Talk:Transcendentalism

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for prior comments, see Talk:Transcendentalism/Archive

Literature[edit]

There needs to be mention of the effect this movement had on literature at the time and how the main authors writing Transcendentalist works helped perpetuate this movement. Jwill74 (talk) 01:54, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

Self-transcendence[edit]

Why on earth does self-transcendence redirect to Transcendentalism? The former is a psychological experience or state, the latter is an artistic-philosophical movement.

Dr. Peter Lankton (talk) 08:31, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

I was wondering that, as there's no reference to self-transcendence in this article - where should self-transcendence point to? In Maslow's hierarchy of needs#Self-transcendence it's a piped link, [[Transcendence (philosophy)|Self-transcendence]], pointing to Transcendence (philosophy), which seems a bit better. (I've sharpened that, to point to the section Transcendence (philosophy)#Colloquial usage, as this has the only direct to self-transcendence in that article.)
As I can find no reasoning for the redirect (no reply here, no explanation in the history of the redirect) I'm changing it to redirect to Transcendence (philosophy)#Colloquial usage for want of anything better (that I'm aware of). Feel free to improve on this. --Chriswaterguy talk 09:12, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

Lots of foolish vandalism lately it looks like, propose a semi locked state or the like from a more experienced user.

Ryoutou 17:57, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

History and Philosophy[edit]

I think the article needs more on the history of Transcendentalism, and should be divided into sections, one of philosophy and one on the history itself. - Pingveno 20:37, 3 Jan 2004 (UTC)

What's the relavance of linking "transcendental meditation" from the article? They appear to have little in common besides a name.

There are many views on this topic and a lot of it started in the early to mid 19 century.

I think the link to Kant and other hard philosophers and philosophy should be de-emphisized. Trancendetalism though having philosophical pretensions was primarily a literary movement. It was not a product of german idealism so much as german romanticism and romanticism generally. The idealist philosophers influenced a lot of romantics aside from just the New England crew. This is a common tension in views of Emerson, and some others like Theraue, and Carlyle, they wrote in a tone that might be interpreted as philosophical but did not call themselves philosophers. Emerson called himself always a poet. He attacked philosophy in favor of the poetic outlook. Some like Stanley Cavell have tried to say Emerson was a philosopher, but I think they are in the distinct minority, and change the meaning of philosopher to do so. The way the article is now leaves the immpresion that these were just a bunch of ametuer, "table top" philosophers. I think the reality is that they were a very dynamic literary movement that in many ways founded American culture. By the way theirs a nice quote from Charles Dickens in his notes on America which was mostly a critical look, that talks about the Boston Trancendentalist, and ends with him saying "If I lived in Boston I would be a trancendentalist too." Or something like that. You could google it.--Case 21:16, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It seems to me that the narrow definition of philosophy which would include Kant as "hard" and exclude (e.g.) Emerson is a distinctively twentieth-century invention. The standard anthology The Transcendentalists, edited by the intellectual historian Perry Miller, is instructive on this topic, portraying Transcendentalism as primarily theological-philosophical rather than literary. And the claim that Transcendentalism is a literary movement founders on the extremely thin literary production of the movement anyway (especially if we use "literary" in the way the 19th C. authors would have understood it, as referring to poetry and fiction), as compared to their prodigious and excellent criticism, scholarship, lectures and essays. So I don't think it's out of place to characterize it as a theological and philosophical movement as much as, or more than, a literary one (and the Kant reference is primarily an explanation of the name, anyway). But the article can certainly be improved in many ways, so feel free to make whatever changes seem appropriate. -- Rbellin 04:12, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If I was unfamiliar with Transcendentalism and depended upon this article to enlighten me I would leave dissapointed. This article needs serious attention. CWatchman (talk) 11:32, 4 March 2008 (UTC)


Would like some help[edit]

Does anyone know what kind of relation the Transcendentalists philosophy has with Nietzsche's? Are they antagonistic? As I'm not familiarized with the latter, I'd really much like to know. Edited: The Individual 00:52 2/V/05

Nietzsche read Emerson and was influenced by him to some degree. Beyond that, matters are less settled, and there's not a whole lot of scholarship on the relationship. There's a book called Nietzsche and Emerson: An Elective Affinity, ISBN 0821410377, that you might look at for more on the relationship. -- Rbellin|Talk 00:41, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

recent changes[edit]

