the·​os·​o·​phy thē-ˈä-sə-fē How to pronounce theosophy (audio)
: teaching about God and the world based on mystical insight
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
theosophical adjective
theosophically 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 Attends a lecture on theosophy in London given by Comte William de Wendt de Kerlor. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 1 July 2022 And through theosophy—the belief that spiritual revelation, the Absolute, is attainable through the direct experience of nature and the creative expression of the artist. Lance Esplund, WSJ, 28 Feb. 2022 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'theosophy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of theosophy was in 1650

Dictionary Entries Near theosophy

Cite this Entry

“Theosophy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

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