The European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) is expanding. The society was established in 2005. Since then it has encouraged the establishment of regional subgroups, to promote research and teaching about esotericism on the local level and on independent initiatives. In 2007 the first such local initiative was established in the Scandinavian countries (SNASWE). Since last year scholars at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, largely on the initiative of Professor Boaz Huss, have worked to establish an Israeli Network for the Study of Western Esotericism (INASWE).
Becoming the second regional subgroup of ESSWE, the INASWE was officially launched this spring, with a small inaugural conference: “Western Esotericism: Historical Contexts & Cultural Contacts”. At that occasion the president of the ESSWE Wouter Hanegraaff had been invited from Amsterdam to give an inaugural lecture. The lecture deals with some intriguing parts of the proto-history of academic research on esotericism, namely the influence of the Eranos circle, with its perennialist, anti-historical, and very often Jungian approach to the field. While this direction has been influential on lots of 20th century esoteric thought, and thus is a central part of our object of study, it is also undeniable that it played an early formative role for the academic study of esotericism as well. This two-faced influence remains the source of a problematic dynamic within the field.
Some of these questions and relations (and much more besides) are addressed by Wouter Hanegraaff’s lecture, “The Archetype of Eranos: C. G. Jung and Western Esotericism”. Seeing that it has been filmed and made available on YouTube, those who are interested may easily check it out here:
This blog post by Egil Asprem was first published on Heterodoxology. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.