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In Gnosticism or Manichaeism, one of the orders of spirits, or spheres of being, emanating from the godhead. The first aeon emanated directly from unmanifested divinity and was charged with divine force. Aeons increased in number and decreased in divine energy with increased remoteness from the divinity. At sufficient remoteness, error became possible and was the source of the material universe. Aeons may be viewed positively, as embodiments of the divine, or negatively, as media through which the soul must pass to reach its divine origin.
Variants of AEON
aeon or eon
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on aeon, visit Britannica.com.