Aries is the first academic journal specifically devoted to the study of esotericism. The journal publishes scholarly work, both empirically and theoretically driven, on all aspects of esoteric currents from antiquity to the present day, unrestrained by geographical and cultural location, and from a range of approaches in the humanities and social sciences. Esotericism is understood pragmatically as an umbrella term that covers a variety of historical currents, including but not limited to Gnosticism, Hermetism, theurgy, the Islamic science of letters, the “occult sciences” (magic, alchemy, astrology), kabbalah, Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, theosophy, illuminism, spiritualism and occultism, tantra and yoga, psychical research, traditionalism, neopaganism, alternative spiritualities, conspirituality, popular occulture, etc. Aries is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal publishing articles and book reviews in English, French, German, and Italian.
The notion that esotericism is a form of rejected knowledge has come back in style. The association of esotericism with heterodoxy, opposition, and marginalization has, however, been a standard trope since the nineteenth century. This article assesses the new rejected knowledge narrative that has developed from Wouter J. Hanegraaff’s groundbreaking Esotericism and the Academy (2012). It shows that the narrative exists in two forms: one restricted, the other inflated. While the strict version is an important contribution to the field, the inflated narrative is associated with a number of problems. The article discusses what is at stake, and how the problems could be overcome.