Perennialism - Introduction to the...

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View Full Document Right Arrow Icon Introduction to the Perennialist School Renaud Fabbri René Guénon (1886-1951), Ananda Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) and Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) are the main figures of the Perennialist school, a school of thought that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, has developed a radical criticism of modernity on the basis of traditional metaphysics (such as Sufism, Platonism or Advaita Vedanta). The Perennialist School, not synonymous in every respect with the Traditionalist School, has given its contemporary expression to the Sophia Perennis or Perennial Philosophy. Modernity, tradition and Primordial Tradition Rejecting the idea of progress and the enlightenment paradigm, Perennialist authors describe modern civilization as a pseudo and decadent civilization, which manifests the lowest possibilities of the Kali Yuga (the Dark Age of the Hindu cosmology). To the “modern error,” the Perennialists oppose an everlasting wisdom of divine origin, “a Primordial Tradition”, transmitted from the very origin of humanity and partially restored by each genuine founder of a new religion. Perennialists have a very specific definition of “Tradition.” Tradition implies the idea of a transmission ( tradere ), but for Guénon and his followers, tradition does not have a human origin and may be considered as principles revealed from Heaven and binding man to his divine origin. Beyond the diversity of religious forms, they discern a single Tradition (with a capital letter), what Schuon called a “transcendent unity”. They claim that the historically separated traditions share not only the same divine origin but are based on the same metaphysical principles, sometimes called philosophia perennis . So far as can be discovered, the term “ philosophia perennis ” is modern, first appearing in the Renaissance. Though the term “ philosophia perennis ” is widely associated with the philosopher Leibniz who himself owes it from the sixteenth century theologian Augustinus Steuchius. But the ideal of such a philosophy is much older and one could easily recognize it in the Golden Chain ( seira ) of Neoplatonism, in the Patristic Lex primordialis , in the Islamic Din al- Fitra or even in the Hindu Sanathana Dharma . The Rediscovery of the Sophia Perennis in the writings of René Guénon The French author, René Guénon (1886-1951) was in a certain sense a pioneer in the rediscovery of this Philosophia Perennis or better Sophia Perennis in the 20 th century. His view largely shared with later Perennialist authorities, is that Semitic religions have an exoteric/esoteric
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View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon structure. Exoterism, the outward dimension of religion, is constituted by religious rites and a moral but also a dogmatic theology. The exoteric point of view is characterized by its “sentimentalist”, rather than purely intellectual nature and remains fairly limited. Based on the doctrine of creation and the subsequent duality between God and creation, exoterism does not
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This note was uploaded on 09/24/2010 for the course BOUIZAN 352140 taught by Professor Scroeba during the Spring '10 term at Acton School of Business.

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Perennialism - Introduction to the...

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