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  • 2012-11-24 14:54 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Call for Articles: Correspondences
    Deadline: February 28, 2013

    Correspondences is a new, biannual online journal devoted to the academic study of Western esotericism. The journal seek to create a public academic forum devoted to discussion and exposition of issues and currents in the field commonly known as ‘Western esotericism.’ The editors acknowledge that the use of “Western esotericism” as an umbrella term for a widely variant field of alternate scientific and religious ideas is problematic. Thus, articles related to esoteric currents from other global cultural centres may be accepted if a connection to alternative currents in “western culture” is implicitly established. The following list of areas of study is provided for clarification:

    Alchemy, Anthroposophy, Astrology, Eco-spirituality, Esotericism in art, literature, and music, Freemasonry, Geomancy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Illuminism, Initiatory secret societies, Kabbalah, Magic, Mesmerism, Mysticism, Naturphilosophie, Neo-paganism, New Age, Occultism, Occulture, Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, Satanism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Traditionalism, Ufology, Witchcraft.

    Correspondences intends to promote a wide forum of interdisciplinary debate regarding such areas of study, and therefore does not require academic credentials as a prerequisite for publication. Students and non-affiliated academics are encouraged to join established researchers in submitting insightful, well-researched articles that offer new ideas, positions, or information to the field.

    We are currently accepting book reviews (max. 1500 words) and articles (5000-10000 words) for our first issue. The deadline for submission is February 28. Following a peer-review process, the first issue will be published June 1, 2013. Manuscripts should be submitted as per our submission guidelines, available at Please send your manuscript and any enquiries to

    Jimmy Elwing and Aren Roukema, Editors.
    Click HERE to visit the website

  • 2012-11-09 14:57 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The second annual election for a student representative will be taking place during the first week of December.

    The duties of the person elected consists of attending the annual ESSWE board meeting as a non-voting representative of the students in order to put forward views on topics under discussion from the perspective of the students.
    (The next board meeting will take place during the 4th ESSWE conference in Gothenburg).

    Anyone interested in this position must confirm their candidacy by 21 November 2012. This will allow seventeen days for voters to reflect on their choice.

    The election will take place over the course of seven days, from December 10-16, inclusive. Announcement of the successful candidate will follow on, or before, 21 December 2012.

    Anyone interested in applying for the position or learning more about the voting procedures, please contact Kevin Hataley for further details:

  • 2012-07-28 14:59 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BC Academic
    Supervisor: Dr Kasia Szpakowska

    Two fully-funded PhD studentships form part of a three-year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust entitled Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BC.

    Demons abound in the media today-from tales of possession to the labeling of political policies as demonic, to the channelling of spirits for healing. Some of the most prevalent rituals in the ancient and modern world are those designed to target demons and those that call upon their superhuman power for benefit. But thus far, there has been no comprehensive systematic study of benevolent and malevolent demonic entities in Ancient Egypt. This project, Demonology 2K, applies Second Millennium AD technology to create a classification and ontology of those supernatural entities we will call demons, and the means used to harness their powers in Ancient Egypt during the Second Millennium BC. The approach combines archaeological, iconographic, and philological analysis of specific material, representational, and textual evidence. The research is data-driven, and includes the development of an interactive collaborative database and website. This project illuminates the darker and more private side of Ancient Egyptian religion that impacted daily lives, driving individuals to perform rituals and to access divine beings, with or without priestly assistance.

    The PhD studentships are available from 2 January 2013. Applicants must have:
    • demonstrated Egyptological expertise
    • ability to work with both texts and artefacts familiarity with and desire to
    • study Middle to New Kingdom religion reading knowledge of German and French
    • Digital expertise will be integral to one of the studentships detailed below.

    Please provide details in your statement of interest of experience of working with:
    • relational databases
    • quantification
    • Web 2.0 (interactive websites, blogs, virtual spaces) multimedia
    The PhD studentships differ in expertise as follows:

    PhD 1 should have a particular interest in working with artefacts and have a solid archaeological background both in terms of theory and post-excavation analysis. The successful student/candidate will focus on the material evidence, in particular types identified as primary targets for the project: apotropaia, inscribed headrests, and figurines. The student should have demonstrated aptitude for working with excavation reports (recent and dated) as well as museum and collections searching; be familiar with materials and technology; have a background in the archaeology of religion; and a dedicated attention to detail.

    PhD 2 must be fluent in reading Middle Egyptian and have a background in reading religious compositions (ideally Coffin Texts and magical papyri). The successful student/candidate will be responsible for a relational examination of hostile and demonic entities encountered in the texts. The investigation must be contextual, and take into account associated imagery, findspots, the location of imagery and text in relation to each other and on each individual coffin, time period, and status, gender and identity of the owner. Because most of the Coffin Texts have different versions, the candidate must be skilled in reading the texts to spot differences and similarities. The student must also have a thorough grounding in Egyptian religion in general in order to be able to achieve a nuanced understanding of the texts, as well as being able to undertake literal translation.

    Both Ph.D.'s are based in the Department of History and Classics, College of Arts and Humanities. The successful candidate will join a vigorous and friendly postgraduate community supported by theGraduate Centre for Arts and Humanities at Swansea University. The Academic Supervisor will be Dr. Kasia Szpakowska, a specialist in Ancient Egyptian private religious practice and co-founder of the international Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project.

    Applicants must have an MA or equivalent qualification, obtained or due to be obtained by October 2012, in any relevant discipline.

    Preliminary application materials consist of
    • academic CV
    • 1-2 page expression of interest (include why you are interested, a bit about your background and how you fulfil the brief) research proposal (no more than 1200 words or 5 pages) focussing on one of the areas (or both if you have no preference)
    • referee information (names, contact details, and emailsof 2 referees)
    To submit materials or for more information please contact Kasia Szpakowska: . Please note that I will be on annual leave 6-15 and 27-31 August and will not be able to respond to emails.

    Eligibility: Home/EU students

    Closing date: 17 September 2012

    Kasia Szpakowska, PhD, FSA
    Senior Lecturer in Egyptology, Dept. of History & Classics Centre for
    Egyptology & Mediterranean Archaeology (CEMA) Swansea University, Wales, SA2
    8PP, UK

    Dr. Kasia Szpakowska, Uwch-ddarlithydd mewn Eifftoleg Yr Adran Hanes a
    Chlasuron Y Ganolfan Eifftaidd ac Archeoleg Mediteranaidd (CEMA) Prifysgol
    Abertawe, Cymru, SA2 8PP

  • 2012-06-28 15:05 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (Max Planck Research Group Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe; Director: Prof. Dr. Sven Dupré) announces

    three postdoctoral fellowships for up to three months

    between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Outstanding junior and senior scholars (including those on sabbatical leave from their home institutions) are invited to apply.

    Candidates should hold a doctorate in the history of science and technology, the history of art and art technology or related field (junior scholars should have a dissertation topic relevant to the history of science) at the time of application and show evidence of scholarly promise in the form of publications and other achievements.

    Research projects should address the history of knowledge and art up to the eighteenth century (with a preference for the period between 1350 and 1750), and may concern any geographical area within Europe, and any object of the visual and decorative arts. Also welcome are projects falling within the scope of the history of optics, colour and perspective, the history of alchemy, or the history of collecting, but those relevant to the writing of an epistemic history of art will receive preference.

    Visiting fellows are expected to take part in the scientific life of the Institute, to advance their own research project, and to actively contribute to the project of the Max Planck Research Group Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe.

    The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is an international and interdisciplinary research institute ( The colloquium language is English; it is expected that candidates will be able to present their own work and discuss that of others fluently in that language. Fellowships are endowed with a monthly stipend between 1.900 € and 2.300 € (fellows from abroad) or between 1.468 € and 1.621 € (fellows from Germany), whereas senior scholars receive an honorary commensurate with experience.

    The Max Planck Research Group Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe is also accepting proposals for non-funded Visiting Fellowships from one month to a year. These are normally open to junior and senior post-docs who have external funding. For projects highly relevant to the research platform of this Max Planck Research Group, Sven Dupré will support a limited number of applications for funding at organizations such as Fulbright, DAAD, and the Humboldt Society.

    Candidates of all nationalities are encouraged to apply; applications from women are especially welcome. The Max Planck Society is committed to promoting handicapped individuals and encourages them to apply.

    Candidates are requested to submit a curriculum vitae (including list of publications), a research proposal on a topic related to the project (750 words maximum), one sample of writing (i.e. article or book chapter), and names and addresses of two referees (including email) who have already been contacted by the applicant to assure their willingness to submit letters of recommendation if requested, to:

    Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Max Planck Research Group Dupré Boltzmannstr. 22
    14195 Berlin

    (Electronic submission is also possible: )

    by September 15, 2012. Successful candidates will be notified before October 31.

    For questions concerning the Max Planck Research Group on Art and Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe, please click here or contact Sven Dupré (); for administrative questions concerning the position and the Institute, please contact Claudia Paaß (), Head of Administration, or Jochen Schneider (), Research Coordinator.

  • 2012-05-15 15:12 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Le Tre Anella: Al crocevia spirituale tra Ebraismo, Cristianesimo e Islam

    The Board of Editors of the interdisciplinary journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is soliciting contributions to its sixth thematic volume, scheduled to appear in 2013. This issue will contain twelve to fifteen essays addressing the theme of the cultural and religious interactions between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam.

    The “Three Rings” parable, known in Western culture mainly through Boccaccio’s novella in the Decameron and Lessing’s Nathan der Weise, has been subject to research for a hundred years or so. Some scholars have argued that the parable originated in Spain, but its exact source remains unknown. In any case, the emergence and development of his suggestive message, including the eight and sixteenth centuries, evidently origins in the Mediterranean context of intercultural and inter-religious relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

    In particular, Western esotericism has been characterised as the combination of Alexandrian Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and related religious philosophies of late antiquity and the traces each has left in the three Abrahamic religions. For this process, very important was the uninterrupted translation of texts between Arabic, Latin and Hebrew languages. Still today these three Mediterranean cultures are mixed together in narrow and interesting plots.

    All aspects of the cultural connections between Hebraism, Christianity and Islam in history of religions, theology, philosophy, mysticism, esotericism, literature, visual arts, music and folklore are welcome.
    Please send proposals for essays (250 to 350 words) accompanied by a bio- bibliographical sketch to Alessandro Grossato: , by September 30, 2012.

    Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei accepts proposals and essays in all major European languages. The editors of the volume will strive for a balanced and diversified table of contents. They will confirm accepted submissions by December 2, 2012. Subsequently, the final deadline for submitting the completed essays will be June 1, 2013. The average length recommended for each contribution is of 6,000 words, with a maximum length allowed of 7,000 words, including footnotes and bibliographical references.


    The journal Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is based at the University of Bologna, Italy, and is supported by ASTREA (Associazione di Studi e Ricerche Euro- Asiatiche). Editor in Chief: Carlo Saccone; Board of Editors: Daniela Boccassini, Alessandro Grossato, Carlo Saccone. The journal counts among its editorial associates world-renowned specialists from major European and North American Universities.

    For further information on the journal’s mission and an overview of previous issues please go to: Italian website or North American website

    Quaderni di Studi Indo-Mediterranei is committed to upholding a high profile in comparative studies and the highest standards of peer-reviewed scholarship.

  • 2012-04-26 15:16 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Call for Abstracts: “A ‘Supernatural’ History of Central Europe, 1870-present”
    Editors: Eric Kurlander (Stetson U.)
    Monica Black (U. of Tenn., Knoxville)
    Deadline: August 1, 2012

    Despite the ostensible “disenchantment of the world” proclaimed by Max Weber at the beginning of the twentieth century, Central Europe has a rich modern history of occultism, folklore, paganism, and popular religion. Yet the “supernatural history” of this ethno-culturally diverse region, extending from the Rhine and Baltic in the North and West to the Vistula and Danube in the South and East, has yet to be written. To be sure, the last twenty years have witnessed a renaissance of interest in Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious practice since the late-nineteenth century. With the exception a few excellent monographs on occultism and parapsychology, however, historians have been slow to investigate less conventional aspects of the “supernatural” in Modern Central Europe.

