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The Essential Titus Burckhardt
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Essential Titus Burckhardt, The: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths and Civilizations
Essential Titus Burckhardt, The: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths and Civilizations
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Art
Comparative Religion
Metaphysics

Price:  $21.95

ISBN:  0-941532-36-4
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  352
Language:  English



Description

This book is the much-anticipated collection of writings from Titus Burckhardt, one of the great Perennialist authors of the 20th century, edited by the world's foremost expert on the Burckhardt body of works, William Stoddart.

Burckhardt's writings are characterized by (1) a profound grounding in the Perennial Philosophy and integral metaphysics, (2) a remarkable history of contacts with traditional peoples and their civilizations, (3) a true artist's knowledge of and love for traditional art, (4) a scholar's knowledge of diverse source materials not accessible to most modern seekers, and (5) a gifted teacher's ability to make all of these things understandable and of deep interest to readers. This collection will bring together many of Burckhardt's most representative writings that will amply demonstrate these qualities.

The editor of the collection, Dr. William Stoddart, is himself a writer within the Perennialist school, and is perhaps best known for his concise outlines of many the world's great religious traditions as well as for his many excellent translations into English of many of the works of Schuon and Burckhardt.

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Detailed Description of The Essential Titus Burckhardt

This book is the much-anticipated collection of writings from Titus Burckhardt, one of the great Perennialist authors of the 20th century, edited by the world's foremost expert on the Burckhardt body of works, Dr. William Stoddart.

Burckhardt's writings are characterized by (1) a profound grounding in the Perennial Philosophy and integral metaphysics, (2) a remarkable history of contacts with traditional peoples and their civilizations, (3) a true artist's knowledge of and love for traditional art, (4) a scholar's knowledge of diverse source materials not accessible to most modern seekers, and (5) a gifted teacher's ability to make all of these things understandable and of deep interest to readers. This collection will bring together many of Burckhardt's most representative writings that will amply demonstrate these qualities.

The editor of the collection, Dr. William Stoddart, is himself a writer within the Perennialist school, and is perhaps best known for his concise outlines of many the world's great religious traditions as well as for his many excellent translations into English of many of the works of Schuon and Burckhardt. Renowned scholar, Seyyed Hossein Nasr contributed a foreword.


About the Author(s)

Titus Burckhardt

Titus Burckhardt (1908-1984) was one of the leading perennialist writers of the twentieth century. His writings showed remarkable scope. Burckhardt wrote on pure metaphysics, on tradition and modern science, on sacred art, on history and political science, and on various other aspects of traditional civilizations. Burckhardt was also a translator (from Arabic into French), an editor and publisher, and a respected consultant on restoring traditional cities to their former beautiful states. World Wisdom has published the following books by Burckhardt:

    

In addition, numerous Titus Burckhardt essays have appeared in various World Wisdom anthologies. Our free online Library has many essays and excerpts from Burckhardt's writings.


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William Stoddart

William Stoddart is a perennialist author, editor, and translator who has been active in advancing the understanding of the writings of Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, and others, for many years. Dr. Stoddart's most recent publication with World Wisdom are An Illustrated Outline of Buddhism: The Essentials of Buddhist Spirituality, What Does Islam Mean in Today’s World?, and Outline of Sufism: The Essentials of Islamic Spirituality. A compilation of his writings, Remembering in a World of Forgetting, was edited by M. Soares de Azevedo and A. Vasconcellos Queiroz. Stoddart also edited The Essential Titus Burckhardt, and is perhaps the greatest authority on the work of this great Swiss traditionalist. Dr. Stoddart's other contributions in World Wisdom books include:
 

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Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Seyyed Hossein Nasr (b. 1933) is University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University. The author of over thirty books and three hundred articles, he is one of the world’s most respected writers and speakers on Islam, its arts and sciences, and its traditional mystical path, Sufism.
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr's work is found in the following selected World Wisdom books:
         

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Reviews of The Essential Titus Burckhardt

"Dr Stoddart has placed us all in his debt by bringing so much valuable material together in a single volume, one which draws attention to aspects of Burckhart's oeuvre not covered in the earlier collection Mirror of the Intellect. In his preface, Dr Stoddart speaks of his hope that 'the interested reader, having been stimulated by the part, will turn to the whole'. This will certainly prove true in my own case, and will without doubt do so for many others also. Meanwhile The Essential Titus Burckhardt is, in its own right, a rich source of instruction and inspiration."

