Constructions of Mysticism as a Universal

Roots and Interactions Across Borders

Annette Wilke, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2021


This volume charts the fascinating history of the multiple roots and interactions which underlie the modern popular understanding of mysticism as a universal phenomenon across epochs and cultures. In an unprecedentedly broad interdisciplinary exchange, international scholars from different disciplines critically examine the concept and mental maps of the term ‘mysticism’ which enjoyed a central role in classical theories of religion, as developed in fields like Psychology, Sociology, History or Phenomenology. However, mysticism lost its prominence after the controversial debates in the second half of the twentieth century about whether mystical experience should be considered universal or socio-culturally constructed. After four decades of silence, this volume ventures a stimulatingly novel approach to mysticism as a universal, transcultural category from the perspective of the Cultural Studies of Religion. This includes the question of how a European concept fraught with Christian notions was transferred to non-European cultures and secular contexts, and thereby attained new meanings and functions in daily life. Fresh insights are gained by examining three major areas: a) mysticism’s potential for boundary crossing in earlier centuries of European history; b) the history of mysticism research in context – from the mysticism boom at the fin de siècle and early twentieth century to its renewed attractiveness in American counterculture and the psychedelic movement to its transformation into postmodern spirituality; and c) universal mysticism’s absorption of Eastern religions (notably Buddhism, Hindu traditions, and Daoism) as well as Asian insiders’ self-conceptions.

(Text from the publisher)


CNRS – LEM, Université de Vienne, Université Laval et Université d’Amsterdam

Hermeticism, Mithraism and Neoplatonism

Description et organisation

Cinquième rencontre du nouveau Webinaire « Les platonismes de l’Antiquité tardive: interactions philosophiques et religieuses (Platonisms of Late Antiquity: Philosophical and Religious Interactions).

Rencontre animée par Christian Bull (Norwegian School of Theology) et Andreea-Maria Lemnaru-Carrez (Centre Léon Robin-CNRS).

Christian Bull (Norwegian School of Theology)
« The Hermetic Sciences in the Way of Hermes : Worldview
and Practices. »

Andreea-Maria Lemnaru-Carrez (Centre Léon Robin-CNRS)
« Mithra dans l’Antre des Nymphes de Porphyre. »

Le webinaire est organisé par Luciana G. Soares Santoprete, Anna van den Kerchove, George Karamanolis, Éric Crégheur et Dylan Burns.

La conférence aura lieu à 16h le mardi 10 mai. Elle se déroulera en ligne.

N’hésitez pas à transmettre cette invitation à toute personne susceptible d’être intéressée par cette conférence ou toute autre conférence future sur les platonismes de l’Antiquité tardive.


Pour le lien zoom SVP envoyez un message à ; écrivez dans l’objet du message : subscribe lesplatonismes. Laissez le corps du message vide. Vous allez recevoir un courrier de confirmation en retour.


Magic, Ritual and Witchcraft

Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press


A rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft draws from a broad spectrum of perspectives, methods, and disciplines, offering the widest possible geographical scope and chronological range, from prehistory to the modern era and from the Old World to the New. In addition to original research, the journal features book reviews, editorials, and lists of newly published work.

(Text by the editors)

The journal welcomes proposals for book reviews


La mística eneádica

Genealogía, análisis y comparación

Gabriel Martino, Buenos Aires, Teseo Press, 2020


En el presente texto, analizamos la mística en las Enéadas de Plotino desde tres puntos de vista. En la primera parte, nos concentramos en la teoría y metodología desarrolladas en los estudios de la mística a lo largo del último siglo y medio y buscamos poner de manifiesto el impacto de tales estudios sobre los intérpretes de Plotino. En la segunda parte, analizamos del texto plotiniano desde la perspectiva del abordaje dialógico-narrativo desarrollado por Gavin Flood para el estudio de las religiones. Nuestra tercera parte está dedicada a la cuestión de la relación entre Plotino y la India, desde una perspectiva comparativa. Examinamos algunos textos sánscritos representativos y procuramos esclarecer el modo en que las categorías de “filosofía” y de “mística” han sido aplicadas sobre ellos. Nuestro estudio propone una categoría transcultural de mística que implica una relación hermenéutico-dialógica entre la interioridad del hombre y su tradición textual.

