I just came across a new (well, January 2007) book -- A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion -- by Catherine L. Albanese, and I can't wait to read it.
Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age -- as I was deeply interested in the advertised subject matter. What I wasn't expecting, but got, was an extended advertisement for the subject matter.
Clearly, Catherine has not read her McCutcheon. It's bad enough when professors profess Jesus Christ from the secular pulpits afforded by university classrooms. Why should it be any less deplorable to campaign for Hermes Trismegistus in a coonskin cap? And while I'm at it, just en passant: I have never once been disappointed in my expectation that William James will be invoked in such displays of blind-leading-the-blind faith.
I'm holding out more hope for The Occult in Nineteenth-Century America. Let's hope that, unlike Albanese, Cathy Gutierrez is more inclined to critical scholarship than to trying to sell me on the wondrous marvels of superstitious horseshit.
the unlikely story of how America slipped the surly bonds of earth & came to
believe in signs & portents that would make the middle ages blush
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SPECIAL THANKS TO
New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)
Thursday, January 10