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Proposed merge[edit]

I think Esotericism should be merged into Esoteric. Any thoughts? Tom harrison 15:35, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

This is the main article for category:esotericism. If any merging is to take place, it should be in the opposite direction. Considering the length and content of the Esoteric article, I would support merging that article into here. RDF talk 16:47, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree with RDF M Alan Kazlev 03:58, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

That's fine with me; Thanks RDF, for adding the merge blocks. Tom harrison 16:19, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

It sounds like we have a consensus from everyone who weighed in! I'm "new" here, so I don't know what comes next. Can we just make the merge with a redirect soon, or do we have to wait for some discussion period? RDF talk 20:15, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Maybe Esoteric actually should be a disambiguation page, so that folks looking for Esoteric (band) - British extreme doom metal band, or Esoteric programming language wont get redirected here by mistake. RDF talk 20:39, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

11:00 am PST, May 22, 2006 This should be turned into disambiguation.. theres 4 kinds of esoteric, 1 a hip hop emcee, a death metal, band, a programing language, and the actual meaning of esoteric. -Glocky

As far as I can tell, we just do it. There's some how-to information at Wikipedia:Duplicate articles, but it looks like you have it well in hand. I would say just bring it all over, set up 'esoteric' as disambiguation, and then we'll clean it up here. Tom harrison 20:46, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

On the other hand...I just checked "What links here" to Esoteric and about a couple hundred articles do!!! Would it be better to do a redirect with the "See also" list at the bottom about the other articles? That's how I'm leaning for the next 30 seconds or so! >;-o) RDF talk 21:02, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Redrict everyone from '-ic' to '-ism' and put the disambiguation block at the top of '-ism.' The links will still work, readers will be automatically redirected to 'Esotericism,' which will have all the content from 'Esoteric.' Right? Tom harrison 22:14, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

Done!!! :-) RDF talk 22:59, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

"is knowledge suitable only for an inner circle of the initiated, advanced or privileged." This is incorrect. The "inner" refers to the knowledge, not the people who study it.



I deleted the following:

[In searches of a spiritual life there is no sense to exhaust itself with the senseless interdictions, not having any attitudes to spiritual already by virtue of the materiality. As well as it is not necessary to refuse a wordly life except for harm to and another. I do not consider, that end in itself should be leaving in eternal spiritual life. Owing to perception of the world of spirit the person can live a spiritual life both on the ground and by virtue of knowledge of spiritual power already organize the life. That is I speak not about refusal from material, and about holly it. Just as the developed human spirit spiritualizes a body. ]

It defies comprehension, I believe due to incorrect choices of wording, and it has little to do with an encyclopedic definition or overview of the term "esotericism."

Marginal or fringe status in the modern West[edit]

I wonder how exactly this point could be best expressed:

Here's what was written:

The institutional danger of esotericism is its potential as an alternative source of doctrine or authority. In Gershom Scholem's view, normative Judaism distanced itself from Kaballah in the wake of Shabbatai Zevi's use of it to bolster his messianic pretentions. Similarly, Roman Catholic theologians seem to have shied away from esoteric subjects at about the same time that certain elements within the Protestant Reformation were celebrating them. An example would be the initial wave of Rosicrucian manifestoes. Magisterial Protestants themselves grew suspicious of esoteric traditions as they began to be invoked by pietist inspired figures such as Swedenborg.
Hence esotericism's increasingly marginal or fringe status in the modern West.

My question is about the word 'increasingly.' The point seems to be that given the nature of esotericism and the nature of western society, esotericism will always be on the fringe. But there is a cyclic element to it as well. Should we say, 'increasingly' marginal? or 'consistently?' or 'recurringly?' or something else? Anyone have any thoughts?

If it's not "marginal," it really can't be "esoteric." :-) How about this?
Hence esotericism's inherently marginal or fringe status in the modern West.
RDF talk 18:12, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Another Merge[edit]

I suggest merging Esoteric knowledge into Esotericism. Tom harrison 20:05, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

That seems reasonable. Do you want to do the honors? RDF talk 00:12, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, I have no preference; Whoever gets to it first I guess. Tom harrison 02:57, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Done. RDF talk 19:58, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Shiism should also be classified as an esoteric religion.

