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Modern Esoteric Spirituality (World Spirituality) (Vol 21) [Paperback]

Our Price $ 38.25  
Retail Value $ 45.00  
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Item Number 137741  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   448
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 1995
Publisher   Herder & Herder
ISBN  0824514440  
EAN  9780824514440  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Part of the Wold Spirituality series, this is a broad-ranging, illustrated, scholarly treatment of core topics in esoteric spirituality, from one of the world's great authorities on esoterica.

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Esoterica and The Spiritual Quest.  Aug 14, 2002
_Modern Esoteric Spirituality_ is a fascinating collection of essays by leading scholars dealing with the various subsurface spiritual movements and traditions deemed "esoteric" and focusing principally on the West. The book fills a real need both as a historical and sociological account of these movements as well as offering a smattering of some of the different systems of thought available to the seeker. The book deals with these movements and traces the esoteric thread from the most ancient sources to the modern era from a scholarly approach. Included in this collection are essays on: ancient and medieval esotericism and mysticism, Kabbalah in the Renaissance, Paracelsus, Rosicrucianism, Jacob Boehme, Freemasonry, nineteenth century esoteric movements, Rudolph Steiner, Theosophy, Rene Guenon and Traditionalism, G. I. Gurdjieff, and C. G. Jung. A continuous link is established from Pythagoreanism, hermeticism, NeoPlatonism, and Gnosticism through the Middle Ages to the great mystics of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and on into the modern era. Nearly every ancient and medieval mystic in these three major religions is discussed. Alchemy and natural science arose from these ancient traditions and philosophies with a Romantic twist. From the Jewish tradition of Kabbalism came the many hermetic Renaissance movements, for at one time the Kabbalah was considered a forerunner of Christianity revealing the Trinity. The German physician, Paracelsus, provided inspiration for the German theosophist, Jacob Boehme and many other later followers of both. The movements of Rosicrucianism, arising from the publication of a document alleging the existence of a secret society by a Lutheran minister, and Freemasonry, which adapted from its origins in medieval guilds to its modern form based on Enlightenment philosophy, are thoroughly discussed in separate essays. By the nineteenth century, various occult movements became systematized through individuals such as the Parisian magus, Eliphas Levi. In this era, Christianity experienced a renewal and a call for return to tradition was expressed. This set the foundation for the occult movements of spiritualist medium, H. P. Blavatsky: the Theosophical Society. Rudolph Steiner, a German philosopher and spiritualist, broke away from the Theosophical Society of Blavatsky and introduced his own unique system of anthroposophy. In France, the Traditionalist school arose from the writings of such thinkers of Rene Guenon and Ananda Coomaraswamy. The basis of the Traditionalist school is summed up, "tradition is what humanity has not invented but received, and which finds its starting point, in the final analysis, in the superhuman origin of things" (p. 340). From the metaphysics of Guenon, individuals such as Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Martin Lings, Marco Pallis, Leo Schaya, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and of course Ananda Coomaraswamy have taken off and further developed this school. (I recommend the book _The Only Tradition_ by Quinn as a good introduction to the Traditionalist school.) The enigmatic and perhaps oppressive figure of G. I. Gurdjieff and his principle interpreter P. D. Ouspensky is the source of another modern esoteric movement. Claiming to have received wisdom from ancient traditional sources, Gurdjieff created his school along with Ouspensky (who later broke away and created his own school). Finally, the works of psychoanalyst C. G. Jung are considered in their relationship to Christian esotericism. Jung has become immensely popular for his psychoanalytic methods as well as his unique understanding of madness and myth as arising from the same source, the collective unconscious. Many have carried on the works of Jung, and the rest of the individuals here. Overall, this book presents a very decent collection of interesting essays, which are invaluable to the student and seeker alike.

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