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Theosophy, Imagination, Tradition: Studies in Western Esotericism (Suny Series in Western Esoteric Traditions) [Paperback]

Antoine Faivre , Christine Rhone

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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (17 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791444368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791444368
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.9 x 1.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,024,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Faivre (religious studies, E. P. H. E., Sorbonne) surveys the current state of research into esotericism, and explores three main strands of it from the Renaissance to the 20th century. He traces the history of the theosophical current, its continuity, and its shifts, against the background of social and cultural events. He distinguishes and descri --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An overview of Western theosophical traditions 12 Jun 2000
By ozan bekci - Published on Amazon.com
Antoine Faivre's book is maybe the most comprehensive overview of the Western theosophical traditions that I have seen. Theosophy as understood by this book is not affiliated by the Society that took upon itself this name, but rather refers to its various manifestations throughout Western esoteric traditions starting with Jakob Boehme. Boehme, von Baader, and Schelling emerge, as widely accepted by other scholars and people from esoteric circles, as the starting point of the so-called modern conception of theosophy, under which the possibility of a direct connection between the individual and the Godhead is presupposed and the whole universe is seen as a theogonic process unfolding within God. The book traces the genealogy of this central notion in its form peculiar to Western theosophists starting from Boehme, through Christian Kabbalists to 19th and 20th century. Antoine Faivre, it should be remembered, is from esoteric circles himself. So the book may not be for those looking for cold and disinterested or prejudiced scholarship. The book contains material about some difficult to find or rarely analyzed figures like von Baader, who nevertheless are very crucial in the evolution of Western esotericism. Antoine Faivre has been deeply influenced by the late Henry Corbin, his idea of "Imaginal World" and religious phenomenology. As such, his interpretation has a bias towards Corbin, and the Imagination in the title as well as discussed in the book is not Imagination in the sense of phantasy that we normally use in daily life, but refers to an independent ontological sphere, which is very crucial to understanding Corbin's, and Faivre's views. I would refer the reader to Corbin's "Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi". Over all, a very systematic and nearly comprehensive, if not totally unbiased overview of the subjects in question.
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