Gabriel Martino es licenciado y doctor en Filosofía por la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Realizó estudios posdoctorales becado por el CONICET, institución en la que actualmente se desempeña como investigador. Sus temas de investigación abarcan la filosofía griega antigua y la filosofía antigua de la India, la filosofía comparada y la filosofía de la religión. Es docente de sánscrito en la Universidad de Buenos Aires y de griego en la Universidad del Salvador.

(Texto de la editorial)


Comité de redacción del Instituto de Filosofía “Dr. Alejandro Korn”

IntroducciónPrimera parte: Genealogía de la mística (eneádica)

1. El estudio filosófico de la mística y su proyección sobre los estudios plotinianos

2. La “mística” plotiniana

3. Nuestro abordaje de la mística (eneádica)

Segunda parte: Análisis de la mística eneádica

1. Plotino y su producción

2. El contexto filosófico de las Enéadas

3. La mística eneádica

Tercera parte: La mística de los Yogasūtras y la mística eneádica

1. Cuestiones teóricas y metodológicas relativas al estudio filosófico-comparativo

2. El Yoga y el sistema patañjálico

3. La mística eneádica y la yogasútrica en comparación



Cómo citar esta publicación:

Martino, G. (2020) La mística eneádica, Buenos Aires.


The Platonizing Sethian Background

of Plotinus’s Mysticism

Alexander J. Mazur, Leiden: Brill, 2020


(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Editor’s Preface to the Present Volume

Dylan Michael Burns

Editor’s Note on References, Editions, and Translations



Chapter 1 Introduction: The Gnostic Background of Plotinus’s Mysticism

Chapter 2 The Structure of Plotinus’s Ascent to Mystical Union with the One

Chapter 3 The Identity of Prenoetic and Hypernoetic Subjects in Plotinus

Chapter 4 “The Way of Ascent is the Way of Descent”: The Mechanism of Transcendental Apprehension in Platonizing Sethian Gnosticism

