act of breaking the power of the Devil or other evil spirits that influence or control a person's actions. Exorcism presupposes the existence of the Devil as an evil force in the lives of human beings.
The Devil's influence has many degrees. He can tempt a person to do something wrong, such as lie or commit a crime. He can even dominate an individual by temporarily taking control of the person's body.
When an evil spirit takes control of an individual or of an individual's actions, the person is said to be possessed. A possessed person may go into convulsions, acquire extraordinary strength, or shout curses--with no apparent explanation. Sometimes the evil spirit affects objects near the possessed person. For example, the spirit might cause objects to fly through the air. An evil spirit also could take control of a room or of an entire building.
Possession is difficult to verify because the phenomenon could result from causes other than evil spirits. For example, a supposedly possessed person might really be suffering a mental or physical illness.
Some Christian denominations and other religions have ceremonies for driving out devils and evil spirits. The New Testament tells that Jesus Christ exorcised devils. Jesus also gave His apostles the power to drive out devils. In the Roman Catholic Church, an exorcism is a ceremony that consists of a series of prayers recited over the possessed person.

194- Exoucontians
Exoucontians (from the Greek "out of non-being") were the followers of Aetius of Antioch and Eunomius of Cyzicus. They were extreme Arians, teaching that the Son is unlike the Father. The Son is begotten, created out of non-being, and therefore of a different nature from the father. They are also known as "Anomoeans (unlike)".

195- Expiation
See "atonement".

196- Faith
Faith is defined as an attitude of the entire self, including both will and intellect, directed toward a person, an idea, or-as in the case of religious faith-a divine being. Modern theologians agree in emphasizing this total existential character of faith, thus distinguishing it from the popular conception of faith that identifies it with belief as opposed to knowledge. Faith includes belief but goes far beyond it, and in the history of theology the distinction has more often been drawn between faith and works than between faith and knowledge.
The most evocative description of faith is in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:1) where faith is defined as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Here, the word for faith is the Greek pistis, which denotes the act of giving one's trust. For the New Testament writers, faith has found its centre in the believer's relationship to Jesus Christ.

197- Fasting
Fasting is described as the abstention from food, and often also from drink, for a long period. Its origin is unknown. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Confucians, Hindus, Taoists, Jainists, and adherents of other religious faiths have practised fasting for centuries in connection with religious ceremonies. Buddhism stresses moderation in eating rather than fasting, but in Tibet they observe certain fasts.
The main purpose for fasting is a way for people to ask pardon for their misdeeds. In some religions, people fast during times of mourning. In others, the people believe that fasting produces a state of spiritual joy and happiness.
Originally, fasting was one of a number of rites in which physical activities were reduced or suspended, resulting in a state, symbolically, similar to death, or to the state preceding birth. Fasts were also part of the fertility rites in primitive ceremonies, to avert catastrophe, to serve as penance for sin, or to appease the gods. The Assyrians and the Babylonians and others observed fasts as a form of penance. Jews fasted annually on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, as a form of penitence and purification. The fast by day, but not after dark, observed by Muslims during the month of Ramadan also is a form of atonement.
The early Christians associated fasting with penitence and purification. During their first two centuries, the Christian church established fasting as a voluntary preparation for receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism and for the ordination of priests. Later, these fasts became obligatory. In the 6th century the Lenten fast was expanded from its original 40 hours, the time spent by Christ in the grave, to 40 days. After the Reformation, fasting was retained by most Protestant churches and was made optional in some cases. The Orthodox Church observes fasts rigorously.
In modern times the hunger strike, a form of fasting, has been employed as a political weapon. People have also fasted for health reasons.

198- Fate
In Greek and Roman mythology, Fate is any of three goddesses who determined human destinies, the span of a person's life, and his share of misery and suffering. From the 8th century BC on, the Fates were personified as three very old women who spin the threads of human destiny. Their names were Clotho (Spinner of the human fate), Lachesis (dispenser of the human fate), and Atropos (Inflexible, cut the thread and thus determine the individual's time of death. The Roman goddesses were named Nona, Decuma, and Morta.

199- Father (God as Father)
The concept of God as Father is typical of the Christian faith. The religious experience that forms the basis of the teaching of Jesus is the recognition that the Messiah-Son of man is the Son of God. The special relationship of Jesus to God is expressed through his designation of God as Father. In prayers Jesus used the Aramaic word abba ("father") for God. This father-son relationship became a prototype for the relationship of Christians to God. According to the account of Jesus' baptism, Jesus understood his sonship when a voice from heaven said: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." In John Gospel, this sonship is expressed by Jesus saying: "I and the Father are one".

200- Fathers of the Church
Fathers of the Church are any of the great bishops and other eminent Christian teachers of the early centuries, whose writings defined the true doctrine of the Church, especially in reference to controverted points of faith or practice.

201- Festivals and Feasts
Feasts and festivals are special times of celebration. Most of them take place once a year and may last for one or more days. Many feasts and festivals honour great leaders, saints, or gods or spirits. Others celebrate a harvest, the beginning of a season or of a year, or the anniversary of a historical event. Most are joyous occasions, but some involve mourning and repentance.
During some feasts and festivals, adults stay away from their jobs, and children stay home from school. Some people celebrate happy events by decorating their homes and streets, wearing special clothes, and exchanging gifts. Many of these celebrations include special meals, dancing, and parades. Solemn occasions may be observed with fasts, meditation, and prayer.

In most secular society, communal celebrations as established by custom or sponsored by various cultural groups or organisations are common. They differ from religious festivals and feasts in that the focus is on the public honouring of outstanding persons, the commemoration of important historical or cultural events, or the re-creation of cherished folkways. The origin of communal celebration is unknown. Some people believe that these festivals arose because early peoples did not understand the forces of nature and wished to placate them. The most ancient festivals and feasts were associated with planting and harvest times or with honouring the dead. These have continued as secular festivals, with some religious overtones, into modern times. The beginnings of many secular celebrations are linked to historic happenings. In prehistoric societies, festivals provided an opportunity for the elders to pass on their knowledge and the meaning of tribal lore to younger generations. Festivals celebrating the founding of a nation or the date of withdrawal of foreign invader aim to bind its citizens. Modern festivals and feasts centring on the customs of national or ethnic groups enrich understanding of their heritage.

In the past, nearly all feasts and festivals were religious. Today, many of them celebrate nonreligious events. In Christianity, the most important festivals recall major events in the life of Jesus Christ. These festivals include Christmas, which celebrates His birth; and Easter, His Resurrection. Other Christian festivals honour the Virgin Mary, various saints, and the founding of the church. In Judaism, the most sacred festivals are Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year; and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Many Jewish festivals commemorate major events in Jewish history. For example, Passover celebrates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Hanukkah is a celebration of a Jewish victory over the Syrians in 165 B.C. Purim honours the rescue of the Jews of Persia (now Iran) from a plot to kill them. All followers of Islam observe two celebrations -the Feast of Sacrifice (the last day of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca) and the Feast of Fast-Breaking (held on the first day following Ramadan). Many Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, born in about 570. Muslims who belong to the Shiite division of Islam set aside a day to mourn the death of Husayn, a grandson of Muhammad. Buddhists hold two principal kinds of festivals. The first type of festival commemorates several key events in the life of Buddha -chiefly his birth, enlightenment, and death. The second type of Buddhist festival honours the community of Buddhist monks. Hindus hold festivals to honour each of the hundreds of Hindu gods and goddesses. All Hindus, chiefly in their homes and villages, observe a few festivals such as Holi and Dipivali (popularly called Diwali. During the festival of Diwali, which honours several Hindu gods, including the goddess of wealth and beauty, Hindus decorate houses and streets with lights.

202- Filioque
The Filioque clause (Latin filioque, "and from the son"), inserted after the words "the Holy Spirit . . . who proceedeth from the Father," was introduced in the Western Church Creed in the 6th century and it was accepted by the papacy in the 11th century. The Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches have retained it. The Eastern churches have always rejected it because they consider it theological error and an unauthorized addition to a venerable document, the Nicene Creed.

203- Fish
Fish is a symbol used in Christian art and literature from the 2d century AD as symbol of Christ and, sometimes, of the newly baptised.

204- Friar
The word Friar (from Latin frater through French frère, "brother") describes one belonging to a Roman Catholic religious order of mendicants. Formerly, friar was the title given to individual members of these orders but this is no longer common. The 10 mendicant orders are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians (Augustian Hermits), Carmelites, Trinitarians, Mercedarians, Servites, Minims, Hospitallers of St. John of God, and the Teutonic Order (the Austrian branch).

205- Galatia
Galatia is an ancient region of Asia Minor on the great central plateau of Turkey, named for the Galatians, a Gallic people from Europe who settled here in the early 3rd century BC. In addition to the Gauls, many Greeks settled in the region, and it eventually became Hellenised; the inhabitants, therefore, were often referred to as Gallo-Graeci. Dominated by Rome through regional rulers from 189 BC, Galatia and adjacent regions became a Roman province in 25 BC.

206- Galilee
Galilee is a region located in northern Israel. At the beginning of the Christian era, Galilee was a Roman province comprising all of what was then northern Palestine west of the Jordan River and Lake Tiberias. During ancient times the area contained numerous towns and villages and was heavily populated with Syrians, Phoenicians, Arabs, Greeks, and Jews. In the AD 20s, Galilee was the centre of Jesus Christ's ministry

207- Gematria
Gematria is the substitution of numbers for letters of the Hebrew alphabet, a favourite method of exegesis used by medieval Kabbalists to derive mystical insights into sacred writings or obtain new interpretations of the texts. Some condemned its use as mere toying with numbers, but others considered it a useful tool, especially when difficult or ambiguous texts otherwise failed to yield satisfactory analysis. Genesis 28:12, for example, relates that in a dream Jacob saw a ladder (Hebrew sullam) stretching from earth to heaven. Since the numerical value of the word sullam is 130 (60 + 30 + 40)--the same numerical value of Sinai (60 + 10 + 50 + 10)--exegetes concluded that the Law revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai is man's means of reaching heaven. Of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, the first ten are given number values consecutively from one to ten, the next eight from 20 to 90 in intervals of ten, while the final four letters equal 100, 200, 300, and 400, respectively. More complicated methods have been used, such as employing the squares of numbers or making a letter equivalent to its basic value plus all numbers preceding it.

208- Genesis
Genesis is a book of the Old Testament, the first book of the Bible; it tells of the beginning of the world from the time when "God created the heaven and the earth" until the death of Joseph, the 11th son of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob. The book falls into two unequal parts. The first part (chapters 1-11) is concerned with the initial history of humankind and contains stories about the first man and the first woman, their disobedience, the first murderer and his victim, the flood that God sent to destroy all things save the immediate family of one "just man" (6:9) and the creatures committed to him for preservation. The first part of Genesis also contains the first covenant made by God with humanity in the person of Noah (9:9-17). The second part (chapters 12-50) is mainly an account of the lives of the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that is, a history of the origins of the Hebrew nation.
Genesis aims to describe the creation and the history to God, and to explain the role of Israel in the world. The Book of Genesis was compiled from several sources dating from between the 10th century and the 5th century BC. Genesis is still seen by many as a literal account of creation. Others see the book as myth or legend.

209- Gentiles
The word Gentile describes a person who is not Jewish. The word stems from the Hebrew term goy, which means a "nation". The plural, goyim, or ha-goyim, "the nations," meant nations of the world that were not Hebrew. In post-biblical Hebrew, goy came to mean an individual non-Jew rather than a "nation." Because most non-Jews in the Western world were Christians, Gentile came to be equated with Christian although any non-Jew is a Gentile. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), whose members regard themselves as the true Hebrews, "Gentile" denotes any person, including a Jew, who is not a Mormon.

210- Gethsemane
Gethsemane (Aramaic, "oil press"), in biblical times, was a small olive grove situated on the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem. In agony over his betrayal by Judas Iscariot, Jesus Christ withdrew from his disciples to Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion.

211- Gnosis
Gnosis means revealed knowledge, spiritual knowledge, or insight.

212- Gnosticism
Gnosticism was a religious and philosophical movement in Europe and the Middle East that flourished from about the A.D. 100's to the 700's and presented a major challenge to orthodox Christianity. There were many Christian and non-Christian Gnostic sects. However, they all believed they had secret knowledge about the nature of the universe and the origin and destiny of humanity. Gnostics believed that people could attain salvation only by acquiring gnosis, a Greek word meaning knowledge. Most Gnostics believed in an unknown and remote Supreme Being. An evil and subordinate supernatural being called the Demiurge created the world, which was ruled by evil spirits. Gnostics generally taught that individuals had a divine spark imprisoned in their material body. Through gnosis, that divine spark would be liberated from the basically evil world and united with the Supreme Being.

Most Christian Gnostics believed that Jesus was a divine messenger who brought gnosis to Christians. They claimed Jesus only inhabited a human body temporarily. They thus denied His death on the cross and Resurrection as described in the New Testament. Many philosophies and religions of the ancient world contributed to the origin of Gnosticism.

The Gnostics explained the origin of the material universe with a complicated mythology. From the original unknowable God, lesser divinities were generated by emanation. The last of these, Sophia ("wisdom"), wanted to know the unknowable Supreme Being. Out of this illegitimate desire was produced an evil god, or demiurge, who created the universe. The divine sparks fell into this universe or were sent there by the supreme God to redeem humanity. The Gnostics identified the evil god with the God of the Old Testament. Many Gnostics considered themselves Christians but some sects assimilated only minor Christian elements into a body of non-Christian Gnostic texts. The Christian Gnostics did not recognise the God of the New Testament, the father of Jesus, with the God of the Old Testament. The Gnostics used apocryphal Gospels (such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Mary) to prove their claim that the risen Jesus told his disciples the true, Gnostic interpretation of his teachings. Christ, the divine spirit, inhabited the body of the man Jesus and did not die on the cross but ascended to the divine realm from which he had come. The Gnostics thus rejected the atoning suffering and death of Christ and the resurrection of the body. Some Gnostic sects rejected all sacraments; others observed baptism and the Eucharist, as signs of the awakening of gnosis. Other Gnostic rites were intended to facilitate the ascent of the divine element of the human soul to the spiritual realm. The ethical teachings of the Gnostics ranged from asceticism to libertinism. The doctrine that the body and the material world are evil led some sects to renounce even marriage and procreation. Other Gnostics held that because their souls were completely alien to this world, it did not matter what they did in it

By the 3rd century Gnosticism began to succumb to orthodox Christian opposition and persecution. The Literalist church centralised authority in the office of bishop. Both Christian theologians and Plotinus attacked the Gnostic view that the material world is essentially evil. Early Christian leaders as Saint Irenaeus attacked the movement for heresy. These attacks stressed the pagan elements in Gnosticism and the Gnostics' unorthodox views about the nature of Jesus. By the end of the 3rd century Gnosticism seems to have largely disappeared.

One small non-Christian Gnostic sect, the Mandaeans, still exists in Iraq and Iran, although it is not certain that it began as part of the original Gnostic movement. Although the ancient sects did not survive, aspects of the Gnostic world view have periodically reappeared in many forms: the ancient dualistic religion called Manichaeism and the related medieval heresies of the Albigenses or Cathari, Bogomils, and Paulicians; the medieval Jewish mystical philosophy known as Cabala; the metaphysical speculation surrounding the alchemy of the Renaissance; 19th-century theosophy; 20th-century existentialism and nihilism; and the writings of the 20th-century Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

213- God
God is the centre and focus of religious faith, a holy being or ultimate reality to whom worship and prayer are addressed. Especially in monotheistic religions, God is considered the creator or source of everything that exists and is spoken of in terms of perfect attributes-for instance, infinitude, immutability, eternity, goodness, knowledge (omniscience), and power (omnipotence). Most religions traditionally ascribe to God certain human characteristics that can be understood either literally or metaphorically, such as will, love, anger, and forgiveness.
Many religious thinkers have held that God is so different from finite beings that he must be considered essentially a mystery beyond the powers of human conception. Nevertheless, most philosophers and theologians have assumed that a limited knowledge of God is possible and have formulated different conceptions of him in terms of divine attributes and paths of knowledge. In the monotheism of Judaism and Islam, Holy Being is conceived at its most transcendent and personal level. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, an attempt is made to synthesize transcendence and immanence. In the Asian religions, the immanence and impersonal nature of Holy Being are stressed (although some forms of Hinduism and Buddhism do not exclude personal aspects of the divine).

214- Godhead
The most daring forms of Christian mysticism have emphasized the absolute unknowability of God. They suggest that true contact with the transcendent involves going beyond all that we speak of as God--even the Trinity--to an inner "God beyond God," a divine Darkness or Desert in which all distinction is lost. The main exponent of this teaching in the early centuries was the Pseudo-Dionysius, who distinguished "the super-essential Godhead" from all positive terms ascribed to God, even the Trinity. The hidden Godhead can be described as "the great Mystery," "the Abyss," "the eternal Stillness." God is eternally the dark mystery of which nothing can be said but ever puts on the nature of light, love, and goodness wherein the divine is revealed to human beings.

215- Gog and Magog
According to the Bible, Gog and Magog were great hostile powers controlled by Satan that will appear just before the end of the world. In Ezekiel 38:2, Magog is also identified as a land, the home of Gog. In later rabbinic literature, Gog and Magog became the conventional symbols for any force opposed to authentic religion or its adherents.

216- Goiim
Goiim is a Hebrew word meaning non-Jews or Gentiles.

217- Golgotha
Golgotha (skull in Hebrew) is the name of the site where Jesus Christ was crucified. The site, a hillock, or rock, derived its name either from its form or from the skulls of executed persons that were found there. The site may have been near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, within the present walls of Jerusalem, but most religious scholars hold that it is outside the Damascus Gate, north of the city.

218- Good Friday
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, the day on which the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated each year. From the 2nd century, there are references to fasting and penance on this day by Christians, who, since the time of the early church, had observed every Friday as a fast day in memory of the Crucifixion. In the Eastern Orthodox churches, where Good Friday is known as Great Friday, the Matins service (usually celebrated on Thursday night) includes the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospel Readings. No Eucharist or Holy Communion service is celebrated. At Vespers there is a solemn re-enactment of the burial procession of Christ. In the Anglican churches The Book of Common Prayer provides for a celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday. In Lutheran and other Protestant churches various services are held, including the Three Hours Service and services with Holy Communion.

219- Gospel
The word Gospel describes each of the four accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ that begin the New Testament. Christian scholars generally agree that all four Gospels, which were written in Greek, draw on earlier Aramaic oral or written sources that preserved many of the actual works and sayings of Jesus.

The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are called the Synoptic Gospels because they provide the same general view of the life and teaching of Jesus, they narrate almost the same incidents, often agreeing in the order of events, and use similar phrasing. Until the 19th century it was generally believed that Matthew was the earliest Gospel. Mark, the next one, was believed to be an abridged version of Matthew. Luke was believed to be the latest of the three. This remains the view of some conservative scholars. Some modern scholars, however, believe that Mark is the earliest Gospel and provided much of the narrative material, as well as the chronological framework, for both Matthew and Luke. A collection of sayings of Jesus was the second main document, or source, employed by Matthew and Luke. This document was lost and is usually designated as Q (German Quelle, "source"), but sometimes as Logia (Greek for "words" or "sayings"). The authors of Matthew and Luke may also have drawn material from other sources.

The Gospel attributed to John the Evangelist differs in many respects from the Synoptics. Several incidents do not occur in any of the Synoptics, and others recorded in the Synoptics are not recorded in John. Most important, John gives different dates for the Last Supper and for the Crucifixion. According to John, Jesus' public ministry lasted more than two years, whereas the Synoptists talk about one year. In John, Jesus spends much of his time in Judea while the Synoptists centre his public ministry in Galilee. Modern biblical scholars agree that the Gospel of John was written after the Synoptic Gospels.

220- Grace
In Christian theology, Grace means the spontaneous, unmerited gift of the divine favour in the salvation of sinners, and the divine influence operating in man for his regeneration and sanctification. Christian orthodoxy has taught that the initiative in the relationship of grace between God and man is always on the side of God. Once God has granted this "first grace" man has a responsibility for the continuance of the relationship.

221- Great Mother of the Gods
The Great mother of the Gods, also called CYBELE, CYBEBE, OR AGDISTIS, was an ancient Oriental and Greco-Roman deity, known under many local names. Her worship, according to the legend, started in Phrygia in Asia Minor (now in west-central Turkey. From Asia Minor her cult spread to Greece where the Greeks saw in the Great Mother a resemblance to their own goddess Rhea. The Romans identified her with their goddesses Maia, Ops, Rhea, and Tellus. Her worship was very popular at the end of the Roman Republic, and under the empire it became one of the most important cults in the Roman world. In all of her aspects, Roman, Greek, and Oriental, the Great Mother was characterized by essentially the same qualities; most prominent among them was her universal motherhood. She was the great parent not only of gods but also of human beings and beasts. On March 24, the "Day of Blood," her chief priest, the archigallus, drew blood from his arms and offered it to her, while the lower clergy whirled madly and cut themselves to spread blood on the altar. On March 27 the silver statue of the goddess, with the sacred stone set in its head, was borne in procession and bathed in the Almo, a tributary of the Tiber River. Though her cult also existed by itself, very often that of Attis accompanied the worship of the Great Mother.

222- Hades
Hades, in Greek mythology, was the god of the dead. He was the son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and the brother of Zeus and Poseidon. When the three brothers divided up the universe after they had deposed their father, Cronus, Hades was awarded the underworld. There, with his queen, Persephone he ruled the kingdom of the dead.
The underworld itself was often called Hades. It was divided into two regions: Erebus, where the dead pass as soon as they die, and Tartarus, the deeper region, where the Titans had been imprisoned. In later legends the underworld is described as the place where the good are rewarded and the wicked punished.

223- Hagiography
Hagiography is the literature describing the lives and veneration of the Christian saints: acts of the martyrs (accounts of their trials and deaths); biographies of saintly monks, bishops, princes, or virgins; and accounts of miracles connected with saints' tombs, relics, icons, or statues. Hagiographies have been written from the 2nd century AD. In the Middle Ages it was customary to read aloud at divine office and in the monastic refectory biographies of the principal saints on their feast days. Perhaps the most important hagiographic collection is the Legenda aurea (Golden Legend) of Jacobus de Voragine in the 13th century. The importance of hagiography derives from the vital role that the veneration of the saints played throughout medieval civilization in both eastern and western Christendom. Second, this literature preserves much valuable information about religious beliefs and customs but also about daily life, institutions, and events in historical periods. The hagiographer has a threefold task: to collect all the material relevant to each particular saint, to edit the documents according to the best methods of textual criticism, and to interpret the evidence by using literary, historical, and any other pertinent criteria.

224- Hallelujah
Hallelujah (also Alleluis and Alleluia) is a Hebrew expression used in Hebrew worship meaning, "praise ye Yah". Translated in modern English as "Alleluia" or "praise the Lord" it is also used in hymns and liturgies of the Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of England.

225- Hamitic language
During the 19th century, the work of several scholars suggested that Ancient Egyptian, the Berber languages, certain languages of northeastern Africa called Cushitic (e.g., Galla, Somali, Beja, and Afar [Danakil]), and perhaps others (e.g., Hausa) were remotely related to one another and to the Semitic family. These languages were called Hamitic.

226- Harlot
Harlot means "strange women", but describes really prostitutes.

227- Harranian Religion
The Pagan Harranian religion was followed in the city of Harran in North-West Mesopotamia. Harran was the cult-centre of Mesopot, the moon-god that existed from at least the 19th century BC. It was still a Pagan centre in the 6th century AD. It is frequently mentioned in the Bible. In Roman times, it was the scene of a disastrous defeat of the Roman governor Crassus by the Parthians (53 BC).

228- Hasidaeans
The Hasidaeans were members of a "pious" or devout Jewish religious group in Judea of the early 2d century BC. They were devoted to the Law and refused any compromise with the Greek influence. They were persecuted for opposing the Hellenist policy of Antiochus IV. They supported the Maccabees but they had no political interests, they withdrew after recovery and cleansing of the Temple.

229- Hasidism
Hasidism, also spelled Chasidism (from Hebrew hasid, "pious one"), was a 12th and 13th century Jewish religious movement in Germany; it combined austerity with mysticism. It sought to reach the common people who were dissatisfied with formalistic ritualism and had turned their attention to developing a personal spiritual life, as reflected in the movement's great work, Sefer Hasidim. The leaders of the movement were members of the Kalonymos family that had migrated from Italy, imbued with knowledge of occultism and versed in Kabbalistic traditions connected with the mystical contemplation of "the throne of God". Efforts to experience the mystical presence of God, however, were based on humility and love of God rather than on merkava-like visions.

230- Hasmoneans
Hasmonean, also spelled Hasmonaean, is the name of a dynasty of ancient Judaea, the descendants of the Maccabee family. The name derived from the name of their ancestor Hasmoneus. In 143 (or 142) BC Simon Maccabeus, son of Mathathias and brother of Judas Maccabeus, succeeded his brother Jonathan as leader of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid dynasty. He soon became independent of the Seleucids as high priest, ruler, and ethnarch of Judaea; the offices were hereditary, and Simon thus became the first of the Hasmonean dynasty. He was succeeded by his son John Hyrcanus I, Aristobulus I, Alexander Jannaeus and his widow Salome Alexandra, Aristobulus II, John Hyrcanus II, and the last Hasmonean, Antigonus, who was deposed and executed by the Romans under Mark Anthony.

231- Heaven
Heaven is where God, gods, or other spiritual beings exist as well as the resting place of the saved, the elect, or the blessed in the afterlife. The term also designates the celestial spheres in contrast to the earth, where men live, and to the underworld, the land of the damned or hell. As celestial space, heaven also is the place of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, all of which give and symbolize light, a quality of the sacred and the good, as opposed to darkness, the quality of the underworld and evil. The concept of heaven is interpreted in various ways in the different religions of the world. Christianity views heaven as the destination of the true believers and followers of Christ. In the Eastern religions, concepts of heaven vary considerably, some being similar to Western religious views and others being very dissimilar.

232- Hell
In theology, hell describes any place or state of punishment and privation for human souls after death. The term is applied to the place or state of eternal punishment of the damned. Belief in a hell was widespread in antiquity and is found in most religions of the world today.
To the early Germans, hell meant a place under the earth to which the souls of all mortals, good or bad, were consigned after death, a conception similar to that of the Hebrew Sheol. Among the early Jews the existence in Sheol was regarded as a shadowy continuation of earthly life where all of the problems of earthly life came to an end
Early Christian writers used the term hell to designate:
- The limbo of infants, where the unbaptised enjoy a natural bliss but are denied the supernatural bliss of the vision of God.
- The limbo of the fathers, in which the souls of the just who died before the advent of Christ await their redemption.
- A place of purgation from minor offences leading inevitably to heaven.
- The place of punishment of Satan, the fallen angels and of all mortals who die unrepentant of serious sin.
The duration of the punishments of hell has been a subject of controversy. Origen taught that punishments were proportionate to the guilt of the individual and that, in time, punishment would cease, and that everyone in hell eventually would be restored to happiness. The Second Council of Constantinople condemned this doctrine in 553, and a belief in the eternity of the punishments in hell became the law. In modern times many have rejected the belief in physical punishment after death and the endless duration of this punishment.

233- Henotheism, or kathenotheism
Henotheism is the belief in worship of one god, though the existence of other gods is granted. It is also called kathenotheism, which literally implies worship of various gods one at a time. Some scholars prefer the term monolatry, which is the worship of one god, whether or not the existence of other deities is implied. Both terms mean that one god has a central and dominating position as if he were the one and only god; however, the existence of other gods was also accepted. It was especially prevalent in some periods in the history of Babylonia and Egypt.

234- Heptad
Early Zoroastrianism, much influenced by the astronomical and astrological sciences of ancient Iran, coordinated the concept of the seven known planetary spheres with its belief in the heptad (grouping of seven) of celestial beings, the amesha spentas of Ahura Mazda:
Spenta Mainyu (the Holy Spirit).
Vohu Mana (Good Mind).
Asha (Truth).
Armaiti (Right Mindedness).
Khshathra (Kingdom).
Haurvatat (Wholeness).
Ameretat (Immortality).
In later Zoroastrianism, though not in the Gathas, Ahura Mazda and Spenta Mainyu were identified with each other, and the remaining bounteous immortals were grouped in an order of six. Over against the bounteous immortals, who helped to link the spiritual and the material worlds together, was the counterpart of the Holy Spirit, namely Angra Mainyu, the Evil Spirit, who later became the great adversary Ahriman (the prototype of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Satan), and the daevas, who were most likely gods of early Indo-Iranian religion.

235- Heresy
Heresy is any religious doctrine opposed to the dogma of a particular church or to the holding of such a belief. A person who believes in a heresy is a heretic. The term originally meant a belief that one arrived at by oneself (Greek hairesis, "choosing for oneself") and is used to denote sectarianism in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles of St. Paul. In later Christian writings, the term is used in the opprobrious sense of a belief held in opposition to the teaching of the church. A number of heretics have formed their own religious groups.
Some teachings have become heresies only after being rejected in favour of other teachings that became orthodox doctrine. For example, early Christians developed several interpretations of New Testament references to a Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By the late 300's, church authorities officially accepted one interpretation, making the others heresies.
In the late Roman Empire, heresy was considered a crime against the state, punishable by civil law. Heresy was often outlawed in countries with an established or state-supported church. After the Reformation the principles of private interpretation of the Scriptures and denial of ecclesiastical authority in all matters of belief were eventually adopted in Protestant countries, and during the 19th and 20th centuries Roman Catholic countries have also adopted the principle of religious toleration.
For centuries, civil and religious leaders tried to stamp out heresy. Many heretics were imprisoned, exiled, tortured, or executed. Today, heresy is no longer punished.

236- Herm
The word Herm (in Greek HERMA) defines a sacred object of stone connected with the Greek cult of Hermes, the fertility god. Hermes' name may be derived from the word herma (meaning "stone," or "rock"). When gods started to be represented as having human form, these objects were replaced by statues or by pillars to suggest the human figure. These were usually surmounted by the head of Hermes and had a phallus. They were used as cult objects and as milestones or boundary marks. Herms also occur in Roman sculpture and may have heads of the forest god Silvanus or the chief god, Jupiter Terminus.

237- Hermetica
The word Hermetica describes works of revelation on occult, theological, and -philosophical subjects ascribed to the Egyptian god Thoth (Greek Hermes Trismegistos or Hermes the Thrice-Greatest), who was believed to be the inventor of writing and the patron of all the arts dependent on writing. The collection, written in Greek and Latin, probably dates from the middle of the 1st to the end of the 3rd century AD. It was written in the form of Platonic dialogues and falls into two main classes:
"Popular" Hermetism, which deals with astrology and the other occult sciences.
"Learned" Hermetism, which is concerned with theology and philosophy.
Recent study has shown that "popular" hermetism development preceded that of learned Hermetism and that it reflects ideas and beliefs that were widely held in the early Roman Empire. In the Hellenistic age there was a growing distrust of traditional Greek rationalism and a breaking down of the distinction between science and religion.

238- Hermetism (See also Hermetica)
In the Hellenistic age there was a growing distrust of traditional Greek rationalism and the separation of science and religion tended to disappear. Hermes-Thoth was one of the gods and prophets to whom men turned for a divinely revealed wisdom. In this period the works ascribed to Hermes Trismegistos were primarily on astrology; to these were later added treatises on medicine, alchemy (Tabula Smaragdina ["Emerald Tablet), and magic. But as the assumed affinities did not exist and could not be discovered by ordinary scientific methods, recourse had to be made to divine revelation. The aim of Hermetism, like that of Gnosticism, was the deification or rebirth of man through the knowledge (gnosis) of the one transcendent God, the world, and men. The theological writings are represented chiefly by the 17 treatises of the Corpus Hermeticum, by extensive fragments in the writings of Stobaeus, and by a Latin translation of the Asclepius, preserved among the works of Apuleius. Though the setting of these is Egyptian, the philosophy is Greek. The Hermetic writings, in fact, present a fusion of Eastern religious elements with Platonic, Stoic, and Neo-Pythagorean philosophies. It is unlikely, however, that there was any well-defined Hermetic community, or "church." The Arabs extensively cultivated Hermetism, and through them it reached and influenced the West.

239- Heterodoxy
This word describes an unorthodox opinion, that is an opinion that does not conform to accepted or orthodox standards or beliefs.

240- Hierophant
In Greek HIEROPHANTES means "displayer or revealer of holy things". In ancient Greece the Hierophant was the chief of the Eleusinian cult. His principal job was to chant demonstrations of sacred symbols during the celebration of the mysteries. At the opening of the ceremonies, he proclaimed that all unclean persons must stay away, a rule that he had the right to enforce. Usually an old, celibate man with a forceful voice, he was selected from the Eumolpids, one of the original clans of the ancient Greek city of Eleusis, to serve for life. Upon taking office he symbolically cast his former name into the sea and was thereafter called only hierophantes.

241- Hittites
The Hittites were an ancient Indo-European people who appeared in Anatolia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC; by 1340 BC they had become one of the dominant powers of the Middle East. Probably originating from the area beyond the Black Sea, the Hittites first occupied central Anatolia, making their capital at Hattusa (modern Bogazköy). Hittite cuneiform tablets discovered at Bogazköy (in modern Turkey) have yielded important information about their political organization, social structure, economy, and religion. The Hittite king was not only the chief ruler, military leader, and supreme judge but also the earthly deputy of the storm god; upon dying, he himself became a god. Hittite society was essentially feudal and agrarian, the common people being either freemen, "artisans," or slaves. In the empire period the Hittites developed iron-working technology, helping to initiate the Iron Age. The religion of the Hittites is only incompletely known, though it can be characterized as a tolerant polytheism that included not only indigenous Anatolian deities but also Syrian and Hurrian divinities.

242-Holy light
The symbol "Holy light" refers to the reality of the sacred or holy that is somewhat and somehow present. When the symbol is an indicator of the sacred or holy, a certain distance exists between them, and there is no claim that the two are identical. Short of actual identification, various degrees of intensity exist between the symbol and the spiritual reality of the sacred or holy. The symbol is a transparency, a signal, and a sign leading to the sacred or holy.

243- Holy One of Israel
This is a title of God in the Old Testament.

244- Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, in Christian belief, is the third person of the Trinity, the other persons being God the Father and God the Son. A theology of the Holy Spirit developed slowly, largely in response to controversies over the relation of Jesus Christ to God the Father. Together with the Father and the Son he is adored and glorified.
The Holy Spirit is frequently presented in Scripture through symbols: the dove symbolizing peace and reconciliation; a whirlwind symbolizing strength; and as tongues of fire symbolizing the ecstasy of believers. The Holy Spirit is considered the sanctifier, who leads and guides the church and its members.

245- Homoeans
During the Trinitarian controversies of the 4th-century Christian Church, a follower of Acacius, bishop of Caesarea founded the Homoean, a mediating party of Arianisers. The Homoeans taught a form of Aryanism that asserted that the Son was distinct from, but like the Father, as opposed to the Nicene Creed, which stated that the Son is "of one substance" (Greek homoousios) with the Father. This doctrine was favoured by Emperor Constantius II (351-361), which tried to solve the "homoousion" controversy by omitting reference to "ousia". The macrostich creed was adopted at the Synod of Antioch in 344, by the Western Church at Rimini (October 359) and for the Eastern Church at Seleucia (winter 359). Accepted for a time by the bishops of the entire Christian Church, the doctrine of the Homoeans was abandoned after Constantius' death in 361. It was revived in the East during the reign of Emperor Valens (364-378) but was finally condemned, with all Arian views, at the first Council of Constantinople in 381.

246- Homoousian, Homoousios
In Christianity, homoousian means an adherent of the doctrine adopted at the Council of Nicaea (325) that affirms that God the Son, and God the Father are of the same substance. The council had been organized to condemn Arianism, which taught that Christ was more than human but not truly divine. The use of homoousios (Greek: "of one substance," or "of one essence") in the Nicene Creed hoped to end the controversy, but Arianism revived within the church. It was only in 381 at the second ecumenical council (first Council of Constantinople) that the creed (also containing the word homoousios) was imposed as part of the orthodox doctrine.

247- Hosanna
Hosanna is an acclamation used by the people on Palm Sunday in greeting Jesus on His last entry in Jerusalem and, later, by the children in the Temple.

248- Hylics
Valentinian myths describe how the pleroma (spiritual realm) that existed in the beginning was disrupted by a Fall. The Creator God of Genesis, aborted from the primordial world, became a Demiurge and created the material universe. He deliberately created two kinds of human being and animated them with his breath: the hylics and the psychics.

249- Hylozoism
Hylozoism comes from the Greek words hyle, "matter" and zoe, "life". It describes any philosophy that views all matter as alive, either in itself or by participation in the operation of a world soul. Early Greek thinkers sought the beginning of all things in various material substances that were regarded as in some sense living, or even divine. Modified forms of early hylozoism reappeared in medieval and Renaissance thought. Aristotle was the first to distinguish between matter (hypokeimenon or hyle) and form (eidos or morphe). He argued that every sensible object consists of both matter and form, neither of which can exist without the other. To Aristotle matter was the undifferentiated primal element; it is that from which things develop rather than a thing in itself.

250- Hypostasis
The process of emanation is implicit in the concept of a Syzygy. The interrelated opposites, which form the poles of a Syzygy, are called "Ousia" and "hypostasis" and they can be understood as "Subject" and "Object". Other uses of the word exist as in philosophy where it means the underlying, essential nature of a thing while in Christian theology it can describes:
- The unique nature of the one God.
- Any of the three persons of the Trinity, each person having the divine nature fully and equally.
- The union of the wholly divine nature and of a wholly human nature in the one person of Jesus Christ (in full hypostatic union).
The Greek concepts of ousia (nature or essence) and hypostasis (entity, equivalent to person) -in Latin these terms became substantia and persona- have been the object of debates in the Roman Christian Church. Christ was said to have two natures, one of which was of the same nature (homoousios) as the Father, whereas the other was of the same nature as humanity; and the Trinity was said to consist of one ousia in three hypostases. The Platonic origin of this conceptuality is clear in the explanation of the Cappadocian Fathers that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share the same divine ousia in the way Peter, James, and John shared the same humanity.

251- Hypsistarians
The Hypsistarians were members of a 4th century Cappadocian sect that worshipped the "Most High God", a mixture of Hellenistic and Jewish religions. They observed the Sabbath and the dietary laws, they abhorred sacrifices and images, and they adored light and fire, and rejected circumcision.

252- Icon
Icon, in Eastern Christian tradition, means a representation of sacred personages or events in mural painting, mosaic, or wood. After the iconoclastic controversy of the 8th-9th century, the Eastern Church formulated the doctrinal basis for their veneration. As God had assumed material form in the person of Jesus Christ, he also could be represented in pictures. Icons are considered an essential part of the church and are given special liturgical veneration. In the classical Byzantine and Orthodox tradition, iconography is not a realistic but a symbolical art; its function is to express in artistic forms the theological teaching of the church.

253- Idolatry
Idolatry describes the worship of a material image representing a superhuman personality. The concept of idolatry originated in the confrontation between the three great monotheistic religions and the polytheistic religions. The concept originated during the clash of ancient Hebrew monotheism with the pagan cults of surrounding peoples.
In Exodus 20:3-5, Yahweh forbids not only the worship of foreign gods but also the making of images that claim to represent him. A larger problem was the persistent tendency of the Israelites to revert to the religious practices of surrounding peoples. A succession of Hebrew prophets denounced idolatry.
In Christianity, the issue of idolatry arose in the context of Greco-Roman society, in which temples, altars, and images were ubiquitous. In the New Testament, idol worship is sometimes equated with demon worship. The early Christian apologists also emphasized that images are made of inert matter and that the human form is inappropriate for representing divinity.

254- Immaculate Conception
The Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic dogma asserting that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of the sin of Adam (the "original sin") from the first instant of her conception. The doctrine arose from a general acceptance in the early church of Mary's holiness. After Mary had been declared to be the mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431, most theologians doubted that one who had been so close to God could have experienced sinful acts. That Mary had been spared from the disposition to evil inherent in original sin was not clearly articulated until the 12th century. Mary's privilege was the result of God's grace, and not of any intrinsic merit on her part. On December 8, 1854 Pope Pius IX solemnly declared in the bull "Ineffabilis Deus" that the doctrine was revealed by God and, as a result, was to be believed by all Catholics.

255- Immanence
The poetic sense of the divine within and around mankind, which is widely expressed in religious life, is frequently treated in literature. Expressions of the divine as intimate rather than as alien, as indwelling and near dwelling rather than remote, characterize pantheism and panentheism as contrasted with Classical Theism. Such immanence encourages man's sense of individual participation in the divine life without the necessity of mediation by any institution. In addition, some theorists have seen unseemliness about a point of view that allows the divine to be easily confronted and appropriated. Recognizing, however, that if the separation between God and the world becomes too extreme, man risks the loss of communication with the divine, panentheism -unlike pantheism, which holds to the divine immanence- maintains that the divine can be both transcendent and immanent at the same time.

256- Immanuel
Immanuel or Emmanuel (Hebrew, "God with us") is a name that occurs in the Bible in Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8. It is applied by the prophet Isaiah to a future child who would deliver Judah from danger. Exactly when the child symbolizing the protection of Yahweh was to be born, however, is uncertain. The Christian interpretation is that this prophecy was related to Jesus birth from a virgin mother, Mary.

257- Immortality
Immortality describes endless existence of the soul after physical death. The doctrine of immortality is common to many religions and cultures. It takes various forms, from ultimate extinction of the soul to its final survival, and the resurrection of the body. Early Greek religion promised a quasi continuation of life on earth in an underground region known as Hades. In Christianity and Islam, as well as in Judaism, the immortality promised is primarily of the spirit. The former two religions differ from Judaism in teaching that after the resurrection of the body, and a general judgment of the human race, the body is to be reunited with the spirit to experience either reward or punishment. In Jewish eschatology, the resurrection of the soul will take place at the advent of the Messiah, although the reunion of body and spirit will endure only for the messianic age, when the spirit will return to heaven.

258- Incarnation
In religion, incarnation means the assumption of an earthly form by a god. In early times, priests and kings were often considered divine incarnations. In the ancient Roman and Greek religions, the gods sometimes assumed human form and married mortals. The idea of incarnation is also known in many living religions of the world. In Mahayana Buddhism, Buddha has been adored and worshiped as a divine being who came to earth as a teacher out of compassion for suffering humanity. In Jainism, Vardhamana Jnatiputra or Nataputta Mahavira, called Jina, the founder of the religion, was regarded by his followers as a supernatural being who descended from heaven. After he was incarnated, he grew up sinless and omniscient. In Zoroastrianism, many texts have developed the theme of Zoroaster's celestial pre-existence and incarnation
In Christianity, the incarnation, or union of the divine nature with human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, is a central doctrine. Sharing completely in divinity and in humanity (except for sin), Jesus Christ is believed to be the embodiment of God in human form.

259- Ineffable
Too extreme or too great to be expressed or described in words. Also, a word not to be spoken: the ineffable Hebrew name that the gentiles write as Jehovah.

260- Initiation
The most used of rites of initiation are those observed at coming-of-age, also called puberty rites. In the past, ordeals or other tests of manhood and womanhood were common. Circumcision or other genital operations are also a fairly common feature of rites celebrating the attainment of maturity. Although most commonly applying to males, genital operations are performed on females in a few societies. Where circumcision is the practice for male initiates, the uncircumcised male is not a full-fledged adult. An outstanding feature of rites at coming-of-age was their emphasis upon instruction in behaviour appropriate to the status of adults. Instruction in dress, speech, deportment, and morality are often given as well as religious instruction that have until then been kept secret. Initiates may at this time be expected or required to commune with the supernatural, sometimes by means of trances induced by fasting, violent physical exertion, or the consumption of plant substances that produce hallucinations or alter the sensibilities. Separation of male initiates from their mothers and all other females is also common.

In the advanced societies of the modern world, initiation rites have become increasingly secular. For most people, the rites are not observed or are simply vestiges of the old religious ceremonies. The most common remaining rites of initiation are those to celebrate entry into a common-interest association. The supernaturalism traditionally present in the rites is no longer acceptable to most people. The social and psychological value of rites of coming-of-age in making the transition to adulthood appears to be substantial, but modern people do not accept to participate in these rites.

261- Inner Mysteries
Mysteries, in religion, are secret ceremonies. There are generally two levels of knowledge in most Mysteries. The first level, also known as "Outer Mysteries" can be revealed to most people. The higher level, known as "Inner Mysteries" is given and can be witnessed or participated in only by people who belong to, or are about to join, the group that practices them. A person joins a group that practices mysteries by undergoing a process of initiation. This process ordinarily includes indoctrination, moral testing, and a rite of purification. Those who are initiated promise never to reveal the group's secrets, ceremonies and doctrines. Mysteries have been part of many religions. The secrets of early mysteries were so well kept that our knowledge of them is incomplete.
Mysteries also became part of religious worship in early Christianity. Christians received the Eucharist in secret rituals but after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the early 300's, the sacraments became more public. Today some people believe that the knowledge given to the ordinary members of Christian Churches -above all the doctrine contained in the Bible- can be described as "Outer Mysteries or Outer Knowledge". On the other hand the top level of the Church hierarchy are assumed to received further knowledge described as "Inner Mysteries Inner Knowledge". This is supposed to include explanations of what is hidden behind the parables and sayings of Jesus Christ.

262- Inquisition
The term inquisition refers to a judicial institution created by the papacy in the Middle Ages, charged with inquiring, trying, and sentencing persons guilty of heresy. In the early church the usual penalty for heresy was excommunication. During the 12th century harsher punishment seemed necessary, in reaction to a renewal of heresy, especially the Albigensianism.
Pope Gregory IX created the Inquisition in 1231 and entrusted the responsibility for orthodoxy to Franciscan, or even more often Dominican Inquisitors. Two inquisitors with equal authority were in charge of each tribunal, aided by assistants, notaries, police, and counsellors. Because they could excommunicate even princes, the inquisitors were formidable figures. From their tribunal, established in central towns, the Inquisitors issued orders demanding that all guilty of heresy present themselves; they could also bring suit against any suspect person. Lesser penalties were imposed on those who came forward and confessed their heresy than on those who had to be tried and convicted. If the inquisitors decided to try a person suspected of heresy, the suspect's pastor delivered the summons. Inquisitorial police located those who refused to obey a summons. The accused were given a statement of charges against them. The inquisitors usually had a kind of jury, composed of both clergy and laity, to assist them in arriving at a verdict. They were permitted to imprison suspects who were thought to be lying. In 1252 Pope Innocent IV authorised the use of torture to extract the truth from suspects. The penances and sentences for those who confessed or were found guilty were pronounced in a public ceremony at the end of all the processes. Penances might consist of a pilgrimage, a public scourging, a fine, or the wearing of a cross. The penalties in serious cases were confiscation of property or imprisonment. The most severe penalty the inquisitors could themselves impose was life imprisonment. Thus, when the inquisitors handed a guilty person over to civil authorities, it was a demand for that person's execution.

263- Intelligence
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to the environment, either by making a change in oneself or by changing the environment or finding a new one. Scholars have emphasized different aspects of intelligence in their definitions:
- The ability to think abstractly.
- Learning and the ability to give good responses to questions.
For most scholars, the importance of adaptation to the environment is the key to understanding both what intelligence is and what it does. Effective adaptation draws upon a number of cognitive processes, such as perception, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. The main trend in defining intelligence, then, is that it is not itself a cognitive or mental process, but rather a selective combination of these processes purposively directed toward effective adaptation to the environment.

264- Islam
Islam is the major world religion belonging to the Semitic family; the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia promulgated it in the 7th century AD. The Arabic term Islam, literally "surrender," shows the fundamental religious idea of Islam: that the believer (called a Muslim) accepts "surrender to the will of Allah (Arabic: God)." Allah is viewed as the sole God-creator, sustainer, and restorer of the world. The will of Allah, to which man must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures, the Qur'an (Koran), which Allah revealed to his messenger, Muhammad. In Islam, Muhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Jesus, and others), and his message abrogates the "revelations" attributed to earlier prophets. Islam is monotheism and imposes a strict adherence to certain essential religious practices. All Muslims are bound by a common faith and a sense of belonging to a single community.

265- Israel, Israelite
The word Israel describes two political units in the Old Testament: the united kingdom of Israel under the kings Saul, David, and Solomon that lasted from about 1020 to 922 BC; or the northern kingdom of Israel, including the territories of the 10 northern tribes (i.e., all except Judah and part of Benjamin), that was established in 922 BC as the result of a revolt led by Jeroboam I. An Israelite is a Jew, or a descendant of the Jewish patriarch Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. In early Jewish history, Israelites were simply members of the 12 tribes of Israel. After 930 BC and the establishment of two independent Jewish kingdoms in Palestine, the ten northern tribes constituting the Kingdom of Israel were known as Israelites to distinguish them from Jews in the southern Kingdom of Judah. The Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom in 721 BC, and other peoples eventually absorbed its population. Thereafter, the name Israelite referred to those who were still distinctively Jewish, namely, descendants of the Kingdom of Judah. In liturgical usage, an Israelite is a Jew who is neither a Cohen (descendant of Aaron, the first high priest) nor a Levite (descendant of early religious functionaries). If a Cohen is present for synagogue service, he must be called up first for the reading of the Law; a Levite then follows him. An Israelite is not called up until the third reading.

266- Ituraea
Ituraea was a region part of the princedom of Philip, the son of Herod the Great.

267- Jachin and Boaz
Jachin and Boaz were the names of two pillars of Solomon's Temple. Hiram of Tyre, a copper-worker from Tyre brought to Jerusalem by King Solomon, built them. The Freemasons use them in a symbolic way.

268- Jacobites
The Jacobites were members of a monophysite sect in Syria. After the Council of Chalcedon of 451 declared the monophysites heretical, the power at Antioch was held alternatively by the Monophysite and the Eastern Orthodox until Justinian I imprisoned all the known Monophysites although his wife, Theodora, was supporting them. She organised the consecration of two monophysite monks in 543 and one of them, Jacob Baradai, founded the Syrian monophysites. They took their name from him.

269- Jericho
Jericho, a city in the Jordan Valley, was the first city conquered by the Israelites after their crossing of the Jordan.

270- Jews
Today the word Jews is synonymous with Hebrews and Israelites. Historically and ethnically, however, the words have different meanings.
The word Hebrew has no ethnic connotation and has been applied to any of numerous Semitic, nomadic tribes dwelling in the eastern Mediterranean area before 1300 BC. In Jewish history, the term is applied to those tribes that accepted Yahweh as their deity.
The term Israelite describes a particular ethnic and national group, descended from the Hebrews and united culturally by their religion.
The term Jew refers to a third group, the cultural descendants of the first two, from the time of their return from the Babylonian Captivity to the present. The word itself derives from the Hebrew yehudhi, meaning a member of the Hebrew tribe of Judah, the ancient territory of which was organized as the Roman province of Judaea in AD 6. The English word Jew is derived directly from the Latin Judaeus, meaning an inhabitant of Judea.

271- Judaea
Judaea is also spelled Judea, or Judah, and in Hebrew Yehudah. It is the southernmost of the three traditional divisions of ancient Palestine; the other two were Galilee in the north and Samaria in the centre. No clearly marked boundary divided Judaea from Samaria; it extended south from the region of Bethel (at present-day Ram Allah) to Beersheba and including the area of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron. Before the Israelite conquest of Palestine, the Canaanites dominated the region.

272- Judaeo-Christians
The term describes Christians of Jewish origin, headed after Jesus' death by his brother, James the Just, and the Apostle Peter.

273- Judah, Kingdom of
The southern of the two states into which Palestine was divided after the death of Solomon.

274- Judaism
Judaism is the religion of the Jews. It is the complex expression of a religious and ethnic community, a way of life as well as a set of basic beliefs and values, which is discerned in patterns of action, social order, and culture as well as in religious statements and concepts.

275- Habbalah
See Cabala.

276- Kedar
Kedar is the name of nomadic people living to the east of Palestine, a division of the Ishmaelites.

277- Kenites
The Kenites were a nomadic people connected with the Amalekites, the friends of Israel, absorbed later on in Judah.

278- Kenoma
Kenoma is a Christian concept meaning the manifest psycho-physical cosmos of appearance.

279- Kingdom of God
According to the New Testament, the central message of Jesus was the kingdom of God. He called for repentance in preparation for the kingdom that was "at hand." The kingdom of God referred to the reign or rule of God, and in Jesus' ministry that reign of God was announced as present. The presence of the kingdom, however, was not full and complete, and, therefore, was often referred to as a future event.

280- Kittim
Kittim is the Greek name of the island of Cyprus.

281- Ksatriyas
Ksatriyas refers to the second of four classes in Vedic society. The religious and political power was shared between the Brahmins and the Ksatriyas, the later providing the warriors, nobles and rulers but the Brahims had more prestige.

282- Kyrios
Kyrios is the Greek word for "Lord".

283- Last Supper
The Last Supper, also called Lord's Supper, is described in the New Testament; it is the final meal shared by Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and the time of the institution of the Eucharist. According to the bible, Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare for the meal and met with all the disciples in the upper room. He told them that one of them would betray him. After blessing bread and wine and giving it to them to eat and drink, Jesus told them that it was his body and his blood. The Synoptic Gospels and the traditions of the church affirm that the Last Supper occurred on the Passover although the account of the Crucifixion in the Gospel According to John indicates that it was not then. In early Christian art the presence of a fish on the table symbolizes the institution of the Eucharist. This symbol was used in the West until the 15th century, when a chalice and wafer were substituted for it.

284- Legend
Legends are traditional folk narratives or collection of related narratives, popularly regarded as historically factual but actually a mixture of fact and fiction. The Medieval Latin word legenda means "things for reading." In some ways, legends resemble myths. But myths typically relate events from a remote time long ago and deal with such religious subjects as gods and goddesses and the origin of the universe. Legends are set in the present or in the historical past. Although legends may have religious implications, most are not religious in nature. Legends distort the truth, but they are based on real people or events. Every society produces legends.
A legend is set in a specific place at a specific time; the subject is often a heroic historical personage. A legend differs from a myth by portraying a human hero rather than one who is a god. Legends, originally oral, have been developed into literary masterpieces. Among the most famous legends of all time are the classic epics the Iliad and the Odyssey of ancient Greece and the Aeneid of ancient Rome. From the Middle Ages come legends about Arthur, king of the Britons; Charlemagne; and the German alchemist Faust.
In modern times legends have grown up around such presidents of the United States as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

285- Leviathan
Leviathan, in Jewish mythology, is a primordial sea serpent. Its source is in Mesopotamian myth, especially that of the sea monster in the myth of Baal. In the Old Testament, Leviathan appears (Psalms 74:14) as a sea serpent with many heads that is killed by God and given as food to the Hebrews in the wilderness. In Isaiah 27:1, Leviathan is a serpent and a symbol of Israel's enemies, who will be slain by God. In Job 41, it is a sea monster and a symbol of God's power of creation.

286- Levites
The Levites, in the Old Testament, were the members of the tribe or family of Levi, son of Jacob, who acted as priests in the ancient kingdom of Judah. Until its collapse in 586 BC the terms priest and Levite meant the same thing. The Levites later assumed a secondary role, as the priesthood became the prerogative of the descendants of Aaron, himself a descendant of Levi.

287- Libertinism
Some Gnostics held that because their souls were completely alien to this world, it did not matter what they did in it. Gnostics generally rejected the moral commandments of the Old Testament, regarding them as part of the evil god's effort to entrap humanity.

288- Literalism, Literalist
Literalism is a concept and a noun that means keeping to the literal meaning in translation or interpretation. In religious literature it is used to describe the "Orthodox Church" and the members of the Church who strictly follow their orthodox doctrine.
In the Christian Churches literature, especially in the Roman Catholic's, the word "Literalist" is used to describe the Orthodox Christians instead of the word "Orthodox" to avoid any confusion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

289- Liturgy
Liturgy is a term that refers to acts of worship that are performed by the members of a religious group. A liturgy is also called a rite or a ritual. Most religions have their own liturgy. But within a religion, various churches and denominations may develop their own kinds of liturgy. A liturgy may combine words, music, and gestures. It also may include religious objects, such as altars and special clothing; and symbolic acts, such as pouring or sprinkling water as part of the ceremony of baptism. Some liturgical services are held at certain times of the day, week, or year. They may take place on a fast day, festival, or Sabbath.
The principal liturgical service in Christianity is called the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, or the Mass. The Eastern churches call the Eucharist the Divine Liturgy. The most important events of the Christian liturgical year are Christmas and Easter. The main annual services in the Jewish liturgy are Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur.
Christianity has many forms of liturgy. During the first three centuries of the Christian era, the rite of the church was comparatively fluid, based on various accounts of the Last Supper. In about the 4th century the various traditions crystallised into four liturgies, the Antiochene, or Greek, the Alexandrian, the Roman, and the Gallican, from which all others have been derived. The most widespread ones are the Byzantine rite and the Latin, or Roman rite. The Byzantine rite is used by the Greek Orthodox Church and several other Eastern churches. The Roman Catholic Church uses the Latin rite.

290- Logos
Logos in Greek means "word," "reason," or "plan". In Greek philosophy and theology it describes the divine reason implicit in the cosmos. Though the concept of logos is found in Greek, Indian, Egyptian, and Persian philosophical and theological systems, it became particularly significant in Christian writings and doctrines to describe the role of Jesus Christ as the principle of God active in the creation and the continuous structuring of the cosmos and in revealing the divine plan of salvation to man. It underlies the basic Christian doctrine of the pre-existence of Jesus. In the first chapter of The Gospel According to John, Jesus Christ is identified as "the Word" (Greek logos) incarnated, or made flesh. The Evangelist interprets the logos as inseparable from the person of Jesus and does not simply imply that the logos is the revelation that Jesus proclaims.

291- Maccabees
Maccabees is the name of a Jewish priestly family better known as Hasmonaeans who led the revolt against Syria under Antiochus IV to become the leaders of the new State. They re-consecrated the defiled Temple of Jerusalem. The name Maccabee was a title of honour given to Judas, a son of Mattathias and the hero of the Jewish wars of independence in 168-164 BC. Later, the name the Maccabees was extended to include his whole family.

292- Macedonianism
Macedonianism was also called Pneumatomachian heresy. It was a 4th-century Christian heresy that denied the full personality and divinity of the Holy Spirit. According to this heresy, the Holy Spirit was created by the Son and was thus subordinate to the Father and the Son. Those who accepted the heresy were called Macedonians but were also and more descriptively known as pneumatomachians, the "spirit fighters. "Some sources attribute leadership of the group to Macedonius, a semi-Arian who was twice bishop of Constantinople, but the writings of the Macedonians have all been lost, and their doctrine is known mainly from polemical refutations by Orthodox writers, particularly St. Athanasius of Alexandria and St. Basil of Caesarea. The second ecumenical Council of Constantinople (AD 381) formally condemned the Macedonians and expanded the creed of Nicaea to affirm the Orthodox belief in the third person of the Trinity, "who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified." The emperor Theodosius I suppressed the Macedonian heresy.

293- Madauran Martyrs
The Madauran martyrs were probably the first Christian martyrs in the Roman province of Africa. It is believed that Namphamo, Miggin, Lucitas and Samae were executed on July 4, 180 AD.

294- Magi
The Magi were the hereditary members of a priestly class from Media, a kingdom of ancient Persia located in what is now northern Iran. They are thought to have been followers of Zoroaster, the Persian teacher and prophet. A single member of the class was called Magus. The Magi were known for practising magic, interpreting omens and dreams, and offering astrological sacrifices. Gradually, the religion of the magi incorporated Babylonian elements, including astrology, demonology, and magic. By the 1st century AD, the magi were identified with wise men and soothsayers. Thus, the biblical magi who came from the East to worship the infant Jesus were regarded as wise men.
The Bible describes how the Three Wise Men, or Magi, followed a star to Bethlehem and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. Later tradition gave the three men the names of Melchior, Balthasar, and Gaspar.

295- Magic
Magic (sorcery) is the art of attaining objectives, acquiring knowledge, or performing works of wonder through supernatural or non-rational means. Techniques used in magic include chants and spells, gestures or actions, and the use of substances with the powers needed to accomplish the intended purpose.
Anthropologists distinguish three types of magical practice:
- Homeopathic magic, or the use of small portions of a thing to represent and affect the whole.
- Sympathetic magic, in which a symbolic action (for example, sticking pins into a doll) affects an object with which the symbol is in "sympathy" or harmony.
- Contagious magic, the influencing of one thing through contact with another that is believed to be magically charged.
The theoretical foundation for most magical practices is a belief in correspondences among entities within the universe -especially between human beings and the external world. Accordingly, the application of the right colours, objects, sounds, or gestures in a given context can bring about the desired result.
Magic is widely practiced in primal and traditional societies. Magic often merges with religion. Religion, however, is usually regarded as the public acknowledgment of spirituality, while magic tends to be private and oriented toward power and gain by supernatural means rather than toward worship. A distinction can also be drawn between white and black magic: White magic is employed for benign ends, and black magic - as witchcraft or sorcery- is used to harm others although many people who practice witchcraft do not seek to cause harm.
Magic in the supernatural sense is different from stage magic, in which apparent magical effects are produced for entertainment through such means as sleight of hand. A distinction is also made between magic and divination (the art of foretelling the future course of events): magic attempts to affect the future, not merely to predict it. By this definition, occult practices such as astrology, card reading, and palmistry are not magical, whereas concocting love potions and casting spells are magical practices, as is the art of invoking spirits by means of chants and gestures.

296- Malachi
The Book of Malachi is the last book of the Twelve Minor Prophets; it was written by an anonymous writer called Malachi, or "my messenger" perhaps about 500-450 BC. The book deals with spiritual degradation, religious perversions, social injustices, and unfaithfulness to the Covenant. Priests are condemned for failing to instruct the people on their Covenant responsibilities, idolatry is attacked, and men are castigated for deliberately forgetting their marriage vows when their wives become older. In chapter 3, the message is that Yahweh will send a messenger to announce and prepare for the Day of Judgment. If the people turn from their evil ways, God will bless them, and those who "feared the Lord" will be spared.

297- Mandaeans
The Mandaeans (Aramaic manda, "knowledge" or Gnostic) were a Gnostic sect also known as Sabians ("Baptists"). The Mandaean sect was initially thought to have emerged in Mesopotamia or Persia sometime before the 4th century AD. It is now generally believed that they migrated there from the Palestinian-Syrian region, where it probably originated in the 1st or 2nd century AD or even in pre-Christian times. Mandaean rituals and texts reflect Persian, Judaic, and Christian influences.
The teachings of the Mandaeans are derived from the ancient esoteric doctrine of Gnosticism. Mandaeans believe that the human soul, imprisoned in the body and the material universe, can be saved through revealed knowledge, a rigorously ethical life, and ritual observances. They also believe in the mediation of a redeemer, called Manda da Hayye ("Knowledge of Life") or Hibel-Ziwa who once dwelled on earth, where he triumphed over the demons who are its rulers and who try to keep the soul imprisoned. He can thus assist the soul in its ascent through the heavenly spheres toward its final reunion with the Supreme God. The Mandaeans may have originally derived the idea of a redeemer from the Christian conception of Jesus Christ and may have begun, as did other Gnostic sects, as a heretical offshoot of Christianity. They have been hostile to Christianity, however, since Byzantine times and have traditionally regarded Jesus as a false Messiah. Instead, they revere John the Baptist and strongly emphasise the importance of frequent baptism, which serves as a ritual of purification. Unlike the ancient Gnostic sects, the Mandaeans have traditionally regarded marriage and procreation as important moral obligations. The Mandaean priests, called Nasoreans ("observers" of the rites), form a caste apart from the laity.

298- Manichaeism
Manichaeism is an ancient philosophical and religious system based on the teachings of a Babylonian prophet named Mani (circa 216-276). For several centuries, it presented a major challenge to Christianity. Manichaeans believed that while living on earth in a mortal body, people must lead lives of self-denial and avoid lusts of the flesh. Only through wisdom can a person hope to avoid the evils of material and sensual things. Wisdom and knowledge will come from a saviour who will reveal a plan for salvation and redemption. This saviour appears as the prophets Zoroaster, Buddha, and Jesus, and finally as Mani. Manichaeism taught several ways for self-denial, such as vegetarianism, simplicity in daily activity, and refraining from sexual intercourse.

The fundamental doctrine of Manichaeism is dualistic. The universe is divided into contending realms of good and evil: the realm of Light (spirit), ruled by God, and the realm of Darkness (matter), ruled by Satan. Originally, the two realms were entirely separate, but in a primal catastrophe the realm of Darkness invaded the realm of Light, and the two became mixed and engaged in a perpetual struggle. The human race is a result and a microcosm of this struggle. The human body is material, therefore evil; the human soul is spiritual, a fragment of the divine Light, and must be redeemed from its imprisonment in the body and the world. The path of redemption is through knowledge of the realm of Light imparted by the succession of divine messengers that includes Buddha and Jesus and ends in Mani. With this knowledge the human soul can ascend to the divine realm. The Manichaeans divided themselves into two classes according to their degree of spiritual perfection. Those who were called the elect practised strict celibacy and vegetarianism, abstained from wine, did no labour, and preached. They were assured of ascent to the realm of Light after death. The numerous auditors were those of lower spiritual attainment. They were permitted marriage (although procreation was discouraged), observed weekly fasts, and served the elects. They hoped to be reborn as the elect. Eventually all fragments of divine Light would be redeemed, the world would be destroyed, and Light and Darkness would be eternally separated.

During the century after Mani's death, Manichaeism spread as far as China in the East and gained followers throughout the Roman Empire, especially in North Africa. The 4th-century theologian St. Augustine was a Manichaean for nine years before his conversion to Christianity. He subsequently wrote against the movement, which was also condemned by several popes and Roman emperors. Although Manichaeism had disappeared in the West by the early Middle Ages, its continuing influence can be traced in the medieval dualistic heresies of the Albigenses, Bogomils, and Paulicians, and much of the Gnostic-Manichaean worldview survives in many modern religious movements and sects, including theosophy.

Mani, believing that the failure of previous prophets to record their teachings led to their dilution and distortion by disciples, wrote several books to serve as the scripture of his religion. Fragments of these, along with hymns, catechisms, and other texts, were found in Eastern Turkistan and Egypt during the early 20th century. Other sources for Manichaean doctrines include the writings of St. Augustine and other opponents.

299- Mantra
In Hinduism and Buddhism, Mantra describes a sacred utterance (syllable, word, or verse) that is considered to possess mystical or spiritual efficacy. Various mantras are either spoken aloud or merely sounded internally in one's thoughts. Most mantras are without any apparent verbal meaning, but they are thought to have a profound underlying significance and are in effect distillations of spiritual wisdom. Thus, repetition of or meditation on a particular mantra can induce a trancelike state in the participant and can lead him to a higher level of spiritual awareness. Besides bringing spiritual enlightenment, different kinds of mantras are used to work other psychic or spiritual purposes, such as protecting oneself from evil psychic powers. One of the most powerful and widely used mantras in Hinduism is the sacred syllable om. The principal mantra in Buddhism is om mani padme hum. Mantras continue to be an important feature of Hindu religious rites and domestic ceremonies. Initiation into many Hindu sects involves the whispering of a secret mantra into the ear of the initiate by the guru (spiritual teacher).

300- Manual of Discipline
The Manual of Discipline, also called Rule of The Community, is one important documents of the Jewish Essene Community that settled at Qumran in the early 2nd century BC. They did so to remove themselves from what they considered a corrupt religion symbolized by the religio-political high priests of the Hasmonean dynasty. The scroll was discovered at Qumran in 1947. Modern scholars have suggested that, when the Qumran sect was forced to abandon its community life because of the great Jewish revolt against Rome in AD 66-70, its members hid their library in nearby caves. This scroll was probably intended for the Essene sect's leaders, including priests who supervised the sacrificial, liturgical, and possibly exegetical religious functions, and also guardians who controlled the admission and instruction of new members. The document contains an explanation of the sect's religious and moral ideals, a description of its admission ceremony, a long catechetical discourse on its mystical doctrine of the primordial spirits of truth and perversity, organizational and disciplinary statutes, and a final hymn or psalm praising obedience and setting forth the sacred seasons. Although this work cannot be dated with precision, it was probably compiled after the community had settled in Qumran.

301- Maonites
The Maonites were the oppressors of the Israelites together with the Sidonians and Amalekites. They lived on Mount Seir, south of the Dead Sea.

302- Marcellites, Marcellians
A school of Christian Gnosticism founded by Marcellina, active also in Rome.

303- Marcionites
The basis of Marcionite theology was that there were two cosmic gods. A creator god created the material world that included man's body and soul. The usual Gnostic thesis states that only man's body is part of creation, the work of a demonic power, whereas, his soul is a spark from the true unknown superior God. According to Marcion the Superior God is completely ineffable and bore no intrinsic relation to the created universe. Out of sheer goodness, he had sent his son Jesus Christ to save man from the material world and bring him to a new home. Christ's sacrifice was not atonement for human sin, but an act that cancelled the claim of the creator God upon men. In contrast to the Gnostic claim of a revelatory gnosis, Marcion and his followers emphasized faith in the effect of Christ's act. They were ascetics who limited their contact with the creator's world while looking forward to salvation in the realm of the extra-worldly God. They admitted women to the priesthood and bishopric.
The Marcionite sect, ascetic and celibate, grew rapidly until it was second in strength only to the original church; it had churches and an Episcopal hierarchy and practiced the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist, the latter without the use of wine.
Marcion rejected the Old Testament and almost all of the New Testament, including the accounts of the incarnation and the resurrection, basing his teachings on ten of the Epistles of St. Paul and on an altered version of the Gospel of Luke. His tenets included a belief in a dualistic interpretation of God, whereby God is divided into the just God of Law, who was the Creator of the Old Testament, and the good God, the infinitely superior deity revealed by Jesus Christ. Marcionism flourished in the West until about the 4th century, when Manichaeism probably absorbed it; traces of it remained in the East into medieval times.

303bis - Maronite Church
The Maronite Church is one of the largest Eastern-rite communities of the Roman Catholic Church, prominent especially in modern Lebanon; it is the only Eastern-rite church that has no non-Catholic or Orthodox counterpart. The Maronites trace their origins to St. Maron, or Maro, a Syrian hermit of the late 4th and early 5th centuries, and St. John Maron, or Joannes Maro, patriarch of Antioch in 685-707 who made the Maronites a fully independent people. Though their traditions assert that the Maronites were always orthodox Christians in union with the Roman see, there is evidence that for centuries they were Monothelites, followers of the heretical doctrine of Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, who affirmed that there was a divine but no human will in Christ. According to the medieval bishop William of Tyre, the Maronite patriarch sought union with the Latin patriarch of Antioch in 1182 but the union did not come until the 16th century. The immediate spiritual head of the Maronite church after the pope is the "patriarch of Antioch and all the East," residing in Bkirki, near Beirut. The church retains the ancient West Syrian liturgy, even though the vernacular tongue of the Maronites is Arabic.

304- Martyr
A martyr is one who voluntarily suffers death rather than to deny his religion by words or deeds; such action is accorded special recognition in most major religions of the world. The term may also refer to anyone who sacrifices his life or something of great value for the sake of principle.

305- Mary (Cult of)
The cult of Mary (also called Saint Mary, or Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus) flourished at the beginning of the Christian era. She has been the object of veneration in the Christian church since the apostolic age. The development of the doctrine of Mary can be traced through titles that have been ascribed to her in the history of the Christian communions -guarantee of the incarnation, virgin mother, second Eve, mother of God, ever virgin, immaculate, and assumed into heaven. Her humility and obedience to the message of God have made her an exemplar for all ages of Christians.

306- Masoretes
The word "masoretes" (from Hebrew masoreth, "tradition") describes the scholars of the Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine who, from the sixth century AD to the tenth, wrote the official Hebrew version of the Jewish Bible. This was precisely assembled and codified, and supplied with diacritical marks to enable correct pronunciation, in an effort to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament. Their intention was not to interpret the meaning of the Scriptures but to transmit to future generations the authentic Word of God. For this they gathered manuscripts and whatever oral traditions were available to them. The Masoretic text that resulted from their work shows that every word and every letter was checked with care. In Hebrew or Aramaic, they called attention to strange spellings and unusual grammar and noted discrepancies in various texts. Since texts traditionally omitted vowels in writing, the Masoretes introduced vowel signs to guarantee correct pronunciation. Signs for stress and pause were added to the text to facilitate public reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue. When the final codification of each section was complete, the Masoretes not only counted and noted down the total number of verses, words, and letters in the text but also indicated which verse, which word, and which letter marked the centre of the text. In this way any future emendation could be detected. The Masoretic text is universally accepted as the authentic Hebrew Bible.

307- Matter
Matter is the material substance that constitutes the observable universe and, together with energy, forms the basis of all objective phenomena. The basic building blocks of matter are atoms. Matter may have several states, the most familiar of which are the gaseous, liquid, and solid states. According to Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity, matter (as mass) and energy are equivalent. Accordingly, matter can be converted into energy and energy into matter.

308- Medes
Medes or media were a people living in a country called Madai in Hebrew and Assyrian. The Medes were an Aryan (Iranian) people known to exist in 836 BC. They lived in the mountains South and Southeast of the Caspian Sea.

309- Meditation
Meditation is an engagement in contemplation, especially of a spiritual or devotional nature. It is a spiritual exercise much like prayer. It is especially important in Asian religions.

310- Melitian Schisms
There were two schisms known by the name Melitian in the 4th century.
- The first was in Alexandria and was similar to the Donatist schism in the west.
- The second melitian schism was named after a patriarch from Antioch. This Melitius was Bishop of Beroea. He was transferred to Antioch at the request of the Arians and the Orthodox Christians, both sides believing that he would support them.

311- Mesopotamian Religion
The Mesopotamian religion contains the beliefs and practices of the Sumerians and Akkadians, and their successors, the Babylonians and Assyrians, who inhabited ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) in the millennia before the Christian era. Mesopotamian religion was Sumerian in origin, but it was modified by the Akkadians (Semites who emigrated into Mesopotamia from the west at the end of the 4th millennium BC), whose own beliefs were assimilated and integrated with those of their new environment. In many ways it even influenced peoples and cultures outside Mesopotamia, such as the Elamites to the east, the Hurrians and Hittites to the north, and the Aramaeans and Israelites to the west.

312- Messalians
Messallian was the name given to the initiates of a Gnostic School of Christianity. Messalian (from the Syriac word for "men of prayers"), describes a 4th century ascetic movement whose members dedicated themselves to prayer. They were mendicants who slept on the street living of charity.

313- Messiah
In theology the Messiah is the Anointed One, the Christ. It was the Hebrew name for the promised deliverer of humankind, assumed by Jesus and given to him by Christians. In the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, this word is translated by the word Christos, from which "Christ" is derived. Hence the name Jesus Christ identifies Jesus as the Messiah, although Jewish religion asserts that the Messiah is yet to come.
The concept of the Messiah combines the Hebrew ideal of a Davidic king with the priestly tradition exemplified by Moses. Christians have also seen in certain passages in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah a third characteristic of the Messiah, that of the suffering servant. In Christian theology Jesus is seen as the fulfilment of all three concepts.

314- Metempsychosis
Metempsychosis means the transferring of soul from one body to another. It is also known as "transmigration of soul", "rebirth", "and reincarnation".

315- Micah
Micah was one of the four prophets of the 8th century BC.
Micah is also the name of one of the 12 prophetic books of the Old Testament known, primarily because of their brevity, as the Minor Prophets. It is attributed to the Hebrew prophet Micah, a younger contemporary of the prophet Isaiah who began to prophesy before the fall of Samaria in 721 BC.
Tradition attributes the entire work to Micah, but most scholars now agree that it is a composite work. The first three chapters (with the exception of 2:12-13, which probably were added by a much later editor) generally are believed to have come from Micah. Considerable disagreement exists, however, concerning the rest of the book.

316- Midian, midianites
Midian and Midianites are the names of a nomadic tribe or tribes, descendant from Abraham. They were related to the Kenites. They lived in North Arabia, east of the Gulf of Aquaba. They are also called Ishmaelite.

317- Milan (Edict of)
The Edict of Milan established religious tolerance for Christianity within the Roman Empire. The result of a political agreement concluded in Milan between the Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius in February 313. The proclamation, made for the East by Licinius in June 313, granted all persons freedom to worship whatever deity they pleased, assured Christians of legal rights (including the right to organize churches), and ordoned the return to Christians of confiscated property.

318- Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city of Ionia, in Asia Minor, and the most flourishing of the 12 cities of the Ionian confederacy. Miletus had four harbours and developed an extensive trade. Miletus was famous for its fine textiles, especially woollen cloth. The Milesians established many colonies in the north. They also sent merchant fleets to every part of the Mediterranean Sea and even into the Atlantic Ocean.
Miletus was repeatedly attacked by Lydia but managed to withstand all assault until Croesus, king of Lydia, finally defeated it. Following the conquest of Lydia by Cyrus the Great, Miletus fell under the sway of Persia. From 499 to 494 BC the city took part in the Ionian Revolt against Persia but was defeated and demolished by Darius the Great. Rebuilt in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, it never regained its former importance.

319- Millenium, Millennialism
Millenium, in Christian theology, is the 1,000-year period when Jesus Christ will return and establish his kingdom on Earth. Early Christians' idea of millennialism, or millenarianism, derived from Jewish eschatological expectations and implied the nearness of the triumph of Christians over the world. According to the New Testament, Satan was bound and thrown into a pit for 1,000 years. Martyrs were resurrected and reigned with Christ for the millennium. At the end of the period, Satan was loosed for a time to deceive the nations, but he was subsequently defeated. All the dead were then gathered for the final judgment. Those Christians who believe that the Second Coming of Christ will begin the 1,000-year period of righteousness in the world have been called pre-millennialists. Others, known as postmillennialists, believe that eventually Christianity will be accepted throughout the world, and a 1,000-year period of Christian righteousness will be climaxed by the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment.

320- Minaeans
The Minaeans were a south Arabian people.

321- Mind
Mind means the many faculties involved in perceiving, remembering, considering, evaluating, and deciding. Mind is reflected in such occurrences as sensations, perceptions, emotions, memory, desires, various types of reasoning, motives, choices, traits of personality, and the unconscious. Several assumptions are necessary to any discussion of the concept of mind:
- First is the assumption of thought or thinking. If there were no evidence of thought in the world, mind would have little or no meaning.
- The second assumption is that of knowledge or knowing.
- The third assumption is that of purpose or intention, of planning a course of action with foreknowledge of its goal or of working in any other way toward a desired and foreseen objective.
These assumptions -thought, knowledge or self-knowledge, and purpose- seem to be common to all theories of mind. More than that, they seem to be assumptions that require the development of the conception. The conflict of theories concerning what the human mind is, what structure it has, what parts belong to it, and what whole it belongs to does not comprise the entire range of controversy on the subject. Yet enough is common to all theories of mind to permit certain other questions to be formulated: How does the mind operate? How does it do whatever is its work, and with what intrinsic excellences or defects? What is the relation of mind to matter, to bodily organs, to material conditions, or of one mind to another? Is mind a common possession of men and animals, or is whatever might be called mind in animals distinctly different from the human mind? Are there minds or a mind in existence apart from man and the whole world of corporeal life? What are the limits of so-called artificial intelligence, the capacity of machines to perform functions generally associated with mind?

322- Miracles
A miracle is defined as an event, apparently transcending human powers and the laws of nature that is attributed to a special divine intervention or to supernatural forces.
Miracles are a feature of most religions. In some societies, a shaman is believed to have the power to heal through contact with outside forces. Many religious leaders and founders-including Zoroaster, Confucius, Lao-tzu, and Buddha-have been credited with miraculous powers. Moses and the prophets of Israel were said to have performed miraculous acts at God's bidding. Muslim tradition includes accounts of the miracles of Muhammad, such as his extraordinary healings.
In Christianity, miracles have been ascribed not only to Jesus Christ but also to many of his immediate followers and to Christian saints up to the present time. The miracles of Christ recorded in the Gospels are an integral part of the New Testament and include raising the dead, transforming water into wine, feeding thousands with a small amount of food, casting out demons, and healing the sick and deformed. The most important miracle of the New Testament is the resurrection of Christ.
More recently the Gospel miracles are widely regarded as having been written more to inculcate religious truths than to record historical events. Thus, the significance of the miracle lies in its meaning rather than in the event itself.

323- Mithraism
Mithraism was one of the major religions of the Roman Empire, the cult of Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom. In the Avesta, the sacred Zoroastrian writings of the ancient Persians, Mithra (known also as Mithras and Mitra) appears as the chief yazata (Avestan, "beneficent one"), or good spirit, and ruler of the world. He was supposed to have slain the divine bull, from whose dying body sprang all plants and animals beneficial to humanity. After the conquest of Assyria in the 7th century BC and of Babylonia in the 6th century BC, Mithra became the god of the sun and of the Light. The Greeks of Asia Minor identified Mithra with Helios, the Greek god of the sun. Mithra was said to be an ally of the supreme god Ahura Mazda.
The Persians spread the worship of Mithra, called Mithraism, throughout Asia Minor. Mithraism was brought to Rome about 68 BC by Cilician pirates and during the early empire it spread rapidly throughout Italy and the Roman provinces. The cult became popular, especially among Roman soldiers and slaves. By about A.D. 100, they had spread it into Europe. It was a rival to Christianity in the Roman world until the 300's.
Mithraism was similar to Christianity in many respects, for example, in the ideals of humility and brotherly love, baptism, the rite of communion, the use of holy water, the adoration of the shepherds at Mithra's birth, the adoption of Sundays and of December 25 (Mithra's birthday) as holy days, and the belief in the immortality of the soul, the last judgement, and the resurrection. Mithraism differed from Christianity in the exclusion of women from its ceremonies and in its willingness to compromise with polytheism. The similarities, however, made possible the easy conversion of its followers to Christian doctrine.

324- Moab
Moab, is the ancient country on the hill plateau east of the Dead Sea, in what is now Jordan. Moab is limited to the east by the Arabian Desert, to the south by the river Zered and to the west by the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley.
The Moabites were closely related to the Hebrews and were subject to Israel during the reigns of David and Solomon (11th-10th century BC). They later regained their independence but were temporarily re-conquered by Omri, king of Israel (reigned 876-869 BC). Moab, like neighbouring Judah, became tributary to Assyria in the 8th century BC and was conquered by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC. After that the Moabites ceased to exist as a separate people.

325- Moloch, Molech
Moloch is the Old Testament deity at one period associated with Baal, probably as a sun god, but differing from him in being almost entirely malevolent. The worship of Moloch embraced human sacrifice, ordeals by fire, and self-mutilation. The Hebrew form of the word is invariably Molech, meaning "king" or "counsellor." The first recorded instance of a worshiper of Yahweh who "burned his son as an offering" to Moloch is that of Ahaz. The ritual of Moloch worship was probably borrowed by Judah from one of the surrounding nations; the Moabites and Ammonites practiced it.
Molech and Moloch are terms linked with the practice of child sacrifica that took place outside Jerusalem, in the Valley of Hinnom called the Topheth.

326- Monad
The word Monad describes an elementary individual substance that reflects the order of the world and from which material properties are derived. The Pythagoreans used it as the name of the beginning number of a series, from which all following numbers derived. Giordano Bruno in "On the Monad, Number, and Figure") described three fundamental types: God, souls, and atoms. In Leibniz's system of metaphysics, monads are basic substances that make up the universe but lack spatial extension and hence are immaterial. Each monad is a unique, indestructible, dynamic, soul-like entity. The objects of the material world are simply appearances of collections of monads.

327- Monarchianism
Monarchianism is a Christian heretical doctrine of the 2nd and 3rd centuries opposed to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity; it strongly maintained the essential unity of the Deity and was intended to reinforce monotheism in Christianity. Monarchians were divided into two groups.
The Adoptionists, or Dynamic Monarchians, taught that Christ, although of miraculous birth, was a mere man until his baptism when the Holy Spirit made him the Son of God by adoption
The Patripassians, or Modalistic Monarchians, believed in the divinity of Christ, but regarded the Trinity as three manifestations, or modes, of a single divine being. They taught that the Father had come to earth and suffered and died under the appearance of the Son.

328- Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious movement whose members attempt to practice works that are above and beyond those required of both the laity and the spiritual leadership of their religions. Generally celibate and ascetic, the monastic individual separates himself or herself from general society either by living as a hermit or anchorite (religious recluse), or by joining the society of others who profess similar intentions. Although first applied to Christian groups the term monasticism is now used to denote similar, though not identical, practices in such religions as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism. The word monasticism is derived from the Greek monachos "living alone," but the etymology indicates only one of the elements of monasticism; a large section of the world's monastics live in cenobite (common life) communities. In the Islamic world, terms that can be translated by "monk," "monastic," and similar words do not mean "single". Monasticism within Brahman-Hindu, Buddhist, and Jaina, imply living alone or in groups that are set off from the rest of their societies, analogously to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic monastics.

329- Monism
In philosophy, the Monism (Greek monos, "single") doctrine states that ultimate reality is entirely of one substance. Monism is thus opposed to both dualism and pluralism. Three basic types of monism are recognised: materialistic monism, idealistic monism, and the mind-stuff theory. According to the first doctrine, everything in the universe, including mental phenomena, is reduced to the one category of matter. In the second doctrine, matter is regarded as a form of manifestation of mind; and in the third doctrine, matter and mind are considered merely aspects of each other. Monistic philosophies date from ancient Greece but the term monism .was first used by the 18th-century German philosopher Christian von Wolff to designate types of philosophical thought in which the attempt was made to eliminate the dichotomy of body and mind.

330- Monk
Monk, a word derived from monos in Greek. A monk is a man who separates himself from society and lives either alone (a hermit or anchorite) or in an organized community under a rule and who has taken the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in order to devote himself full time to religious life. It is used more in the East while in the West it strictly only applies to the members of Benedictine orders.

331- Monophysite
Monophysite, in Christianity, is a person who believes that Jesus Christ's nature remains divine, and not human, although he has taken on a human body with its cycle of birth, life, and death. Monophysite doctrine asserted that in the Person of Jesus Christ there was only one divine nature rather than two natures, divine and human, as asserted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. During the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries, several divergent traditions had arisen. Chalcedon declared that Christ was to be "acknowledged in two natures, without being mixed, transmuted, divided, or separated." This formulation was against the Nestorian doctrine -that the two natures in Christ had remained separate and that they were in effect two Persons- and against the position of the monk Eutyches, who had been condemned in 448 for teaching that, after the Incarnation, Christ had only one nature and that the humanity of the incarnate Christ was not of the same substance as that of other men. Political and ecclesiastical rivalries as well as theology played a role in the decision of Chalcedon to depose and excommunicate the patriarch of Alexandria, Dioscorus (d. 454). The church that supported Dioscorus was labelled Monophysite. Severus of Antioch (d. 538) was declared monophysiste although he repudiated the terminology of Chalcedon as self-contradictory. Most modern scholars agree that Severus and Dioscorus probably diverged from orthodoxy more in their emphasis upon the intimacy of the union between God and man in Christ than in any denial that the humanity of Christ and that of mankind are consubstantial.

332- Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one god, or in the oneness of God; polytheism is the belief in the existence of many gods and atheism is the belief that there is no god. Monotheism is the tradition of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and elements of the belief are discernible in other religions. There are no historical proofs that monotheism is a later development in the history of religions than polytheism although many scholars hold that monotheism is a higher form of religion and, therefore, must be a later development. It is not the oneness of god that counts in monotheism but his uniqueness; one god is not affirmed as the logical opposite to many gods but as an expression of divine might and power. The choice of either monotheism, or polytheism leads to problems, because neither can give a satisfactory answer to all questions. The weakness of polytheism is revealed in the questions about the ultimate origin of things, whereas monotheism runs into difficulties in trying to answer the question concerning the origin of evil in a universe under the government of one god. Because Christianity is a monotheistic religion, the monotheistic conception of the divine is seen by the Western culture as a self-evident axiom.

333- Monothelite
The Monothelites were members of a 7th-century Christian heresy that, while otherwise orthodox, maintained that Christ had only one will. The Monothelites were attempting to resolve the question of the unity of Christ's person on the basis of the doctrine of the two natures, divine and human, in the person of Christ. The Byzantine emperor Heraclius tried to win back to the church and empire the excommunicated and persecuted Monophysites who taught that Christ had only one nature. In Armenia in 622, Heraclius said to the head of the Severian Monophysites that the divine and human natures in Christ, while distinct in his one person, had but one will and one operation. Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, was a strong proponent of the doctrine and was the emperor's adviser on it. In 638 Heraclius issued the Ekthesis ("Statement of Faith"), which formulated the position. This led to intense controversy and Heraclius' successor, Constans II, in 648, forbad all discussion of the question. As Constantine IV became emperor in 668, the controversy was revived, and he called a general council, which met at Constantinople in 680. It was preceded in the same year by a synod under Pope Agatho at Rome. According to Agatho, the will is a property of the nature, so that, as there are two natures, there are two wills. The third Council of Constantinople condemned Monothelitism and asserted two wills and two operations in the person of Christ.

334- Montanism
Montanism, also called Cataphrygian Heresy, or New Prophecy, was a heretical movement founded by the prophet Montanus in the Christian church in Phrygia, Asia Minor, in the 2nd century AD. The Montanist writings have perished, except for brief references preserved by ecclesiastical writers. The chief sources for the history of the movement are Eusebius' Historia ecclesiastica (Ecclesiastical History), the writings of Tertullian and Epiphanius, and inscriptions, particularly those in central Phrygia. The movement spread throughout Asia Minor where many towns were almost completely converted to Montanism. After the first enthusiasm had waned, the followers of Montanus were found predominantly in the rural districts. The essential principle of Montanism was that the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, whom Jesus had promised in the Gospel According to John, was manifesting himself to the world through Montanus. At first he did not either deny the doctrines of the church or attack the authority of the bishops. Montanus claimed to have the final revelation of the Holy Spirit and this implied that something could be added to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles, and that the church had to accept a fuller revelation. Montanism was expecting the imminent Second Coming of Christ and taught a legalistic moral rigor. When it was clear that it was an attack on the Catholic faith, the bishops of Asia Minor gathered in synods and excommunicated the Montanists, probably about 177. Montanism then became a separate sect with its headquarters at Pepuza. It continued in the East until Emperor Justinian I (reigned 527-565) destroyed it, but some traces survived into the 9th century. The earliest record of any knowledge of Montanism in the West dates from 177, and 25 years later there was a group of Montanists in Rome. It was in Carthage in Africa, however, that the sect became important. There, its most illustrious convert was Tertullian, who became interested in Montanism around 206 and finally left the Catholic Church in 212-213. Montanism declined in the West early in the 5th century.

335- Myrrh
Myrrh is a dried aromatic gum resin, of which the true form is obtained from a balsam tree in Africa, India and Arabia. Myrrh consists of a mixture of resin, gum, and the essential oil myrrhol, which produces the characteristic odour. It has a bitter, pungent taste, and ranges in colour from yellowish brown to reddish brown. Myrrh was highly valued in ancient times as an ingredient of perfume and incense and was also used as an ointment. One of the three gifts of the Magi to Jesus Chris was myrrh. It was used in medicine and was a valuable gift.

336- Myrtle
Myrtle is an evergreen shrub much liked in Palestine. It grows wild in the mountains especially on Mount Carmel and in Gilead but it is also cultivated.

337- Myste (plural, Mystai) and Mystagogos
In the old Mystery cults, the initiate was called mystes, the introducing person mystagogos (leader of the mystes).

338- Mysteries
Mysteries were secret rites and ceremonies connected with various religious worships of ancient Greece and Rome. These rites and ceremonies were known and practised by congregations of men and women who had been duly initiated; no other persons were allowed to participate. This process included indoctrination, moral testing, and a rite of purification. The initiates promised never to reveal the group's secret ceremonies and doctrines. Mysteries have been part of many religions but their origin and purpose are unknown. The theory that the mysteries concealed deep truths and remnants of a primitive revelation too profound for the popular mind is no longer believed. However the sacred rituals brought to the initiates secret religious doctrines concerned with the continuance of life after death. The mysteries consisted of purifications, sacrificial offerings, processions, songs, dances, and dramatic performances. Often the birth, suffering, death, and resurrection of a god were enacted in dramatic form
The earliest and most important Greek mysteries were the Orphic, the Eleusinian, and the Dionysiac. The Orphic mysteries were those of a mystic cult founded, according to tradition, by the legendary poet and musician Orpheus. Far more celebrated were the Eleusinian mysteries, connected with the worship of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis in Attica. Feasts, processions, and musical and dramatic performances accompanied the worship of Dionysus, or Bacchus, at Athens. At first only women celebrated the mysteries. When they were finally opened to men, the gatherings were suspected of gross immoralities.
In ancient Rome, members of a cult called Mithraism practised mysteries. Only men could be initiated. Other mysteries practised in Rome were connected with the worship of the goddesses Cybele and Isis. Mysteries also became part of religious worship in early Christianity. Initially Christians received the Eucharist in secret rituals but after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the early 300's, the sacraments became public.

