Jakob Böhme was a German philosopher, Christian mystic, Lutheran Protestant theologian. He was considered an original thinker by many of his contemporaries within the Lutheran tradition, his first book known as Aurora, caused a great scandal. In contemporary English, his name may be spelled Jacob Boehme. Böhme was born on 24 April 1575 at Alt Seidenberg, a village near Görlitz in Upper Lusatia, a territory of the Kingdom of Bohemia, his father, George Wissen, was Lutheran, reasonably wealthy, but a peasant nonetheless. Böhme was the fourth of five children. Böhme's first job was that of a herd boy, he was, deemed to be not strong enough for husbandry. When he was 14 years old, he was sent as an apprentice to become a shoemaker, his apprenticeship for shoemaking was hard. He prayed and read the Bible as well as works by visionaries such as Paracelsus and Schwenckfeld, although he received no formal education. After three years as an apprentice, Böhme left to travel. Although it is unknown just how far he went, he at least made it to Görlitz.
In 1592 Böhme returned from his journeyman years. By 1599, Böhme was master of his craft with his own premises in Görlitz; that same year he married Katharina, daughter of Hans Kuntzschmann, a butcher in Görlitz, together he and Katharina had four sons and two daughters. Böhme's mentor was Abraham Behem. Böhme joined the "Conventicle of God's Real Servants" - a parochial study group organized by Martin Möller. Böhme had a number of mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision in 1600 as one day he focused his attention onto the exquisite beauty of a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish, he believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between God and man, good and evil. At the time he chose not to speak of this experience preferring instead to continue his work and raise a family. In 1610 Böhme experienced another inner vision in which he further understood the unity of the cosmos and that he had received a special vocation from God.
The shop in Görlitz, sold in 1613, had allowed Böhme to buy a house in 1610 and to finish paying for it in 1618. Having given up shoemaking in 1613, Böhme sold woollen gloves for a while, which caused him to visit Prague to sell his wares. Twelve years after the vision in 1600, Böhme began to write his first book, Die Morgenroete im Aufgang; the book was given the name Aurora by a friend. A manuscript copy of the unfinished work was loaned to Karl von Ender, a nobleman, who had copies made and began to circulate them. A copy fell into the hands of Gregorius Richter, the chief pastor of Görlitz, who considered it heretical and threatened Böhme with exile if he continued working on it; as a result, Böhme did not write anything for several years. In 1619 Böhme wrote "De Tribus Principiis" or "On the Three Principles of Divine Being", it took him two years to finish his second book, followed by many other treatises, all of which were copied by hand and circulated only among friends. In 1620 Böhme wrote "The Threefold Life of Man", "Forty Questions on the Soul", "The Incarnation of Jesus Christ", "The Six Theosophical Points", "The Six Mystical Points".
In 1621 Böhme wrote "De Signatura Rerum". In 1623 Böhme wrote "On Election to Grace", "On Christ's Testaments", "Mysterium Magnum", "Clavis"; the year 1622 saw Böhme write some short works all of which were subsequently included in his first published book on New Year's Day 1624, under the title Weg zu Christo. The publication caused another scandal and following complaints by the clergy, Böhme was summoned to the Town Council on 26 March 1624; the report of the meeting was that: "Jacob Boehme, the shoemaker and rabid enthusiast, declares that he has written his book To Eternal Life, but did not cause the same to be printed. A nobleman, Sigismund von Schweinitz, did that; the Council gave him warning to leave the town. He thereupon promised that he would shortly take himself off." Böhme left for Dresden on 9 May 1624, where he stayed with the court physician for two months. In Dresden he was accepted by high clergy, his intellect was recognized by the professors of Dresden, who in a hearing in May 1624, encouraged Böhme to go home to his family in Görlitz.
During Böhme's absence his family had suffered during the Thirty Years' War. Once home, Böhme accepted an invitation to stay with Herr von Schweinitz. While there Böhme began to write his last book, the 177 Theosophic Questions. However, he fell terminally ill with a bowel complaint forcing him to travel home on 7 November. Gregorius Richter, Böhme's adversary from Görlitz, had died in August 1624; the new clergy, still wary of Böhme, forced him to answer a long list of questions when he wanted to receive the sacrament. He died on 17 November 1624. In this short period, Böhme produced an enormous amount of writing, including his major works De Signatura Rerum and Mysterium Magnum, he developed a following throughout Europe, where his followers were known as Behmenists. The son of Böhme's chief antagonist, the
Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish Lutheran theologian, scientist and mystic. He is best known for his book on the afterlife and Hell. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an scientist. In 1741, at 53, he entered into a spiritual phase in which he began to experience dreams and visions, beginning on Easter Weekend, on 6 April 1744, it culminated in a'spiritual awakening' in which he received a revelation that he was appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ to write The Heavenly Doctrine to reform Christianity. According to The Heavenly Doctrine, the Lord had opened Swedenborg's spiritual eyes so that from on, he could visit heaven and hell to converse with angels and other spirits and the Last Judgment had occurred the year before, in 1757. For the last 28 years of his life, Swedenborg wrote 18 published theological works—and several more that were unpublished, he termed himself a "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ" in True Christian Religion, which he published himself. Some followers of The Heavenly Doctrine believe that of his theological works, only those that were published by Swedenborg himself are divinely inspired.
Others have regarded all Swedenborg's theological works as inspired, saying for example that the fact that some works were "not written out in a final edited form for publication does not make a single statement less trustworthy than the statements in any of the other works". The New Church, a new religious movement comprising several historically-related Christian denominations, reveres Swedenborg's writings as revelation. Swedenborg's father, Jesper Swedberg, descended from a wealthy mining family; the first known paternal ancestor was Otte Persson from Sundborn parish, mentioned 1571. He travelled abroad and studied theology, on returning home, he was eloquent enough to impress the Swedish king, Charles XI, with his sermons in Stockholm. Through the king's influence, he would become professor of theology at Uppsala University and Bishop of Skara. Jesper took an interest in the beliefs of the dissenting Lutheran Pietist movement, which emphasised the virtues of communion with God rather than relying on sheer faith.
Sola fide is a tenet of the Lutheran Church, Jesper was charged with being a pietist heretic. While controversial, the beliefs were to have a major impact on his son Emanuel's spirituality. Jesper furthermore held the unconventional belief that angels and spirits were present in everyday life; this came to have a strong impact on Emanuel. In 1703–1709, Swedenborg lived in Erik Benzelius the Younger's house. Swedenborg completed his university course at Uppsala in 1709, in 1710, he made his grand tour through the Netherlands and Germany before reaching London, where he would spend the next four years, it was a flourishing center of scientific ideas and discoveries. Swedenborg studied physics and philosophy and read and wrote poetry. According to the preface of a book by the Swedish critic Olof Lagercrantz, Swedenborg wrote to his benefactor and brother-in-law Benzelius that he believed that Swedenborg might be destined to be a great scientist. In 1715 Swedenborg returned to Sweden, where he devoted himself to natural science and engineering projects for the next two decades.
A first step was his meeting with King Charles XII of Sweden in the city of Lund, in 1716. The Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem, who became a close friend of Swedenborg, was present. Swedenborg's purpose was to persuade the king to fund an observatory in northern Sweden. However, the warlike king did not consider this project important enough, but did appoint Swedenborg to be assessor-extraordinary on the Swedish Board of Mines in Stockholm. From 1716 to 1718, Swedenborg published a scientific periodical entitled Daedalus Hyperboreus, a record of mechanical and mathematical inventions and discoveries. One notable description was that of a flying machine, the same he had been sketching a few years earlier. In 1718, Swedenborg published an article that attempted to explain spiritual and mental events in terms of minute vibrations, or "tremulations". Upon the death of Charles XII, Queen Ulrika Eleonora ennobled his siblings, it was common in Sweden during the 17th and 18th centuries for the children of bishops to receive that honour, as a recognition of the services of their father.
