Esotericism as secret, inner tradition

A definition adopted by some scholars has used “Western esotericism” in reference to “inner traditions” which are concerned with a “universal spiritual dimension of reality, as opposed to the merely external (‘exoteric’) religious institutions and dogmatic systems of established religions. This usage of the term “esotericism” is closest to the original meaning of the word as it was used in late antiquity, where it was applied to secret spiritual teachings which were reserved for a specific elite and hidden from the masses.[Accordingly, this use of the term views “Western esotericism” as just one variant of a worldwide “esotericism” which can be found at the heart of all world religions and cultures, reflecting a hidden esoteric reality.Within the academic field of religious studies, those who study different religions in search of an inner, universal dimension to them all are termed “religionists”.