Chapter 5 Conclusion: Dissolving Boundaries



The Platonizing Sethian Background of Plotinus’s Mysticism

Alexander J. Mazur, Leiden: Brill, 2020
Brill, Leiden – Boston,  Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, Volume: 98, 2020
In The Platonizing Sethian Background of Plotinus’s Mysticism, Zeke Mazur offers a radical reconceptualization of Plotinus with reference to Gnostic thought and praxis. A crucial element in the thought of the third-century CE philosopher Plotinus — his conception of mystical union with the One — cannot be understood solely within the conventional history of philosophy, or as the product of a unique, sui generis psychological propensity. This monograph demonstrates that Plotinus tacitly patterned his mystical ascent to the One on a type of visionary ascent ritual that is first attested in Gnostic sources. These sources include the Platonizing Sethian tractates Zostrianos (NHC VIII,1) and Allogenes (NHC XI,3) of which we have Coptic translations from Nag Hammadi and whose Greek Vorlagen were known to have been read in Plotinus’s school.
(Text from the publisher)
Table of contents
Editor’s Preface to the Present Volume 
Author’s Acknowledgments 
Editor’s Note on References, Editions, and Translations 
List of Tables 
Author’s Preface Introduction: The Gnostic Background of Plotinus’s Mysticism 
1 The Fundamental Problem of Plotinian Mysticism
2 Problems with the Prior Scholarship on Plotinian Mysticism
3 Platonizing Sethian Visionary Ascent and the Historical Context of Plotinian Mysticism
4 The Current State of the ResearchThe Structure of Plotinus’ Ascent to Mystical Union with the One 
1 Introduction
2 Phase A: Catharsis
3 Phase B: Mystical Self-Reversion
4 Phase C: Autophany
5 Excursus: A First Meditation on the Identity of the Mystical Subject
6 Phase C2: Self-Unification
7 Phase D: Annihilation
8 Excursus: Second Meditation on the Identity of the Mystical Subject
9 Excursus: On Beauty
10 Phase E: Union with the One
11 Vision and Light
12 Ennead VI.9[9].11.22–25 [See Complete Passage in Appendix A8]
13 Ennead VI.7[38].36.10–26 [Appendix A16]
14 Ennead V.3[49].17.28–38 [Appendix A19]
15 Excursus on V.3[49].17–28
16 Ennead V.5[32].8.18–21 [Appendix A12]
17 Convergence of Center-Points
18 Sexual Intercourse
19 Excursus on VI.7[38].35.23–32
20 Rapture or Spatial Displacement
21 Excursus on VI.7[38].35.36–40
22 Excursus on VI.7[38].36.15–18
23 Cultic Praxis
24 Phase E2: Desubjectification
25 ConclusionThe Identity of Prenoetic and Hypernoetic Subjects in Plotinus 
1 Introduction
2 1. Plotinian Ontogenesis
3 2. The Identity of the Hypernoetic Subject with the Prenoetic Efflux
4 3. The Convergence of Prenoetic and Hypernoetic Ecstasy
5 Conclusion“The Way of Ascent is the Way of Descent”: The Mechanism of Transcendental Apprehension in Platonizing Sethian Gnosticism 
1 Introduction
2 1. The Structure of Ascent in the Platonizing Sethian Ascent Treatises
3 2. Mystical Self-Reversion and Autophany in Gnostic Visionary Ascent
4 3. The Faculty of Transcendental Apprehension in Platonizing Sethianism
5 Conclusion

Conclusion: Dissolving Boundaries 
1 Introduction
2 1. Platonists and Gnostics in Alexandria and Rome: Biographical and Socio-historical Reflections
3 2. Philosophical Contemplation and Ritual Praxis
4 Conclusion


Hermes Explains

Thirty Questions about Western Esotericism

Marco Pasi, Peter Forshaw, Wouter Hanegraaff,
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 2019


ESSWE7 conference marks the 20th anniversary of the centre for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (HHP). On this occasion, an anthology is being published with contributions from thirty experts from the field of Esotericism. Each article addresses questions about thirty basic issues raised in the subjects studied within this field. The volume is jointly edited by Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Peter Forshaw, and Marco Pasi and it is published from Amsterdam University Press. This book will be officially launched during the Reception ceremony of the ESSWE7 conference (2 July, 19:30-21:30). All the conference participants will be given a free copy of the book.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents

Frontmatter pp 1-4
Contents pp 5-8

Introduction: Thirty red pills from Hermes Trismegistus pp 9-12

Aren’t we Living in a Disenchanted World? pp 13-20

Esotericism, That’s for White Folks, Right? pp 21-28

Surely Modern Art is not Occult? It is Modern pp 29-38

Is it True that Secret Societies are Trying to Control the World? pp 39-46

Numbers are Meant for Counting, Right? pp 47-53
Wasn’t Hermes a Prophet of Christianity who Lived Long Before Christ? pp 54-60
Weren’t Early Christians up Against a Gnostic Religion? pp 61-69

The Imagination… You Mean Fantasy, Right? pp 80-87

Weren’t Medieval Monks Afraid of Demons? pp 88-94

What does Popular Fiction have to do with the Occult? pp 95-104

Isn’t Alchemy a Spiritual Tradition? pp 105-112

Music? What does that have to do with Esotericism? pp 113-119

Why all that Satanist Stuff in Heavy Metal? pp 120-126
Religion can’t be a joke, right? pp. 127-136
Isn’t Esotericism Irrational? pp 137-144

Rejected Knowledge…: So you mean that Esotericists are the Losers of History? pp 145-152

The Kind of Stuff Madonna Talks about – that’s not Real Kabbala, is it? pp 153-160

