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Timbro 3rd Reading Group on Classical Liberal Literature, Dec 2017 – Jan 2018

Timbro keeps classical liberal literature alive and brings it to new generations.

Timbro 3rd Reading Group on Classical Liberal Literature, Dec 2017 – Jan 2018: The History of Esoteric Writing

A large part of the 17th and 18th century literature, including many of the liberal classics, was written in a way that left much of the meaning “between the lines,” or indirect, or esoteric. Why would an author choose to write in such a way? How does an author write such a way? This December–January we explore such questions in a Reading Group with focus on esoteric writing.

Philosophy Between the Lines (häftad)

We will read Arthur M Melzer’s Philosophy Between the Lines – The Lost History of Esoteric Writing.

Here is an excerpt from the book description:

“Arthur M. Melzer serves as our deeply knowledgeable guide in this capacious and engaging history of philosophical esotericism. Walking readers through both an ancient (Plato) and a modern (Machiavelli) esoteric work, he explains what esotericism is and is not. It relies not on secret codes, but simply on a more intensive use of familiar rhetorical techniques like metaphor, irony, and insinuation. Melzer explores the various motives that led thinkers in different times and places to engage in this strange practice, while also exploring the motives that lead more recent thinkers not only to dislike and avoid this practice but to deny its very existence.”

Copies of the book will be available at Timbro, Kungsgatan 60. Contact me by email, and I will make sure that a copy of the book is available for pickup, or sent by mail. The schedule and assigned readings are as follows:

The schedule and assigned readings are as follows:

1st meeting (December 11, 4.30 – 6 PM)

Read in the following order:

  1. Preface
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Introduction: What Is Philosophical Esotericism?
  4. Chapter 9: A Beginner’s Guide to Esoteric Reading
  5. Chapter 5: Fear of Persecution: Defensive Esotericism
  6. Chapter 6: Dangerous Truths: Protective Esotericism

2nd meeting: (December 18, 4.30 – 6 PM)

  1. Chapter 7: The Educational Benefits of Obscurity: Pedagogical Esotericism
  2. Chapter 1: The Testimonial Evidence for Esotericism
  3. Chapter 2: Interlude: Two Brief Examples

3rd meeting: (January 8, 4.30 – 6 PM)

  1. Chapter 3: The Theoretical Basis of Philosophical Esotericism: The “Problem of Theory and Praxis”
  2. Chapter 4: Objections, Resistance, and Blindness to Esotericism

4th meeting: (January 15, 4.30 – 6 PM)

  1. Chapter 8: Rationalizing the World: Political Esotericism
  2. Chapter 10: Defending Reason: Esotericism and the Critique of Historicism

The seminars are held at Timbro, Kungsgatan 60, 2nd floor.

Participants are also encouraged to learn from the two-part podcast, where Melzer is interviewed by prof Dan Klein.

Questions related to the Reading Group can be addressed to bjorn.hasselgren@timbro.se, +46-70-7623316.

Daniel Klein is also available by email dklein@gmu.edu

I look forward to seeing you in December!

Björn Hasselgren
Senior Fellow