- På epleslang i kunnskapens tre: en kritisk drøfting av teori i nyere esoterismeforskning
- Dīn : Tidsskrift for Religion og Kultur
- Volume | Issue number
- 2009 | 1-2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
The academic study of Western esotericism has gone through a process of professionalization during the last two decades. Access to new institutional platforms has given more room for debates and theoretical reflections on the foundations of research on esotericism. This article deals critically with recent discussions on the definition and theorisation of "esotericism" and its place within the broader disciplinary frameworks of religious studies and the history of ideas. It argues that the recent debate has brought the field to a paradoxical position where the scope of the term "esotericism" is mostly agreed upon, while the theoretical justification for the usage remains contested. It is also argued that much of the disagreement is due to three different strategies taken by scholars in order to approach the subject matter; historical, typological, and discursive. This article extracts valuable points from the different perspectives in order to single out some commonalities despite the differences. I will subsequently suggest new directions for esotericism research by emphasizing a closer allegiance with the critical approaches within religious studies and the sociologically oriented history of ideas.
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