• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

The perennial philosophy, or philosophia perennis, may be understood as a self-consistent metaphysical and ultimately soteriological doctrine regarding the nature of reality, which has been re-adumbrated in various formulations both historically and cross-culturally. In popular use, it has come to imply the common philosophical themes that underlie the diversity of the world's religious traditions.

The Term Philosophia Perennis
Historical Origin

The first historical use of the term philosophia perennis has been traced to the 16th-century Vatican librarian Agostino Steuco, who authored a seminal work of that title. It has been more popularly thought to originate with the celebrated philosopher of the Enlightenment, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, who made occasional use of the term in private correspondence.

Steuco was influenced by the Renaissance Platonists Marcilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles