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The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This introduction to the Western esoteric traditions offers a concise overview of their historical development. The author explores these traditions, from their roots in Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism, and Gnosticism in the early Christian era up to their reverberations in modern day's scientific paradigms.
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Katharine Kerr
A very good, if somewhat dry in spots, historical overview of the Western "esoteric" tradition, that is, of magic systems, magical studies, and their background in historical philosophy and mysticism. The most important portion of the book is its introduction, where Goodrick-Clarke, a respected academic, admits that the subject is worth studying. He points out that the downgrading of magical studies to "nonsense and superstition" is a very recent stance in Western thought, part of the Enlightenm ...more
Christopher Plaisance
This book serves as a perfect example of how to introduce Western Esotericism by means of charting its origins in the ancient Hellenic world and various manifestations throughout European history, relying principally on the ideas presented in primary texts of seminal figures in the field. Goodrick-Clarke's work shines in the completeness and concision with which the whole history of Western Esotericism is presented. In the span of roughly 250 pages, he manages to distill the key figures and doct ...more
Kevin Fuller
Throughout the Christian experience, Christianity has been a religion of the heart, perhaps best represented by the exoteric outer symbol and ritual of the Tradition. However, the Spirit will not go lacking, and there have been those individualistic and Protestant minded folks who have injected the Christian experience with Pagan influence in order to better satisfy the mind. Sources have included the towering Plato and Plotinus, while the Egyptian influence has been the quiter yet rangier philo ...more
Kingsley L. Dennis
A great, clear, coherent introduction and explication on the western esoteric traditions. It does exactly what it claims to do - and that's a welcome relief. A knowledgeable overview in 200 pages!
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Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke B.A. (Bristol), D.Phil. (Oxon) is a professor of Western Esotericism at University of Exeter and author of several books on esoteric traditions.

He is the author of several books on modern occultism and esotericism, and the history of its intersection with Nazi politics. His book, The Occult Roots of Nazism, has remained in print since its publication in 1985 and has been t
...more
More about Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke...
Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism Paracelsus: Essential Readings Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Western Esoteric Masters Series)

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