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Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy
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Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy
Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy
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Subjects(s): 
Perennial Philosophy
Schuon, Frithjof

Price:  $22.95

ISBN:  978-1-935493-09-9
Book Size:  6 × 9
# of Pages:  376
Language:  English



Description
This is the first comprehensive study of the intellectual and spiritual message of world-renowned philosopher Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998), the foremost spokesman of the “Perennialist” or “Traditionalist” school of comparative religious thought. Intended primarily as an introductory guide to Schuon’s writings, Harry Oldmeadow’s book focuses on Schuon’s exposition of metaphysics and the “transcendent unity of religions,” his presentation of the religious traditions of East and West (including the spiritual heritage of the American Indians), his criticism of the modern world, and his views on sacred art and beauty. Also included is an overview of Schuon's paintings and poetry, as well as his insights on prayer and virtue in the spiritual life. This ground-breaking work provides the general reader with a coherent and systematic account of the Perennial Philosophy and covers all aspects of Schuon’s work.
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Detailed Description of Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy

This is the first comprehensive study of the intellectual and spiritual message of world-renowned philosopher Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998), the foremost spokesman of the “Perennialist” or “Traditionalist” school of comparative religious thought. Intended primarily as an introductory guide to Schuon’s writings, Harry Oldmeadow’s book focuses on Schuon’s exposition of metaphysics and the “transcendent unity of religions,” his presentation of the religious traditions of East and West (including the spiritual heritage of the American Indians), his criticism of the modern world, and his views on sacred art and beauty. Also included is an overview of Schuon's paintings and poetry, as well as his insights on prayer and virtue in the spiritual life. This ground-breaking work provides the general reader with a coherent and systematic account of the Perennial Philosophy and covers all aspects of Schuon’s work.

Two other World Wisdom projects are very much related to the content of this book: Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy (World Wisdom, 2010), written by Michael Fitzgerald, is a broad-ranging biography covering Schuon's life, thought, and art. There is also a multimedia presentation (2 DVDs), similarly titled Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy (2012), which covers Schuon's life and thought but includes rare film footage of Schuon and others, some of Schuon's musical favorites, and many photos documenting his life.



About the Author(s)

Harry Oldmeadow

Harry Oldmeadow was co-ordinator of Philosophy and Religious Studies at La Trobe University in Australia and author of the acclaimed Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy (2000), an authoritative introduction to the perspective of Perennialism. Prof. Oldmeadow's contributions to World Wisdom books & DVDs includes:
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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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Reviews of Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy

“Oldmeadow’s presentation is satisfyingly fresh and full of insight. He explicates Schuon’s principal theses with precision and clarity in a way that will help the new reader to understand the more difficult and unfamiliar points. As in Oldmeadow’s other works, one is struck both by the comprehensiveness of his exposition and the awesome breadth of his reading…. Dr. Oldmeadow has performed an important service in providing us with such a sensitive and detailed presentation of the Schuonian oeuvre.”
— William Stoddart, from the “Foreword” to the book



“Schuon was one of the leading thinkers connected with the philosophia perennis, which holds that a common teaching and wisdom is at the core of all the world's most well-known religions and mystical traditions. This truth, as Schuon described it, does not belong to any particular system but is shared by all metaphysical systems insofar as they are true. During his long life, Schuon argued for this claim and taught it in a long series of highly influential publications, In the process, he became, along with René Guénon, its best-known advocate, attracting students and disciples from around the world. In the present study, Oldmeadow (La Trobe Univ., Australia), after providing a helpful biographical sketch and a discussion of other 20th-century perennialists, offers a comprehensive description and explication of Schuon's basic metaphysical assumptions and the large claims he built on them. Oldmeadow's familiarity with the wide range of Schuon's work and his clear expository style make this a valuable introduction to Schuon's thought. The serious problem he does not address adequately is whether Schuon's position is true or was built on a series of very suspect assumptions. Readers of Schuon will have to make this judgment for themselves. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty.
—from a review by Steven T. Katz in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries



“Harry Oldmeadow’s book is intended as a companion to Fitzgerald’s biography [i.e. Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy, World Wisdom, 2010]. It includes—and substantially revises and updates—some material from one of Oldmeadow’s previous books, Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of Perennial Philosophy (Colombo, Sri Lanka Institute of Traditional Studies, 2000), and also contains several new chapters. The book is divided into five parts, dealing with (1) the historical and biographical context of Schuon and Perennialism, (2) metaphysical/cosmological principles and Schuon’s signature theme of the 'transcendent unity of religions', (3) religious forms and sacred symbols, including an appraisal of Schuon’s art (4) Schuon’s criticisms of modernism, and (5) Schuon’s spiritual anthropology. Oldmeadow summarizes these five thematic areas of his study pithily as follows: 'context, principles, forms, errors, way.'

