By Arthur Versluis
The 1st significant learn because the Thirties of the connection among American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the 1st finished paintings to incorporate post-Civil battle Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this e-book is encyclopedic in scope. starting with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the full historical past of yankee Transcendentalism into the 20th century, and the profound impact of Orientalism at the movement--including its analogues and affects in global spiritual discussion. He examines what he calls "positive Orientalism," which acknowledges the price and perennial truths in Asian religions and cultures, not just within the writings of significant figures like Thoreau and Emerson, but in addition in modern renowned magazines. Versluis's exploration of the influence of Transcendentalism at the twentieth-century examine of comparative religions has ramifications for the examine of spiritual background, comparative faith, literature, politics, historical past, and paintings heritage.
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The 1st significant examine because the Thirties of the connection among American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the 1st accomplished paintings to incorporate post-Civil battle Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this e-book is encyclopedic in scope. starting with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the whole historical past of yank Transcendentalism into the 20 th century, and the profound impact of Orientalism at the movement--including its analogues and impacts in international non secular discussion.
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Accompanying Priestley's comparison of the Oriental religions with Christianity was a polemic he wrote against Dupuis's Origin of All Religions, Predecessors: The First Meetings of East and West 41 noteworthy, if for no other reason, because it displays just how sarcastic Priestley's invective could be and just how he came to be so controversial in every field that he entered. Priestley wrote of Dupuis's admittedly weird thesis that Moses' writings are an astrological allegory, that Jacob's twelve sons denote the twelve signs of the zodiac, and that Samson, Hercules, Jason, and Jesus all were the sun: It is also extraordinary that tho' according to Mr.
91 Though we have to alter spellings from time to time, Moore's poems in fact are filled with references from the East: we meet Kamadeva (Camdeva), the Heaven of Indra, Rama, Krishna (Crishna), and other figures. Indeed, Moore's works recreate Eastern mythological figures with much enthusiasm; we do not find his like in the Romanticism of Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, or Coleridge. 92 But the attraction was always a mixed one, as is made evident in a letter that Coleridge wrote to a friend: It is but seldom that I raise and spiritualise my intellect to this height; and at other times I adopt the Brahamanic creed.
127 The word "fair" here is rather ambiguous, but in any event, we know precisely where Priestley stands. He continues by drawing on the testimony of a Dr. Andrew Ross, who finds that Christians are "better people than the Mahometans or the Hindoos. . "129 This is not exactly what one might call a "fair comparison," but it is indicative of prevailing missionary rhetoric even into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, an indication also, therefore, of just how radical a shift in perspective the Emersonian Transcendentalist sympathy toward the Orient represented.