I have reverted two recent changes to the article. First, User:Euhlig changed the lead paragraph to the present tense, which is inappropriate in a historical article (and this article has occasionally attracted Transcendentalist-revival POV-pushers). This article is about the early-to-mid-19th-century movement in American thought, not any current movement referring to it. Second, User:Kenosis deleted a description of some of Transcendentalism's founding motivations ("Transcendentalism originated as a protest against the general state of American culture and society, and particularly the state of intellectualism at Harvard and the doctrine of the Unitarian church which was taught at Harvard Divinity School.") and appended an edit comment describing this as "erroneous stretch of imagination". It's certainly not patently untrue, and in fact this is a generalization of a kind found in many scholarly works on Transcendentalism -- so I can see no justification for the deletion. -- Rbellin|Talk 14:56, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Unitarianism[edit]

Do you have an outside source for the assertion that the transcendentalism was founded due to problems with Unitarianism? I know little about transcendentalism, except for the fact that it and its founders are particularly revered by the Unitarian church, which I grew up in. You can hardly visit one of them without finding an "Emerson Hall", or something of the like. And most of them are listed under categories like "american unitarians". My first urge was just to edit that part out, but I saw you'd reverted it before so I thought I'd ask. J.S. Nelson 09:45, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

If you know little about Transcendentalism, it's good you resisted the urge to start deleting things from the article. I'm not sure how you get to "problems with Unitarianism" from this sentence, but the fact that Transcendentalism originated partly as a protest against Unitarian theology is as virtually uncontested as historical assertaions get. Take a look at any scholarly work on Transcendentalism (say, Perry Miller's The Transcendentalists, or Barbara Packer's essay in the Cambridge History of American Literature) for a source. -- Rbellin|Talk 15:13, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. Just making sure; I thought it was perhaps a weirdly formatted sentence because the Unitarians are so fond of the transcendentalists (and learning more about the origins of Transcendentalism, I see to what great extent the Unitarian theology I grew up with has embraced the concerns of the transcendentalists.) To clarify, I meant "problems with Unitarianism" as in "problems they had with Unitarianism" which I would assume lay behind their protest. J.S. Nelson 06:49, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of Unitarians, it's the article says that almost none of the leaders of the movement (all Unitarians) were familiar with original sources in other languages. In fact, Margaret Fuller translated Goethe from the German; he was a major influence on the thought of her and her peers, including Emerson. If I am remembering my source correctly, she did the first direct translation of Goethe in America. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.106.110.14 (talk) 17:30, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

It seems that this discussion was started in 2006, but please allow me to jump along now 8 years later :-) Anyway, I posted a thread about the very same thing here Talk:Transcendentalism#Conflicting statements since I also found the description about the relationship between the Unitarianism and the Transcendentalism very confusing. See, at the moment the article says that:

He found that Unitarianism came closest to true Christianity, and had a strong sympathy for the Unitarians, who were closely connected to the Transcendentalists.

In the lede, however, it is also said that:

Transcendentalism a religious and philosophical movement that was developed during the late 1820s and 1830s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest against the general state of spirituality and, in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School.

In other words, the article mostly says that "Transcendentalism" developed because of the dissatisfaction to the doctrines/ideas spreading at the Harvard Divinity School (HDS), and for a novice on this subject (like me), it doesn't really sound like a close connection. :-)
I wonder if you still roam the article, @JS Nelson: and @Rbellin:. My intention is to clarify the article on this part, and user Joshua Jonatan has offered his helping hand on this one! =P Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:11, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Tense[edit]

Why is "transcendentalism" strictly historical? My dictionaries define the word as "a philosophy that emphasizes..." and "any philosophy based upon the doctrine that..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Euhlig (talkcontribs)

First of all, Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The general philosophical sense of the word is, quite properly, noted in Wiktionary, and other uses of "transcendentalism" in philosophy are further described in the Wikipedia articles on transcendence (philosophy) and transcendental idealism. Those are not the subjects of this article. As the second sentence of the article says, this article is about New England Transcendentalism. -- Rbellin|Talk 22:50, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
For the sake of clarity, I've also added a disambiguation header to the top of the article. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:10, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Walt Whitman[edit]

