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Articles and Book Chapters 2010

Click on an image to go to the article

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The Birth of Esotericism from the Spirit of Protestantism

Aries 10:2 (2010), 197-216.

This article is the first seed from which my later monograph Esotericism and the Academy would grow. In analyzing how Protestant polemicists first conceptualised esotericism as "rejected knowledge," I pay particular emphasis to Ehregott Daniel Colberg (picture), Gottfried Arnold, and Jacques Matter.

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"And End History. And go to the Stars": Terence McKenna and 2012 

Carole M. Cusack & Christopher Hartney (eds.), Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Professor Garry W. Trompf, Brill: Leiden / Boston 2010, 291-312.

I give an analysis of Terence McKenna's entheogenic esotericism based on his books True Hallucinations and The Invisible Landscape, arguing that the latter (perhaps more than popular speculation about the Mayan Calendar) is at the origin of popular millenarian beliefs about 2012.

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The Platonic Frenzies in Marsilio Ficino

Jitse Dijkstra, Justin Kroesen & Yme Kuiper (eds.), Myths, Martyrs and Modernity: Studies in the History of Religions in Honour of Jan N. Bremmer, Brill: Leiden / Boston 2010, 553-567.

Here I analyse Marsilio Ficino's interpretation of the four types of divine "frenzy" or "madness" (manía) describe in Plato's Phaedrus, and their role in Ficino's general understanding of Platonism.

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Magnetic Gnosis: Somnambulism and the Quest for Absolute Knowledge

Andreas B. Kilcher & Philipp Theisohn (eds.), Die Enzyklopädik der Esoterik: Allwissenheitsmythen und universalwissenschaftliche Modelle in der Esoterik der Neuzeit, Wilhelm Fink: Paderborn 2010, 259-275.

This article is about how mediums in somnambulist trance were believed to be instruments for the acquisition of superior or even absolute knowledge, something in the sense of factual information and sometimes in that of salvational gnosis.

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The Unspeakable and the Law:

Esotericism in Anton Webern and the Second Viennese School

Laurence Wuidar (ed.), Music and Esotericism, Brill: Leiden / Boston 2010, 329-353.

In this article I show that the two great composers of atonality and twelve-tone music, Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern, were both influenced by esoteric traditions, notably kabbalah and Swedenborg. I also analyze how Webern's song cycles op. 3-4 on texts by Stefan George are attempts at processing his mother's death. 

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The Beginnings of Occultist Kabbalah: Adolphe Franck and Eliphas Lévi

Boaz Huss, Marco Pasi & Kocku von Stuckrad (eds.), Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations, Brill: Leiden / Boston 2010, 107-128.

This article is about two major figures in the study of "kabbalah" prior to the groundbreaking work of Gershom Scholem. It is remarkable that the views of respected early kabbalah scholar Adolphe Frank are quite close in some crucial respect to those of the founder of French occultism Eliphas Lévi.

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Western Esotericism in Enlightenment Historiography: The Importance of Jacob Brucker

Andreas B. Kilcher (ed.), Constructing Tradition: Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, Brill: Leiden / Boston 2010, 91-111.

In this analysis of the Jacob Brucker, the most influential historian of philosophy of the eighteenth century, I show how his work has been crucial also to the conceptualization of Western esotericism as "rejected knowledge" ready to be written out of the textbooks by Brucker's successors. 

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Philosophy’s Shadow: Jacob Brucker and the History of Thought

Rens Bod, Jaap Maat & Thijs Weststeijn (eds.), The Making of the Humanities, vol. 1: Early Modern Europe,  Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam 2010, 367-384.

Similar to the previous article (both are preparations for Esotericism and the Academy, in which Brucker plays a key role).