Sophia, the journal for traditional studies, volume 13, number 2 (2007)

Sophia, I have known about the journal for ages, but I probably never really looked at it. Perhaps only when the new issue was mentioned on a Traditionalistic forum did I realise that this is a Traditionalistic journal. More actually, all contemporary Traditionalists seem to contribute to it. My story is quite similar to that about Sacred Web! Because Sophia, contrary to Sacred Web, is available from Amazon (but they are not easy to find) sometimes for a price way below the price of the publisher, I got myself two issues. Not the most recent though, I picked two based on the tables of content. Sophia 13/2 opens with a text of his royal highness, prince of Wales (or Prince Charles) who contributes to Traditionalistic journals more often and who appears to be a productive writer on a great variety of topics. The text presented is a talk that HRH gave when he received an environmental award from the hands of Al Gore. The text is not really Traditionalistic, but HRH highness does stress the point that the earth is not for us to use and that we should start using technology to make our way of living no longer a burden to nature. Another environmental text comes from the hands of the main editor Seyyed Hossein Nasr who makes an appeal to Muslims to not slavely follow the West with destructive technology just to keep up, but to use Islam to come to a better way of living and an ‘Islamic technology’. Next up is an interview with Huston Smith (born 1919 and still going), the first and perhaps most famous scholar in comparitive religious studies. After this come the two articles that made me order this particular issue, both are about Kabbalah. The first text is about the Christian Kabbalah. Wolfgang Smith argues that the Christian version of the Kabbalah is valid (however the two initially seem incompatible) and that it even adds something to Christianity. Then Tom Black shows us that Kabbalah is more Sufi in nature than Jewish in his very nice article. Much more Islam follows with Zachary Markwith’s lengthy “Muslim Intellectuals and the Perennial Philosophy” in which Markwith shows us that Traditionalism sprang forth from Islam and is conserved within it as well and that this is due to the Quran, the Sunnah and the very Prophet Himself. The author not only presents a very nice insight into Islam, but also presents a very good introduction to Traditionalism and several of the names from the ‘school’. The last article is about Ananda Coomaraswamy and his views on art. To close the journal there are book and film reviews.
Sophia certainly is worth the money, especially because, at least from Amazon, some issues are very friendly priced and easy to get. If you are interested in Traditionalism and Traditionalism in action, Sophia is the title that you should certainly try.
2007 The Foundation For Traditional Studies, isbn 0979842913

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