(Summary of Speech in St. Tikhon's Orthodox University)
1. Guenon was not a Christian (but Muslim) and shared a number of positions (in a esoteric sense) that are not compatible with Christianity and Orthodoxy. So we are talking about the author on his positions foreign to Orthodoxy. Everything foreign to Orthodoxy - including not only other religions or directions which nominally consider themselves for Christianity, but also the evolutionist secular scientific theory, all of them subject to criticism. This criticism is always correct and always valid: criticizing the non-Orthodox, Orthodox Christianity affirms and reaffirms its own orthodoxy.
2. Is it possible to follow the Guenon in general terms - his theories - and be an Orthodox Christian? No. Just as one can not be secular scientist disconnecting the teaching of evolution, progress, or sectarianism.
3. Can an Orthodox person read Guenon? Can a Orthodox read something unorthodox? Probably, yes, on the condition that we know that it is non-Orthodox - for example, the Koran, a papal bull, Lamarck's book, or Rudolf Steiner school textbook on physics. There are those who believe that it is impossible. This is ingenious, extravagant, and probably right. But then it is necessary to prohibit all non-Orthodox, and not just Guenon, as a non-Orthodox author among many others.
4. Nonetheless, reading Guenon, you can:
1) look at it as a whole, out of curiosity
2) try to figure out what he has in common with Orthodoxy
3) try to figure out what he has different with Orthodoxy (divergence points)
4) reconstruct the structure of his approach to the world, history, society (ie, conduct its deconstruction - read it as a philosophical and sociological text).
Items 2 and 3 I have done in the "Metaphysics of the Good News." Today many of the points of this work seem to be highly controversial, but this text, like any other is susceptible to criticism. It never pretend more than that, except on formal analysis and comparativism.
I can briefly describe the conclusions:
(Item 2 - try to figure out what he has in common with Orthodoxy)
a) a general view of history as the deterioration of the existential-ontological conditions of human life
b) eschatological apprehension and expectations
c) the incompatibility of modern society and religious attitudes
d) criticism of Western secularism, individualism, liberalism, atheism and materialism
e) to the conservative Orthodox circles Guenon brings the "conspiracy theory" (Guenon concept of contra-initiation), monarchism, the call for a theocracy as the best form of social organization, apologia for a caste society
(Item 3 - try to figure out what he has different with Orthodoxy (divergence points))
a) belief in the transcedent unitiy of traditions and Primordial Tradition
b) recognition of the initiation of other religions and Freemasonry
g) unacceptable Christology (Nestorian or correlated with the Hindu doctrine of the avatar)
d) manifestationist approach that treats radical monotheistic creationism as a consequence of the limited view of the Godhead
e) ignoring or subordinationist (this as suggestion) interpretation of the Holy Trinity
f) appeal to Islam and Hinduism, Buddhism and Kabbalah as a relevant source of spirituality
h) The concept of "the king of the world", located in a subterranean country Aggarta (Marco Pallis has shown that the term is most likely invented by Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre).
(Item 4 - less developed.)
It involves not the interpretation of Guenon, but the interpretation that could be drawn differently.
1. From a sociological point of view, the formal dualism described as Tradition - Modern World represents a great interest. A selection of the advantages of both types societies is extremely relevant. This generally repeats classical the reconstruction of sociology but in this case, almost everything stand in contemporary positions (eg, Tenns or Redfield). Guenon also shows it is possible to stand in position of Tradition, that is, justifies the second (critical in relation to modernity) view on this dualism. Something similar we find in the new anthropology of the twentieth century in Boas, Levi-Strauss, Trunvalda.
2. The same applies to the total of Guenon philosophical analysis in the similarities of modern philosophy and philosophy of Tradition. Common features highlighted here and there, as in the case of sociology, it is quite convincing and authentic.
3. Can we make use of this Orthodox thought in isolation from what in Guenon is not acceptable? In my opinion, yes, it is. Applying this approach to the history of the Orthodox societies and the dominant in these philosophies, including the modernization and the Westernization, we get an interesting structural model.
4. Guenon Eschatology - "The Reign of Quantity & the Signs of the Times" and the "oppening of the World Egg from bellow", etc. - It can also be related to Christian eschatology, applying Guenon structured approach regarding the role of the West and the modern world in the implementation of the eschatological scenario. Specification of such scenarios always keep some hypothetical, Guenon ideas can be constructive, but need to be adapted to the Christian understanding of eschatology.
13. Very productive is Guenon views of neo-spiritualism. That is, religious syncretism, occultism and New Age (spiritualism, magic, Blavatsky, Roerich, etc.). This is radically condemned by Guenon and is contrasted to Tradition as a simulacrum, as a stage following the profanization (secularism) and materialism. Thus, the "neo-spiritualism" is regarded by him as a diabolical parody, a "great parody." This generally coincides with the Orthodox point of view.
5. In the theoretical field, Guenon could be taken as a pragmatic basis for interfaith dialogue. This is a pragmatic form of use of his philosophy and sociology.
6. Conclusion: the Orthodox treatment to Guénon requires a certain level of culture, philosophy, theology, sociology. Without this, it will cause either an uncritical trust (outside Orthodoxy) or rejection (which will block a series of philosophical and sociological features, which are contained in his writings). Genon is interesting, but it is worth perceiving him through correct operation of a careful and skillful deconstruction. If we do not have this expertise, the desire and skill, I think Guenon should be postponed in order to not confuse anyone.