Hermetically Open – BPH 2.0

The Ritman library has risen from the ashes of the calamity of 2010. The new developments look very promising and should interest many international readers – particularly because of the initiative “Hermetically Opened”. With it, the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica is being proactive about joining the digital and connected age. It’s the next best thing to having the  unique library of hermetic, alchemical, and rosicrucian literature in your own living room. Digitization projects are underway,  there are plans for a Hermetic wiki, and not least, great plans for a webinar series where scholars of esotericism and Hermeticism will speak about particular topics. All of this is available to a global public online, and you can read all about it at the  library’s new website.

The webinar series, named “Infinite Fire”, was officially launched last week, with a short talk by my colleague Dr. Peter Forshaw, a specialist in the history of alchemy. Future talks are being planned, to begin with by other experts present in Amsterdam (Wouter Hanegraaff and Marco Pasi). The idea is, however, to expand with time. So if you are a scholar working in an area related to the library’s collection, and you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam, I am sure that the BPH staff would love to hear from you. Perhaps you will do a brief interview or otherwise contribute to this collaborative, evolving “global hermetic circle”?

Peter talks about / devours some of his favourite books from the BPH collection below:

Very promising developments indeed. Do check it out.

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Hermetically opened

Before Christmas, esoterica and hermetica aficionados in Holland and abroad got a nice present: The Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica opened again, after facing complete destruction for a year. Unfortunately I was hindered from attending the opening on December 16 due to teaching obligations, so I have no first-hand experiences to share this time. Apparently the library in Bloemstraat, Amsterdam, was packed full of people, and the new incarnation of the Ritman library got off to a good start. For now, the Ritman family is running the library on their own, keeping the doors open all weekdays as before. There is also a splendidly looking new website. While browsing it, make sure to read Wouter Hanegraaff’s opening lecture, published in the website’s new blog section.

Welcome back!

Published in: on December 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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Update: The BPH collection dissolved

Dante, Divina commedia. Venice, Giovanni Battista, Melchior and Domenico Sessa, 1564. From the BPH collection.

Almost a month after the conflict between Joost Ritman, Friesland Bank and the Dutch government became public knowledge, it now seems that things have not turned out well for the famous and unique collection of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam. The case has been discussed in the Dutch parliament and national media during the last two weeks. Despite the petition which has gathered the support of academics world wide, and despite the pressure put on Halbe Zijlstra, the Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science, the Dutch Government has already made the first move towards a dissolution of the collection which may indeed become permanent.

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New BPH support blog

Wouter J. Hanegraaff, professor and coordinator of the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents program at the University of Amsterdam has created a new blog specifically for the situation at the Ritman Library. The first post contains a list of academics who have signed the petition (I posted something similar yesterday)  This will likely be the place to follow the situation as it continues to unfold.

Follow it at The Ritman Library Must Be Preserved. Spread the word.