Year: 1998 ISBN: 978-90-429-0630-3 Pages: XVIII-294 p. Price: 32 EURO
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This volume is based upon papers read during the innovative section "Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion" organized at the 17th International Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR) in Mexico City, August 5-12, 1995. The section was created in order to fill a long-standing hiatus in the academic study of religions: whereas phenomena such as gnosticism and hermetism in antiquity, and even the occult sciences of that period, have long been recognized as subjects worthy of serious investigation, the history of similar and related phenomena in more recent periods has hardly received the same measure of scholarly attention and recognition. The present volume is devoted to the academic emancipation of these areas as constituting a legitimate domain of research, which may be referred to by the generic label "western esotericism". Preceded by an introductory essay on the birth of this new discipline in the study of religion, the volume provides a sample of current research in the field and devotes special attention to some central methodological questions.