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Esoterismo. Giornata di studi intorno al volume 25 degli Annali della Storia d’Italia Einaudi

Author(s): Caianiello, Silvia | Cambi, Maurizio | Conforti, Maria | Simonutti, Luisa | Sofia, Francesca | Castellano, Carolina | Cazzaniga, Gian Mario

Journal: Laboratorio dell'ISPF
ISSN 1824-9817

Volume: VIII;
Issue: 1/2;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Esotericism | History of Italy | History of Science | History of Political Thought

[Esotericism. One-day Workshop about the Annale n. 25 of the Storia d'Italia Einaudi]. This section contains the proceedings of the one-day workshop on the book Esoterismo ("Esotericism"), published as the Annale n. 25 in the collection "History of Italy" by Einaudi. The workshop was organized by ISPF on the October 26, 2011 to promote the discussion on the significance of Western esotericist traditions in Italian history. S. Caianiello’s introduction highlights some major concepts and goals of the recent field of studies about Western Esotericism, and some open problems about its definition. M. Cambi comments on the substantial transformation of esotericist themes in Giordano Bruno’s natural philosophy, whereby the sources of the magician’s power are completely enclosed in the realm of nature, thus rejecting any transcendent foundation. M. Conforti focuses on "the function and opportunities" offered by the Western Esotericism approach "to the genesis and development of early modern science" and comments from this perspective on different contributions in the volume, emphasizing however the importance of largely pre-existing traditions in the history of science and medicine which have long challenged the wiggish separation between science and magic, rational and irrational thought. L. Simonutti provides new material to the general theme, with a historical-philosophical analysis of the esotericist elements in Picart’s iconography of the 18th Century edition of "Cymbalum mundi". F. Sofia discusses the effective role of esotericist traditions in the attempts to establish a "civil religion" in Italy from Risorgimento to Fascism, a history in which, she argues, it is difficult to establish "how much esotericism was an intentional choice or the product of an unavoidable nicodemism". C. Castellano reviews the contributions dedicated to the "political teology" of Italian Risorgimento, dealing in depth with the complex relationship between Freemasonry and Carbonari in Italy – in her view, more of a cultural than of a strictly political connection – and highlights the relevance of the anticurial component in their esotericist inspiration. G.M. Cazzaniga, author and editor of the Annale, beyond reacting to the different stimuli offered by the discussion, provides a brief history of Western Esotericism studies in Europe and of the reasons of their difficult reception in Italy.

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