Webportal for the academic study of esotericism

The Amsterdam Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy has a new website.

The Amsterdam Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy has a new website.

Last month, the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (HHP) in Amsterdam released their new website. Regular readers of Heterodoxology are likely to have seen this already, but in case you missed it in the middle of the summer, here is a reminder.

The reason why this is newsworthy is that the new website aims to be a lot more than simply the web-presence of one particular institution for higher education. It has a number of other functions, that are useful for the broader academic community that the HHP is part of. It gives relatively elaborate information on the HHP study programs (the MA and the BA), and lists the current research projects undertaken by HHP staff. The agenda on the website is still rather slim, but the intention is that it will fill up with not only activities in Amsterdam (courses, lectures, openings), but other events of relevance to the broader community of esotericism researchers as well.

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Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica opens again!

Rumour has circulated in Amsterdam for a while that Mr. Joost Ritman somehow has managed to re-acquire a sizable portion of his old collection, and has been planning to open the library again. Today, almost exactly one year after the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica was shut down, the story has become official. In the mail I found an invitation to the opening of a new exhibition – Oneindig Vuur (“Infinite Fire”) –  on December 16, 2011, hosted by the Ritman library, in its original rooms in Bloemstraat 13-19, Amsterdam.

For those who will be in Amsterdam in three weeks, the doors open at 13:30. There will be an opening lecture at 14:00, by Wouter Hanegraaff, entitled “Per aspera ad fontes” (“Through hardships to the sources”).

It remains unclear at this point how the library will function once the doors are open again. In the summer I reported that most of the books seized by Friesland bank were being moved back to the BPH location in Amsterdam. This most likely forms the background for the new exhibit that will be put on display in a few weeks. However, as noted previously, the library had to see its staff go during the crisis, and it is very unclear how it will be possible to keep the library open to the public on a daily basis as before. The leaflet I received this morning states that 23.000 manuscripts and printed works are currently in the possession of the new foundation, governed by the Ritman family. It also mentions several grandiose plans and ambitions for the future of the library, including the use of innovative technology, digitization, and online communication.

If this means that the library is going to be more of a virtual than a physical resource in the future remains to be seen. Meanwhile, a new website is being built, and we have to wait for the opening to see how this story is going to proceed.

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This blog post by Egil Asprem was first published on Heterodoxology. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.