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Beyond Millennialism: The New Age Transformed

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Chapter Summary

The term New Age refers to a wave of religious enthusiasm that emerged in the 1970s and swept over the West through the 1980s only to subside at the end of the decade. In sharp contrast, the New Age movement was never a single organisation, but originated as an idea spread by a group of Theosophical organisations that shared a common lineage in the writings of Alice A. Bailey. Western Esotericism can be traced to the various Gnostic groups of the second century of our Common Era and to various groups that emerged through the first millennia of the Christian Era. The New Age vision could be seen as a positive progressive millennialism. It offered to the larger occult community the hope that early in the twenty-first century, a new society dominated by occult wisdom would arise.

Keywords: Alice A. Bailey; Christian Era; millennialism; New Age movement; Western Esotericism



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