Mateus Soares de Azevedo

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Mateus Soares de Azevedo (born 1959) is a Brazilian historian of religions, Islamologist, and esoterismologist, who has written several books on the Perennial Philosophy and the comparative study of religions, specially Christian and Islamic mysticisms. He is one of the best known writers on the Perennial philosophy in the Portuguese language. His most recent book in English is Men of a Single Book: Fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity, and Modern Thought (United States, World Wisdom, 2010), which won in the "Comparative Religion" category of The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards. He has translated into Portuguese, from the original French, several of the books of the perennialist master Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998).

Biography[edit]

Soares de Azevedo was born in the capital city of Minas Gerais state, in a family with roots in the historical city of Ouro Preto, where he lived his childhood. His family ancestors include Bernardo Pereira de Vasconcelos, Minister of Justice and of Finance in the Empire, and governor of the province of Minas Gerais, and Diogo de Vasconcelos, renowned historian and politician, author of História Média de Minas Gerais. In São Paulo, he attended gymnasium and high school at Colégio Santa Cruz, of French Canadian priests, and graduated in Literature and Journalism at the University of São Paulo (USP). He has a graduate degree in international relations from George Washington University and holds a master's degree in History of religions from the University of São Paulo, with a thesis on the contemporary relevance of the Perennial Philosophy.

He is the author of seven books on the philosophical and mystical dimensions of Christianity and Islam, and about one hundred articles and essays dealing with the Perennial Philosophy and traditional spirituality in the contemporary world, several of them translated into English, French, and Spanish.

His most recent book in English is Men of a Single Book: Fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity, and Modern Thought (United States, World Wisdom, 2010), a critique both of religious and anti-religious fundamentalism; the later represented specially by polemicists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. This book is the winner in the "Comparative Religion" category of The USA "Best Books 2011" Awards. It is also the ForeWord Book of the Year Award Finalist for "Religion", and Midwest Book Award Silver Medal for "Current Events".

In Portuguese, his latest work is O Livro dos Mestres (The Book of Masters. São Paulo: Ibrasa, 2016), which is composed of outlines of the messages of around twenty spiritual masters of recent times, from diverse religious traditions.

Another relatively recent book by Soares de Azevedo is Occultism and Religion in Freud, Jung, and Mircea Eliade, co-authored with the Australian author and professor Harry Oldmeadow.[1]

He lived a year in London, England, in the 1980s, where he experienced the intellectual impact of the work of French metaphysician René Guénon, which expounds a profound critique of modern materialism and relativism from a purely metaphysical perspective. In the 1990s, he lived a season in Washington, DC, and studied under William Stoddart, Rama Coomaraswamy, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. There he deepened the study of the Perennial Philosophy and experienced the spiritual impact of the teachings of the German metaphysician and esoterist Frithjof Schuon. For Azevedo,[2] the Perennial Philosophy casts a unique and contemporary light on the spiritual heritage of the peoples and updates the message of the traditional religions, especially Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, giving to twenty-first century man a practical alternative to modern skepticism and intellectual confusion.

It is noteworthy to grasp that the precursors of the Perennial Philosophy are sapiential masters such as Plato, Pythagoras, Shankara, and Meister Eckhart, and that the foundations of this school of thought are in pure Metaphysics, or in the "nature of things", not in one of the great Revelations, notwithstanding the fact that the Perennial Philosophy prescribes the need for personal attachment to one of the orthodox religious forms.

Azevedo absorbed elements both from Guénon and Schuon, as well as from William Stoddart, in his works, such as Men of a Single Book and Iniciación al Islam y al Sufism.[3] He is the editor of two anthologies published in the United States. The first is Ye Shall Know The Truth: Christianity And The Perennial Philosophy,[4] featuring works by Frithjof Schuon, René Guénon, Titus Burckhardt and other perennialists. The second is Remembering in a World of Forgetting: Thoughts on Tradition and Postmodernism, a collection of the most important essays by the British perennialist author William Stoddart.[5]

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Men of a Single Book: Fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity, and Modern Thought (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2010) ISBN 978-1-933316-46-8
  • Ye Shall Know the Truth: Christianity and the Perennial Philosophy (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2005) ISBN 0-941532-69-0
  • Ocultismo e Religião: em Freud, Jung e Mircea Eliade (São Paulo: Ibrasa, 2011. With Harry Oldmeadow) ISBN 978-85-348-0336-6
  • A Inteligência da Fé: Cristianismo, Islã e Judaísmo (Rio de Janeiro: Nova Era, 2006) ISBN 85-7701-045-7 [6]
  • Iniciación al Islam y Sufismo (Barcelona: Ediciones 29, 2004) ISBN 84-7175-532-7
  • Mística Islâmica: convergência com a espiritualidade cristã (Petrópolis: Vozes, 2001) ISBN 85-326-2357-3
  • O Livro dos Mestres (São Paulo: Ibrasa, 2016) ISBN 978-85-348-0363-2

Awards[edit]

Men of a Single Book received the following awards:

  • Winner in the "Comparative Religion" category of the "USA Best Books 2011 Awards";
  • ForeWord Book of the Year Award Finalist for "Religion";
  • Midwest Book Award Silver Medal for "Current Events".[7]

Contributions and prefaces[edit]

  • The Transcendent Unity of Religions (by Frithjof Schuon. S. Paulo, 2013)
  • The Destruction of the Christian Tradition (by Rama Coomaraswamy. São Paulo, 2013)
  • Traços de Luz (by Faouzi Skali. S. Paulo, 2013)
  • Remembering in a World of Forgetting (by William Stoddart. World Wisdom, 2008) ISBN 978-1-933316-46-8
  • Understanding Islam (by Frithjof Schuon. Rio de Janeiro, 2006) ISBN 85-7701-046-5
  • Dossier H - Frithjof Schuon (by P. Laude e J-B Aymard. Lausanne, 2002)
  • Sophia Perennis (by J-M Prats and Esteve Serra. Palma de Mallorca, 2004)
  • O Estudo das Religiões; desafios contemporâneos (by Silas Guerriero. São Paulo, 2003)
  • O Homem no Universo (by Frithjof Schuon. São Paulo, 2001)
  • Castes & Races (by Frithjof Schuon. São Paulo, 2002)
  • Outline of Buddhism (by William Stoddart. Rio de Janeiro, 2004)
  • Ancient Beliefs and modern superstitions" (by Martin Lings. São Paulo, 1998)

Articles[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Published in São Paulo, Brazil, by Ibrasa, 2011.
  2. ^ See in this respect his "Men of a Single Book" (World Wisdom Books, 2010), especially the introduction and chapter one.
  3. ^ "Iniciación al Islam y al Sufism", Barcelona, 2004.
  4. ^ Ye Shall Know The Truth: Christianity and The Perennial Philosophy catalog information at the publisher's website.
  5. ^ Remembering in a World of Forgetting: Thoughts on Tradition and Postmodernism at the publisher's website.
  6. ^ Excerpts available at Leia trechos de 2 lançamentos da Nova Era (in Portuguese), Folha de S.Paulo.
  7. ^ http://www.worldwisdom.com/public/products/978-1-935493-18-1_Men_of_a_Single_Book.aspx?ID=231.

External links[edit]