Plato's Ghost: Spiritualism in the American Renaissance
Gutierrez, Cathy N.
Plato’s Ghost examines the Spiritualist movement as the legacy of European esoteric speculation, particularly Platonic ideals, transformed on a new continent. The movement, Cathy Gutierrez says, was a “renaissance of the Renaissance,” a culture in love with history as much as it trumpeted progress and the future, and an expression of what constituted religious hope amidst burgeoning technology and colonialism. Spiritualism represented the ultimate marriage of universal salvation and the pursuit of esoteric knowledge, as a new generation of Americans embraced a completely inclusive heaven. Gutierrez analyzes Spiritual conceptions of memory, marriage, medicine, and finally nascent psychology. In each she finds echoes of Plato, pulling time backward even as it marched toward a brighter future.
Published: November 2009
Series: Reflection & Theory in the Study of Religion