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René Guénon And The Traditionalist Polemic

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Chapter Summary

René Guénon is the principal founder of a current of western esoteric thought now known as Traditionalism. Traditionalists usually believe that the world's religions offer relatively equal access to this truth. Other important features of Traditionalist thought include the belief that history has undergone a gradual decline from the ages when people ascertained this truth in its purest form, and that the modern West, essentially from the seventeenth century to the present, is a gross aberration from this primordial tradition. This chapter is a study of polemic in the works of Guénon and the social and historical complexity that he obscures beneath his rhetoric. It explores how Guénon frames and organizes this vast body of knowledge rhetorically. Guénon's place in the history of western esotericism is widely contested. Indeed, he devoted much of his early career to a systematic denunciation of esoteric traditions.

Keywords: polemic; René Guénon; Traditionalism



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