Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 17 Jan 2013
Western esotericism has been a pervasive presence in Western culture from late antiquity to the present day, but until recently it was largely ignored by scholars and surrounded by misconceptions and prejudice. This accessible guide provides readers with the basic knowledge and tools that will allow them to find their way in this bewildering but fascinating field. What is it that unites phenomena as diverse as ancient gnosticism and hermetism, the "occult sciences" of astrology, alchemy, and magic, rosicrucianism, as well as Christian theosophy, occultism, spiritualism, and the contemporary New Age spiritualities? What can the study of them teach us about our common cultural and intellectual heritage, and what is it that makes them relevant to contemporary concerns? How do we distinguish reliable historical knowledge from legends and fictions about esoteric traditions? These and many other questions are answered clearly and succinctly, so that the reader can find his way into the labyrinth of Western esotericism and out of it again.
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ISBN-13: 9781441136466
ISBN-10: 1441136460
Pagini: 224
Dimensiuni: 138 x 216 x 15 mm
Greutate: 0.31 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Academic
Seria Guides for the Perplexed

Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Explains the cultural, intellectual, and scholarly relevance of Western esotericism.

Notă biografică

Wouter J. Hanegraaff is Professor of History ofHermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam, theNetherlands, and President of the European Society for the Study of WesternEsotericism.


Introduction \ 1. What is Western Esotericism? \ 2. A Very Short History \ 3. Apologetics and Polemics \ 4. Worldviews \ 5. Knowledge \ 6. Practice \ 7. Modernization \ 8. Between the Disciplines \ 9. Sources and Resources \ Glossary


It is lucid, wide-ranging and extremely well researched ... this text is a must for those who are merely curious, those who are studious and those alternative philosophers of nature, and esoteric ... practitioners themselves.
Wouter Hanegraaff offers the reader here a crystallization of his celebrated scholarship on the history of Western esotericism, from the ancient world to the New Age, as the "rejected knowledge" of Western religion, culture, and science. Along the way, he strikes all the right notes, introduces key terms and figures, and traces the influence of esotericism on science, art, literature, and music. The result is an impeccable piece of historical analysis that shows why the critical study of Western esotericism should lie at the center of the academy and not in its margins.