Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Divine or supernatural intervention in human affairs.
  • n. The performance of miracles with supernatural assistance.
  • n. Magic performed with the aid of beneficent spirits, as formerly practiced by the Neo-Platonists.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A supernatural intervention in human affairs.
  • n. The performance of miracles.
  • n. The technique of persuading a god; the procuring of miracles by such persuasion.
  • n. Theogony.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A divine work; a miracle; hence, magic; sorcery.
  • n. A kind of magical science or art developed in Alexandria among the Neoplatonists, and supposed to enable man to influence the will of the gods by means of purification and other sacramental rites.
  • n. In later or modern magic, that species of magic in which effects are claimed to be produced by supernatural agency, in distinction from natural magic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The working of some divine or supernatural agency in humau affairs; a producing of effects by supernatural means; effects or phenomena brought about among men by spiritual agency.
  • n. A system of supernatural knowledge or powers believed by the Egyptian Platonists and others to have been communicated to mankind by the beneficent deities, and to have been handed down from generation to generation traditionally by the priests.
  • n. The art of invoking deities or spirits, or by their intervention conjuring up visions, interpreting dreams, prophesying, receiving and explaining oracles, etc.; the supposed power of obtaining from the gods, by means of certain observances, words, symbols, etc., a knowledge of the secrets which surpass the powers of reason—a power claimed by the priesthood of most pagan religions.
  • n. In mod. magic, the pretended production of effects by supernatural agency, as contradistinguished from natural magic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. white magic performed with the help of beneficent spirits (as formerly practiced by Neoplatonists)
  • n. the effect of supernatural or divine intervention in human affairs

Etymologies

Late Latin theūrgia, from Greek theourgiā, sacramental rite, mystery : theo-, theo- + -ourgiā, -urgy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek θεός (theós, "god") + ἔργον (ergon, "work"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • According to one theory G.W. Bowersock’s, in particular Julian’s Paganism was highly eccentric and atypical because it was heavily influenced by an esoteric approach to Platonic philosophy sometimes identified as theurgy and also neoplatonism.

    Julian 1st…Caesar of Rome! Past life experience… « Julian Ayrs & Pop Culture

  • This has led to the rejection of Sephardic Jewish Humanism as formulated by Maimonides and an affirmation of an ethnocentric Jewish chauvinism based on the magical mysticism of Kabbalistic theurgy.

    David Shasha: Dangerous Mystic Motifs in Judaism

  • Far from being a total innovation, historical Kabbalah represented an ongoing effort to systematize existing elements of Jewish theurgy, myth, and mysticism into a full-fledged response to the rationalistic challenge.

    David Shasha: Dangerous Mystic Motifs in Judaism

  • And now this third death, the one for which everyone at Toynton Grange had probably been superstitiously waiting, in thrall to the theurgy that death comes in threes.

    She Closed Her Eyes

  • Before the advent of medicine, there was theurgy and philosophy.

    Notable Physicians, Medicine And Christ, The Great Physician I

  • By the practice of theurgy one could not just communicate with such beings but actually let them inhabit oneself during ritual ceremony.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • Instead of agreeing with Iamblichus 'insistence on theurgy as indispensable to reaching spiritual union with God, a doctrine largely taken over by Proclus, Ammonius harmonized Aristotle with Plato by siding with Porphyry's (232-309) view that names were imposed by humans and, Sorabji suggests, he also agreed with Porphyry's refusal to accept the efficacy of theurgy in purifying the intellect and hence leading us to God.

    The Garbage House

  • He regularly fails to distinguish the power of Christian worship from acts of magical theurgy: in either kind of activity, the unwavering faith of the believer is what confers success.

    Loss of Faith

  • For Sorabji his financial gain was the continuation of his municipal salary, so that he could keep his school open, rather than a craven payment for services rendered to the Christian authorities; he did not betray his friends; he did not betray philosophy, since he merely preferred the teaching of Porphyry in the matter of divine names and theurgy to that of Iamblichus and Proclus.

    The Garbage House

  • Julian learned theurgy (something I dabbled with in my teenage years) from Maximus, a student of Iamblichus (I was self-taught).

    Julian 1st…Caesar of Rome! Past life experience… « Julian Ayrs & Pop Culture

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Comments

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  • Wordnet seems to think so.

    April 15, 2011

  • Is this white magic?

    October 8, 2010