American Gurus From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion
- ISBN 13:
- ISBN 10:
- Format: Hardcover
- Copyright: 05/01/2014
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.)
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American Gurus tells the story of how this phenomenon emerged. Through an examination of the broader literary and religious context of the subject, Arthur Versluis shows that a characteristic feature of the Western esoteric tradition is the claim that every person can achieve "spontaneous, direct, unmediated spiritual insight." This claim was articulated with special clarity by the New England Transcendentalists Bronson Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Versluis explores Transcendentalism, Walt Whitman, the Beat movement, Timothy Leary, and the New Age movement to shed light on the emergence of the contemporary American guru.
This insightful study is the first to show how Asian religions and Western mysticism converged to produce the phenomenon of "spontaneously enlightened" American gurus.