Few religious currents have been as influential as the Theosophical. Yet few currents have been so under-researched, and the Brill Handbook of the Theosophical Current thus represents pioneering research. A first section surveys the main people and events involved in the Theosophical Society from its inception to today, and outlines the Theosophical worldview. A second, substantial section covers most significant religions to emerge in the wake of the Theosophical Society - Anthroposophy, the Point Loma community, the I AM religious activity, the Summit Lighthouse Movement, the New Age, theosophical UFO religions, and numerous others. Finally, the interaction of the Theosophical current with contemporary culture - including gender relations, art, popular fiction, historiography, and science - are discussed at length.
Olav Hammer, Ph.D. (2000), Lund University (Sweden), is Professor of the Study of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark. He has published monographs, edited volumes and numerous articles on religious innovation in the contemporary West, including the Theosophical current.
Mikael Rothstein, Ph.D. (1993), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), is Associate Professor of History of Religions at he University of Copenhagen, and tenured Guest Professor at the Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas. He has published widely on new religions, including monographs and edited volumes in Danish and English.
Contributors include: Michael Abravanel, W. Michael Ashcraft, Egil Asprem, Tessel M. Bauduin, Katharina R. Brandt, Joscelyn Godwin, Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Olav Hammer, Siv Ellen Kraft, Isaac Lubelsky, Lisbeth Mikaelsson, Sean O'Callaghan, Christopher Partridge, Mikael Rothstein, Tim Rudbøg, Anita Stasulane, Garry Trompf , Shanon Trosper Schorey, and Catherine Wessinger.
"The Handbook is an indispensable addition to the growing body of scholarship on Theosophy. It provides enough range and diversity to appeal to readers’ curiosity about the movement’s history, institutions, and leaders."
Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University,
Journal of Religion in Europe, Vol. 8
"This volume is a valuable contribution to the study of the Theosophical Society and its influence not only for its clear and organised presentation of existing research but the platform it creates for ongoing and future work in this large and complex area."
"This wide-ranging scholarly overview of the modern Theosophical movement, or rather movements, is a welcome addition to literature on that influential, but somewhat understudied, current of spirituality."
Robert Ellwood, University of Southern California,
Nova Religio, Vol. 17, No. 3
"It is a collection of contributions which provide reliable information on important aspects of theosophy. In this perspective, the book is highly valuable and a starting point for every further research."
Helmut Zander, Universität Fribourg,
"The book has comprehensive references and a good index. It will provide the student with an accurate overview of the Theosophical movement, through both its past and present currents. It may also stimulate further investigation of the influences of Blavatsky and her followers in the development of a number of manifestations of contemporary spirituality"
Kevin Tingay, Bath Spa University, UK,
Journal of Contemporary Religion 29:1
"This volume is important for collections on new religions, esotericism, and culture."
Erin Prophet, Rice University,
Religious Studies Review, Vol. 41, No. 1
"The fact of the book’s cohesion, compounded with the remarkably high quality of the component essays, makes the
Handbook of the Theosophical Current required reading for any scholar whose work touches at all on the Theosophical Society, its dominant current, or the myriad of related organizations and movements which emerged in its wake (...) As is typical of books in the Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion series, the volume is handsomely produced, with high quality binding and paper, resulting in a book which should easily withstand either the rigors of library ownership, or the heavy reference use of an individual owner."
Christopher A. Plaisance,
Correspondence Vol. 4 (2016).
Academic libraries, anyone - professionals and students alike - interested in Western esotericism, New Religious Movements, Theosophy or any of the numerous religious currents influenced by Theosophy, such as the New Age.