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New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Suny Series, Western Esoteric Traditions) Paperback – November 20, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Review

There will be no book like this for some time to come. It should be on the reading list of any student of religion and brings into the foreground a needed agenda for those in the humanities and social sciences, and will be valued by all those who appreciate fine, clear writing. I wish I had written it myself. Antoine Faivre, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne
Finally, someone has mastered the vast literature of, and reality which is the New Age movement, and produced a comprehensive and authoritative survey of its major themes and most important leaders. Hanegraaff s effort should immediately become the foundation upon which future research of the movement will be constructed. J. Gordon Melton, Institute for the Study of American Religion, Santa Barbara
This is the best critical study of New Age thinking hitherto available. An outstanding achievement. Garry W. Trompf, School of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney"

About the Author

Wouter J. Hanegraaff is a Research Fellow at the Department for the Study of Religions at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He is coeditor of Gnosis and Hermeticism: From Antiquity to Modern Times, also published by SUNY Press.
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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series, Western Esoteric Traditions
  • Paperback: 594 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (November 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791438546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791438541
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading this lengthy book after a month of heated night readings.

This one is really a milestone in the research of the new age phenomenon, as it is the first (and up until now the only) book to seriously and exhaustively research the variety of new age ideas, their inter-connectedness and their origins.

Haanegraaf doesn't leave the discussion on a sociological level, as other authors on the new age have frequently done. He isn't satisifed until he enters the core of every doctrine and theory and explains it thoroughly to the reader.

Haanegraaf covers an unusal amount of material over the 525 pages long primary text of the book. He presents ideas and comments about them briefly and concisely but also profoundly and always in an interesting and intelectually stimulating way.

The different observations and structures Haanegraaf presents in this work are bound to become a basis for future research of the new age phenomenon.

This is one of the best books i've read in a while, and a must for anyone interested in New Age.
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By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a MUST READ for any student of religious studies. Its provides a consolidation and analysis of the new age literature. Extensive use of references and footnotes - you won't be disappointed...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What is the connection between New Age, Modern Yoga, and Eastern Mysticism? Were my yoga meditations based on New Age religion?

New Age Religion and Western Culture is a gold mine of well-argued research by religious studies scholar Wouter J. Hanegraaff. The 600 pages in this academic volume are packed with insights and information for religious scholars, meditators, and research-minded spiritual seekers who desire in-depth knowledge about the origins of esoteric and occult practices in Western societies.

Hanegraaff has distilled hundreds of best-selling New Age books, revealing the core beliefs and values of the Movement. During my reading, I marked-up dozens of passages, plastered it with post-its, and scribbled pages of notes into my journal. My reading inspired four posts to my blog. This book is epic in scope and covers the history, authors, and sources of New Age religion from medieval times through modern era. Though a fair account of history is included, this is more of a socio-religio exploration of the New Age religious heart and mind.

Random Quotes:

"What is the Universe trying to tell me?"
"The Universe", in this context, is regarded as a totally friendly, abundant, perfect, non-judgmental environment which enables all intelligent beings to learn their lessons in their own way and at their own pace".

"Magia naturalis is the knowledge and use of occult powers and properties that are considered "natural" because they are present in nature...This type of magic is hardly distinguishable from the tentative beginnings of modern science and often looked like a form of naturalism colored by atheism".
Read more ›
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