Theurgy (θεουργία, divine work) is the science concerning the gods and the various classes of superior spirits, their appearing to men and their operations; and the art, by means of certain acts, habits, words, and symbols, of moving the gods to impart to men secrets which surpass the powers of reason, to lay open to them the future, and to become visible to them. These communications were claimed as being held with the inferior orders of supernatural beings, with whom men rose to converse by the power of purificatory rites and by the possession of science. Magic of this kind was considered to be a divine work, as its name clearly shows, and its action entirely beneficent. The theurgical system attained perfection among the Neo-Platonists of the Alexandrian school, particularly those of the last epoch, and the propensity to daemonological rites which was already marked in the time of Porphyry triumphed completely under Proclus. The magic of ancient Egypt was quite theurgic in origin and doctrine, and we cannot deny that the reveries of the later Neo-Platonists are in a great measure due to its influence; although it did not take the place of all other worship, being considered inferior to the official religion, and not formally recognised as a rite. See Lenormant, Chaldean Magic, p. 74 sq.

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