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  • 2016-10-17 20:43 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Manon Hedenborg White (Uppsala University, Sweden) has been appointed Interim ESSWE Student Representative.

  • 2016-09-22 22:19 | Egil Asprem (Administrator)

    This summer, Professor Dr. Mark Sedgwick's term as secretary of ESSWE came to an end. The ESSWE board and  community thanks him for his many years of extraordinary service to the Society and to the field. As a founding member he has been instrumental in shaping the organization, and his tireless work as secretary has made sure that future generations can rely on a smooth-running institution promoting the field of Western esotericism in Europe.

    The new secretary of the Society is Dr. Henrik Bogdan, Professor in the History of Religion at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. We welcome Henrik in the position and look forward to his service. General inquiries about the society, as well as specific tasks falling to the secretary's domain should now be addressed to him.

  • 2016-09-19 09:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The 11th International Conference

    „Literature and Religion”

    Submission deadline: October 1, 2016

    The Department of Latvian and Baltic Studies of Faculty of Humanities welcomes applications for the 11th international scientific conference  „Literature and Religion” at University of Latvia 2-3 December 2016.

    Special topic of this year conference – garden and labyrinth in the Bible and culture (literature, arts, theatre, cinema, music).

    Participants are invited to reflect on the interpretations of symbols of garden and labyrinth in literature and culture:

    ·       Eden – the garden of sin and beginning, Gethsemane – the garden of suffering, Golgotha – the garden of victory, Paradise as the garden of eternal life, Garden of God, etc.

    ·       Labyrinth as a trap, prayer labyrinth, labyrinth and pilgrimage, labyrinth as an element of medieval church interior, labyrinth as a secret.

    The organizers of the conference expect the participants to prepare papers dealing with the questions of theology, literary science, religion and literature in interaction offering analyses and interpretation of the pieces of art based on any religious theme in today`s context. The possible topics to be discussed at the conference include also:

    ·       The relationships between theology and literary critic,

    ·       Influence of religion on literary process,

    ·       Analysis of concrete works of art influenced by the religious motifs,

    ·       Contemporary interpretations and transformations of the biblical and other religious motifs in art and literature.

    Presentation length - 20 minutes.

    Conference fee 30 Euro should be paid via bank transfer (the details below) by November 1, 2016.

    The conference cannot offer any grants for travel or accommodation. 

    We welcome submissions in Latvian and English, the two working languages of the conference. Submissions should be sent via e-mail no later than 1 October, 2016 to

    Organizing Committee: prof. Ieva Kalniņa, prof. Māra Grudule, Mag.philol. Jūlija Dibovska.

    Any questions and suggestions:

    Conference is supported by the University of Latvia, Literary website and Theatre reviews website

  • 2016-08-01 23:31 | Egil Asprem (Administrator)

    The sixth biannual ESSWE conference will take place in Erfurt, Germany, on June 1-3, 2017, on the topic of "Western Esotericism and Deviance". The conference organizers are accepting proposals for papers and panels until November 15, 2016. See details on the conference website.

  • 2016-06-02 10:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Western Esotericism, Past and Present

    The Sixth Annual Conference of the Israeli Network

    for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

    2-3 June, Beit ha-student, 1st Floor, Room 107

    Reception 10:00-10:30

    Session I 10:30-11:30

    Welcome & Opening Lecture: Yossi Chajes & Boaz Huss

    1. Egil Asprem: Reassessing the 'Sociology of the Occult': The Role of Deviance and 'Rejected Knowledge' in

    Socio-Historical Explanations of ‘Esotericism'

