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Encyclopedia > Esotericism
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Esotericism refers to the doctrines or practices of esoteric knowledge, or otherwise the quality or state of being described as esoteric, or obscure.[1] Esoteric knowledge is that which is specialized or advanced in nature, available only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or highly educated people.[2] Items pertaining to esotericism may be known as esoterica.[3] Some interpretations of esotericism are very broad and include even unconventional and non-scientific belief systems. In contrast, exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is well-known or public. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 150 languages. ... Look up Esoteric in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up arcanum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ... Personification of knowledge (Greek Επιστημη, Episteme) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey. ... Look up Obscure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Exotericism refers to religious practices and laws that are meant to regulate human activities in the external world and are easily understandable and practicable by the masses, as opposed to esotericism. ...

Contents

Etymology

Esoteric is an adjective originating in Greece; it comes from the Greek ἐσωτερικός esôterikos, from esôtero, the comparative form of ἔσω esô: "within". Esoteric refers to anything that is inner. Its antonym is exoteric, from the Greek ἐξωτερικός eksôterikos, from eksôtero, the comparative form of ἔξω eksô: "outside". Plato, in his dialogue Alcibíades (circa 390 BC), uses the expression ta esô meaning «the inner things», and in his dialogue Theaetetus (circa 360 BC) he uses ta eksô meaning «the outside things». The probable first appearance of the Greek adjective esôterikos is in Lucian of Samosata's "The Auction of Lives", § 26 (also called "The Auction of the Philosophical Schools"), written around AD 166. [1] talea harris and sophie king are sluts In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject, giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... In grammar the comparative is the form of an adjective or adverb which denotes the degree or grade by which a person, thing, or other entity has a property or quality greater or less in extent than that of another. ... Exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is publicly available, in contrast with esoteric knowledge, which is kept from everyone except the initiated. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Look up Circa on Wiktionary, the free dictionary The Latin word circa, literally meaning about, is often used to describe various dates (often birth and death dates) that are uncertain. ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC - 390s BC - 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 395 BC 394 BC 393 BC 392 BC 391 BC - 390 BC - 389 BC 388 BC 387... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 310s BC 365 BC 364 BC 363 BC 362 BC 361 BC 360 BC 359 BC 358 BC 357... talea harris and sophie king are sluts In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject, giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... Lucian of Samosata (c. ...


The term esoteric first appeared in English in the 1701 History of Philosophy by Thomas Stanley, in his description of the "Auditors of Pythagoras." The Pythagoreans were divided into "exoteric", which were under review, and "esoteric", which had performed well enough to be admitted into the "inner" circle. Events January 18 - Frederick I becomes King of Prussia. ... Thomas Stanley (1625-1678) was an English author and translator. ... Pythagoras of Samos (Greek: ; between 580 and 572 BC–between 500 BC and 490 BC) was an Ionian (Greek) philosopher[1] and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. ...


Connotations

"Esotericism" in current usage

In Western, English-speaking societies today, the term "esotericism" has come to informally mean any knowledge that is difficult to understand or remember, such as theoretical physics, or that pertains to the minutiae of a particular discipline, such as "esoteric" baseball statistics. Theoretical physics employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics, as opposed to experimental processes, in an attempt to understand nature. ... Minutiae, in fingerprinting terms, are the points of interest in a fingerprint, such as bifurcations (a ridge splitting into two) and ridge endings. ... A view of the playing field at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. ...


The term "esoteric" does not necessarily refer to "esotericism" per se in the sense of "inner" knowledge, disciplines, or practices.


A variety of past traditions could be classified as forms of "esotericism" due to their "inner" focus as well as their "selective" and "secretive" nature. The word tradition comes from the Latin word traditio which means to hand down or to hand over. ...


