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.

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Ex-BPH books on auction in Rome

Ex-BPH incunables for sale in Rome.

In June I wrote that some of the more expensive books and incunables that belonged to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (Ritman Library), which was dissolved almost a year ago, surfaced at an auction in London. As Brooke Palieri at the 8vo blog noted then, the auctioned material included the 1st edition of Marsilio Ficino’s translation of Corpus Hermeticum, which used to be one of the gems of the Ritman collection. 

Now it appears that other items are very soon (October 11) to be auctioned in Rome, by Bloomsbury Auctions. The BPH items on sale seem to include later 15th century editions of the Hermetic texts, alongside first editions of Iamblichus, Plotinus (in Ficino’s translation – may go for up to € 25,000), early editions of Pico’s works, and much more. Scroll around on the page, and if you have a few (or many) thousand euros to spare this is the chance to get some rare and exotic esoteric books.

Again, this piece of news comes from Brooke Palmieri and the 8vo blog. Big thanks.

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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.

Esotericism, Religion and Science in Toronto – report on the IAHR (part 2)

Following up the last post, here comes a report on the esotericism panels at the IAHR in Toronto, organized by Marco Pasi. As you can read about below, they go straight into a central debate in the field of esotericism studies at the moment.

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