Intellectual history, Religious studies, Visual studies

In cooperation with the Center for Religious Studies and the Visual Studies Platform at Central European University

Course date

24 June - 29 June, 2018
Application deadline:
14 February, 2018
Course Director(s): 

Gyorgy Endre Szonyi

English Department, University of Szeged/Department of History and Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Carsten Wilke

Department of History, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Brian Copenhaver

Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies , University of California in Los Angeles, USA

Moshe Idel

Jewish Thought, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Urszula Szulakowska

formerly at Leeds University, UK
Guest Speaker(s): 

Dora Bobory

Independent scholar

Julia Gyimesi

Department of Educational Psychology, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Budapest, Hungary
The ambition of humans to elevate themselves beyond their natural means and to acquire transcendental insight and power is as ancient as our cultural history. The goal of this course is to highlight some aspects of this ambition that are related to Western Esotericism, thus to provide a solid picture of some key phenomena of mysticism, magic, and occult trends in intellectual history. Special attention will be paid to the historical period of late Antiquity to the early modern, as well as the post-Romanticism era. The topics of esotericism discussed in the course relate to cultural history, art history, film studies, and religious studies tracing the Judeo-Christian heritage. The learning outcome should be the acquisition of methodological tools in order to approach and assess the highlighted phenomena in a reliable scholarly way: close reading of texts; interpretation of images and films; placing cultural representations in social and historical contexts.