Constructing Tradition

Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism


The question of constructing tradition, concepts of origin, and memory as well as techniques and practices of knowledge transmission, are central for cultures in general. In esotericism, however, such questions and techniques play an outstanding role and are widely reflected upon, in its literature. Esoteric paradigms not only understand themselves in elaborated mytho-poetical narratives as bearers of “older”, “hidden”, “higher” knowledge. They also claim their knowledge to be of a particular origin. And they claim this knowledge has been transmitted by particular (esoteric) means, media and groups. Consequently, esotericism not only involves the construction of its own tradition; it can even be understood as a specific form of tradition and transmission. The various studies of the present voume, which contains the papers of a conference held in Tübingen in July 2007, provide an overview of the most important concepts and ways of constructing tradition in esotericism.
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Biographical Note

Andreas B. Kilcher, PhD. (1996) in German Litreature, University of Basel, is Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at ETH Zurich since 2008. From 2004-2008 he has been Professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Tübingen. His research interests cover the history of German-Jewish literature and culture, literary and science; studies in esotericism. He recently published Die Enzyklopädik der Esoterik: Allwissenheitsmythen und universalwissenschaftliche Modelle in der Esoterik der Neuzeit with Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2010.

Table of contents

Contributors include: Andreas Kilcher, Antoine Faivre, Matthias Heiduk, Philipp Theisohn, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Tim Rudbøg, Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, Henrik Bogdan, Kocku von Stuckrad, Moshe Idel, Giulio Busi, Jean-Pierre Brach, Konstantin Burmistrov, Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Jan Assmann, Christine Maillard, Mark Sedgwick, Joscelyn Godwin, and Bernd Roling


All those interested in the history of science, of religion, of literature in general, as well as in esotericism and its history in particular(alchemy, magic, kabbalah, theosophy, occultism etc.)


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