Madame Blavatsky (1831–1891), the influential occultist, transvalued the category of monotheism, abandoning, in The Secret Doctrine (1888), the positive interpretation that it had been given in Isis Unveiled (1877). This reversal of the prevailing Enlightenment-based valuation of monotheism was related to Blavatsky’s construction of identity as an esotericist. Her discussions must be situated within a wider “invention” of monotheism as a category (taking place most significantly from the early-nineteenth century), and they can be contextualised in relation to the contemporaneous philological, Egyptological, and Orientalist scholarship on which she drew.
AssmannJan, Die Mosaische Unterscheidung, oder der Preis des Monotheismus (Munich and Vienna: Carl Hanser, 2003): trans. by Robert Savage as The Price of Monotheism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010).
The Indian ‘Public’ and Theosophy” Blavatsky Collected Writings vol. 2 (first published in The Indian Spectator, Bombay, 2 March 1879) http://www.katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v2/y1879_003.htm (accessed 6 February 2016).
BlavatskyHelena, The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy,2 vols. (London: The Theosophical Publishing Company, 1888) [Character-for-character, line-for-line reproduction of the two-volume 1888 first edition.]
Construction Through Appropriation: Kabbalah in Blavatsky’s Early Works” Theosophical Appropriations: Esotericism, Kabbalah, and the Transformation of Traditions (Beer Sheva: Ben-Gurion University Press, 2016 – forthcoming).
The Uses and Misuses of Polytheism and Monotheism in Hinduism” https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/imce/pdfs/webforum/012010/monotheism%20for%20religion%20and%20culture-titlecorr.pdf (accessed 6 February 2016).
The Study of the Avesta and its Religion Around the Year 1900 and Today,” Man, Meaning, and Mystery. 100 Years of History of Religions in Norway. The Heritage of W. Brede Kristensen, ed. by S. Hjelde (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2000), 73–99.
The Sacred is the Profane, Spirituality is not Religion: The Decline of the Religion/Secular Divide and the Emergence of the Critical Discourse on Religion,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion (Advance Article), (2014), 1–7.
Geschichte und Gedächtnisgeschichte: Jan Assmanns ‘Mosaische Unterscheidung,’” Birgit E. Klein and Christine E. Müller eds., Memoria – Wege jüdischen Erinnerns: Festschrift fu ̈r Michael Brocke zum 65 (Geburtstag, Metropol: Berlin, 2005), 19–39.
Stephen Prothero, The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996); W. Travis Hanes iii, “On the Origins of the Indian National Congress: A Case Study of Cross-Cultural Synthesis,” Journal of World History 4/1 (1993).
Ronald Hutton, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); Wouter Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996).
Robert Flint, “Theism,”Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and General Literatureninth Edition, vol. 23 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1888). Flint was a professor of divinity at the University of Edinburgh.
Boaz Huss, “The Sacred is the Profane, Spirituality is not Religion: The Decline of the Religion/Secular Divide and the Emergence of the Critical Discourse on Religion,”Method and Theory in the Study of Religion(Advance Article), (2014); Brent Nongbri, Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013); Tomoko Masuzawa, The Invention of World Religions, Or, How European Universalism was Preserved in the Language of Pluralism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005); Timothy Fitzgerald, The Ideology of Religious Studies (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Richard King, Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and the “Mystic East” (London: Routledge, 1999); Jonathan Z. Smith, “Religion, Religions, Religious,” Mark C. Taylor ed. Critical Terms for Religious Studies (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1998).
As in Hanegraaff, Esotericism and the Academy,373; Ellic Howe, The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887–1923 (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1984); James Webb, The Occult Underground (La Salle, il: Open Court, 1974); and James Webb, The Occult Establishment (La Salle, il: Open Court, 1976).