AskDefine | Define fullness

Dictionary Definition



1 completeness over a broad scope [syn: comprehensiveness]
2 the property of a sound that has a rich and pleasing timbre [syn: mellowness, richness]
3 the condition of being filled to capacity [ant: emptiness]
4 greatness of volume [syn: voluminosity, voluminousness]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. Being full; completeness.
  2. The degree to which a space is full.
  3. (fig.) The degree to which fate has become known.
  4. : A measure of the degree to which a muscle has increased in size parallel to the axis of its contraction. A full muscle fills more of the space along the part of the body where it is connected.

Extensive Definition

Pleroma (Greek ) generally refers to the totality of divine powers. The word means fullness from ("fills") comparable to which means "full", and is used in Christian theological contexts: both in Gnosticism generally, and by Paul of Tarsus in Colossians 2.9.
Gnosticism holds that the world is controlled by archons, among whom some versions of Gnosticism claim is the deity of the Old Testament, who held aspects of the human captive, either knowingly or accidentally. The heavenly pleroma is the totality of all that is regarded in our understanding of "divine". The pleroma is often referred to as the light existing "above" (the term is not to be understood spatially) our world, occupied by spiritual beings who self-emanated from the pleroma. These beings are described as aeons (eternal beings) and sometimes as archons. Jesus is interpreted as an intermediary aeon who was sent, along with his counterpart Sophia, from the pleroma, with whose aid humanity can recover the lost knowledge of the divine origins of humanity and in so doing be brought back into unity with the Pleroma. The term is thus a central element of Gnostic religious cosmology.
Gnostic texts envision the pleroma as aspects of God, the eternal Divine Principle, who can only be partially understood through the pleroma. Each "aeon" (i.e. aspect of God) is given a name (sometimes several) and a female counterpart (Gnostic viewed divinity and completeness in terms of male/female unification). The Gnostic myth goes on to tell how the aeon wisdom's female counterpart Sophia separated from the Pleroma to form the demiurge, thus giving birth to the material world.

Modern use

Pleroma is also used in the general Greek language and is used by the Greek Orthodox church in this general form since the word appears in the book of Colossians. Proponents of the view that Paul was actually a gnostic, such as Elaine Pagels of Princeton University, view the reference in Colossians as something that was to be interpreted in the gnostic sense.

Carl Jung

Carl Jung used the word in his mystical 1916 unpublished work, Seven Sermons to the Dead, was finally published in an appendix to the second edition of Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1962), and later in Answer to Job (1952). According to Jung, pleroma is both "nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about pleroma. Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities."

Gregory Bateson

In his work on the Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson adopts and extends Jung's distinction between Pleroma (the non-living world that is undifferentiated by subjectivity) and Creatura (the living world, subject to perceptual difference, distinction, and information).

Neoplatonism and Gnosticism

John M. Dillon in his Comparative Study Pleroma and the Noetic Cosmos states that the Gnosticism imported its concept of the ideal realm or pleroma from Plato's concept the cosmos and Demiurge in Timaeus and of Philo's, Noetic cosmos in contrast to the aesthetic cosmos. Dillon does this by contrasting the Noetic cosmos to passages from the Nag Hammadi. Where the aeons are expressed as the thoughts of God. Dillon expresses the concept that pleroma is a Gnostic adaptation of Hellenic ideas since before Philo there is no Jewish tradition that accepts that the material was based on an ideal world that exists as well.


Church councils, anathemas Early Church heresy


  • John M. Dillon, "Pleroma and Noetic Cosmos: A Comparative Study" in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism (1992), R.T. Wallis, ed., State Univ. of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-1337-3, 2006 edition: ISBN 0-7914-1338-1.
fullness in German: Pleroma
fullness in Italian: Pleroma
fullness in Portuguese: Pleroma
fullness in Russian: Плерома
fullness in Serbian: Плерома
fullness in Swedish: Pleroma

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abundance, affluence, ample sufficiency, ampleness, amplitude, avalanche, bassness, beam, bellyful, bonanza, boundlessness, bountifulness, bountiousness, breadth, broadness, bulk, bumper crop, ceaselessness, completeness, comprehensiveness, congestion, consecutiveness, constancy, constant flow, continualness, continuity, continuousness, copiousness, crescendo, deepness, distance across, endlessness, engorgement, enormity, enormousness, entireness, equilibrium, exhaustiveness, expanse, extent, extravagance, exuberance, featurelessness, fertility, fill, flood, flood tide, flow, foison, formidableness, full, full measure, gaplessness, generosity, generousness, gigantism, glut, grandeur, grandness, great abundance, great plenty, great scope, greatness, gush, high tide, high water, holism, hollowness, hugeness, immensity, impletion, incessancy, inclusiveness, infinity, intactness, integrity, intensity, jointlessness, landslide, largeness, latitude, lavishness, liberality, liberalness, lots, loudishness, loudness, lowness, luxuriance, magnitude, maximum, mellowness, might, mightiness, monotony, more than enough, much, muchness, myriad, myriads, numerousness, opulence, opulency, outpouring, overflow, overfullness, plangency, plenitude, plenteousness, plentifulness, plenty, plethora, power, prevalence, prodigality, prodigiousness, productiveness, profuseness, profusion, quantities, repleteness, repletion, resonance, rich harvest, rich vein, richness, riot, riotousness, satiation, satiety, satisfaction, saturatedness, saturation, saturation point, scads, scope, seamlessness, shower, skinful, smoothness, snootful, sonority, sonorousness, soundness, span, spate, spread, spring tide, stability, steadiness, steady state, stream, strength, stupendousness, substantiality, substantialness, successiveness, superabundance, supersaturation, surfeit, surge, surge of sound, swell, swelling, teemingness, total approach, totality, tremendousness, unbrokenness, undifferentiation, uniformity, unintermittedness, uninterruptedness, uninterruption, unity, universality, unrelievedness, vastness, vibrancy, volume, wealth, wholeness, wideness, width
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