Imagining the East: The Early Theosophical Society

ISBN : 9780190853884

Tim Rudbog; Erik Sand
376 ページ
156 x 235 mm

The Theosophical Society (est. 1875 in New York by H. P. Blavatsky, H. S. Olcott and others) is increasingly becoming recognized for its influential role in shaping the alternative new religious and cultural landscape of the late nineteenth and the twentieth century, especially as an early promoter of interest in Indian and Tibetan religions and philosophies. Despite this increasing awareness, many of the central questions relating to the early Theosophical Society and the East remain largely unexplored. This book is the first scholarly anthology dedicated to this topic. It offers many new details about the study of Theosophy in the history of modern religions and Western esotericism.

The essays in Imagining the East explore how Theosophists during the formative period understood the East and those of its people with whom they came into contact. The authors examine the relationship of the theosophical approach with orientalism and aspects of the history of ideas, politics, and culture at large and discuss how these esoteric or theosophical representations mirrored conditions and values current in nineteenth-century mainstream intellectual culture. The essays also look at how the early Theosophical Society's imagining of the East differed from mainstream 'orientalism' and how the Theosophical Society's mission in India was distinct from that of British colonialism and Christian missionaries.




Part 1: Approaches to the East

1. Christopher Partridge

Adventures in Wisdom-land: Orientalist Discourse in Early Theosophy

2. Donald Lopez

Orientalist vs. Theosophist

Part 2: Representations of the East

3. James A. Santucci

H. P. Blavatsky's Acquaintance with the Language of the Gods

4. Tim Rudbog

Early debates in the reception of Buddhism: Theosophy and Esoteric Buddhism

5. Tim Rudbog and Erik Reenberg Sand

H. P. Blavatsky's early reception of Hindu Philosophy

6. Joscelyn Godwin

The Mahatma Letters

7. Patrick D. Bowen

The real pure Yog: Yoga in the early Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor

8. Gillian McCann

Emerging Representations of the East: The Role of Theosophical

Periodicals 1879-1900

9. David Weir

Theosophy and Modernism: A Shared but Secret History

Part 3: Interactions with the East

10. K. Paul Johnson

Theosophy in the Bengal Renaissance

11. Erik Reenberg Sand

The Marriage between the Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj

12. Tim Rudbog

The West moves East, Blavatsky's discourse for Universal Brotherhood in India

13. Isaac Lubelsky

Allan Octavian Hume, Madame Blavatsky, and the Foundation of the

Indian National Congress

14. Mark Bevir

Theosophy, Cultural Nationalism, and Home Rule

15. Michael Bergunder

Experiments with Theosophical Truth: Gandhi, esotericism, and global religious history


Dr. Tim Rudbog is Associate Professor and director of The Copenhagen Center for the Study of Theosophy and Esotericism at the University of Copenhagen. As a historian of religions, Rudbog's previous publications have particularly focused on Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Theosophy, hermeticism, intellectual history, and the academic study of Western esotericism. Erik Reenberg Sand is Associate Professor, emeritus, at the University of Copenhagen. His English publications include articles on Hindu ancestor rituals in the Puranas, the history and rituals of the Maharashtrian place of pilgrimage, Pandharpur, religion and the Indian constitution, and the history of the discipline of the phenomenology of religions.