Cornelius Agrippa and Renaissance feminism at the BPH blog

H. C. Agrippa – occult, sceptical, and feminist philosopher of the Renaissance.

The BPH/Ritman Library’s blog has an article-length post up by my good friend and colleague Joyce Pijnenburg, on the Renaissance humanist and “occult philosopher” Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and his lesser known treatise on the nobility  of women. I remember being fascinated by this work when I first “discovered” Agrippa in my late teens – back then it was an eye-opener for me to find that the man who had been embraced by modern occultists as “their” intellectual patron, primarily for his Three books of occult philosophy (and the spuriously attributed Fourth book), had also produced works of sceptical philosophy (De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum et artium), as well as a work that might classify as “Renaissance proto-feminism”. Agrippa is certainly more interesting than he’s often made into.

Joyce takes a closer look at this little-explored Renaissance feminist current, and transposes it  with certain contemporary issues discussed by Slavoj Žižek (whom, I must confess, I generally see as a stand-up comedian rather than a philosopher – some sharp observations, much hyperbole, and a lot of hilarity). The article  is entitled “Does woman exist? Agrippa von Nettesheim and Slavoy Žižek on Women and (their) Presence”. As an additional teaser before you go and read the whole thing, here’s the abstract:



Contemporary Esotericism conference drawing close – full programme ready

The 1st International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism is drawing close. Kennet and I have been working hard the past two weeks on putting together a program schedule, editing the book of abstracts and collating other  useful information. Those who are already registered for the conference will already have received the schedule by email. Now it is also available online at the conference website. Better yet, the complete book of abstracts can be found as a pdf here. I add a copy of the schedule below as well. If you want to find more about a particular paper, you can go to the book of abstract. And of course: If this looks tempting, you are still welcome to join the conference! Registration is open continuously online.


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.


Esotericism, Religion and Science in Toronto – report on the IAHR (part 1)

As shamelessly advertised on this blog before, there were several esotericism-and-science-related things happening at this years quinquennial world congress of the International Association of the History of Religion (IAHR) in Toronto. There was a three-session panel on esotericism, organized by my colleague Marco Pasi, and a two-session panel on science, religion and the arts in the early 20th century (under the title Seduced by Science), organised by my colleague Tessel Bauduin and myself. Having had more than a week now to overcome what was only a minor jet lag after all, it is time for a short report on events.