Access to Western Esotericism
Antoine Faivre


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Here a historical survey, beginning with the Alexandrean Period, of the various esoteric currents such as Christian Kabbalah, Theosophy, Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, and Hermeticism. Common characteristics of these currents are the notion of universal interdependency and the experience of spiritual transformation. The author establishes a rigorous methodology; provides clarifying definitions of such key terms as “gnosis”, “theosophy”, “occultism,” and “Hermeticism”; and offers analysis of contemporary esotericism based on three distinct pathways.

The second half of the book presents a series of studies on several important figure, works, and movements in Western esotericism—studies devoted to some of the most characteristic and illuminating aspects that this form of thought has taken, such as theosophical speculations on  androgyny, Rosicrucian literature, and Masonic symbolisni.

The book is completed by a rich and selective Bibliography conceived as a means of orientation and a tool for research.

Antoine Faivre is Professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Religious Studies Section, Sorbonne, Paris. He holds the chair of “History of Esoteric and Mystical in Modern and Contemporary Europe”.

Access to Western Esotericism, Antoine Faivre, State University of New York Press, 1994

Paperback. Octavo. Ex-library. Sealed rather badly in acetate. Line drawn in blue pen on the page block.