    We seek abstracts from scholars interested in exploring the new spiritualities, unique metaphysical experiences and practices, and novel explanations of the world that stood somewhere between natural scientific verifiability and the shopworn truths of traditional religion, and which flourished across Central Europe in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution. We are keen to see submissions that integrate social, political, and cultural history with “supernatural” thinking and practice, broadly conceived. We are especially interested in submissions that will extend their analysis and explorations beyond national boundaries, connecting people, ideas, experiences, and movements interculturally and transnationally.

    Obviously, profound complexities inhere in the term “supernatural”—and no less so in terms like “popular religion,” let alone “superstition.” All of these terms bristle with invidious distinctions and reifications imposed by those seeking to draw sharp contrasts between “orthodox” and “heterogeneous” manifestations of religion and between “science” and “popular belief”—which for our purposes might refer to various methods of explaining, knowing, and experiencing the world that somehow draw on the numinous or the metaphysical. Not only has the presence and broad scope of such practices and ideas not yet been fully explored, but they have also not been properly integrated into larger histories of Central European culture, society, and politics—despite the fact that they have from time to time been the cause of considerable friction.

    By bringing together scholars from German, Austrian, Hapsburg, and Slavic Studies, we hope to address questions central to the study of Central European politics, culture, and identity in new ways. What meanings can we assign to the renewal of interest in occultism, “pseudo-science,” and folklore studies in the decades around the fin-de-siècle? How does the waxing or waning of these fields relate to questions of war and peace, revolution and reaction, crisis and stability? How have differences between “science” and “pseudo-science” been articulated in various moments and why? How did folklore, occultism, “pseudo-science” and other “supernatural” practices function as alternatives to organized religion at various moments in the Central European past? How was a fascination with the “supernatural” reflected in popular culture and the arts from the nineteenth century to today? What roles have popular superstition and everyday rituals played in Central European attempts to negotiate the trials of the twentieth century? What role did such rituals––“political religion” or otherwise––play in the legitimization of fascism, communism, and other forms of authoritarian politics before and after 1945? What influence did “supernatural” ideas and practices have in generating policies of ethnic cleansing, eugenics, and imperialism, or how can they been seen as a response to those policies? What were the differences East and West of the Iron Curtain after 1945? What are the implications in terms of class, gender, identity, and ethnicity?

    Potential topics may include but are not limited to:
    • Occultism
    • “Pseudo-science” and parapsychology
    • Séances, spirit media, and communication with the dead
    • Dowsing
    • Faith healing
    • Astrology
    • Palm reading
    • Clairvoyance and prophecy
    • Ghost stories and apparitions
    • Witchcraft
    • Homeopathy
    • New Age
    • Exorcism
    • Vampires, werewolves and other monsters
    • “Pagan” religions
    • The horror genre, science fiction, and “fantastic” in film, art, and literature
    If you are interested in contributing an abstract of not more than 500 words for consideration, please send it, along with your CV, to
    Monica Black ( ) and Eric Kurlander ( ) by AUGUST 1, 2012.

  • 2012-02-06 15:21 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Launch of Polish-language journal Hermaion.

    Readers of Polish will be pleased to hear of the launch of a new journal, Hermaion, the first scholarly journal on the occult in the Polish language.

    To visit the Hermaion home page, click Here.

