– Ablutions, a necessary preliminary to prayer, involve often washing face and hands. In Christianity, it is a term used to describe various rituals washing of sacred vessels and hands of celebrant during Mass or Eucharist. Washing was also practiced in ancient religions and initiation ceremonies.
– Abstinence, in the Catholic Church, it means renouncing to certain specific foods at certain seasons or in preparation of certain religious rites. It is different from fasting that means total renouncement to all food for a certain period of time.
– Adamites, a Gnostic sect whose members tried to live as Adam before the Fall. They renounced marriage and worshipped in complete nudity.
– Adonai, word used for the Divine name in the Old Testament. The Jews used it for the unutterable name of Yahweh. It is also the name of a Gnostic aeon.
– Advent, in the ancient Greek religions it was believed that deities sometimes visited sanctuaries dedicated to them. Their “advent” was celebrated as festival. In Christianity, advent is an annual period of preparation for Christmas.
– Aeons, or archetypes that form the pleroma. According to Ptolemy there are 8 principal aeons and two sub-groups of 10 and 12 minor aeons (30 aeons in total). They are also said to mediate between Supreme deity and the material world.
– Adonai (My Lord) was the word used by the Hebrews for their God Yahweh or Jehovah, a word that could not be pronounced.
– Agape, word used to describe a common religious meal in Early Church.
– Agapetai and agapetoi, Greek words meaning “beloved women” and “beloved men”. These people lived together in a “Spiritual marriage”.
– Agnosticism, the concept that a Divine Being, a supernatural world, and human immortality, are subjects that cannot be proved.
– Agnus Dei, “Lamb of God”, in Christianity, Christ the Divine victim of human sin is represented as the Pascal Lamb (Of Passover).
– Agrapha, saying of Jesus unrecorded in the four Gospels but only in other books.
– Allegory, a next that has an apparent and a hidden meaning, usually more important.
– Alleluia (or Hallelujah), a Hebrew term meaning “Praise Ye Yah (Yahweh)”.
– All Saints’ Day, festival commemorating all saints. Held in Western Church on November 1 and in Eastern Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
– All Souls’ Day, a commemoration of the souls of dead Christians, held on November 2.
– Almighty, omnipotence or possession of all power. This has been attributed to many deities such as Amun-Re, Marduck, Yaweh, Zeus, Allah, Vishnu and, of course, God the Father by the Christians.
– Amen, Hebrew word meaning “verily”. Used in the Old and New Testaments to express assent and adopted by the Christian Church as traditional formula at end of prayers, hymns and creeds.
– Anchorites, anchoress, word meaning “to withdraw” and used to describe men or women who withdraw from society to devote themselves to a solitary ascetic life of prayer.
– Angels, they are supernatural messengers or servants of the gods or God in many religions.
– Ankh, an ancient Egyptian symbol of life. It has the form of a cross with a loop-shaped top.
– Anno Domini, “the year of the Lord”, a system of dating based on the supposed year of Christ’s birth.
-Anointing, the religious use of oil and unguents -including blood and saliva- has been widely used from the antiquity to now.
– Apocalyptic literatures, Greek work meaning “revelation”, describe a class of Jewish and Christian literature that describes what will happen in the future.
-Apocrypha, Greek for “the hidden things”, describes certain writings received by the Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament but excluded from the Bible.
– Apologists, name given to early Christian writers who defended Christianity from Pagan calumnies and win recognition from the civil authorities.
– Apostasy, the abandonment of Christianity, voluntary or forced, was said to be unforgivable in early Christianity. This policy was softened later on as the number of persecution increased.
– Apostles, Greek word meaning “to send”. The twelve Disciples selected by Jesus Christ himself used this title.
– Apotheosis, deification of a human being, usually after death.
– Aramaic, Semitic language of the Aramaeans, widely used in the Near East including Palestine.
– Archetypes, the original form or pattern according to which existing things are made. Commonly applied to the divine idea of the Creator by which he made the universe and guide the world by his providence.
– Archons, supernatural powers (angels) serving God especially as mediators between God and mankind. The word is also used to describe daemonic hostile powers that controlled the destinies of men.
