SPLENDOR OF THE TRUE:
A FRITHJOF SCHUON READER
State University of New York Press, 2013
Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) is widely regarded as one of the most provocative and challenging voices on religion in recent times. The leading figure in the perennialist school of comparative religious thought, he was the author of over two dozen books and several thousand poems, letters, and private spiritual texts. Splendor of the True features some of the most important and influential of these writings, presented here in a new translation.
This unique compilation represents the full range of Schuon’s work on religion and tradition, metaphysics and epistemology, human nature and destiny, sacred art and symbolism, and spirituality and contemplative method. Beginning with a careful examination of Schuon as perennial philosopher, Sufi shaykh, and teacher of gnosis, the volume includes a selection of his poems and samples of his artwork as well as previously unpublished materials drawn from his letters, personal memoirs, and private texts for disciples. Also featured are extensive translator’s notes and a glossary of technical terms.
Bridging the divide between seeker and scholar, Schuon challenges the prevailing academic opinion that religion should be studied with an agnostic neutrality and on a foundation of scientistic assumptions. From sophisticated and demanding philosophical prose to the lyric beauty of verse, he speaks to those who are looking for greater interfaith understanding and a deeper penetration to the esoteric heart of specific traditions, while at the same time turning the critical tables on an increasingly noisy chorus of skeptics and debunkers.
Splendor of the True is an important resource not only for theologians, philosophers, and students of religion and spirituality, but for anyone interested in the common ground of the world’s major faiths.
“Carefully selected across a wide range of topics, insightfully translated from the French, and elegantly curated, Schuon’s writings now make their case with unprecedented clarity. Cutsinger is sensitive to Schuon’s ongoing role as lightning-rod; with judicious balance, he shows why this has been the case, why it may well be unfair, and how Schuon’s philosophy was born out of the gnosis of lifelong, deep spiritual practice, marrying heart and intellect. Cutsinger is able to interpret Frithjof Schuon to skeptics as well as seekers—unafraid, like Schuon himself, to be provocative in the service of the True.”
—Kimberley Patton, Professor of the Comparative and Historical Study of Religion, Harvard Divinity School