Temenos Academy Review


"'In order to understand a culture,' writes German-Swiss traditionalist Titus Burckhardt (1908-84), 'it is necessary to love it, and one can only do this on the basis of the universal and timeless values that it carries within it.' So begins this profound anthology of essential Burckhardt essays. Selecting and providing 'his most original and significant works,' Stoddart (Outline of Hinduism) chose eclectic pieces that portray wisdom, cosmology, and virtue in the aesthetic embodied by religious art and architecture…The rich bibliography and the presentation of these materials provide access to an important thinker not previously well known within Western intellectual circles. Recommended for academic libraries and large public theology collections."

Library Journal




"The Essential Titus Burckhardt: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths, and Civilizations edited by Dr. William Stoddart provides an understanding to the deeper meaning behind almost every aspect of life in traditional cultures including: Arabic, Sufism, and Ilamic art and culture."

- ForeWord Reviews



“In the age of modern science and technocracy, Burckhardt was one of the most remarkable of the exponents of universal truth, in the realm of metaphysics as well as in the realm of cosmology and of traditional art. In a world of existentialism, psychoanalysis, and sociology, he was a major voice of the philosophia perennis, that “wisdom uncreate” that is expressed in Platonism, Vedanta, Sufism, Taoism, and other authentic esoteric teachings. In literary and philosophic terms, he was an eminent member of the “traditionalist school” of 20th-century authors.
The editor of the collection, William Stoddart, is perhaps best known for his many excellent translations into English of the works of Schuon and Burckhardt.”

Banyen Books and Sound



"On all that is mentioned in the subtitle of this book, Titus Burckhardt is no doubt the twentieth century's greatest authority, except for his own teachers, Frithjof Schuon and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Whatever page I turn to in this book, I am immediately fascinated."

Martin Lings, former Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts at the British Museum and the author of many books, including What is Sufism, A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi and Muhammed: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.



"The Essential Titus Burckhardt is a veritable theophany. Wherever you open the pages, whether it be The Sun Dance, Bathing in the Ganges, Christian Art, or Insight into Alchemy, it all breathes like some mighty and single cosmic rhythm, which Burckhardt understood so well, in both the Source, and in the consummation of all that is sacred."

Sir John Tavener, composer, and author of The Music of Silence: A Composer's Testament



"An exceptional and powerful 'discernment of spirits' is the hallmark of all Titus Burckhardt's writings. In this anthology of essays, judiciously selected and edited by William Stoddart, the harmonious 'architecture' of the author's thought will stimulate readers to awaken and deepen their own discernment.…"

Jean-Pierre Lafouge, Marquette University



"Dr. Stoddart has provided us with far more than an anthology. This book is a spiritual and intellectual journey that requires repeated reading. It brings together the wisdom of the major religious traditions, and demonstrates how the metaphysical principles involved play out in the various fields of human endeavor, in science, art, government and individual spiritual lives. Anyone wishing to understand and or heal the wounds of the modern world would be well advised to study in depth this wonderful book."

Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D., F.A.C.S., author of The Destruction of the Christian Tradition



"Titus Burckhardt looks at Islam and Christianity with the eyes of a scholar who combines deep spiritual insight with the love of eternal Truth. Burckhardt's writings reveal that this Truth is as fresh today as it was millenia ago, and that it will last as long as humans long to see the Divine light."

Annemarie Schimmel, Harvard University, author of Mystical Dimensions of Islam



"Titus Burckhardt was one of the most authoritative exponents of the perennialist school. His work was centrally concerned with the interrelationships of Truth, Beauty and Goodness, with the principles informing traditional arts and sciences, and with the nexus between intellectuality and spirituality. This marvellous compilation of some of his most arresting and significant work will command the attention of anyone seriously interested in the ways of the spirit."

Harry Oldmeadow, La Trobe University at Bendigo, author of Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of Perennial Philosophy



"For anyone who has dreamt that art and architecture is more than a fancy play of aesthetics, Burckhardt's essays set the stage for the fiat lux of the soul before the miracle of revelational art. To read him is to see form transfigured into sacred intelligence."

Mark Perry, author of On Awakening & Remembering



"As a writer and thinker on a wide range of topics integral to the sacred traditions, Titus Burckhardt has an unerring ability to reach to the essential truths and to speak persuasively of their relevance and importance to the contemporary mind."

Brian Keeble, author of Art: For Whom and For What?



"Titus Burckhardt has always been a primary inspiration to me. I had the privilege of meeting him in London in the 1970s, with S. H. Nasr. His bearing, modesty and natural reticence hid his great stature as an artist, scholar, and man of wisdom. I recommend this book to all today."

