Origins

In fact, both the "new New Age" approach of Haanegraaf and the "old New Age" thesis of Melton and Albanese are correct. The New Age possesses a rich prehistory before the 1970s, and it inherited many of its central features from the 19th-century metaphysical religions of New Thought, Spiritualism, and Theosophy. Those religions in turn drew from a longer tradition of occult, esoteric, and metaphysical traditions before them. Yet the 1970s also represented something very new. The New Age responded to a new set of factors that did not exist before then: a rapidly shrinking world, the spread of science and technology into nearly every sector of life, and the mix of world religions in the streets of American suburbia. One can understand the New Age as both new and old at the same time.


Study Questions:
     1.     Why is the New Age movement described more often than defined?
     2.     How does James R. Lewis describe the New Age movement? J. Gordon Melton?
     3.     Describe the role of the New Age movement within Western colonialism.

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