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A Critical Introduction

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Gurdjieff by Carole M. Cusack

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George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (c.1866-1949) is acknowledged as one of the most influential early teachers of a hybridised Eastern-Western esoteric spiritual tradition, and one of a few key influences on the contemporary New Age Movement and a myriad other alternative spiritualities and new religions. Positioning Gurdjieff's teachings within the field of New Religious Movements, this book examines the 'Work' (as Gurdjieff's system is commonly called), including his teachings presented in writings, music, and exercises known as 'Movements'. This critical introduction to the Gurdjieff tradition also provides an analysis of problems with unreliable sources and auto-mythology, examines major pupils and successors, and shows how the 'Work' functions in the contemporary spiritual marketplace. Offering an excellent introduction to anyone unfamiliar with Gurdjieff and his context, this book also provides further depth for scholars and an invaluable companion to literature examining Blavatsky, Steiner, Theosophy, and Anthroposophy.

Author Biography

Carole M. Cusack is Associate Professor in Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. She trained as a medievalist and her doctorate was published as Conversion Among the Germanic Peoples (Cassell, 1998). She publishes on contemporary Western alternative religion, medieval religion, and method and theory in the study of religion. She is the author of Invented Religions (Ashgate, 2010) and The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011). Steven J. Sutcliffe is Senior Lecturer in the Religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He teaches and researches in the areas of New Age religion and holistic spirituality, and in theory and method in the study of religion, including the modern history of the academic study of religion. His doctorate was published as Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices (Routledge, 2003). He is co-editor of Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality (2000) and editor of Religion: Empirical Studies (2004).
Release date NZ
August 1st, 2019
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Ashgate Publishing Limited
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