The family name was changed from Swedberg to Swedenborg. In 1724, he was offered the chair of mathematics at Uppsala University, but he declined and said that he had dealt with geometry and metallurgy during his career, he said that he did not have the gift of eloquent speech because of a stutter, as recognized by many of his acquaintances. The Swedish critic Olof Lagerkrantz proposed that Swedenborg compensated for his impediment by extensive argumentation in writing. During the 1730s, Swedenborg undertook many studies of physiology, he had the first known anticipation of the neuron concept. It was not until a century that science recognized the full significance of the nerve cell, he had prescient ideas about the cerebral cortex, the hierarchical organization of the nervous system, the localization of the cerebrospinal fluid, the functions of the pituitary gland, the perivascular spaces, the foramen of Magendie, the idea of somatotopic organization, the association of frontal brain regions with the intellect.
In some cases, his conclusions have been experimentally verified in modern times. In the 1730s, Swedenborg became increasing
Orientalism is a term used by art historians and literary and cultural studies scholars for the imitation or depiction of aspects in the Eastern world. These depictions are done by writers and artists from the West. In particular, Orientalist painting, depicting more "the Middle East", was one of the many specialisms of 19th-century academic art, the literature of Western countries took a similar interest in Oriental themes. Since the publication of Edward Said's Orientalism in 1978, much academic discourse has begun to use the term "Orientalism" to refer to a general patronizing Western attitude towards Middle Eastern and North African societies. In Said's analysis, the West essentializes these societies as static and undeveloped—thereby fabricating a view of Oriental culture that can be studied and reproduced. Implicit in this fabrication, writes Said, is the idea that Western society is developed, rational and superior. Orientalism refers in reference and opposition to the Occident; the word Orient entered the English language as the Middle French orient.
The root word oriēns, from the Latin Oriēns, has synonymous denotations: The eastern part of the world. In the "Monk's Tale", Geoffrey Chaucer wrote: "That they conquered many regnes grete / In the orient, with many a fair citee." The term "orient" refers to countries east of the Mediterranean Southern Europe. In Place of Fear, Aneurin Bevan used an expanded denotation of the Orient that comprehended East Asia: "the awakening of the Orient under the impact of Western ideas". Edward Said said that Orientalism "enables the political, economic and social domination of the West, not just during colonial times, but in the present." In art history, the term Orientalism refers to the works of the Western artists who specialized in Oriental subjects, produced from their travels in Western Asia, during the 19th century. In that time and scholars were described as Orientalists in France, where the dismissive use of the term "Orientalist" was made popular by the art critic Jules-Antoine Castagnary. Despite such social disdain for a style of representational art, the French Society of Orientalist Painters was founded in 1893, with Jean-Léon Gérôme as the honorary president.
The formation of the French Orientalist Painters Society changed the consciousness of practitioners towards the end of the 19th century, since artists could now see themselves as part of a distinct art movement. As an art movement, Orientalist painting is treated as one of the many branches of 19th-century academic art. Art historians tend to identify two broad types of Orientalist artist: the realists who painted what they observed and those who imagined Orientalist scenes without leaving the studio. French painters such as Eugène Delacroix and Jean-Léon Gérôme are regarded as the leading luminaries of the Orientalist movement. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term Orientalist identified a scholar who specialized in the languages and literatures of the Eastern world. Among such scholars were British officials of the East India Company, who said that the Arab culture, the culture of India, the Islamic cultures should be studied as equal to the cultures of Europe. Among such scholars is the philologist William Jones, whose studies of Indo-European languages established modern philology.