Shouldn’t Evil Cults that Worship Satan be Illegal? pp 161-167

Is Occultism a Product of Capitalism? pp 168-17

Can Superhero Comics Really Transmit Esoteric Knowledge? pp 177-183

Are Kabbalistic Meditations all about Ecstasy? pp 184-190

Isn’t India the Home of Spiritual Wisdom? pp 191-197

If People Believe in Magic, isn’t that just Because they aren’t Educated? p 198-206

But what does Esotericism have to do with Sex? p 207-215

Is there such a Thing as Islamic Esotericism? pp 216-224

Doesn’t Occultism Lead Straight to Fascism? pp 225-23

A Man who Never Died, Angels Falling from the Sky…: What is that Enoch Stuff all about? pp 232-242

Is there any Room for Women in Jewish Kabbalah? pp 243-251

Surely Born-again Christianity has Nothing to do with Occult Stuff like Alchemy? pp 252-260

Bibliography pp 261-304

Contributors to this Volume pp 305-308

Mystik und Literatur

Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven

Giulia Agostini (Hg.), Michael Schulz (Hg.), Heidelberg: Winter, 2019


Der interdisziplinär angelegte Band hat zum Ziel, das Thema der Mystik aus literatur-wissenschaftlicher, philosophisch-interkultureller und theologisch-interreligiöser Perspektive zu beleuchten. Dabei geht es insbesondere um eine epochenübergreifende Auseinandersetzung mit der Frage nach dem Verhältnis von Mystik und Literatur vom Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart. Innerhalb dieses weitgespannten Bogens soll der systematische Perspektiven eröffnenden Begegnung zwischen Literaturwissenschaft, Theologie und Philosophie besonderes Gewicht zukommen.




Vorwort 7

Mystik und Institution. Unmittelbarkeit und Vermittlung des Heils Michael Schulz (Bonn) 9

Mystik ohne Gott? Der scholastische Hintergrund tibetischer ‚Mystik‘ aus der Sicht des jesuitischen Missionars Ippolito Desideri (1684‒1733) Karsten Schmidt (Frankfurt) 29

„Der Geist ist trunken wie von Wein“. Grenzüberschreitende Aspekte der christlich-orientalischen Mystik Martin Tamcke (Göttingen) 73

Islamische Mystik als Pfad der Liebe. Das Beispiel der osmanischen Dichterin Seref Hanim (1809–1861) Erdal Toprakyaran (Tübingen) 81

Philosophia orientalis. Grenzgänge zwischen Mystik, Politik und Literatur Cem Kömürcü (Bonn) 107

Engel im Feuer. Zur Rezeptionsgeschichte einer ZoharStelle zwischen jüdischer Mystik, moderner Esoterik und kritischer Theorie Elke Morlok und Ansgar Martins (Frankfurt a. M.) 127

Profane Mystik. Bataille und Proust Giulia Agostini (Heidelberg) 169

Vita passiva oder: Mystik zwischen Heroisierung und Ironie Philipp Stoellger (Heidelberg) 209


Early philosophical ŪFISM

The Neoplatonic Thought of Ḥusayn Ibn Manṣūr al-Ḥallāğ

Saer El-Jaichi, New Jersey: Gorgias Press, 2018


This study challenges the conventional image of the tenth-century Sufi mystic Al-Husayn Ibn Manṣūr al-Ḥallāğ (d. 929) as an anti-philosophical mystic. Unlike the predominantly theological or text-historical studies which constitute much of the scholarly literature on Ḥallāğ, this study is completely philosophical in nature, placing Ḥallāğ within the tradition of Graeco-Arabic philosophy and emphasizing, in a positive light, his continuity with the pagan Neoplatonism of Plotinus and Proclus. For anyone interested in the origins of philosophical thought in Ṣūfism, who wishes to understand the vast influence that Greek philosophy has had on the development of medieval Islamic mysticism in its formative period, this study will, therefore, be essential reading. Besides calling attention to several important aspects of Ḥallāğ’s thought that have been underemphasized or neglected altogether in previous studies, this one represents the first of its kind in the exploration of Ḥallāğ as a philosopher, that is, as an exponent of metaphysical and theological ideas. That Ḥallāğ was an astonishing and admirable mystic, a great literary talent and a superb Sufi poet, is undeniable. However, the extended answer, which is my thesis, argues that all of these other facets must be understood in terms of Ḥallāğ’s being as a philosopher, namely, as a thinker incorporating Neoplatonic modes of reasoning and argumentation as a result of his immersion in the Graeco-Arabic renaissance of the ninth and tenth centuries. Thus, rather than treating him as a mystic with no interest in philosophical matters, only driven by an irrational urge to experience a super-sensible reality, this study brings to the fore the Neoplatonic logic in Ḥallāğ’s thought, providing an analytical exposition of the philosophical reasoning and conceptualization underlying his Ṣūfism.

