There is another webinar out from the collaboration between the BPH and the HHP in Amsterdam. This time, Wouter Hanegraaff gives a one-hour crash course on the wonderfully obscure and fascinating
German Silesian Christian theosophist/mystic/pietist (or however one wants to label him) Jakob Böhme (1575-1624). This cobbler from Görlitz was the author of some fairly heterodox theological texts, written in unsystematic, poetic, highly symbolic and mythologizing style. In this webinar, Hanegraaff focuses mostly on Böhme’s cosmogony – or rather, his theogony. In stark contrast to Christian orthodoxy, Böhme held that God was not eternal nor really transcendent, and certainly not immaterial or purely “spiritual”. To the contrary, he was obsessed with “the birth of God” from an original, primeval, unknowable chaos, the Ungrund (“un-ground”). Materiality and corporeality are always highlighted.
As anyone who’s nipped into this subject will have experienced, it’s complicated and confusing stuff. This Infinite Fire Webinar does a good job at giving some basic idea about what it is all about – although, admittedly, there are many interpretations of Böhme – as one would expect with a symbolic rather than a systematic writer who was furthermore working in relative isolation. Some of that can be explored elsewhere in the esowebs. See for example the reflections of a PhD candidate deeply immersed in Böhme at the blog Auf dem Holzweg. You may also want to see Hanegraaff’s review of a recent attempt to make sense of Böhme from a psychoanalytic perspective. (Hint: He was not impressed).