Introduction: Reconceptualizing Innovation and Its Role in Esotericism

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Despite claims of representing an ancient, unchanging wisdom, esoteric movements have often constructed their traditions and adapted to various historical contexts. In view of existing scholarship, we argue that “innovation” can be a useful heuristic tool for understanding the historical changes esoteric traditions undergo. In this chapter we reconceptualize innovation to be the continuous leveraging of past traditions in new contexts. In terms of ideas, we affirm that innovation is a mechanism of negotiation whereby an idea is either produced against, or adapted from, an older set of concepts in order to respond to a present context. We further consider the role of individual choice in innovation, and analyze how knowledge frameworks, such as esotericism, religion, or science, are interconnected to produce innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovation in Esotericism from the Renaissance to the Present
EditorsGeorgiana D. Hedesan, Tim Rudbøg
Number of pages31
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9783030679057
ISBN (Electronic)9783030679064
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 223889967