the·​os·​o·​phy | \ thē-ˈä-sə-fē How to pronounce theosophy (audio) \

Definition of theosophy

1 : teaching about God and the world based on mystical insight
2 often capitalized : the teachings of a modern movement originating in the U.S. in 1875 and following chiefly Buddhist and Brahmanic theories especially of pantheistic evolution and reincarnation

Other Words from theosophy

theosophical \ ˌthē-​ə-​ˈsä-​fi-​kəl How to pronounce theosophy (audio) \ adjective
theosophically \ ˌthē-​ə-​ˈsä-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce theosophy (audio) \ adverb

Did you know?

The word theosophy, combining roots meaning "God" and "wisdom", appeared back in the 17th century, but the well-known religious movement by that name, under the leadership of the Russian Helena Blavatsky, appeared only around 1875. Blavatsky's theosophy combined elements of Plato's philosophy with Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu thought (including reincarnation), in a way that she claimed had been divinely revealed to her. The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 to promote her beliefs, still exists, as does the Anthroposophical Society, founded by her follower Rudolf Steiner.

Examples of theosophy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Well represented in the show, for example, is Agnes Pelton, a SoCal spiritualist painter who had been interested in theosophy early in her life (and who was recently the subject of a terrific exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum). Los Angeles Times, 16 Oct. 2021 Agni Yoga, theosophy and the teachings of Helena Blavatsky among others. Chadd Scott, Forbes, 17 May 2021 The artist speaks from his studio about abstraction, theosophy and turning lead into gold. Nadja Sayej, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 And like af Klint, Pelton rooted her work in her practice of theosophy — the belief in a deeper spiritual reality that can be accessed through heightened awareness — and used color, abstract forms and symbols to convey the sublime. New York Times, 12 Mar. 2020 In Europe the tenets of Buddhism, theosophy, and anthroposophy were in vogue, and many other artists of the period — including Kandinsky and Malevich — explored a spiritual basis for their art. Andrew Ferren, New York Times, 21 Oct. 2019 Bloom began to explore theosophy, Vedanta (one of the main branches of Hindu philosophy) and other forms of spiritualism. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 31 July 2019 The only one that’s local to Sweden would be the anthroposophical movement and Rudolf Steiner, and theosophy and stuff. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, 2 July 2019 This may have been the nerdiest moment in American politics since Henry Wallace wandered into theosophy. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 8 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'theosophy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of theosophy

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for theosophy

Medieval Latin theosophia, from Late Greek, from Greek the- + sophia wisdom — more at -sophy

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The first known use of theosophy was in 1650

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Cite this Entry

“Theosophy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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