“As an organized compendium of certain key ideas found in Schuon’s work, the book more than adequately fulfills its modest aim—to offer an introductory guide to Schuon’s work. The essays are enhanced, particularly in the newly written chapters, by Oldmeadow’s own insights and his ability to draw from other influences, such as Swami Abhishiktananda. Oldmeadow writes with particular passion and perspicuity when he addresses the errors of modernism—the corruption of esoterism; the hubris and folly of anti-traditional rationalism and scientism, in particular, neo-Darwinism; anthropomorphic humanism and spiritually impoverishing psychologism; and pseudo-religions.

“It is easy to see from even a cursory encounter with Schuon’s works that he has much to say not only about matters that pertain to religion, but especially—because his approach to these subjects is always prin¬cipial—about matters relating to the concerns and issues of modern life.…”
—from a review by M. Ali Lakhani in Sacred Web



“…[This book] is intended to be a companion volume and complement to a biography and hitherto unpublished writings of Frithjof Schuon (Fitzgerald, 2010). While this [present] work, Oldmeadow confirmed, is but an introductory guide to Schuon’s work, it nonetheless demonstrates itself to be a luminous contribution to not only the Schuonian opus, but the perennialist canon in in toto.… While no single study can present the fullness of Schuon’s work, this book will unquestionably provide those yearning for the essential keys abiding at the heart of the world’s spiritual traditions and correspondingly their integral spiritual psychologies in divinis. One hardly needs to restate the decisive role that the perennial philosophy has had upon the roots of transpersonal psychology, for those willing to recall what might be called the essential truths, will clearly benefit from this work.”
—from a review by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos in the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


Table of Contents for Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy

Foreword by William Stoddart

Introduction by Harry Oldmeadow

I.  Frithjof Schuon and Perennialism

1. Frithjof Schuon: A Sage for the Times

2. Other Perennialists

II.  Timeless Truths and Immutable Principles

3. The Five Divine Presences: Dimensions of the Real

4. Tradition, Traditions, and the Perennial Philosophy

5. The Transcendent Unity of Religions

6. Metaphysics: Science of the Real

III.  Religious Forms and Sacred Symbols

7. The Cycle of Abrahamic Monotheisms

8. Eastern Traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Heritage of the Far East

9. Beauty, Symbolism, Art

10. The Primordial Message of the Plains Indians

11. Frithjof Schuon’s Paintings and Poetry

IV.  Signs of the Times

12. Cosmic Cycles and the Kali-Yuga

13. Scientism, Evolutionism, and “Progress”

14. Humanism, Psychologism, Culturism

15. Counterfeits of the Wisdom of the Ages

V.  The Spiritual Life

16. Spiritual Anthropology: Types, Caste, Race, and the Human Body

17. The Way: Virtue and Prayer

Appendix:

Poetic Fragments by Frithjof Schuon

“The Perennial Philosophy” by Frithjof Schuon

Select Schuon Bibliography

List of Sources

Acknowledgments

Index

Biographical Notes



Selection from our Library about Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2Subject WW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
In his "Foreword" to author Harry Oldmeadow's study of the intellectual and spiritual message of Frithjof Schuon, Dr. William Stoddart (a close associate of Schuon's for many decades) situates Schuon's writings in the history of human thought, gives suggestions to new readers on how to approach Schuon's "difficult" expositions, and touches on the esoteric nature and intent of Schuon's work. Stoddart praises Oldmeadow's book for its clarity and comprehensiveness.
The Foreword to "Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy"Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy (2010)Stoddart, William Book Review, Perennial Philosophy, Schuon, Frithjof
Frithjof Schuon was widely recognized as the most articulate expositor of the Perennial Philosophy (philosophia perennis). After clarifying some definitions, Schuon examines the "foundations of human nature," because this relates to what the Perennial Philosophy can, and must, convey to humanity. Next, the author surveys the primary focus of each of the major religious traditions and how each accesses the sophia perennis (universal or perennial wisdom). Schuon examines Greek wisdom and shamanism in the same way. This brief summary of key principles is a good overview of Schuon's thoughts on the essence of the "Perennial Philosophy."
The Perennial PhilosophyFrithjof Schuon and the Perennial PhilosophySchuon, Frithjof Perennial Philosophy
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