– Armagedon, a place where the forces of evil will fight battle against God. Identified with Megiddo in Palestine.
– Ascension of Christ, marks the end of his incarnational life, implies belief in a celestial Heaven.
– Ashes, used in religious ceremonies as a purification substance or as a sign of mourning or humiliation.
– Atonement, the putting of man “at one with God” through the sacrificial death of Christ. It is at the base of Christianity.
– Baccchnalia, name of orgiastic rites of Dionysus.
– Baptism, in Christianity denotes a rite of immersing in water but it was already in use by the Jews. It was also used as an initiatory ritual of purification in the Mystery Schools. In early Christianity baptism was seen first as Christ in his death to be followed by rebirth to a new spiritual life in the resurrected Christ. Baptism was then the initiatory ritual of Christianity, which mystically regenerated the neophyte.
– Barbello, Barbeloites, Barbelo Gnostics: Gnostic devotees of the aeon\Goddess Barbelo who was the first emanation of the Unknown Father, the “First Virginal Invisible Story”.
– Beatification, process of conferring the title of “Blessed” of a person of saintly reputation after death, ordered by the Pope.
– Bible, Holy Scripture. In Christianity it is made of the Old and New Testaments.
– Bogomils, “Lovers of the God”, the Bogomils are thought to have arisen from a sect of Paulicians from Asia Minor, who in about 872 were compulsory settled in Macedonia.
– Cabbala (Kabala) means “tradition”. It is a Jewish system of esoteric mystical thought.
– Calvary, “place of the skull#, designates the place were Jesus Christ was crucified.
– Canonisation, the Pope alone can declare that a personne that has been beatified has entered eternal glory and he orders the Roman Catholics to venerate him or her.
– Carpocratians, the followers of Carpocrate, the founder of the Gnostic sect that bears his name.
– Cathars, the word derives from the Greek for “Purity”. A community was first recorded in 1143 in Cologne, Germany. Between 1150 and 1300 Catharism was the dominant religion of southern France and northern Italy where they were known as Patarenes
– Catechism, a book of elementary instruction in faith.
– Catechumens, those undergoing instruction for baptism in Early Church.
– Cherubim, winged beings who were guardians of Yahweh or bearers of his throne.
– Christology, study of nature of Jesus Christ as God incarnated in person of historical Jesus.
– Confession acknowledgement of faults, either moral or ritual, to a deity.
– Confirmation, rite through which the Grace of the Holy Spirit is conferred to a person in a fuller way that in baptism.
– Consciousness, immediate awareness of something. It is also the internal experience of something internally or externally present to the perceiver.
– Coptic Church, the native Church of Egypt.
– Corpus Christi, Christian feast taking place on first Thursday after Trinity Sunday, it commemorates the institution of Eucharist.
– Cosmos. Commonly applied to the universe as wisely arranged and ordered. Cosmos is the ordinary Greek word for the world as created and directed by God.
– Covenant, an agreement between two parties. The best examples are those between Yahweh and Israel and between Yahweh and Abraham.
– Daemon, the immortal Higher Self of the human beings.
– Deacon, Deaconess, office in Christian ministry next below that of priest.
– Decalogue, known also as the Ten Commandments.
– Deification, the making of a person, animal or thing into a deity.
– Deism, used to designate a movement that rejects revealed religion in favour of “natural religion”, one based on man’s intuitions about the world of experience.
– Demiurge, used by Plato to describe the Creator of the World. The dualist Gnostics used the word to distinguish the creator of the world by a being lower that God from the Supreme God.
– Demons, supernatural beings feared as horrific and hostile.
– Devil, the fact that evil exists in the world seems to be contradictory with a Supreme and Good God. This contradiction has been explained in two ways:
1- the Supreme Deity is of ambivalent nature being both creator and destroyer.
2- the universe is the creation of two opposite forces of Good and Evil ever contending for mastery.
– Diaspora, used to describe the dispersion of the Jews that started in the 6th century BC. It is the generic name given to the multitude of Jews who were dispersed in many Mediterranean countries as slaves following invasions of their country.
– Dogma, in Christianity it means religious truth from divine revelation and accepted as such by the Church.
