I’m pleased to announce that Splendor of the True: A Frithjof Schuon Reader has at last been published. As I noted in a post on this weblog when I submitted the manuscript to SUNY Press back in February 2012, the book was already several years in the making at that point—partly owing to the scope of the project, but also owing to a variety of other writing and teaching responsibilities.
The Table of Contents and the full text of Huston Smith’s foreword can be found here. Two reviews have thus far been posted on Amazon. Below are a few of their observations:
Reading Frithjof Schuon years ago changed my life but I struggle still when explaining to friends and students why his message is so important, especially for our times…. Reading Schuon is never easy, but in Splendor‘s five parts and appendix … what emerges for the attentive reader is both the breadth and the brilliant substance of Schuon’s thinking. Beautifully illustrated and formatted, the selections here complement and lead to one another so aptly that I checked the listing of which books they were taken from several times to be sure they were not written as sets…. I recommend Splendor without reservation. I found in it both the revelations of the Absolute that are the signature of Schuon in everything he wrote but also a revelation of the diversity of his expression and the depth of his genius.
[Schuon’s] unique and yet controversial approach to religious unity and religious plurality is of increasing significance for our time of unprecedented religious convergence and explosive religiously-based social and political reaction.
[Splendor] is organized into five sections, each composed of four key Schuonian texts, neither too long nor too short, each contributing to the reader’s understanding of the theme of the section. The themes are: 1) Religion and Tradition; 2) The Perennial Philosophy; 3) Human Nature and Destiny; 4) Sacred Art and Symbolism; 5) Spirituality. Each selection is preceded by a poem chosen from Schuon’s vast corpus of didactic poetry to harmonize through the music of poetry with the underlying theme of the text. There is an appendix with over 40 selections from Schuon’s letters and memoirs, in which the reader can hear him speaking in a more personal voice. Finally there are several pages of translator’s notes, an excellent glossary of the bewildering variety of terms Schuon employed in developing his dialectic of esoterism and exoterism in the religions, and lastly a complete bibliography of Schuon’s works.
The book succeeds in its goal of revealing the profundity, breadth, sheer brilliance, intellectual force, and calm certainty of Schuon’s thought. It is without question the single best introduction to the teaching of Frithjof Schuon now available. The writer of this review is not a Sufi but a Christian, and does not claim to agree with Schuon in every respect or follow him in every detail. Nevertheless, one can attest to the immense benefit that may be derived from a concerted effort to understand his point of view and to contemplate the quintessential chain of truths and certainties his unifying vision reveals. This book deserves the highest recommendation.