British imperial strategy in India favored Orientalism as a technique for developing good relations with the natives—until the 1820s, when the influence of "anglicists" such as Thomas Babington Macaulay and John Stuart Mill led to the promotion of Anglocentric education. Additionally and Jewish studies gained popularity among British and German scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries; the academic field of Oriental studies, which comprehended the cultures of the Near East and the Far East, became the fields of Asian studies and Middle Eastern studies. In the book Orientalism, the cultural critic Edward Said redefined the term Orientalism to describe a pervasive Western tradition — academic and artistic — of prejudiced outsider-interpretations of the Eastern world, shaped by the cultural attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries; the thesis of Orientalism develops Antonio Gramsci's theory of cultural hegemony, Michel Foucault's theorisation of discourse to criticise the scholarly tradition of Oriental studies.
Said criticised contemporary scholars who perpetuated the tradition of outsider-interpretation of Arabo-Islamic cultures Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami. The analyses are of Orientalism in European literature French literature, do not analyse visual art and Orientalist painting. In that vein, the art historian Linda Nochlin applied Said's methods of critical analysis to art, "with uneven results". In the academy, the book Orientalism became a foundational text of post-colonial cultural studies. Moreover, in relation to the cultural institution of citizenship, Orientalism has rendered the concept of citizenship as a problem of epistemology, because citizenship originated as a social institution of the Western world. Furthermore, Said said that Orientalism, as an "idea of representation is a theoretical one: The Orient is a stage on which the whole East is confined" in order to make the Eastern world "les
Esoteric Christianity is an ensemble of Christian theology which proposes that some spiritual doctrines of Christianity can only be understood by those who have undergone certain rites within the religion. In mainstream Christianity, there is a similar idea that faith is the only means by which a true understanding of God can be gained; the term esoteric was coined in the 17th century and derives from the Greek ἐσωτερικός. These spiritual currents share some common denominators, such as heterodox or heretical Christian theology; the word "mysticism" is derived from the Greek μυω, meaning "to conceal", its derivative μυστικός, meaning'an initiate'. In the Hellenistic world,'mystical' referred to "secret" religious rituals; the use of the word lacked any direct references to the transcendental. A "mystikos" was an initiate of a mystery religion. Theologians give the name mystery to revealed truths that surpass the powers of natural reason, so, in a narrow sense, the Mystery is a truth that transcends the created intellect.
Some modern scholars believe that in the early stages of non-Gnostic Christianity, a nucleus of oral teachings were inherited from Palestinian and Hellenistic Judaism. In the 4th century, it was believed to form the basis of a secret oral tradition which came to be called disciplina arcani; the mainstream theologians, believe that it contained only liturgical details and certain other traditions which remain a part of some branches of mainstream Christianity. Important influences on Esoteric Christianity are the Christian theologians Clement of Alexandria and Origen, the leading figures of the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Reincarnation was accepted by most of Gnostic Christian sects such as Valentinianism and Basilidians, but denied by the proto-orthodox one. While hypothetically considering a complex multiple-world transmigration scheme in De Principiis, Origen denies reincarnation in unmistakable terms in his work Against Celsus and elsewhere. Despite this apparent contradiction, most modern Esoteric Christian movements refer to Origen's writings to validate these ideas as part of the Esoteric Christian tradition outside of the Gnostic schools, who were considered heretical in the 3rd century.
Anonymous. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism. New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin. ISBN 978-1-5854-2161-9 Besant, Annie. Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries. City: Adamant Media Corporation. ISBN 978-1-4021-0029-1. Brown, Coleston. Magical Christianity: The Power of Symbols for Spiritual Renewal. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books. ISBN 978-0-8356-0855-8 Duncan, Anthony; the Lord of the Dance: An Essay in Mysticism. Sun Chalice Books. ISBN 978-0-9650-8395-9 Knight, Gareth. Experience of the Inner Worlds. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire: Skylight Press. ISBN 978-1-9080-1103-9 Knight, Gareth. A History of White Magic. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire: Skylight Press. ISBN 978-1-9080-1104-6 Powell, Robert.. The Sophia Teachings: The Emergence of the Divine Feminine in Our Time. Aurora, CO: Lindisfarne Books. ISBN 978-1-5842-0048-2 Rittelmeyer, Mitchell, M. L.. Meditation: Letters on the Guidance of the Inner Life 1932. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-4179-7983-7 Smoley, Richard. Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition.
Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1-5706-2810-8 Steiner, Rudolf. Christianity As Mystical The Mysteries Of Antiquity. Great Barrington, MA: Anthroposophic Press. ISBN 978-0-8801-0436-4 Esoteric/Mystic/Experiential Christianity The Cornerstone of Esoteric Christianity The Focus of Esoteric Futures The Esoteric Christianity E-Magazine Jacob Boehme Online
Yogachara is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology emphasizing the study of cognition and consciousness through the interior lens of meditative and yogic practices. It is variously termed Vijñānavāda, Vijñaptivāda or Vijñaptimātratā-vāda, the name given to its major epistemic theory. There are several interpretations of this main theory, some scholars see it as a kind of Idealism while others argue that it is closer to a kind of phenomenology or representationalism. According to Dan Lusthaus, this tradition developed "an elaborate psychological therapeutic system that mapped out the problems in cognition along with the antidotes to correct them, an earnest epistemological endeavor that led to some of the most sophisticated work on perception and logic engaged in by Buddhists or Indians." The 4th century Indian brothers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, are considered the classic philosophers and systematizers of this school. It was associated with Indian Mahayana Buddhism in about the fourth century, but included non-Mahayana practitioners of the Dārṣṭāntika school.
Yogācāra continues to be influential in East Asian Buddhism. However, the uniformity of an single assumed "Yogācāra school" has been put into question. Yogācāra philosophy is meant to aid in the practice of yoga and meditation and thus it sets forth a systematic analysis of the Mahayana spiritual path. Yogācārins made use of ideas from previous traditions, such as Prajñāpāramitā and the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma, to develop a new schema for spiritual practice. According to Thomas Kochumuttom, Yogācāra is "meant to be an explanation of experience, rather than a system of ontology". For this reason, Yogācārins developed. In its analysis, Yogācāra works like the Saṅdhinirmocana Sūtra developed various core concepts such as vijñapti-mātra, the ālaya-vijñāna, the turning of the basis, the three natures, emptiness, they form a complex system, each can be taken as a point of departure for understanding Yogācāra. One of the main features of Yogācāra philosophy is the concept of vijñapti-mātra. According to Lambert Schmithausen, the earliest surviving appearance of this term is in chapter 8 of the Saṅdhinirmocana Sūtra, which has only survived in Tibetan and Chinese translations that differ in syntax and meaning.
The passage is depicted as a response by the Buddha to a question which asks "whether the images or replicas which are the object of meditative concentration, are different/separate from the contemplating mind or not." The Buddha says they are not different, "Because these images are vijñapti-mātra." The text goes on to affirm. Regarding existing Sanskrit sources, the term appears in the first verse of Vasubandhu's Vimśatikā, a locus classicus of the idea, it states: vijñaptimātram evaitad asad arthāvabhāsanāt yathā taimirikasyāsat keśa candrādi darśanam This is vijñaptimātra, since it manifests itself as an unreal object, Just like the case of those with cataracts seeing unreal hairs in the moon and the like." According to Mark Siderits, what Vasubandhu means here is that we are only aware of mental images or impressions which manifest themselves as external objects, but "there is no such thing outside the mind." The term appears in Asaṅga's classic Yogācāra work, the Mahāyānasaṃgraha:These representations are mere representations, because there is no thing/object...
