This volume offers new approaches to some of the biggest persistent challenges in the study of esotericism and beyond. Commonly understood as a particularly “Western” undertaking consisting of religious, philosophical, and ritual traditions that go back to Mediterranean antiquity, this book argues for a global approach that significantly expands the scope of esotericism and highlights its relevance for broader theoretical and methodological debates in the humanities and social sciences.
The contributors offer critical interventions on aspects related to colonialism, race, gender and sexuality, economy, and marginality. Equipped with a substantial introduction and conclusion, the book offers textbook-style discussions of the state of research and makes concrete proposals for how esotericism can be rethought through broader engagement with neighboring fields.
Egil Asprem is Associate Professor in History of Religions at Stockholm University. He is the editor-in-chief of Aries and has published widely on esotericism and its study, including The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900-1939 (Brill, 2014).
Julian Strube is a Research Fellow at the University of Münster, Germany. He has published a range of monographs, edited volumes, and articles on the relationship between religion, esotericism, and politics since the nineteenth century from a global historical perspective.
"The book argues for a global approach to the study of esotericism and emphasizes its relevance for broader theoretical and methodological debates in the humanities and social sciences to encourage an open and serious exchange with other perspectives. This is indeed an essential contribution to the study of esotericism, which will undoubtedly elicit fruitful further discussion within and beyond the field."
- Nicole Maria Bauer, University of Innsbruck, in: Religious Studies Review 47.1 (2021).
List of Schematics Notes on Contributors Esotericism’s Expanding Horizon: Why This Book Came to BeEgil Asprem and Julian Strube Receptions of Revelations: A Future for the Study of Esotericism and AntiquityDylan Burns Towards the Study of Esotericism without the “Western”: Esotericism from the Perspective of a Global Religious HistoryJulian Strube “That I Did Love the Moor to Live with Him”: Islam in/and the Study of “Western Esotericism”Liana Saif The Occult among the Aborigines of South America? Some Remarks on Race, Coloniality, and the West in the Study of EsotericismMariano Villalba “Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels”: Western Esotericism, Yoga, and the Discourse of AuthenticityKeith Cantú Rejected Knowledge Reconsidered: Some Methodological Notes on Esotericism and MarginalityEgil Asprem Race and (the Study of) EsotericismJustine Bakker “What Can the Whole World Be Hiding?” Exploring Africana Esotericisms in the American Soul-Blues ContinuumHugh R. Page, Jr. and Stephen C. Finley Double Toil and Gender Trouble? Performativity and Femininity in the Cauldron of Esotericism ResearchManon Hedenborg White What do Jade Eggs Tell Us about the Category “Esotericism”? Spirituality, Neoliberalism, Secrecy, and CommoditiesSusannah Crockford Interpretation Reconsidered: The Definitional Progression in the Study of Esotericism as a Case in Point for the Varifocal Theory of InterpretationDimitry Okropiridze Afterword: Outlines of a New RoadmapEgil Asprem and Julian Strube Index
All interested in the study of esotericism, ranging from established experts and teachers looking for textbook introductions to students aiming to familiarize themselves with current discussions within the field.