Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism

This is the first comprehensive reference work to cover the entire domain of “Gnosis and Western Esotericism” from the period of Late Antiquity to the present. Containing around 400 articles by over 180 international specialists, it provides critical overviews discussing the nature and historical development of all its important currents and manifestations, from Gnosticism and Hermetism to Astrology, Alchemy and Magic, from the Hermetic Tradition of the Renaissance to Rosicrucianism and Christian Theosophy, and from Freemasonry and Illuminism to 19th-century Occultism and the contemporary New Age movement. Furthermore it contains articles about the life and work of all the major personalities in the history of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, discussing their ideas, significance, and historical influence.
The Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism was selected Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2006.

Also available in an unabridged one volume edition, for details click here.
Wouter J. Hanegraaff is Professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has published extensively on modern and contemporary Western esotericism, including a book devoted to the 15th-century Christian Hermetist Lodovico Lazzarelli and a monograph on the New Age movement.
Antoine Faivre is Professor Emeritus of History of Esoteric and Mystical Currents in Modern and Contemporary Europe at the 5th section of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne), Paris, France.
Roelof van den Broek is Professor Emeritus of History of Christianity at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Jean-Pierre Brach is Professor of History of Esoteric Currents in Modern and Contemporary Europe at the 5th section of the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne), Paris, France.
'This insightful new dictionary is absolutely indispensable for academic research…every article is a pleasure to read by style and structure…a great gift, and a welcome tool for study and finding information…very well organized and edited…This dictionary stands out for its rich contents on diverse topics…an indispensable goldmine of information…This is very good quality for sure…This dictionary is very well organized and edited. The design is also very good…The indexes are very useful.'
Boudewijn Koole.
'The entries present balanced, neutral accounts of the topics and the major persons involved with them without simplification, distortion, or reductionism...scholars will be delighted to have such a treasure take its place next to the popular treatments of the field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.'
M.R. Pukkila, Choice, 2005.
'The Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism is a brilliantly conceived and skillfully executed reference tool unlike anything the scholarly world has ever seen. In two massive volumes it covers every aspect of pagan, Jewish, and Christian religious discourses and phenomena traditionally labeled gnosticism, hermeticism, astrology, magic, the "occult sciences," esoteric religion, and much more. The detailed and insightful articles, on nearly every related topic imaginable, are produced by an impressive array of renowned scholars, and usefully include up-to date bibliographies. Six years in the making, this is a work that every student of religion, ancient and modern, will certainly want to own.'
Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
'The Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism is a must for any who would consider themselves a scholar of Esotericism, and should at the very least be in every academic library in the English-speaking world.'
J. Gordon Melton, Center for Studies on New Religions, 2005
'… this important new reference work should be consulted by all those engaged in research in the areas covered by the dictionary. The reach of this work is truly astounding. The Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism promises to be the pre-eminent reference work of its kind for many years to come.'
Andreas J. Köstenberger, Faith & Mission, 2005
'The Dictionary places gnosis and esotericism in its historical perspective – not only the breadth of the described phenomenon is surprising, but also the fact that the subjects are covered in such an objective fashion.'
NRC Handelsblad, 2005
'Brill has produced a work on esotericism that will become the standard reference work on the subject. Never before has such a complete overview of this obscure peripheral area of religion appeared.'
Leidsch Dagblad (Associated Press Services), 2005.
A selection of entries:
Bacon, Francis
Blake, William
Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna
Boehme, Jacob
Christian Theosophy
Comenius, Jan Amos
Clement of Alexandria
Cusa, Nicholas of
Dante Alighieri
Dionysius Areopagita, -Pseudo
Eriugena, Johannes Scottus
Ficino, Marsilio
Grail traditions
Hermes Trismegistus
Hermetic Literature
Intermediary Beings
Jewish Influences
Jung, Carl Gustav
New Age Movement
Newton, Isaac
Occult / Occultism
Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni
Steiner, Rudolf
Swedenborg, Emanuel
Valentinus and Valentinians
Witchcraft (15th – 17th Centuries)
All those interested in the history of religion, intellectual history, art and culture in Western society from Antiquity to the present, as well as classicists, medievalists, historians, and theologians.
  • Collapse
  • Expand