    Session II 11:40-13:00

    Chair: Yuval Harari

    2. Ayelet Even Ezra: Dominicans and the Scientific Explanation of Demonic Illusions - Roland

    3. Yossi Schwartz: Dominicans and the Scientific Explanation of Demonic Illusions - Albertus

    Lunch 13:00-14:00

    Session II 14:00-15:30

    Chair: Maoz Kahana

    4. Theodor Dunkelgrün: Critical Edition as Practical Kabbalah: the Biblia Hebraica Accuratissima (Amsterdam, 1666-67)

    5. Raz Chen: Reforming Astrology in Early Modern Europe

    Coffee Break 15:30-15:45

    Special Session 15:45-16:45

    “Beit Midrash: Reading Sefer Yezira” — Informal, introductory group study, facilitated by Josh Lauffer

    Session III 16:45-18:30

    Chair & Respondent: Yossi Schwartz

    6. Ronit Meroz - Sefer Yezira as anti-Christian Polemic

    DINNER 18:30-20:00 on the Deck

    Friday 3 June

    Chair: Jonatan Meir

    8. Assaf Tamari: Safed as Periphery: Re-viewing the Innovative Nature of the Sixteenth-Century Renaissance in Safed

    9. Elke Morlok: “Like Diamonds in the Sky”: Satanow on Light, Sefirotic Colors and the Occult

    Coffee Break 10:30-10:45

    Session V 10:45-12:15

    Chair: Julie Chajes

    10. Shinichi Yamamoto: Japanese Zionism: Sakai Shogun's Mystical Visions and Common Ancestry Theory

    11. Andrea Gondos: The Representation of the Occult in a Post-Holocaust Hungarian Novel: Maria Szepes and The Red Lion

    Thursday 2 June


    Session IV 9:00-10:30

    7. Tzahi Weiss - Sefer Yezira and early Islam: A Re-evaluation

    Evening Entertainment

    Kabbalistic Scroll (fragment), Courtesy of Gross Family Collection Trust

  • 2016-05-27 08:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)




    27. V

    8.-9.00. REGISTRATION (main hall)

    9.-9.15-Opening. Greetings by Prof. Zoran Paunović, Deputy Dean for International Affairs, Faculty of Philology, and by Prof. György Endre Szőnyi , President of CEENASWE (room 33)

    9.15-10.15-Keynote lecture

    Yuri Stoyanov (University of London-Albright Institute Jerusalem): Esotericism and visionary mysticism in Medieval  Byzantine and Slavonic Orthodox pseudepigraphic and heretical literature (room 33)

    10.30.-11.00. coffee break


    session 1: Slavica mystica et hermetica (010)

    1. Oksana Aleksandrovna Stein (St. Petersburg state institute of technology Technical university) Ascetic practice of Hesychasm: A hermeneutical interpretation

    2. Vitalii Shchepanskyi (The National University of Ostroh Academy) Hermes Trismegistus in Slavia Orthodoxa: the written tradition

    chairman: Yuri Stoyanov (University of London-Albright Institute Jerusalem)

    session 2: Alchemy and Pansophy in CEE (011)

    • 1.      Rafał T. Prinke (Eugeniusz Piasecki University, Poznań) Michael Sendivogius as a literary antihero

    • 2.      Marton Szentpeteri (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest) The Temple of Christian Pansophy: Jan Amos Comenius and the early modern roots of Masonic symbolism

    • 3.      Jiří Michalík (Palacký University, Olomouc−Universität Konstanz−Universität Regensburg) Paracelsus and the beginnings of his reception in 16th-century Bohemia

    chairman: Rafał T. Prinke (Eugeniusz Piasecki University, Poznań)


    session 3: Esotericism in 18th century (010)

    • 1.      György Endre Szőnyi (University of Szeged−Central European University, Budapest) The Modern Adept. A novel on alchemy and its Hungarian reception in the time of the Enlightement.

    • 2.      Martin Javor (University of Prešov) Masonic magazine Orpheus in Kosice (1790 – 1791)

    chairman: Svetoslava Toncheva (IEFSEM, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)

    session 4: Arts and (magical) crafts (011)

    • 1.      Róbert Pölcz (University of Szeged) Spiritual alchemy in Gábor Bódy's Narcissus and Psyche

    • 2.      Spyros Petritakis (University of Crete) “Throughout the Dark, the Light”: mapping out the networks of Theosophists in interwar Athens through the case study of Frixos Aristeas (1897-1951).