Keith Critchlow, author of Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach



"Two words spring to mind on reading The Essential Titus Burckhardt: awe and gratitude. Awe because of the extraordinary perception and beauty of his writing—from his masterly analysis of Christian art and his profound and penetrating understanding of the Renaissance, to short pieces such as 'The Wooden Chest' or 'Bathing in the Ganges' in which he opens our eyes to the language of sacred symbolism as no other author has succeeded in doing. And gratitude, such tremendous gratitude that we now have at our disposal writings of such calibre to guide us through not just sacred and traditional art but through so much else besides (for example, evolution and modern psychology). With the sharp sword of Truth he sees through the illusions of modern art as few other writers have done, as well as giving us such beautiful poetic writing as in, to give one of many examples, his book on Fez.

As a teacher of the principles of traditional art this book will be my primary sourcebook! It is a treasure and should be on the shelves of every teacher of art and every art student today."

Emma Clark, author of Underneath Which Rivers Flow: The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden



"René Guénon remarked that it is frequently easier to understand first principles than the countless intermediate degrees which lie between mankind’s ultimate metaphysical Goal and our present existential awareness. Otherwise stated, cosmology can be and often is more complex than metaphysic. Nevertheless, it is in the nature of human intelligence to seek a unified and comprehensive world view in which to situate oneself, take one’s bearing, and follow a saving orientation. Titus Burckhardt, lifelong friend of Frithjof Schuon, certainly did not neglect metaphysic but his predilection was cosmology. The great merit of The Essential Titus Burckhardt is that it provides lucid and salutary insights into many cosmological enigmas and into moot questions of human nature which is so intimately related to cosmology. In addition, the reader will find in this book unequivocal refutations of many of the false notions intrinsic to modernity. William Stoddart, the anthologist, has made excellent choices from the extensive Burckhardt oeuvre, and the book is highly recommended for anyone who does or would like to take seriously the human vocation to transcend oneself."

Alvin Moore, Jr., editor of Selected Letters of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy



The writings of Titus Burckhardt convey in a uniquely faithful and transparent way the truths by which he himself lived, which sustained him and which fashioned all aspects of his existence. The total sincerity and clarity of exposition of the author cannot but attract the reader to That Itself from which these truths radiate. No doubt this was what Titus Burckhardt had wished whenever he took his pen and wrote.

Jean-Claude Petitpierre, colleague of Titus Burckhardt



"No one since the legendary A.K. Coomaraswamy has been able to demonstrate how entire civilizations define themselves through their art with the precision of TItus Burckhardt. This distillation of his life's work is a precious memento."
Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions and Why Religion Matters.




"The Internet and the mass communications system almost submerge us with raw information: dates, numbers, facts and figures clog our mind. More than ever, it is necessary to harmonize information with real knowledge. Only few writers of our epoch have the gift of combining quantity and quality. And beyond that, of combining information and wisdom. Titus Burckhardt is one of them. His writings are an outstanding instance of how to apply an immense erudition to the service of truth. Few scholars could claim to equal his erudition, and fewer yet have the gift of distilling a huge amount of data into a coherent synthesis. His approach to the philosophical, cultural, artistic, scientific and religious phenomena of diverse civilizations and historical periods is as original as it is comprehensible; his style is clear, dispassionate, and remarkably beautiful. The Essential Titus Burckhardt amply demonstrates that Burckhardt is one of the few truly "essential" writers of our time."

Mateus Soares de Azevedo, Brazilian writer and journalist, author of Religion and Esoterism


"Art and Science, Culture and Nature are never opposed within the traditional perspective. According to Titus Burckhardt, the two sets are part and parcel of the same intuition of divine archetypes as they are reflected in the mirror of the Intellect. The traditional aesthetic opens us up to the harmonies which structure Macrocosm and Microcosm. It also arouses in us the reminiscence of the divine Origin of all things represented by a boundless space located beyond the last angelic sphere within traditional Cosmology."

—Patricia Reynaud, Miami University, Ohio, and co-founder of religioperennis.org



"…This volume is filled with methodological insights for the comparative study of cultures through the arts, religion and science. The singularity of [Burckhardt's] scholarly achievement is that his intellectual discernment was predicated on a `lived' engagement with the arts, cultures and religions he studied. A necessary book for university and seminary libraries, The Essential Titus Burckhardt will prove useful for those interested in the interdisciplinary study of religion, art, cultural history and science, and in the comparative study of religion."

from a review in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations





Table of Contents for The Essential Titus Burckhardt

Preface
List of color illustrations
List of black and white illustrations in the text

Introduction
The Life and Work of Titus Burckhardt

1. Some Fundamental Doctrines and Principles
How to Approach Medieval and Oriental Civilizations
Knowledge and Love
Metaphysics and Virtue

