The first true western esotericist: Philo of Alexandria. In this episode we come to grips with what makes him so western, what makes him so esoteric, and introduce his fascinating life and work.
SHWEP is a roughly-chronological historical narrative: it starts way-back-when and moves forward from there. However, Episodes 0-4 are introductory materials. If you are a newcomer to the podcast, Episode Zero introduces the concept behind it. If you are a newcomer to the history of western esotericism, check out Episodes One, Two and Three, which provide a lot of useful background. If you want to skip the intro and start exploring the nitty-gritty of the history of western esotericism, start with Episode Four and go from there.
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The Jews in antiquity were busy doing rituals of all sorts, many of which scholars want to call magical. They were also seen by their neighbours as especially skilled at various ritual arts which the neighbours called magical. Naomi Janowitz discusses Jewish magic and the ‘Jewish Magi’ in antiquity.
Members only: Frances Flannery Dreams On
Frances Flannery explores the problems of interpreting ancient accounts of visionary dreams. A wide-ranging interview featuring the first Book of Enoch, imaginal trees, and the platypus.
Episode 54: Frances Flannery on Jewish Dreams in Antiquity
In an interview bringing together both the visionary narratives of apocalyptic and the practical side of the Hekhalot traditions, Professor Frances Flannery leads us through the corridors of dreaming and the esoteric in antique Judaism.
We give an overview of the complex and fascinating Hekhalot and Merkavah texts, works not only describing the journey to God’s throne, but giving instructions on how to get there, and not merely enumerating the angelic hierarchies, but giving the tools to summon and command them.
Members only: Matthew Neujahr on Near-Eastern Roots of Apocalyptic
We explore the fascinating parallels between Near Eastern visionary materials and the Jewish apocalyptic texts of the Second Temple. Matthew Neujahr is our guide through the shifting sands of some seriously esoteric texts, as we sift what can be proven from the speculative material.
Episode 52: Enoch, Apocalyptic, and Abrahamic Faith
In this episode we explore further the amazing work 1 Enoch, taking in along the way ruminations on the history of the west, debates about the identity of the Enochic authors, and some hints as to the development of the Enochic tradition as a western esoteric ‘scripture’.
Episode 51: Enoch and the Book of Watchers
The text known as 1 Enoch is perhaps the greatest work of apocalyptic literature, and a kind of esoteric scripture within Judaism, Christianity, and Gnosticism. We meet the text and look at the evil giants and celestial visions of its first part, the Book of Watchers.
Episode 50: John J. Collins on Apocalyptic
In this episode Professor John J. Collins introduces a fascinating product of Second Temple Judaism, and a fertile vehicle for esoteric speculation beyond the bounds of Jewry – apocalyptic literature. All will be revealed!
Judaism starts to get seriously esoteric in the time known as the Second Temple period. This episode gives some basic historical points of reference for this era of Jewish antiquity, setting the stage for the visionary journeys, apocalyptic revelations, and magic to come.