In Western religious traditions, God is conventionally conceived to be humanlike creator, king, or ruler enthroned in heaven. But what about the God of the unconventional Western traditions, the God of the mystics, gnostics, and sages? Like almost everything else in these esoteric traditions, God is hidden, secreted away. Sometimes God shows up in another universe beyond our world. Other times God is cloaked behind veils in celestial palaces or within a body of blinding light. Often God is understood to be utterly transcendent, utterly beyond us, while also immediately immanent, immediately within us. This symposium, the inaugural event of the Department of Religious Studies’ new Program on Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism (or GEM) offers academic reflections on these secreted traditions about God, from the ancient world to the modern period.
ROCKWELL SYMPOSIUM, April 15-18
April 15, 3-5 p.m.
April D. DeConick, Rice University
“The Gospel of John as a Transtheistic Early Christian Gospel: Reconceptualizing Johannine Origins and the Roots of Gnosticism”
John Turner, University of Nebraska
“From Hidden to Revealed in Sethian Revelation, Ritual and Protology”
BURKITT PUBLIC LECTURE, April 15, 7:30-9 p.m.
Kocku van Struckard, University of Groningen
“The Esoteric Quest and Western Culture”
April 16, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Kelley Coblentz-Bautch, University of St. Edwards
“The Hidden God in the Pseudo-Clementines”
Andrei Orlov, Marquette University
“Adoil Outside the Cosmos: God Before and After Creation in Enochic Traditions”
Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago
“The Hidden God and the Hidden Self in Christian Mysticism”
Claire Fanger, Rice University
"God's Occulted Body: Divine Involucra in Alan of Lille and Bernard Silvestris"
David Porreca, University of Waterloo
"How Hidden is God? Revelation and Pedagogy in Ancient and Medieval Hermetic Writings"
David Cook, Rice University
“The Vision of God in Muslim Dreams”
Jeff Kripal, Rice University
"On the Mothman, UFOs, and Other Monsters: John A. Keel and the Superspectrum of the Occult"
John Stroup, Rice University
"The Multidimensional Physics of History and the Problem of Transtheistic God-Language as Cultural Critique in the Popular and Learned Works of Joseph P. Farrell"
April 17, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Gregory Kaplan, Rice University
"How (Not) to 'Immanentize the Eschaton' and Other Problems for Hans Jonas and Eric Voegelin"
Steven Finley, Louisiana State University
"Hidden Away: Esotericism and Gnosticism in Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam"
Anne Klein, Rice University
“The Transcendent, the Mysterious, and the Hidden in Tibet: A Buddhist Logos”
Shira Lander, Rice University
“Scholarship on Ancient Palestinian Helios Mosaics: Hiding the Revealed God”
Marcia Brennan, Rice University
“The Modern Museum and Mystical Houston”
April 18, 8:30-11 a.m.
Jonathan Garb, Hebrew University
"Shamanism and Modern Kabbalah"
Bill Parsons, Rice University
“Contours of an Emerging Psychoanalytic Spirituality: Prospects and Problems”