Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Esoteric (Gk. eso, within), an epithet used in philosophy to denote the more abstruse doctrines of a system, which were kept for the special disciples and initiated, and were considered to be above the capacity of those who were allowed to be fitted to receive the more general and exoteric (Gk. exo, without) principles of the system. Although Aristotle was said to have had esoteric doctrines, he himself only speaks of exoteric discourses, and then probably does not use the word in the sense that has beeu attributed to it. Pythagoras, too, was said to have had the two parts in his system, and we read of "esoteric Buddhism." Shakespeare uses in a somewhat similar sense the phrase "caviar to the general."