(Text from the publisher

Table of contents

Abbreviations and Transliteration
Methodological considerations
The Arabic Neoplatonic Texts
Structure of the book
Chapter I. God’s Unknowability: Tanzīh as Neoplatonic Via Negativa
I.1 The theological debate in medieval Islam regarding the via negativa: a brief overview
I.2 The attributes of God as seen from Ḥallāğ’s perspective
I.3 The inadequacy of human language to express God
I.4 Ḥallāğ’s via negativa and the Neoplatonic account of God’s non-being
I.5 Final remarks
Chapter II. The Theophanic Creator-God: The Muʿill as One and Multiple
II.1 Causation as non-reciprocal dependence
II.2 Contemplation as the principal mode of creation
II.3 Participation as the principle of existence
II.4 Participation in Plotinus and the AP
II.5 Ḥallāğ’s concept the Muʿill and Neoplatonic Self-contemplation
II.5.1 God’s contemplative role in Ḥallāğ’s creation account
II.6 Is Ḥallāğ a pantheist?
II.7 Final remarks
Chapter III. The Experience of Divine Love, Creation and Cosmology
III.1 Context: The One as source and ultimate goal of all beings
III.2 The idea of “the Good”
III.3 The final cause in the Aristotelian context
III.4 God as a final cause in the AP and Ḥallāğ
III.5 Neoplatonic reversion and its repercussions in Ḥallāğ
III.6 Divine ʿIšq: the source, vehicle and goal of divine self-communication
III.6.1 Text in context: the faṣl fīʾl-ʿišq
III.6.2 God’s self-identical solitude
III.6.3 God’s eternal act of self-intellection as self-desire
III.6.4 God’s self-desire as a means of His self-communication
III.6.5 The procession of Intellect due to God’s radiation
III.7 Final remarks
Chapter IV. The Neoplatonic Role of the Primordial Muḥammad in Ḥallāğ’s Cosmology
IV.1 Emanation through the light of the lamp
IV.2 Muḥammad’s primordial participation in God’s nūr
IV.3 Muḥammad’s demiurgic role
IV.4 The archetypal ideal and final purpose of the cosmos
IV.5 Final remarks
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV


École Pratique des Hautes Études

Les « mystères » au IIe siècle de notre ère

Un ‘mysteric turn’ ?

Description et organisation

Cette rencontre conclut près de quatre années de recherche sur « Les ‘cultes à mystères’ (mystèriateletaiorgia, etc.) et leurs acteurs spécialisés », dans le cadre d’un programme de l’équipe AnHiMA (UMR 8210), porté conjointement avec l’Université de Genève (projet « Ambizione » du Fonds National Suisse de la recherche scientifique), avec le concours du Labex Hastec.

jeudi 20 – 14:00 – samedi 22 septembre 2018 – 17:00

Colloque international organisé par Nicole BELAYCHE (EPHE, PSL / AnHiMA), Philippe HOFFMANN (EPHE, PSL / LEM), Francesco MASSA (Université de Genève).