    • 3.      Massimo Introvigne (Pontifical Salesian University in Torino−CESNUR) Artists and Theosophy in Present-Day Czech Republic and Slovakia

    chairman: Massimo Introvigne (Pontifical Salesian University in Torino−CESNUR)

    14.-15. lunch break


    session 5: Romanticism and its heritage (010)

    • 1.      Tomasz Niezgoda (Institute for Religious Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków) Poland as warrior messiah in the works of Adam Mickiewicz

    • 2.      Małgorzata Alicja Dulska (Jagiellonian University in Kraków) The Prophets of the new age. Mickiewicz, Słowacki and Krasiński in Polish esoteric writings in the interwar period

    • 3.      Nemanja Radulović (University of Belgrade) Romanticism, Orthodoxy and esotericism in The Ray of Microcosm by P. Petrović Njegoš

    • chairman: György Endre Szőnyi  (University of Szeged−Central European University, Budapest)

    session 6:  Esotericism and academy (011)

    • 1.      Boaz Huss (Ben Gurion University, Beersheba) Moses Gaster and Western esotericism

    • 2.      Matylda Ciołkosz (Jagiellonian University in Kraków) The pātañjala yoga of Leon Cyboran.  How the Yoga Sūtra was given a Polish voice

    • 3.      Fryderyk Kwiatkowski (Jagiellonian University in Kraków) The concept of”Gnosticism” as an interpretation strategy in Polish literary studies. Towards a new theoretical framework for studies in narrative fiction.

    chairman: Boaz Huss (Ben Gurion University, Beersheba)

    16.30.-17. coffee break


    session 7: Belle époque 1 (010)

    • 1.      Karolina Maria Hess  (Jagiellonian University in Kraków) Fascination with the Occult and the East: Theosophical inspirations in works of chosen Polish authors at the turn of the 20th century

    • 2.      Eugene Kuzmin, independent researcher, (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Valery Bryusov (1873-1924): selling the soul as a Method of Research

    chairman:Ewelina Drzewiecka (Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Cyrillo-Methodian Research Centre of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)

    session 8: Cross-cultural research 1 (migrations and receptions) (011)

    • 1.      Łukasz Byrski  (Jagiellonian University in Kraków) Magical books of wisdom in ancient Egypt and China and their reception in modern culture

    • 2.      Olaf Stachowski (Jagiellonian University in Kraków) The Art of Howling: a history of European spirit evocation practice and its possible Hellenic roots

    • 3.      Sergej Macura (University of Belgrade) The Bride of Night: An esoteric journey in Against the Day

    chairmen: Martin Javor (University of Prešov) and Marton Szentpeteri (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest)



    Session 9:  Belle époque 2 (010)

    • 1.      Ewelina Drzewiecka (Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Cyrillo-Methodian Research Centre of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) “Enlightened Esotericism”: a case study on migrating ideas in the modern Bulgarian tradition

    • 2.      Mauro Ruggiero (Charles IV University in Prague) The influence of Western esotericism on the poetry of the Czech poet and essayist Otokar Březina

    • 3.      Henrik Johnsson (Aarhus University) Alchemy as Poetry: the case of O.V. de L. Milosz

    chairman: Henrik Johnsson (Aarhus University)

    session 10: Cross-cultural research 2 (case studies) (011)

    • 1.      Snežana Milinković (University of Belgrade) Morgante and Malagigi as a personification of poetic creativity in Luigi Pulci ’s epic in the context of the last decades of the XV century in Florence

    • 2.      David William Mac Gillavry (Masaryk Univeristy, Prague) Rethinking Esotericism: a cognitive science account of Western esotericism and occultism

    chairman: Snežana Milinković (University of Belgrade)

    10.30.-11. 00. coffee break


    Session 11: Interwar period (010)

    • 1.      Eva Kovacheva (Plovdiv University) Importance of the Occult School of the White Brotherhood opened by Peter Deunov (The Master Beinsa Duno) in Sofia in 1922.

