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Magic

(3,223 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
Origins of the Term ‘Magic’ The term “magic” has served to indicate, in the history of Western culture, a variety of ideas and of practices, often related to religion and/or science. Consequently, the term has been historically defined and understood in many different ways, according to the context in which it has been used. The ancient Greek term mageía, which is at the origin of all modern words related to ‘magic,’ had a Persian origin, and served to indicate, since its adoption by Greek culture, religious activities considered to be exotic, unsancti…

Occultism

(2,179 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
The Term ‘Occultism’ The term ‘occultism’ has been defined in a variety of manners since its first appearance in France (as occultisme), in the first half of the nineteenth century. The earliest occurrence appears to be in a ‘dictionary of new words’ by Jean-Baptiste Richard, Enrichissement de la langue française (1842), but it was thanks to the pen of Eliphas Lévi (ps. of Alphonse-Louis Constant, 1810–1875), that the term acquired an increasing popularity since the 1850s. Later on, and mostly under the influence of Lévi's writings, the term p…