Wouter Jacobus Hanegraaff (born April 10, 1961) is full professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He served as the first President of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) from 2005 to 2013.
Wouter Jacobus Hanegraaff
Wouter Hanegraaff, 2006
|Education||University of Utrecht|
|Employer||University of Amsterdam|
Hanegraaff was raised as the son of a theologian. He originally studied classical guitar at the Municipal Conservatory at Zwolle from 1982 to 1987, and cultural history at the University of Utrecht from 1986 to 1990. From 1992 to 1996 he was a Research Fellow at the department for the Study of Religions at the University of Utrecht. From 1996 to 1999 Hanegraaff held a postdoctoral fellowship from the Dutch Association for Scientific Research (NWO), during which time he spent a period working in Paris. In 1999 he became professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam. From 2002 to 2006 he has been president of the Dutch Society for the Study of Religion, and, from 2005 to 2013, president of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism. In 2006 he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is now an honorary member of the ESSWE.
His dissertation New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought was published by Brill in 1996. Two years later a USA paperback version was published by State University of New York Press. This work constitutes one of the first non-polemical academic reviews of the New Age movement, presenting an analysis on the basis of its important texts. It covers important authors, themes, aspects of New Age belief, and finally looks at the New Age in the context of traditional Western esotericism. It has helped pave the way for a number of further studies that have appeared in various journals, concerning the New Age phenomenon.
Hanegraaff's second book-length publication was Lodovico Lazzarelli (1447-1500): The Hermetic Writings and Related Documents (Tempe 2005; with Ruud M. Bouthoorn). Lazzarelli was treated by Frances A. Yates as a secondary figure, but the Hanegraaff-Bouthoorn book argues that Yates's "grand narrative" of the Hermetic Tradition needs to be revised. It seeks to restore Lazzarelli's place in the history of Renaissance hermetism and contains critical annotated editions and translations of Lazzarelli's hermetic writings, plus several related documents such as the previously unpublished biography of Lazzarelli by his brother, and texts by his spiritual master Giovanni da Correggio.
Hanegraaff's small volume Swedenborg, Oetinger, Kant: Three Perspectives on the Secrets of Heaven (West Chester 2007), is an expanded version of the introduction he wrote for the New Century Edition of Swedenborg's "Arcana Coelestia". It analyzes Swedenborg's worldview as expounded in his main work, and discusses the early German reception history by Friedrich Christoph Oetinger and Immanuel Kant. Oetinger originally saw Swedenborg as an ally but eventually criticized his idealist philosophy as the antithesis of his own incarnational theosophy. Kant took Swedenborg much more seriously than is commonly assumed, and their basic ontological and epistemological perspectives are remarkably compatible.
Hanegraaff's second full-scale monograph Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. It tells "the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of 'pagan' ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality". "Expelled from the academy on the basis of Protestant and Enlightenment politics", Hanegraaff argues that "these traditions have come to be perceived as the Other by which academics define their identity to the present day". He argues that our common perspectives on Western intellectual and cultural history are based upon a highly selective "eclecticist" historiography grounded in Enlightenment ideologies.
One year later, Hanegraaff published an introductory textbook, Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury 2013). It gives a systematic overview of Western esotericism as a field of academic research, focusing on questions of definition and demarcation, main historical currents, polemical and apologetic discourse, worldviews, ideas about knowledge, and practices, as well as the impact of modernization and the interdisciplinarity of the field. The book ends with an annotated bibliography.
Apart from these books, Hanegraaff has published numerous articles in academic journals and collective volumes. He is the (co-)editor of seven volumes in the study of religion and Western esotericism, including the two-volume Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism (Brill: Leiden 2005), and "Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism (with Jeffrey J. Kripal). He is a former (and founding) editor of Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism (now edited by Peter J. Forshaw) and the “Aries Book Series: Texts and Studies in Western Esotericism” (now edited by Marco Pasi; both Brill). He is member of the editorial board of the journals Religion, Numen, Religion Compass and Esoterica, and is on the advisory board of Journal of Contemporary Religion and Nova Religio.
- -----New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, Brill, Leiden 1996, State University of New York Press, Albany 1998. ISBN 978-90-04-10696-3; ISBN 0-7914-3854-6.
- ----- and R.M. Bouthoorn Lodovico Lazzarelli (1447-1500): The Hermetic Writings and Related Documents, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Tempe, 2005.
- -----Swedenborg, Oetinger, Kant: Three Perspectives on the Secrets of Heaven, The Swedenborg Foundation, West Chester, Pennsylvania 2007 (Swedenborg Studies Series, no. 18) ISBN 978-0-87785-321-3.
- -----Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2012, ISBN 9780521196215.
- -----Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed, Bloomsbury, London 2013.
- (ed., with Ria Kloppenborg), Female Stereotypes in Religious Traditions. Brill, Leiden 1995, ISBN 978-90-04-10290-3.
- (ed., with Roelof van den Broek), Gnosis and Hermeticism from Antiquity to Modern Times. State University of New York Press, Albany 1998.
- (ed., with Antoine Faivre), Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion, Peeters, Louvain 1998.
- (ed., with Richard Caron, Joscelyn Godwin & Jean-Louis Vieillard-Baron), Ésotérisme, gnoses & imaginaire symbolique: Mélanges offerts à Antoine Faivre, Peeters, Louvain 2001.
- (ed. in collaboration with Antoine Faivre, Roelof van den Broek, Jean-Pierre Brach, Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Brill, Leiden 2005. ISBN 978-90-04-15231-1.
- (ed. with Jeffrey J. Kripal), Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotericism. Brill, Leiden 2008.
- (ed. with Joyce Pijnenburg), Hermes in the Academy: Ten Years' Study of Western Esotericism at the University of Amsterdam. Amsterdam University Press 2009.
- Hanegraaff, Wouter (22 October 2012). "Wouter Hanegraaff on Western Esotericism". The Religious Studies Project podcast (Interview). Interviewed by Knut Melvær. Religious Studies Project Association. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- Staff (2013). "dhr. prof. dr. W.J. (Wouter) Hanegraaff". University of Amsterdam. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
- Hanegraaff 1998, p. vii.
- "Wouter Hanegraaff". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Hanegraaff, Wouter (1998). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-9004106956.
- Hanegraaff, Wouter (2012). Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521196215.
- Hanegraaff, Wouter (2013). Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Bloomsbury Press. ISBN 978-1441136466.
- Personal Homepage at University of Amsterdam
- Creative Reading, Hanegraaff's personal blog.
- Geschiedenis van de Hermetische Filosofie en Verwante Stromingen (GHF) The subdepartment at the University of Amsterdam, led by Hanegraaff.
- European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism