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Encyclopedia > Esoteric Christianity
In fashion then as of a snow-white roseDisplayed itself to me the saintly host,Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride - The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto XXXI
In fashion then as of a snow-white rose
Displayed itself to me the saintly host,
Whom Christ in his own blood had made his bride
- The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto XXXI

“Esoteric Christianity” is a term which refers to an ensemble of spiritual currents which regard Christianity as a Mystery religion.[1] [2] All these spiritual currents share some common denominators, which are: Image File history File links Download high resolution version (858x952, 205 KB) Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven (The Empyrean); from Gustave Dorés illustrations to the Divine Comedy, Paradiso Canto 31. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (858x952, 205 KB) Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven (The Empyrean); from Gustave Dorés illustrations to the Divine Comedy, Paradiso Canto 31. ... Detail of a manuscript in Milans Biblioteca Trivulziana (MS 1080), written in 1337 by Francesco di ser Nardo da Barberino, showing the beginning of Dantes Comedy. ... Mystery religions, or simply Mysteries, were belief systems of the Graeco-Roman world full admission to which was restricted to those who had gone through certain secret initiation rites. ...

  • the Christian Theology (expressed by the Symbolum Apostolorum)
  • the use of the four Gospels as sacred texts (sometimes some apocryphal texts might be added)
  • the acceptance of an oral tradition inherited by the Apostles and in which the inner teachings of Jesus Christ are transmitted (this oral tradition is often referred as disciplina arcani)[3].

The word esotericism was not invented before the seventeenth century. Hence the term Esoteric Christianity was not defined before then. However this does not mean that the system of beliefs and ascetic techniques which now belong to the term "Esoteric Christianity" did not exist before the seventeenth century. [4][5] Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      The Apostles... Disciplina Arcani or Discipline of the Secret or Discipline of the Arcane, is a theological term used to describe the custom which prevailed in Early Christianity, where knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non Christians and even from those who were undergoing... Look up Esotericism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Contents

Christianity as a Mystery Religion

The word used by Early Christians to indicate the Christian Mystery is μυστηριων. This very word, musterion, dictated in modern scholars an entire direction of research. The Old-Testament versions use the word mysterion as an equivalent for the Hebrew sôd, "secret" (Proverbs 20:19; Judith 2:2; Sirach 22:27; 2 Maccabees 13:21). In the New Testament the word mystery is applied ordinarily to the sublime revelation of the Gospel (Matthew 13:11; Colossians 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:51), and to the Incarnation and life of the Saviour and His manifestation by the preaching of the Apostles (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:4; 6:19; Colossians 1:26; 4:3). Theologians give the name mystery to revealed truths that surpass the powers of natural reason,[6] so, in a narrow sense, the Mystery is a truth that trascends the created intellect. The impossibility of obtaining a rational comprehension of the Mystery leads to an inner or hidden way of comprehension of the Christian Mystery which is indicated by the term esoteric in Esoteric Christianity. [7] Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      The term Early Christianity...

Even though revealed and believed, the Mystery remains nevertheless obscure and veiled during the mortal life, if the deciphering of the mysteries, made possible by esotericism, does not intervene.[8]

So roughly speaking Esoteric Christianity deals with an esoteric (from the Greek ἐσωτερικός esôterikos = inner) knowledge which would alllow a deep comprehension of the Christian mysteries which otherwise would remain obscure. In most currents of Esoteric Christianity , this esoteric knowledge is identified with the disciplina arcani of the early stages of Christianity, an unwritten apostolic tradition mentioned in several texts written by the Church Fathers.[9] Etymology Esoteric is an adjective originating during Hellenic Greece under the domain of the Roman Empire; it comes from the Greek esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of esô: within. It is a word meaning anything that is inner and occult, a latinate word meaning hidden (from which... Disciplina Arcani or Discipline of the Secret or Discipline of the Arcane, is a theological term used to describe the custom which prevailed in Early Christianity, where knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non Christians and even from those who were undergoing... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers...


Brief History of Early Christian Esotericism

Many modern scholars believe that in the early stages of Christianity a nucleus of oral teachings were inherited from Palestinian and Hellenistic Judaism which formed the basis of a secret oral tradition . These oral teachings can be shown to form the background of both Jewish-Christian and Gnostic concepts and are probably what came to be called, in the IV century, disciplina arcani.[10][11][12] Clement of Alexandria and Origen;the main figures of the Didaskaleion (Catechetical School of Alexandria founded by St.Mark) which is often considered to be the first school of Esoteric Christianity; were an important influence on Christian Esotericism. Clement's and Origen's esotericism, which forms a central aspect of their thought, has been studied from various points of view and is open to interpretation.[13] Origen is often considered the greatest theologian and biblical scholar of the early Eastern Church and one of the most prolific writers of all ages. According to Epiphanius Origen wrote about 6,000 works (i.e., rolls or chapters)[14], making it a difficult task to define the central core of his teachings. His main theological work De Principiis was translated into Latin by Rufinus who admitted to changing the original text to fit orthodoxy [citation needed]. The changes made by Rufinus make it hard for modern scholars to rebuild Origen's original thoughts. It is not totally clear if reincarnation, along with the pre-existence of the soul, was part of Origen's beliefs, but most modern Esoteric Christian movements refer to Origen's writings (along with other Church Fathers and biblical passages -see Bible and Reincarnation -) to validate these ideas as part of the Esoteric Christian tradition (cfr. Max Heindel, Annie Besant, Rudolf Steiner, Tommaso Palamidessi). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Gnosticism is a blanket term for various religions and sects most prominent in the first few centuries A.D. General characteristics The word gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis (γνῶσις), referring to the idea that there is special, hidden mysticism (esoteric knowledge... Disciplina Arcani or Discipline of the Secret or Discipline of the Arcane, is a theological term used to describe the custom which prevailed in Early Christianity, where knowledge of the more intimate mysteries of the Christian religion was carefully kept from non Christians and even from those who were undergoing... Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens), was the first member of the Church of Alexandria to be more than a name, and one of its most distinguished teachers. ... Origen Origen (Greek: ÅŒrigénÄ“s, 185–ca. ... The Catechetical School of Alexandria (founded c. ... Look up mark in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Eastern Christianity refers collectively to the Christian traditions and churches which developed in Greece, Russia, Armenia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, northeastern Africa and southern India over several centuries of religious antiquity. ... Epiphanius (ca 310–20 – 403) was a Church Father, a heresiologist who was a strong defender of orthodoxy, known for tracking down deviant teachings (heresies) wherever they could be traced, during the troubled era in the Christian Church following the Council of Nicaea. ... Tyrannius Rufinus or Rufinus of Aquileia (between 340 and 345–410 CE) was a monk, historian, and theologian. ... This article is about the theological concept. ... In Abrahamic religions, pre-existence is the belief that each individual human soul existed before conception, and at conception (or later, depending on when it is believed that the soul enters the body) God places one of these pre-existent souls in the body. ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... Belief in reincarnation is held by many Hindus, Buddhists, and Taoists but such beliefs are held by relatively few Christians and Muslims. ... Max Heindel (1865-1919) Max Heindel - born Carl Louis von Grasshoff in Aarhus, Denmark on July 23, 1865 - was a Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic. ... Annie Besant Plaque on house in Colby Road, London SE19 where Annie Besant lived in 1874. ... Rudolf Steiner. ... Tommaso Palamidessi (Pisa, February 16, 1915 – Rome, April 29, 1983) was an Italian esotericist. ...


Medieval forms of Esoteric Christianity

Antoine Faivre (Directeur d'études émérite at the EPHE) points out in his Esotericism that late medieval esoteric speculation, for example in alchemy and astrology was constructed on Christian foundations.[15] Therefore, most late medieval western esotericism can be considered as a kind of Esoteric Christianity in which Christian Theology and doctrines are elaborated and combined with esoteric concepts. Four of these movements in particular should be mentioned here because of the great influence they will have on the Christian Esotericism of the XIX and XX century. Most new Esoteric Christianity movements claim to derive directly or indirectly from them. Even if these movements are radically different from each other, and none of them ever claimed to be an "Esoteric Christian" movement since the term itself was not yet invented. These movements are Bogomilism, Templarism, Rosicrucianism (not to be confused with the XX century AMORC and derived organizations), Theosophy (history of philosophy) (not to be confused with Blavatsky's Theosophy) and Freemasonry. Antoine Faivre (b. ... The École Pratique des Hautes Études is a university in Paris, France. ... For other uses, see Alchemy (disambiguation). ... Hand-coloured version of the anonymous Flammarion woodcut (1888). ... For the Slavic name Bogomil - see here Bogomilism (Bulgarian: ) is the Gnostic dualistic sect, the synthesis of Armenian Paulicianism and the Bulgarian Slavonic Church reform movement, which emerged in Bulgaria between 927 and 970 and spread into Byzantine Empire, Serbia, Bosnia, Italy and France. ... The Seal of the Knights — the two riders have been interpreted as a sign of poverty or the duality of monk/soldier. ... The Temple of the Rose Cross, Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, 1618. ... The Rosicrucian Order, Ancient Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis (AMORC) is a worldwide mystical, Rosicrucian, educational, humanitarian and fraternal organisation founded by Harvey Spencer Lewis in 1915. ... Theosophy, literally god-wisdom (Greek: θεοσοφία theosophia), designates several bodies of ideas. ... Helena Blavatsky Helena Petrovna Hahn (also Hélène) (July 31, 1831 (O.S.) (August 12, 1831 (N.S.)) - May 8, 1891 London, England), better known as Helena Blavatsky or Madame Blavatsky was the founder of Theosophy. ... Theosophy is a word and a concept known anciently, commonly understood in the modern era to describe the studies of religious philosophy and metaphysics originating with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from the 1870s. ... “Freemasons” redirects here. ...


Modern forms of Esoteric Christianity

Most of the modern forms of Esoteric Christianity are based on the writings of Origen, Clement of Alexandria and the Church Fathers. The core conceptions of the major Esoteric Christianity movements are usually based on an interpretation of these writings (cfr. Max Heindel, Annie Besant, Rudolf Steiner, Tommaso Palamidessi). Usually the main difference between Esoteric Christianity and exoteric (or official) Christianity is not theological, nor speculative, but practical. If it is true, and it is, that all of these movements admit reincarnation among their beliefs, and admit a complex energetic structure for the human being (such as etheric body, astral body, mental body and causal body), these doctrinal differences are not the main one, which is mostly a practical difference. All of these movements point out the need of an inner spiritual work which will lead to the renewal of the human person according to the Pauline sense. Max Heindel and Rudolf Steiner gave several spiritual exercises in their writings to help the evolution of the follower. In the same direction are Tommaso Palamidessi's writings, which -we could say- are totally devoted to develop ascetic techniques and meditations. According to all of these esoteric scholars, the ensemble of these techniques (often related with Eastern meditation practices such as chakra meditation or visualization) will lead to salvation and to the total renewal of the human being. This process usually implies the constitution of a spiritual body apt to the experience of resurrection (and therefore called, in Christian terms, resurrection body).[16][17] [18] Origen Origen (Greek: ÅŒrigénÄ“s, 185–ca. ... Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens), was the first member of the Church of Alexandria to be more than a name, and one of its most distinguished teachers. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers... Max Heindel (1865-1919) Max Heindel - born Carl Louis von Grasshoff in Aarhus, Denmark on July 23, 1865 - was a Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic. ... Annie Besant Plaque on house in Colby Road, London SE19 where Annie Besant lived in 1874. ... Rudolf Steiner. ... Tommaso Palamidessi (Pisa, February 16, 1915 – Rome, April 29, 1983) was an Italian esotericist. ... Exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is publicly available, in contrast with esoteric knowledge, which is kept from everyone except the initiated. ... The etheric body, ether-body, æther body, or vital body is one of the subtle bodies in esoteric philosophies, in some religious teachings and in New Age thought. ... The astral body refers to the concept of a subtle body which exists alongside the physical body, as a vehicle of the soul or consciousness. ... The Mental Body is one of the Subtle Bodies in Theosophy and New Age thought. ... The Causal body - originally Karana-Sarira - is a Yogic and Vedantic concept that was adopted and modified by Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy, and from the latter made its way into the general New Age movement and contemporary western esotericism. ... Max Heindel (1865-1919) Max Heindel - born Carl Louis von Grasshoff in Aarhus, Denmark on July 23, 1865 - was a Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic. ... Rudolf Steiner. ... Tommaso Palamidessi (Pisa, February 16, 1915 – Rome, April 29, 1983) was an Italian esotericist. ... For the Naruto jutsu, see Chakra (Naruto). ... Look up Resurrection in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Body of Resurrection is a typical term of Esoteric Christianity, used to indicate a spiritual body associated with a special enlightenment or experience. ...


References

  1. ^ Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion: Selected Papers Presented at the 17th Congress
  2. ^ Besant, Annie (2001). Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries. City: Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 9781402100291. 
  3. ^ G.G. Stroumsa, Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism, Paperback, May 2005
  4. ^ G.G. Stroumsa, Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism, Paperback, May 2005
  5. ^ Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek, Jean-Pierre Brach, Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, Brill, 2005
  6. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911
  7. ^ Besant, Annie (2001). Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries. City: Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 9781402100291. 
  8. ^ Tommaso Palamidessi, Introduction to Major and Minor Mysteries, ed. Archeosofica, 1971
  9. ^ Frommann, De Disciplina Arcani in vetere Ecclesia christiana obticuisse fertur, Jena 1833
  10. ^ Frommann, De Disciplina Arcani in vetere Ecclesia christiana obticuisse fertur, Jena 1833
  11. ^ G.G. Stroumsa, Hidden Wisdom: Esoteric Traditions and the Roots of Christian Mysticism (Studies in the History of Religions), Paperback, 2005
  12. ^ E. Hatch, The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church, chap. x., London, 1890
  13. ^ Danielou, Jean, Origen, trans. by Walter Mitchell (1955)
  14. ^ Haer., lxiv.63
  15. ^ Antoine Faivre, L'ésotérisme, Paris, PUF (« Que sais-je ? »), 1992.
  16. ^ Rudolf Steiner, Christianity As Mystical Fact, Steinerbooks,
  17. ^ Tommaso Palamidessi,The Guardians of the Thresholds and the Evolutionary Way, ed Archeosofica, 1978
  18. ^ Max Heindel, The Mystical Interpretation of Easter, Rosicrucian Fellowship

Tommaso Palamidessi (Pisa, February 16, 1915 – Rome, April 29, 1983) was an Italian esotericist. ...

See also

Annie Besant Annie Besant Plaque on house in Colby Road, London SE19 where Annie Besant lived in 1874. ...


Archeosophy Archeosophy, litteraly from greek ἀρχή (arché) = Principle and Σoφíα (Sophia) = Wisdom. ...


Christian mysticism Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christian mysticism...


Emanuel Swedenborg Emanuel Swedenborg, 75, holding the manuscript of Apocalypsis Revelata (1766). ...


Esotericism Look up Esotericism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Max Heindel Max Heindel (1865-1919) Max Heindel - born Carl Louis von Grasshoff in Aarhus, Denmark on July 23, 1865 - was a Christian occultist, astrologer, and mystic. ...


Hermeticism Hermeticism should not be confused with the concept of a hermit. ...


Martinism Martinism is the mystical tradition started in 18th century France by Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin. ...


Rudolph Steiner Rudolf Steiner Rudolf Steiner (February 27, 1861–March 30, 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, literary scholar, architect, playwright, educator, and social thinker (see section below with heading social threefolding), who is best known as the founder of Anthroposophy and its practical applications, including Waldorf School, Biodynamic agriculture, the Camphill...


Rosicrucianism The Temple of the Rose Cross, Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, 1618. ...


Rosicrucian Christianity The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception or Mystic Christianity is a Rosicrucian text, written by Max Heindel (ISBN 0-911274-34-0) // Western Wisdom Teachings The first edition was printed in November 1909, it has little changed since then and it is considered to be Max Heindels magnum opus. ...


Theosophy Theosophy is a word and a concept known anciently, commonly understood in the modern era to describe the studies of religious philosophy and metaphysics originating with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky from the 1870s. ...


Tommaso Palamidessi Tommaso Palamidessi (Pisa, February 16, 1915 – Rome, April 29, 1983) was an Italian esotericist. ...


Christ (concept) This page is about the title, office or what is known in Christian theology as the Divine Person. ...


External Links

  • Esoteric Christianity articles from classical authors
  • The Esoteric Christian Mystery School an online modern esoteric Christian community

  Results from FactBites:
 
Esoteric Christianity (1864 words)
Church Christianity was formed mainly through political influences, starting with the heroic, inspiring efforts of Paul to create a system that would spread throughout the Roman world, based on the transforming teachings of Jesus, but to a certain degree accommodating the times, and various cultures.
Esoteric Christianity is concerned with the personal transformation (re-birth), possible for a person, which is taught by the life and message of Jesus Christ.
Esoteric Christianity is not exclusive of truth in other cultures and religions.
Esoteric Christianity & Esotericism Defined (1383 words)
For the esoteric Christian, faith is indeed vital, but it is not blind trust; rather, it is "the evidence of things not seen" (Heb.
Esoteric spirituality thus differs from exoteric (or outer) religion, which is the form of the faith that is known to the public at large.
Esoteric Christianity has long been secret and to some degree inaccessible, but this is not out of a hard-hearted elitism.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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