Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Meredith LisagorEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_392

Earliest Use of Term

Logos, a noun, derives from the Greek verb legein, originally to count, later to give an account, finally as lego, to say. It enjoys an array of nuanced translations: utterance, word, speech, thought, meaning, reason, argument, ratio, measure, standard, or principle. Yet whatever distinctions exist among thinkers who employ the term, Logos is consistently used to denote something about creative unifying forces or functions in the composition of reality – cosmologic, religious, philosophical, or psychological.

As a concept, Logos is first encountered in the fragments of Heraclitus of Ephesus (ca. 500 BCE), where it identifies the underlying ordering principle or plan of the universe, which is itself a hidden unity of opposites in tension. The Logos is not the source of creation, but rather the way in which creation operates, the flux in which “diversity comes out of unity and unity out of diversity” [Frag 10]. Although all creation is elemental of the “One,”...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aeschylus. (1992). Eumenides, line 19. In D. Grene & R. Lattimore (Eds.), The complete Greek tragedies (Vol. 1). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aristophanes. (1952). The Plutus, line 8. (trans: Rogers, B. B.). In R. M. Hutchinson (Ed.), Great books of the western world (Vol. 5). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.Google Scholar
  3. Barrett, C. K. (1970). The prologue of St. John’s Gospel. Ethel M. Wood Lecture, University of London. Retrieved from http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/articles_ethel_m_wood.php. Accessed 8 Dec 2006.
  4. Clement of Alexandria. (1885). Stomata, Book I. In A. Roberts & J. Donaldson (Eds.), The ante-Nicene fathers (Vol. 2). Online Edition. Retrieved from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02105.htm. Accessed 6 Oct 2005.
  5. Copenhaver, B. P. (1992). Hermetica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Couliano, I. P. (1992). The tree of Gnosis. San Francisco: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  7. Dodd, E. R. (1970). Pagans & Christians in an age of anxiety. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  8. Frankl, V. (1986). Doctor of the soul (trans: Winston, R. & C.). New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  9. Frankl, V. (1992). Man’s search for meaning. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  10. Frend, W. H. C. (1982). The early church. Minneapolis: Fortress.Google Scholar
  11. Freud, S. (1957). Future of an illusion. In J. Strachey (Ed. & trans.), SE (Vol. 21). London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  12. Geldard, R. (2000). Remembering Heraclitus. Great Barrington: Lindisfarne.Google Scholar
  13. Gordis, R. (1965). The book of God and man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Horowitz, M. C. (1998). Seeds of virtue and knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Jaeger, W. (1961). Early Christianity and Greek paideia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Jung, C. G. (1989). Psychology and religion: West and east (trans: Hull, R. F. C.), CW (Vol. 11). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Niebuhr, R. (1955). The self and the dramas of history. New York: Scribner’s.Google Scholar
  18. Norris, R. A. (1995, Fall). Lectures. New York: Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.Google Scholar
  19. Origen. (1979). De principiis, Book IV: 4 ff (trans: Butterworth, G. W.). Gloucester: Peter Smith.Google Scholar
  20. Perkins, P. (1981). Logos christologies in the Nag Hammadi Codices. Vigiliae Christianae, 35(4), 379–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Perkins, P. (1987). Jesus: God’s wisdom. Word & World, 7(3), 273–280.Google Scholar
  22. Philo. (2004). On the creation, IV. 18, V ff, VI ff, X. 36, Allegorical interpretation III, XXXI. In The works of Philo (trans: Yonge, C. D.). Peabody: Hendrickson.Google Scholar
  23. Plotinus. (1992). Enneads, VI. 7 (trans: MacKenna, S.). Burdett: Larson.Google Scholar
  24. Reischauer, A. K. (1913). Japanese Buddhism and the doctrine of the logos. Biblical World, 41(4), 245–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ricoeur, P. (1970). Freud & philosophy (trans: Savage, D.). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Walker, W., Norris, R. A., Lotz, D. W., & Handy, R. T. (1985). A history of the Christian church. New York: Scribner’s.Google Scholar
  27. Young, F. (1977). Two roots or a tangled mass. In J. Hicks (Ed.), The myth of God incarnate. Philadelphia: Westminster.Google Scholar
  28. Zaehner, R. C. (1961). Mysticism sacred and profane. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New YorkUSA