Polemical Encounters

Esoteric Discourse and Its Others


In its historical development from late antiquity to the present, western esotericism has repeatedly been the issue of polemical discourse. This volume engages the polemical structures that underlie both the identities within and the controversy about esoteric currents in European history. From Jewish and Christian kabbalah through heretical discourse and interconfessional polemics in early modernity to the legitimization of esoteric identity in modern culture, the 12 chapters, accompanied by an editors’ introduction, provide a cornucopia of relevant cases that are interpreted in a framework of polemical discourse and ‘Othering’. This volume sheds new light on the ultimately polemical structure of western esotericism and thus opens new vistas for further research into esoteric discourse.

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Olav Hammer, Ph.D. (2000), is Professor of History of Religions at the Institute of Philsosophy, Education and Religion at the University of Southern Denmark. He has published extensively on New Age religion, new religious movements and on issues of theory in the study of religion.
Kocku von Stuckrad, Ph.D. (2000), is Assistant Professor in the Center for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam. He has published widely on methodological and historical issues in the study of religion.
Contributors include: Konstantin Burmistrov, Steven M. Wasserstrom, Boaz Huss, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Hanns-Peter Neumann, Peter Hanns Reill, Renko Geffarth, Brannon Ingram, Dylan Burns, Titus Hjelm, Olav Hammer, and Kocku von Stuckrad.
All those interested in methodological and historical issues of western esotericism, European intellectual history, and the dynamics of identity formation in European history of religion.
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