Jaques Matter and his influences, history of Martinism[edit]

I yanked most of a section describing the 'influences on the man who coined the term "Esotericism"', and said I would try to incorporate any important details into Martinism. I realise I don't really have the expertise. The text definitely doesn't belong here (maybe some of it could go into an article on Jacques Matter?). It is:

It should also be noted that Jacques Matter was himself an esotericist, and coined the term "Martinism," as he was the grandson of Rodolphe de Salzmann, from whom he had inherited the complete and more-or-less unpublished writings of Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, whom he largely created as the "founder of Martinism," according to French historian René Philipon. Phillipon also notes in his 1899 work Notice historique sur le martinésisme et le martinisme that the original teachings of Martinism stemmed from Martinès de Pasqually, a Freemason charged with travelling the countryside and establishing Masonic communes, who began in his zeal to depart from the "true base of the Masonic institution." From this departure de Saint-Martin departed even further, integrating the pneumatology of Philo as well as magnetism and alchemy, forming a more "passive" practice akin to "mysticism," as opposed to the slightly more exoteric teachings of Freemason ministry ("opérations extérieures du Maître"), which had evolved out of the actual practices and thought of medieval stone masons.

Could anyone else help with this? Thanks, Fuzzypeg 01:07, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Help: beating the article back into shape[edit]

Hi, I've been labouring for a while trying to combine some edits User:Dark Goob (as User: made in with the rest of the article, and also explain to him (or her?) why my pruning has been so severe. I suspect I have rather offended him. He has some useful info, but it needs to be combined into the proper sections. Could anyone help? He's contributed quite a lot of text, and there's a bit of work to get it all clean. I also think other sections of the article could do with a tidy, but first things first...

I occasionally have bits I don't know how to recombine, such as the Jacques Matter material mentioned above, and the following:

The important overall trend in the origins of "esotericism" is the typical Rennaissance influence of ancient philosophy, which had recently been rediscovered after the dark ages, as well as a reaction away from the science and rational thought of the Enlightenment, as symbolized by such figures as scientist-turned-esoteric figures like Emanuel Swedenborg and the lasting influence of Jacob Boehme.

How should this be incorporated into the historical sketch? The problem is, he's not editing existing sections, but just writing his own completely new sections, which means the wording and ideas don't necessarily link easily with the other sections. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Fuzzypeg 01:48, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't get the following quote:

"A prime example of a historically highly selective category of esoteric teaching is within the academic discipline of philosophy, (in particular, philosophy of mind), whose teachers maintain selectivity by limiting their scope to colleges and universities."

I fail to see how the philopshy of mind is esoteric--its just a area of academic reaserach like many others. And anyone can choose to read books and papers on the philosophy of mind.

Has anyone come across any reference to modern technical fields as esoteric, as in, being understandable to only a few 'initiated' or 'graduated' into the field?L Hamm 23:17, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I can see how philosophy of mind or, in fact, any technical field can be described as historically highly selective. Anyone can choose to read books on genetics, oncology and bioinformatics, but there are relatively few who understand these fields except those who have chosen them as a professional field. So that, in terms of what exists, scientific fields might be considered esoteric. Though I would hesitate to mention that in the article for the simple reason that, when I have broached the subject that scientific disciplines could be considered esoteric, he strenuously disagreed, and for the reason you have just mentioned that "anyone can choose to read books and papers on the. . . " subject .L Hamm 23:22, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I work as a software engineer, and particularly convoluted and difficult areas of programming knowledge are termed "esoteric". This is a quite valid (and common) use of the term, and certainly warrants being explained in the article. That said, I would agree that the quote above is pretty low on useful information. It seems to be attempting to say in an indirect way that people who study philosophy at university are pompous gits. I'm not sure what other purpose there is to it. Fuzzypeg 08:09, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Please... Check out author Don Miguel Ruiz. The way he describes things will be useful. (the mastery of love- the four agreements)
I removed the phrase in a nutshell. Sentence just reads "What does Esotericsm teach" RasstheLenek 22:13, 21 June 2006 (UTC)


Over time, Esoteric was turned back into a dab page. Sine this is the primary meaning, I have changed it back to a redirect and created Esoteric (disambiguation) to handle the dab entries. --Brian G (Talk) 14:27, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Marginal status, two meanings[edit]

It may be old to discuss it now, but when it is said "increasingly marginal status" the meaning is "increasingly lower esteem", whereas the "intrinsically" marginality of esotericism is, in origin, perhaps the opposite: it is regarded as "too high" to be handled by most people. And I would add that most people -in those old times- would have it in high esteem. On the other hand, I added "Frithjof Schuon" alongside "René Guénon", because it seemed appropriate to me (he has even a book titled Esoterism as a principle and as a way). 03:07, 6 September 2006 (UTC) Nahuel


Is the term Esoterica proper verbiage, or just slang? If it really is a term, then it should be mentioned in the summary (set in bold) as one of the alterations on the word Esotericism. sloth_monkey 01:27, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Ah. Well. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: es·o·ter·i·ca
Pronunciation: -i-k&
Function: noun plural
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek esOterika, neuter plural of esOterikos
Definition: esoteric items.