Just as in a dream there appear without a thing/object, just in the mind alone, forms/images of all kinds of things/objects like visibles, smells, tangibles, forests and mountains, yet there are no things/objects at all in that. MSg 11.6The term is sometimes used as a synonym with citta-mātra, used a name for the school that suggests Idealism. Schmithausen writes that the first appearance of this term is in the Pratyupanna samadhi sutra, which states:This triple world is nothing but mind. Why? Because however I imagine things, how they appear; some modern scholars believe. David Kalupahana argues that citta-mātra signifies a metaphysical reification of mind into an absolute, while vijñapti-mātra refers to a certain epistemological approach. While the standard translations for these terms are "consciousness only" and "mind-only", several modern scholars object to these, as well as to Idealistic interpretation. According to Bruce Cameron Hall, the interpretation of this doctrine as a form of subjective or absolute idealism has been "the most common "outside" interpretation of Vijñānavāda, not only by modern writers, but by its ancient opponents, both Hindu and Buddhist."Different alternative translations for vijñapti-mātra have been proposed, such as representation-only, ideation-only, impressions-only and perception-only.
Alex Wayman notes that one's interpretation of Yogācāra will depend on how the qualifier mātra is to be understood in this context, he objects to interpretations which claim that Yogācāra rejects the external world altogether, preferring translations such as "amounting to mind" or "mirroring mind" for citta-mātra. Fo
Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", 不敢為天下先 "humility"; the roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang, was influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature; the "Legalist" Shen Buhai may have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei.
The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi, is considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the writings of Zhuangzi. By the Han dynasty, the various sources of Taoism had coalesced into a coherent tradition of religious organizations and orders of ritualists in the state of Shu. In earlier ancient China, Taoists were thought of as hermits or recluses who did not participate in political life. Zhuangzi was the best known of these, it is significant that he lived in the south, where he was part of local Chinese shamanic traditions. Female shamans played an important role in this tradition, strong in the southern state of Chu. Early Taoist movements developed their own institution in contrast to shamanism, but absorbed basic shamanic elements. Shamans revealed basic texts of Taoism from early times down to at least the 20th century. Institutional orders of Taoism evolved in various strains that in more recent times are conventionally grouped into two main branches: Quanzhen Taoism and Zhengyi Taoism.
After Laozi and Zhuangzi, the literature of Taoism grew and was compiled in form of a canon—the Daozang—which was published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was nominated several times as a state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell from favor. Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, Taoists, a title traditionally attributed only to the clergy and not to their lay followers take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the practices of Chinese folk religion and non-Taoist vernacular ritual orders, which are mistakenly identified as pertaining to Taoism. Chinese alchemy, Chinese astrology, Chan Buddhism, several martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism had influence on surrounding societies in Asia. Today, the Taoist tradition is one of the five religious doctrines recognized in the People's Republic of China as well as the Republic of China, although it does not travel from its East Asian roots, it claims adherents in a number of societies, in particular in Hong Kong, in Southeast Asia.
Since the introduction of the Pinyin system for romanizing Mandarin Chinese, there have been those who have felt that "Taoism" would be more appropriately spelled as "Daoism". The Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for the word 道 is spelled as tao4 in the older Wade–Giles romanization system while it is spelled as dào in the newer Pinyin romanization system. Both the Wade–Giles tao4 and the Pinyin dào are intended to be pronounced identically in Mandarin Chinese, but despite this fact, "Taoism" and "Daoism" can be pronounced differently in English vernacular; the word "Taoism" is used to translate different Chinese terms which refer to different aspects of the same tradition and semantic field: "Taoist religion", or the "liturgical" aspect – A family of organized religious movements sharing concepts or terminology from "Taoist philosophy". "Taoist philosophy" or "Taology", or the "mystical" aspect – The philosophical doctrines based on the texts of the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching and the Zhuangzi.
