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HREK00067U  The Western Esoteric Traditions: across religion, science, mysticism and philosophy in European history Volume 2016/2017

Course information

Credit15 ECTS
LevelFull Degree Master
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master choice
Duration1 semester
See link below
Continuing and further education
Study boardStudy Board of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Course responsible
  • Tim Rudbøg (10-766b6f74776664716769426a776f306d7730666d)
Tim Rudbøg, timrudboeg@hum.ku.dk
Saved on the 23-08-2016

BA-studieordning for det centrale fag i Religionsvidenskab, 2015

BA-studieordning for det centrale fag i Religionsvidenskab, 2010

BA tilvalg-studieordning i Religionsvidenskab, 2007

KA- studieordning i Religionshistori, 2008

KA-studieordning i Religionssociologi, 2008



This course will explore Europe’s colorful landscape from antiquity to our present time with a focus on the religious ideas and traditions, which, throughout time, have been categorized as either ‘esoteric’, ‘magical’, ‘occult’, ‘mystical’ ‘irrational’ or as pure ‘superstition’, such as kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, astrology, Platonism, Theosophy, occult philosophy, and ideas and traditions related to various secret societies.

The aim of this course is to analyze the historical, cultural and discursive mechanisms behind the construction of categories such as ‘the occult’ and ‘magic’ and to read these traditions and ideas into their larger historical and philosophical contexts.

Based on current research within the field, this course will historically focus on the pluralistic European religious landscape and on the role of the esoteric traditions in the many exchanges and debates that have taken place between the major religious traditions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The influence of and influence on the developments in science and philosophy will also be discussed, as well as the relationship between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, reuse of ideas from antiquity, and the continued influence of the pagan religions. This course will also examine the specific religious beliefs, knowledge types, polemical discourses and practices that have characterized the esoteric traditions in their interaction with other traditions.

This module allows you to write assignments in a variety of relevant topics and addresses students at BA and MA levels.


Learning Outcome

BA 2015-studieordning:
Valgfrit område (fagelementkode HRVB00061E)
Bachelorprojekt (fagelementkode HRVB00091E)

BA 2010-studieordning:
Valgfrit område (fagelementkode HREB00311E)
Bachelorprojekt (fagelementkode HREB00351E)

BA tilvalg 2007-studieordning:
Religionsanalytisk område A (fagelementkode HREB10091E )
Religionsanalytisk område B (fagelementkode HREB10101E )

KA Religionshistorie 2008-studieordning:
Speciel Religionshistorie valgfag A (fagelementkode HRHK03661E )
Speciel Religionshistorie valgfag B (fagelementkode HRHK03671E )

KA Religionssociologi 2008-studieordning:
Særligt studeret område 1 (HRSK03431E)
Særligt studeret område 2 (HRSK03491E)
Særlig studeret område: religion og politik: (fagelementkode HRSK03441E)
Særlig studeret område: regional religionssociologi (fagelementkode HRSK03481E)
Formidling (fagelementkode HRSK03471E)


Essential background literature, all of which are available online at KB, include:

Stuckrad, K. (2010). Locations of knowledge in medieval and early modern Europe, esoteric discourse and Western identities (Brill's studies in intellectual history v. 186). Leiden Boston: Brill.

Hanegraaff, W. (2012). Esotericism and the academy, rejected knowledge in western culture (Reprint. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goodrick-Clarke, N. (2008). The Western esoteric traditions, a historical introduction. New York Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other literature will be available online in Absalon.



Teaching and learning methods
The course is expected to be available online as well as in realtime
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Credit15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Total 412,5
Saved on the 23-08-2016

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