    For more information, please email Łagosz Zbigniew 


    Dariusz Misiuna: Na początku był blef.
    Kazimierz Banek: Hermes Trismegistos. W poszukiwaniu genezy mitu.
    Jacek Sieradzan: Sokrates a nauki tajemne.
    Piotr Piotrowski: Na tropie kosmicznych wzorców.
    Jerzy Prokopiuk: W obronie grzechu. Poważny żart immoralisty.
    Mirosław Piróg: C.G. Jung i tradycja hermetyczna.
    Bartosz Samitowski: Gnostycy, alchemicy, Jung: Czerwona Księga a hermeneutyka indywiduacji.
    Tomasz Stawiszyński: Mit i metoda.
    Krzysztof Grudnik: Pragmatyczne podstawy filozofii Aleistera Crowleya.
    Tadeusz Cegielski: Mity założycielskie wolnomularstwa spekulatywnego.
    Rafał Prinke: Dwa rękopisy. Polskie tropy u początków Hermetycznego Zakonu Złotego Brzasku.
    Anna Mikołejko: Eusapia Palladino w Warszawie. Akt założycielski polskiego spirytyzmu.
    Zbigniew Łagosz: Mit polskiego satanizmu - Czesław Czyński - proces, którego nie było.
    Michał Knihinicki: Mit założycielski w organizacjach satanistycznych.
    Patryk Balawender i Dariusz Czywilis: Mitotwórcza funkcja spisku na przykładzie wybranych teorii.
    Jerzy Kolarzowski: Uroda mitu i muzyki. O Don Giovannim Saury. Poetyka filmowej narracji.
    Zbigniew Łagosz: Śląska sztuka magiczna.
    Dariusz Misiuna: Niepokorni uczniowie Bestii.

    No. 1 Myths and Mystification

    Dariusz Misiuna: In the beginning was a bluff.
    Kazimierz Banek: Hermes Trismegistos. In search of the origins of the myth.
    Jacek Sieradzan: Socrates and the occult sciences.
    Piotr Piotrowski: On the trail of cosmic patterns.
    George Prokopiuk: In defense of sin. A serious immoralist joke.
    Miroslaw Pirog: C.G. Jung and the Hermetic tradition.
    Bartosz Samitowski: Gnostics, alchemists, Jung: The Red Book of a hermeneutics of individuation.
    Thomas Stawiszyński: Myth and Method.
    Christopher Grudnik: Pragmatic foundations of the philosophy of Aleister Crowley.
    Tadeusz Cegielski: Founding Myths of speculative Freemasonry.
    Raphael Prinke: Two manuscripts. Polish clues at the beginning of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
    Anna Mikołejko: Eusapia Palladino in Warsaw. Constitutive Act of the Polish spiritualism.
    Zbigniew Łagosz: The Myth of Polish Satanism - Czeslaw Czynski - a process that was not there.
    Michael Knihinicki: The founding myth of Satanic organizations.
    Patrick Balawender and Dariusz Czywilis: myth-making function of the conspiracy, based on selected theories.
    George Kolarzowski: Beauty myth and music. The Saura's Don Giovanni. Poetics of film narration.
    Zbigniew Łagosz: The magical art of Silesia.
    Dariusz Misiuna: Rebellious students of the Beast.

    (Courtesy of Google Translate)

  • 2012-02-02 15:24 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Joseph Laycock is guest editing a special issue of Nova Religio on the paranormal and is encouraging scholars to submit articles relevant to the subject. Here is what he has to say:

    In the last few years, several good books have appeared that consider so-called “paranormal” beliefs, discourses, and experiences as an object of inquiry for religion scholars. Like the category “religion,” the category “paranormal” is poorly circumscribed and may potentially include a wide milieu of supernatural and pseudo-scientific beliefs and ideas. We seek papers that address the place of paranormal discourses within the larger context of religious and cultural studies. We also invite papers on religious aspects of specific paranormal discourses such as UFOs, psychics, hauntings, etc.

    Submission Guidelines

    Potential authors should first review Nova Religio’s website to get a sense of the aim and scope of the journal. Authors should follow the guidelines for authors on the website for the format of the paper and its citations.

    Submission queries, including abstracts, should be sent to Joseph Laycock: . Completed articles are due August 1, 2012, and should be approximately 8,000-10,000 words including all documentation and critical apparatus. As the guest editor, I will make the initial determination about which papers are suitable for publication, and work with authors to improve their draft papers before forwarding them to Nova Religio’s co-general editors. The co-general editors, Eugene Gallagher, Joel Tishken, and Catherine Wessinger, will make the final decision about whether or not a paper can be accepted for publication in Nova Religio.

  • 2012-01-05 15:27 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The Institut Métapsychique International is organizing a seminar by Bertrand Méheust (philosopher and historian of parapsychology)
    on "Introduction to the history of modern and contemporary esoterism". The seminar will be in French, at IMI (Paris), the 3/4 March and 7/8 April 2012.

