Term designating several groups of religious enthusiasts who claimed illuminism (unusual enlightenment) by communication with deity or from higher reason. Gnostics (see Gnosticism) advocated some form of illuminism. Later Illuminati included Rosicrucians,* Alumbrados (16thc. sect in Sp. which claimed direct illumination from the Holy Spirit), Illuminés (also called Guérinets; 17thc. sect in S Fr. similar to Alumbrados), Illuminaten (Perfectibilists; Ger. secret soc. modeled after Society* of Jesus but diametrically opposed to Jesuits; founded by A. Weishaupt*; promoted pol. freedom and natural religion; anticlerical; later leaders included Adolf von Knigge [175296; Ger. author]).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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