– Dooms, the medieval description of Last Judgement.
– Dualism, word used to describe the universe as a battle ground between the Principles of Good and Evil as well as to describe the division of human nature into spirit and matter.
– Easter derived from the Aramaic word for Passover. In Christianity, the day of commemoration the resurrection of Christ.
– Ebionites/Ebionaeans, or poor ones, were Christian Gnostics based in Jerusalem and led by Peter and James in the first century. They repudiated Paul as they saw him as “an Apostate from the Law”. They wanted the Christian Gnostics to retain their link with Judaism. Later Literalist Christians claimed they were the original disciples of the historical Jesus.
– Ego, in moral philosophy the conscious and permanent subject of one’s own mental experiences and free decisions.
– Eidolon, the mortal lower self of human beings.
– Elohim, a word meaning God in the Old Testament.
– Eschatology, used to describe beliefs concerning death, judgement, purgatory, heaven and hell.
– Esoteric or “inner” Pagan Mysteries were revealed to the purified and spiritually prepared initiates.
– Essenes, a Jewish sect based at Qumran, in recent years the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
– Eucharist (Holy Communion), the rite originated from Jesus’ actions at Last Supper when He said that bread was representing His body and wine His blood. It is seen as a divine way of communicating with Christ and as a sacrifice.
– Exodus, the “coming out” of Israel from bondage and slavery in Egypt.
– Exoteric or “outer” Pagan mysteries were open to all.
– Expiation, actions taken to placate an angered deity. Sacrifice, fasting and penance did this.
– Faith, for the Christians the terms describes a body of beliefs and practices set in Creeds that constitute Orthodox Christianity.
– Fall of man, the story disobedience to his Creator.
– Fasting, voluntary abstention from food for religious or magical reasons.
– Festival, a religious anniversary of joyous kind as opposed to fast. Also used for non-joyous occasions.
– Fish, this was used as a symbol of Christ since the 2d century AD. Also for the newly baptised
– Fundamentalism, in Christianity the term is used to describe the conservative orthodoxy that is based on the belief infallibility of the Bible, Virgin Birth of Christ, dead on the cross, resurrection in the flesh and second coming.
– Gnosis, knowledge of Truth, about constitution of the universe, human nature and destiny.
– Gnostics or Knowers or Mystical, describe people who stop identifying themselves with any level of their separate identity and have realised their true identity as the Christ or the Universal Daemon by Gnosis.
– Gnosticism, a religious-philosophical movement in the Greco-Roman world. There were many sects in many places, under various leaders but all of them claimed a secret “Gnosis”. Gnosticism accounts for human nature as composed of a mortal material body and an immortal ethereal soul.
– God, the Christians inherited their conception of God from the Hebrews. For them God is the unique creator and ruler of the universe. Like the Hebrews the Christians also believe that God was the incarnated “Son of God” and that his death was planned to bring man’s salvation.
Good Friday, Friday before Easter, observed as the anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus.
– Gospel, “good news”, originally used to describe Jesus’ career. More generally refers to the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. There also many Apocryphal Gospels non-recognised by the Christian Churches.
– Grace (doctrine of), it means God’s goodwill and help.
– “Greater Gnostic Christian Mysteries” revealed to the initiates.
– Great Mother (also Great Goddess), a deity symbolising maternity, the fertility of the earth and feminity in general. It was the central figure in the old religions of Anatolia, the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. As a specific goddess she was known as Cybele, Rhea, and Demeter. Known also as the Great Goddess.
– Hades, the ancient Greek saw Hades as the. He was not identified with the underworld, which is the “House of Hades”. The Lord of the underworld to which all dead descended.
– Hassidaeans, the Pious, refers to devout Jews who suffered persecution in 2d century BC for opposing Hellenising policy of Antiochus IV.
– Hasmoneans, dynastic names of the Maccabee rulers
– Heaven, in old time it was seen as the house of the Gods to which beatified dead are also going. Christianity God and the house of the Blessed Ones are located in heaven.
– Helios, Sun God (minor) in Greek mythology.
– Hell, in Christianity it is the place of eternal punishment for those damned at Last Judgement.
