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Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review


published on April 26, 2017

Oscar-Torjus Utaaker
DOI: 10.5840/asrr201742532

The Theosophical Society in Religious Studies
A Research Survey

Channeled messages from hidden masters in Tibet, women’s liberation, secret science, and Tomb Raider, what all these seemingly unrelated things have in common, is that they have all been topics in the study of the Theosophical Society. In this paper, I want to examine how the Theosophical Society has been understood and interpreted within the different paradigms of religious studies. I will discuss why Theosophy was omitted from the scrutiny of religious studies for some time, as well as analyzing the renewed interest in the subject over the last fifty years. The paper will focus on key trends in religious studies, especially on how these have influenced the research on Theosophical Society. This is will be done by looking at how some important scholars within different paradigms have researched the group, with a focus on Scandinavian researchers. Overall the paper aims to offer a historical understanding of the relationship between religious studies and Theosophical Society. Far more sources and perspectives could have been included in the present study, but hopefully this selection gives an idea of the breadth of the research on the Theosophical Society that has been undertaken.