The discovery of esotericism in Italy in the 20th century – from the ContERN cyberproceedings

Benedetto Croce (1866-1952)

Benedetto Croce (1866-1952)

The latest addition to the cyberproceedings of August’s conference on contemporary esotericism is slightly different from previous installations in the series. It is not too contemporary, but it adds a discussion that should be quite interesting to anyone involved in the definition debate and the broader history of the academic study of esotericism. Francesco Baroni’s paper focuses on what one might call the  discovery of esotericism in Italy during the early-to-mid 20th century, by a generation of idealistically (in the philosophical sense) oriented scholars. Baroni shows how Benedetto Croce, Adolfo Omodeo and Piero Martinetti were all involved with uncovering esoteric aspects of e.g. Renaissance natural philosophy, early Christianity, and Western idealist philosophy, even while despising the “irrationalism” of modern and contemporary esoteric currents such as spiritualism and Theosophy.

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Aries 11.2 – new articles and book reviews in the field of esotericism

The autumn edition of Aries has just been released. This issue’s research articles deal with topics as diverse as “New Age Christianity” in Italy (Francesco Baroni), 19th century physics as context for occultism (yours truly), a report on a 15th century Christian text on magic (Damaris Gehr), and an article on Max Théon, Sri Aurobindo and “the Mother” (Peter Heehs). Perhaps the most interesting to many readers of Heterodoxology will be Christopher McIntosh’s short article, which announces a surprising discovery concerning the enigmatic “Fräulein Sprengel” and the origins of the Golden Dawn.

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