My AP U.S. History textbook The American Pageant: Thirteenth Edition lists the three "Trumpeters of Transcendentalism" to be Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, in that order. I noticed that Whitman is not listed on the page: does he belong there? JeffreyGomez 02:10, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

No. Whitman was not a Transcendentalist. He was from New York, not New England, and had nothing to do with Transcendentalism as a moral, religious, philosophical, or literary institution. Sure, he corresponded with Emerson (famously using Emerson's letter about the first Leaves of Grass as a promotional device) and met him a few times, but that's all he had to do with Transcendentalism. High-school textbooks are not the most trustworthy sources. -- Rbellin|Talk 02:47, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

yes he was a trascendentalist. Song of myself is entirely about helping people cope with the changes of his time. ... hello?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.156.46.252 (talk) 19:00, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


See this article: http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/roots/legacy/whitman/index.html

Also, our own WP article on Whitman reinforces the view. He may have not been part of the movement's genesis, but following the majority of its tenets - and certainly was under the wing of the leader of the movement. I'd agree with his inclusion in this vein, but I'm not sure I'd list him at the top.

Cheers, Ryo Ryoutou 16:12, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

No, this should not be inserted in the article, because it is false. Whitman was not directly affiliated with Transcendentalism in any way. (Nor was he "under the wing" of Emerson in any sense, as the article you linked makes quite clear.) The Wikipedia article on Whitman, like many others, is salted with dubious generalizations about literary history that have apparently been pulled out of introductory textbooks by people with little familiarity with the subject. -- Rbellin|Talk 19:30, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Emerson took issue with some approaches Whitman took, but the same could surely be said for his views of HDT's misanthropic nature. A search shows many references of WW reviving the movement, of being within the spirit of the movement etc - and he knew Emerson on a personal basis. Emerson wrote professional recommendations for him, which is certainly a closer relationship than some folks have "within a movement". You are saying perhaps that WW was a modernist? Seriously, what category (with your implied academic erudition within this field) would you put him in? Ryoutou 21:28, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I would categorize Whitman as a 19th-century poet. He was sui generis in every way that mattered, not a member of any "category." (Also, you might want to read more about the story of that infamous letter from Emerson about Leaves of Grass before calling it a "professional recommendation," and the two were not terribly close personal friends, though they did meet.) The Transcendentalists (that is, those who called themselves that and were called that by others at the time) were a clearly defined group of people who are enumerated in this article, not a grab-bag label for any contemporary author that we deem close to their "tenets" or "spirit." -- Rbellin|Talk 22:25, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't speaking of Emerson's letter about Leaves, which Whitman used as a review and angered Emerson - but of Emerson's writing to the Dept of the Interior to argue for his job. And yes, they met - a number of times. Emerson visited Whitman and reviewed works in progress, Whitman visited Emerson, etc. Whitman all of his professional life claimed Emerson as his primary inspiration, though I suspect you would say that was purely for commercial gain? It seems pretty clear that had Whitman but spent a year at Walden he would be universally accepted as part of the movement, which is a trivial bit of micro-geography. It isn't you or me that is claiming the allegiance to the "tenets" or "spirit", but the author himself. At the very least I would support his presence on this page as being on the periphery of the movement should another editor come along who agrees and can create consensus. Ryoutou 13:35, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, Whitman was not an active part of the transcendentalist movement. That in mind, he was a speaker of transcendentalists cases and, regardless of what he called himself, is a shaping force of what we now call transcendentalism. I do not agree that Whitman should be listed as a prominant transcendentalist but would move that he be mentioned in the article at some point for the unquestionably profound impact he had, not just on the movement itself, but on our particular views of it. Long story short...who cares how he's categorized? "A rose by any other name..." -David S. Kadaris —Preceding unsigned comment added by 132.235.45.247 (talk) 18:51, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the above. I don't think that Whitman should be completely excluded from the article...nothing wrong with at least mentioning him. 66.32.226.140 (talk) 22:43, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Whitman may not have been an actual member of the Transcendentalist circle, but he was profoundly influenced by their ideas, and especially by Emerson, and its influence can be felt in Leaves of Grass. He was definitely a Transcendentalist in spirit, and most academics recognize this. I agree that he should at least be mentioned somewhere. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.8.130.192 (talk) 23:12, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Supposed Quote From "The Transcendentalist"[edit]