    Bertrand Méheust, professeur de philosophie et sociologue, animera deux séminaires sur 4 week-ends de janvier à avril 2012 :
    • le premier sur les états modifiés de conscience et l’histoire comparée des religions
    • le second sur l’introduction à l’histoire de l’ésotérisme moderne et contemporain
    Ces séminaires se baseront sur deux cours donnés à l’Université de Lausanne en 2010. Ils sont ouverts à tous mais le nombre de places est limité.

    Prendre part à ces séminaires est une occasion unique. Membre de l’IMI depuis 1999, Bertrand Méheust est perçu à l’étranger comme un des derniers « auteurs de l’impossible »,
    selon l’expression du Professeur de philosophie et de pensée religieuse, Jeffrey Krippal (2010). Connu comme théoricien en ufologie, historien et sociologue de la métapsychique
    avec sa thèse Somnambulisme et Médiumnité (Les Empêcheurs de Penser en Rond, 1999), il intervient également dans le débat sur l’écologie et la politique.

    Séminaire I : États modifiés de conscience et histoire comparée des religions

    Le concept d’états modifiés (ou non ordinaires, ou altérés, de conscience) qui seraient l’objet d’une branche nouvelle de la psychologie, est une idée récente, liée à la reprise, par la science contemporaine, de dimensions de l’expérience qui jusque là dépendaient du domaine magico-religieux. Cette nouvelle branche de la psychologie, relativement récente sous sa forme académique, ouvre des perspectives très riches, mais elle est encore l’objet de polémiques. Nous sommes donc dans un sujet « chaud », ce qui le rend d’autant plus passionnant.

    Cette idée émerge au début des temps modernes, en même temps que ce que l’on appelle aujourd’hui les « sciences psychiques ». Auparavant, ces états de conscience « non ordinaires », ou « modifiés » (on verra les nuances que recouvrent ces expressions) étaient vécus sur un tout autre registre. La psychologie n’était pas encore née, la catégorie de l’individu n’existait pas encore, ou du moins n’avait pas le sens et l’importance qu’elle a prise aujourd’hui, et ces états de conscience étaient vécus par ceux qui en faisaient l’expérience, et pensés par la société, à travers le registre magico-religieux.

    Pour pendre un exemple, au XVI° siècle une épidémie d’apparitions du diable se développe en Europe, particulièrement en France et en Allemagne. Cette épidémie est d’abord vécue à travers les concepts de la théologie de l’époque. Les contacts avec le diable ne sont pas pensés par les juges et les théologiens du XVI° siècle comme un problème psychologique à élucider, mais comme une invasion diabolique réelle et terrifiante qu’il faut arrêter par une répression impitoyable. Puis, avec un médecin hollandais nommé Jean Wier, pour la première fois, les sorcières ne sont plus considérées comme des personnes malfaisantes qu’il faut punir et éradiquer, mais comme des malades en proie à des hallucinations qu’il soigner. L’appréhension de ces phénomènes se transforme, sans qu’ils perdent nécessairement pour autant leur pouvoir de fascination.

    Il est donc absolument indispensable, pour comprendre la nature de ces états de conscience, et leur fonction dans l’économie de la culture, de commencer par les mettre en perspective avec cette dimension magico-religieuse d’où ils émergent. Nous ne nous limiterons pas à la dimension religieuse, nous explorerons aussi ses marges. Ce sera la première tâche de ce cours. Mais la documentation est si nourrie, et le sujet si ample, que nous nous contenterons de faire des « carottages », à divers moments historiques, pour construire un problème, avec comme fil conducteur un outil théorique que j’ai forgé au contact de ces dossiers, et que j’appelle le « décrire-construire. »

    Ce cours devrait comporter six sections principales :

    1) Dans une premier chapitre, je commencerai par un ensemble de définitions relatives aux états non ordinaires de conscience, puis je préciserai quelques notions, quelques outils théoriques que nous allons utiliser pour tracer une trajectoire dans ce domaine ; et notamment, celui du décrire construire.

    2) Dans un deuxième chapitre, nous examinerons les arrière plans magico-religieux dans lesquels les états non ordinaires de conscience se sont d’abord développés, leur biotope originel, pourrait-on dire, à travers des exemples pris surtout dans le monde antique.

