The study of contemporary esoteric discourse has hitherto been a largely neglected part of the new academic field of Western esotericism. Contemporary Esotericism provides a broad overview and assessment of the complex world of Western esoteric thought today. Combining historiographical analysis with theories and methodologies from the social sciences, the volume explores new problems and offers new possibilities for the study of esoterica. Contemporary Esotericism studies the period since the 1950s but focuses on the last two decades. The wide range of essays are divided into four thematic sections: the intricacies of esoteric appeals to tradition; the role of popular culture, modern communication technologies, and new media in contemporary esotericism; the impact and influence of esotericism on both religious and secular arenas; and the recent 'de-marginalization' of the esoteric in both scholarship and society.
Table of Contents
1. Contemporary Esotericism: Introduction, Egil Asprem, University of Amsterdam, & Kennet Granholm, Stockholm University PART I: TRADITION 2. Constructing Esotericisms: Sociological, Historical, and Critical Approaches to the Invention of Tradition, Egil Asprem & Kennet Granholm 3. Inventing Africa: Esotericism and the Creation of an Afrocentric Tradition in America, Fredrik Gregorius, Pennsylvania State University 4. Secret Lineages and De Facto Satanists: Anton LaVey's Use of Esoteric Tradition, Per Faxneld. Stockholm University 5. Perennialism and Iconoclasm: Chaos Magick and the Legitimacy of Innovation, Colin Duggan, University College Cork PART II: POPULAR CULTURE AND NEW MEDIA 6. Occulture is Ordinary, Christopher Partridge, Lancaster University 7. From Book to Bit: Enacting Satanism Online, Jesper Aagaard Petersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim 8. Accessing the Astral with a Monitor and Mouse: Esoteric Religion and the Astral located in Three-Dimensional Virtual Realms, John L. Crow, Florida State University 9. The Secrets of Scientology: Concealment, Information Control, and Esoteric Knowledge in the World's Most Controversial New Religion, Hugh B. Urban, Ohio State University 10. Hidden Knowledge, Hidden Powers: Esotericism and Conspiracy Culture, Asbjorn Dyrendal, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim PART III: ESOTERIC TRANSFERS 11. Discursive Transfers and Reconfigurations: Tracing the Religious and the Esoteric in Secular Culture, Kocku von Stuckrad, University of Groningen 12. Radical Politics and Political Esotericism: The Adaptation of Esoteric Discourse within the Radical Right, Jacob Christiansen Senholt, Aarhus University 13. New Age Spirituality and Islamic Jihad: Paulo Coelho's Manual of the Warrior of Light and Shamil Basayev's Manual of the Mujahid, Eduard ten Houten, University of Amsterdam 14. Deep Ecology and the Study of Western Esotericism, Joseph Christian Greer, San Francisco Corvid College PART IV: LEAVING THE MARGINS 15. The Secular, the Post-Secular, and the Esoteric in the Public Sphere, Kennet Granholm 16. Psychic Enchantments of the Educated Classes: The Paranormal and the Ambiguities of Disenchantment, Egil Asprem 17. The New Kids: Indigo Children and New Age Discourse, Daniel Kline, University of Amsterdam 18. A Small Town Health Centre in Sweden: Perspectives on the Western Esotericism Debate, Liselotte Frisk, Dalarna University 19. Entheogenic Esotericism, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, University of Amsterdam 20. A Deliciously Troubling Duo: Gender and Esotericism, Jay Johnston, University of Sydney Bibliography Index