1642 (implied in theosophical
), "knowledge about God and nature obtained through mystical study," from M.L. theosophia
(c.880), from Late Gk. theosophia
(c.500, Pseudo-Dionysus) "wisdom concerning God or things divine," from Gk. theosophos
"one wise about God," from theos
"god" (see Thea
) + sophos
"wise, learned." Taken as the name of a modern philosophical system (sometimes called Esoteric Buddhism), founded in New York 1875 as "Theosophical Society" by Madame Blavatsky and others, which combines teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism.