|Tuesday March 31, 2015||EXESESO >|
Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO)
It is with great sadness that we write of the death of Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Director for the Centre for the Study of Western Esotericism and the leader and driving force behind our Western Esotericism programmes. Professor Goodrick-Clarke was a highly valued member of staff and dedicated to the running of our Western Esotericism programmes. His death has left a great void in the teaching availability, research supervision and support for these programmes. Following his death, the College is reviewing the best way forward in these circumstances working with our partners including the Blavatsky Trust, whose generous donation supports the work of the Centre.
The Western esoteric tradition represents a distinct form of spirituality extending from Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism in the early Christian era up until the present. Diffused by Arab and Byzantine culture into medieval Europe , these esoteric currents experienced a marked revival through the Florentine neo-Platonists of the late fifteenth century. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, esoteric spirituality was carried by Renaissance magic, Christian Kabbalah, astrology, alchemy, German Naturphilosophie, theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry until the modern occult revival in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in which the Theosophy of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky played an important role.
Alongside and within this Western tradition, Arabic and Jewish currents have played a major role since the Latin Middle Ages. Arabic astrology, alchemy and natural science entered the medieval West through southern Italy and Spain from the tenth century onwards. In the fifteenth-century Jewish kabbalists in Spain and Italy assisted the Christian assimilation of Kabbalah, which henceforth became a major strand of European esoteric spirituality and thought. Accounts of spiritual ascent, angelic hierarchies and religious experience evidence strong commonalities between the Jewish, Christian and Islamic esoteric traditions.
The purpose of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO) is to foster advanced research into historical and comparative aspects of the esoteric traditions from the Hellenistic period in late antiquity through the Renaissance and early modern period to the present. Staff members in the departments of History (with interests in religion, culture, science and medicine), Sociology and Philosophy, Theology, Classics and Ancient History, and the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, collaborate in seminars, research and publications. Literary and philosophical traditions are also examined by colleagues in the Schools of English and Modern Languages (departments of French, German, Italian, Hispanic Studies, and Russian).
Postgraduate and postdoctoral members of EXESESO will be able to pursue research projects with the support of the Centre's panel of distinguished scholars across a number of departments and disciplines.
There are three main objectives:
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