Gender in Mystical and Occult Thought: Behmenism and its Development in England

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This is the first comprehensive account of the development of the ideas on gender of Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) among his English followers. It traces the changes in thought on gender and sexuality in such esoteric traditions as alchemy, Hermeticism and the Cabala. The book argues that Behmenist thought in these areas is a neglected aspect of the revision in the moral status of women during the early modern period, contributing significantly to the rise of the Romantic notion of womanhood and "Victorian" sexual ideology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gibbons has succeeded in his aim of making the thought of Jakob Boehme more widely known, but he has also achieved considerably more. This book is a multi-faceted survey of the intellectual framework within which Behmenist ideas on gender operated. It constitutes an admirable addition to the literature."

"In these much of the value of this well-researched, well-written book lies." Seventeenth-Century News

"...a learned, well-documented analysis of the heterogeneous ways in which a specific set of religious ideas." Studies in Christianity and Culture

"Dr. Gibbons' welcome study returns to an area of religious and cultural history that was popular in the early part of this century: the voluminous mystical writings of Jacob Boehme, and the story of their profound impact on English religious and intellectual life from the point of their translation into English during the Civil War and Interregnum years down to their role in nineteenth-century theosophy. Gibbons adds significant new dimensions and achieves a distinctive overview.... The result is a study that offers the best detailed account in English of Boehme's life and works, and, where the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are concerned, the most searching analysis yet of Boehme's influence. The reader moves through a series of concisely written chapters...leading into the best and most original sections...." Nigel Smith, Albion

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Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Gender, sexuality and power in early modern England; 3. Gender in mystical and occult thought; 4. Gender in the works of Jacob Boehme; 5. The reception of Behmenism in England; 6. Behmenism and the Interregnum spiritualists; 7. The female embassy; 8. Conservative Behmenism; 9. Wider Behmenist influences in the eighteenth century; Conclusion.

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