Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Ronald MaddenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_687

Temenos [Greek τέμενος] refers to a piece of land set aside or cut off from everyday use and assigned as a special domain for the veneration of a temporal ruler or a god. It may also be a built structure as in a temple that has been consecrated for a sacred purpose, such as a place of sacrifice to a deity or of worship.

A temenos, in a narrow sense, is a Greek sanctuary that has been constructed in a specific location that has significance for a ruler or god to be venerated. The temenos dedicated to the chief of the gods at Olympia is called the temenos of Zeus. A temenos may be demarcated by boundary stones possibly erected as a colossal wall or rampart. It is frequently associated with a special tree, such as the Bodhi tree (Sri Maha Bodhi), under which Siddhartha Gautama sat and achieved enlightenment and which was to become the site of the Mahabodhi Temple of Buddhism. The temenos may, itself, take the form of a sacred grove of trees, such as Plato’s grove of Academeoutside of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for the PsychotherapiesNew YorkUSA