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Sexual mysticisms in nineteenth century America: John Humphrey Noyes, Thomas Lake Harris, And Alice Bunker Stockham

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the noteworthy developments in nineteenth century American attitudes and considers them in terms of broad social changes, focusing on particularly significant individuals. John Humphrey Noyes and Thomas Lake Harris whose lives include a developed esoteric sexual mysticism. Stockham's work stands in the long American tradition of universalism and pragmatism whose greatest representative is Emerson. Noyes, Harris, and Stockham affirmed a dual male-female divinity. All three encouraged and taught spiritual disciplines with sexual dimensions. Noyes and Harris were leaders of utopian communities at the center of which were esoteric doctrines. What we see in the works of Noyes and Harris, is not overt antinomianism, but rather very developed forms of related esoteric systems. The more one studies them, the more intriguing they become as exemplars in the long tradition of American pragmatist esotericism or esoteric pragmatism. American pragmatist esotericism, esoteric pragmatism, esoteric sexual mysticism.

Keywords: Alice Bunker Stockham; American pragmatist esotericism; esoteric pragmatism; esoteric sexual mysticism; John Humphrey Noyes; Thomas Lake Harris



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