New on the WWW: The Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity

From the mailbag:

The Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity (NSEA) is happy to announce our new website, With continually-updated online resources news, and conference announcements, is intended to be a one-stop location for scholars and students of the field.

What is esotericism in antiquity? This is a broad term that governs the use of secrecy, concealment, and revelation to talk about the really important stuff—from the true identity of the creator of the cosmos (Gnosticism) to the keys to the heavenly palaces (Hekhalot literature) to how to talk about the indescribable One (Neoplatonic mysticism), etc. So if the subject involves arcana celestial and subterrestrial, it’s ancient esotericism. Scholars in various disciplines have struggled to describe a spike in “secret revelations” in Hellenistic and Late Antique religion (Hengel) or the trend towards mythology in the “Underworld of Platonism” (Dillon)—what all this diverse material has in common is an interest in secrecy and revelation for dealing with the divine, and a common reception-history in “esotericism” in the modern era, ranging from Renaissance Platonism to the New Age.

The website is intended provide a guide to the wonderful, but dizzying, online resources available for the study of this vast and difficult body of literature. My goal (in collaboration with Sarah Veale) was to create the website I would have died to see when I was an undergraduate and just starting to get excited about this material, but totally confused about how to go about studying it, what scholarship was already out there, and, most importantly, where to find the most useful primary sources and reference materials on the web. A lot of the resources gathered here will be familiar to you—but perhaps not to your students, or colleagues in an adjoining field, or a friend. So, if someone has come your way who is starting to get into Nag Hammadi, or Iamblichus, or the apocalypses, etc. and asks you for some guidance to what’s out there, please consider making this one of the links you pass on to them. We will do our best to make it worth your while.

We encourage those interested in these fields to submit calls for papers, workshop notices, conference announcements, and other pertinent news and resources for inclusion on the website. You can submit by email or through our online submissions form. Those wishing to get involved with NSEA are invited to contact us for more information.

NSEA Website:

Breviaria 04/04/09

Assorted items which have caught my eye of late:

The headline says it all:

Some sort of 3d modelling project for the Acropolis was recently undertaken:

We linked to several of Suzan Mazur’s posts relating to Robert Hecht and Marion True a few years ago … her (excellent) articles are apparently now part of some Harvard Law syllabus:

The latest issue of the American Journal of Archaeology is out, with a number of online articles of interest available:

Short item on the Classical Studies Club at the College of New Jersey:

Feature on an historical reenactment group based in Rome called SPQR:

Bulgarian coverage of the recent returns by of a couple of thousand of purloined items from Bulgaria (includes a small slide show of various items):

The Classics folks at Warwick are venturing into the world of podcasting … here’s the first (I’ll hopefully get a chance to listen to it and review it in the near future):

The latest installment of Dear Socrates at Philosophy Now (I still don’t understand how there can be a viable philosophy magazine and there’s no Classics magazine on the newsstands):

Charlotte Higgins was talking about odd Classical etymologies:

The BBC had a feature on Albania trying to cash in on Butrint (and other sites):

Andrew Chugg is involved in a project to reconstruct Cleitarchus’ History of Alexander … the promo book site has a pile of interesting things (including videos and the like not necessarily connected to Cleitarchus) … worth a look:

If you haven’t downloaded the full Gnomon Bibliographical Databank yet:

Discovery News’ Jennifer Viegas recently interviewed Rachel Havrelock about the historical Jesus:

Latest from the Spoof:

On the Interweb

  • If you haven’t visited Laura Gibbs’ Latin via Fables blog yet, you really should as she’s past the ‘fifty fable’ mark … Latin teachers especially will find this ‘slideshow approach’ to learning the language (as opposed to the words) a useful addition to their arsenal …
  • William Annis’ wiki is just getting under way, and scholars are encouraged to become scholiasts and comment on various texts (this is what the wiki format is perfect for!) …
  • Pre-university teachers might be interested in the etclassics group which has just started at Yahoo … the official description:

The ETC: Classics in Middle and Elementary group is dedicated to exploring methodologies, activities, and theories that can be applied to Classics-related courses at the middle school and elementary levels. Our goal is a collective of individuals who are interested in providing the best classes and education possible to their students, as well as spreading the teaching of Latin, Greek, and Classical Studies to students of all ages.

… it currently seems to still be in the ‘getting to know everybody’ stage … (not sure if messages are visible to non members)