Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance by Arthur Versluis

Bronson Alcott was mentioned as an acquaintance by Sarah Stanley Grimke in early 1879. The following summer marked the opening of the Concord School of Philosophy, which had been planned in connection with Platonists from Missouri and Illinois. The Platonist, the journal of philosophy edited and published by Thomas M. Johnson, celebrated the Concord School. Arthur Versluis has contributed many valuable books on Western esotericism, and his 2001 study Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance is especially helpful in understanding the role of Bronson Alcott. The chapter on Alcott is viewable through Google Books, beginning on page 115. Here is the opening para on Alcott:
None of the American Transcendentalists was so ridiculed as Amos Bronson Alcott. Throughout his life, Alcott was a thoroughgoing religious radical whose pronouncements often were too much even for Transcendentalists like Emerson, although they themselves had abandoned Unitarian liberalism as too conservative. Although many critics have noted and lampooned Alcott’s eccentric modes of “prophetic” expression from his “Orphic Sayings” in The Dial onward—some considering him deluded and even insane—much in Alcott’s work becomes far more comprehensible when one considers a central hidden source of his inspiration: German mysticism exemplified in the work of seventeenth-century Protestant mystic Jacob Böhme.

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