    3) Dans un troisième chapitre, nous verrons comment la théologie chrétienne, puis le rationalisme, ont peu à peu rejeté cette dimension. Puis nous nous intéresserons à sa résurgence, à travers plusieurs mouvements qui ont défrayé la chronique aux XVII°, XVIII° et XIX° siècles, comme le magnétisme animal.

    4) Dans un quatrième chapitre, nous envisagerons la question sous un angle dynamique, en cherchant à décrire le développement de ces phénomènes, leur surgissement périodique, sous forme de vagues. De décrire leur cycle en quelque sorte.

    5) Dans une cinquième chapitre, nous examinerons un échantillonnage d’états non ordinaires de conscience, empruntés à divers moments de la culture, pour bien faire ressentir, à la fois leur diversité et leurs points communs, pour montrer les divers visages qu’ils sont capables de revêtir après une matrice commune.

    6) Enfin, dans un dernier chapitre, nous ferons le bilan, pour conclure, de l’influence de ces états de conscience sur les divers secteurs de la culture : sur la psychologie, l’art, la littérature, la science, la politique.

    Séminaire II : Introduction à l’histoire de l’ésotérisme moderne et contemporain

    Plusieurs facteurs rendent difficile l’appréhension de l’ésotérisme.

    Il y a d’abord la mode qui règne autour de cette question, favorisée par les romans de Dan Brown, et toute la littérature du même genre. Mode dont le ressort principal est l’idée du secret et du complot. Un petit groupe de gens détiendrait une information depuis de temps immémoriaux et manipulerait à leur insu les hommes. Cette compréhension hollywoodienne et sensationnaliste ne nous apprend pas grand chose sur l’ésotérisme, mais elle est très révélatrice de notre société, elle parle au sociologue. Elle nous montre une société dirigée par des oligarchies opaques, une société dont la complexité est devenue telle que plus personne ne maîtrise les processus qui s’y déroulent. Dans cette perspective, les scénarios « conspirationnistes » où l’on introduit des thèmes propres à l’ésotérisme, comme le rôle secret des Templiers, ou de telle autre société secrète, dans le développement de l’histoire, traduiraient tout simplement le désir de garder le contrôle des mécanismes sociaux qui nous échappent en prêtant à des groupes la capacité de maintenir un contrôle secret sur les événements.

    La deuxième raison qui rend difficile l’approche de l’ésotérisme, et selon moi la principale, c’est que les courants de pensée que l’on regroupe sous ce terme générique traduisent une idée du savoir qui vient de l’antiquité, qui a participé à l’essor de la science moderne, mais qui s’est modifiée sous l’influence de la science. Et qui a été obligée pour survivre de prendre le maquis, de s’occulter. De ce fait, comme nous sommes façonnés par l’idée moderne du savoir véhiculée par la science, il est devenu extrêmement difficile de saisir ce qu’est l’ésotérisme. Y parvenir requiert au préalable de s’arracher au formatage qu’a opéré sur nous cette idée moderne du savoir. Cela exige donc tout un travail historique, philosophique préparatoire.

    La troisième difficulté, qui est liée à la précédente, concerne de ce fait la définition même de l’ésotérisme. Car, selon la définition que l’on va en donner, la nature du sujet et le volume des informations à maîtriser va changer du tout au tout. On verra en effet qu’il y a deux définitions possibles de l’ésotérisme : 1) une définition très large, qui englobe presque tous les savoirs pré modernes, définition qui est souvent propagée par les tenants de l’ésotérisme eux mêmes. 2) une définition restreinte, à laquelle je vais me rallier, définition qui lie l’ésotérisme à l’essor de la science moderne en Occident

    la quatrième difficulté réside dans l’énorme volume des connaissances à assimiler, même pour celui qui s’en tient à la définition restreinte que je viens de proposer. Devant cette situation, il n’y a pas d’autre solution, surtout dans le cadre d’un cours d’initiation, que de pratiquer des carottages, de s’installer aux endroits stratégiques, ce qui requiert la maîtrise des points précédents.