339- Mysticism
Mysticism is the belief that God or spiritual truths can be known through individual insight, rather than by reasoning or study. All the major religions include some form of mysticism. A person who has mystical experiences is called a mystic. Most mystics find such experiences difficult to describe. Many say they are filled with light, have visions, or hear inner music or voices. Some mystics feel that their spirits fly out of their bodies or become possessed by a higher power. During these experiences, mystics may feel ecstasy or great peace. Mysticism is an immediate, direct, intuitive knowledge of God or of ultimate reality attained through personal religious experience. The mystical life is characterised by enhanced vitality, productivity, serenity, and joy as the inner and outward aspects harmonise in union with God.
Mystics differ in their practice and experiences, even within the same religion. However, most mystics share three basic goals: (1) knowledge of a spiritual reality that exists beyond the everyday world, (2) spiritual union with some higher power, and (3) freedom from selfish needs and worldly desires. To attain these goals, mystics may isolate themselves from material comforts and other people. In addition, their discipline may involve extremes of mental and physical activity. Buddhist mystics may meditate for hours or even days without moving. Jews who belong to the Hasidic group often shout and twist their bodies while praying. Some members of the Islamic Sufi sect go into a trance as they perform a whirling dance.
Non-Christian Mysticism
Elaborate philosophical theories have been developed in an attempt to explain the phenomena of mysticism. Thus, in Hindu philosophy and particularly in the metaphysical system known as the Vedanta, the self or atman in man is identified with the supreme self, or Brahman, of the universe. The apparent separateness and individuality of beings and events are held to be an illusion (Sanskrit maya), or convention of thought and feeling. This illusion can be dispelled through the realisation of the essential oneness of atman and Brahman. When the religious initiate has overcome the beginningless ignorance (Sanskrit avidya) upon which depends the apparent separability of subject and object, of self and no self, a mystical state of liberation, or moksha, is attained. The Hindu philosophy of Yoga incorporates perhaps the most complete and rigorous discipline ever designed to transcend the sense of personal identity and to clear the way for an experience of union with the divine self. In China, Taoism, as expounded by its traditional founder, the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, has a strong mystical emphasis.
The philosophical ideas of the ancient Greeks were predominantly naturalistic and rationalistic, but an element of mysticism found expression in the Orphic and other sacred mysteries. A late Greek movement, Neoplatonism, was based on the philosophy of Plato and also shows the influence of the mystery religions. The Muslim Sufi sect embraces a form of theistic mysticism closely resembling that of the Vedanta.
Christian Mysticism
St. Paul was the first great Christian mystic. The New Testament writings best known for their deeply mystical emphasis are Paul's letters and the Gospel of John. Christian mysticism as a system, however, is derived from Neoplatonism through the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, or Pseudo-Dionysius.
In the Middle Ages mysticism was often associated with monasticism. Some of the most celebrated mystics are found among the monks of both the Eastern church and the Western church, particularly the 14th-century Hesychasts of Mount Áthos in the former, and Saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, and John of the Cross in the latter. St. Francis, who derived his mysticism directly from the New Testament, without reference to Neoplatonism, remains a dominant figure in modern mysticism. A number of the most distinguished Christian mystics have been women, notably St. Hildegard, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa of Ávila.
By its pursuit of spiritual freedom, sometimes at the expense of theological formulas and ecclesiastical discipline, mysticism may have contributed to the origin of the Reformation, although it inevitably came into conflict with Protestant, as it had with Roman Catholic, religious authorities.
Contemporary Mysticism
The 20th century has experienced a revival of interest in both Christian and non-Christian mysticism. The last half of the 20th century saw increased interest in Eastern mysticism. The mystical strain in Judaism, which received particular emphasis in the writings of the Cabalists of the Middle Ages and in the movement of the Hasidim of the 18th century, was again pointed up by the modern Austrian philosopher and scholar Martin Buber. Contemporary mystics of note are the French social philosopher Simone Weil, the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and the American Trappist monk Thomas Merton.

340- Mythology, myths
People have always tried to understand why certain things happen. For example, they have wanted to know why the sun rises and sets, and what causes lightning. They have also wanted to know how the earth was created and how, and where, humanity first appeared. Today, people have scientific answers and theories for many such questions about the world around them. But in earlier times -and in some parts of the world today- people lacked the knowledge to provide scientific answers. They explained natural events in terms of mythical stories about gods, goddesses, and heroes.

Mythology is the study and interpretation of myths. In general myth is a narrative that describes and portrays, in symbolic language, the origin of the basic elements and assumptions of a culture. Mythic narrative relates, for example, how the world began, how humans and animals were created, and how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activities originated. In early times, every society developed its own myths, which played an important part in the society's religious life. People usually consider their myths sacred and completely true.

We study myths to learn how a people developed a particular social system with its many customs and ways of life. By examining myths, we can better understand the feelings and values that bind members of society into one group. Most myths can be divided into two groups -creation myths and explanatory myths:
- Creation myths try to explain the origin of the world, the creation of human beings, and the birth of gods and goddesses.
- Explanatory myths try to explain natural processes or events.
Most myths concern divinities (divine beings) that have supernatural powers although many gods, goddesses, and heroes of mythology have human characteristics. They are guided by such emotions as love and jealousy, and they experience birth and death. A number of mythological figures even look like human beings. In many cases, the human qualities of the divinities reflect a society's ideals. Good gods and goddesses have the qualities a society admires, and evil ones have the qualities it dislikes.
Myths differ from fairy tales in that they refer to a time that is different from ordinary time.

In Greece myths, or mythos, have always been in tension with reason or logos. The Greek philosophers Xenophanes, Plato, and Aristotle, for example, exalted reason and made trenchant criticisms of myth as a proper way of knowing reality. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the notion of history has been opposed to myth. Complicating this opposition was the concept that the God of the Hebrews and Christians, although existing outside of ordinary time and space, was revealed to humanity within human history and society. The distinctions between reason and myth and between myth and history, although fundamental, were never quite absolute. Aristotle concluded that in some of the early Greek creation myths, logos and mythos overlapped. Plato used myths as allegory and also as literary devices in developing an argument. Mythos, logos, and history overlap in the Gospel of John in the New Testament; there, Jesus, the Christ, is portrayed as the Logos, who came from eternity into historical time.

The debate over whether myth, reason, or history best expresses the meaning of the reality of the gods, humans, and nature has continued in Western culture as a legacy from its earliest traditions. Among these traditions were the myths of the Greeks. Adopted and assimilated by the Romans, they furnished literary, philosophical, and artistic inspiration to such later periods as the Renaissance and the romantic era. The pagan tribes of Europe furnished another body of tradition.

The Enlightenment and the romantic movement of modern European culture stimulated interest in myth, both through theories about myth and through new academic disciplines. Enlightenment scholars tried to make sense of the seemingly irrational and fantastic mythic stories. Romantic scholars tended to view myth as an irreducible form of human expression: For them, myth, as a mode of thinking and perception, possessed prestige equal to or sometimes greater than the rational grasp of reality.

Types of Myth
Myths may be classified according to the dominant theme they portray.
- Cosmogonic Myths
Usually the most important myth in a culture is the cosmogonic myth that relates how the entire world came into being. In some narratives, as in the Book of Genesis as well as in Egyptian, Australian, Greek, and Mayan myths, the creation of the world proceeds from nothing (creatio ex nihilo). Other cosmogonic myths describe creation as an emergence from the lower worlds. Another kind of cosmogonic myth is the world-parent myth. In the Babylonian creation story Enuma elish, the world parents, Apsu and Tiamat, bear offspring who later find themselves opposed to their parents. The offspring defeat the parents in a battle, and from the immolated body of Tiamat the world is created. In other world-parent myths from the Egyptians, Zuñi, and Polynesians, the parents beget offspring but remain in close embrace; the offspring live in darkness, and in the desire for light they push the parents apart, creating a space for the deities to make a human world. A motif of several cosmogonic myths is the act of sacrifice. In the Babylonian myth Tiamat's sacrificed body is the earth, and in the Hindu myth that is recounted in the Rig-Veda, the entire world is the result of a sacrifice by the gods.
Related to cosmogonic myths, but at the other extreme, are myths describing the end of the world (eschatological myths) or the coming of death into the world. They presuppose the creation of the world by a moral divine being, which in the end destroys the world.
Myths of the origin of death describe how death entered the world. In these myths death is not present in the world for a long period of time, but enters it through an accident or because someone simply forgets the message of the gods concerning human life. In Genesis, death enters when human beings overstep the proper limits of their knowledge.
- Myths of Culture Heroes
Other myths describe the actions and character of beings that are responsible for the discovery of a particular cultural artefact or technological process. These are the myths of the culture hero. In Greek mythology Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods, is a prototype of this kind of figure.
- Myths of Birth and Rebirth
Usually related to initiation rituals, myths of birth and rebirth tell how life can be renewed, time reversed, or humans transmuted into new beings.
- Foundation Myths
Since the beginnings of cities sometime in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC, some creation myths have recounted the founding of cities. Cities developed out of ceremonial centres seen as extraordinary manifestations of sacred power.

Mythology has attracted scholars in many fields. Some have studied myths with the aid of materials from history, archaeology, anthropology, and other disciplines. Others have found in myth materials of use in their respective fields-linguistics and psychology, for example.

Some explanatory myths deal with illness and death. Many ancient societies -as well as some primitive present-day societies- believed that a person dies because of some act by a mythical being. Some myths, through the actions of particular gods and heroes, stress proper behaviour. The ancient Greeks strongly believed in moderation. They found this ideal in the behaviour of Apollo, the god of purity, music, and poetry.
Mythical beings fall into several groups. Many gods and goddesses resemble human beings, even though they have supernatural powers. These gods and goddesses were born, fell in love, fought with one another, and generally behaved like their human worshipers. Another group of mythical beings includes gods and goddesses who resemble animals. A third group of mythical beings has no specific name. These beings were neither completely human nor completely animal. An example is the famous sphinx of Egypt, which has a human head and a lion's body.

Human beings play an important part in mythology. Many myths deal with the relationships between mortals and divinities. Some mythical mortals have a divine father and a mortal mother. These human characters are called heroes, though they do not always act heroically in the modern sense. Most stories about heroes are called epics rather than myths, but the difference between the two is not always clear.

Many myths describe places where demons, gods and goddesses, or the souls of the dead live. Most of these places are in the sky or on top of a high mountain. The people believed that the divinities could see everything, and so they located them in a place higher than mortals could reach. Mythical places exist in the mythologies of most peoples. Perhaps the most sacred place in Japanese mythology is Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan. During part of their history, the Greeks believed their divinities lived on a mythical Mount Olympus. The Greeks also believed in mythical places beneath the ground, such as Hades, where the souls of the dead lived Mythical symbols.

341- Naassenes
The Naassenes were members of a Christian Gnostic school that believed that there was one spiritual system underlying the mythology of all religions. Their initiates were also initiated in the Pagan mysteries of the Great Mother. They claimed the Pagan poet Homer as their prophet and they believed that their Jewish Godman Jesus was the same as the many important mythical Pagan Godmen: Osiris, Attis, Adonis, Pan, Bacchus, … The name is derived from "Nass" meaning "serpent".

342- Nag Hammadi
The place in Egypt where the Dead Sea Scrolls were first found in 1945.

343- Nahum
Nahum is the seventh of 12 Old Testament books known as the Minor Prophets. The book is an "oracle concerning Nineveh" and attributes it to the "vision of Nahum of Elkosh. "The fall of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, provided the occasion for this prophetic oracle. The mighty Assyrian Empire, a threat to the smaller nations of the ancient Middle East, was a particular menace to the Israelite people. Its decline in the face of the Neo-Babylonian power of the Medes and the Chaldeans and its final collapse in the destruction of Nineveh (612 BC) gave the prophet Nahum cause for extolling these events, which, he announced. They occurred because Assyria's policies were not in accord with God's will.

344- Nature Worship
Nature worship is a religious practice that has been followed by various cultures throughout history. It is based on the belief that nature is a god or a group of gods that can grant people favours and protect them from evil. It is directed to nature as a deified collective entity or to all things in nature, including the elements, celestial bodies, plants, animals, and humanity. The worship of the elements does not seem to occur in the most rudimentary religions but frequently arises in later stages of religious development. The worship of fire, found among many primitive peoples, reached its highest development in the ancient Parsis sect of Persia. Celestial bodies have been deified in the religious systems of primitive and highly civilised peoples alike. It reached a high state of development among the Native Americans of Mexico and Peru and early American Indians in agricultural areas asked the rain god for rain to make their crops grow. The sun was also a Hindu deity, regarded as maleficent by the Dravidians of southern India, but considered benevolent by the Munda of the central parts. The Babylonians were sun worshipers, and in ancient Persia worship of the sun was an integral part of the elaborate cult of Mithras. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god Ra; they also apotheosised the moon and the star Sirius. Plants and trees have been worshipped as totems or because of their usefulness, beauty, or fear-inspiring aspect.

345- Nazarene
Nazarene is a title applied to Jesus in the New Testament and, later, to those who followed his teachings (Acts 24:5). In the Greek text there appear two forms of the word:
- The simple form, Nazarenos, meaning "of Nazareth".
- The peculiar form, Nazoraios. This term may have referred to a Jewish sect of "observants," or "devotees," and was later used to describe the Christians.
The members of a Syrian Judeo-Christian sect of the 4th century AD were also called Nazarenes. Although they accepted the divinity of Christ and his supernatural birth, the Nazarenes also maintained strict observance of Jewish laws and customs, a practice abandoned by the majority of Jewish Christians. They used a version of the Gospel in Aramaic called the "Gospel According to the Hebrews", or the "Gospel of the Nazarenes". Arabs and Jews today employ the word Nazarene as a general designation for those of the Christian faith.

346- Nazareth
Nazareth is the town from which Jesus came from according to the Bible and where he lived as a young boy with his parents. It is believed that it was a town or village in Galilee but we do not know where it was at that time, as it is not mentioned in the Old Testament or in Josephus. Christ was later rejected by the town's inhabitants and made Capernaum his headquarters. Modern Nazareth is a town in northern Israel, in lower Galilee, near Haifa.

347- Nazarites
Nazarite, (the "separated" or "consecrated") was the name given to the persons in ancient Israel who devoted themselves to Yahweh by observing certain taboos (abstaining from wine and unclean food, leaving hair uncut, avoidance of contact with dead persons, etc.).

348- Necromancy
Necromancy is the practise of communicating with the dead, usually to foresee the future or to accomplish some otherwise impossible task. Necromancy existed in ancient times among the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans. In medieval Europe, it was associated with black (that is harmful, or antisocial) magic and was condemned by the church. In case of a premature or violent death, the corpse was thought to retain some vitality; the use of parts of corpses as ingredients of charms came to be an important technique of witchcraft. Necromancy was especially popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

349- Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism is the modern name given to the form of Platonism developed by Plotinus in the 3rd century AD and modified by his successors. It dominated the Greek philosophical schools and remained predominant until the teaching of philosophy by pagans ended in the second half of the 6th century AD. It represents the final form of pagan Greek philosophy. A Gnostic influence may be seen in the thought of Plotinus. Conversely, some elements of popular Platonism can always be found in the Gnostic systems.
Neoplatonism began as a complex philosophy and grew in a variety of forms over a long period. Neoplatonist philosophers seem always to have included the following in their teachings:
-1. A plurality of levels of being, arranged in hierarchical descending order, the last and lowest comprising the physical universe, which exists in time and space and is perceptible to the senses.
-2. Each level of being is derived from its superior, a derivation that is not a process in time or space.
-3. Each derived being is established in its own reality.
-4. Each level of being is an image or expression on a lower level of the one above it. The relation of archetype and image runs through all Neoplatonic schemes.
-5. Degrees of being are also degrees of unity; as one goes down the scale of being there is greater multiplicity, more separateness, and increasing limitation.
-6. The highest level of being derives from the ultimate principle, which is absolutely free from determinations and limitations and utterly transcends any conceivable reality, so that it may be said to be "beyond being." Because it has no limitations, it has no division, attributes, or qualifications; it cannot really be named, or even properly described as being, but may be called "the One" to designate its complete simplicity.
-7. Since this supreme principle is absolutely simple and undetermined, man's knowledge of it must be different from any other kind of knowledge.

350- Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christian doctrine proposed by Nestorius, archbishop of Constantinople from 428 to 431. Nestorius preached a variant of the orthodox doctrine concerning the nature of Jesus Christ. The orthodox doctrine is that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human, which although distinct are joined in one Person and Substance; Nestorius claimed that in Christ a divine and a human Person acted as one, but did not join to compose the unity of a single individual. Also, according to Nestorius, the Virgin Mary could not be called Mother of God, as she was termed by more orthodox Christians, because her son, Jesus, was born as a man, his divine nature being derived not from her but from the Father who begot him. The doctrines of Nestorius spread throughout the Byzantine Empire during the early 5th century and caused much argument. In 431 the Council of Ephesus declared the Nestorian beliefs to be a heresy, deposed Nestorius and drove him out of the empire and he died in exile, and persecuted his followers.
The sect continued to flourish in Arabia, Syria, and Palestine, and had missions in China, India, and Egypt. But it split into two groups in the 1500's. One group, now known as the Chaldean Christians, transferred its allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. The other group maintained its old traditions.

351- Nicaea, Councils of
Two ecumenical councils of the Christian church were held at Nicaea (now Oznik, Turkey), a city of ancient Bithynia, in Asia Minor.
First Council of Nicaea
Held in 325, this first ecumenical council was convened by Constantine the Great, Emperor of Rome, to settle the Arian dispute concerning the nature of Jesus Christ. Arius was a priest of Alexandria who believed that Christ is not of the same essence as God. Of the 1800 bishops in the Roman Empire, 318 attended the council. The Nicene Creed, which defined the Son as con-substantial with the Father, was adopted as the official position of the church regarding the divinity of Christ. The council also fixed the celebration of Easter on the Sunday after the Jewish Pesach, or Passover.
Second Council of Nicaea
Held in 787, the second council of Nicaea was the seventh ecumenical council. It was convened by Irene, empress of the East, and attended by 350 bishops, most of whom were Byzantine. Irene's deceased husband had forbidden the use of images for any purpose. The council revoked that decision and allowed again the veneration of images and ordered their restoration in churches.

352- Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed, also called Niceno-constantinopolitan Creed, is the only true ecumenical Christian statement of faith because it is accepted as authoritative by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches. The Apostles' and Athanasian creeds are accepted by some but not all of these churches. Until the early 20th century, it was assumed that the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed was a modification of the Creed of Nicaea promulgated at the Council of Nicaea (325). This modification, approved at the Council of Constantinople (381), aimed to update the Creed of Nicaea in regard to heresies about the Incarnation and the Holy Spirit. New discoveries showed that the Council of Constantinople issued it even though this fact was first explicitly stated at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It was probably based on a baptismal creed already in existence, but it was an independent document, and not an enlargement of the Creed of Nicaea.

353- Noesis or intuition
Noesis means intuition. In philosophy, intuition means the power of obtaining knowledge that cannot be acquired by observation. Intuition is thought of as an original, independent source of knowledge. Knowledge of necessary truths and of moral principles is sometimes explained in this way. Some necessary truth can be inferred, or logically derived, from others. The interconnected character of such a system, the derivability of statements from axioms, presupposes rules of inference. Axioms are ordinarily truisms; consequently, self-evidence may be taken as a mark of intuition. To "see" that one statement follows from another, that a particular inference is valid, enables one to make an "intuitive induction" of the validity of all inferences of that kind. Other non-formal necessary truths are also explained as intuitive inductions. The same argument can be brought against both theories. The axioms of logic and morality do not require for their interpretation a special source of knowledge, since neither records discoveries. Two further technical senses of intuition may be briefly mentioned. One, deriving from Immanuel Kant, is that in which it is understood as referring to the source of all knowledge of matters of fact not based on, or capable of being supported by, observation. The other is the sense attached to the word by Benedict.

354- Nous
In a first act of becoming self-conscious the Logos recognizes itself as the divine mind (Greek: nous), or divine world reason, which was characterized by the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus as the "Son" who goes forth from the Father. The next step by which the transcendent God becomes self-conscious consists in the appearance in the divine nous of the divine world, the idea of the world in its individual forms as the content of the divine consciousness. In Neoplatonic philosophy both the nous and the idea of the world are designated the hypostases of the transcendent God.
Anaxagoras (c.500-c.428 B.C.), the Greek philosopher, was the first to introduce a dualistic explanation of universe: held that all natural objects are composed of infinitesimally small particles containing mixtures of all qualities. That mind or intelligence (nous) acts upon masses of these particles to produce objects. Anaxagoras said that "Nous (or Mind)" was the principle of order for all things as well as the principle of their movement. It is the finest and purest of things and is diffused throughout the universe.

355- Novatians
Novatian (about 200-258) was a Roman theologian who became the second antipope in 251. A leader among the Roman clergy, Novatian espoused a rigorism in church discipline that was akin to Montanism.
After the martyrdom of Pope Fabian in 250 during the persecutions of Emperor Decius, the Roman church postponed electing a successor. In 251 the church elected Cornelius as pope. Cornelius advocated the forgiveness and re-admittance of Christians who had committed apostasy under persecution. Novatian, however, believed that after baptism there could be no forgiveness for grave sins. He had himself consecrated pope by three bishops from southern Italy and went into schism with his followers; in 251 Cornelius excommunicated them. The Novatianists established their own church, which endured until the Council of Nicaea formally reunited them with the Catholic Church in 325. Novatian himself is thought to have been martyred during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Valerian. Novatian was the first Roman theologian to write in Latin.

356- Obadiah
Obadiah is the shortest book of the Old Testament, consisting of only one chapter of 21 verses. It is the fourth of 12 short prophetic books known, primarily because of their brevity, as the Minor Prophets. Tradition attributes it to the 6th-century BC Hebrew prophet Obadiah, but many modern scholars question the unity of the book and ascribe it to more than one author, one of which may have been Obadiah.

357- Oblate
Oblate (from Latin oblatus, "one offered up"), in Roman Catholicism describes a layperson connected with a religious order or institution and living according to its rules. Oblate is also the name applied to children placed in a monastery at an early age to be reared by the monks according to the Benedictine Rule; or a member of either the Oblates of Mary Immaculate or the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

358- Oblations
Oblations is a religious rite in which an object is offered to a divinity in order to establish, maintain, or restore a right relationship of a human being to the sacred order. It is a phenomenon that already existed in the earliest known forms of worship and in all parts of the world.

359- Occultism
Occultism (Latin occulere, "to hide") is the belief in the efficacy of various practices -including astrology, alchemy, divination, and magic- regarded as being based on hidden knowledge about the universe and its mysterious forces. People who believe in occultism consider it to be based on hidden knowledge that ordinary people do not have. Occult knowledge is believed to be obtained through initiation, or through the study of the texts in which it is expounded.
There are occult practices within nearly all traditional civilisations. Western occultism has its roots in ancient Babylonian and Egyptian lore, especially as recorded and transmitted through Neoplatonism and the Hermetic books. Powerfully augmented by Jewish mysticism, occultism was an obscure but important presence in the European Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century). Medieval occult practice included also ceremonial magic rites for evoking spiritual beings
Along with the rediscovery of classical learning, the Renaissance (15th century to 17th century) witnessed a burgeoning of occultism. In Florence, Italy, the court of the Medici sponsored a revival of Neoplatonism by establishing a Platonic Academy. Fraternal orders such as the Rosicrucians also pursued esoteric wisdom. In the late medieval and early modern period (13th century to 15th century) occultism came to be regarded by the church as connected with the worship of Satan. This development resulted in the persecution of witchcraft during the Renaissance, when thousands of women were tortured and killed under the accusation -usually false- that they engaged in occult practices.
Occultism was "re-invented" in the 19th-century as the Spiritualism movement, the Theosophical Society (1875), and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1889). In the 20th century, another rebirth of occultism can be seen in the counterculture movement of the 1960s, with its interest in astrology, divination, and magic. The New Age movement of the 1980s and 1990s may be considered another manifestation of occultism. Until the late 1800's most scientists considered hypnotism an occult practice that is now well accepted in medicine and psychology.

360- Ogdoad
The essential function of any religious dualism is to account for a duality of opposed principles in being. Dualism has a basically cosmological function, the explanation of the structure of the universe, as well as a cosmogonic function, the explanation of the origin of the universe. On a cosmogonic level, dualistic opposition may also be manifest in the celestial world. For instance in the late Zoroastrian there were opposition between the "good" fixed stars and the "bad" planets; also between the world of the Heptad (again the seven planets, under the dominion of the tyrannic archons, or rulers, that cause human passions) and the superior heaven of the Ogdoad (the group of eight divine beings or aeons. In short, the Ogdoad is the Eighth Sphere or Heaven and it is above the seven natural zones or planets.

361- Omophagia
Omophagia means the eating of raw flesh or raw food.

362- Oneness
The Oneness of God is a concept in the Pagan tradition. There were many gods and goddesses who are seen as different faces of the Oneness, the Supreme God, through whom initiates could relate with the Mystery.

363- Ophites
The Ophites (from Greek ophis, "serpent") are the members of several Gnostic sects that flourished in the Roman Empire during the 2nd century AD and for several centuries thereafter. A variety of Gnostic sects, such as the Naassenes and Cainites, are included under the designation Ophites. These sects' beliefs differed in various ways, but central to them all was a dualistic theology that opposed a purely spiritual Supreme Being, who was both the origin of the cosmic process and the highest good, to a chaotic and evil material world. To the Ophites, man's dilemma results from his being a mixture of these conflicting spiritual and material elements. Only gnosis, the esoteric knowledge of good and evil, can redeem man from the bonds of matter and make him aware of the unknown God who is the true source of all being. The Ophites regarded the Jehovah of the Old Testament as merely a demiurge, or subordinate deity who had created the material world. They attached special importance to the serpent in the biblical book of Genesis because he had enabled men to obtain the all-important knowledge of good and evil that Jehovah had withheld from them. Accordingly, the serpent was a true liberator of mankind since he first taught men to rebel against Jehovah and seek knowledge of the true, unknown God. The Ophites further regarded the Christ as a purely spiritual being who through his union with the man Jesus taught the saving gnosis.

364- Orphism
Orphism is the only Greek religion that had a founder, Orpheus. It is a Hellenistic mystery religion based on the teachings and songs of Orpheus. It is thought to have arisen in ancient Greece, although there is no historical evidence for it. Most scholars agree that by the 5th century BC there was at least an Orphic movement, with travelling priests who offered teaching and initiation. It was based on a body of legends and doctrines found by Orpheus. Orphic eschatology laid great stress on rewards and punishment after death, the soul then being freed to achieve its true life.

365- Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church is one of the three major branches of Christianity. It stands in historical continuity with the communities created by the apostles of Jesus in the region of the eastern Mediterranean and spreads by missionary activity throughout Eastern Europe in a second time. The word orthodox (from Greek "right-believing") implies the claim of doctrinal consistency with apostolic truth. The Orthodox Church has also established communities in Western Europe, the western hemisphere, and, more recently, Africa and Asia. Other designations, such as Orthodox Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox, are also used in reference to the Orthodox Church.
Structure and Organization
The Orthodox Church is a fellowship of independent churches each governed by its own head bishop. These autocephalous churches share a common faith, common principles of church policy and organization, and a common liturgical tradition. The languages used in worship and minor aspects of tradition differ from country to country. The head bishops of the autocephalous churches may be called patriarch, metropolitan, or archbishop. A "primacy of honour" belongs to the patriarch of Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) because the city was the seat of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine. The canonical rights of the patriarch of Constantinople were defined by the councils of Constantinople (381) and Chalcedon (451). In the 6th century he also assumed the title ecumenical patriarch. His position is simply a primacy among equals. Three other ancient Orthodox patriarchates owe their positions to their distinguished pasts: those in Alexandria, Egypt; Damascus, Syria (although the incumbent carries the ancient title patriarch of Antioch); and Jerusalem. The patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem are Greek speaking; the patriarch of Antioch heads a significant Arab Christian community in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. The patriarchate of Moscow and all Russia is the largest Orthodox Church today. It occupies the fifth place in the hierarchy of autocephalous churches, followed by the patriarchates of the Republic of Georgia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. The non-patriarchal churches are, in order of precedence, the archbishoprics of Cyprus, Athens (Greece), and Tirana (Albania) as well as the metropolitanates of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and America.
The autocephalous Orthodox Church in America, officially established in 1970, has as its stated goal the unification of all Orthodox Christians in the U.S. and Canada.
In its doctrinal statements and liturgical texts, the Orthodox Church strongly affirms that it holds the original Christian faith, which was common to East and West during the first millennium of Christian history. More particularly, it recognizes the authority of the ecumenical councils at which East and West were represented together. These were the councils of Nicaea I (325), Constantinople I (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (680), and Nicaea II (787). The concern for continuity and tradition does not imply worship of the past as such, but rather a sense of identity and consistency with the original apostolic witness. The Holy Spirit, bestowed on the church at Pentecost, is seen as guiding the whole church "in all truth" (John 16:13). The power of teaching and guiding the community is bestowed on certain ministries or is manifested through certain institutions (such as councils). The ecumenical councils of the first millennium defined the basic Christian doctrines on the Trinity, on the unique Person and the two natures of Christ, and on his two wills. These doctrines are forcefully expressed in all Orthodox statements of faith and in liturgical hymns. Also, in light of this traditional doctrine on the Person of Christ, the Virgin Mary is venerated as Mother of God Mary. The doctrine of seven sacraments is generally accepted in the Orthodox Church. The central sacrament is the Eucharist; the others are baptism, normally by immersion; confirmation, which follows baptism immediately in the form of anointment with chrism; penance; Holy Orders; marriage; and anointment of the sick. Orthodox canonical legislation admits married men to the priesthood. Bishops, however, are elected from among celibate or widowed clergy. The Orthodox liturgy has been, throughout the centuries of Muslim rule in the Middle East, an instrument of religious survival. It preserves texts and forms dating from the earliest Christian church. The most frequently used Eucharistic rite is traditionally attributed to St. John Chrysostom. In both cases, the Eucharistic prayer of consecration culminates with an invocation of the Holy Spirit. One of the major characteristics of Orthodox worship is a great wealth of hymns. Created during the Byzantine Middle Ages, this liturgical system is still being developed through the addition of hymns honouring new saints. The liturgical and the artistic developments in Orthodoxy are connected with the history of monasticism. Christian monasticism first began in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor and, for centuries, attracted the elite of Eastern Christians into its ranks. Based on the traditional vows of celibacy, obedience, and poverty, it took different forms, ranging from the disciplined community life of monasteries such as the Stoudios, in Constantinople, to the eremitic and individual asceticism of the Hesychasts (from Greek hesychia, "quietude").
Constantinople remained the most important centre of Christendom during most of the Middle Ages. Between Constantinople and Rome, tensions periodically arose after the 4th century. After the fall of Rome (476) to Germanic invaders, the Roman pope was the only guardian of Christian universalism in the West. He began to attribute his primacy to Rome's being the burial place of St. Peter. The Eastern Christians respected that tradition and attributed to the Roman bishop a measure of moral and doctrinal authority. The patriarchate of Constantinople understood its own position to be determined exclusively by the fact that Constantinople, the "new Rome," was the seat of the emperor and the Senate. The two interpretations of primacy -"apostolic" in the West, "pragmatic" in the East- coexisted for centuries, and tensions were resolved in a conciliar way. Secondary in themselves, these conflicts could not be resolved because the two sides followed different criteria of judgment: The papacy considered itself the ultimate judge in matters of faith and discipline, whereas the East invoked the authority of councils, where the local churches spoke as equals. In the late medieval period, several attempts made at reunion, particularly in Lyons (1274) and in Florence (1438-39), ended in failure. The papal claims to ultimate supremacy could not be reconciled with the conciliar principle of Orthodoxy, and the religious differences were aggravated by cultural and political misunderstandings. After the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453, they recognized the ecumenical patriarch of that city as both the religious and the political spokesman for the entire Christian population of the Turkish Empire. The Orthodox Church in Russia declared its independence from Constantinople in 1448. In 1589 the patriarchate of Moscow was established and formally recognized by Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople. Except for the brief reign of Patriarch Nikon in the mid-17th century, the patriarchs of Moscow and the Russian church were entirely subordinate to the czars. In 1721, Czar Peter the Great abolished the patriarchate and thereafter the church was governed through the imperial administration. The patriarchate was re-established in 1917, at the time of the Russian Revolution, but the Communist government persecuted the church.

366- Ousia
The process of emanation is implicit in the concept of a Syzygy. The interrelated opposites, which form the poles of a Syzygy, are called "Ousia" and "hypostasis" and they can be understood as "Subject" and "Object".
The Greek concepts of ousia (nature or essence) and hypostasis (entity, equivalent to person) -in Latin these terms became substantia and persona- have been the object of debates in the Roman Christian Church. Christ was said to have two natures, one of which was of the same nature (homoousios) as the Father, whereas the other was of the same nature as humanity; and the Trinity was said to consist of one ousia in three hypostases. The Platonic origin of this conceptuality is clear in the explanation of the Cappadocian Fathers that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share the same divine ousia in the way Peter, James, and John shared the same humanity.

367- Outer Mysteries
Mysteries, in religion, are secret ceremonies. There are generally two levels of knowledge in most Mysteries. The first level, also known as "Outer Mysteries" can be revealed to most people. The higher level, known as "Inner Mysteries" is given and can be witnessed or participated in only by people who belong to, or are about to join, the group that practices them.
Today some people believe that the knowledge given to the ordinary members of Christian Churches -above all the doctrine contained in the Bible- can be described as "Outer Mysteries or Outer Knowledge". On the other hand the top level of the Church hierarchy are assumed to received further knowledge described as "Inner Mysteries Inner Knowledge".

368- Paean
A Paean as a solemn choral lyric of invocation, joy, or triumph. They originated in ancient Greece where they were addressed to Apollo in his guis0e as Paean, physician to the gods. Paeans were sung at banquets at the festivals of Apollo, and at public funerals. It was the custom for them to be sung by an army on the march and before going into battle, when a fleet left the harbour, and after a victory. Paeans were later addressed to other gods as well as to men who were more or less deified for their achievements.

369- Paganism
Paganism is the concept that describes beliefs and practices associated with the worship of nature. Paganism takes many forms such as pantheism (belief that the whole of reality is divine), polytheism (belief in many gods), and animism (belief that natural features of the world are invested with divine power). The three major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have used the term to describe the indigenous religions they encountered -and often replaced.

370- Panentheism
Panentheism is a middle way between the denial of individual freedom and creativity that represent many of the varieties of pantheism and the remoteness of the divine Classical Theism. It supports for the ideal of human freedom and provides grounds for a positive appreciation of temporal process, while removing some of the ethical paradoxes confronting deterministic views. It supports the sacramental value of reverence for life. At the same time the theme of participation with the divine leads naturally to self-fulfilment as the goal of life.

371- Pantheism
Pantheism doctrine maintains that the universe, conceived as a whole, is God and, conversely, that there is no God but the combined substance, forces, and laws that are manifested in the existing universe. The cognate doctrine of panentheism asserts that God includes the universe as a part though not the whole of his being. Both "pantheism" and "panentheism" are terms of recent origin, coined to describe certain views of the relationship between God and the world that are different from that of traditional Theism. Both of the terms stress the all-embracing inclusiveness of God, as compared with his separateness as emphasized in many versions of Theism. On the other hand, pantheism and panentheism, since they stress the theme of immanence are themselves versions of Theism conceived in its broadest meaning. Pantheism stresses the identity between God and the world, panentheism that the world is included in God but that God is more than the world.

372- Papyrus, Papyri
Papyrus is a writing material of ancient times and also the plant from which it was derived, Cyperus papyrus. The papyrus plant was long-cultivated in the Nile delta region in Egypt and was collected for its stalk or stem, whose central pith was cut into thin strips, pressed together, and dried to form a smooth, thin writing surface. The ancient Egyptians used the stem of the papyrus plant to make sails, cloth, mats, cords, and, above all, paper. Paper made from papyrus was the chief writing material in ancient Egypt, was adopted by the Greeks, and was used extensively in the Roman Empire. It was used not only for the production of books (in roll or scroll form) but also for correspondence and legal documents. Papyrus was cultivated and used for writing material by the Arabs of Egypt down to the time when the growing manufacture of paper from other plant fibres in the 8th and 9th centuries AD rendered papyrus unnecessary. By the 3rd century AD, papyrus had already begun to be replaced in Europe by the less-expensive vellum, or parchment, but the use of papyrus for books and documents persisted sporadically until about the 12th century.

373- Parables
Parable is the name given originally by Greek rhetoricians to a literary illustration. In the New Testament it signifies a short, fictitious narrative, designed to illuminate a spiritual truth.

374- Paradise
Paradise (Greek paradeisos, "garden, orchard, paradise") is the term used for Eden as the first place where humankind lived or as a symbol for the state of innocence that ended with the Fall; also, the poetic term for heaven as a place of bliss.

375- Paradosis
The Pagan Gnostics call the second stage of initiation "paradosis", meaning "transmission" (the first stage is called "catharmos"). This second stage of initiation involves the transmission of esoteric philosophy.

376- Parousia
Parousia (presence or arrival) is a New Testament word that describes the second coming of Christ. The First Christians thought the Parousia would come soon and would mean the end of the world. Its non-arrival affected Christianity in depth.

377- Parthians
The Parthians were a tribe of Iranian nomads (the Parni) that, led by Arsaces, seized the satrapy of Parthava about 247 BC from the weakened Seleucid government. Later on they extended greatly their zone of influence. They founded a powerful dynasty in Persia and remaining in power until 226 AD when the Sassanians ended their rule. They took over Palestine in about 40 BC during the reign of Herod the Great, but they soon were thrown out again.

378- Passover
Passover is an important Jewish festival commemorating the exodus of the Hebrews led by Moses from Egypt and their safe flight across the Red Sea. The name of the festival (pesach, Hebrew for "passing over" or "protection") is derived from the instructions given to Moses by God. In order to encourage the Egyptians to allow the Hebrews to leave Egypt, God intends to "smite all the first-born … both man and beast" in the land. To protect themselves, the Hebrews are told to mark their dwellings with lamb's blood so that God can identify and thus pass over them.
The celebration of the holiday begins after sundown on the 14th day of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish ecclesiastical year. In accordance with rabbinic law, Jews living outside the limits of ancient Palestine celebrate the holiday for eight days and partake of a ceremonial meal, known as the Seder, on the first two nights. The Seder consists of prescribed foods, each of which symbolizes some aspect of the ordeal undergone by the Hebrews during their enslavement in Egypt. During the Seder the narrative of the exodus is recounted and prayers of thanksgiving are offered up to God for his loving protection. Jews living within the limits of ancient Palestine celebrate Passover for seven days, conducting a Seder only on the first night.
Throughout the holiday the Orthodox Jew must abstain from eating leavened bread. Orthodox Jewish tradition prescribes that, during Passover, meals be prepared and served using sets of utensils and dishes reserved strictly for that festival.

379- Patarini
In Italy the Cathar heresy appeared in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Milanese adherents of the heresy were known as Patarini (or Patarines), from Pataria, a street in Milan frequented by rag gatherers. The Patarine movement assumed some importance in the 11th century as a reform movement, emphasising action by lay-people against a corrupt clergy.

380- Paulicians
In Christian church history, the Paulicians are described as members of a heretical sect in the East, with a basis in ethical dualism and growing probably out of opposition to the hierarchical structure of the church. Their founder was Silvanus-Constantine of Mananali (flourished 7th century), who established his first congregation in Armenia about 660. He was put to death by order of the Byzantine emperor Constantine IV, but the sect survived. Although defeated decisively by the Byzantine emperor Basil I in 872, they remained a military power, notably in Thrace (now in Bulgaria), during the next century. The sect fused there with the Bogomils, who survived into the 15th century, and some present-day Armenian sects may be derived from the Paulicians. The sect rejected, in addition to church hierarchy, the Old Testament and parts of the New Testament, as well as the sacraments of baptism, the Eucharist, and marriage. Paulicians were also iconoclasts.

381- Paulists
By the middle of the first century AD there were at least three schools of Christian Gnosticism. Among them was the Paulist School (the other were the Simonians and the Ebionites). They were divided by the definition of the relationship of Christianity to traditional Jewish religions. The Simonians were radical internationalists and rejected Judaism and their god Jehovah as Literalist nonsense. The Ebionites were nationalist who saw Christianity as a Jewish cult and wanted Christians to conform to all the traditional Jewish religious customs.
The Paulists were also internationalists who wanted to free Christianity from close ties with Judaism, but their view was more moderate. They saw Christianity as fulfilling, and therefore surpassing Judaism.

382- Pelagianism
Pelagianism was a 5th-century Christian heresy taught by Pelagius and his followers that stressed the essential goodness of human nature and the freedom of the human will. Pelagius was concerned about the low moral standards among Christians, and he hoped to improve their conduct by his teachings. Rejecting the arguments of those who claimed that they sinned because of human weakness, he insisted that God made human beings free to choose between good and evil and that sin is a voluntary act committed by a person against God's law. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, who asserted that human beings could not attain righteousness by their own efforts and were totally dependent upon the grace of God, opposed Pelagianism. Condemned by two councils of African bishops in 416, and again at Carthage in 418, Pelagius was excommunicated in 418; Pelagius' later fate is unknown.

383- Pentateuch
The word Pentateuch (Greek penta, "five"; teuch, "book") designates the first five books of the Old Testament that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

384- Pentecost
Pentecost (Greek pentecoste, "fiftieth"), in Christianity, is a festival observed on the seventh Sunday (50th day) after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles as they celebrated the ancient Jewish feast of Shabuoth. In the early church it was a time for administration of the sacrament of baptism, and in the Church of England and other Anglican churches the festival is called Whitsunday in allusion to the white robes traditionally worn by the newly baptized.

385- Peraea
Peraea is a region of Palestine.

386- Persia, Ancient religion
The Persians believed in gods of nature, such as the sun and sky. The people believed the gods had social powers. Mithra, the god of light controlled contracts. The Persians had no temples. They prayed and offered sacrifices on mountains.
Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), a prophet who lived sometime between 1400 and 1000 B.C., reformed the ancient religion. He preached a faith based on good thoughts, words, and deeds, emphasising a supreme god called Ahura Mazda, "the wise spirit." Zoroaster's followers, called Zoroastrians, gradually spread his religion throughout Persia. The teachings of Zoroaster are found in the Gathas, part of a holy book known as the Avesta.

387- Pharisees
Pharisees were the members of a Jewish sect or, more correctly, a Jewish school probably dating from the 2nd century BC. Their chief tendency was to resist all Greek or other foreign influences that threatened to undermine the sacred religion of their fathers, and they took their stand most emphatically upon Divine Law. They originated as the Hasidim, becoming known as Pharisees when John Hyrcanus was high priest of Judea. The Pharisees wished the state and all public and political affairs to be directed and measured by the standard of Divine Law.
Their doctrine was of an ethical, spiritual, and sometimes mystical Judaism. They helped the religion to survive the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and, later, they became the dominant form of Judaism.

388- Philistine
The Philistines were non-Semitic sea-faring people of Aegean origin. They are mentioned in Egyptian records as prst, one of the Sea Peoples that invaded Egypt in about 1190 BC after ravaging Anatolia, Cyprus, and Syria. After being repulsed, they occupied the coastal plain of Palestine from Joppa southward to the Gaza Strip in the 12th century BC. The area contained the five cities (the Pentapolis) of the Philistine confederacy (Gaza, Ashkelon [Ascalon], Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron) and was known as Philistia from which name the whole of the country was later called Palestine by the Greeks. The Philistines expanded into neighbouring areas and soon came into conflict with the Israelites. With their superior arms and military organization the Philistines were able (c. 1050) to occupy part of the Judaean hill country. They were defeated by the Israelite king David (10th century), and after their history was that of cities rather than of a people. After the division of Judah and Israel (10th century), the Philistines regained their independence. By the early part of the 7th century, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Ashdod, and probably Gath were vassals of the Assyrian rulers; but during the second half of that century the cities became Egyptian vassals. With the conquests of the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II (605-562) in Syria and Palestine, the Philistine cities became part of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. In later times they came under the control of Persia, Greece, and Rome. There are no documents in the Philistine language, which was probably replaced by Canaanite, Aramaic, and, later, Greek. Not much is known of the Philistine religion, since all their gods mentioned in biblical and other sources have Semitic names and were probably borrowed from the conquered Canaanites.

389- Phoenicia
Phoenicia is the ancient name of a narrow strip of territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, now largely in modern Lebanon. The territory, about 320 km long and from 8 to 25 km wide, was bounded on the east by the Lebanon Mountains. The southern boundary was Mount Carmel; the northern boundary was generally accepted to be the Eleutherus River, now called the Kabìr, which forms the northern boundary of Lebanon.
Although its inhabitants had a homogeneous civilization and considered themselves a single nation, Phoenicia was not a unified state but a group of city-kingdoms, one of which usually dominated the others. The most important of these cities were Simyra, Zarephath (Sarafand), Byblos, Jubeil, Arwad (Rouad), Acco ('Akko), Sidon (Sayda), Tripolis (Tripoli), Tyre (Sur), and Berytus (Beirut). The two most dominant were Tyre and Sidon, which alternated as sites of the ruling power.

390- Phrygia
Phrygia is an ancient country of Asia Minor, in what is now Turkey; its boundaries varied greatly with time. Early in the 1st millennium BC it is believed to have comprised the greater part of the Anatolian Peninsula, but at the time of the Persian invasion in the 6th century BC it was limited to the districts known as Lesser Phrygia and Greater Phrygia. Lesser Phrygia stretched west along the shores of the Sea of Marmara and the Hellespont to Troas. Greater Phrygia lay farther east and inland, where the Phrygian capital, Gordium (near present-day Ankara), was located. In the 3rd century BC the Gauls occupied the northern part of Greater Phrygia. For purposes of provincial administration the Romans divided Phrygia into two parts, attaching the northeastern part to Galatia Province and the western portion to Asia Province.
The religion of the Phrygians was an ecstatic nature worship, in which the Great Mother of the Gods, Rhea, or Cybele, and a male deity, Sabazius, played a big part. The orgiastic rites of this religion influenced the Greeks and the Romans. The Phrygians were an Indo-European people who entered Asia Minor from Thrace about 1200 BC. The Phrygian cap, a cloth head-covering worn by the Phrygians, was adopted by freed slaves in Roman times, and thus this cap became a symbol of liberty.

391- Physis
If we represent the human body as a circle with radius and a centre, the circumference symbolises the body (Physis), the radius the soul (psyche) and the centre is the spirit known also as "pneuma" or "nous".
The concept "physis", from which we get the word "physical", describes our outer self, or material body.

392- Pistic Christians
Christians who claimed that man was saved by faith, which was to be demonstrated in legalistic and moral terms.

393- Pistis Sophia
Valentinus held that all human beings come from God and that all will in the end return to God. Other Gnostic groups held that there were three types of people -"spiritual," "psychic," and "material"- and that only the first two can be saved. The Pistis Sophia (Faith Wisdom, 3rd century) is preoccupied with the question of who finally will be saved. Those who are saved must renounce the world completely and follow the pure ethic of love and compassion before being identified with Jesus and become rays of the divine Light.
Almost the entire vast literature of Gnosticism has perished, and until recently the only original documents available to scholars were a handful of treatises in Coptic contained in three codices that were discovered in the 18th and late 19th centuries. An interesting one is Pistis Sophia consisting of conversations of the risen Jesus with his disciples about the fall and redemption of the aeon (emanation from the Godhead).

394- Platonism
Platonism is based primarily on the dialogues written by Plato. These can be read in many different ways resulting in many kinds of "Platonism" that only have in common an intense concern for the quality of human life -always ethical, often religious, and sometimes political, based on a belief in eternal realities, independent of the changing things of the world perceived by the senses. Platonism sees these realities both as the causes of the existence of everything in the universe and as giving value and meaning to its contents in general, and the life of its inhabitants in particular. It is this belief in absolute values rooted in an eternal world that distinguishes Platonism from the philosophies of Plato's immediate predecessors and successors, and from later philosophies inspired by them.
In about 387 Plato founded the Academy as an institute for the systematic pursuit of philosophical and scientific teaching and research. He presided over it for the rest of his life. The Academy's interests were not limited to philosophy in a narrow sense but also extended to the sciences as mathematics and rhetoric. To his readers through the ages Plato has been important primarily as one of the greatest of philosophical writers; but to himself, the foundation and organization of the Academy must have appeared to be his chief work. He perhaps intended his dialogues in the main to interest an educated outside world in the more serious and arduous labours of his school. The first students of conic sections, and possibly Theaetetus, the creator of solid geometry, were members of the Academy. Speusippus, Plato's nephew and successor, was a voluminous writer on natural history. The Academy was particularly active in jurisprudence and practical legislation. The Academy survived Plato's death. Though its interest in science waned and its philosophical orientation changed, it remained for two and a half centuries a focus of intellectual life.

395- Pleroma
Pleroma is a Christian concept describing the ineffable cosmos of archetypes.
In the beginning, the Gnostics believed that there was only the transcendent God, a male principle that existed for eternity with a female principle, the Ennoia (Thought). Together they produced two archetypes, Mind (male) and Truth (female). In their turn these principles produced thirty pairs of males and females known as Aeons who, together, constituted the divine Realm, known as the Pleroma or Fullness.
Groups of Gnostics and heretics created exotic Christian myths, legends, and practices. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries these groups often subscribed to theories of dualism: the world of matter created by an evil god and the realm of the spirit created by a good god were irreconcilably pitted against one another. The many Gnostic sects -among them the Valentinians, Basilidians, Ophites, and Simonians- developed a variety of myths. Valentinian myths describe how the pleroma (spiritual realm) that existed in the beginning was disrupted by a Fall. The Creator God became a Demiurge and created the material universe. He deliberately created two kinds of human being and animated them with his breath: the hylics and the psychics. Unknown to the Demiurge certain remnants of pleromic wisdom contained in his breath lodged, as spiritual particles in matter, and produced a third group of beings called pneumatics. The Demiurge tries to prevent Gnostics from discovering their past origins, present powers, and future destinies. Gnostics (the pneumatics) contain within themselves divine sparks expelled from the pleroma. Christ was sent from the pleroma to teach Gnostics the saving knowledge (gnosis) of their true identities and was crucified when the Demiurge of Genesis discovered that Christ (the male partner of the feminine Holy Spirit) was in Jesus. After Christ returned to the pleroma, the Holy Spirit descended.

396- Pneuma
If we represent the human body as a circle with radius and a centre, the circumference symbolises the body (Physis), the radius the soul (psyche) and the centre is the spirit known also as "pneuma" or "nous".
The concept "nous" is also described as "intellect" or better "the witness of all experience". It is a "knowing principle", it is that in us which know; it is the subject of every experience, which all of us calls "I"; it is the sense of being in every human; it is also who we are. A better modern word for "pneuma" and "nous" is "consciousness".

397- Pneumatics
Valentinian myths describe how the pleroma (spiritual realm) that existed in the beginning was disrupted by a Fall. The Creator God of Genesis, aborted from the primordial world, became a Demiurge and created the material universe. He deliberately created two kinds of human being and animated them with his breath: the hylics and the psychics. Unknown to the Demiurge, however, certain remnants of pleromic wisdom contained in his breath lodged as spiritual particles in matter and produced a third group of beings called pneumatics. The God of Genesis now tries to prevent Gnostics from discovering their past origins, present powers, and future destinies. Gnostics (the pneumatics) contain within themselves divine sparks expelled from the pleroma.

398- Poimandres
Poimandres is a Greek word meaning "Sheperd of Men". It is the title of the first book of hermetic literature and of semi-divine being under whose guidance the revelation is received. It is also called "the mind of the Sovereignty".

399- Polytheism
Polytheism means the belief in many gods; it virtually describes all religions other than Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which are monotheistic. Sometimes above the many gods, a polytheistic religion will have a supreme creator and focus of devotion, as in Hinduism; sometimes the gods are considered as less important than some higher goal, state, or saviour, as in Buddhism; sometimes one god will prove more dominant than the others without attaining supremacy, as Zeus in Greek religion. Polytheistic cultures include belief in many demonic and ghostly forces in addition to the gods, and some supernatural beings will be malevolent. Polytheism can be incompatible with some forms of theism, as in the Semitic religions; it can coexist with theism, as in Vaisnavism; it can exist at a lower level of understanding as in Mahayana Buddhism; it can exist as a tolerated adjunct to belief in transcendental liberation, as in Theravada Buddhism.

400- Predestination
In Christianity, predestination is the doctrine that God has eternally chosen those whom he intends to save. The problem of predestination is as universal as religion itself, but the emphasis of the New Testament on the divine plan of salvation has made the issue especially prominent in Christian theology. Three types of predestination doctrine, with many variations, have developed.
- The first theory (associated with Semi-Pelagianism, some forms of nominalism, and Arminianism) makes foreknowledge the ground of predestination and teaches that God predestined to salvation those whose future faith and merits he knew in advance.
- At the opposite extreme is the doctrine of double predestination (from John Calvin, the Synod of Dort, in some of the writings of St. Augustine and Martin Luther and in the thought of the Jansenists) according to which God has determined from eternity whom he will save and whom he will damn, regardless of their faith, love, or merit, or lack thereof.
- A third doctrine (found in other writings of St. Augustine and Luther, in the decrees of the second Council of Orange (529), and in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas) ascribes the salvation of man to the unmerited grace of God and thus to predestination, but it attributes divine reprobation to man's sin and guilt.

401- Pricillianism
This heresy, an unorthodox doctrine that persisted into the 6th century, was proposed by Pricillian (born around 340 in Spain, deceased in 385, Trier, Belgica, Gaul, now in Germany]. He was an early Christian bishop who was the first heretic to receive capital punishment. Priscillian began preaching around Merida and Cordoba, Spain, about the year 375, a doctrine that was similar to both Gnosticism and Manichaeism in its dualistic belief that matter was evil and the spirit good. Priscillian also taught that angels and human souls emanated from the Godhead that bodies were created by the devil, and that human souls were joined to bodies as a punishment for sins. These beliefs led to a denial of the true humanity of Christ. Priscillian and his followers created a quasi-secret society that aimed for higher perfection through ascetic practices and outlawed all sensual pleasure, marriage, and the consumption of wine and meat. The spread of Priscillianism throughout Spain and in southern Gaul disturbed the Spanish church, which soon opposed the new movement. In 380 the Council of Saragossa in Spain condemned Priscillian's ideas, who, nonetheless, was elected bishop of Ávila. The Roman emperor Gratian exiled him and his key disciples to Italy. They managed to be absolved by civil authorities. The Roman emperor Magnus Maximus had Priscillian tried and condemned in 384 by a synod at Bordeaux. Priscillian appealed to Maximus, who ordered him to Trier, where he was judged guilty of sorcery and immorality and was executed. The fall of Maximus in 388 led to a reaction in favour of Priscillianism. In 400 and 447 councils at Toledo in Spain condemned some of Priscillian's doctrines, which in 407-08 were outlawed by the Roman emperor Flavius Honorius. In 563 the Council of Braga renewed the condemnation, and thereafter Priscillianism as an organized cult disappeared.

402- Primacy of Peter
The Catholic doctrine states that Peter was supreme among the Apostles and that the authority given to him by Jesus is continued in the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.

403- Prophecy
Prophecy is a religious phenomenon in which a message is sent by God (or by a god) to human beings through an intermediary known as a prophet. The message may contain a reference to future events, but it is often simply a warning, encouragement, or piece of information. Prophecy includes augury, divination, and oracles, which are techniques by which, it is believed, and the will of the gods can be learned. Prophets have often spoken in ecstasy, a state that may be induced by various methods, including dance or music.

404- Prophet
A Prophet is a divinely inspired revealer, interpreter, or spokesman. Israelite prophecy is better known in the Western World, but the figure of the prophet exists throughout history and worldwide. The prophet differs from other religious authorities in that he claims no personal part in his utterance. He speaks not his own mind but a revelation "from without." He may be "inspired" with his message (as in the case of Jeremiah), or he may be "possessed" by a spiritual power -a god, a spirit, the Holy Ghost- which uses him as an instrument and speaks through him. The prophetic state may occur spontaneously, or it may be induced: by meditation, by mystico-magical formulas and gestures, by music, by drumming, dancing, or the ingestion of intoxicants or narcotics. Prophets very often resist the call until overcome by the superior power that wants to use them as its instrument. The prophet may articulate a message of general and fundamental import, enunciating principles and norms that are critical of the present, in either a destructive or a reforming sense. He may address his tribe or nation as a whole, or may found a new society that will realize his message. The prophetic personality thus frequently becomes a religious founder, reformer, or sectarian leader (Zoroaster, Muhammad, and others). The "ideal-typical" prophet is less concerned with founding a new religion or introducing revolutionary reforms than with criticizing his society from the inside and in the light of what he believes to be the divine norms. If he is a revolutionary, he very frequently does not know it.

405- Proselyte
Proselyte is a word of Greek origin meaning "stranger" or "foreign sojourner". In the New Testament it is used to describe a convert to Judaism. They had to submit to circumcision, offer sacrifice and be baptised. The "God-fearers" were converts who were not circumcised.

406- Providence
Providence is an aspect of divinity on which man bases the belief in a benevolent intervention in human and world affairs. The forms that this belief takes differ, depending on the religious and cultural context. The concept of Providence, divine care of man and the universe, can be called the religious answer to man's need to know that he matters and that he is cared for. In all religions Divine Providence or its equivalent is an element of some importance.

407- Psalms
Psalms is a book of the Old Testament, a collection of 150 hymns or poems known also as the Psalter. The book is divided into five sections. The Hebrew title of the book is Tehillim (Praises or Songs of Praise). Psalms is the first book in the Writings, the third part of the Hebrew canon. It is found between the books of Job and Proverbs in Christian versions of the Bible.

408- Pseudepigrapha
Pseudepigrapha (Greek pseudepigraphos, "falsely ascribed") are Jewish and Christian writings that began to appear about 200 BC and continued to be written well into Christian times; they were attributed by their authors to great religious figures and authorities of the past. Pseudepigrapha were composed in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and they include apocalyptic writings, legendary histories, collections of psalms, and wisdom literature. In most cases, Pseudepigrapha are modelled on canonical books of a particular genre:
Pseudepigrapha are present in the canon of the Old Testament-for example, Ecclesiastes (traditionally attributed to Solomon), the Song of Solomon, and Daniel. Protestants and Jews, however, use the term Pseudepigrapha to describe those writings that Roman Catholics would term Apocrypha. Such works include the Book of Jubilees, the Psalms of Solomon, the Fourth Book of Maccabees, the Book of Enoch, the Fourth Book of Ezra, the Apocalypse of Baruch, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, all of which are ascribed to canonical worthies of the Old.

409- Psyche
If we represent the human body as a circle with radius and a centre, the circumference symbolises the body (Physis), the radius the soul (psyche) and the centre is the spirit known also as "pneuma" or "nous".
The concept "psyche" is also described as "soul" but this can be misleading. In relation to the outer body, we experience "psyche" as "our inner self". For the Gnostics, it is a deeper level of our identity than the body.

410- Psychics
Valentinian myths describe how the pleroma (spiritual realm) that existed in the beginning was disrupted by a Fall. The Creator God of Genesis, aborted from the primordial world, became a Demiurge and created the material universe. He deliberately created two kinds of human being and animated them with his breath: the hylics and the psychics.

411- Purgatory
In the Roman Catholic doctrine, Purgatory is the state of existence or condition of the soul of a person who has died in a state of grace but who has not been purged, or purified, from all possible stain of unforgiven venial sins (pardonable less-serious offences against God), forgiven mortal sins (serious offences against God that destroy sanctifying grace), imperfections, or evil habits. Souls in such conditions must thus be purified before entering heaven. The doctrine of purgatory is derived from 2nd-1st-century-BC Jewish concepts that God will judge persons according to their deeds and that the faithful should pray that God show mercy to souls. II Maccabees, gives the basis for the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory: "But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin" (12:45). Other indirect references to purgatory occur in the New Testament. During the period of the early church the existence of purgatory was seen as a required belief, but it was only imposed at the councils of Lyon and Florence and at the Council of Trent. The place, duration, and nature of the punishments of purgatory have not been definitively answered. Roman Catholic doctrine holds that the souls in purgatory may be aided by the faithful on Earth through prayers, almsgiving, indulgences, fasting, sacrifices, and other works of piety. The existence of purgatory has been denied by Protestant churches and most Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as by the independent churches of Eastern Christianity (Syrians, Nestorians, and Monophysites).

412- Purim
Purim, in Hebrew "Lots" and, in English, The Feast of Lots, is a joyous Jewish festival commemorating the survival of the Jews who, in the 5th century BC, were to be killed by their Persian rulers. The story is related in the Old Testament Book of Esther. Haman, chief minister of King Ahasuerus, unhappy that Mordecai, a Jew, held him in disdain and refused obeisance, convinced the King that the Jews were rebellious and should be slaughtered. Haman set a date for the execution (the 13th day of the month of Adar) by casting lots and built a gallows for Mordecai. When Esther, beloved Jewish queen of Ahasuerus and adopted daughter of Mordecai, heard the news she went to the King to suggest a banquet that Haman would attend. At the meal she pleaded for the Jews and accused "this wicked Haman" of plotting their murder. The King stepped out into the palace gardens and, on his return, he found Haman "falling on the couch where Esther was." The King thought that Haman was attacking the queen; he ordered that Haman be hanged and that Mordecai be named to his position. The Jews throughout the empire were authorised to attack their enemies on Adar 13. After their victory they declared the following day a holiday and named it Purim. There is no historical proof of this biblical episode, and the actual origins of the Purim festival, which existed in the 2nd century AD, remain unknown. The ritual observance of Purim begins with a day of fasting, Ta'anit Esther (Fast of Esther) on Adar 13, the day preceding the actual holiday. The most distinctive aspect of the synagogue service is the reading of the Book of Esther. On Purim, Jews exchange gifts and make donations to the poor.