So I'm thinking that means esoteric "things" and not "ideas." You agree? In any case could someone fit it into the article then? sloth_monkey 01:31, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Okay okay, well nevermind. I ended up rewriting the summary myself. sloth_monkey 01:57, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

This article needs serious revision[edit]

The article unfortunately does not reflect current scholarship on (Western) esotericism and needs to be thoroughly revised or rewritten. I don't have the time to do it myself, but have added a minimum bibliography and a few links. Since the 1990s the academic study of Western esotericism has been developing fast, and this is reflected by a plethora of new publications, academic chairs, journals, monograph series, professional organizations, and conferences or conference sections (see overview in Hanegraaff 2004, and links on the ESSWE website). Hopefully some wikipedian will feel called upon to take al this into account? One crucial distinctions that would need to be made in an updated article is that between (1) esotericism as referring to secrecy, hidden teachings, initiatory groups etc., and (2) esotericism as a general label for a range of currents and ideas in Western culture, which may or may not have to do with secrecy and so on.

True 'nuff. I think it's mandatory to mention Giordono Bruno, and the hermetic tradition by Francis Yates at around this point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thaddeus Slamp (talkcontribs) 22:28, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


I really dont like that defintion at the start. You cant describe a word by using the word in a sentence. Its too confusing. Can somebody who knows what esoteric means change it? --ISeeDeadPixels 20:55, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

does anybody else have the biggest urge to change the definition of esoteric to: some kind of desert LedZeppelin84 07:22, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Wellyes, but Douglas Adams's People, or the python crew, would begin litigation procedures if we did.

Thaddeus Slamp (talk) 22:31, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:30, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

esoterica/esoterica-proposed dissambiguationish concept[edit]

I think that esoterica has come to refer to all that is deliberately obscure; streight out, but that the use of the term esotericism, is used for all that is deliberately obscure as well, it is so used more tounge and cheek (still retains the origonal recognition of a slight meaning twist) when not pertaining to the body of spiritual work. This is just how it seems to me, and the toungue in cheek aspect becomes less every year, but it's still there. Do others agree, and if so, can the article reflect this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thaddeus Slamp (talkcontribs) 22:39, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


Why does arcane link here, is it exactly the same word? At least then it should be mentioned somewhere, I think. -- (talk) 09:56, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Needs critisism on esotericism[edit]

see title

every thing has it's criticts, the most inportant arguments are often made my critics of some idea/movement/religion —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:46, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm considering deleting the criticism section as it stands. To me, as it currently stands, the section is confusing, unsourced, and doesn't seem to add actual information to the article. If there is sourceable criticism, then a well written criticism section certainly may be appropriate. I'm new to this subject, but I should think that such a section would need good justification, as I can't understand how you criticize an academic classification. -Verdatum (talk) 15:11, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Acedemic classifications are criticized, basic categories like theism and authoritarianism are acedemic classifications and have recieved criticism. Yes, it needs reliable sources otherwise the whole thing is unviable, though i myself have believed some theists and non-theists alike who criticize sets beliefs at are associated in the circle of esotericism and i might present those sources -- (talk) 03:30, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Esotericism In non-Western Religion/Culture[edit]

This article almost completely lacks any treatment of non-western interpretations of Esotericism. Entire denominations of Mahayana Buddhism and even in Tibetan Buddhism utilize esoteric practices and beliefs. See here, Esoteric Buddhism — Preceding unsigned comment added by KaraiBorinquen (talkcontribs) 17:16, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Of or Or? Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs,[1] that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest[edit]

Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs,[1] that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest

Is this supposed to be "ideas preserved or understood by a small group OF those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest" or "ideas preserved or understood by a small group OR those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest" ? To be honest, having "of" makes more sense, unless it's supposed to be: "ideas preserved or understood by a small group, those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest" Treeees (talk) 17:43, 13 May 2013 (UTC)


There is a growing movement among both private filtering services and governments to censor access to "esoteric material" on the internet, particularly in the UK. Not only do I find this highly concerning but I believe it to be notable and therefore should have a section in this article. Thoughts? 12:46, 31 October 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dantai Amakiir (talkcontribs)


I have added a little on the origins of the two noun endings "-terism/-tericism", but this matter still requires clarification. Rather than being developed from "esoteric", "esoterism" is a neologism, probably of French origin, based directly on Greek roots, exactly along the lines of modern Greek "εσωτερισμός". "Esotericism" in turn does clearly come from the adjective. Let us hope for some research that can eventually make its way into the article. Servus!

Desde la Torre (talk) 11:20, 28 August 2014 (UTC)