– Heresy, everything that opposes the orthodox doctrine in Christian religion.
– Hermes Trismegistos (or Trismegistus), or the “Thrice Great” which was also the title of Thoth in Egypt. He is believed to be the author of revelations of religious and philosophical types known as Hermetica or Hermetic Literature.
– Hierophant, the “displayer of holy things”; in ancient Greece, 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. During the ceremonies he wore a headband and a long, richly embroidered purple robe.
-Holy Spirit, Christianity describes it as an agent or attribute of God capable of operating separately but harmoniously with God.
– Holy Trinity, a term used since about 200AD to denote the central doctrine of the Christian religion. God who is one and unique is three really distinct persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
– Hylics or materialists or physical people who identify themselves with the body, the circumference of the circle of self.
– Hypostasis, the appearance of the syzygy, it is represented by the female aeon.
– Icons, pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary or of Saints.
– Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, the belief that Mary’s conception of Jesus was made by Divine Grace keeping her free of sin.
– Immortality, deathlessness or immunity to dying may apply to the whole person, body and soul, or to some part such as the soul.
– Incarnation, this is the assuming of a physical body by a deity (such as Jesus Christ for the Christians) or a soul
– Incense, the burning of aromatic substances in worship is a very old custom. There could be two reasons for it@ the pleasant odour should please the gods and rising smoke suggest ascent to Heaven.
– Infallibility Papal, at the Vatican Council of 1870, it was decided that any definition made “ex-cathedra” by the Pope in matter of faith and moral are true.
– Initiation, an ancient rite involving preparatory discipline and rites to transform the initiate into a new social or religious status and character.
– Inner (esoteric) Mysteries, religious knowledge open only to the initiates.
– Initiation is brought to a person through purification, instruction in some secret doctrines, and rite often simulating death and rebirth. The initiates were sworn to secrecy and, as they kept their vows, little is known about these ceremonies.
– Isis, Egyptian Goddess, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus.
– Islam, the Muslim religion founded by Muhammad.
– Jehovah or Yahweh, this is the personal name of the God of Israel. In Hebrew it was written in consonants only, YHVH, the original vowels are unknown as the sacred name was not to be pronounced.
– Jesus, the historical person believed by the Literalist Christians to be the founder of Christianity.
– Judaism, the religion of the Jews.
– Katalemna, according to The Gospel of Luke, Jesus was born in a katalema, which means cave or any temporary shelter.
– Kenoma, original Christians called the ineffable cosmos of archetypes the plenora and the manifest psycho-physical cosmos of appearance, the “kenoma”.
– Last Supper, the meal that Jesus had with his disciples the night before crucifixion.
– “Lesser Gnostic Christian Mysteries” for beginners on their way to spiritual knowledge.
– Levites, the descendants of Levi the son of Jacobs. They were priests by right and tradition.
– Logos, a Pagan philosophical concept. It is the Guide on the path to Sophia and her Gnosis. The concept of Logos is often translated as “Word”.
– Magi, Persian specialists in priestly art. They embraced Zoroastrianism.
– Manda, a Gnostic sect of the 1t or 2d century AD.
– Manichaeism, a Gnostic religion founded by Mani in the 3d century AD.
– Martyrs, in Christianity, originally described the Apostles who witnessed the life and resurrection of Christ. Later described those who “witnessed” to their faith by suffering and death during the Roman persecution of the Christian Church.
– Menorah, a seven-branch candalebra that stood in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Also used in Synagogues. It is now a symbol of Judaism.
– Messiah, Messianism, the “Anointed” One.
– Metanoia, literally repentance or penance. Repentance is shown by faith, baptism, confession of sins and behaving in a way worth of penance.
– Meta-ousiosis, transubstantiation of the bread and wine at mass into the body and blood of Christ. It identifies what takes place at the Eucharistic Consecration.
– Miracles, action of a superhuman power, actions attributed to gods in all religions and to some human beings enjoying special divine favours.
– Missal, Christian book containing all that is necessary for celebrating Mass.
– Mithra, Mithraism, ancient Indo-Iranian God from the 2d millennium BC.
