The systematic theosophy of Plotinus and his successors does not belong to the present article, except so far as it is the presupposition of their mysticism; but, inasmuch as the mysticism of the medieval Church is directly derived from Neoplatonism through the speculations of the pseudo-Dionysius, Neoplatonic mysticism fills an important section in any historical review of the subject.
All these physical theories are blended with a mystical theosophy, of which the most remarkable example is, perhaps, the chemico-astrological speculations of Paracelsus (1493-1541).
The later philosophy of Schelling and the philosophy of Franz von Baader, both largely founded upon Boehme, belong rather to theosophy (q.v.) than to mysticism proper.
The former is divided into four parts, Ontosophy, Cosmosophy, Theosophy, Psychosophy, supplemented by a treatise on ethics and a dissertation on first causes.
It had been the dream of this man's whole life to supersede both forms of Christianity by a semi-pagan theosophy deduced from the writings of the later Pythagoreans and Platonists.
KABBALAH (late Hebrew kabbdlah, gabbalah), the technical name for the system of Jewish theosophy which played an important part in the Christian Church in the middle ages.
It is only since the 11th or 12th century that Kabbalah has become the exclusive appellation for the renowned system of theosophy which claims to have been transmitted uninterruptedly by the mouths of the patriarchs and prophets ever since the creation of the first man.
The uninitiated cannot perceive them; but they are plainly revealed to the A ntiquity spiritually minded, who discern the profound import of this theosophy beneath the surface of the letters and words of Holy Writ.
A feature of greater interest is the extraordinary part which this theosophy played in the Christian Church, especially at the time of the Renaissance.
1 Jewish theosophy, then, with its good and evil tendencies, and with its varied results, may thus claim to have played no unimportant part in the history of European scholarship and thought.
The study of the whole subject being wrapped up with Gnosticism and Oriental theosophy, the related literature is immense.
Gnosticism was the result of the attempt to blend with Christianity the religious notions of pagan mythology, mysterology, theosophy and philosophy" (p. 98).
In the later heresy of Manichaeism there were affinities to Gnosticism, but it was a mixture of many elements, Babylonian-Chaldaic theosophy, Persian dualism and even Buddhist ethics (p. 126).
From these three arguments he developed an elaborate theosophy which was a syncretism of oriental mysticism and pure Greek metaphysic, and may be regarded as representing the climax of Jewish philosophy.
Finally this pagan theosophy was driven from Alexandria back to Athens under Plutarch and Proclus, and occupied itself largely in purely historical work based mainly on the attempt to re-organize ancient philosophy in conformity with the system of Plotinus.
Mme Blavatsky's principal books were Isis Unveiled (New York, 1877), The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy (1888), The Key to Theosophy (1891).
Solovyov's Modern Priestess of Isis, translated by Walter Leaf (1895), in Arthur Lillie's Madame Blavatsk y and Her Theosophy (1895), and in the report made to the Society for Psychical Research by the Cambridge graduate despatched to investigate her doings in India.
Dogmatik (1810), and his Judas Ischarioth (2 vols., 1816, 2nd ed., 1818), were all written in the spirit of Schelling, the last of them reflecting a change in Schelling himself from theosophy to positive philosophy.
The name of Hermes seems during the 3rd and following centuries to have been regarded as a convenient pseudonym to place at the head of the numerous syncretistic writings in which it was sought to combine Neo-Platonic philosophy, Philonic Judaism and cabalistic theosophy, and so provide the world with some acceptable substitute for the Christianity which had even at that time begun to give indications of the ascendancy it was destined afterwards to attain.
Neoplatonism is philosophy become theosophy, or it is the sermon on the text that God geometrizes.
THEOSOPHY (from Gr.
But in any case it is characteristic of theosophy that it starts with an explication of the Divine essence, and endeavours to deduce the phenomenal universe from the play of forces within the Divine nature itself.
- Theosophy is thus differentiated at once from all philosophic systems which attempt to rise from an analysis of phenomena to a knowledge, more or less adequate, of the existence and nature of God.
This, however, would be insufficient to distinguish theosophy from those systems of philosophy which are sometimes called "speculative" and "absolute," and which also in many cases proceed deductively from the idea of God.
An historical survey shows, indeed, that theosophy generally arises in connexion with religious needs, and is the expression of religious convictions or aspirations.
Accepting the testimony of religion that the present world lies in wickedness and imperfection, theosophy faces the problem of speculatively accounting for this state of things from the nature of the Godhead itself.
Still more typical examples of theosophy are furnished by the mystical system of Meister Eckhart and the doctrine of Jacob Boehme, who is known as "the theosophist" par excellence.
Hence it is customary to speak of their theories as a mixture of theosophy and physics, or theosophy and chemistry, as the case may be.
As Boehme is the typical theosophist, and as modern theosophy has nourished itself almost in every case upon the study of his works, his dominating conceptions supply us with the best illustration of the general trend of this mode of thought.
Baader, who combined his theosophy with the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, has had many followers.
Swedenborg is usually reckoned among the theosophists, and some parts of his theory justify this inclusion; but his system as a whole has little in common with those speculative constructions of the Divine nature which form the essence of theosophy, as strictly understood.
P.-P.) Oriental Theosophy The term "theosophy" has in recent years obtained a somewhat wide currency in a restricted signification as denominating the beliefs and teachings of the Theosophical Society.
If theosophy were to be judged solely by the published revelations of this "Secret Doctrine" it would hardly be deserving of serious consideration; for, as suggested in the separate article on Madame Blavatsky, the revelations themselves appear to have been no more than a crude compilation of vague, contradictory and garbled extracts from various periodicals, books and translations.
It will be surmised from what has been said that any concise statement of orthodox theosophy is hardly to be expected; though from the materials available a fairly definite outline of its leading tenets can be deciphered.
According to theosophy, it would appear that these notions are for the most part mistaken, or at any rate they are quite insignificant in comparison with the interests with which the traveller along the Path soon finds himself absorbed.
In addition to her numerous free-thought pamphlets and a large number of later works on theosophy, she published her Autobiography in 1893, The Religious Problem in India (1902) and other books.