from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In mod. magic, the pretended production of effects by supernatural agency, as contradistinguished from natural magic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A divine work; a miracle; hence, magic; sorcery.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Late Latin theūrgia, from Greek theourgiā, sacramental rite, mystery : theo-, theo- + -ourgiā, -urgy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek θεός (theós, "god") + ἔργον (ergon, "work").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word theurgy.


  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    Notable Physicians, Medicine And Christ, The Great Physician I

  • 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

  • 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

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

    Entire humanities on a small scale


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  • Is this white magic?

    October 8, 2010

  • Wordnet seems to think so.

    April 15, 2011