These texts were linked together as "Taoist philosophy" during the early Han Dynasty, but notably not before. It is unlikely that Zhuangzi was familiar with the text of the Daodejing, Zhuangzi would not have identified himself as a Taoist as this classification did not arise until well after his death. However, the discussed distinction is rejected by the majority of Japanese scholars, it is contested by hermeneutic difficulties in the categorization of the different Taoist schools and movements. Taoism does not f
Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded by the 19th century esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience, they aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by natural historians in investigations of the physical world. The philosophy has its roots in mystical philosophies. Steiner chose the term anthroposophy to emphasize his philosophy's humanistic orientation. Anthroposophical ideas have been employed in alternative movements in many areas including education, medicine, organizational development, the arts; the main organization for advocacy of Steiner's ideas, the Anthroposophical Society, is headquartered at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.
The historian of religion Olav Hammer has termed anthroposophy "the most important esoteric society in European history." Authors and physicians including Michael Shermer, Michael Ruse, Edzard Ernst, David Gorski, Simon Singh have criticized anthroposophy's application in the areas of medicine, biology and education to be dangerous and pseudoscientific. Others including former Waldorf pupil Roger Rawlings, activist Dan Dugan, historian Geoffrey Ahern have criticized anthroposophy itself as a dangerous cult, fundamentally anti-rational and anti-scientific; the early work of the founder of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, culminated in his Philosophy of Freedom. Here, Steiner developed a concept of free will based on inner experiences those that occur in the creative activity of independent thought. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Steiner's interests turned exclusively to spirituality, his work began to interest others interested in spiritual ideas. From 1900 on, thanks to the positive reception his ideas received from Theosophists, Steiner focused on his work with the Theosophical Society, becoming the secretary of its section in Germany in 1902.
During his leadership, membership increased from just a few individuals to sixty-nine lodges. By 1907, a split between Steiner and the Theosophical Society became apparent. While the Society was oriented toward an Eastern and Indian approach, Steiner was trying to develop a path that embraced Christianity and natural science; the split became irrevocable when Annie Besant president of the Theosophical Society, presented the child Jiddu Krishnamurti as the reincarnated Christ. Steiner objected and considered any comparison between Krishnamurti and Christ to be nonsense. Steiner's continuing differences with Besant led him to separate from the Theosophical Society Adyar, he was subsequently followed by the great majority of the Theosophical Society's German members, as well as many members of other national sections. By this time, had reached considerable stature as a spiritual teacher and expert in the occult, he spoke about what he considered to be his direct experience of the Akashic Records, thought to be a spiritual chronicle of the history, pre-history, future of the world and mankind.
In a number of works, Steiner described a path of inner development he felt would let anyone attain comparable spiritual experiences. In Steiner's view, sound vision could be developed, in part, by practicing rigorous forms of ethical and cognitive self-discipline and meditation. In particular, Steiner believed a person's spiritual development could only occur after a period of moral development. In 1912, the Anthroposophical Society was founded. After World War I, the Anthroposophical movement took on new directions. Followers of Steiner's ideas soon began applying them to create counter-cultural movements in traditional and special education and medicine. By 1923, a schism had formed between older members focused on inner development and younger members eager to become active in contemporary social transformations. In response, Steiner attempted to bridge the gap by establishing an overall School for Spiritual Science; as a spiritual basis for the reborn movement, Steiner wrote a "Foundation Stone Meditation" which remains a central touchstone of anthroposophical ideas.
Steiner died just over a year in 1925. The Second World War temporarily hindered the anthroposophical movement in most of Continental Europe, as the Anthroposophical Society and most of its practical counter-cultural applications were banned by the Nazi government. Though at least one prominent member of the Nazi Party, Rudolf Hess, was a strong supporter of anthroposophy few anthroposophists belonged to the National Socialist Party. By 2007, national branches of the Anthroposophical Society had been established in fifty countries and about 10,000 institutions around the world were working on the basis of anthroposophical ideas. Anthroposophy is an amalgam of the Greek terms ἄνθρωπος and σοφία. An early English usage is recorded by Nathan Bailey as meaning "the knowledge of the nature of man." The first known use of the term anthroposophy occurs within Arbatel de magia veterum, summum sapientiae studium, a book published anonymously in 1575 and attributed to Heinrich Cor