413- Pyrrhonism
The philosophical school known as Pyrrhonism takes its name from Pyrrho of Elis (c. 365-275 BC). As none of his works survive, scholars rely on the early 3rd-century-AD writings of Sextus Empiricus to understand Pyrrhonism. Pyrrhonists assert or deny nothing, but lead people to give up making any claims to knowledge. The Pyrrhonists say that for each proposition with some evidence for it, an opposed proposition has equally good evidence supporting it. These arguments for refuting each side of an issue are called "tropes." For example, the judgment that Providence cares for all things, based upon the orderliness of the heavenly bodies, is opposed by the judgment that many good people suffer misery and many bad people enjoy happiness. Pyrrhonists call dogmatism as the unjustifiable preference for one mode of existence over another. The Sceptic can live quite nicely, according to Sextus, by following custom and the way things appear to him. In doing this, the Sceptic does not judge the correctness of anything but merely accepts appearances for what they are.

414- Pythagoreans
Pythagoras (circa 582-500 BC) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician who, about 530 BC, settled in Crotona where he founded a movement with religious, political, and philosophical aims, known as Pythagoreanism.
The Pythagoreans believed to certain mysteries, similar to the Orphic mysteries. Obedience and silence, abstinence from food, simplicity in dress and possessions were prescribed. The Pythagoreans believed in immortality and in the transmigration of souls. Their mathematical investigations include their studies of odd and even numbers and of prime and square numbers. From this arithmetical standpoint they developed the concept of number, which became for them the ultimate principle of all proportion, order, and harmony in the universe. Through such studies they established a scientific foundation for mathematics. In geometry the great discovery of the school was the hypotenuse theorem, or Pythagorean theorem. The astronomy of the Pythagoreans marked an important advance in ancient scientific thought, for they were the first to consider the earth as a globe revolving with the other planets around a central fire.

415- Quadrivium
Quadrivium describes the four technical or scientific disciplines of the seven liberal arts: music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. The three other elementary disciplines were known as the "trivium".

416- Quartodecimans
Quartodeciman is a word that describes those who celebrate Easter on the day of the Passover, the 14th day of the month Nisan, rather that on the Sunday nearest to it. They were mainly from Asia Minor.

417- Qumran
Qumran, also spelled Kumran, is a region on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, the site of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. Excavations at Khirbet Qumran (Arabic for "Qumran Ruins") have revealed the ruins of buildings, believed by some scholars to have been occupied by a community of Essenes, who are also believed to have been the owners of the Scrolls. Excavations at Qumran in the 1950s revealed a complex of structures occupying an area about 260 by 330 feet. Beside an aqueduct system feeding as many as eight internal cisterns as well as two baths there was the principal building, rectangular and more than 100 feet on a side, with a massive tower of stone and brick in its northwestern corner. East of this tower was a large room, possibly a kitchen. South of the tower an upper-story scriptorium, or writing room, was discovered and in another room, a low bench, three mud-brick tables, and two inkwells were found. The scriptorium was separated from a large assembly hall that may also have served as a refectory, and a pantry stocked with hundreds of pottery jars. Archaeologists also found a potter's workshop, two kilns, an oven, a flourmill, and a stable, as well as a few other rooms, probably the living quarters. A cemetery near Qumran holds the remains of about 1,100 male adults while two smaller gravesites were reserved for some 100 women and children. The Essenes separated from the rest of the Jewish community in the 2nd century BC, when Jonathan Maccabeus, and, later, Simon Maccabeus, usurped the office of high priest, which conferred secular as well as religious authority. Simon persecuted the Essenes who opposed the usurpation. They fled into the wilderness with their leader, the Teacher of Righteousness. Some scholars believe that Essenes established a monastic community at Qumran in the mid-2nd century BC. Living apart, like other Essenian communities in Judaea, the members of the Qumran community had visions of the overthrow of the wicked priests of Jerusalem and the establishment of their own community as the true priesthood and the true Israel. They devoted their time to study of the Scriptures, manual labour, worship, and prayer. Meals were taken in common as prophetic celebrations of the messianic banquet. The baptism they practiced symbolized repentance and entry into the company of the "Elect of God." During the reign (37-4 BC) of Herod the Great, an earthquake (31 BC) and fire caused the temporary abandonment of Qumran, but the community resumed its life there until the centre was destroyed in AD 68 by Roman legions under Vespasian. Until about AD 73 the site was garrisoned by Roman soldiers; during the Second Jewish Revolt (132-135), rebels under Bar Kokhba were based there.

418- Rabbi
Rabbi (Hebrew, "my master") is the honorary title of the Jewish masters of the Law. It was in use at the time of Jesus Christ, who was addressed in that way. The title is still maintained, though not strictly, as the official designation of Jewish ministers.
The rabbi was at once student, interpreter, and teacher of the Torah. To prepare men for these varied roles great yeshivas, or academies, were founded in ancient times in Palestine, at Jamnia (now Yavne) and Tiberias (both now Israel); and in Babylonia, at Sura, Nehardea, and Pumbedita. Such rabbinical academies existed in all the countries of the Diaspora into modern times.

419- Reason
In philosophy reason is the faculty or process of drawing logical inferences. The term "reason" is also used in other, narrower senses. Reason is in opposition to sensation, perception, feeling, and desire. Reason has been described as the power of synthesizing into unity, by means of comprehensive principles, the concepts that are provided by the intellect. In formal logic the drawing of inferences is classified as deductive (from generals to particulars) and inductive (from particulars to generals). In theology, reason, as distinguished from faith, is the human intelligence exercised upon religious truth whether by way of discovery or by way of explanation. The limits within which the reason may be used have been laid down differently in different churches and periods of thought. Modern Christianity, especially in the Protestant churches, tends to allow reasoning a wide field, reserving, however, as the sphere of faith the ultimate truths of theology.

420- Rebirth
The concepts of rebirth (and birth) are usually related to some initiation rituals. The myths of birth and rebirth tell how life can be renewed, time reversed, or humans transmuted into new beings.
In myths about the coming of an ideal society (millenarian myths) or of a saviour (messianic myths), eschatological themes are combined with themes of rebirth and renewal. Millenarian and messianic myths are found in tribal cultures in Africa, South America, and Melanesia, as well as in the world religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

421- Rechabites
The Rechabites, in the Old Testament, were a clan of nomads of Kenite ancestry founded by Jonadab, son of Rechab; they made a successful stand against Baal worship in the time of the Hebrew prophet Elijah. They strongly opposed Canaanite luxury, the agricultural life, and the religious corruption they associated with these. Typical of their opposition to civilization was a rejection of the cultivation of vines, which grow slowly and to them suggested the non-nomadic life.

422- Reincarnation
Reincarnation is the concept of human resurrection but also includes ghosts, spirits, and underworld travellers to illustrate and serve as a reminder of human mortality.

423- Relics
In religion, relics are the mortal remains of a saint but the term also includes any object that has been in contact with the saint. Among the major religions, Christianity, almost exclusively in Roman Catholicism, and Buddhism have emphasized the veneration of relics. While expectation of favours may accompany the devotion, it is not all of it. The first Christian reference to relics speaks of handkerchiefs carried from the body of St. Paul to heal the sick. During the 2nd century AD, in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the bones of the martyred bishop of Smyrna are described as "more valuable than precious stones." The veneration of relics continued and grew in Christianity and the expectation of miracles increased during the Middle Ages. Among the most venerated of Christian relics were the fragments of the True Cross. In the Eastern Orthodox churches, devotion is focused on icons rather than upon relics, though the antimension (the cloth upon which the divine liturgy is celebrated) always contains a relic. The 16th-century Protestant Reformers rejected relics, and the veneration of relics has not been accepted in Protestantism. Like Christianity, Islam has had a cult of relics associated with its founder and with saints. Relic worship was accepted in Buddhism from its earliest days. In Hinduism, although images of divine beings have a major place in popular devotion, the veneration of relics as found in Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism is largely absent.

424- Religion
Religion has always played an important part in all human culture. In all cultures, human beings make a practice of interacting with what are taken to be spiritual powers. These powers may be in the form of gods, spirits, ancestors, or any kind of sacred reality. The spiritual power may be regarded as external to the self, internal, or both. People interact with such a presence in a sacred manner, that is, with reverence and care. For many people, religion is an organised system of beliefs, ceremonies, practices, and worship that centre on one supreme God, or the Deity. For many others, religion involves a number of gods, or deities. There are also people who practice their own religious beliefs in their own personal way, independently of organised religion. But almost all people who follow some form of religion believe that a divine power created the world and influences their lives.

Some people follow a religion because it is part of the heritage of their culture, tribe, or family. Religion gives many people a feeling of security because they believe that a divine power watches over them. These people often ask the power for help or protection. Numerous people follow a religion because it promises them salvation and either happiness or the chance to improve themselves in a life after death. For many people, religion brings a sense of individual fulfilment and gives meaning to life.
There are thousands of religions in the world. The eight major ones are Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and Taoism. Hinduism, Shinto, and Taoism developed over many centuries while the other religions traditionally bases its faith on the life or teachings of specific individuals: Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became known as Gautama Buddha, for Buddhism; Jesus Christ for Christianity; Confucius for Confucianism; Muhammad for Islam; and Abraham and Moses for Judaism. The religions that trace their history to individuals follow a general pattern of development. During the individual's lifetime, or soon after his death, a distinctive system of worship ceremonies grows up around his life and teachings. The heart of the cult is the individual's teachings. In addition to inspiring worship, the individual represents an ideal way of life that his followers try to imitate.
Chief characteristics of religion
Most of the leading religions throughout history have shared characteristics. The chief characteristics include:
- Belief in a deity or in a power beyond the individual.
- A doctrine of salvation.
- A code of conduct.
- The use of sacred stories.
- Religious rituals.
The essential qualities of a religion are maintained and passed from generation to generation by sources, called authority, which the followers accept as sacred. The most important religious authorities are writings known as scriptures. Scriptures include the Bibles of Christians and Jews, the Koran of Muslims, and the Vedas of Hindus. Religious authority also comes from the writings of saints and other holy persons and from decisions by religious councils and leaders. Unwritten customs and laws known as traditions also form a basic part of authority.
Belief in a deity.
There are three main philosophical views regarding the existence of a deity.
- Atheists believe that no deity exists.
- Theists believe in a deity or deities.
- Agnostics say that the existence of a deity cannot be proved or disproved.
Most of the major religions are theistic. They teach that deities govern or influence the actions of human beings as well as events in nature. Confucianism is the most important atheistic religion.
- Religions that acknowledge only one true God are monotheistic. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are examples.
- A religion that has a number of deities is polytheistic. The ancient Greeks and Romans had polytheistic religions. Each of their many gods and goddesses had one or more special areas of influence.
- In henotheistic religions, the worship of a supreme Deity does not deny the existence and power of other deities. For example, Hinduism teaches that a world spirit called Brahman is the supreme power. But Hindus also serve numerous other gods and goddesses.
The followers of some religions worship deities that are, or were people, or that are images of people.
- The ancient Egyptian people considered their pharaohs to be living gods. Before World War II (1939-1945), the Japanese honoured their emperor as divine.
- Taoists believe in deities that look and act like human beings. They also worship some deities that were once human beings and became gods or goddesses after death.
- Many people worship nature deities -that is, deities that dwell in or control various aspects of nature. The Chinese in particular have worshipped gods of the soil and grain. Followers of Shinto worship kami, spirits that live in nature.
A doctrine of salvation.
Among the major religions, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism teach a doctrine of salvation. Religions differ, however, in what salvation is and in how it can be gained. A doctrine of salvation is based on the belief that individuals are in some danger from which they must be saved. Christianity and several other major religions teach that the danger is spiritual, is centred in each person's soul, and pertains mainly to life after death. If a person is saved, the soul enters a state of eternal happiness, often called heaven. If the person is not saved, the soul may spend eternity in a state of punishment, which is often called hell. In Christianity, the obstacles to salvation are sin and its effects. In most Asian religions, the obstacles are worldly desires and attachment to worldly things. The saviour may be the individual on whose teachings the religion is based, a god, or some other divine figure.
Some religions consider salvation to be a gift from the Deity or deities. For example, many Christian denominations believe that individuals are saved by the grace of God and not by their own merit. According to Buddhism and Hinduism, the soul lives on after the death of the body and is reborn in another body (reincarnation). According to the karma doctrine, a person's actions, thoughts, and words determine the kind of animal or human body the soul will live in during the next reincarnation. The process of reincarnation continues until, through good deeds and moral conduct, a person finally achieves a state of spiritual perfection, which is salvation. Buddhists call this state nirvana, and Hindus call it moksha. A code of conduct instructs the members of each religion how to act toward the deity and toward one another. Religious codes of conduct differ in many ways, but most agree on several major themes.
The use of sacred stories.
For thousands of years, followers of religions have believed in sacred stories, called myths. Religious rituals include the acts and ceremonies by which believers appeal to and serve God, deities, or other sacred powers. Some rituals are performed by individuals alone, and others by groups of worshipers. The most common ritual is prayer. Through prayer, a believer or someone on behalf of believers, addresses words and thoughts to an object of worship. Prayer includes requests, expressions of thanksgiving, confessions of sins, and praise. Many religions have rituals intended to purify the body. For example, Hindus consider the waters of the Ganges River in India to be sacred. In some religions, pilgrimages are significant rituals. Various religions have services at sunrise, in the morning, at sunset, and in the evening or to mark the beginning of a new year. Many religions celebrate springtime, harvest time, and the new or full moon. Many rituals commemorate events in the history of religions. Rituals also mark important events in a person's life such as birth, marriage, and death. Rituals accept young people into the religion and into religious societies. In Judaism, the ritual of circumcision is performed on male infants. Some Christians baptise babies soon after birth while other Christians baptise only youths or adults.
How the major religions are organised
Many religions have spiritual leaders, often called the clergy. These leaders have the authority and responsibility to conduct religious services, to advise or command believers, and to govern the religious organisation at various levels. In some religions, the laity, the believers who are not members of the clergy, also have important organisational roles. In many countries, there is a state (official or favoured) religion.
Judaism has no head. Each local congregation supervises its own affairs, usually under the leadership of a rabbi.
In the Roman Catholic Church, believers are organised into parishes, which belong to larger districts called dioceses. Dioceses, in turn, belong to provinces. The main diocese in each province is called an archdiocese. Pastors preside over parishes, bishops over dioceses, and archbishops over archdioceses. The pope presides over the entire Roman Catholic Church with the advice and assistance of cardinals. Some Protestant denominations are governed by similar patterns of hierarchies. Others are governed by boards of the clergy and laity or by local congregations.
Confucianism and Islam have no clergy. Scholars who interpret the teachings of the faith provide leadership.
In Shinto and Taoism, the basic organisational unit is the priesthood.
In Buddhism, the chief organisational unit is an order of monks called the sangha. The monks serve as advisers and teachers and play a vital part in everyday life in Buddhist countries. In some Buddhist countries, the head of state is also the leader of the national order of monks.
Hinduism has no consistent pattern of organisation. Hindus tend to worship individually or in families. The Brahmans, members of the highest Hindu castes, perform services in temples.
The origin of religion
The earliest recorded evidence of religious activity dates from about 60,000 B.C. However, anthropologists and historians of religion believe that some form of religion has been practised since people first appeared on the earth about 2 million years ago. Prehistoric people centred their religious activities on the most important elements of their existence, such as the prosperity of their tribe and getting enough food to survive. They often placed food, ornaments, and tools in graves. Prehistoric people drew pictures and performed dances that were intended to promote the fertility of women and animals and to ensure good hunting. They also made sacrifices for the same reasons.
- According to Tylor's theory, early people believed that spirits dwelled in and controlled all things in nature; they thought that spirits lived in such objects or forces as plants, the wind, volcanoes, and the sun. Tylor called the spirits animae, and his theory became known as animism. Prehistoric people, Tylor said, explained such occurrences as windstorms and the change from day to night as the actions of the spirits. Because many of the objects and forces were impressive or very powerful, people started to worship their spirits.
- Muller agreed with Tylor that religion began as spirit worship. But he rejected Tylor's view that the earliest people believed spirits dwelled in nature. Muller suggested that prehistoric people thought that the forces of nature themselves had human qualities, such as good or bad temper. People thus transformed these forces into deities.
- Otto believed that an awareness of holiness and mystery lies at the heart of religious experience and is therefore the basis for all religions. In his view, all human beings possess the capacity for awe and recognise the power of the sacred. For Otto, the holy is the true, the good, and the beautiful, a representation of a basic and universal aspect of being human.

425- Rephraim
Rephaim is the name of some pre- Israelite people but they are not well identified.

426- Resurrection
Resurrection describes the rising from the dead of a divine or human being who still retains his own individuality and body. The belief in the resurrection of the body is usually associated with Christianity, because of the doctrine of the Resurrection of Christ, but it also is associated with later Judaism, which provided basic ideas that were expanded in Christianity and Islam. Ancient Middle Eastern religious thought provided a background for belief in the resurrection of a divine being, but belief in personal resurrection of humans was unknown. In Greco-Roman religious thought there was a belief in the immortality of the soul, but not in the resurrection of the body. Symbolic resurrection, or rebirth of the spirit, occurred in the Hellenistic mystery religions, such as the religion of the goddess Isis, but post-mortem corporeal resurrection was not recognized. The expectation of the resurrection of the dead is found in several Old Testament works. Islam also teaches a doctrine of the resurrection. At Doomsday, all men will die and then be raised from the dead. Later, each person will be judged according to the record of his life. After the Judgment the unbelievers will be placed in hell and the faithful Muslims will go to paradise, a place of happiness and bliss. Zoroastrianism holds a belief in a final overthrow of Evil, a general resurrection, a Last Judgment, and the restoration of a cleansed world to the righteous.

427- Revolts (First and Second Jewish)
In AD 66-70 the Jews rebelled against the Roman rule in Judaea. Before this First Jewish Revolt there were clashes between small groups of Jews and the Romans, who responded with severe countermeasures. In AD 66 the Jews revolted, expelled the Romans from Jerusalem, and overwhelmed in the pass of Beth-Horon a Roman force under Gallus, the imperial legate in Syria (autumn, AD 66). A revolutionary government was set up and extended its influence throughout the whole country. Vespasian was dispatched by the Roman emperor Nero to crush the rebellion. Titus joined him, and together the Roman armies entered Galilee. Josephus headed the Jewish forces but when they met Vespasian's army the Jews fled. After the fall of the fortress of Jatapata, Josephus gave himself up, and the Roman forces retook the country. On August 29, AD 70, Jerusalem fell; the Temple was burned, and the Jewish state collapsed.
In AD 132-135) the Jews rebelled again against Roman rule in Judaea after yeas of clashes in the area. In AD 132, Tinnius Rufus, the Roman governor of Judaea, misrules added to the emperor Hadrian's intention to found a Roman colony in Jerusalem and his restrictions on Jewish religious freedom and observances, led the Palestinian Jewry to revolt. Bar Kokhba became the leader of this Second Jewish Revolt; at first he was successful but his forces were too weak in front of those of the Roman general Julius Severus. With the fall of Jerusalem and then Bethar, a fortress on the seacoast south of Caesarea, the rebellion was crushed in 135. Jews were then forbidden to enter Jerusalem.

428- Rhegium
Rhegium -today Reggio Calabre- is the name of an old Greek colony in the southwest part of Italy, in front of the Sicilian town of Messina.

429- Ritual
A ritual implies the performance of ceremonial acts prescribed by tradition or by sacerdotal decree. Ritual is a specific, observable mode of behaviour exhibited by all known societies.

430- Sabbath
Sabbath (Hebrew Shabbat, derived from the verb shavat, "to rest, cease") designates the holy day of rest observed by the Jews and some Christian denominations on Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and by most Christians on Sunday.
The Bible describes the Sabbath as a reminder of God's rest after the Creation and of the liberation from Egypt. The prohibition of work is never fully explained in the Bible. Among the specific kinds of work prohibited are the kindling of fire, ploughing and harvesting, and cooking.

431- Sabellianism
Sabellianism was a Christian heresy a similar but more developed and less naive form of Modalistic Monarchianism. Sabellius, possibly a presbyter in Rome, proposed it around 217-c. 220. Little is known of his life. Sabellius taught that the Godhead is a monad, expressing itself in three forms:
As Father, in creation.
As Son, in redemption.
As Holy Spirit, in sanctification.
Pope Calixtus was at first inclined to be sympathetic to Sabellius' teaching but later condemned it and excommunicated Sabellius. The heresy broke out again 30 years later in Libya and was opposed by Dionysius of Alexandria. In the 4th century, Arius accused his bishop of Sabellianism. During the Arian controversy this charge was levelled at the supporters of Nicene orthodoxy whose emphasis on the unity of substance of Father and Son was interpreted by Arians to mean that the orthodox denied any personal distinctions within the Godhead. About 375 the heresy was renewed at Neocaesarea and was attacked by Basil the Great. In Spain Priscillian seems to have enunciated a doctrine of the divine unity in Sabellian terms. At the time of the Reformation, Sabellianism was reformulated by Michael Servetus, a Spanish theologian and physician, to the effect that Christ and the Holy Spirit are merely representative forms of the one Godhead, the Father.

432- Sacrament
Sacrament describes any of several liturgical actions of the Christian church, believed to have been instituted by Christ and to communicate the grace or power of God through the use of material objects.
The word sacrament does not appear in the Bible, although baptism, Eucharist, and other rites are reported there. The New Testament basis for sacraments is found in its teaching about mystery, which remains the Eastern Orthodox word for sacrament. In the New Testament, the word mystery refers to God's plan for the redemption of the world through Christ, a plan that unbelievers cannot understand but that is revealed to those who have faith. In the Christian experience, the saving action of Christ is made known and accessible to the church especially through certain liturgical actions such as baptism and the Eucharist. Therefore, these actions came to be known among the Greeks as mysteries, perhaps by analogy to mystery cults.

433- Sacrifice
Sacrifice (Latin sacrificium, originally "something made holy") is a ritual act in which a consecrated offering is made to a god or other spiritual being in order to establish, perpetuate, or restore a sacred bond between humanity and the divine. Offerings may consist of humans or animals (blood offerings) or fruits, crops, flowers, and wine (bloodless offerings).
Sacrifice played a central role in many ancient religions. The ancient Greeks sacrificed animals, sometimes consuming part of the offerings in a celebratory meal as a way of establishing communion with the gods. In Mexico, the Aztecs offered human sacrifices to the sun god, a practice that took as many as 20,000 lives a year. During early Hinduism, the Vedic period, Hindu priests offered humans, animals, and plants in sacrifice at certain stipulated times. The ancient Chinese also practiced human sacrifice and made offerings of domestic animals and of food to gods and to ancestors. Sacrifice has never been practiced in Buddhism, although devotional offerings of incense, lighted candles, and flowers are made to the Buddha.

434- Sadducees
The word Sadducees refers to a Jewish school, or party, that arose in the 1st century BC, taking its name from Zadok, a priest during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon, or from the Zadokites, a family of priests. The Sadducees, an aristocratic party, acknowledged only the written Torah as binding, rejecting the scribes' traditional interpretation and development of the Law. Their criminal jurisprudence was so rigorous that the day on which the Sanhedrin abolished their code was declared a festival. They rejected Pharisaic tradition, which represented an older legal and religious standpoint. The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection or in any personal immortality, and they denied angels and spirits

435- Sahidic language
Sahidic was the main dialect of the so-called Coptic languages.

436- Salvation
Most religions provide paths that deliver individuals from the bondage of sin, immorality, ignorance, and other types of impurity or disharmony and lead them toward a state of purity of soul, spiritual knowledge, wisdom, godliness, enlightenment, or even eternal life. The ultimate is known as salvation. Religions typically hold that human beings have a higher nature that exists in tension with a lower nature, and the religions offer ways to redeem the former from the latter. Some emphasize the separation of the spiritual part of the self from worldly attachments, while others emphasize living harmoniously in relation to nature, self, and divinity.

437- Samaria
Samaria was an ancient city and state in Palestine. The city was located north of present-day Jerusalem east of the Mediterranean Sea.
The city of Samaria was first built on a hill overlooking a main road to Jerusalem, the capital of King David. Omri, king of Israel (reigned 876-869 BC), made it the capital of the northern kingdom. The Assyrians conquered the region late in the 8th century BC. The conquerors carried off many of the inhabitants, replacing some of them with people that were from other conquered lands. Nevertheless, the people of the region known as Samaria practiced a form of Judaism and preserved the so-called Samaritan Pentateuch which is claimed to have retained an older text of the first five books of the Bible than is currently known in the Jewish Torah. When the Assyrian Empire was overthrown, Samaria passed to the Babylonians and then to the successive conquerors of Palestine.
The Romans called the Sebaste. In New Testament times (1st century AD) the Samaritans were considered heretical and hostile to the Jews.

438- Samaritans
The Samaritans were the members of a community of Jews, now nearly extinct, that claims to be related by blood to those Jews of ancient Samaria who were not deported by the Assyrian conquerors of Israel in 722 BC. The Samaritans call themselves Bene-Yisrael ("Children of Israel"), or Shamerim ("Observant Ones"), for their sole norm of religious observance is the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament). Other Jews call them simply Shomronim (Samaritans); in the Talmud, they are called Kutim. Jews who returned to their homeland after the Babylonian Exile would not accept the help of the Samaritans, in the building of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. Consequently, in the 4th century BC, the Samaritans built their own temple in Nabulus (Shechem). The low esteem that Jews had for the Samaritans was the background of Christ's famous parable of the Good Samaritan.

439- Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin, also spelled Sanhedrim, describes Jewish councils in Palestine under Roman rule, dealing with various political, religious, and judicial functions. The term was applied to various bodies but became the designation for the supreme Jewish legislative and judicial court -the Great Sanhedrin, or simply the Sanhedrin, in Jerusalem. There were also local or provincial Sanhedrims of lesser jurisdiction and authority. In the writings of Josephus and the Gospels the Sanhedrin is presented as a political and judicial council headed by the high priest; in the Talmud it is described as primarily a religious legislative body headed by sages, though with certain political and judicial functions. A third school holds that there were two Sanhedrins, one a purely political council, the other a religious court and legislature. Some scholars attest that the Sanhedrin was a single body, combining political, religious, and judicial functions in a community where these aspects were inseparable. The Great Sanhedrin also supervised the smaller, local sanhedrins and was the court of last resort. The composition of the Sanhedrin is also in much dispute, the controversy involving the participation of the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Some say the Sanhedrin was made up of Sadducees; some, of Pharisees; others, of an alternation or mixture of the two groups. It is still uncertain, for example, whether the Sanhedrin had the power to hand down a death sentence in a case such as that of Jesus.

440- St Peter Basilica
St.Peter's Basilica, Rome, is the main Catholic Church built around the shrine erected around 160 AD on the Vatican Hill commemorating the site of the martyrdom or the burial place of St. Peter, the Apostle.

441- Sancta Sophia
Sancta Sophia (Hagia Sophia) is the patriarchal cathedral of the Byzantine or ecumenical patriarch. Built by emperor Justinian the Great in 537. It is the main church of Eastern Orthodoxy.

442- Satan
See Devil.

443- Schism
Schism, in Christianity, is a break in the unity of the church. In the early church, "schism" was used to describe those groups that broke with the church and established rival churches. The term originally referred to the divisions that were caused by disagreement over something other than basic doctrine. Thus, the schismatic group was not necessarily heretical. Eventually the distinctions between schism and heresy became less clear, and disruptions in the church caused by disagreements over doctrine and others were said to be schismatic. The most important schism was the East-West schism that divided Christendom into Western (Roman Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) branches. It began in 1054 because of various disputes and actions, and it has never been healed, although in 1965 Pope Paul VI and the ecumenical patriarch Athenagoras I abolished the mutual excommunications of 1054 of the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople. Another important schism was the Western Schism between the rival popes of Rome and Avignon and, later, even a third pope. The greatest of the Christian schisms was that involving the Protestant Reformation and the division from Rome. According to Roman Catholic canon law, a schismatic is a baptized person who, though continuing to call himself a Christian, refuses submission to the pope. Other churches have similarly defined schism in terms of separation from their own communion.

444- Scribes
In antiquity the Scribes (Latin scribere, "to write") were the men who acted not only as copyists but also as editors and interpreters of the Bible and of the Law. Among the Jews, a scribe originally was a copyist of the Law or a secretary but eventually became an official roughly equivalent to a town clerk or sometimes a secretary of state. The scribe was a literary man preoccupied with the letter of the Law and was learned in Scripture. The scribes of the Pharisees and the Sadducees represented different and often opposing interpretations of the laws of Judaism. In the 1st century the scribes were the preservers of Judaism after the destruction of the Temple. Among the Greeks, the scribes also began as copyists and became expounders of the Law.

445- Scriptorium
A scriptorium is the writing room of a monastic community for the use of scribes engaged in copying manuscripts. Scriptoria were an important Benedictine feature of the Middle Ages, because of St. Benedict's support of literary activities. All who worked in scriptoria were not monks; lay scribes and illuminators from outside the monastic foundation reinforced the clerical scribes.

446- Scyphians
The Scythians were the members of a wandering indo-European race who lived between the Danube and the Don, and spread between the Caucasus and the Caspian. They were a cruel and salvage people of huge build.

447- See
See is the name given to the city where a bishop has his official residence, although it really refers to the throne of the bishop in his cathedral church.

448- Seleucid Kingdom
The Seleucid dynasty (312-64 BC) founded an empire that at its greatest stretched from Thrace in Europe to the border of India. It was carved out of the remains of Alexander the Great's Macedonian empire by its founder, Seleucus I Nicator. Seleucus, one of Alexander's leading generals, became satrap (governor) of Babylonia in 321, two years after the death of Alexander. The former generals of Alexander fought against each other and Seleucus sided with Ptolemy I of Egypt against Antigonus I, Alexander's successor on the Macedonian throne. In 312 Seleucus defeated Demetrius at Gaza using troops supplied by Ptolemy, and with a smaller force he seized Babylonia that same year, founding the Seleucid kingdom, or empire. By controlling Anatolia and its Greek cities, the Seleucids exerted enormous political, economic, and cultural power throughout the Middle East. The Seleucid kingdom was a major centre of Hellenistic culture. Resistance to Greek cultural hegemony peaked during the reign of Antiochus IV (175-163), who installed a statue to Zeus in the temple at Jerusalem. This act sparked the Maccabean uprising beginning in 165. After 25 years of Maccabean resistance, they took control over Judea from the Seleucids and created an independent Judea in Palestine. The Seleucid kingdom began losing control over large territories in the 3rd century BC. An inexorable decline followed the first defeat of the Seleucids by the Romans in 190. The decline accelerated after the death of Antiochus IV (164) with the loss of Commagene in Syria and of Judea in Palestine. By 141 all lands east of the Euphrates were gone, and attempts by Demetrius II (141) and Antiochus VII (130) could not halt the rapid disintegration of the kingdom. When the Romans finally conquered it in 64 BC, the formerly mighty Seleucid Empire was confined to the provinces of Syria and eastern Cilicia.

