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Masters and Servants: A study concerning the Theosophical Society and Orientalism
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Cultural Sciences.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

During the nineteenth century, an impressive number of occult organizations blossomed both in Europe and the United States. The most influential of these groups was arguably the Theosophical Society. One feature that set it apart from other groups was the assertion that its teachings came from highly advanced beings often referred to in Theosophical literature as the “Masters.” Various authors claim that two of them, Koot Hoomi and Morya, have their roots in the East. However, the descriptions provided include many aspects that might be more readily associated with the West.

The aim of this study is to critically examine a selection of Theosophical writings composed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which concern the Masters in the light of the notion of Orientalism. Textual analysis is the method applied. The question I seek to answer is: In what ways do these descriptions exemplify Orientalism? The results indicate that examples can be found in discussions concerning their names and titles, how they are defined, the brotherhood to which they belong, characteristics they possess, their functions, their homes, and what they look like. This is also the case in regard to writings describing how one becomes a Master and those debating whether or not they exist. The matters addressed are relevant because they provide insight into how conceptualizations of other cultures are constructed and because the notion of ascended masters is still a common one in new age religion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , p. 75
Keywords [en]
Theosophical Society, Esotericism, Occult, Orientalism, Ascended Masters
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-7873OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-7873DiVA, id: diva2:345912
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
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Available from: 2010-09-13 Created: 2010-08-27 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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