The paragraph beginning the section _History_ is very confusing, referring at once to Emerson's speech "The Transcendentalist" and his book _Nature_. The boxed quote beginning "So we shall come to look at the world" is marked as being from "The Transcendentalist," but is nowhere within the linked text of the speech. Is it from _Nature_ instead? If so, please change it. 128.147.28.1 (talk) 18:19, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Criticism and other expansion[edit]

Hello, folks! I started a "Criticism" section, which currently only includes a brief mention of Hawthorne and a fuller discussion of Poe - I will try to expand and, hopefully, others will jump in. I'm going to pick at this article here and there, adding references in-line. I would also suggest some further clean-up, possibly merging "Origins" into "History", and possibly a separate section for "Beliefs" or "Philosophy" or something. Thoughts? --Midnightdreary (talk) 14:20, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

By the way, is there a solid way to determine if "Transcendentalism" and "Transcendentalists" should be capitalized? I've been seeing it both ways - should we just pick one? --Midnightdreary (talk) 20:31, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that when talking about Transcendentalism as a title for the Transcendentalist movement, as opposed to "transcendentalism", which could refer to the general word, it is capitalized. When talking about "transcendentalists" as individuals, however, it seems like it's NOT capitalized. Can anyone confirm or deny this? 66.32.151.112 (talk) 20:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I think I see what you're saying, and it's as good an argument as I could come up with. Does anyone know any better? --Midnightdreary (talk) 20:40, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Transcendental Club[edit]

In my opinion, there should be more information on the Transcendental Club in this article. It is only mentioned, not described at all. While there is a separate article, I think at least a brief description should be added. 66.32.151.112 (talk) 20:15, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

The whole article could really use some help. Feel free to lend a hand yourself! --Midnightdreary (talk) 20:40, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Disambiguation page[edit]

Instead of having small section at the bottom for "other uses of transcendentalism" shouldn't someone make a disambiguation page? Isn't that what they're for?Reaper Man (talk)

Spiritual intuitions[edit]

In Kant's transcendental idealism, the word "transcendental" was used to describe a viewpoint from which the mind understands its own workings. It is somewhat as though the mind is seeing itself from above itself. From this, the Transcendentalists claim to achieve, according to the article, "an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through the individual's intuition …." Spiritual states and mystical intuition are the result of Kant's earnest and serious investigations. As the Latin saying goes: corruptio optimi pessima (the worst is the corruption of the best). Is the Wiki article correct in its description?Lestrade (talk) 17:05, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Definition[edit]

Could we perhaps feature a clearer, more precise, and concise definition of the term "Transcendentalism", top of the page and center? Right now there's a single sentence wedged in between a brief background on the history of transcendentalism and a list of prominent transcendentalists. It's nothing more than my opinion, but I think making sure the casual reader understands what transcendentalism is may be slightly more immediately relevant than a detailed account of the history of the movement and its proponents.--Althor Enchantor (talk) 20:39, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Trouble is, there is no such commonly agreed definition of American Transcendentalism in terms of the tenets of its ideas (rather than as a movement with identifiable constituents who differed as much as they agreed). This is rather typical of intellectual-history topics, actually -- see Romanticism or Modernism for some even more difficult examples (some elements of which the Wikipedia articles handle quite poorly/simplistically at the moment). The topic can't be handled responsibly by pretending that some oversimplified "definition" catches all or most of what has gone under the label Transcendentalism. -- Rbellin|Talk 04:59, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and in fact the idea that this was a movement from "Congregationalism" rather than "Unitarianism" is more than a little troubling, as well. The founders of T. were all U's first, as far as I know. And not all U's were in favor of T., either, but its adherents were primarily from the U. camp unless they were (perhaps) out-and-out C. renegades. Also, there is no mention of Hegel here, and my understanding was that he was central in Emerson's readings and the application of his ideas to Unitarian thinking were foundational to the formulations of the belief system that undergirded U. T. 108.20.74.63 (talk) 14:51, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
The split between Unitarian Congregationalists (Unitarians) and Trinitarian Congregationalists (Congregationalists) occurred in contemporary times, over the period equivalent of a "blog war" (published sermons) in Boston, where one set of ministers posited that young children should not be made to recite the Nicean Creed before they were old enough to understand the mystery of the Trinity, because they would just fix on the image of the "daddy," the "kid" and the "guy in the white sheet." This image would cramp their later spiritual development. Those congregational ministers who liked the idea of childhood catechism lampooned this viewpoint on rote memorization, by calling these more liberal ministers "Unitarians" rather than trinitarians, in the same ways that bullies at one point began to call the folks in the Society of Friends "Quakers" to make fun of them. The name stuck, as did -- in this case -- the schism, to the point of dividing property and congregations. So for example, in Cambridge MA, the Unitarian Church retained the church building and is "First Church/First Parish" and the Congregational Church claims to be "First Church" and says the split was over Arminianism , which as the wiki page notes, is not the case, and would not be the origin of the name Unitarian. Although this occurred in contemporary times, around 1815-ish (History_of_Unitarianism#Formative_period) it was in a separate, nearly Episcopalian part of the denomination over at King's Chapel -- geographically close, but in flavor, far, far from the mystical folks in Emerson's circles. King's Chapel was strictly Christian, and despite the definition section here, which I hesitate to edit, a major innovation of the Transcendentalists was not their "original insights with as little attention and deference to past masters as possible," but their insights relied on as much personal insight and deference to as many past masters as possible. They pushed ecumenism past the People_of_the_Book explicitly for the first time in western history without being an occult movement. This open syncretism was the major disruption of their radical mysticism, which we inherit in pale form as "New Age" today, and is still evident in the UUA's diverse affiliate organizations, including neopagans, humanists, Jews, and others (UUA affiliate organizational directory, search for theological groups). Honestly, I have no idea how to integrate this, but perhaps someone else would. Shava23 (talk) 20:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Walt Whitman[edit]

