Wisdom Tradition is a synonym for Perennialism, the idea that there is a perennial or mystic inner core to all religious or spiritual traditions, without the trappings, doctrinal literalism, sectarianism, and power structures that are associated with institutionalized religion. The Wisdom Tradition provides a conceptual framework for the development of the inner self, living a spiritual life, and the realization of enlightenment or of union with God.
Ken Wilber frequently uses the term in the plural in his own books, shadowing the theologian Huston Smith who popularized the usage. In this context it can be considered synonymous with esotericism, but does not have the faintly Western/Middle Eastern/theosophical nuances that are sometimes associated with the latter term.
In Christianity and in the Old Testament, the term is used to describe female images of the divine in the Book of Wisdom. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books of the Septuagint Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), and Sirach.
- Gerard McCool The Christian Wisdom Tradition and Enlightenment Reason
- Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, Shamballah, 1996; 2nd ed. 2001.
- Huston Smith, The World's Religions