Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Dawning of the Theosophical Movement

When The Dawning of the Theosophical Movement was published in 1987 theosophical history was a neglected area of academic study and had received scant appraisal. The book helped usher in a renaissance of interest in the subject. Though it is still unsurpassed, there are now numerous academic publications relating to the matter. Commemorating the book’s quarter century of existence, the Theosophical Society in America will be hosting a live webcast with its author Michael Gomes on February 16 at 7 PM CST.

The Dawning of the Theosophical Movement brought together a mass of documents related to the founding of the movement, and has proved an enduring resource for the period. Its impact is still being felt and it continues to be cited: a recent example being Gananath Obeyesekere’s The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience just published by Columbia University Press, which contains a chapter on Blavatsky along which other visionaries (and which will be reviewed in a subsequent post).

Gomes will talk about “the function of esoteric history, the use of tradition and lineage, and additional discoveries he’s made about the subject since 1987.” As the blurb for the event notes: “He is one of today’s most respected writers on esoteric movements, as well known to readers of occult and esoteric literature as to students and scholars of modern religion.”

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