Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth…

Paperback | July 23, 2009

byMark Sedgwick

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Against the Modern World is the first history of Traditionalism, an important yet surprisingly little-known twentieth-century anti-modern movement. Comprising a number of often secret but sometimes very influential religious groups in the West and in the Islamic world, it affected mainstreamand radical politics in Europe and the development of the field of religious studies in the United States, touching the lives of many individuals. French writer Rene Guenon rejected modernity as a dark age and sought to reconstruct the Perennial Philosophy - the central truths behind all the majorworld religions. Guenon stressed the urgent need for the West's remaining spiritual and intellectual elite to find personal and collective salvation in the surviving vestiges of ancient religious traditions. A number of disenchanted intellectuals responded to his call. In Europe, America, and theIslamic world, Traditionalists founded institutes, Sufi brotherhoods, Masonic lodges, and secret societies. Some attempted unsuccessfully to guide Fascism and Nazism along Traditionalist lines; others later participated in political terror in Italy. Traditionalist ideas were the ideological cementfor the alliance of anti-democratic forces in post-Soviet Russia, and in the Islamic world entered the debate about the relationship between Islam and modernity. Although its appeal in the West was ultimately limited, Traditionalism has wielded enormous influence in religious studies, through thework of such Traditionalists as Ananda Coomaraswamy, Huston Smith, Mircea Eliade, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

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Against the Modern World is the first history of Traditionalism, an important yet surprisingly little-known twentieth-century anti-modern movement. Comprising a number of often secret but sometimes very influential religious groups in the West and in the Islamic world, it affected mainstreamand radical politics in Europe and the develo...

Mark Sedgwick is Associate Professor in the Department of the Study of Religion and Coordinator of the Arab and Islamis Studies Unit at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:July 23, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195396014

ISBN - 13:9780195396010

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Table of Contents

PrologueList of Main CharactersPart I: The Development of Traditionalism1. Traditionalism2. Perennialism3. Gnostics, Taoists and SufisPart II: Traditionalism in Practice4. Cairo, Mostaganem and Basel5. Fascism6. FragmentationPart III: Traditionalism at Large7. The Maryamiyya8. America9. Terror in Italy10. EducationPart IV: Traditionalism and the Future11. Europe after 196812. Neo-Eurasianism in Russia13. The Islamic World14. Against the Stream

Editorial Reviews

"Traditionalism . . . is an amalgam of the dotty, the incredible and the significant.. . . It has importance because it was, however tangentially, an influence in twentieth century politics, and could, perhaps more importantly, be even more influential in the twenty-first. Sedgwick's book is atriumph of careful scholarship and intelligent interpretation." --Kenneth Wilson, "Reviews in Religion and Theology"