449- Sense
Sense is the mechanism or faculty by which an organism is able to react to changes in its external or internal environment. In all higher animals this involves conversion of internal or external stimuli into nerve impulses that travel to specialized areas of the brain, where they are analysed. The five senses ordinarily enumerated for animals include sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Other senses include the sense of motion, the senses of heat, cold, pressure, pain, and equilibrium, or balance.

450- Septuagint
The Septuagint (abbreviation LXX) is the earliest existing Greek translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. The Torah, or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), was translated near the middle of the 3rd century BC and the rest of the Old Testament was translated in the 2nd century BC. The name Septuagint was derived later from the legend that there were 72 translators, 6 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, who worked in separate cells, translating the whole, and in the end all their versions were identical. In fact there are large differences in style and usage between the Septuagint's translation of the Torah and its translations of the later books in the Old Testament. A tradition says that translators were sent to Alexandria by Eleazar, the chief priest at Jerusalem, at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC). It was in the Septuagint text in Greek that many early Christians located the prophecies they claimed were fulfilled by Christ. In the 3rd century AD Origen attempted to clear up copyists' errors of the Septuagint. Other scholars also consulted the Hebrew text in order to make the Septuagint text more accurate. But it was the Septuagint, not the original Hebrew that was the main basis for the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and part of the Arabic translations of the Old Testament. It is the standard version of the Old Testament in the Greek Church, and from it Jerome began his translation of the Vulgate Old Testament. The text of the Septuagint is contained in a few early manuscripts. The best known of these are the Codex Vaticanus (B) and the Codex Sinaiticus (S), both dating from the 4th century AD, and the Codex Alexandrinus (A) from the 5th century.

451- Seraphim
The Seraphim are the celestial "adorants" who sing the Trisagion in antiphonal chorus. They are described as having six wings, one pair to hide their eyes, the other to cover their body and the last to fly. They had human hands and voices but it is not known if they had human bodies. They were at Yahweh's service, protecting and adoring Him from the profane and unholy.

452- Sethians
The Sethians were the members of the Gnostic Sethian School of Christianity who adopted a variation of the Pagan Mysteries of Orpheus. They were active also in Rome.

453- Sextus
Sayings of Sextus are a collection of proverbs compiled by a Christian at the end of the 2d century AD, a mixture of Neo-Pythagorean and Christian concepts about God and the spiritual and ascetic life.

454- Shamanism (Shaman)
The belief systems of simple hunting-gathering bands can be complex with regard to the supernatural world, the "forces of nature," and the behaviours of spirits and gods. All human groups, large and small, have shaman-men or women thought to have direct contact with supernatural beings, the spirit world, and forces, from which they derive power to affect such problems as illness. The shaman is often the only person with a religious role in small-scale societies. Shamans were also called medicine men, or medicine women, because their tasks included treating the sick.
The rise of centralised and hierarchised social systems has almost always been accompanied by the development of ecclesiastical religious organisations with full-time priests, complex rituals, and tendencies to make moral and political rules. However these complex religious systems seldom eliminated either the practices of individualised shamanism (especially for healing of sickness) or the family-centred religious observances that reflect kinship solidarity.
Some Native Americans believed that an object in the body caused certain diseases. Shamans began their cure for such conditions with special songs and movements. They usually blew tobacco smoke over the sick person because tobacco was believed to have magical powers. Shamans sucked on the body of the sick person until they "found" the object causing the illness. Then they spit out the object -usually a small stick or a stone that they had hidden in the mouth.
Shamans had some knowledge of medicine, they set broken bones, and used various herb remedies. Many of their remedies are still used today. For instance curare (poison for arrows) is used in treating hydrophobia and tetanus and quinine to treat malaria. The Inca developed "trephining", the removal of part of the skull, often used to relieve pressure on the brain. Occasionally, shamans joined together to form a religious organisation called a curing society. Such organisations included the Midewiwin Society of the Chippewa and the False Face Society of the Iroquois.

455- Sheol
Among the early Teutons the term hell signified a place under the earth to which the souls of all mortals, good or bad, were consigned after death, a conception similar to that of the Hebrew Sheol. Among the early Jews, as in other Semitic nations, existence in Sheol was regarded as a shadowy continuation of earthly life where all of the problems of earthly life came to an end.
Hell, in theology, is any place or state of punishment and privation for human souls after death. More strictly, the term is applied to the place or state of eternal punishment of the damned. Belief in a hell was widespread in antiquity and is found in most religions of the world today.
Early Christian writers used the term hell to designate (1) the limbo of infants, where the anabaptised enjoy a natural bliss but are denied the vision of God; (2) the limbo of the fathers, in which the souls of the just who died before the advent of Christ await their redemption; (3) a place of purgation from minor offences leading inevitably to heaven and (4) the place of punishment of Satan and the other fallen angels and of all mortals who die unrepentant of serious sin.

456- Sibylline Oracles
The Sibylline Oracles is a collection of oracular prophecies in which Jewish or Christian doctrines were allegedly confirmed by a sibyl (legendary Greek prophetess). The prophecies were actually the work of certain Jewish and Christian writers from about 150 BC to about AD 180 and are not to be confused with the Sibylline Books, a much earlier collection of sibylline prophecies. In the Oracles the sibyl proved her reliability by first "predicting" events that had actually recently occurred; she then predicted future events and set forth doctrines peculiar to Hellenistic Judaism or Christianity. In the Byzantine period 12 of the compositions were collected in a single manuscript containing 14 books (of which numbers 9 and 10 are lost).

457- Simonians
By the middle of the first century AD there were at least three schools of Christian Gnosticism. Among them was the Simonians School (the other were the Paulists and the Ebionites). They were divided by the definition of the relationship of Christianity to traditional Jewish religions. The Paulists were also internationalists who wanted to free Christianity from close ties with Judaism, but their view was more moderate. They saw Christianity as fulfilling, and therefore surpassing Judaism. The Ebionites were nationalist who saw Christianity as a Jewish cult and wanted Christians to conform to all the traditional Jewish religious customs.
The Simonians were radical internationalists and rejected Judaism and their god Jehovah as Literalist nonsense.

458- Simony
Simony, the concept of buying and selling of spiritual or church benefits, derives from the name of Simon Magus who, according to an account in the New Testament (see Acts 8:18-24) tried to buy spiritual powers from St Peter. It now means the purchase of any office or authority within the Roman Catholic Church.
Simony was a problem in the Christian church from the time of the Edict of Milan (313), when the church began to accumulate wealth and power, until modern times. This is evident from the frequent legislation against it. In 451, the Council of Chalcedon proscribed ordination for money; the Third Lateran Council reaffirmed this prohibition in 1179 and by the Council of Trent (1545-63). Ecclesiastical law forbids simony and condemns it as a sinful practice that bespeaks a shallow understanding of spiritual values.
Simony was rampant from the 9th to the 11th century. During that period simony pervaded church life on every level, from the lower clergy to the papacy. At the time of the Reformation, major abuses centred on the sale of indulgences and relics. The church's policy that its benefices should not be sold for money was also often jeopardized because many secular lords claimed that they were theirs to dispose of as they wished. Wealthy families bought offices for their members and used them as a form of patronage. Simony was one of the abuses criticized at the time of the Reformation.

459- Sin
In religion sin means a transgression of a sacred or divinely sanctioned law or practice. Some idea of sin is found in most religions. Perhaps the earliest manifestation of it was the strong opprobrium attached to violating a taboo.
In no other sacred book is the sense of sin so fully developed as in the Bible. Throughout the Scriptures sin is the element in humanity that puts human beings against God, requiring repentance and God's forgiveness. In the New Testament, sin is the essential human condition that calls for the redeeming work of Christ. The early Greek Fathers of the Church regarded sin as opposition to the will of God. They did not, however, affirm that the guilt of the sin of the first man, Adam, or the corruption of his nature descended to all humanity. The Orthodox Church has continued to affirm that the human will is as free as Adam's was before the fall.
During the Protestant Reformation Martin Luther and John Calvin maintained the Augustinian emphasis on original sin and on God's grace as the means of redemption. Roman Catholicism distinguishes between mortal sin, which destroys the individual's relationship with God and merits eternal damnation, and venial sin, which does not cut off the individual from God. Protestants have rejected this distinction.

460- Socrates Philosophy
Cosmological speculations, pursued from the beginning of the 6th century, led to chaos of conflicting systems of thought. Socrates, as a young man, was enthusiastically interested in "natural science" and familiarized himself with the various current systems -with the Milesian cosmology with its flat Earth and the Italian with its spherical Earth and with the mathematical puzzles raised by Zeno about the problem of continuity. Socrates hoped to find salvation in the doctrine of Anaxagoras that "Mind" is the source of all cosmic order because this seemed to mean that "everything is ordered as it is best that it should be," that the universe is a rational teleological system but he was disappointed.
With Socrates the central problem of philosophy shifted from cosmology to the formulation of a rule of life, to the "practical use of reason." The specific message from God that Socrates brought to his fellowmen was that of the "care", or "tending", of one's "soul," to "make one's soul as good as possible" -"making it like God"- and not to ruin one's life by putting care for the body, or for "possessions", before care for the "soul", which is most truly a man's self. Socrates' view of the soul stands in contrast with the Homeric and Ionian view of the psyche as "the breath of life," which is given up when the man has perished, and also with the view prevalent in circles influenced by Orphic-type religions, according to which the soul is a sort of stranger loosely inhabiting the body." Thus the soul is the man. A man's happiness or well being, in Socrates' view, depends directly on the goodness or badness of his soul. No one ever wishes for anything but true good, but men miss their happiness because they do not know what it is. In this sense, "all wrong-doing is involuntary." Men need to know true good and not confuse it with anything else, so as to keep from using strength, health, wealth, or opportunity wrongly. If a man has this knowledge, he will always act on it, since to do otherwise would be to prefer known misery to known happiness. To Socrates knowledge of good is the one knowledge of which it is impossible to make an ill use. Politics is the statesman's task of "tending" the souls of all his fellow citizens and making them "as good as possible."

461- Son of God
The declaration that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is one of the most universal in the New Testament. The evangelists meant some special honour by the name. They associated the honour with the story of Jesus' baptism and transfiguration, Paul with the faith in the Resurrection. From this association some have argued that "Son of God" in the New Testament never referred to the pre-existence of Christ but this implication was not absent. What made the implication of pre-existence more prominent in later Christian use of the term "Son of God" was the clarification of the doctrine of the Trinity, where "Son" was the name for the eternal Second Person. As the Gospels show, the application of the name "Son of God" to Jesus was offensive to the Jews. This also made it all too intelligible to the pagans, as early heresies indicate. Facing both the Jews and the Greeks, the apostolic church confessed that Jesus Christ was "God's only Son":
- The Son of God, in antithesis to Jewish claims that the eternal could have no sons.
- The only Son, in antithesis to Greek myths of divine procreation.

462- Son of Man
Son of Man is a Hebrew or Aramaic expression used by Jesus to refer to himself.

463- Sophia (Mythology)
The Gnostics developed a complicated mythology to explain the origin of the material universe. From the unknowable God, a series of lesser divinities was generated by emanation. The last of these, Sophia ("wisdom"), conceived a desire to know the Supreme Being. Out of this illegitimate desire was produced a deformed, evil god, or Demiurge, who created the universe. The divine sparks that dwell in humanity fell into this universe, or else were sent there by the supreme God in order to redeem humanity. The Gnostics identified the evil god with the God of the Old Testament, which they interpreted as an account of this god's efforts to keep humanity immersed in ignorance and in the material world and to punish their attempts to acquire knowledge.

464- Soul
In religion and philosophy, the soul is the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being, which confers individuality and humanity, often considered being synonymous with the mind or the self. In theology, the soul is further defined as that part of the individual that shares in the divine and often is considered to survive the death of the body. Many cultures have recognized some incorporeal principle of human life or existence corresponding to the soul, and many have attributed souls to all living things. There is evidence even among prehistoric peoples of a belief in an aspect distinct from the body and residing in it. Despite widespread and longstanding belief in the existence of a soul, however, different religions and philosophers have developed a variety of theories as to its nature, its relationship to the body, and its origin and mortality. The Muslim concept, like that of the Christian, holds that the soul comes into existence at the same time as the body; thereafter, it has a life of its own, its union with the body being a temporary condition.

465- Space and Time
Many metaphysicians have argued that neither time nor space can be ultimately real. Temporal and spatial predicates apply only to appearances; reality does not endure through time, nor is it subject to the conditions of space. The roots of this view are to be found in Plato and in the thought of the Eleatic philosophers Parmenides and Zeno. Plato conceived his Forms as eternal objects whose true location was nowhere. Similarly, Christian philosophers conceived of God as existing from everlasting to everlasting and as present in all parts of the universe. God was not so much in space and time as the source of space and time. Whatever falls within space and time is limited, for one space excludes another and no two times can be simultaneous. God, however, is by definition an infinite being and so must exist timelessly and apart from space. There could be that a form of reality exists beyond space and time but nothing can be real that does not conform to spatial and temporal requirements. Men think of all events as happening before, simultaneously with, or after the moment that is called "now" and all spatial positions as relating in some way to the point that is called "here." The difficulties found in the notion of time are due to the idea that time is continuous and the idea that it is made up of discrete parts. The eternal is not to be identified with what lasts through all time; it is outside time altogether. When God is said to be eternal, the impression is often given that he has temporal characteristics, although in some higher form. What this higher form is deserves careful consideration; the result of which might be that it is not the conception of time that is incoherent but the conception of God.

466- Spiritualism
Spiritualism, in philosophy, is a characteristic of any system of thought that affirms the existence of immaterial reality imperceptible to the senses. In this view, spiritualism covers a vast array of highly diversified philosophical views. It applies to any philosophy accepting the notion of an infinite, personal God, the immortality of the soul, or the immateriality of the intellect and will. It also includes belief in such ideas as finite cosmic forces or a universal mind, provided that they transcend the limits of gross Materialistic interpretation. Spiritualism as such says nothing about matter, the nature of a supreme being or a universal force, or the precise nature of spiritual reality itself. Plato's view of the soul makes him a spiritualist, and Aristotle was a spiritualist for distinguishing the active from the passive intellect and for conceiving of God as pure actuality (knowledge knowing itself). René Descartes viewed the soul as the unique source of activity, distinct from, but operating within, a body. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz postulated a spiritualistic world of psychic monads. The Idealists F.H. Bradley, Josiah Royce, and William Ernest Hocking saw individuals as mere aspects of a universal mind. For Giovanni Gentile, the pure activity of self-consciousness is the sole reality. The belief in a personal God maintained by Henri Bergson, a French intuitionist, was joined to his belief in a spiritual cosmic force.

467- Stoicism
Stoicism was a school of philosophy founded in ancient Greece. The Stoic philosophy was developed from that of the Cynics, whose Greek founder, Antisthenes, had been a disciple of Socrates. Zeno of Citium established the Stoic school at Athens about 300 BC. Among his disciples were Cleanthes of Assos and Chrysippus of Soli. These three men represent the first period (300-200 BC) of Stoic philosophy.
The second period (200-50 BC) saw the general promulgation of the philosophy and its introduction to the Romans. Chrysippus was succeeded by Zeno of Tarsus and Diogenes of Babylonia; then followed Antipater of Tarsus, who taught Panaetius of Rhodes. Panaetius introduced Stoicism to Rome; among Panaetius's pupils was Posidonius of Apamea in Syria, who was the teacher of the orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
The third period of Stoicism was Roman. In this period outstanding Stoics included Cato the Younger and, during the empire, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Epictetus, and the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Stoicism was the most influential philosophy in the Roman Empire during the period preceding the rise of Christianity. The Stoics, like the Epicureans, emphasized ethics as the main field of knowledge, but they also developed theories of logic and natural science. They held that all reality is material, but that matter proper, which is passive, is to be distinguished from the animating or active principle, Logos. According to them the human soul is a manifestation of the Logos. Living according to nature or reason is living in conformity with the divine order of the universe. The four cardinal virtues of the Stoic philosophy are wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance, a classification derived from the teachings of Plato.
All people are manifestations of the one universal spirit and should live in brotherly love and readily help one another. They held that external differences such as rank and wealth are of no importance in social relationships. Thus, before the rise of Christianity, Stoics recognized and advocated the brotherhood of humanity and the natural equality of all human beings.

468- Stylites
Christian ascetics who lived standing on top of a column (Greek: stylos) or pillar were known as stylites. The first to do this was St. Simeon Stylites (the Elder) in AD 423. The best known among his imitators were his Syrian disciple St. Daniel (409-493) in Constantinople, St. Simeon Stylites the Younger (517-592) on Mount Admirable near Antioch, St. Alypius (7th century), near Adrianopolis, St. Luke (879-979) at Chalcedon, and St. Lazarus (968-1054) on Mount Galesion near Ephesus. The practice never spread to the West. The stylite was permanently exposed to the elements, though he might have a little roof above his head. He stood night and day in his restricted area, usually with a rail around him, and was dependent for his scanty sustenance on what his disciples brought him by ladder. He spent most of his time in prayer but also did pastoral work among those who gathered around his column. A stylite might continue this practice briefly or for a long period; St. Alypius stayed atop his column for 67 years.

469- Sufism
Sufism is a mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. It consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of man and God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world. An abstract word, Sufism derives from the Arabic term for a mystic, sufi, which is in turn derived from suf, "wool," plausibly a reference to the woollen garment of early Islamic ascetics. The Sufis are also generally known as "the poor," fuqara', plural of the Arabic faqir, in Persian darvish. Though the roots of Islamic mysticism formerly were supposed to have stemmed from various non-Islamic sources in ancient Europe and even India, it now seems established that the movement grew out of early Islamic asceticism that developed as a counterweight to the increasing worldliness of the expanding Muslim community; only later were foreign elements that were compatible with mystical theology and practices adopted and made to conform to Islam. By educating the masses and deepening the spiritual concerns of the Muslims, Sufism has played an important role in the formation of Muslim society.

470- Sun God
In the antiquity kings ruled by the power of the sun and claimed descent from it. Solar deities, gods personifying the sun, were sovereign. In ancient Egypt the sun god Re was the main high deity. In the myth relating the voyage of the sun god over the heavenly ocean, the sun sets out as the young god Kheper; appears at noon in the zenith as the full-grown sun, Re; and arrives in the evening at the western region in the shape of the old sun god, Atum. The sun god occupied a central position in both Sumerian and Akkadian religion. The sun was one of the most popular deities among the Indo-European peoples and was a symbol of divine power to them. Surya is glorified in the Vedic hymns of ancient India as an all-seeing god who observes both good and evil actions. He expels not only darkness but also evil dreams and diseases. Sun heroes and sun kings also occupy a central position in Indian mythology. In medieval Iran, sun festivals were celebrated as a heritage from pre-Islamic times. During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and led to "solar monotheism." Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of solar qualities, and both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities. The feast of Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) on December 25 was celebrated with great joy, and eventually this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the birthday of Christ. The most famous type of solar cult is the Sun Dance of the Plains Indians of North America. In the Pre-Columbian civilizations of Mexico and Peru, sun worship was a prominent feature. In Aztec religion, the sun gods Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca demanded extensive human sacrifice. In both Mexican and Peruvian ancient religion, the Sun occupied an important place in myth and ritual. The ruler in Peru was an incarnation of the sun god, Inti. In Japan the sun goddess Amaterasu was said to be the supreme ruler of the world and the tutelary deity of the imperial clan; to this day the sun symbols represent the Japanese state.

471- Sun Worship
A religious devotion to the sun either as a deity, or as the symbol of a deity, was wide spread in the antiquity. Sun worship was a religious practice that developed in some lands as people came to associate the sun with the growing season and with warmth. It developed especially among agricultural peoples, who needed sunshine for their crops. Sun worship was important in the cultures of ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, and northern India. The sun was a Hindu deity, regarded as maleficent by the Dravidians of southern India and as benevolent by the Munda of the central parts. The Babylonians were sun worshipers, and in ancient Persia worship of the sun was an integral part of the elaborate cult of Mithras. The peoples of Scandinavia also worshipped the sun. Teutonic peoples named the first day of the week for the sun. Sun worship was important to American Indians in the agricultural lands that are now the Southeastern and South-western United States. It also grew up among the Aztec, Inca, and Maya peoples who lived in Central and South America.
In ancient Greece the deities of the sun were Helios and Apollo. The worship of Helios was widespread but in time virtually all the functions of Helios were transferred to the god Apollo, in his identity as Phoebus. Sun worship persisted in Europe even after the introduction of Christianity, as is evidenced by its disguised survival in such traditional Christian practices as the Easter bonfire and the Yule log on Christmas.
Kings and queens in some lands believed themselves to be brothers, sisters, or children of the sun, and they came to be worshipped as gods. For hundreds of years, the Japanese worshipped their emperor as a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu-O-Mi-Kami.

472- Supreme Being
The belief in the creation of the world by a supreme being started only in the highest stage of cultural development; from then on there was a primordial notion of a supreme being, a kind of original intellectual and religious conception of a single creator god. This belief has been found among the cultures of Africa, the Ainu of the northern Japanese islands, Native Americans, south central Australians, the Fuegians of South America, and in almost all parts of the globe. The nature and characteristics of the supreme creator deity differ from culture to culture, but the following characteristics tend to be common:
- He is all wise and all-powerful.
- The world comes into being because of his wisdom.
- The deity exists alone prior to the creation of the world.
- There is no being, or thing, prior to his existence. No explanation can therefore be given of his existence.
- The deity seems to have a definite creation plan in mind and does not create on a trial-and-error basis.
- The creation of the world is an expression of the freedom and purpose of the deity. His mode of creation defines the pattern and purpose of all aspects of the creation, though the deity is not bound by his creation.
In several creation myths, the creator deity removes himself from the world after it has been created; the deity goes away and only appears again when a catastrophe threatens the created order. The supreme creator deity is often a sky god, and the deity in this form is an instance of the religious valuation of the symbolism of the sky. In creation myths of the above type, the creation itself, or the intent of the creator deity, aim to create a perfect world, a paradise. Before the end of the creative act, or sometime soon after the end of creation, the created order or the intent of the creator deity is thwarted by some fault of one of the creatures creating a rupture in the creation myth.

473- Synagogue
In Judaism a Synagogue is an assembly house for communal prayer, study, and meeting. Central and Eastern European Jews called their synagogues "schools"; Reform Jews sometimes use the word temple.
Synagogue architecture has never been standardized, but the following elements are nearly always there: the ark housing the Torah scrolls (the Five Books of Moses in Hebrew written on parchment), which is always on the wall facing Jerusalem; the Ner Tamid ("perpetual flame"), a light always lit, before the ark; a large desk on an elevated platform (bimah), at which the Torah is read before the congregation; a small reader's lectern from which the service is conducted and from which the rabbi may preach; and seating for the congregation. Traditionally, men and women sit in separate sections, but Reform and Conservative synagogues do not observe this custom. A seven-branched candelabrum (menorah) is a standard ornament.
The origins of the synagogue as an institution are obscure. The earliest synagogues discovered (at Masada and Herodium) are from 1st-century AD Palestine and predate the destruction of the Temple. Literary evidences of the 1st century show the synagogue as a well-established institution, but its exact origin is uncertain. The Jerusalem Temple was the centre of the Jewish cult as long as it stood, and the synagogue clearly had a different function, serving as a local meetinghouse for study and, probably, prayer. When the Temple was destroyed, the synagogue became its surrogate.

474- Syncretism
Syncretism is a term used by Plutarch ("de fraterno amore") to describe the fusion of religious cults that occurred in the Greco-Roman world between 300 and 200 BC. The process was sometimes spontaneous but it was also imposed (cult of sarapis).

475- Synod
Synod (from Greek synodos, "assembly"), in the Christian church, means a local or provincial assembly of bishops and other church officials meeting to resolve questions of discipline or administration. The earliest synods can be traced to meetings held by bishops from various regions in the middle of the 2nd century. A synod of bishops from the worldwide Roman Catholic Church meets in Rome at regular but infrequent intervals for the purpose of discussing matters of vital church interest, in an advisory capacity to the pope. In some Protestant churches, the term synod has come to signify an organizational unit. In the Lutheran church, "synod" is used in the names of the national organizational bodies.

476- Syzygy
The word "syzygy" means "yoked together". A syzygy is one thing in two stages, a pair of concept that occurs at the same time, a pair of opposites.
The primal syzygy is the archetype of all subsequent dualities of complementary yet irreconcilable opposites. The ancients represented this duality mythologically as God and Goddess. When the mystery looks at itself, God looks at the Goddess. The Christian Goddess Sophia has been called as a result "the introspection of God", as she is a "reflexion" of God, an "image" of God, a "mirror of God's active power". She is God's psyche, the appearance of his essence.
Ideas, theories, and structured systems of thought also are incorporated into religious symbolism. The idea of unity plays an important part in expressing the oneness of the divinity. The concepts of duality find expression as the body and soul of man: the divine pair; the syzygy (paired emanations) in Gnosticism; the dualism of God and the devil, of good and evil; and, finally, as the two natures of Christ.

477- Tabernacle
The word Tabernacle (in Hebrew MISHKAN or "dwelling") describes the portable sanctuary constructed by Moses as a place of worship for the Hebrew tribes during the period of wandering that preceded their arrival in the Promised Land. It was replaced by Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem in 950 BC. This new Tabernacle complex was designed following specifications dictated by God. It consisted of a large court surrounding a small building that was the Tabernacle proper. The court had the shape of two adjacent squares. In the centre of the eastern square stood the altar of sacrifice and nearby stood a basin holding water used by the priests for ritual ablutions. In the centre of the western square was the ark of the Law situated in the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle. The interior was divided into two rooms, "the holy place" and "the Holy of Holies". The outer room, or "holy place," contained the table with the bread of the Presence, the altar of incense, and the seven-branched candelabrum (menorah). The inner room, or Holy of Holies, was believed to be the actual dwelling place of the God of Israel, who sat invisibly enthroned above a solid slab of gold that rested on the Ark of the Covenant that was a gold-covered wooden box containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

478- Talmud
The Talmud is the collection of Jewish civil and religious law, including commentaries on the Torah, or Pentateuch. The Talmud consists of a codification of laws, called the Mishnah, and a commentary on the Mishnah, called the Gemara. The material in the Talmud that concerns decisions by scholars on disputed legal questions is known as the Halakah; the legends, anecdotes, and sayings in the Talmud that are used to illustrate the traditional law are known as Haggada.
There are two Talmud: the Palestinian Talmud, sometimes called the Jerusalem Talmud (written between the 3d and 5th century AD), and the Babylonian Talmud (written between the 3d and 6th century AD). Both contain the same Mishnah, but each has its own Gemara. The Babylonian Talmud became authoritative because the rabbinic academies of Babylonia survived those in Palestine by many centuries.
The Talmud itself, the works of Talmudic scholarship, and the commentaries concerning it constitute the greatest contributions to rabbinical literature in the history of Judaism.

479- Tao
In Chinese philosophy, Tao is a fundamental concept signifying "the correct way," or "Heaven's way." In the Confucian tradition, Tao signifies a morally correct path of human conduct limited to behaviour. In Taoism (the name of which derives from Tao), the concept takes on a metaphysical sense. The Taoists say: "The Tao that can be spoken about is not the Absolute Tao." The Absolute Tao thus defies verbal definition. One aspect of the Tao can be perceived by man that is the visible process of nature by which all things change. Taoists view life and death as simply different stages, or manifestations, of the Absolute Tao and consequently advocate a life in accord with nature. This view contrasts with the life of public service advocated by Confucius.

480- Teacher of Righteousness
Some documents from the inter-testamental period were found in the caves of Qumran in the vicinity of the Dead Sea in the 1940s. All the Dead Sea Scrolls were written before the destruction of the Second Temple and, with the exception of small Greek fragments, they are all in Hebrew and Aramaic. The scrolls formed the library of an ancient Jewish sect, which probably came into existence at the end of the 2nd century BC and was founded by a religious genius, called in the scrolls the Teacher of Righteousness. Scholars have tried to identify the sect with all possible groups of ancient Judaism, including the Zealots and early Christians, but it is now most often identified with the Essenes. The content of these documents confirms and enlarges what was known about the Essenes who are not mentioned in the New Testament but Philo, Josephus, and Eusebius described them. Their founder, the Teacher of Righteousness, believed that he knew the interpretation of the prophets for his time in a way that was not even known to the prophets of their own day. He instigated his followers' withdrawal into desert seclusion in opposition to the ruling powers in the city and the Temple of Jerusalem. There they lived apart from society in constant study of the Scriptures and with a firm belief that they were the elects of Israel living in the end of days and to whom would come messianic figures -a messiah of David (royal) and a messiah of Aaron (priestly). Thus, the Essenes- as the early Jewish Christians--were an eschatological Jewish sect. They believed that they alone, among those living in the end time, would be saved.

481- Temple
Temples are usually buildings of large size, dedicated to one or more divinities. The word temple is derived from templum, the Latin word for a sacred, ceremonial space. A temple almost always stands out clearly from its surroundings and has a pronounced architectural character. The type is common to most societies, being thought of as the dwelling place of the divine. The broad concept includes the mosque, the synagogue, and the church.
The origin of the temple is found in the need for ancient peoples to make concrete their relationship to the forces of nature by means of substantial structures commanding attention. Around these the ceremonies of worship were elaborated, and in many societies the attendant priests became very powerful. Temples were often positioned with regard to some natural feature or phenomenon, such as a holy mountain or the apparent traverse of the sun, and they were often tall or placed on an elevated spot, in order to lessen the distance between mortals and the heavens. The best-known temple is the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem built by King Solomon.

482- Teraphim
Teraphim is a Hebrew word meaning images of household gods in human shape. Initially linked to Ancestor Worship. Later it describes a representation of mother goddess used by women as aids to fertility and childbearing.

483- Testament, New
The New Testament consists of 27 books, which have been chosen out of many 1st and 2nd centuries AD writings that Christian groups considered sacred. In these writings the early church transmitted its traditions, its experience, understanding, and interpretation of Jesus as the Christ and the self-understanding of the church. The church selected these 27 writings as its canon. The canon contained four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), Acts, 21 letters, and one book, Revelation. These were not necessarily the oldest writings, not all equally revelatory, and not all directed to the church at large. The New Covenant, or New Testament, was viewed as the fulfilment of the Old Testament promises of salvation that were continued for Christianity through the Holy Spirit, which had come through Christ, upon the whole people of God. The descent of the Spirit on the community of the Messiah (i.e., the Christ) was thus perceived by Christians as a sign of the beginning of the age to come. The church created the New Testament canon as a continuation and fulfilment of the Old Testament. These 27 books, therefore, were not merely appended to the traditional Jewish threefold division of the Old Testament -the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi'im), and the Writings (Ketuvim)- but rather became the New Testament, the second part of the Christian Bible, of which the Old Testament is the first. As far as the New Testament is concerned, there could be no Bible without a church that created it; yet conversely, having been nurtured by the content of the writings themselves, the church selected the canon. Until circa AD 150, Christians could produce writings either anonymously or pseudonymously, that is using the name of some acknowledged important biblical or apostolic figure. The practice was not believed to be either a trick or fraud since when the message was committed to writing, the author was considered irrelevant, because the true author was believed to be the Spirit. By the mid-2nd century a distinction was made between the apostolic time and the present and there was a gradual cessation of "pseudonymous" writings in which the author could identify with Christ and the Apostles to gain ecclesiastical recognition.

