No Religion Higher Than Truth

No Religion Higher Than Truth : A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia, 1875-1922

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Among the various kinds of occultism popular during the Russian Silver Age (1890-1914), modern Theosophy was by far the most intellectually significant. This contemporary gnostic gospel was invented and disseminated by Helena Blavatsky, an expatriate Russian with an enthusiasm for Buddhist thought and a genius for self-promotion. What distinguished Theosophy from the other kinds of "mysticism"--the spiritualism, table turning, fortune-telling, and magic--that fascinated the Russian intelligentsia of the period? In answering this question, Maria Carlson offers the first scholarly study of a controversial but important movement in its Russian context. Carlson's is the only work on this topic written by an intellectual historian not ideologically committed to Theosophy. Placing Mme Blavatsky and her "secret doctrine" in a Russian setting, the book also discusses independent Russian Theosophical circles and the impact of the Theosophical-Anthroposophical schism in Russia.
It surveys the vigorous polemics of the Theosophists and their critics, demonstrates Theosophy's role in the philosophical dialogues of the Russian creative intelligentsia, and chronicles the demise of the movement after 1917. By exploring this long neglected aspect of the Silver Age, Carlson greatly enriches our knowledge of fin-de-sicle Russian culture. Originally published in 1993. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 310 pages
  • 152 x 235 x 16.51mm | 425g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0691607818
  • 9780691607818
  • 83,542

Table of contents

IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: The Esoteric Tradition and the Russian Silver Age3IA Historical Survey of Russian Occult Interests15The Earliest Traditions15The French Occult Revival19Spiritualism22Theosophy28IIThe Early Days of Theosophy in Russia (1875-1901)38The Magnificent Madame38The Introduction of Theosophy into Russia43IIIThe Theosophical Society in Russia (1901-1917)54The First Circles (1901-1908)54Theosophical Work (1908-1914)60Russian Theosophy during the First World War (1914-1918)76IVOther Russian Theosophical Movements81The Smolensk Theosophists81Vasilii Bogushevskii and Teosoficheskoe Obozrenie86An Independent: Khristoforova's Moscow Circle88The Russian Anthroposophists: Steiner and Russia94VTheosophical Doctrine: An Outline114What Is Modern Theosophy?115Theosophy and God116Theosophy and the Universe117Theosophy and Man120The Meaning of the Path123Anthroposophical Refinements: Rudolf Steiner's Spiritual Science128VIThe Russian Reception of Theosophical Thought137The Three Critiques of Theosophy140Theosophy and the Russian Intelligentsia158Point and Counterpoint167VIIThe Russian Theosophical Movement after 1917171After the Revolution173The "Russian Theosophical Society Outside Russia"180Afterword: Theosophy's Impact on Fin de Siecle Russian Culture188Orientologist and Painter: Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich (1874-1947)193Theorist, Philosopher, and Writer: Andrei Belyi (1880-1934)198In Conclusion205Notes209Glossary249Bibliography: Theosophical and Related Works Published in Russia between 1881 and 1918253Selected Bibliography275Index283
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Review quote

"[Carlson's] book is primarily concerned ... with fin de-si?cle Russian culture, more particularly the Russian Silver Age (1890-1914)... 'No Religion Higher than the Truth' is ground-breaking for its careful investigation of previously untapped Russian sources on theosophical history."--Religious Studies Review
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