– Monasticism, the wish to abandon domestic life to concentrate on worship, meditation and sacred studies. It generally involves a solitary life as hermit.
– Monotheism, belief in one, and only one, personal transcendent god.
– Mystery, the Greek used this word (mysterion) to describe rites of private or secret character. Only the people initiated into the mystery could participate in the ceremonies.
– Mystery religions, designate religious rites of private or secret character, open only to their initiates. Their purpose was to secure some forms of personal salvation or beatitude, usually after death. Each Mystery religions have their own myths, most concerning death and resurrection of a divine person.
– Mysticism, the supernatural state of soul in which God is known in a way that no human effort or work could ever succeed in producing. There is an immediate, personal experience of God that is extraordinary, not only in intensity, but in kind that is the result of a complete grace of God.
– Myths, a traditional story focussing on some religious explanation of a phenomenon of nature.
– Nag Hammadi, a place in Upper Egypt where 13 Coptic manuscripts were found in 1945 or 1946. They date from the 3d or 4th century AD and contain 49 Gnostic texts.
– Nassene Gnostics, a Gnostic sect that existed under the reign of Hadrian (110-140 AD). Their name derives from Naas, serpent, and they dedicated their temples secretly to the serpent seen as divinity.
– Necromancy, practice of evoking dead for divination purposes. It implies that dead have knowledge of the future.
– Neoplatonism, a synthesis of Platonic, Pythagorean, Aristotelian and Stoic philosophies plus insights from oriental, Jewish and Hermetic religious thoughts. Its centre was in Alexandria.
– Nestorianism, a Christian heresy based on the existence of two separate persons, one divine and one human, in the Incarnate Christ.
-Nous or pneuma is at the centre is our essential identity. While. Pneuma is translated as “spirit” “Nous” is translated as “intellect” but now intellect means only “rational thought” whereas “nous” is the witness of all experiences, “nous” is a “knowing principle”. It is “who we are”. A better modern translation for pneuma and nous is “Consciousness”.
– Occultism, a modern terms to describe various concepts such as divination, magic, mystery-religions, healing-cults, necromancy, spiritualism, witchcraft, etc.
– Ogdoad, for the Gnostics, the cosmos has seven levels represented by the sun, the moon and five planets, Above them is the “ogdoad” or “eighth” represented by the starry Skies, the mythical home of the Goddess.
– Omphagia, eating of raw flesh.
– One, only God is absolutely one, because he has no parts or composition, and as creator of the universe he is totally unlike the world he has made.
– Ophites, this is the name of an early Gnostic sect, they regarded the serpent as the humanity saviour. From God of Old Testament.
– Orphism, a Greek religious movement whose traditional founder is Orpheus. The members of this group were concerned with the destiny of the soul (psyche). Psyche was considered as inner essential and immortal by nature.
– Orthodoxy, used in Christianity as the opposite of heresy. Also describes the churches linked to the Patriarch of Constantinople.
– Osiris, Egyptian royal mortuary-God and ruler of the dead.
– Ousia, the essence of the syzygy, the male aeon represents it.
-Outer (exoteric) Mysteries, describe religious practices open to everybody
– Pagans, also known as heathen or one who practice what Christianity calls idolatry. Used in the past to describe somebody who does not profess monotheism, does not believe in one God only, the creator of heaven and earth.
– Parousia, a term of the New Testament for the second coming of Christ.
– Passover, a spring Jewish festival.
– Pentateuch, the generic name of the first five books of the Old Testament. For the Jews these books are the “Torah” or “Law”.
– Pentecost, a Jewish feast taking place 50 days after Passover.
– Pharisees, the name of a Jewish sect whose members are known as the “Separated Ones”. They were the successors of the Hasidaeans known for their strict observance of the Torah.
– Physis, the physical body, this is our outer self.
– Pilgrimage, a religious custom that involves three factors: a holy place; the people attraction to this place; a specific aim like obtaining some material or spiritual benefits.
– Pistis Sophia, the title given by mistake to the translation of Coptic manuscripts containing two works of Gnostic origin. the first contains so-called revelations made by Jesus to disciples 12 years after resurrection about the fate of the aeon Pistis Sophia and questions made by the disciples mainly Mary Magdalene; the second, contains post-resurrection prophecies of Jesus about punishment of sinners after death.
