New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Suny Series, Western Esoteric Traditions) (Anglais) Broché – 20 novembre 1997
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This one is really a milestone in the research of the new age phenomenon, as it is the first (and up until now the only) book to seriously and exhaustively research the variety of new age ideas, their inter-connectedness and their origins.
Haanegraaf doesn't leave the discussion on a sociological level, as other authors on the new age have frequently done. He isn't satisifed until he enters the core of every doctrine and theory and explains it thoroughly to the reader.
Haanegraaf covers an unusal amount of material over the 525 pages long primary text of the book. He presents ideas and comments about them briefly and concisely but also profoundly and always in an interesting and intelectually stimulating way.
The different observations and structures Haanegraaf presents in this work are bound to become a basis for future research of the new age phenomenon.
This is one of the best books i've read in a while, and a must for anyone interested in New Age.
New Age Religion and Western Culture is a gold mine of well-argued research by religious studies scholar Wouter J. Hanegraaff. The 600 pages in this academic volume are packed with insights and information for religious scholars, meditators, and research-minded spiritual seekers who desire in-depth knowledge about the origins of esoteric and occult practices in Western societies.
Hanegraaff has distilled hundreds of best-selling New Age books, revealing the core beliefs and values of the Movement. During my reading, I marked-up dozens of passages, plastered it with post-its, and scribbled pages of notes into my journal. My reading inspired four posts to my blog. This book is epic in scope and covers the history, authors, and sources of New Age religion from medieval times through modern era. Though a fair account of history is included, this is more of a socio-religio exploration of the New Age religious heart and mind.
"What is the Universe trying to tell me?"
"The Universe", in this context, is regarded as a totally friendly, abundant, perfect, non-judgmental environment which enables all intelligent beings to learn their lessons in their own way and at their own pace".
"Magia naturalis is the knowledge and use of occult powers and properties that are considered "natural" because they are present in nature...This type of magic is hardly distinguishable from the tentative beginnings of modern science and often looked like a form of naturalism colored by atheism".
"The New Age movement uses 12 basic concepts: New Age, Paradigm, Wholeness, New Consciousness, Expansion of Consciousness, Self-realization, Spirituality, Androgyny, Network, Self-organization, Transformation, and Planetary Consciousness. Self-realization is the central concept around which the others revolve".
My favorite sections and topics:
- Esotericism between the Renaissance and Enlightenment
- The "Inner Church"
- Swedenborg, Anton Mesmer, and Modern Spiritualism
- Transcendentalists--Emerson and Hinduism
- Jung and German Romanticism
New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought is an epic work. Academics and students of the field will find this an invaluable reference book.