A historical and interpretive study of three aspects of Western esotericism from the Renaissance to the twentieth century.
Not only does this book present the current state of research in esotericism, but it also explores three main aspects of the field from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Previously published in French and now available in English for the first time, Theosophy, Imagination, Tradition traces the history of the theosophical current, its continuity and shifts, against the background of social and cultural events. The book also covers the Paracelsian course, the romantic Philosophies of Nature and the Occultist movement. The book provides glimpses into the notions and practices of the so-called "active" and "creative" imagination, and questions how they serve as a bridge into certain kinds of mystical experience. It also examines the place that the notion of "tradition" occupies in some major exponents of western esotericism.
Antoine Faivre is Professor at the E. P.H. E. (Religious Studies), Sorbonne. He has published extensively, including Access to Western Esotericism, also published by SUNY Press.
"A pinnacle of achievement. A colossal work. Before such an accomplishment, one hesitates between the Titanesque and the Benedictine. A remarkable book in every respect that may be consulted as individual essays, each of which may be read with pleasure and interest. .." — Pierre Zimmer, Sources et Meridiens
"A true history of western esotericism was sorely lacking, and a large gap is now being filled thanks to the important work of Antoine Faivre. He has endeavored to open up many fascinating areas of research. Through this scholarly work, an entire long-neglected domain of the western imagination is brought to light by Antoine Faivre. " — François Sturel, L'Action Francaise