what about walt whitman129.82.30.230 (talk) 01:42, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Time Travelers[edit]

Transcendentalism was a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy that emerged in New England in the early to middle 25th century.

...wat? 65.184.233.253 (talk) 19:09, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Amos Bronson Alcott x2?[edit]

The intro paragraph reads:

Prominent transcendentalists included ... Amos Bronson Alcott, and Jones Very.[1] Others included Amos Bronson Alcott and A.E. Waite.

I don't know if he counts as "prominent" or "other" but someone with a little more knowledge may wish to edit that for clarity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.149.37.230 (talk) 05:51, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

The link to George Putnam in the 'History' section leads to a disambiguation page. Can someone who knows which Putnam the page refers to replace it with a proper link? 69.180.172.142 (talk) 18:56, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Starting Date[edit]

the starting date cannot be 1488 at Harvard, because Europeans had not discovered the new world until 1492. Captain Gamma (talk) 00:14, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

List[edit]

For the sake of avoiding argument, listcreep, or original research, I've confirmed the current list of Transcendentalists in the lede according to a reliable source, specifically Philip Gura's book. In two pages, he gives a laundry list of figures (most of whom have Wikipedia articles). I would not recommend anyone add to this list without a specific source, including page number. I've pulled out a few names that are, obviously, the leaders in the movement (Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, et al) because I think they are worthy of being outside the laundry list. As it stands, it counts as original research, until a source is found which backs up my claim that they were the major figures. While I'm here, I'm wondering if anyone else thinks the article on the Transcendental Club should be merged here; the two can only be strengthened if put together. --Midnightdreary (talk) 17:04, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

I removed Dickinson, because, while she was influenced by the Transcendentalists, she certainlly was not part of the movement; she was only born in 1830, and never had direct contact with the movement.

I also remove the "New Thought" info box, as its prominence suggests that Transcendentalist is subsumed under New Thought. I think that kind of info box has no place in an article that is not directly related to the subject, but I don't know the rules. If it were to be allowed, one could add a dozen others (Americen Liturature, Philosophy, etc.), which would just get in the way. New Thought gets its mention further down, and I think that's more than enough. Kirkmc (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC).

