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Sufis As Mythic Bearers Of Esoteric Tradition

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Chapter Summary

By the 1930s, there were several notable new religious movements in Europe that claimed Sufism as the origin, or as one of the major origins, of their teachings and practice. This chapter shows the early twentieth-century Western understandings of Sufism built on and derived from earlier understandings that saw Sufism as a form of Deism, as an incarnation of romantic concepts of individual religiosity, and as a form of Freemasonry. Sufism has been a mythic bearer of Deism, of the romantic individual religious experience, of Freemasonry, of numerology, of perennialism, and of Western esoteric tradition . The history of Sufism in the West, then, as a bearer of the Western esoteric tradition far more than as a bearer of the Islamic esoteric tradition, shows how an ancient and essentially false provenance may easily be attributed to very varied conceptions.

Keywords: Freemasonry; Islamic esoteric tradition; Sufism



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