Paris, 20-22 septembre 2018.
INHA – 2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris


Jeudi 20 septembre 2018 – Salle Vasari

14h Accueil
14h10 Nicole Belayche, Francesco Massa, Introduction

Approcher des rituels mystériques au IIe siècle : un état des ‘lieux’ Modérateur : Jacques des Courtils (Bordeaux)

14h30 Nicole Belayche (Paris), Briser la loi du silence ? Les initiations à Éleusis au IIe siècle
15h Sandra Blakely (Emory, GA), Samothracian Mysteries in the Second Century: a Cosmological Turn in an Archaeological Setting
15h30-16h Discussion

16h-16h30 pause

Modératrice : Anne-Françoise Jaccottet (Genève)
16h30 Beatriz Pañeda Murcia (Madrid-Paris), Les cultes isiaques au IIe siècle de notre ère : entre mystérisation et égyptianisation ?
17h Francesco D’Andria (Lecce), Des « mystères » à Hiérapolis de Phrygie ?
17h30 Jennifer Larson (Kent, Ohio), The Cognitive Anatomy of a Mystery Cult
18h-18h45 Discussion

Vendredi 21 septembre 2018 – Salle Vasari

Une « mystérisation » dans la littérature du IIe siècle ?
Modérateur : Constantin Macris (Paris)

9h30 Mauro Bonazzi (Utrecht), Plutarque et les mystères de la philosophie

10h Jordi Pia Comella (Paris, IUF), Du ‘mystère’ dans le stoïcisme ? Les cas de Sénèque, Cornutus, Perse et Épictète

10h30-11h Discussion

11h-11h30 pause

Modérateur : Francesco Massa (Genève)
11h30 Andrei Timotin (Bucarest), La place de Théon de Smyrne dans la métaphorisation philosophique des mystères
12h Anne-France Morand (Laval), Les mystères dans les Hymnes orphiques : continuité ou rupture ?
12h30-13h Discussion
13h-14h30 déjeuner

Modérateur : Daniel Barbu (Paris)
14h30 Georgia Petridou (Liverpool), Resonant Mysteries: Illness as Initiation in Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi.
15h Antoine Pietrobelli (Reims), Galien hiérophante : les mystères de la médecine
15h30 Geoffrey Herman (Paris), ‘Mistorin’ dans la littérature rabbinique classique
16h-16h45 Discussion

16h45-17h15 pause
18h15 ΚΑΤΑΥΛΕΙΝ : Éros – Eρως
Concert de l’ensemble MELPOMEN – Direction Conrad Steinmann Auditorium de l’INHA

Samedi 22 septembre 2018 – Salle Vasari

Des effets de la « mystérisation » ?
Modérateur : Louise Bruit (Paris)
9h00 Françoise Van Haeperen (Louvain), Tauroboles et mystères phrygiens au IIe siècle
9h30 Charles Delattre (Lille), La mythographie au secours de la mystériographie. Les références aux mystères dans la Bibliothèque du ps. Apollodore et dans le De fluviis du ps. Plutarque
10h Romain Brethes (Paris), Romans grecs, romans à mystères ? Un état des lieux
10h30-11h15 Discussion

11h15-11h45 pause
Modératrice : Nicole Belayche (Paris)
11h45 Francesco Massa (Genève), Les auteurs chrétiens face aux mystères au IIe siècle : koinè culturelle ou compétition cultuelle ?
12h15 Marie-Odile Boulnois (Paris), « Les mystères véritables » : Origène en confrontation dans le Contre Celse et les nouvelles Homélies sur les Psaumes
12h45-13h15 Discussion

13h15-14h45 déjeuner
Modérateur : Christopher Faraone (Chicago)
14h45 Thomas Galoppin (Toulouse), « Ô bienheureux myste de la magie sacrée ! » De l’initiation à l’empowerment dans les papyrus « magiques » grecs.
15h15 Florian Audureau (Paris), Approche interculturelle d’un « mystère » magique : la fonction du μυσταγωγός dans la lettre de Néphotès (PGM IV, 154-285)
15h45-16h15 Discussion
16h15-16h45 Philippe Hoffmann (Paris), Pour conclure…


(Texte des organisateurs)