Vedic thought[edit]

The reference

Ladd, Andrew; Anesko, Michael; Phillips, Jerry R.; Meyers, Karen (2010), Romanticism and Transcendentalism: 1800-1860, Infobase Publishing Doesn't seem to mention this, simlarly the second reference needs context in the form of a page number and or quotation:

Versluis, Arthur (1993), American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions, Oxford University Press

I fixed the references so they would appear in the reference section, instead of the separate section. Zambelo (talk) 02:10, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

I removed Ladd; Versluis 1993 is about the interplay between Transcendentalism and Asian Religions. And there was no need to change the style of references. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:32, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Introduction[edit]

The introduction to the article is extremely scant, totally unsourced, and makes no mention of the historical situation of the movement. Honestly, it reads like some self-fashioned "transcendentalist" wrote it themself. The first sentence is ludicrous: "Transcendentalism is inherent goodness of both people and nature." Transcendentalism is a movement and a philosophy. Frankly, the intro needs to be totally scrapped and rewritten. 174.60.46.129 (talk) 04:23, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes, and what do you propose for a rewrite? Presumably, something briefly summarising the main points of the article as a whole, which seems reasonably informative, sourced, linked and disambig.ed. Qexigator (talk) 05:57, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Fixed by reverting to earlier version. — goethean 14:27, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Lack of lineage[edit]

The spirituality-sidebar was removed by IP User:2.24.10.192 with the following argument:

"I think this is misguided. Transcendentalism has a fairly obvious lack of lineage, being forgotten for a long time."

I've re-inserted the sidebar; Transcendentalism is a major influence on modern spirituality; they directly Vivekananda and neo-Vedanta, but can also be discerned in New Age-thinking. The "lack of lineage" makes no sense to me; what's being meant with this? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 12:07, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Conflicting statements[edit]

Greetings! It is said in the lede first that:

Transcendentalism is a religious and philosophical movement that was developed during the late 1820s and 1830s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest against the general state of spirituality and, in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School.

Later in the article, however, it is said that:

He found that Unitarianism came closest to true Christianity, and had a strong sympathy for the Unitarians, who were closely connected to the Transcendentalists.

Those both can't hold true, so which one is it? :O Mindfulness#Buddhism 2 also mentions the same thing... the same thing that Unitarians would be somehow closely connected to the Transcendentalists. However, the first sentence in the lead speaks different. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 21:02, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

I've added "as" to the lead. I hope this solves your perceived contradiction (which is not there, I think). Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:46, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm still trying to get the big picture. I found few entries on the subject from Harvard Divinity School#Harvard Divinity School and Unitarianism. The article says that:

Throughout the 18th century, Enlightenment ideas of the power of reason and free will became widespread among Congregationalist ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties. When the Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and the president of Harvard Joseph Willard died a year later, in 1804, the overseer of the college Jedidiah Morse demanded that orthodox men be elected. Nevertheless, after much struggle the Unitarian Henry Ware was elected in 1805, which signaled the changing of the tide from the dominance of traditional, Calvinist ideas at Harvard to the dominance, of liberal, Arminian ideas (defined by traditionalists as Unitarian ideas). The appointment of Ware, with the election of the liberal Samuel Webber to the presidency of Harvard two years later, led Jedidiah Morse and other conservatives to found the Andover Theological Seminary as an orthodox alternative to the Harvard Divinity School.

So, in 1805 after the Unitarian Henry Ware got elected, the Unitarian ideas began to take hold at Harvard Divinity School. Apparently these ideas didn't please some people though, since in the late 1820s and 1830s transcendentalism as a movement began to develop. Okay, loud and clear so far.
However, later in the article it is said that:

He found that Unitarianism came closest to true Christianity, and had a strong sympathy for the Unitarians, who were closely connected to the Transcendentalists.

Now, how are "the Unitarians closely connected to the Transcendentalists" exactly? So far the only similarity I can see is a split between these two groups. In other words, a group of dissidents within the Unitarian movement later came to be known as Transcendentalists. Or is it that even despite of the development of Transcendentalism, the new movement remained close to the Unitarian movement from which it developed? Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 14:20, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Uh... from what I know, they were indeed closely connected. To split, you first have to be united, right? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:44, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Okay, "split" might be a wrong word. What I mean is that there has been a certain group on people in the sphere of Unitarianism, and eventually they have drifted into a movement that we now call "Transcendentalism". Or that's how I understood it on the basis of what I've read on Wikipedia :-) If you have better information about the connection between the two, I'd love to hear more! So far the article mostly says that "Transcendentalism" developed because of the dissatisfaction to the doctrines/ideas spreading at the Harvard Divinity School (HDS), and for a novice on this subject (like me), it doesn't really indicate about a close connection. :-)
Can you help me a little bit with that one? I'd like to make a brief addition to the article about the course of events at the HDS, as well as about the connection between "Transcendentalism" and "Unitarism". =P Cheers mate! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:26, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Okay, you got me hooked with Arminius!!! Since a year or two, I'm a member of the "Remonstrantse Broederschap", the followers of Arminius in the Netherlands in the 17th century! Wow! I didn't know this, but now definitely want to know more! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:19, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

