Splendor of the True

A Frithjof Schuon Reader

Selected by James S. Cutsinger
Translated by James S. Cutsinger
Introduction by James S. Cutsinger
Foreword by Huston Smith

Subjects: Sufism, Religion, Mysticism, Islam
Series: SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions
Paperback : 9781438446103, 370 pages, May 2013
Hardcover : 9781438446110, 370 pages, May 2013

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Foreword by Huston Smith
Introduction by James S. Cutsinger
Part I. Religion and Tradition
1. The Sense of the Absolute in Religions
2. Two Esotericisms
3. Concerning Naiveté
4. The Mystery of the Hypostatic Face
Part II. The Perennial Philosophy
5. Summary of Integral Metaphysics
6. Consequences Flowing from the Mystery of Subjectivity
7. Tracing the Notion of Philosophy
8. Understanding and Believing
Part III. Human Nature and Destiny
9. Man in the Universe
10. The Message of the Human Body
11. Man and Certainty
12. Universal Eschatology
Part IV. Sacred Art and Symbolism
13. The Question of Forms in Art
14. The Liberating Passage
15. An Elementary Criteriology of Celestial Apparitions
16. The Symbolism of the Hourglass
Part V. Spirituality
17. Modes of Spiritual Realization
18. The Anonymity of the Virtues
19. The Nature and Function of the Spiritual Master
20. The Stations of Wisdom
Conclusion: Religio Perennis
Appendix: Selections from Letters, Spiritual Texts, and Memoirs
Translator's Notes
Bibliography of Works by Frithjof Schuon

A new anthology of the work of Frithjof Schuon that includes philosophical writings along with a selection of his poems, artworks, and unpublished writings from his personal papers.


Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998), the leading figure in the perennialist school of comparative religious thought, remains one of the most provocative voices on religion. Bridging the divide between seeker and scholar, Schuon challenges the prevailing notion that religion should be studied with agnostic neutrality. He speaks to those who are looking for greater interfaith understanding and a deeper penetration to the esoteric heart of specific traditions, while turning the tables on an increasingly noisy chorus of skeptics.

In Splendor of the True, James S. Cutsinger selects essential writings that reflect the full range of Schuon's thought on religion and tradition, metaphysics and epistemology, human nature and destiny, sacred art and symbolism, and spirituality and contemplative method. In addition to Schuon's essays, the book includes a number of poems, artworks, and previously unpublished materials drawn from his letters, personal memoirs, and private texts for disciples. An introductory chapter provides a careful examination of Schuon as perennial philosopher, Sufi shaykh, and teacher of gnosis.

James S. Cutsinger is Professor of Theology and Religious Thought at the University of South Carolina. His many books include Advice to the Serious Seeker: Meditations on the Teaching of Frithjof Schuon, also published by SUNY Press.


"…Splendor of the True provides the contemporary reader with a full and articulate introduction to Schuon's thought and perspectives. Enhanced with an informed and informative introduction by Professor Cutsinger, Splendor of the True is a highly recommended addition to academic library Religious Studies and 20th Century Philosophy Studies reference collections. " — Midwest Book Review

"Professor Cutsinger's reader provides a comprehensive introduction to the teaching of Frithjof Schuon, one of the most wide-ranging and lastingly influential religious thinkers of the past century. Of particular interest is the close attention to essays revealing Schuon's extraordinary sensitivity to aesthetic, devotional, and other key aspects of practical spiritual realization. His illuminating observations in these widely shared areas of religious experience are communicated with remarkable clarity and cogency, clearly drawing on his own lifelong activity as both artist and spiritual guide. — James Winston Morris, translator of Ostad Elahi's Knowing the Spirit

"The vision of the universal metaphysician, shaykh, and poet Frithjof Schuon is finally accessible to the English-speaking reader in this outstanding collection of his writings. The foremost thinker of the perennialist school, Schuon insisted on the unity of God, arguing that this divine Absolute reveals itself perfectly in the orthodox form of each of the world's great religions. His uncompromising rejection of relativism has made him a cult figure for some and a pariah for others, including many in the academic study of religion.

"Splendor of the True offers a thoroughgoing rehabilitation of this primordial twentieth-century thinker by a courageous scholar, our generation's leading Schuon expert. James Cutsinger draws on decades of communion with his subject's many dimensions in order to reveal their essence. Carefully selected across a wide range of topics, insightfully translated from the French and German, and elegantly curated, Schuon's writings now make their case with unprecedented clarity. Cutsinger is sensitive to Schuon's ongoing role as lightning-rod; with judicious balance, he shows why this has been the case; why it may well be unfair; and how Schuon's philosophy was born out of the gnosis of lifelong, deep spiritual practice, marrying heart and intellect. Cutsinger is able to interpret Frithjof Schuon to skeptics as well as to seekers—unafraid, like Schuon himself, to be provocative in the service of the True. " — Kimberley C. Patton, Harvard Divinity School