New Age Religion and Western Culture

Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought

Recent years have seen a spectacular rise of the New Age movement and an ever-increasing interest in its beliefs and manifestations.
This fascinating work presents the first-ever comprehensive analysis of New Age Religion and its historical backgrounds, thus providing the reader with a means of orientation in the bewildering variety of the movement.
Making extensive use of primary sources, the author thematically analyses New Age beliefs from the perspective of the study of religions. While looking at the historical backgrounds of the movement, he convincingly argues that its foundations were laid by so-called western esoteric traditions during the Renaissance. Hanegraaff finally shows how the modern New Age movement emerged from the increasing secularization of those esoteric traditions during the 19th century.
This ground-breaking publication is compulsive reading for all those involved or interested in the New Age movement.

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Wouter J. Hanegraaff is Professor of the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam.
' This is a formidable book…It is an indispensable manual for all those studying the New Age phenomenon…an interesting, informative, illuminating and accurate depiction of New Age thought and practices.' John A. Saliba, Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, 2000. ' This is a must for all students of religion...' Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Ambrix, 2002.
Part 1: Orientation: Major Trends in New Age Religion. Preliminary Demarcation of the Field - Channeling - Healing and Personal Growth - New Age Science - Neopaganism - New Age in a Restricted and in a General Sense. Part 2: Exposition: The Varieties of New Age Experience. The Nature of Reality - Meta-Empirical and Human Beings - Matters of the Mind - Death and Survival - Good and Evil - Visions of the Past - The New Age. Part 3: Interpretation: New Age Religion and Traditional Esotericism. Towards a Historical Perspective on New Age Religion - A Historical Framework - The Mirror of Secular Thought - Conclusions: The New Age Movement and the Nature of New Age Religion.
Those with a specific interest in the New Age movement, contemporary "alternative" religiosity in general, and the history of western esotericism; also, those with a general interest in the academic study of religions and the western history of ideas since the Renaissance.