Contemporary Esotericism (Equinox / Acumen, 2013)

Contemporary Esotericism cover

Contemporary Esotericism, edited by Egil Asprem and Kennet Granholm (Equinox / Acumen, 2013).

The study of contemporary esoteric discourse has hitherto been a largely neglected part of the new academic field of Western esotericism. Contemporary Esotericism provides a broad overview and assessment of the complex world of Western esoteric thought today. Combining historiographical analysis with theories and methodologies from the social sciences, the volume explores new problems and offers new possibilities for the study of esoterica.

Contemporary Esotericism studies the period since the 1950s but focuses on the last two decades. The wide range of essays are divided into four thematic sections: the intricacies of esoteric appeals to tradition; the role of popular culture, modern communication technologies, and new media in contemporary esotericism; the impact and influence of esotericism on both religious and secular arenas; and the recent ‘de-marginalization’ of the esoteric in both scholarship and society.

The volume includes articles by established authorities in the field including Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Kocku von Stuckrad, and Christopher Partridge, as well as a number of younger and up-and-coming scholars.

Order this book from Acumen.

“This valuable collection will introduce readers to ongoing scholarship on previously understudied modes of esotericism, and fills a conspicuous gap in the literature.” – Olav Hammer, University of Southern Denmark

Published on December 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] nok kom boka Contemporary Esotericism inn gjennom døra. I denne samlingen av foredrag fra en konferanse med samme navn, er det også et […]

  2. One would be curious if there’s an excerpt from _Contemporary Esotericism_ … spse that’s tough w/ so many authors, w/o showing favoritism, but a brief synopsis (of ea. chapter), perhaps? If I had a copy, or even a CHAPTER, I’d be WILLING to at least ATTEMPT writing one. Prof Hanegraaff was kind enough to let me look at one of his sections from a different compendium, so I’m reluctant to pester him further…60lb or roughly $60(US) is slightly prohibitive for me at the present…

    There have been a number of works (I’m vaguely aware of) that focus on Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ Religion (mostly black gospel, and contemporary Christian, and/or Satanism). To my knowledge, there is a smaller selection that deals with Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ Spirituality ‘n’ Esoterica and hence contemporary (sub)culture(s) [say, post mid-60s?]. One that seems most important (to me) is the unfinished manuscript, ROCK & HOLY ROLLERS: THE SPIRITUAL BELIEFS OF CHART-TOPPING ROCK STARS, IN THEIR LIVES AND LYRICS by Geoffrey D. Falk

    Falk himself seems to be an interesting character, and his critique(s) of Ken Wilbur raised my brow. Of course, it’s obvious I’m better acquainted with New Age and/or astrology than esotericism per se, so my apologies. It’s difficult to stay interested in any of this/that IN THE ABSTRACT; which is to say it’d be easier to appreciate, e.g., “the New Age and esoteric spirituality of Van Morrison” or a (hypothetical) “biography of Alice Bailey and her influence on (performance) artists such as Van Morrison” or a (hypothetical) “HISTORY of Contemporary Esotericism” for instance.

    Once you get to the realm of XYZ “Studies,” then it’s hard to stay awake, uh, er, I mean alert, a, uh, sober. I’ve started reading _The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear_, which seems QUITE GOOD thus far. In fact, the author has been gracious enough to entertain a few questions – provided I’m semi-astute and/or patient. I assume same might go for his _Aquarian Evangelist: The Age of Aquarius as It Dawned in the Mind of Levi Dowling_. We’ll see. Perhaps, if he accedes, the questions/responses might be valuable posting, when/if Egil were to see fit? I’m outside academia, but hey, it’s fun to see how the other half lives, true? In about 2 years, I’ll be (returning) to teaching high school math, so if I’m going to try to corrupt anyone (and everyone), including myself, I’d better hurry up while I still can. Or keep my nose clean. Tough choice.


    “Everything had become splendidly vile.” -Salvador Dali’ (_Diary of a Genius_)

    • We asked the publisher if they would make the introduction to the book freely available online, as it contains precisely what you describe: an overview and synopsis of all chapters, the broader structure of the book, and what we want to do with it. Unfortunately, this was not acceptable to the publisher back then. Perhaps we might post some abstracts later (e.g. over at

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