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By Egil Asprem

The examine of latest esoteric discourse has hitherto been a mostly ignored a part of the recent educational box of Western esotericism. modern Esotericism offers a vast evaluation and overview of the advanced global of Western esoteric notion this present day. Combining historiographical research with theories and methodologies from the social sciences, the amount explores new difficulties and provides new percentages for the learn of esoterica. modern Esotericism reports the interval because the Nineteen Fifties yet makes a speciality of the final twenty years. the wide variety of essays are divided into 4 thematic sections: the intricacies of esoteric appeals to culture; the position of pop culture, glossy communique applied sciences, and new media in modern esotericism; the impression and impact of esotericism on either non secular and secular arenas; and the new 'de-marginalization' of the esoteric in either scholarship and society.

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25 egil asprem and kennet granholm of the construction and claim of tradition in esoteric discourses. Moving then from “etic” discussions of the application of concepts to the “emic” level, we review Wouter J. Hanegraaff ’s recent work5 on the formation of “esotericism” from changing discourses on knowledge and truth in European history, and draw out some implications for the study of tradition. As Hanegraaff also argues, the thesis has consequences for assessing the way scholars have construed their object of study in the twentieth century.

Here, luckily, a lot of material continues to be produced in other subfields of religious studies (again including “pagan studies”), and within anthropology. Nevertheless, a firmer integration of anthropological studies of, and approaches to, contemporary esotericism, should certainly be embraced by a future work in this field. It should also involve a critical and careful engagement with the theoretical and conceptual work which has been made in anthropology, including cognitive anthropology (and the cognitive study of religion more broadly), which often concern issues that seem to have relevance for the esoteric.

The relevant locus classicus of the concept, however, is Steuco’s De Perenni Philosophia (1540). 37. , 9. 38. Augustine, quoted in Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance, 21. 39. Hanegraaff, Esotericism and the Academy, chapter 1. g. 41 An “anti-­apologetic” discourse was born in the wake of the Reformation, with the explicit aim of combating the dangerous “hostages” that the early church had taken and kept for so long: pagan philosophy, superstition and magic. While strategies of prisca theologia and philosophia perennis had worked to legitimate the truth of doctrine with reference to antiquity or eternal truth, they now became the source for a suspicion that paganism had infiltrated Christianity.

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