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The Betrayal of Tradition
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Betrayal of Tradition, The: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of Modernity
Betrayal of Tradition, The: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of Modernity
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Comparative Religion

Price:  $21.95

ISBN:  0-941532-55-0
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  408
Language:  English


The Betrayal of Tradition is an anthology of essays which excavate the deepest roots of the spiritual crisis of modernity. This book offers a radical diagnosis of the spiritual malaise of modernity and signals some of the directions in which we might turn for solutions to our deepest and most painful predicaments.

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Detailed Description of The Betrayal of Tradition

The Betrayal of Tradition is an anthology of essays which excavate the deepest roots of the spiritual crisis of modernity. It is controlled by several large themes: the loss of traditional metaphysical and cosmological principles which have been replaced by the pseudo-mythologies of modernity; the erosion of traditional religious and social forms; the triumph of a profane and materialistic scientism. Some of the essays are primarily concerned with an exposition of traditional principles which are contrasted with the prevailing ideas, assumptions and values of modernity, while others focus on particular problems and issues which are of immediate and urgent concern to thoughtful people everywhere—the desacralisation of work, the global ecological crisis and the destruction of indigenous cultures, for example. All of the essays in the anthology are informed by the sense, that the most pressing problems in the contemporary world are, in one way or another, related to "the betrayal of tradition", which is to say the loss of a living understanding of those principles and values which governed the traditional civilizations of both East and West.

The distinctive nature of the anthology is to be found in the range of writers who consider the most urgent problems of modernity from a variety of perspectives. Behind the apparent diversity of these perspectives, readers will discern an inner unity deriving from the unanimous conviction that modern civilization has lost its spiritual bearings and that a return to the timeless truths of tradition is a necessary condition for any recovery. The contributors to the anthology include not only eminent traditionalists such as Ananda Coomaraswamy , Titus Burckhardt , and Frithjof Schuon but many well-known contemporary scholars and commentators such as Robert Aitken , Karen Armstrong , and Mary Midgley .

About the Author(s)

Harry Oldmeadow

Harry Oldmeadow was co-ordinator of Philosophy and Religious Studies at La Trobe University in Australia and author of the acclaimed Traditionalism: Religion in the Light of the Perennial Philosophy (2000), an authoritative introduction to the perspective of Perennialism. Prof. Oldmeadow's contributions to World Wisdom books & DVDs include:

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Reviews of The Betrayal of Tradition

"These 25 essays by writers who represent a range of spiritual thought focus on the role of traditional religion in correcting the loss of transcendence and meaning. When any major tradition is taken seriously, its timeless relevance provides both firm ground and clear direction in chaotic times. Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Native American perspectives on the subject are presented. Oldmeadow (La Trobe Univ. at Bendigo, Australia) collects the work of established figures like Dorothy Sayers and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy as well as that of more contemporary writers like Robert Aitken, Karen Armstrong, and the Crow Medicine Man Thomas Yellowtail. The book is divided into five sections: ‘Tradition and Modernity,’ ‘Perennial Truths and Modern Counterfeits,’ ‘The Social Order,’ ‘The Single Vision of Science,’ and ‘The Destruction of Traditional Cultures.’ The combination of ideas is inspiring and provides an invigorating perspective for examining current issues of modern social philosophy while remaining very readable. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries."

- Library Journal Review

"…This anthology of the most eminent perennialist authors, concerns everyone who is aware of the progress of a totalitarian nihilism, who refuses to capitulate, refuses the destruction of Knowledge and the darkening of Consciousness, and who is in quest of the fundamental arguments included…in the Eternal Wisdom, and taught by the world’s great spiritualities, the only ones still able to actively help rediscover the Sacred, and restore it in our everyday lives, thoughts and being.…Harry Oldmeadow has collected in his book twenty-four precious accounts, some of which come from well known representatives of Perennial Philosophy and others from independent thinkers [who are also] lucid analysts of the situation. Divided into five sections, their responses respectively treat the oppositions between Tradition and Modernity, Perennial Truths and Modern Counterfeits, Social Order, the 'Single Vision' of scientism, and lastly the destruction of traditional cultures.…A work such as The Betrayal of Tradition will be an even greater treasure to those who are still lucid enough to 'take inventory' and comprehend the urgency for rediscovering the eternal within this work, which is itself an heir of the most ancient past.…"

- Jean Biès, author, philosopher, and poet

“This anthology is a substantial introduction to the writings of those who espouse the timeless wisdom – the sophia perennis – which underpins all the great religious teachings.… The Betrayal of Tradition…embraces a variety of viewpoints and perspectives, all of which are ‘united by the conviction that the modern world stands in the most urgent need of the wisdom of the ages’…and will appeal to those who feel there is a deeper meaning to life than the prevailing materialism and consumerism.… It is a welcome addition to other volumes already published in the Perennial Philosophy series by World Wisdom.”