    • 2.      Svetoslava Toncheva (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) Petar Deunov’s esoteric ideas of the Bulgarians’ national culture

    • 3.      Konstantin Burmistrov (Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) Russian emigration of the 1920s – 1930s in Yugoslavia and esotericism

    chairman: Noel Putnik (CEU-Budapest)

    session 12: Poetry and /as esotericism (011)

    • 1.      Eszter Molnár (Eötvös Loránd Science University, Budapest) The influence of theosophy and Eastern mysticism in the works of the Hungarian poet Sándor Weöres

    • 2.      Stanislav Panin (D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, Moscow −Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism) The role of poetry in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian esotericism: a case of Ian Koltunov

    • 3.      Jan Miklas-Frankowski (University of Gdańsk) Visions from San Francisco Bay” as an example of esoteric inspirations in Czesław Miłosz’s  work

    chairman: Stanislav Panin (D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, Moscow−Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism)

    12.30.-13.30 lunch break


    session 13: Esotericism, politics and art in Serbia (010)

    • 1.      Noel Putnik (University of Belgrade−Central European University, Budapest, CEU) Occultism, politics and public imagination in Post-Communist Serbia

    • 2.      Nadežda Elezović (Croatia) Živorad Mihajlović Slavinski-author of globally influental systems of spiritual technology

    • 3.      Nikola Pešić (University of Belgrade) New Age healing in Marina Abramović’s art

    chairman:  Karolina Maria Hess (Jagiellonian University in Kraków)

    session 14: Popular imagination (011)

    • 1.      Pavel Nosachev (National research university Higher school of economics in Moscow) The influences of Western esotericism on Russian rock poetry of the turn of the century

    • 2.      Roman Shizhenskiy (State Paedgogical University K. Minin of Nizhniy Novgorod) The question about source basis of the Russian Pagan diaspora (according to field research)

    • 3.      Kateryna Zorya (University of Amsterdam) To See and To Remember: Tolkien-based visionary practices in Post-Soviet territory

    chairman: Pavel Nosachev (National research university Higher school of economics in Moscow)

    15.-15.30 coffee break

    15.30.-16.15 CEENASWE meeting (011)

  • 2016-05-23 10:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    HHP in Amsterdam is now receiving applications for its two PhD positions in the history of Western esotericism. A rare opportunity!

  • 2016-04-26 10:56 | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    Magical Traditions and Medieval Religions of the Book


    A one-­ day workshop for MA and PhD students organized by ESSWE in conjunction with the Warburg Institute, London.

    Location: Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

    Time: 10:00-17:30

    Date: Thursday 7 July 2016

    Please note: this is a free event with a limited number of places.

    For further information, or to book a place, please contact

    Sophie Page:




    Lecture Theatre, Warburg Institute

    Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB

    10:00-10:30 Workshop registration and coffee

    10:30-10:40 Welcome by ESSWE president Andreas Kilcher

    1) Oratory: Presentations by guest speakers (10:40—14.40) Chair: Yuri Stoyanov (SOAS)

    10:40-11:20 Siam Bhayro (Exeter): ‘Jewish Aramaic magic bowls from late antique Mesopotamia: No longer on the margins’

    11:20-12.00 Liana Saif (Oxford): ‘At the Margins of Orthodoxy: Magic in Medieval Islam’

    12.00-12:40 Adelina Angusheva-Tihanov (Manchester) ‘Slavic amulet books and Greek Orthodoxy’ with a response from Will Ryan (retired professor of Russian magic, Warburg Institute).‎‎