2. Traditional and Modern Science
The Perspective of Traditional Cosmology
Traditional Symbolism and Modern Empiricism
The Theory of Evolution
Contra Teilhard de Chardin
Modern Psychology
Islamic Science
The Cosmology of the Arab Philosophers

3. Sacred Art as the Expression of Religious Truth
The Universality of Sacred Art
Hindu Art
The Hindu Temple
Hindu Sculpture
Buddhist Art
Taoist Art
Christian Art
The Foundations of Christian Art
The Royal Door of Chartres Cathedral
Gargoyles
The Wooden Chest
The Decadence and the Renewal of Christian Art
Islamic Art
Introduction
Characteristic Aspects
The Question of Images: Aniconism in Islamic Art
The Impact of the Arabic Language on Islamic Art
Arabic Compared With Other Languages
The Arabic Language and the Koran

4 History, the Governance of Men and Nations, and the Modern World
The Nature of Kingship
The Law of Hierarchy and the Four Social Stations
The Law of Heirarchy
The Four Social Stations
Chess as a Symbol of Rulership
St. Catherine of Siena and the City of the Soul
The City as the Image of the Soul
The Monastic Orders
St. Catherine
The Inner Light
Political Dissensions
The Adventurers
The Pope
What is Conservatism?
“Riding the Tiger” 187
The Irruption of the Modern World as it Affected Morocco

5. Alchemy
Insight into Alchemy
The Witness of an African Goldsmith
“Nature can Overcome Nature”
The Story of Nicolas Flamel and his Wife Perrenelle

6. Aspects of the Spiritual Life
The Spiritual Life: Christian
Because Dante is Right
St. Bernardino of Siena and the Sacred Monogram
The Alchemy of Prayer
The Spiritual Life: Islamic
Islamic Mysticism
The “Golden Chain” of Sufi Saints
The Spiritual Life: Hindu
Bathing in the Ganges
Woman as the Symbol par excellence of Beauty
The Body as ”Temple” of the Holy Spirit: The Temple as the “Body” of the Holy Spirit
The Sun Dance and the Sacred Pipe
Meeting with Yellowtail
The Sun Dance

7. Evocations of Traditional Moroccan Life
Return to Fez
Ito’s Cave
The Fools of God
The Comb-maker
“The Life of the Nomad” by the Emir ‘Abd al-Qâdir

Bibliography of Titus Burckhardt


Excerpts from The Essential Titus Burckhardt

The following excerpt is taken from the first two paragraphs of Chapter 1:

How to Approach Medieval and Oriental Civilizations

In order to understand a culture, it is necessary to love it, and one can only do this on the basis of the universal and timeless values that it carries within it. These values are essentially the same in all true cultures, that is to say, in cultures which meet not only the physical, but also the spiritual needs of man, without which his life has no meaning.

Nothing brings us into such immediate contact with another culture as a work of art which, within that culture, represents, as it were, a “center.” This may be a sacred image, a temple, a cathedral, a mosque, or even a carpet with a primordial design. Such works invariably express an essential quality or factor, which neither an historical account, nor an analysis of social and economic conditions, can capture. A similarly rich insight into another culture can be found in its literature, especially in those works that deal with eternal verities. But such works are by definition profound and symbolical, and are mostly unintelligible to the modern reader without the aid of a detailed commentary. A work of art, on the other hand, can, without any mental effort on our part, convey to us immediately and “existentially” a particular intellectual truth or spiritual attitude, and thereby grant us all manner of insights into the nature of the culture concerned. Thus one can more readily understand the intellectual and ethical forms of a Buddhist culture if one is familiar with the Buddha-image that is typical of it; and one can much more easily form a picture of the religious and social life of the Middle Ages if one has first assimilated the architecture of a Romanesque Abbey or a Gothic cathedral—always assuming, of course, that one is sufficiently sensitive to the forms of an authentic traditional art.


Selection from our Library about The Essential Titus Burckhardt
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2Subject WW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
Islamic ScienceThe Essential Titus Burckhardt (2003)Burckhardt, Titus Islam, Science, Tradition
"Nature Can Overcome Nature"The Essential Titus Burckhardt (2003)Burckhardt, Titus Alchemy, Environment and Nature, Symbolism
The Spiritual Life - ChristianThe Essential Titus Burckhardt (2003)Burckhardt, Titus Christianity, Spiritual Life
Foreword to The Essential Titus BurckhardtThe Essential Titus Burckhardt: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths and CivilizationsNasr, Seyyed Hossein Biography
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