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12 Perceiving Higher Worlds: Two Perspectives

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Chapter Summary

Esoteric claims to higher knowledge are usually about much more than stating superior facts. Modern esoteric spokespersons have answered in different ways how esoteric science would look like, and how it would be related to the "exoteric" sciences. This chapter considers two modern prophets emerging out of different but related strands of turn of the century esotericism: Rudolf Steiner and Aleister Crowley. Steiner is studied as a philosopher, theosophist as well as an anthroposophist. While Crowley is analysed as prophet of a New Aeon. Effort is made to find what these two occultist reformers had to say about higher knowledge, amounting to a comparison of two esoteric epistemologies. Both share a soteriological understanding of higher knowledge in which the acquisition of "gnosis" is necessary for attaining salvation. Comparisons are made based on these two occultist reformers' teachings of the terms "Reverence", "Scepticism", and "Reason Unbound".

Keywords: Reverence; Scepticism; Aleister Crowley; anthroposophist; esoteric science; New Aeon; philosopher; Rudolf Steiner; theosophist

10.1163/9789004254947_014
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