Blavatsky and Monotheism: Towards the Historicisation of a Critical Category

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Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891), the influential occultist, transvalued the category of monotheism, abandoning, in The Secret Doctrine (1888), the positive interpretation that it had been given in Isis Unveiled (1877). This reversal of the prevailing Enlightenment-based valuation of monotheism was related to Blavatsky's construction of identity as an esotericist. Her discussions must be situated within a wider "invention" of monotheism as a category (taking place most significantly from the early-nineteenth century), and they can be contextualised in relation to the contemporaneous philological, Egyptological, and Orientalist scholarship on which she drew.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-275
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Religion in Europe
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


  • Egyptology
  • Esotericism
  • H. P. Blavatsky
  • Monotheism
  • Nineteenth Century
  • Philology
  • Theosophy
  • Zoroastrianism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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