Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
Wyrmfang
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Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Wyrmfang » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:39 pm

A new lodge Hermes has been founded which concentrates on studying formally both esoteric traditions and mainstream philosophy with a particular focus on their connections and differences. As the lodge guide my plan is to have at least one reading circle going on constantly - most often perhaps my/lodge's choice, sometimes generally voted. If nothing else is informed everyone can participate. Nothing fancy is required, just sum up the content on your reading turn and raise up some ideas in case that ideas come to mind.

This first book to be read is Antoine Faivre's Western Esoterisism - A Concise History which is a concise and accessible work by one of the first contemporary academic scholars on esotericism. We will begin at week 49 at the beginning of December, and each one will go through his/her part (only few pages) in a week. The book is quite short and cheap to buy and is probably also easy to find as pdf. Please inform here if you want to participate.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Smaragd » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:58 pm

I'll propably try to keep up with you even though I won't have time to participate fully as a presenter.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Benemal » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:20 pm

I'll read that book, but maybe I wont officially partake in a reading circle anymore, because it hinders my reading, having a schedule. It ruined the Red Book, which I now hate.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Kenazis » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:47 pm

I think I have time to participate from week 49 onward. So, count me in.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Kavi » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:13 am

Wyrmfang wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:39 pm
Please inform here if you want to participate.
I forgot to read to the end of last paragraph...
Yes, I am participating.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Benemal » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:37 pm

I missed the word concise. Googled the book and it's too short, so I'll pass.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Kenazis » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:12 pm

Benemal wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:37 pm
I missed the word concise. Googled the book and it's too short, so I'll pass.
You don't read the book because it's too short?
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Benemal » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:06 am

Kenazis wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:12 pm
You don't read the book because it's too short?
Yeah, especially, because it's history. I'm not even assuming it's bad. Thick books, for a thick man, unless it's PKD.
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Wyrmfang » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:23 am

Alrightie, there are three participants: me, and fras Kavi & Kenazis. Others (non-members as well) can also comment, it would be great to have fertile discussions instead of merely summarizing the book.

I suggest we take one chapter at a time, but sometimes it might be advicable to take more if there is not so much content, it's your decision.

Five Meanings of the Word "Esotericism" (pp.1-5)

Faivre is highly skeptical of the claims about "true esotericism", and instead, begins the book by introducing five interrelated meanings which occur repeatedly in different discourses. (1) Disparate grouping. The definition Faivre conceives as the most current is simply grouping done by for example bookshops or media: the label "esotericism" covers somehow marginalized phenomena which "exude a scent of mystery", for example, Tarot, New Age, parapsychology, divinatory arts etc. (2) Deliberately hidden secrets. Things that are deliberately kept in secret from the masses. It has been common for example in the Christian church not to provide some teachings only to more or less selected minority. (3) A mystery inherent in things themselves. An idea that nature itself has its hidden side, for example correspondences, which cannot be revealed by straightforward empirical study. In the Renaissance "occult philosophy" often had this meaning. (4) Gnosis. A specific kind of direct knowledge which transcends discursive language. Often associated with initiatory groups and "religious marginality". (5) Primordial tradition. The idea that there exists an original revelation which is scattered in the commonly known denominational religions (as well as science and philosophy). This meaning is particularly emphasized by "traditionalists", who often use the term "esoterism" (or "perennialism") to separate their specific teaching from the other meanings of esotericism.

Faivre notes, I think correctly, that also other terms associated with spirituality are equally vague: "spirituality", "religiousness", "sacred", "magic" etc. All the definitions are too tight or too vague, often both at the same time, to have a privilege. Therefore, historians generally do not choose any of these, but a different sixth defition, to be taken up by Kavi next week.

If I try to find a common meaning behind these different meanings, the only one that comes to mind is the opposition of "eso" (hidden and inner) and "exo" (public and open).
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Re: Reading circle (Antoine Faivre:Western Esotericism - A Concise History)

Postby Kavi » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:10 pm

Wyrmfang wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:23 am
(5) Primordial tradition. The idea that there exists an original revelation which is scattered in the commonly known denominational religions (as well as science and philosophy). This meaning is particularly emphasized by "traditionalists", who often use the term "esoterism" (or "perennialism") to separate their specific teaching from the other meanings of esotericism.
I found the terminology very interesting on this one from the perspective of language usage.
Instead of using the term "esotericism", the word "esoterism" is chosen instead.
This might be a false claim, but in order to say to study and to know the perennial truth behind everything traditionalist language must somehow frame themselves out from usual.
Some kind of hidden ancient wisdom, which is not to be found in esotericism, but in esoterism.
Mostly earlier Theosophy and Ervast's books I have read emphasizes a lot of this timeless, perennial wisdom. How is the current stand?
Wyrmfang wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:23 am
If I try to find a common meaning behind these different meanings, the only one that comes to mind is the opposition of "eso" (hidden and inner) and "exo" (public and open).
I don't have a degree on comparative religion studies, but I have a hint that when the word "esoteric" is used, it usually means hidden and inner.
By the way, what do you think, Is it usually esoteric - the inner or hidden which defines which is "ex"cluded - exoteric or other way around or both or does it even matter?
Or am I just jerking around here with definitions? :D
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