Wisdom's Children

A Christian Esoteric Tradition

By Arthur Versluis

Subjects: History
Series: SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions
Paperback : 9780791443309, 370 pages, September 1999
Hardcover : 9780791443293, 370 pages, October 1999

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations


Part One: History

1. Böhme
2. Johann Georg Gichtel and His Circle
3. The Visionary Science of Dr. John Pordage
4. Jane Leade, the Philadelphians, and the Doctrine of Universal Restoration
5 . Dionysius Andreas Freher, Allen Leppington, and William Law
6. Johannes Kelpius and Pennsylvania Theosophy
7. Christopher Walton and His Theosophic College

Part Two: The Cycle of Foundational Doctrines

8. The Divine Nature
9. The Divine Emanation of Worlds
10. The Fall of Lucifer, Humanity, and Nature
11. Spiritual Regeneration
12. Angelology and Paradise

Part Three: The Art of the Soul's Transmutation

13. The Science of Imagination
14. The Eye in the Heart
15. The Physiology of the Soul
16. Turning Wrath into Love
17. Penetrating the Merely Astral

Part Four: Contexts

18. Theosophy and Gnosticism
19. Alchemy and Theosophy
20. Theosophy and Chivalry
21. Theosophy, Herbal Medicine, Magic, and Astrolog

Part Five: Implications

22. Theosophy and Modern Science
23. Toward a New Psychology
24. Hierohistory and Metahistory
25. Revelation, Authority, and the Apostolic Tradition



Selected Bibliography


Provides an in-depth introduction to the Christian theosophic tradition that began with Jacob Bo¬hme, bringing us into a startling new world of Christian experiential spirituality that is the Christian equivalent of Sufism and Kabbalism.


The first book in English to provide an in-depth introduction to the Christian theosophic tradition that began with Jacob Bo¬hme, Wisdom's Children brings us into a startling new world of experiential spirituality that is in fact the Christian equivalent of Sufism and Kabbalism. With biographic introductions to major theosophers and detailed discussions of theosophic authors such as John Pordage, Jane Leade, Dionysius Freher, and Johann Gichtel—as well as a survey of their major theosophic cosmological and metaphysical teachings—this book is an indispensable guide to the hidden history of Protestantism and its ramifications today.

With chapters discussing theosophy in relation to Gnosticism, magic, astrology, alchemy, and other Western esoteric traditions, Wisdom's Children is situated solidly in its historical context using primary works from the tradition itself. The book also provides unexpected insights into how this modern gnostic tradition speaks to us today, and suggests how this tradition could spark a "new Renaissance" to link spirituality, the arts, and the sciences in a new and encompassing vision.

Arthur Versluis is Assistant Professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University. His previous books include The Hermetic Book of Nature: An American Revolution in Consciousness; Gnosis and Literature; Theosophia: Hidden Dimensions of Christianity; and Native American Traditions, among others.


"Wisdom's Children fills a major gap in the history of religion. It sympathetically introduces information and thought about a highly important and much neglected strand of modern Western spiritual philosophy. "—Jacob Needleman, San Francisco State University