Essays on Religious Pluralism & the Perennial Philosophy

Harry Oldmeadow

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2008.
168 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59731-082-6
Price: $17.50 US
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The unprecedented collision of religions in the contemporary world creates both dangerous antagonisms and new possibilities for spiritual growth and renewal. Such possibilities can only be realized through a reaffirmation of the perennial philosophy which celebrates religious diversity whilst recognizing that all integral traditions are informed by the same universal principles and values. Mediations examines the ways in which some of the 20th century’s most prescient thinkers have responded to the challenges of religious pluralism. It presents an overview of the pre-eminent modern perennialists—René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and Frithjof Schuon—and explores the contributions made to inter-religious understanding by figures as diverse as Carl Jung, Rudolf Otto, Mircea Eliade, Allen Ginsberg, and Swami Abhishiktananda. These provocative essays are addressed to all those concerned with our global spiritual welfare and with the development of a harmonious world community which cherishes our differences whilst affirming that Wisdom of the Ages which is the patrimony of all humankind.

Table of Contents

Introduction—René Guénon, Metaphysician—Ananda Coomaraswamy and Traditional Art—Rudolf Otto, the East, and Religious Inclusivism—Mircea Eliade and C.G. Jung: 'Priests without Surplices'?—Allen Ginsberg, A Buddhist Beat—Swami Abhishiktananda, Fr Jules Monchanin, and the Christian-Hindu Encounter—Frithjof Schuon, A Sage for the Times—The Perennial Philosophy: Recommended Reading


In opening this rare and unique collection of essays, one meets an ancient and eternal world inhabited by the remarkable men who endeavored to come to terms with that world by describing its inscrutable mystery. Focusing on an eclectic representation of writers, from René Guénon and Frithjof Schuon writing on the perennial philosophy to Jung and Eliade who changed the theoretical landscapes of psychology and comparative religion respectively, Harry Oldmeadow has successfully brought together the lives and thoughts of prominent 20th century philosophers and thinkers within a single volume that sheds unexpected light on hidden crystals.
John Herlihy, author of Borderlands of the Spirit

Once again Harry Oldmeadow enlightens and delights us with his definitive biographical studies relating to the encounter of East and West. Wolfgang Smith, author of Cosmos & Transcendence

The great confusion of our times stems from the accelerating centrifugal forces of flight from the Absolute, and from the illusionary influences that seek to reify the Absolute in the merely contingent. This book celebrates the call of the Forgotten Truth, and is a reminder of the Absolute Reality whose principial unity transcends the diversity of its multiple forms. Professor Oldmeadow's essays are an excellent introduction to the great traditionalist metaphysicians of the last century, and to other teachers who, while not strictly within the traditionalist school, have timely lessons to teach us about the basis of a principled pluralism that can light our passage out of the darkening shadows that threaten to engulf us.
Ali Lakhani, editor, Sacred Web

About the Author

Harry Oldmeadow was born in Melbourne in 1947. His parents were Christian missionaries in India, where he spent nine years of his childhood and developed an early interest in the civilizations of the East. He is coordinator 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.