Wouter J. Hanegraaff: Esotericism and the Academy – Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture
Esotericism and the Academy
Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture
Wouter J. Hanegraaff, University of Amsterdam
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:January 2012
Dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
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.
Table of Contents
Introduction: hic sunt dracones
1. The history of truth: recovering ancient wisdom
2. The history of error: exorcizing Paganism
3. The error of history: imagining the Occult
4. The truth of history: entering the Academy
Conclusions: restoring memory.
• The argument is presented as a historical narrative, taking the reader on an intellectual voyage from the early Renaissance to the present day
• Discusses currents of thought which have played an important role in intellectual history, but have never before been sufficiently identified
• Demonstrates patterns of intellectual prejudice that have distorted views of the history of religion, philosophy and science
Wouter Jacobus Hanegraaff (born 1961) is full professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is also President of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE).
(Above info thanks to Wikipedia Hanegraaff page)