484- Testament, New, Apocryphal
The Apocryphal New Testament (in Greek, "hidden") is the name that refers to more than 100 books written by Christian authors between the 2nd and 4th centuries. The books have two characteristics in common:
In general they resemble New Testament writings, most being gospel, acts, letter, and apocalypse.
They do not belong to the New Testament canon nor to the writings of the recognized Fathers of the Church.
Some of the documents were written for initiates such as the Gnostics; for these people, the works were genuinely apocryphal, that is, "books kept hidden." Others were written for open and general use in the churches but they were not accepted as part of the orthodox canon of the Bible. Some of the writings, such as the Gospel According to the Hebrews, had an important place in the life of Jewish Christians. Others were read in Gnostic circles, such as the Letter of Eugnostos found in the Naj' Hammadì texts. Others, such as the Infancy Story of Thomas and the Acts of Pilate, filled the gaps in the biblical writing with fanciful details about the unknown aspects of Jesus' life.

485- Testament, Old
The Old Testament is the account of God's dealing with the Jews as his chosen people. The first six books of the Old Testament narrate how the Israelites became a people and settled in the Promised Land. The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, describing the messages of the prophets. The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional historical works. Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews' historical relation to God is conceived in reference to the ultimate redemption of all humanity. The Old Testament's profoundly monotheistic interpretation of human life and the universe as creations of God provides the basic structure of ideas in which both Judaism and Christianity exist. The term Old Testament was first introduced by a Christian, Melito of Sardis, about AD 170 to distinguish this part of the Bible from the New Testament. The Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew and Aramaic during the period from 1200 to 100 BC. The Hebrew canon recognizes the following subdivisions of its three main divisions:
- The Torah, or Pentateuch, contains narratives combined with rules and instructions in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
- The Nevi'im, or Prophets, is subdivided into the Former Prophets in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; and stories of the Latter Prophets exhorting Israel to return to God in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets.
- The Ketuvim, or Writings, with poetry, theology and drama to be found in Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles.
The Hebrew canon has 24 books while the Old Testament as adopted by Christianity numbers more works. The Roman Catholic canon, derived from the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible, absorbed some books that Jews and Protestants later declared not canonical; and Christians divided some of the original Hebrew works into two or more parts, specifically, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (two parts each), Ezra-Nehemiah (two separate books), and the Minor Prophets (12 separate books).

486- Tetrarch
Tetrarch initially meant "ruler of a fourth part". This was the tile of Herod Antipas and of his brother Philip because, together, they had inherited one half of the territory ruled by their father, Herod the Great.

487- Tetragrammaton
The word Tetragrammaton describes the four consonant Hebrew letters, YHWH, the name of the God of the Israelites that had been revealed in this way to Moses directly by God himself.

488- Theism
The word Theism comes from "theos" (Greek for "god"), it means the belief in one God who is personal and worthy of worship, who transcends the world but takes an active interest in it, and who reveals his purpose for human beings through certain individuals, miraculous events, or sacred writings.
Theism is understood to be a form of monotheism. In contrast to theism, pantheism is the view that God is identical with the world or is completely immanent, pervading everything that exists in the world. Deism is the belief that God created the world but then had no further connection with it. Theism is in contrast with atheism and agnosticism. Positive atheism is a disbelief in all gods including the theistic God, whereas negative atheism is simply the absence of belief in any god. Negative atheism is compatible with agnosticism, the denial that a person can know either that God exists or does not exist

Three of the major world religions -Christianity, Islam, and Judaism- are theistic. Theistic strands can also be found in Hinduism that however sees God in an impersonal and pantheistic way. Theravada Buddhism and Jainism reject the theistic idea of God as creator of the universe. A theistic God has no place in Confucianism. The theistic religions of Christianity and Judaism, and to a lesser extent Islam, have greatly influenced the laws, morality, science, culture, and political institutions of the West. However, the rise of modern science and scientific Biblical criticism beginning in the 17th century has put theistic religions on the defensive.

In Western theistic religions, especially Christianity, faith is often contrasted with reason. The precise nature of this contrast varies from denomination to denomination and from theologian to theologian. Many philosophers have attempted to demonstrate the existence of God by rational argument.
- The ontological argument of Saint Anselm, an 11th-century theologian was the first. Anselm's argument maintains that God, defined as the greatest being that can be conceived, must exist, since a being that does not exist would by virtue of that fact lack an attribute that contributes to its greatness.
- The cosmological argument of Aquinas and 18th-century English philosopher Samuel Clarke says that to explain the existence of the contingent universe it is essential to postulate a necessary being, a being whose existence is not contingent on anything else. This necessary being is God.
- The Theological argument is analogous to a machine. According to William Paley, because machines are created by intelligent beings, and because the universe may be thought of as a single, highly complex machine, it is likely that the universe was created by a great intelligence, understood to be God.
- The moral argument by the 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant said that the highest good includes moral virtue, with happiness as the reward for this virtue. He held it is humanity's duty to seek this highest good and that it must therefore be possible to realise it. Kant claimed that this highest good cannot be realised unless there is "a supreme cause of nature," one that has the power to bring about harmony between happiness and virtue. Such a cause could only be God.
- According to this last theory, even if God's existence cannot be known through reason, it is still advantageous to believe in God. Thus, 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal held that belief in God is a better wager than non-belief because there are infinite rewards to gain and little to lose by believing versus infinite rewards to lose and little to gain by not believing.

Two significant problems that arise in connection with theism are the existence of evil and the apparent inconsistencies in the concept of God. The existence of seemingly gratuitous evil makes the existence of a theistic God unlikely, some critics reason, because if God were all-powerful he could eliminate evil, and if he were all-good, he would want to do so. There are inconsistencies in God's attributes because if God were all-good he could not sin, but if he were all-powerful he could.

489- Theocracy
Theocracy means a government by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided.

490- Theological
Theological, philosophical, and scientific theories are rationalizations of the basic insights in terms of the particular culture. The attempt to integrate the meanings of primordiality, dualisms and antagonisms, sacrifices, and ruptures and, at the same time, keep alive the meaning of these structures as religious realities, objects of worship, and a charter for the moral life, has led to the development of doctrines. In "primitive" and archaic societies, the correct ritual enactment of mythical symbols ensures the order of the world. These rituals usually take place at propitious moments (e.g., at the birth of a child, marriage, the founding of a new habitation, the erection of a house or temple, the beginning of a new year). In each case, the seemingly practical activities imitate the mythic structure of the first beginning. Theological and philosophical speculations and controversies centre within and between religious communities over the issues of the primordial nature of reality, dualisms, the process of creation, and the nature of time and space.

491- Theology
Theology is the discipline of religious thought, usually limited to Christianity, but that may be applied to other religions. The themes of theology are God, man, the world, salvation, and eschatology. While the term theology as it originated in the works of Plato and other Greek philosophers denoted the teaching of myth, the discipline received its most distinctive content and methodology within Christianity. The concept of theology as a neutral scientific tool applicable to religions in general is difficult to define. To apply this concept in the discussion of other religions can result in forced analogies and false conclusions. In certain Eastern traditions the concept of theology is relevant only to a very limited extent, and in a very modified form. The objects of the history of religions and those of theology, however, while they must be approached with different criteria, are not fully different. It is the precedent of authority that most clearly distinguishes theology also from philosophy, the tenets of which are generally based on timeless evidence apprehensible by autonomous reason.

492- Theopasschites
The term Theopasschites (meaning "those who believe that God suffered") refers a group of 6th century AD monophysites who, basing their doctrine on Proclus of Constinople (446), believed that one of the Trinity had been crucified. Emperor Justinian agreed with them but the bishops of Constinople and Rome rejected the doctrine.

493- Theosophy
Theosophy (Greek, 'divine wisdom') is a religious philosophy claiming insight into the nature of God and the universe through direct experience, making use of such means as mysticism, meditation, occult practices, and hidden meanings in sacred texts. Theosophists include Neoplatonists and Gnostics, but nowadays they are more generally identified with members of the Theosophical Society, founded by Helena Blavatsky (1831-91). The ideas of the society were heavily influenced by Hindu thought and its base moved to India, where their leading exponent was Annie Besant (1847-1933). The Theosophical Society, with branches throughout the world, aims for the universal brotherhood of man, and the spiritual exploration of unexplained laws of nature.

494- Therapeutae
The word Therapeutae is derived from the Greek and decribes a mystical Jewish sect of ascetics closely resembling the Essenes, believed to have settled on the shores of Lake Mareotis in the vicinity of Alexandria, Egypt, during the 1st century AD. The only original account of this community is given in De vita contemplativa (On the Contemplative Life), attributed to Philo of Alexandria. Their origin and fate are unknown. The sect was severe in discipline and mode of life. According to Philo, the members, both men and women, devoted their time to prayer and study. They prayed twice every day, at dawn and at evening, the interval between being spent entirely on spiritual exercise. They read the Holy Scriptures, from which they sought wisdom by treating them as allegorical, believing that the words of the literal text were symbols of something hidden. Attendance to bodily needs, such as food, was entirely relegated to the hours of darkness. Members of the community lived near one another in separate and scattered houses. Each house contained a chamber, or sanctuary, consecrated to study and prayer. The Therapeutae used, in addition to the Old Testament, books composed by the founders of their sect on the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture. For six days a week, members lived apart, seeking wisdom in solitude. On the Sabbath they met in the common sanctuary, where they listened to a discourse by the member most skilled in their doctrines, and then ate a common meal of coarse bread and a drink of spring water. The sect revered the number 7 and its square, but the most sacred of numbers was 50. Thus, on the eve of the 50th day they observed an all-night festival, with a discourse, hymn singing, and a meal, followed by a sacred vigil. The main distinction between the Therapeutae and the Essenes is that the latter were anti-intellectual, while "wisdom," Philo says, was the main objective of the Therapeutae. The Therapeutae shared with the Essenes a dualistic view of body and soul.

495- Theurgy
Theurgy can be defined as religious magic.

496- Thomism
Thomism refers to a philosophical and theological system developed by Thomas Aquinas, by his later commentators, and by modern scholars, known as neo-Thomists. Thomas Aquinas, distinguishing between the realms of nature (in which reason and philosophy prevail) and supernature (in which faith and theology are dominant), amalgamed the thought of the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato and that of Augustine and other early Church Fathers; he also developed a complex and distinctive corpus of thought of his own. He distinguished between essence and existence and maintained that the human soul is a unique subsistent form, united with matter to constitute human nature. Dominican scholars researched the thought of Thomas through the 16th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries the study of Thomism was revived, by the Jesuits at the request of the papacy, as a philosophical basis to answer contemporary problems. Since the mid-20th century neo-Thomists have tried to develop a philosophy of science, to take account of phenomenological and psychiatric findings, and to evaluate the ontology (theories of Being) of existentialism and naturalism.

Thrace is a region in southeast Europe forming part of present-day Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. The name was first applied by the ancient Greeks to the northeastern shores of the Aegean Sea. Later the name was used for the greater part of the eastern Balkan Peninsula, bounded on the north by the Danube River, on the east by the Euxine (Black Sea), on the south by the Propontis (Sea of Marmara), the Bosporus, the Hellespont (Dardanelles), the Aegean Sea, and Macedonia, and on the west by Macedonia, Paionia, and Dardania.
Ancient Thrace was largely uncultivated and covered with forest; mineral deposits, particularly of gold, made the region a coveted possession. The Thracians were a barbaric, warlike people who established their own kingdom in the 5th century BC. Thrace became successively a Macedonian, Roman, and Byzantine province. It became a Roman province in 46 AD.

498- Thumos
The term Thumos describes the appetitive or vegetative life and nature.

499- Time
See "Space and Time".

500- Titans
In Greek mythology, the Titans were the children of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) and their descendants. According to Hesiod's Theogony, there were 12 original Titans: the brothers Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus and the sisters Thea, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. At the instigation of Gaea the Titans rebelled against their father, who had shut them up in the underworld (Tartarus). Under the leadership of Cronus they deposed Uranus and set up Cronus as their ruler. Zeus, Cronus' sons, rebelled against his father and the Titans who sided with Cronus but with the help of his brothers and sisters they defeated the Titans after 10 years of fierce battles (the Titanomachia). Zeus imprisoned the Titans in a cavity beneath Tartarus.
The Titans were giants possessing superhuman strength and often special powers. In mythology, gods are often portrayed as titans.

501- Tithe
A tithe is a tax to be paid to the church, normally a tenth part of one's income.

502- Torah
The Torah (Hebrew, "law" or "doctrine") is the "book" of Jewish religion and law. The scrolls are considered most holy; every synagogue maintains several scrolls, each of which richly decorated. A special holiday in honour of the Torah, known as Simhath Torah (Hebrew, "rejoicing in the Law"), is celebrated in the synagogue by singing, marching and dancing with the scrolls.
The term Torah also describes the entire corpus of the Scriptures of the Jews together with the commentaries. The commentaries are called oral Torah to distinguish them from the Pentateuch itself, the written Torah.

503- Transcendentalism
The word transcendentalism, in philosophy and literature, describes the belief in a higher reality than that experienced by human senses, or in a higher kind of knowledge than that achieved by human reason (beyond the limits of possible experience and, in Kantianism, beyond human knowledge). Most transcendentalist doctrines claim that reality is divided into a realm of spirit and a realm of matter. The philosophical concept of transcendence was developed by Plato who affirmed the existence of absolute goodness, characterized as something beyond description and knowable only through intuition. Later religious philosophers applied this concept of transcendence to divinity, maintaining that God can be neither described nor understood in terms of human experience. The doctrine that God is transcendent, that he exists outside of nature, is a fundamental principle in the orthodox forms of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In theology it means something existing apart from the material universe; it is one of the characteristics of God (by opposition to immanent).

504- Transfiguration
In the New Testament, transfiguration means an event traditionally understood as the revelation of the glory of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It occurs when Jesus takes his disciples Peter, James, and John to a "high mountain" (traditionally, Mount Tabor): "And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light" (Matthew 17:2). At the same time, the prophets Moses and Elijah appeared to the disciples and a "voice from the cloud" said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him" (Matthew 17:5).
The Feast of the Transfiguration originated in the Eastern Church before the 7th century and was established in 1456 by Pope Callistus III, who fixed its date as August 6 to commemorate a Christian victory over the Ottoman Turks at Belgrade. It is a major feast in the Orthodox and Armenian churches.

505- Trinity
The Trinity in Christian theology is the doctrine that God exists as three persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-who are united in one substance or being. The doctrine is not taught explicitly in the New Testament, where the word God almost invariably refers to the Father; but already Jesus Christ, the Son, is seen as standing in a unique relation to the Father, while the Holy Spirit is also emerging as a distinct divine person.

506- Trivium
Trivium is the medieval name for the three elementary disciplines of the seven liberal arts: grammar that included classical literature, rhetoric that included logic, and dialectic or philosophy.

507- Tropes
Tropes describe the arguments used for refuting each side of an issue. For instance, Pyrrhonists assert or deny nothing, but lead people to give up making any claims to knowledge. The Pyrrhonists say that for each proposition with some evidence for it, an opposed proposition has equally good evidence supporting it. These arguments or propositions are called "tropes".

508- Twelve Tribes of Israel
In the Old Testament, the Twelve Tribes of Israel are the Hebrew people who, after the death of Moses, took possession of the Promised Land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Because the tribes were named after sons or grandsons of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel by God), the Hebrew people became known as Israelites. Jacob's first wife, Leah, bore him six sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. With the exception of Levi, each was the father of a tribe. Two other tribes, Gad and Asher, were named after sons born to Jacob and Zilpah, Leah's maidservant. Two additional tribes, Dan and Naphtali, were named after sons of Jacob born of Bilhah, the maidservant of Rachel, Jacob's second wife. Rachel bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Though a tribe was named after Benjamin, none bore the name of Joseph. Two tribes, however, were named after Joseph's sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. The 10 tribes that settled in northern Palestine became known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

509- Typology
The interpretations of texts in the Old Testament as predicting and prefiguring subsequent events, a method followed by the Jews and later by the Christians who linked them with the career, saying, death and resurrection of Jesus.

510- Valentinians
A school of Christian Gnosticism was also active in Rome. Valentinus' doctrines used quotations of his orthodox Christian opponents and a Coptic text, the Gospel of Truth, believed to be Valentinus' work. His system reflects the influence of Platonism and of Eastern dualistic religion as well as of Christianity based on a spiritual realm (pleroma) consisting of a succession of aeons (Greek, "emanations") that evolved out of an original divine being. The aeon Sophia (Greek, "wisdom") produced a demiurge (identified with the God of the Old Testament) who created the evil material universe in which human souls, originally of the spiritual realm, are imprisoned. The aeon Christ united himself with the man Jesus to bring redeeming knowledge (gnosis) of the divine realm to humanity. Only the most spiritual human beings, the Gnostics, are able to receive this revelation and to return after death to the spiritual realm. Other Christians can only attain the realm of the demiurge, and pagans, engrossed in material existence, are doomed to eternal damnation.

511- Veda
The Vedas (Sanskrit for "knowledge") are the oldest sacred books of Hinduism literature and consists primarily of four collections of hymns, poetical portions, and ceremonial formulas. The collections are called the Rig-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda. They are known also as the Samhitas (roughly "collection"). The Vedas include the basis of the doctrines about Hindu divinities. The books also present philosophical ideas about the nature of Brahman, Hinduism's supreme divine being. Hindu law permitted only certain persons to hear the Vedas recited, and so the works became surrounded by mystery. Nevertheless, the ideas presented in the Vedas spread throughout Indian culture.

The four Vedas were composed in Vedic, an early form of Sanskrit. The oldest portions are believed to have originated largely with the Aryan invaders of India some time between 1300 and 1000 BC but the Vedas in their present form are believed to date only from the close of the 3rd century BC. Before the writing down of the present texts, sages called rishis transmitted the Vedic matter orally, changing and elaborating it in the process.

The first three Samhitas are primarily ritual handbooks that were used in the Vedic period by three classes of priests who officiated at ceremonial sacrifices.
- The Rig-Veda contains more than 1000 hymns (Sanskrit rig), composed in various poetic meters and arranged in ten books. It was used by the hotri, or "reciters", who invoked the gods by reading its hymns aloud.
- The Sama-Veda contains verse portions taken mainly from the Rig-Veda. It was used by the udgatri, or chanters, who sang its hymns, or melodies (Sanskrit sama).
- The Yajur-Veda, which now consists of two versions partly in prose and partly in verse, and both with roughly the same material, contains sacrificial formulas (Sanskrit for "sacrifices"). It was used by the adhvaryu, priests who recited appropriate formulas from the Yajur-Veda while actually performing the sacrificial actions.
The fourth Veda, the Atharva-Veda consists almost exclusively of a wide variety of hymns, magical incantations, and magical spells. Largely for personal, domestic use, it was not originally accepted as authoritative because of the deviant nature of its contents.

Strictly speaking, the Vedas include the Brahmanas and the mantras. The formers are prose commentaries attached to each of the four Vedas and are concerned principally with the details and the interpretation of the sacrificial liturgy. The latter are the poetic stanzas of the four Vedas, mantra being the term used specifically for the four verse collections.
Supplementary to the Brahmanas are later esoteric works known as forest treatises, the Aranyakas from Sanskrit aranya for "forest." The latest products of the Vedic period are the sutras (Sanskrit sutra, literally "thread" roughly, "string of rules"). Collections of aphorisms elaborating and dissertating on the Vedic sacrifices, domestic ceremonies (such as marriage and funeral rituals), and religious and secular law, the sutras are significant for their influence on the development of Hindu law.

512- Virgin
Virgin, in old Israel, means an unmarried girl, a maid or maiden. It is also the word used sometime for a young widow. Virginity for a bride was important in the old Israel.

513- Virgin Birth
Virgin birth is the fundamental doctrine of orthodox Christianity that Jesus Christ had no natural father but was conceived by Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine that Mary was the sole natural parent of Jesus is based on the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke. This was accepted in the Christian church by the 2nd century, in the Apostles' Creed, and, except for several minor sects, was not seriously challenged until the rise of Protestant theological liberalism in the 19th century. It remains a basic article of belief in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and most Protestant churches. Muslims also accept the Virgin Birth of Jesus.

514- Vulgate
Vulgate designate edition of the Bible in Latin that was pronounced "authentic" by the Council of Trent. The name originally was given to the "common edition" of the Greek Septuagint used by the early Fathers of the Church. It was then transferred to the Old Latin version (the Itala) of both the Old Testament and the New Testament that was used extensively during the first centuries in the Western church. The present composite Vulgate is basically the work of St. Jerome, a Doctor of the Church.

515- Waldenses
The Waldenses are members of a Christian sect that grew out of a movement that opposed the ecclesiastical establishment. A wealthy French merchant of Lyon, Peter Waldoin, founded the sect in the second half of the 12th century. In 1173, Waldo left his wife, gave his fortune to the church and charity, and began preaching in Lyon. Waldo's followers were known as the "poor men of Lyon." Itinerant preachers under a vow of poverty taught a type of religion that has been erroneously associated with the teachings of the Cathari. Their simple, Bible-based preaching proved more popular than the more complex teachings of the Cathari. Pope Alexander III and the Archbishop of Lyon approved of the Waldenses. But the succeeding pope and archbishop forbade -without success- the Waldenses to preach because they were not priests and their teachings differed from the teaching of the church; for example, they denied the pope's authority and the existence of purgatory. They were excommunicated in 1184 by Pope Lucius III and persecuted along with the Cathari in southern France. The Waldenses spread through Europe and an important group settled in secluded areas in the Cottian Alps, a mountain range that now marks the border between France and Italy. The areas are still known today as the Waldensian Valleys.
After the Cathari were crushed, the Waldenses became the victims of the Inquisition in France. In 1487 Pope Innocent VIII organised a crusade against them in Dauphiné and Savoy. Many Waldenses took refuge in Switzerland and Germany, merging gradually with the Bohemian Brethren. The group became openly Calvinistic during the Reformation. In 1535 they paid for the publication in Switzerland of the first French Protestant version of the Bible, prepared by a French Calvinist scholar, Pierre Robert Olivétan. Persecution was renewed in Piedmont in the middle of the 17th century, and the Waldenses did not achieve full civil and religious liberty in Italy until 1848. In 1855 they founded a school of theology in Torre Pellice, in the province of Turin, their headquarters in modern times. The school was moved to Florence in 1860 and to Rome in 1922.

516- Yazidi
Yazidi (also spelled Yezidi, Azidi, Zedi, or Izdi) is a religious sect, located in the districts of Mosul, Iraq; Diyarbakir, Turkey; Aleppo, Syria; Armenia and the Caucasus region; and in parts of Iran. The Yazidi religion is a syncretic combination of Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian, and Islamic elements. The Yazidi believe that they were created separately from the rest of mankind, and they have kept themselves segregated from the people among whom they live. Although scattered and probably numbering fewer than 100,000, they have a well-organized society, with a chief sheikh as the supreme religious head and an emir, or prince, as the secular head. The chief divine figure of the Yazidi is Malak Ta'us ("Peacock Angel"), who rules the universe with six other angels, but all seven are subordinate to the supreme God, who has had no direct interest in the universe since he created it. Yazidi are antidualists; they deny the existence of evil and therefore also reject sin, the devil, and hell. The breaking of divine laws is expiated by way of metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls, which allows for the progressive purification of the spirit.

517- Zabadaeans
Zabadaeans are the name of the members of an Arabian tribe defeated by Jonathan Maccabeus in 144 BC. They lived northwest of Damascus.

518- Zealots
Zealots were members of a Jewish religious-political faction, known for its fanatical resistance to Roman rule in Judea during the 1st century AD. The Zealots appeared during the reign (37-4 BC) of Herod the Great. In AD 6, when Judea was put under direct Roman rule and the authorities ordered a census for purposes of taxation, the Zealots, led by Judas of Galilee, called for rebellion. An extremist group of Zealots, called Sicarii ("dagger men"), adopted terrorist tactics, assassinating Romans and also some prominent Jews who coopered with the Romans. The rebellion was quickly put down, and many of them, probably including Judas, were killed, but others continued to advocate resistance to the Romans. One of Jesus' disciples, Simon, was a Zealot. According to Flavius Josephus, the Zealots played a major role in the general Jewish uprising against the Romans that began in 66. They fought bravely in defence of Jerusalem until its fall in 70. Another group of Zealots held the fortress of Masada against besieging Roman troops until 73, when they committed suicide rather than surrender.

519- Zechariah (The Book of)
Zechariah or Zacharias, is the 11th of 12 Old Testament books that bear the names of the Minor Prophets, collected in the Jewish canon in one book, The Twelve. Only chapters 1-8 contain the prophecies of Zechariah; chapters 9-14 must be attributed to at least two other, unknown authors. Scholars thus refer to a "second" and "third" Zechariah: Deutero-Zechariah (chapters 9-11) and Trito-Zechariah (chapters 12-14).

520- Zephaniah (The Book of)
Zephaniah, also called Sophonias, the ninth of 12 Old Testament books that bear the names of the Minor Prophets, collected in one book, The Twelve, in the Jewish canon. The book consists of a series of independent sayings, many of which are attributed to Zephaniah, written probably about 640-630 BC. The actual compilation and the expansion of the sayings are of a later editor. The theme of the book is the "day of the Lord," which the prophet sees approaching as a consequence of the sins of Judah. A few will be saved (the "humble and lowly") through purification by judgment. It is not clear whether the Day of Judgment is conceived as historical or eschatological.

521- Zion
The most easterly of the two hills of ancient Jerusalem; often used as a prophetic and poetical designation of Jerusalem as a whole.

522- Zobah
Zobah was an Aramaean state, the most powerful of the coalition of "Syrian" states that made war upon David while he was engaged with the Ammonites.

523- Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion founded between 1400 and 1000 B.C. by a Persian prophet named Zoroaster. Zoroaster is the Greek form of the Persian name Zarathustra, which means "He of the Golden Light". His doctrines are included in his Gathas (psalms), which form part of the sacred scripture known as the Avesta.

Zoroastrianism teaches a belief in one god, Ahura Mazda, who created all things. Devout people must seek and obey Ahura Mazda, who will judge everyone at the end of worldly time after their bodies have been resurrected. The heart of Zoroastrianism is the belief in a battle between good and evil. Zoroaster taught that the earth is a battleground where a great struggle is taking place between Spenta Mainyu, the spirit of good, and Angra Mainyu, the spirit of evil. Ahura Mazda calls upon everyone to fight in this struggle, and each person will be judged at death on how well he or she fought.

Zoroaster composed several hymns called Gathas that were collected into a sacred book known as the Avesta. These hymns are the only record of what Zoroaster believed, in his own words. Some scholars believe that traces of Zoroaster's theology can be found in the concept of Satan as the personification of evil (Angra Mainyu). They also find similarities between the Zoroastrian belief in Fravashirs (guardian spirits) and the angels of Western religions. The basic tenets of the Gathas consist of a monotheistic worship of Ahura Mazda (the "Lord Wisdom") and an ethical dualism opposing Truth (Asha) and Lie, which permeate the entire universe. All that is good derives from Ahura Mazda's emanations: Spenta Mainyu (the "Holy Spirit" or "Incremental Spirit," a creative force) and his six assisting entities, Good Mind, Truth, Power, Devotion, Health, and Life. All evil is caused by the "twin" of Spenta Mainyu, who is Angra Mainyu (the "Fiendish Spirit"). Angra Mainyu is evil by choice, having allied himself with Lie, whereas Spenta Mainyu has chosen Truth. So too, human beings must choose. Upon death each person's soul will be judged at the Bridge of Discrimination; the follower of Truth will cross and be led to paradise, and the adherents of Lie will fall into hell. All evil will eventually be eliminated on earth in an ordeal of fire and molten metal.

The structural complexity of the Gathic scheme has best been explained by the assumption that Zoroaster amalgamated two religious systems.
- The first is outlined in the Gathas and is most probably Zoroaster's own; this is the monotheistic worship of Wisdom and his emanations (including Asha).
- The second is a portion of the Avesta, the Liturgy of the Seven Chapters, composed after Zoroaster's death in his own dialect.
In the Seven Chapters, the emanations occur in the company of other sacred abstractions; Ahura has the epithet "possessing Asha," but Lie and Angra Mainyu are not mentioned. Many natural objects and mythical creatures, as well as ancestor spirits, are worshipped, and the very figure of Ahura Mazda resembles not so much Zoroaster's deity as the god Varuna (sometimes called the Asura, "Lord") of the most ancient Indian religious compositions, the Rig-Veda. See Veda. The Ahura of the Seven Chapters has wives, called Ahuranis, who, like Varuna's Varunanis, are rain clouds and waters. Ahura is possessor of Asha, as Varuna is custodian of Rta ("Truth" or "cosmic order" = Asha = Old Persian. Arta). The sun is the "eye" of both deities, and the name of Ahura is at times joined to that of the god Mithra. In the Veda, the names of Mithra and Varuna are similarly joined. The Seven Chapters also revere Haoma (Vedic, Soma), a divinised plant yielding an intoxicating juice (perhaps the "filth of intoxication" against which Zoroaster warned). The worship of ancestors and nature spirits and other deities (for example, the fire god, called Agni by the Hindus) likewise has Vedic correspondences.

Probably the first Persian king to recognise the religion proposed by Zoroaster was Darius I. His son, Xerxes I, was also a worshiper of Ahura Mazda, but he probably had less of an understanding of the details of Zoroaster's religion. Artaxerxes I (reigned 465-425 BC) was also a Mazda worshiper, but probably approved of a synthesis, under Magian direction, of Zoroaster's teachings with the older polytheism. Artaxerxes II (reigned 409-358 BC) venerated Ahura Mazda, Mithra, and Anahita. Under the rule of the Greek Seleucids (312-64 BC) and Parthian Arsacids (250? BC-AD 224), cults of foreign gods flourished along with Zoroastrianism. The new Persian dynasty of the Sassanids (AD 224-641) established Zoroastrianism as the state religion of Persia. In the Sassanid theology, Ahriman was opposed to Ohrmuzd (Ahura Mazda), not to Spenta Mainyu. This theology had already appeared in the Magian system of the 4th century BC, according to Greek historians. Certain Sassanid theologians taught that Ohrmuzd and Ahriman were the twin sons of Infinite Time (Zervan), but this doctrine was eventually rejected.

The Arabs gradually converted Persia to Islam after its conquest in the 7th century. Zoroastrianism survived, however in the mountainous regions of Yezd and Kermon. About 18,000 still live in Iran. Zoroastrians, called Parsis (literally, Persians), are numerous and prosperous in India, chiefly in the vicinity of Bombay (now Mumbai).