Religious philosophy with mystical concerns that can be traced to the ancient world. It holds that God, whose essence pervades the universe as an absolute reality, can be known only through mystical experience (see mysticism). It is characterized by esoteric doctrine and an interest in occult phenomena. Theosophical beliefs are found in Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, and among students of the Kabbala, but Jakob Böhme, who developed a complete theosophical system, is often called the father of modern theosophy. Today theosophy is associated with the Theosophical Society, founded by Helena Blavatsky in 1875. See also Annie Besant.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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