Theosophical Appropriations – videos from a workshop

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INASWE workshop on Theosophy, kabbalah, Western esotericism, and appropriations of traditions

The INASWE [Israeli Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism] has done it again. Videos from a workshop held last December on the theme of “Theosophical Appropriations: Kabbalah, Western Esotericism, and the Transformation of Traditions” are now online, and they show an impressive number of great scholars talking about intriguing aspects of modern esotericism, angled through the Theosophical current one way or another. The conveners Julie Chajes and Boaz Huss have done a great job putting together this group. One of the nice aspects of this collection is the global scope, giving a panoramic view of Theosophical groups across a number of different countries.

As in previous years, it is wonderful that all of this is made available online. So go and watch Karl Baier talk about how the chakras were introduced into Theosophy, John Patrick Deveney lecture on Theosophy as Lesenmysterium, Moshe Idel pontificate on Theosophy and Kabbalah in Romania, Massimo Introvigne entertain on the topic of Canadian Theosophy, and let Marco Pasi enlighten you on the role of the Theosophical movement in Italian esoteric milieus. And much, much more.

Kabbalah and Modernity – more than red strings and pop queens

Kabbalah and ModernityI have made a habit out of making the pre-print versions of some of my book reviews available here at Heterodoxology. I was recently reminded of one that I had completely forgotten about: a review of the excellent volume Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations (Brill, 2010). It is edited by three good colleagues of mine (Marco Pasi, Boaz Huss, and Kocku von Stuckrad), and features contributions by many other friends and acquaintances, but hopefully my review is not too biased. Moreover, symptomatic of the extreme delay in academic publishing, I should say that this review was written in 2010, and only appeared in print last year. The review was published in Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft (summer 2012).

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More lectures available from the INASWE inaugural conference

As mentioned recently, the new local network of the ESSWE in Israel recently held their inaugural conference. I already posted Wouter Hanegraaff’s inaugural lecture on Jung and the Eranos circle; however, the conference organizers have taken care to record and make available seven other lectures as well. Most deal with Kabbalah, both Jewish and Christian, as one would perhaps expect given the location and special local competence. The lectures by Isaac Lubelsky and Boaz Huss both discuss Zionism, and esoteric aspects and contexts of Zionist thought and ideology. There is also a sort of introductory lecture on Traditionalism by the specialist of that politicized esoteric current, Mark Sedgwick. If all that is not juicy enough, Julie Chajes’ lecture promises nothing less than a peak into Christian Zionist Sexual Mysticism (the latter, I should add, in a Victorian context). You’ll find them all below.

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INASWE launched with lecture on Jung and Eranos

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).

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Voices in support of the BPH (Ritman Library)

The tragic and grave circumstances surrounding the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica hit the news at the end of the week. The Dutch newspaper Trouw had a two-page report Thursday, while the news site Nu.nl published a shorter article on the situation. Follow the Money, a Dutch platform for financial-economic journalism currently has the most thorough information, over three articles (here, here and here – the latter mentions our  petition). The Epoch Times has a piece on the Rochefoucauld Grail, the extremely valuable medieval manuscript on king Arthur which sparked the controversy between Mr. Ritman and Friesland Bank. Meanwhile, several blogs have picked up on the news as well, and kindly helped spread the petition. The Wild Hunt has a thorough account, as does Grenswetenschap (Dutch), while Cosmogono’s Weblog has kindly translated the petition text into Spanish.

Through blogs, facebook, twitter, emails, and forums, the petition has thus been distributed widely over the last few days, passing 2.500 signatories Saturday afternoon.

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Alchemy, and how to write about it: ESSWE thesis workshop

As advertised before on this blog, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) has been organising a thesis workshop on alchemy. It took place  in Amsterdam on June 24; here is a short report.

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