Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age

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BRILL, Sep 1, 2003 - Religion - 550 pages
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This volume deals with the transformation of religious creativity in the late modern West. Its point of departure is a set of esoteric beliefs, from Theosophy to the New Age. It shows how these traditions have adapted to the cultural givens of each successive epoch. The claims of each movement have been buttressed by drawing on various structural characteristics of late modernity. The advance of science has resulted in attempts to claim scientific status for religious beliefs. Globalization has given rise to massive loans from other cultures, but also to various strategies to radically reinterpret foreign elements. Individualism has led to an increasing reliance on experience as a source of legitimacy. The analytical tools applied to understanding religious modernization shed light on changes that are fundamentally reshaping many religious traditions. This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.
  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
SOME THEORETICAL PRELIMINARIES
27
THE APPEAL TO TRADITION
85
Tibet
130
The New Age Blend of Traditions
139
Christianity as a Significant Other
154
Pattern Recognition
160
The Timeline of Esoteric Historiography
166
Doityourself Channeling
427
Experiencing What We Already Know
434
Elements of the Self as Experience Cues
440
REINCARNATION
455
Reincarnation and Christianity
470
The Democratization of Experience
482
Reincarnation as Rational Belief
488
CODA
495

Esoteric Exegesis of Myth
176
Structurally Radical
198
SCIENTISM AS A LANGUAGE OF FAITH
201
NARRATIVES OF EXPERIENCE
331
Privileged Experience
415

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About the author (2003)

Olav Hammer, Ph.D. (2000) in History of Religions, Lund (Sweden), is Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively, mainly in Swedish, on the New Age and on contemporary Western esotericism.

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