Sunday, February 3, 2013

Brill’s Handbook of the Theosophical Current

Brill’s Handbook of the Theosophical Current, edited by Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothsein, scheduled for release last year, is finally making its appearance.

494 pages with index, the book is divided into three parts: 1. Theosophical Societies:

“Blavatsky and First Generation Theosophy” by Joscelyn Godwin; “The Second Generation Leaders of the Theosophical Society (Adyar)” by Catherine Wessinger; “Point Loma, Theosophy, and Katherine Tingley” by Tim Rudbøg; “The Third Generation of Theosophy and Beyond” by W. Michael Ashcraft.

Part 2: Religious Currents in the Wake of Theosophy:

“The Theosophical Christology of Alice Bailey” by Sean O’Callaghan; “Rudolf Steiner and Theosophy” by Katharina Brandt and Olav Hammer; “Sleeping Prophet: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Cayce” by Shannon Trosper Schorey; “The I AM Activity” by Tim Rudbøg; “The Summit Lighthouse: Its Worldview and Theosophical Heritage” by Michael Abravanel; “The Theosophy of the Roerichs: Agni Yoga or Living Ethics” by Anita Stasulane; “Mahatmas in Space: The Ufological Turn and Mythological Materiality of Post-World War II Theosophy” by Mikael Rothsein; “Theosophical Elements in New Age Religion” by Olav Hammer.

Part 3: Theosophy, Culture and Society:

“Western Esoteric Traditions and Theosophy” by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke; “Lost Horizon: H.P. Blavatsky and Theosophical Orientalism” by Christopher Partridge; “Mythological and Real Race Issues in Theosophy” by Isaac Lubelsky; “Theosophy, Gender and the ‘New Woman’” by Siv Ellen Kraft; “Theosophical Macrohistory” by Gary W. Trompf; “Theosophical Elements towards Science: Past and Present” by Egil Asprem; “Abstract Art as ‘By-product of Astral Manifestations’: The Influence of Theosophy on Modern Art in Europe” by Tessel M. Bauduin; “Theosophy and Popular Fiction” by Ingvild Sœlid Gilhus and Lisbeth Mikaelson.    

Theosophists may or may not recognize themselves in the representations served up in the 20 chapters of this book written by various academics.

Listing some of the key events in European religious history, the editors state: “We contend that the formation of the Theosophical Society, and the main events linked to the fate of this organization, its key figure Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891), and her immediate successors also belong to the short list of pivotal chapters of religious history in the West….These facts place Theosophy and its multiple off-shoots as one of the world’s most important religious traditions.” If somewhat confused, according to material presented here. The book sells for €168 euros / $234. dollars U.S.

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