    12:40-13:40 Lunch Break (as this is a free event, lunch is not provided)

    13:40-14:40 Jean-Patrice Boudet (Orléans), ‘Magical Traditions and Medieval Religions of the Book: Common Topics and Mutual Influences’. Chair: Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute)

    2) Round table discussion (14:40-15:30) Chair: Sophie Page (UCL)

    15:30-16:00 Coffee Break

    3) PhD and Early Career Advice (16:00-16.30)

    Two simultaneous sessions:

    1. Early Career Advice for PhD students. Led by Egil Asprem (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and Liana Saif (Oxford)

    2. PhD advice for MA students (ESSWE board members and guest speakers)

    4) Laboratory: Discussion in period and regional focus groups (16:30-17:30)

    With the following scholars, in addition to the speakers and chairs: Andreas Kilcher, Mark Sedgwick, Peter J. Forshaw, Jean-Pierre Brach, Birgit Menzel, Bernd-Christian Otto and Gyorgy E. Szonyi.

    17:30 Wine reception


    The Warburg Institute, University of London, School of Advanced Study Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB


    • 73 and 30 stop on Euston Road (near Euston Station)
    • 59, 68, 91 and 168 stop on Woburn Place/Tavistock Square
    • 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134 and 390 stop on Tottenham Court Road (going northwards) and on Gower Street (going southwards)

    Tube stations:

    The nearest tube stations within a few minutes walking distance of the Institute are: Russell Square (Piccadilly Line), Goodge Street (Northern Line), Warren Street (Victoria Line), Euston (Northern and Victoria Lines), and Euston Square (Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines).
    Click the logo to acccess the London Underground site.

    British Rail stations:

    The rail stations close to the Institute are Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras.

    For further information, please contact Sophie Page: or visit the ESSWE Agenda page for this event:


  • 2016-04-12 13:51 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Occultism and Popular Culture Workshop

    19 April 2016


    This two-part workshop will explore the relationship between popular culture and occultism in conversation with Professor Wouter Hanegraaff (UvA, History of Hermetic Philosophy), Dr. Joyce Goggin (UvA), and Dr. Christine Ferguson (University of Glasgow).

    In the first half of the seminar will consist of Dr. Ferguson’s talk on “Arthur Machen and the Occult Pickwick,” and a lecture by Dr. Joyce Goggin on “Magic and Illusion: From Tarot to Playing Cards”.

    These lectures will be followed by a group seminar discussion of selected texts by Adorno, Horkheimer and Williams:

    “Popular” and “Culture” from Raymond Williams’ Keywords

    Excerpt from Adorno and Horkheimer’s The Culture Industry

    Adorno, “Theses Against Occultism”


    April 19, 2016. Bungehuis 004, 15:00 – 18:00   

    Please register for the workshop by contacting (  

    Gepubliceerd door  Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen

  • 2016-04-06 08:48 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The research project is an Initial Training Network (ITN) established by six universities and ninenon-academic partner organizations across Europe and engaging scholars and PhD students from various disciplines. The ITN will trace the roots and transformations of the human values of dignity and freedom in theological and philosophical traditions, among other things with the aim of understanding modern debates and conflicts about these values. In modern western societies, the ideal human being has the right to think, believe, and express itself freely without fearing retribution and to be treated as an autonomous and dignified individual. But such a conception is not shared by all – and never was. Its long history has been formed through a continuous battle between two theological and philosophical traditions going back to Origen of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo, respectively. Origen saw humans as free, valuable, and dignified beings, while Augustine saw them as predestined, sinful, and bound to servitude. The project’s research will continuously circle this battle between the opposing negative and positive views on humanity that we encounter in various contexts from antiquity to modern times. Thereby, the project will raise awareness of how ancient philosophical and religious tenets still shape political, moral, and anthropological categories and modes of thinking as well as principles of human conduct. Find more information on the project website

    This project has received funding from the European Union's H2020 research and innovation program

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