Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Note: Esotericism and the Academy (Wouter J. Hanegraaff)

This is just a quick note to let you know that Hanegraaff's newest book on esotericism has been published by Cambridge.  The book studies the Academy's marginalization of esotericism in the modern era. Hanegraaff puts forward a convincing argument that esotericism has had an incredible impact on western thought since the Renaissance, and the time has come to acknowledge and study this.  It is about time!

Wouter J. Hanegraaff,  Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture

The Table of Contents:

Introduction: Hic sunt dracones
1. The History of Truth: Recovering Ancient Wisdom
Competing Macrohistories – Platonic Orientalism – The Christian Apologists – The Wise Man from
the East: Gemistos Plethon – The Platonic Theologian: Marsilio Ficino – Secret Moses: Giovanni Pico
della Mirandola and Christian Kabbalah – The Universal Catholic: Agostino Steuco – The End of a

2. The History of Error: Exorcizing Paganism
Against the Pagans – Against the Fathers – The Anti‐Apologist: Jacob Thomasius – The
Heresiologist: Ehregott Daniel Colberg – The Pietist Reaction – The Birth of Religionism: Gottfried
Arnold –Enlightenment and Eclipse – The Historian: Jacob Brucker – The Parting of the Ways

3. The Error of History: Imagining the Occult
Tainted Terminologies 1: Superstition – Tainted Terminologies 2: Magic – Tainted Terminologies 3:
Occult – Alchemy between Science and Religion – The Organization of Secrecy – The Occult
Marketplace – Elemental Fiction – Compendia of Rejected Knowledge – Secret Traditions and
Hidden Histories – The Waste Land

4. The Truth of History: Entering the Academy
Magnetic Historiography: German Romantic Mesmerism and Evolutionism – The Archetype of
Eranos: Carl Gustav Jung and the Western Unconscious – Eranos and Religionism: Scholem, Corbin,
Eliade – The Return of the Historians: From Peuckert and Thorndike to Frances Yates – Antoine
Faivre and Western Esotericism – Esotericism in the Academy
Conclusion: Restoring Memory
Here is the publisher's description:
Academics tend to look on 'esoteric', 'occult' or 'magical' beliefs with contempt, but are usually ignorant about the religious and philosophical traditions to which these terms refer, or their relevance to intellectual history. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of 'pagan' ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality. Expelled from the academy on the basis of Protestant and Enlightenment polemics, these traditions have come to be perceived as the Other by which academics define their identity to the present day. Hanegraaff grounds his discussion in a meticulous study of primary and secondary sources, taking the reader on an exciting intellectual voyage from the fifteenth century to the present day and asking what implications the forgotten history of exclusion has for established textbook narratives of religion, philosophy and science.

1 comment:

John Noyce said...

At a published price of $110 the message will most likely stay esoteric!
Its currently $101 on Amazon US: