Christian esoterism


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"The existence of a Christian esoterism, or rather the eminently esoteric character of traditional Christianity, appears not only from New Testament texts, those in which certain of Christ’s words possess no exoteric meaning, or from the nature of the Christian rites—to speak only of what is more or less accessible “from without” in the Latin Church—but also from the explicit testimony of ancient authors."
(The Fullness of God, Frithjof Schuon on Christianity, ed. James Cutsinger, 2004, World Wisdom Books, Indiana. Chapter 2: "The Particular Nature and Universality of the Christian Tradition", p17.)


"What, for want of a better term, we are obliged to call “Christian exoterism” is not in its origin and structure strictly analogous to the Jewish and Islamic exoterisms; for whereas the exoteric side of the two latter traditions was instituted as such from the very beginning, in the sense that it formed part of the Revelation and was clearly distinguishable from its esoteric aspect, what we now know as Christian exoterism hardly figured as such in the Christian Revelation except in a purely incidental manner.
(ibid p7.)


Christianity accordingly possesses none of the normal characteristics of an exoterism instituted as such, but presents itself as an exoterism in fact rather than as one existing in principle. Moreover, even without referring to Scriptural passages, the essentially initiatic character of Christianity is apparent from certain features of the first importance, such as the Doctrine of the Trinity, the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and, more particularly, the use of wine in this rite, or again from the use of purely esoteric expressions such as “Son of God” and especially “Mother of God”.

If exoterism is “something that is at the same time indispensable and accessible to all”, Christianity cannot be exoteric in the usual sense of the word, since
it is in reality by no means accessible to everyone, although in fact, by virtue of its religious application, it applies to everyone. This inaccessibility of the Christian dogmas is expressed by calling them “mysteries”, a word which has a positive meaning only in the initiatic domain to which moreover it belongs, but which, when applied in the religious sphere, seems to attempt to justify or conceal the fact that Christian dogmas carry with them no direct intellectual proof, if such a manner of speaking is permissible.
(ibid p12.)