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Author: John Willmett


This article examines the views of Gurdjieff’s disciples P.D. Ouspensky and Maurice Nicoll on the esoteric nature of the Gospels. Utilising one of Wouter Hanegraaff’s definitions of esotericism as religious activity concerned predominantly with salvific knowledge of the ‘inner mysteries of religion’ reserved for a selected elite, Ouspensky’s and Nicoll’s view of the Gospels as the rendering in metaphorical form of esoteric knowledge as the formulation of the esoteric psychology of the path of inner evolution is discussed. Sources for this discussion are Ouspensky’s A New Model of the Universe (1931), and Nicoll’s The New Man (1950) and The Mark (1954). It is suggested that the Gospels render esoteric knowledge and its linguistic expression secret and hidden. Nicoll’s idea of the necessity for this secrecy and hiddenness in dealing with the esoteric, that esoteric knowledge given to those unprepared for it is dangerous, both because it will be spoiled, its truth and beauty destroyed, and because it will turn into what Nicoll calls “world poison”, is illustrated in a discussion of the thesis presented in Jacob Needleman’s A Sense of the Cosmos (1975), that the rise of modern science represents an abuse of esoteric knowledge. The article concludes by presenting ideas from Needleman, Ouspensky and Nicoll of what needs to be done in the face of this current widespread abuse of esoteric knowledge.

In: Aries
From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety in the Dutch Republic
Editors: Joke Spaans and Jetze Touber
The history of the relation between religion and Enlightenment has been virtually rewritten In recent decades. The idea of a fairly unidirectional ‘rise of paganism’, or ‘secularisation’, has been replaced by a much more variegated panorama of interlocking changes—not least in the nature of both religion and rationalism. This volume explores developments in various cultural fields—from lexicology to geographical exploration, and from philosophy and history to theology, media and the arts—involved in the transformation of worldviews in the decades around 1700. The main focus is on the Dutch Republic, where discussion culture was more inclusive than in most other countries, and where people from very different walks of life joined the conversation.

Contributors include: Wiep van Bunge, Frank Daudeij, Martin Gierl, Albert Gootjes, Trudelien van ‘t Hof, Jonathan Israel, Henri Krop, Fred van Lieburg, Jaap Nieuwstraten, Joke Spaans, Jetze Touber, and Arthur Weststeijn.


Paul F. Grendler, noted historian of European education, surveys Jesuit schools and universities throughout Europe from the first school founded in 1548 to the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773. The Jesuits were famed educators who founded and operated an international network of schools and universities that enrolled students from the age of eight or ten through doctoral studies. The essay analyzes the organization, curriculum, pedagogy, culture, financing, relations with civil authorities, enrollments, and social composition of students in Jesuit pre-university schools. Grendler then examines the different forms of Jesuit universities. The Jesuits did almost all the teaching in small collegiate universities that they governed. In large civic–Jesuit universities the Jesuits taught the humanities, philosophy, and theology, while lay professors taught law and medicine. The article provides examples ranging from the first Jesuit school in Messina, Sicily, to universities across Europe. It features a complete list of Jesuit schools in France.

In: Jesuit Schools and Universities in Europe, 1548-1773
al-Ḏahab al-masbūk fī ḏikr man ḥaǧǧa min al-ḫulafāʾ wa-l-mulūk. Critical Edition, Annotated Translation, and Study
In Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History of Muslim Leadership and Pilgrimage Jo Van Steenbergen presents a new study, edition and translation of al-Ḏahab al-Masbūk fī Ḏikr man Ḥağğa min al-Ḫulafāʾ wa-l-Mulūk, a summary history of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca by al-Maqrīzī (766-845 AH/ca. 1365-1442 CE). Traditionally considered as a useful source for the history of the ḥağğ, al-Ḏahab al-Masbūk is re-interpreted here as a complex literary construction that was endowed with different meanings. Through detailed contextualist, narratological, semiotic and codicological analyses Van Steenbergen demonstrates how these meanings were deeply embedded in early-fifteenth century Egyptian transformations, how they changed substantially over time, and how they included particular claims about authorship and about legitimate and good Muslim rule.
In: Muslims in Interwar Europe
In: Muslims in Interwar Europe
In: Muslims in Interwar Europe
In: Muslims in Interwar Europe
In: Muslims in Interwar Europe