For a starter:
Just going through these texts diagonally; I'd never realised how much of a "Liberal Christian" I am! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:29, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
I knew it! Transcendentalist/Theosophical/New Age/etc emphasis on "spiritual experience" is connected to Calvinist pietism ("bevindelijkheid"):
"[the Transcendentalists] tapped into the grittier pietistic side of Calvinism in which New England culture had been steeped"
And:
"the Transcendentalists developed their ideas of human "Reason," or what we today would call intuition. For the Transcendentalists, as for the Romantics, subjective intuition was at least as reliable a source of truth as empirical investigation"
I'm clearly at the Unitarian side, with my opposition against the "spiritual experience-"fallacy"" of many Wiki-editors at spirituality-related articles. But I can't share their belief in miracles; I think that religion is socially constructed, though based on an inherent capacity. That's kind of "post-modern". "religious experience" can't be some sort of "proof" of a transcendental reality. But that's an aside; it's a fascinating insight, that New Age is actually closely related to certain aspects of orthodox Calvinism. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:43, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Hehe, I feel the same way. I stay curious, however, about the spiritual experiences that people have experienced after consuming psychoactive ingredients (psilocybine, DMT, etc.). Well, that's a whole different story though, but it does play an important role in many religious and spiritual traditions. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:48, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the sources mate! I just read the first 8 pages of "The Brahmo Samaj and the Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind" by David Kopf. I'll start next going through the sources you suggested! :-) Hopefully I found an answer there to my questions about the connection between the Transcendentalists and the Unitarianists. :P Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:41, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Also recommanded: Richard King, Orientalism and religion. A pdf is available at the internet. And David Sharf, The Rhetorics of Meditative Experience. I'm really happy that you're interested in this kind of stuff. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:37, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I've now read through The Emergence of Transcendentalism. I found few interesting quotes there and based on those, I'd like to make some additions to the History -section and the lede. Here are few points that I came up with:

Transcendentalism cannot be properly understood outside the context of Unitarianism, the dominant religion in Boston during the early nineteenth century.

  • Transcendetalism is closely related to Unitarism, the dominant religious movement in Boston at the early nineteenth century.

It was at Harvard that most of the younger generation of Transcendentalists received their education, and it was here that their rebellion against Unitarianism began. It would be misleading, however, to say that Transcendentalism entailed a rejection of Unitarianism; rather, it evolved almost as an organic consequence of its parent religion. By opening the door wide to the exercise of the intellect and free conscience, and encouraging the individual in his quest for divine meaning, Unitarians had unwittingly sowed the seeds of the Transcendentalist "revolt."

  • It started to develop in the aftermath of Unitarianism taking a hold at the Harvard University after Henry Ware Sr. got elected as the Hollis Professor of Divinity in 1805, and of John Thorton Kirkland as President in 1810. Rather than as a rejection of Unitarianism, Transcendentalism got evolved as an organic consequence of the Unitarian emphasis on free conscience and the value of intellectual reason.

The Transcendentalists felt that something was lacking in Unitarianism. Sobriety, mildness and calm rationalism failed to satisfy that side of the Transcendentalists which yearned for a more intense spiritual experience.

  • They were not, however, quite content with the sobriety, mildness and calm rationalism of Unitarianism, but instead they longed for a more intense spiritual experience.
At least this helped my understanding with respect to the connection between Unitarianism and Transcendentalism. In other words, Transcendentalism did not get born as a counter-movement to Unitarianism, but as a parallel movement to the very ideas introduced by the Unitarians. Comments? Opinions? Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:22, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Seems correct. Just be aware of the "implications" of "they longed for a more intense spiritual experience". It lead to Transcendentalism, Theosophy, New Age etc. But do their "spiritual experiences" prove their "transcendental reality"? Or is it the frame of reference they constructed, to "satisfy" their yearning for "a more intense spiritual experience"? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 13:29, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

I found a new source that might help to extend the origins of Transcendentalism: Harris, M. V. 2009. The A to Z of Unitarian Universalism (pages 465-467). Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 20:28, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

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