– Platonism, the system of thought created by the Greek philosopher Plato. Although considered as Pagan it influenced Christianity.
– Pleroma, in Christianity it means the sum of the blessings brought to the world by Christ. It also means the fullness of the divinity in Christ and the Church as the plenitude or complement of Christ.
-Pneuma or “nous” is at the centre is our essential identity. Pneuma is translated as “spirit”. Nous is translated as “intellect” but now intellect means only “rational thought” whereas “nous” is the witness of all experiences, “nous” is a “knowing principle”. It is “who we are”; a better modern translation for pneuma and nous is “Consciousness”.
. Pneumatics or “spiritists” are aware of themselves as Spirit of Consciousness, the centre. Also, people who identify themselves with their spirit.
– Polytheism, recognition and worship of many gods.
– Pseudepigrapha, term used for writings attributed to famous persons to give them authority.
-. Psyche, this word is translated as “soul”. In relation to our physical or outer body, the psyche/soul is our “inner self”; for the Gnostics, it is a deeper level of our identity than the body.
– Psychics or “soulists”, people who identifies themselves with the psyche or soul and with their personality.
– Purgatory, the place where the dead go after immediate judgment until the Last Judgment. In it, the souls of dead, not guilty of un-repented sins, expiated their venial sins.
– Purification, the rites of purification vary according to the severity and the degree of impurity contracted.
– Q, symbol for the German word “Quelle” or source. Used in New Testament studies for a hypothetical collection of Jesus’ sayings included in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels.
– Qumran, a place north west of the Dead Sea. From 1947 to 1956, the remains of about 500 documents in 11 caves nearby. These documents belonged to the library of a Jewish community living there. These documents are from the 2d or 1t centuries BC and were hidden in the caves before the Jewish war of 66-73 AD.
– Rabbi(s), “my master”, the term was given in Palestine to person expert in Jewish laws. Today Rabbi refers to a Jewish official concerned with educational, social and pastoral as well as religious matters.
– Rebirth (or Metempsychosis), means “transferring of soul (psyche) from one body to another”. It implies the idea of life as a cyclical process that is the passage of the soul through successive bodies.
– Reincarnation, rebirth, metempsychosis, this is the theory of the transmigration of human souls from one body -human or animal- to another.
– Relics, the preservation of objects believed to contain beneficial virtues because of former associations (body parts of saints, of objects that belonged to them, etc).
– Resurrection, some religions believe that the body is as important as the soul to personal life. In consequence, a significant afterlife demands the resurrection of the body as well as survival of the soul. Religions that regard the soul as inner essential that migrates from boy to body do not need the resurrection of the body.
– Revelation, most religions proclaim to have supernatural truths that have been divinely revealed to their founders or to some of their important members, dead or still alive.
– Ritual, it was probably magical in origin. Ritual action would often be accompanied by recitation of words, both explanatory and invocatory in intent. These become sacred tradition.
– Rosaries, a string of knots or beads for aiding memory in religious exercises that involve repetition of divine names or prayers.
– Sabbath, applied to any sacred season or days requiring cessation of work. Why it is the 7th day in Jewish and Christian religion is not known.
– Sacraments, originally meaning the soldier’s oath of allegiance. In Christian theology it is the “visible form of invisible grace”. Seven sacraments are recognised in western Christianity: baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance (confession), extreme unction, holy orders and matrimony.
– Sacrifices, the custom of offering something to a deity is ancient and well spread. It can be food offering, animals or, even, human beings.
– Sadducees, a politico-religious Jewish sect of the 2d century BC, named after high priest Zadok. Sadducees were members of the priestly aristocracy. In religion they opposed the Pharisees in accepting only written Torah and rejecting oral tradition. They also rejected the concept of resurrection, angels and spirits.
– Salvation, this appears in some form in most religions. Faith in a Saviour is essential there and this implies acceptance of some doctrines, rituals and moral disciplines. Those who do not receive salvation are damned.
