Contemporary Esotericism by Egil Asprem

By Egil Asprem

The examine of latest esoteric discourse has hitherto been a mostly overlooked a part of the recent educational box of Western esotericism. modern Esotericism offers a vast evaluation and evaluation of the complicated global of Western esoteric idea this day. Combining historiographical research with theories and methodologies from the social sciences, the amount explores new difficulties and gives new chances for the learn of esoterica. modern Esotericism reviews the interval because the Fifties yet makes a speciality of the final twenty years. the big variety of essays are divided into 4 thematic sections: the intricacies of esoteric appeals to culture; the function of pop culture, sleek conversation applied sciences, and new media in modern esotericism; the influence and impact of esotericism on either spiritual and secular arenas; and the new 'de-marginalization' of the esoteric in either scholarship and society.

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Defined in terms of “the readiness to relate the unrelated”, and by a belief in the supernatural, his main objective is, bizarrely, to show how contemporary American Fundamentalism is connected to “the occult tradition” (which is sometimes also interchangeably denoted “esoteric” and “mystical”). 56 It is problematic, however, if and when religious convictions strongly inform and filter scholarship. In the following section, we shall highlight the tradition-forming functions that easily follow certain types of scholarship.

Finally, in “A Deliciously Troubling Duo”, Jay Johnston (Chapter 20) deals with an issue of acute need of treatment in the study of esotericism: gender. 20 introduction Despite acquiring very little attention from scholars, discourses of gender have been of a considerable significance for esotericism in general, and surface as particularly important in relation to much of what is covered by contemporary esotericism as well. As Johnston points out, the “masculinity = culture = rationality and femininity = nature = intuition” stereotypes have been common in much of esotericism – but can also be found in the trope, often ­reified by scholars, of men as “occult scientists” who actively control their world by the use of magic, and women as “intuitive witches” who are passively and emotively guided by their surroundings.

Italics added. 54. A good example of this is Holman, The Return of the Perennial Philosophy, which has the subtitle The Supreme Wisdom of Western Esotericism. The book strives to be something in the sort of a scholarly examination (but fails miserably), and the inclusion of “Western Esotericism” in the subtitle can probably be attributed to intentions of aligning it to the academic field of the same name. The impact of scholarship on esotericism is discussed further on in this chapter. 55. Hanegraaff, “Beyond the Yates Paradigm”, 24–5.

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