- Textbooks and Introductions to Western Esotericism
- Volume | Issue number
- 43 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
This article reviews the presently available supply of textbooks and introductions to the new academic field of study known as ‘Western esotericism’. By analogy with computer software, the author refers to the early ‘religionist’ phase of research in this domain as ‘Western esotericism 1.0’. He argues that Antoine Faivre's small French textbook L’ésotérisme (1992) marked the beginning of a more satisfactory upgrade that might be referred to as ‘Western esotericism 2.0’ and remains dominant in teaching and research today. A critical review of textbooks and introductions representative of this second phase of academic professionalisation reveals a number of structural problems and weaknesses (‘bugs and design faults’) that need to be corrected in order for the field to complete its adolescence and reach academic maturity. To accommodate the needs and new perspectives of the upcoming generation of scholars in this field, it is therefore time for an upgrade to ‘Western esotericism 3.0’.
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