– Samaritans, the people of the northern kingdom of Israel. They were descendants of northern Israelites but they refused to recognise Jerusalem Temple as covenanted sanctuary of God recognising only as such their own temple on Mount Gerizim. They only accepted the Pentateuch as Holy Scripture although in a slightly different version from the Hebrew.
– Sanhedrin, the name of the Jewish supreme court of Justice until the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It hereditary head was the High Priest.
– Satan, in the Old Testament it means “adversary” but later on he became the Devil.
– Sin, in Christianity it means offences against both God and Man.
– Son of man, an expression used by Jesus Christ to describe himself. It may mean Man, Messiah, the true Israel.
– Sophia, the original Christians the Divine had masculine and feminine aspects. Sophia was the Divine feminine, the wise Goddess.
– Soul, the word comes from the idea that the human nature is composed of a material body and a non-physical soul.
– Spiritualism, ancient practices to establish communication with the dead.
– Synagogue, a Jewish temple to meet the needs of the Jews who could not worship in the main Jerusalem Temple. Synagogue worship consisted of reading from Law and Prophets, with prayers, canticles and, sometime, a sermon.
– Syzygy, the 8 main aeons group themselves in pair making 4 basic syzygies. Each syzygy consists of a male aeon (representing the ousia or essence of the syzygy) and a female aeon (representing the hypostasis or appearance of the syzygy.
– Temple of Jerusalem, Solomon designed and built it to provide a political and religious centre for Israel. It was designed to be the dwelling place of Yahweh, the Ark being the proof of its presence. The Solomon Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar in 587/588 BC. A smaller one was rebuilt under Zreubbabel in 516 BC. Herold the Great rebuilt a more grandiose one but it was finished only a few years before its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.
– Tetragrammaton, four letters term (YHVH) used to designate the Divine name of God Yahweh, Jehovah) traditionally not pronounced by Jews.
– Theocracy, a Government by God and administered by his priests under the leadership of the high priest.
– Theology, in Christianity, the systematic study and presentation of topics related to God.
– Theosophy, usually denotes some forms of religious faiths based on pantheism or nature-mysticism and, generally, claiming esoteric knowledge.
– Therapeutae, a sect of mystical Jews who lived near Alexandria in Egypt at the beginning of the first century AD. Philo described them as a Jewish Pythagorian school. Philo suggested that they were practising a Jewish version of the Pagan Mysteries. The Church historian Eusebius said that the Therapeutae were the first Literalist Christians but the experts do not believe this anymore. However it is still possible that the Therapeutae were the proto-Christians who created Jesus, the Christ.
– Transubstantiation, an explanation to account for the change of bread and wine consecrated at the Eucharist into Body and Blood of Christ.
– Trinity, doctrine of one God existent in Three persons. It is the central dogma of Christian theology.
– Unction, the ancient ritual use of oil of the dead, the kings and religious persons. In Christianity it is used at Baptism, Confirmation and Royal Coronations.
– Underworld, an abode under the earth for the dead. The grave is seen as the entrance to this place.
– Vestments, special clothes worn in worship or other religious functions
– Vows, solemn promises, voluntarily taken, to a deity to perform some specific actions beyond one’s normal obligations. May be made also between human beings (in marriage for instance) and reinforced by invocation of deity as witness.
– Way (the), following the habit of the cynic school of Pagan, the Jewish Gnostics and the original Christians called their tradition, “the Way”.
– Wisdom, in the Bible, it designates a human characteristic Divinely conferred but also resulting from education and experience.
– Yahweh, personal name of the God of Israel. Translated as the Lord or Jehovah. In Hebrew the name was written in consonants only: YHVH, its vowels are unknown, since this sacred name was not pronounced. Expressions such as Adonai (My Lord) were used instead.
– Zealots, a Jewish sect founded by Judas of Galilee in 6 AD to resist the incorporation of Judea into the Roman Empire. They fought the Romans until the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD and were later completely destroyed.
– Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism, (also Zarathustra), an Iranian Shaman, mystic, prophet or God whose utterances are recorded in the “Gathas”. He said that he had a special relationship with Ahura Mazdah whom he described as Supreme Deity. His vision of the world and religion was Dualistic.