Superstition - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 9 pages of information about Superstition.
This section contains 2,626 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Superstition Encyclopedia Article

Origin and Classical Usage

The classical world criticized certain religious behaviors as irrational, or as reflecting an incorrect understanding of both nature and divinity. Greek writers from Theophrastus to Plutarch mockingly described a cringing, obsessive fear of the gods (deisidaimonia) as an inappropriate religious attitude. Roman philosophers sometimes echoed this theme, but the etymology of the Latin word superstitio (from superstes, "surviving, witnessing") indicates a separate evolution from a possibly neutral meaning of divination to a pejorative term. According to Émile Benveniste, superstitio included the idea of surviving an event as a witness and referred originally to divination concerning the past, the power to witness a distant event as though it were present. In its earliest Latin literary usage by Plautus and Ennius, superstitio was already a negative term describing divination, magic, and "bad religion" in general. Cicero gives a concrete example, explaining that "those who spent...

(read more)

This section contains 2,626 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Superstition Encyclopedia Article
Copyrights
Encyclopedia of Religion
Superstition from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook