There is much exciting work going on in the area of esotericism and the religions of antiquity at the moment. One of the people who have been instrumental in lifting the focus on antiquity within the study of esotericism (and bringing esotericism to a sometimes unwilling crowd of Gnosticism and ancient Christianities specialists – kudos for that!) is Dylan Burns, currently of the University of Leipzig. I’ve written about Dylan’s work previously, and of course, there’s been mention of the ESSWE Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity (NSEA) which he co-founded with Sarah Veale.
A few days ago I returned from Gothenburg, Sweden, after the fourth international conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (or #ESSWE4 for those following the tagboard). It was slightly larger than the three previous conferences (in Tübingen, Strasbourg, and Szeged); more than 90 papers were presented, there were discussion panels, keynotes, and night-time events. The conference was spread out over four days, and it needed every minute of the daily 9-hour schedule.
Sarah Veale has done an exquisite job on the recently released website of NSEA (Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity). The network itself, as you can read more about in Sarah’s post at Invocatio and at the website itself, is organised on the initiative of Dr. Dylan Burns, and is another thematic network of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism. Now that NSEA is up and running, with an excellent online resource database, the ESSWE suddenly has a special-interest network for both of the two historical periods that have most often been neglected by historians of esotericism: antiquity and the present day.
Yesterday I recommended Joyce Pijnenburg’s excellent discussion of Cornelius Agrippa and the Hermetic/Platonic/Kabbalistic influence on Renaissance feminism. Today, Sarah Veale of Invocatio added some reflections on what the ancient hermetic sources actually have to say about women. The argument is that the Hermetica had to be read rather selectively for Agrippa to find support for his proto-feminist project. In other words: here, as elsewhere, we must clearly separate the Hermetica from the hermeticists of the Renaissance. This point, of course, is always valid when we are dealing with reception, particularly in the case of normative projects in religion or philosophy. It’s little use reading the gospels alone if one wants to find out what various Christian denominations of today actually preach. And it’s foolish to expect contemporary ethicists who (sometimes) identify as neo-Aristotelians (say, Martha Nussbaum) to buy every detail of Aristotle’s doctrines of the soul, or indeed his views on women.
At any rate – nice to see a discussion taking shape online on esoterica and feminism, which is generally a very little studied topic.
When I got around to buy the heterodoxology.com domain earlier this year, the idea was to start some renovations of the site. Now, finally, one small step: updating the blog roll. Some inactive old blogs have been removed, and a few new, heterodoxologically relevant ones have been added.
First, the additions: Invocatio is a fairly frequently updated and well informed blog (mostly) about Western esotericism. It is run by Sarah Veale in Toronto, and well worth checking out, among other things for its weekly “Myseria Misc. Maxima” installments. Religion Dispatches is perhaps the leading blog/online magazine for research on religion and contemporary debates about religion, and should have been added long ago. To keep up to date on what happens in the modern pagan communities as well as the occulture surrounding it, Jason Pritzl-Waters’ The Wild Hunt is a must-read. For all lovers of dusty old books I have added the bibliophile blog 8vO. Finally, to satisfy a twin appetite for science fiction and historiography, Mark Novak’s wonderful Paleofuture blog is now available in the blog roll. It is a great resource for exploring the history of futures past.
Out goes a few blogs that have become inactive (Grimoires, Heteropraxis, Knokkelklang, Dodologist, SNASWE Blog), or turned out to be heterodoxologically less relevant (The Necromancer). More additions are likely to follow.
This blog post by Egil Asprem was first published on Heterodoxology. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.