Just published: Secret Religion

Another book produced (this time edited) by DeConick has just been published, by MacMillan Reference USA in their series MacMillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks. This one tackles Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism, in 24 chapters by 24 authors (full disclosure: yours truly numbers among them). Here is the description and TOC from the book’s website:

Religion: Secret Religion is part of the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks series dedicated to the study of religion. Composed of twenty-four thematic chapters, this volume looks at the margins of religion or religious texts and traditions that are not considered authoritative by orthodox communities. The volume is broken down into three sections that correspond with different classifications of religion in the margins: gnosticism, with its focuses on knowledge of a transcendent God who is the source of life and the human spirit; esotericism, with its focus on private religion kept from the public and critical of orthodoxy; and mysticism, with its focus on immediate contact with the ultimate reality. Each classification will be explored historically and comparatively to give the reader a more rounded understanding. The volume also includes bibliographies, filmographies, images, a glossary, and a comprehensive index, all of which aid the reader in exploring this rich, rewarding, and relevant field.

Table of Contents

GNOSTICISM.
1. Gnosticism Emergent: The Beginning of the Study of Gnosticism in the Academy.
2. Gnosticism Theorized: Major Trends and Approaches to the Study of Gnosticism.
3. Gnosticism Disputed: Major Debates in the Field.
4. Gnosticism Historicized: Historical Figures and Movements.
5. Gnosticism Socialized: Gnostic Communities.
6. Gnosticism Recorded: Text, Scripture, and Parascripture.
7. Gnosticism Imagined: Major Ideas and Perspectives of Gnostics.
8. Gnosticism Practiced: Ritual and Performance.
ESOTERICISM.
9. Esotericism Emergent: The Beginning of the Study of Esotericism in the Academy.
10. Esotericism Theorized: Major Trends and Approaches to the Study of Esotericism.
11. Esotericism Disputed: Major Debates in the Field.
12. Esotericism Historicized: Historical Figures and Movements.
13. Esotericism Socialized: Esoteric Communities.
14. Esotericism Recorded: Text, Scripture, and Parascripture.
15. Esotericism Imagined: Major Ideas and Perspectives of Esotericists.
16. Esotericism Practiced: Ritual and Performance.
MYSTICISM.
17. Mysticism Emergent: The Beginning of the Study of Mysticism in the Academy.
18. Mysticism Theorized: Major Trends and Approaches to the Study of Mysticism.
19. Mysticism Disputed: Major Debates in the Field.
20. Mysticism Historicized: Historical Figures and Movements.
21. Mysticism Socialized: Mystic Communities.
22. Mysticism Recorded: Text, Scripture, and Parascripture.
23. Mysticism Imagined: Major Ideas and Perspectives of Mystics.
24. Mysticism Practiced: Ritual and Performance.
Glossary.
Index.

Features and Benefits

  • The interdisciplinary nature of these handbooks provides an innovative approach to introducing the field to novices.
  • Film, literature, art, and other lenses are used to help the reader understand concepts and ideas in the study of religion.
  • The handbooks combine the features of an introductory textbook with features of a reference resource to effectively engage and educate the user.
  • Introduces the reader to the different classifications of margin religions: gnosticism, esotericism, and mysticism.
  • Peer-reviewed chapters are written by eminent scholars in the field.
  • Includes a glossary, bibliographies, and summaries for each chapter.
  • 28 images.
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