Western Esotericism from the 18th century: Occult Philosophies

06Feb2018 15May2018


At the conclusion of this course the student possesses a good knowledge of the main currents, trends and authors of western esotericism between the 18th and the 20th century.

This module offers a broad chronological overview of the history of modern Western esotericism (from the middle of the 18th century up to our days), focusing on its main trends, movements, and authors. This will include an analysis of currents and phenomena such as Illuminism and the birth of Mesmerism, romanticism, spiritualism, occultism, traditionalism, and the New Age. Both primary sources and secondary literature will be used as reading material. The main focus of the course is on the processes that have led to important transformations in esoteric discourses after the Enlightenment. Both continuities and ruptures with previous esoteric thought will be assessed. A visit to the library of the Theosophical Society in Amsterdam will be organized towards the end of the course.

Date, time, location and price

  • Date: 6 February - 15 May 2018
  • Time: Tuesdays 15:00 - 18:00
  • Number of courses: 14
  • Location: Oudemanhuispoort E0.13
  • Price: 210 / 189 (discount price for AUV members)

Disclaimer: For the current timetable, always consult the UvA timetable website. The Illustere School is not responsible for changes in the timetable.

Study material

The study guide will be available for download four weeks before the start of the course, from Blackboard and from http//www.amsterdamhermetica.nl (section Current Students).

Important information

Course type Open UvA-Course
Education Seminars
Semester/blok Semester 1, block 1 and 2
Language English
Other You may only attend the seminars. It is not possible to partake in exams or obtain credits.
Deadline registration 29 Januari 2018 (subject to availability)


To register for this course you need to create an Illustere School account. If you already have an account, please use your existing account to register for the course. For both options, click the button below.

After registration

Directly after signing up for a course you receive confirmation of your registration by e-mail. 


The tuition fee will be automatically deducted from your bank account. Registration for an Open UvA-Course for UvA employees is free. 


Blackboard is the digital learning environment of the University of Amsterdam and is used by all teachers and (regular) students of the UvA. Illustere School students may also use Blackboard. Your personal codes will be send to you by email.  


Published by  Illustere School