Nuances

Esotericism largely overlaps with "hidden knowledge." Some overlap exists as well between esotericism and mysticism. However, many mystical traditions do not attempt to introduce additional spiritual knowledge, but rather seek to focus the believer's attention or prayers more strongly upon the object of devotion. A mystic is thus not necessarily an esotericist. Mysticism from the Greek μυστικός (mustikos) an initiate (of the Eleusinian Mysteries, μυστήρια (musteria) meaning initiation[1]) is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of, ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight; and the belief that such experience is one... A Devotion in Christianity has come to mean time spent alone or in a small group of people reading and studying the Bible in a way as it relates to ones spiritual health and wellbeing. ...


Scope

"Esotericism" sometimes suggests an additional element of initiation, for example the requirement that one be tested before learning the higher truth. Note however that most "esoteric" teachings are widely available, and indeed often actively promoted.


Another possibility is that such knowledge may be kept secret not by the intention of its protectors, but by its very nature—for example, if it is accessible only to those with the proper intellectual background.


The religiously minded have sometimes used "esotericism" to refer to their belief-systems. For this reason a brief survey of some religious traditions follows. This is not necessarily the meaning of esotericism. Academic esotericism constitutes the modern academic disciplines - looked at in articles under the relevant headings.


Historical sketch of religious ideas

Esotericism is not a single tradition but a vast array of often unrelated figures and movements. Nevertheless, the following may be helpful.


The Roman Empire gave birth not only to Christianity but also to a group of mystery religions which emphasized initiation. Some see Christianity, with its ritual of baptism, as a mystery religion.[citation needed] A mystery religion is any religion with an arcanum, or body of secret wisdom. ...


Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


After Christianity became the state religion of Rome, dissident Christian groups became persecuted as traitors to the state. Pagan groups came to be suppressed as well. The terms "Gnosticism" and "Gnosis" have been challenged as coherent categories, but refer to a family of ancient Jewish, Christian, and pagan religious movements which often did claim to possess secret teachings relating to the spirit world, as opposed to the ordinary world which they tended to denigrate. Another important movement from the ancient world was Hermeticism, sometimes called Hermetism to distinguish it from post-Renaissance appropriations of it. Separately, ancient Babylon provided the basis for Western astrology. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Hermeticism should not be confused with the concept of a hermit. ... Hand-coloured version of the anonymous Flammarion woodcut (1888). ...


During the Middle Ages such things as astrology, alchemy, and magic were not distinct from the standard subjects of the curriculum of an educated man. While some people assume esotericism to be opposed to the Bible or Christianity, as a historical matter this tension did not arise until later. Indeed, Christianity contributed its own esoteric imagery, notably the Holy Grail from Arthurian literature. This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... For historical artifacts associated with the cup of the Last Supper, see Holy Chalice. ... King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship in both war and peace. ...


While many esoteric subjects have a history reaching back thousands of years, these have generally not survived as continuous traditions. Rather, they have benefited from various antiquarian revival movements. During the Italian Renaissance, for example, translators such as Ficino and Pico della Mirandola turned their attention to the classical literature of neo-Platonism, and what was thought to be the pre-Mosaic tradition of Hermeticism. The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... Domenico Ghirlandaio. ... Pico della Mirandola. ... Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is an ancient school of philosophy beginning in the 3rd century A.D. It was based on the teachings of Plato and Platonists; but it interpreted Plato in many new ways, such that Neoplatonism was quite different from what Plato taught, though not many Neoplatonists would... Hermeticism should not be confused with the concept of a hermit. ...


European esotericism was reformulated in the 17th century as Rosicrucianism, and later entered various strands of Freemasonry. In the 19th century a notable French revival in turn gave way to the theosophy of H. P. Blavatsky. In the 20th century Theosophy was reformulated by Annie Besant, C. W. Leadbeater, Alice Bailey, Rudolf Steiner and many others. Theosophy is also considered a major influence on the many current varieties of esotericism in metaphysical organizations, "Ascended Master Activities", and within the New Age groups. The Temple of the Rosy Cross, Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, 1618 The Rosicrucians are a legendary and secretive order dating from the 15th or 17th century, generally associated with the symbol of the Rose Cross, which is also used in certain rituals of the Freemasons. ... Freemason and Freemasons redirect here. ... 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. ... Annie Besant Plaque on house in Colby Road, London SE19 where Annie Besant lived in 1874. ... C.W. Leadbeater (1847 or 1854-1934), English clergyman and Theosophical author, contributed to world thought mostly through his work as a clairvoyant. ... Alice A. Bailey Shown here on the cover of a Danish translation of her autobiography, her work has been translated into over 50 languages. ... Rudolf Steiner. ...


Yet another notable esoteric strain stems from the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky. Georges Ivanovich Gurdjieff (Георгий Иванович Гюрджиев, Georgiy Ivanovich Gyurdzhiev (or Gurdjiev); (January 13, 1866? – October 29, 1949), was a Greek-Armenian mystic, a teacher of sacred dances, and a spiritual teacher, most notable for introducing the Fourth Way. ... Peter D. Ouspensky (March 5, 1878, Moscow - October 2, 1947, England), (Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky) was a Russian philosopher with an analytic and mystical bent who combined geometry and psychology in his discussion of higher dimensions of existence. ...


Rudolf Steiner, who broke with theosophy to found his own anthroposophy, spoke of a disagreement between esotericists at the close of the 19th century; one branch wanted to open up esoteric knowledge to the general public, while another group wished to maintain secrecy. [4] Steiner himself claimed to stand in the lineage of those who wanted to make the esoteric an accepted part of mainstream culture. His first books, written in the 19th century, avoided any reference to esoteric themes, but he saw the 20th century as the dawn of a new age, when spirituality would be increasingly central to human development. Thus, he began to publish works such as 'Theosophy' and 'Occult Science' and to lecture on esoteric themes both to select audiences (members of the Anthroposophical Society or of his own esoteric school) and to the general public. All but the most esoteric of these lectures were already being published during his lifetime, and in the last decades even the most esoteric material has been made available by the Rudolf Steiner Archive and Press,[5] in accordance with Steiner's wishes. Rudolf Steiner. ... Theosophy, literally god-wisdom (Greek: θεοσοφία theosophia), designates several bodies of ideas. ... Anthroposophy, also called spiritual science, is a spiritual philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner,[1] which states that anyone who conscientiously cultivates sense-free thinking can attain experience of and insights into the spiritual world. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... Based on the ideas of Rudolf Steiners spiritual science, Anthroposophy (based on Greek words meaning man-wisdom) is a philosophy (or, as some opponents claim, a religion) that was born within the setting of Helena Blavatskys Theosophy movement. ...


References

  • Benjamin Walker, Encyclopedia of Esoteric Man: The Hidden Side of the Human Entity, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1977, ISBN 0-7100-8479-X
  • Benjamin Walker, Man and the Beasts Within: The Encyclopedia of the Occult, the Esoteric, and the Supernatural, Stein & Day, New York, 1978, ISBN 0-8128-1900-4
  • Wouter J. Hanegraaff (ed.) in collaboration with Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek & Jean-Pierre Brach, Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, 2 vols., Brill, Leiden 2005.
  • Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism, Brill, Leiden, since 2001.
  • Aries Book Series: Texts and Studies in Western Esotericism, Brill, Leiden, since 2006.
  • Antoine Faivre, Access to Western Esotericism, SUNY Press, Albany 1994.
  • Antoine Faivre, Theosophy, Imagination, Tradition: Studies in Western Esotericism, SUNY Press, Albany 2000.
  • Kocku von Stuckrad, Western Esotericism: A Brief History of Secret Knowledge, Equinox, London / Oakville 2005.
  • Wouter J. Hanegraaff, 'The Study of Western Esotericism: New Approaches to Christian and Secular Culture', in: Peter Antes, Armin W. Geertz & Randi R. Warne, New Approaches to the Study of Religion, vol. I: Regional, Critical, and Historical Approaches, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2004.

Benjamin Walker (November 25, 1913) is the truncated pen name of George Benjamin Walker, who also writes under the pseudonym Jivan Bhakar. ... Benjamin Walker (November 25, 1913) is the truncated pen name of George Benjamin Walker, who also writes under the pseudonym Jivan Bhakar. ... Wouter J. Hanegraaff (b. ... Antoine Faivre (b. ... Antoine Faivre (b. ... Wouter J. Hanegraaff (b. ...

See also

Spirituality Portal

Image File history File links EndlessKnot03d. ... Anthroposophy, also called spiritual science, is a spiritual philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner,[1] which states that anyone who conscientiously cultivates sense-free thinking can attain experience of and insights into the spiritual world. ... Esoteric cosmology is cosmology that is an intrinsic part of an esoteric or occult system of thought. ... Exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is publicly available, in contrast with esoteric knowledge, which is kept from everyone except the initiated. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Karma (disambiguation). ... Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z The following is a List of Buddhist topics: A Abhidharma Ahimsa Ajahn Ajahn Chah Ajanta Aksobhya Alexandra David-Néel... // Masonic organizations Scottish Rite York Rite (Knights Templar) Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners) Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots National Sojourners The Philalethes Society Tall Cedars of Lebanon Other Masonic related organizations Daughters of the Nile DeMolay International International Order of the Rainbow for Girls... This is a list of topics that may be of interest to a person who is researching subjects related to spirituality, esotericism, mysticism, or parapsychology. ... This is a list of graphical signs, icons, and symbols. ... A belief in magic as a means of influencing the world seems to have been common in all cultures. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... Numerology is any of many systems, traditions or beliefs in a mystical or esoteric relationship between numbers and physical objects or living things. ... The word occult comes from the Latin occultus (clandestine, hidden, secret), referring to knowledge of the hidden. In the medical sense it is used commonly to refer to a structure or process that is hidden, e. ... The Odic force (also called Od [õd], Odyle, Önd, Odes or Odems) is the name given in the mid-19th century to a hypothetical vital energy or life force by Baron Carl von Reichenbach (1788-1869), an accomplished chemist (known for his analysis of creosote, waxy paraffin, and phenol). ... A woman performs a Qigong routine outdoors. ... In metaphysics and esoteric cosmology, a plane of existence (sometimes called simply a plane, dimension, vibrating plane, or an inner, invisible, spiritual, supraphysical world, or egg) is conceived as a subtle region of space (and/or consciousness) beyond, but permeating, the known physical universe (or a portion of the physical... Reincarnation, literally to be made flesh again, is a doctrine or mystical belief that some essential part of a living being (in some variations only human beings) survives death to be reborn in a new body. ... The Temple of the Rosy Cross, Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, 1618 The Rosicrucians are a legendary and secretive order dating from the 15th or 17th century, generally associated with the symbol of the Rose Cross, which is also used in certain rituals of the Freemasons. ... ... Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit. ... Theosophy, literally god-wisdom (Greek: θεοσοφία theosophia), designates several bodies of ideas. ... The term Western mystery tradition (also Western Esoteric tradition) refers to the collection of the mystical esoteric knowledge of the Western world. ...

External links

  • University of Amsterdam Center for Study of Western Esotericism Research & BA/MA programs in Western esotericism.
  • University of Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO)
    • Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO): Staff
    • MA in Western Esotericism at the University of Exeter
  • ESSWE European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, with many links to associated organizations, libraries, scholars etc.
  • Gnosticweb Free courses on esoteric topics such as astral projection and the esoteric path
  • Revista Bajo los Hielos (Spanish) René Guénon, Abellio, Evola, Lubicz, etc.
  • Libreria Iniciática - Especializada en temática esotérica (Spanish).
  • Timeline of Esoteric History
  • Masonic Esotericism (Spanish)
  • American Gnostic Association Understanding Esotericism as the root of all religions and systems of spiritual cultivation

  Results from FactBites:
 
Esotericism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2744 words)
Esotericism largely overlaps with occultism which simply means "hidden knowledge." However, in the 20th century many esotericists avoid the latter term owing to negative connotations associated with it (for example, the presumption that it involves devil-worship or fl magic).
Esotericism is often said to assume the existence of a spiritual elite, as distinct from the believing masses.
The intersection of esotericism with mysticism and religious pluralism is another important emphasis of this period, and is represented in the writings of Rene Guenon.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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