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Sophia Journal

Sophia, the journal for traditional studies, volume 16, number 1 (2010)

The second Sophia that I read is also a nice one. This volume is dedicated to Huston Smith (1919-), the well-known scholar in religions that later in his life got acquainted with the Traditionalist way of thinking and found the answers that he had been looking for. This volume opens with a text by Smith and is followed by an interview with the man. Later in the volume no-one less than Harry Oldmeadow writes a lengthy biography of Smith and after this Zachary Markwith speaks about “Huston Smith’s encounter with the Islamic Tradition” and when you ready my review of Sophia 13/2 you will understand where the stress of Markwith’s article lays. Other articles are Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s thoughts on humanity in relation to nature, Islamic “mysticism” and “Christianity amidst the world religions”. Another long text is a review of two book about Frithjof Schuon followed by the review of a book about Nasr. At the end there is a review of a book about the poem “The Mystery Of Hasanaginica”. Indeed, the Sophia Journal is by and about the leading Traditionalists of today and covers a nice spectrum of subjects.
Link: Sophia Journalm isbn 9780979842979

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