Platonic orientalism – new webinar lecture

One of the most central concepts in Wouter Hanegraaff’s book of last year, Esotericism and the Academy (Cambridge UP), is “Platonic Orientalism”. The revival of this specific understanding of platonism during the renaissance has had enormous influence on the formation of “Western esotericism”, according to Hanegraaff, and in particular by supplying a characteristic trait: the “ancient wisdom” narrative. If you want to learn more about this fascinating topic, do check out the new BPH webinar with Hanegraaff, where he explains the revival of Platonic orientalism, its place in the theological debates of the early apologetic church fathers, and the wider polemical context of late-classical paganism. Some more background about the main characters involved (Plethon, Ficino, Pico) is also provided on the BPH’s own blog.

Esoteric news, January 2012

Among the updates: 1st International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism

A number of newsworthy things have popped up in the world of esotericism scholarship lately, but as I have been tied up with reaching deadlines, they have not found their way to Heterodoxology yet. The solution? A brief list of updates, below. Some of it you may already have read about over at Invocatio, the Phoenix Rising website, or some other etheric place, but no harm is done in hearing something twice.

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Esotericism and the Academy – a book you should get next year

Next year’s most anticipated publication in the field of esotericism has just been advertised from Cambridge University Press: Wouter Hanegraaff’s much awaited book, Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture. The book has briefly been mentioned on Heterodoxology before, but now we can refer to the official abstract from CUP:

“Academics tend to look on ‘esoteric’, ‘occult’ or ‘magical’ beliefs with contempt, but are usually ignorant about the religious and philosophical traditions to which these terms refer, or their relevance to intellectual history. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of ‘pagan’ ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality. Expelled from the academy on the basis of Protestant and Enlightenment polemics, these traditions have come to be perceived as the Other by which academics define their identity to the present day. Hanegraaff grounds his discussion in a meticulous study of primary and secondary sources, taking the reader on an exciting intellectual voyage from the fifteenth century to the present day and asking what implications the forgotten history of exclusion has for established textbook narratives of religion, philosophy and science.”

More than just a work on Western esoteric ideas and currents, the book is also a significant contribution to intellectual history more generally, and especially to the history of the humanities. It should therefore deserve attention far beyond the field of esotericism once it is published, in January 2012.

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

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm  Comments (3)  
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