By Arthur Versluis
The 1st significant learn because the Nineteen Thirties of the connection among American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the 1st finished paintings to incorporate post-Civil warfare Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this ebook is encyclopedic in scope. starting with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the complete historical past of yank Transcendentalism into the 20th century, and the profound impact of Orientalism at the movement--including its analogues and impacts in global non secular discussion. He examines what he calls "positive Orientalism," which acknowledges the worth and perennial truths in Asian religions and cultures, not just within the writings of significant figures like Thoreau and Emerson, but additionally in modern renowned magazines. Versluis's exploration of the impression of Transcendentalism at the twentieth-century examine of comparative religions has ramifications for the research of spiritual heritage, comparative faith, literature, politics, heritage, and paintings background.
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Most important though, is that Priestley felt compelled to make the comparison in the first place, and we sense that he is not far from the position of James Freeman Clarke, the late Transcendentalist who placed JudeoChristianity at the center of the world religions or from the views of Lydia Maria Child and Samuel Johnson, who treated all the world's religions on an equal basis. Certainly there is an intellectual continuity between Priestley's attempts at comparative religion and those of the Transcendentalists some fifty to seventy-five years later.
59 The first half of the quotation leads up to the line "[I]t is thus a selfconsciousness which is reverenced," and the second half of the quotation is an elaboration of this point. The Lamas, Chinese royalty, and magicians in general all function as examples, which could be wholly different, one suspects, without changing the sense much. The only uninterchangeable example is Christianity, in which, says Hegel, the same idea of "human consciousness" as essentially "the presence of the Spirit" is present, but "in a higher form, and as it were transfigured.
93 But even in this apparently positive note—other writers have interpreted it as definitely positive94—there is irony in the conjunction of "this height," and sleeping "a million years or more," like some snoozing bear, half-waking now and then. "95 This ambiguity, it is no doubt fair to say—for it appears even in the same entry—is perhaps curious, but we must remember that these sentiments are in fact an echo of the times. 97 In brief, Coleridge shared the Janus-faced reaction of his times to the East.
American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (Religion in America) by Arthur Versluis