The Secret History of Western Esotericism Podcast (SHWEP): a recommendation
A podcast that should be of interest to many — probably most — of the readers of this Substack page is The Secret History of Western Esotericism Podcast and its companion Oddcast. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a terrific scholarly resource for those wanting to explore the rich spiritual tradition of the West, both Christian and non-Christian. Perhaps the term “secret history” may come across as a bit “New Age,” but be assured that it’s not. The home page (here) describes the podcast this way:
The SHWEP is a free, (roughly) weekly podcast series exploring cutting-edge academic research in the study of Platonism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, alchemy, occultism, magic, and related currents of thought. These traditions, although largely rejected by the dominant modern empiricist world-view, are central to the history of western thought. The academic study of these often-obscure chapters in the history of ideas, under the general name of ‘western esotericism’, is bringing these currents of thought back into their rightful place as essential elements in the intellectual heritage of the western world.
This podcast documents the academic exploration of the neglected corners of western culture. The approach is roughly chronological, beginning with the earliest civilisations and moving forward in time until the present day, with the aim of leaving out nothing essential along the way. It will be a long and fascinating trip through the history of ideas, and one which is bound to challenge what you think you know about philosophy, science, religion, and western identities.
Since I have mentioned the great fourth-century theologian and monk, Evagrius of Pontus, in the past, you might find the following two episodes of the podcast (which can also be found on a number of podcast-hosting sites, incidentally) of particular interest. Perhaps these will whet your appetite to subscribe and maybe even become a supporter of the SHWEP as well.
Episode 165: Joel Kalvesmaki on Evagrius of Pontus, the ‘Gnostic Trilogy’, and the Origenist Controversy can be found by clicking here.
Episode 166: Joel Kalvesmaki on Evagrius’ Kephalaia Gnōstika: Philosophy, Scripture, and Apophatic Mysticism can be found by clicking here.
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