    Pour toutes ces raisons, le parcours que je vais tracer avec vous va commencer par privilégier, à l’accumulation des connaissances factuelles, la maîtrise des outils conceptuels. Il est impossible de s’orienter dans l’histoire de l’ésotérisme sans commencer par tenter de préciser le concept même de l’ésotérisme, et pour y parvenir on ne peut le faire que par contraste avec le mode de savoir qui a précédé à la naissance de la science moderne, et que nous avons aujourd’hui le plus grand mal à saisir. Il en découle le plan général que je vais tenter de respecter dans l’organisation de ce cours.

    1) Dans la première partie du cours, nous allons tenter de nous orienter dans l’ésotérisme, en le présentant par contraste avec les formes de savoir qui ont précédé la science moderne. Nous présenterons d’abord un échantillonnage de termes et de notions que nous ne cesserons de rencontrer pendant le cours. Nous montrerons la difficulté d’appréhender l’ésotérisme si nous n’en précisons pas au préalable le concept, et si nous n’en donnons pas une définition précise et restreinte.

    2) Dans une deuxième partie nous examinerons le moment nodal ou se constitue l’ésotérisme, la naissance de la science moderne, la rupture galiléo-cartésienne. Nous montrerons que l’ésotérisme a participé à la naissance de la science et de la philosophie moderne, mais qu’en même temps il a refusé de suivre le chemin qu’elle a suivi, et que c’est cette divergence qui le constitue en propre.

    3) Dans une troisième partie nous examinerons quelques grands thèmes de l’ésotérisme (notamment son intuition centrale de la « co-naturalité de l’homme et du monde »). En partant de cette idée-mère, nous verrons comment l’ésotérisme a influencé et nourri la science, à travers les cas de Giordano Bruno, de Kepler, de Descartes, de Newton, de Mesmer. Nous tenterons d’examiner la nature de cette influence paradoxale et d’en tirer les leçons concernant la place de l’ésotérisme dans la connaissance.

    4) Enfin, dans une dernière partie, nous examinerons plusieurs courants historiques constitutifs de l’ésotérisme moderne et contemporain, comme la théosophie, l’alchimie, l’anthroposophie.

  • 2011-12-13 15:32 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Admission to Doctoral Programmes, University of Gothenburg

    The Faculty of Arts announces 18 funded positions as postgraduate student in the subjects listed below. A complete application must be submitted no later than noon (12:00), Friday January 20th, 2012. The application is to be made by means of the electronic form in The University of Gothenburg’s net-based Job Application Portal, where required attachments also are to be uploaded. Instructions for applicants are here.

    Final decisions about admissions will be made in May or June; all applicants will be informed. An announcement in a given subject does not entail a guarantee that anyone will be admitted within this particular subject.

    Applicants must be aware that the Faculty’s principle of announcing full postgraduate positions carries with it the expectation that the postgraduate as employee will be physically present at the workplace and interacting actively with the research environment.

    In order to be admitted as a doctoral student, you must have completed an undergraduate degree (First cycle) and at least one year of study at the Masters level (Second cycle). Normally the prerequisites for being admitted to a doctoral programme in a given subject include three to four terms of studies in that subject in the First and Second cycle. If you are uncertain about your qualifications, you should check with the relevant department. It is also advisable to check with the department whether it is possible for students who don’t speak Swedish to follow the required courses and seminars.

    Only students who have funding for the equivalent of four years full time study will be admitted into a doctoral programme; funding is normally obtained through a Faculty studentship. Faculty studentships in various subjects are normally announced once a year.
    Anyone interested in researching in the area of Western Esotericism, should contact Henrik Bogdan, email:

    For more general information, contact the Faculty's director of doctoral studies. For more specific information about possibilities and requirements in the different subjects, contact your vice-head of department for doctoral studies:

    Department of Cultural Sciences – Alf Björnberg, e-mail:

    Department of Historical Studies – Maria Sjöberg, e-mail:

    Department of Languages and Literatures – Kan Benson, e-mail:

    Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion – Mats Jansson, e-mail:

    Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science – Åsa Abelin, e-mail:

    Department of Swedish – Elisabet Engdahl, e-mail:

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