-Resurgence Magazine

"The Perennialist critique of the modern world, being based on universal metaphysical principles, remains the most lucid portrayal of the counterfeits created by the modern world. This anthology proves its relevance in all the major issues of the contemporary world: the ecological crisis, science, religious fundamentalism, feminism, etc. [This book is] for those who are swimming against the modernist tide for the sake of Truth."

- Dr. Patricia Reynaud, Associate Professor, Miami University

"The twenty-five essays which make up this collection bring the perspectives of traditional thought to bear on the predicament of a predominantly secular world order. Most of the leading Traditionalists are represented; but the editor stresses that 'the anthology is not intended as a compendium of traditionalist thinkers alone but embraces a variety of viewpoints and perspectives, united by the conviction that the modern world stands in the most urgent need of the wisdom of the ages'. Side by side with such names as Guenon, Schuon, Burckhardt and Coomaraswamy, we accordingly find Karen Armstrong, Dorothy Sayers, Theodore Roszak and Mary Midgely, together with colleagues and students at the editor's own university (La Trobe, in Bendigo, Australia)."

Temenos Review

Table of Contents for The Betrayal of Tradition


Harry Oldmeadow - Introduction: Signs of the Times and the Light of Tradition

1. Tradition and Modernity

  • Frithjof Schuon - “No Activity without Truth”
  • René Guénon - A Material Civilization
  • Brian Keeble - Tradition and the Individual
  • Kathleen Raine - India and the Modern World

    2. Perennial Truths and Modern Counterfeits

  • Rama P. Coomaraswamy - Ancient Beliefs or Modern Superstitions: The Search for Authenticity
  • Karen Armstrong - Faith and Modernity
  • Timothy Scott - The Logic of Mystery and the Necessity of Faith
  • M. Ali Lakhani - “Fundamentalism”: A Metaphysical Perspective
  • Rodney Blackhirst - Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Tradition

    3. The Social Order

  • Ananda K. Coomaraswamy - The Bugbear of Democracy, Freedom, and Equality
  • Patrick Laude - One for All, All for One: The Individual and the Community in Traditional and Modern Contexts
  • Fatima Jane Casewit - Islamic Cosmological Concepts of Femininity and the Modern Feminist Movement
  • Roger Sworder - The Desacralization of Work
  • Dorothy Sayers - Why Work?
  • Robert Aitken - Envisioning the Future

    4. The “Single Vision” of Scientism

  • Wolfgang Smith - “Progress” in Retrospect
  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr - Spirituality and Science - Convergence or Divergence?
  • Titus Burckhardt - The Theory of Evolution
  • Theodore Roszak - Descartes’ Angel: Reflections on the True Art of Thinking
  • Mary Midgley - Putting Nature in Her Place
  • Brian Coman - Never Say Die ... Without a Cause

    5. The Destruction of Traditional Cultures

  • Thomas Yellowtail - Make Your Choice
  • Anagarika Govinda - The Fate of Tibet
  • James Cowan - Towards a New Dreaming
  • Philip Sherrard - Epilogue

  • Acknowledgments
  • Contributors
  • Biographical Note
  • Index

  • Selection from our Library about The Betrayal of Tradition
     TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2Subject WW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
    Written to be read at a conference on positive action that could be taken in current issues based on religion, Schuon’s article discusses the necessity to precipitate all action with a correct understanding of Truth. “If one's aim is to save mankind, one must first know what it means to be a man; if one wishes to defend the Spirit, one must know what is Spirit.”
    No Activity Without TruthThe Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of ModernitySchuon, Frithjof Comparative Religion, Science, Spiritual Life, Tradition
    Islamic Cosmological Concepts of Femininity and the Modern Feminist MovementThe Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of ModernityCasewit, Jane Fatima Islam
    Faith and ModernityThe Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of ModernityArmstrong, Karen Tradition
    Signs of the Times and the Light of TraditionThe Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of ModernityOldmeadow, Harry Tradition
    A Material CivilizationThe Betrayal of Tradition: Essays on the Spiritual Crisis of ModernityGuénon, René Metaphysics
     5 entries (Displaying results 1 - 5) View : Jump to: Page: of 1 pages

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