In The Secular Religion of Franklin Merrell-Wolff: An Intellectual History of Anti-intellectualism in Modern America, Dave Vliegenthart offers an account of the life and teachings of the modern American mystic Franklin Merrell-Wolff (1887–1985), who combined secular and religious sources from eastern and western traditions in order to elaborate and legitimate his metaphysical claim to the realization of a transcendental reality beyond reason.
Using Merrell-Wolff as a typical example of a modern western guru, Vliegenthart investigates the larger sociological and historical context of the ongoing grand narrative that asserts a widespread anti-intellectualism in modern American culture, exploring developments in religious, philosophical, and psychological discourses in North America from 1800 until the present.
Dave Vliegenthart, PhD (2017), University of Groningen, is a lecturer in the Liberal Arts and Sciences at Maastricht University, specializing in the study of eastern-inspired western gurus and new religious movements in modern western culture.
Outline of This Study
1 Origination (1887–1914)
Childhood: Evangelical Religion
Adolescence: Metaphysical Religion
Adulthood: Oriental(ist) Religion
2 Investigation (1914–1936)
The Temple of the People
The Arcane School
The International Sufi Movement
The United Lodge of Theosophists
The Benares League of America
The Assembly of Man
Einstein’s Philosophy of “Religion”
Keyserling’s Religious “Philosophy”
Jung’s “Creative Phantasy”
3 Realization (1936–1978)
Three Preliminary Realizations
First Fundamental Realization
Second Fundamental Realization
The Human Potential Movement
4 Routinization (1978–Today)
Cults, New Religions, and Emergent Traditions
Perennialism versus Constructivism
Autobiographically “Advaitizing” Immediatism
Social Crises and New Religions
Competition and Rationalization
Index of Persons
Index of Subjects
Anyone interested in the history of the intercultural and interdisciplinary secular religions of modern western gurus in North American culture during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as anyone interested in (the development of) modern American anti-intellectualism.