Around 200 researchers from Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Canada, the USA, France, Italy, Sweeden and the UK, were gathered in Lisbon, on May 7-10, 2016 for the first Lusophone Congress on Western Esotericism, by Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias. The organization was held the by Western Esotericism line of research of the area of Religious Studies of Universidade Lusófona.
The motto of the congress can be defined in the establishment of the foundations of a scientific field on Western Esotericism (in the Lusophone domain), its conceptual boundaries and methodology nowadays.
The congress delivered 80 presentations in Portuguese, Spanish and English, presented in 13 thematic symposiums. The great majority of the symposiums were around themes such as Gnosis and Hermeticism (both Ancient and Renaissance), as well as Theosophy and modern cultural movements. Throughout the whole event there were presentations of remarkable quality. A special highlight has to be given to the thematic symposiums of Art and Western Esotericism due to its quality and to the one dedicated to the Jungian studies, not only due to its quality as well but also due to its foundational aspect in such a field in Portugal.
The symposiums were specially productive in regard to the exchange of ideas, contacts and projects in order to start future joint ventures.
Peter Forshaw, a key figure in the academic hermetic studies, professor at the University of Amsterdam and representing the ESSWE (European Society for the Studies of Western Esotericism) was the congress’ main speaker. Both his talks had a defining character, in line with the congress’ motto, the first one on the opening of the congress about the state of the art of academic western esotericism studies, and the second one, during the visit to Palácio Nacional de Mafra, about his research on Heinrich Khunrath’s work.
The visit to the palace was part of the cultural program of the congress, that included a specialized book fair, as well as a first day reception at the Portuguese Parliament with a guided tour on the theme “Enlightenment symbolism”.
Another highlight were the debates:
- 1) «Estudos académicos em Gnose e Esoterismo: que futuro?», coordinated by José Manuel Anes, with the participation of Ricardo Lindemann (Un. de Brasília/Un. Juíz de Fora), Paulo Mendes Pinto (ULHT) and Rui Lomelino de Freitas (ULHT);
- 2) «Utopia e Realização», coordinated by Annabela Rita with the participation of Paulo Mendes Pinto e Mendo de Castro Henriques.
In the closing session Rui Lomelino de Freitas presented the outcomes of the congress.
Some photos of the event can be seen here