Freemasonry, esotericism, and Enlightenment in Hungary

Events — Online via Microsoft Teams
20 April 2023, 18:30

Join this online lecture by Dr Róbert Péter of the University of Szeged: Recent scholarly works on the esoteric aspects of Freemasonry do not refer to any Hungarian Freemason.

This talk compares the different views of eighteenth-century Hungarian Freemasons towards ‘esoteric’ or ‘occult’ beliefs and practices such as Rosicrucianism and goes on to investigate the significance of such beliefs and practices within the wider context of the European Enlightenment.

Having introduced the history of eighteenth-century Hungarian Freemasonry, in this lecture I will explore and compare the different attitudes of late eighteenth-century Hungarian Freemasons, including Ferenc Kazniczy, Ádám Pálóczi Horváth, Márton Heinzeli and Ignác Aurél Fessler, to esoteric beliefs and practices ranging from mysticism to Rosicrucianism between the 1770s and the prohibition of Freemasonry in the Habsburg Monarchy in 1795. It will contextualize these various individual approaches to esotericism by using and testing some theoretical frameworks and models about the relationship between Enlightenment and esotericism, which were developed by Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke and Dan Edelstein in recent scholarship. For instance, it will be argued that Pálóczi’s approach to rationalism and esotericism can be strongly affiliated with Edelstein's concept of the Super-Enlightenment, which highlights the complex nexus of rational Enlightenment thinking and mystical, magical and mythical ideas from novel epistemological perspectives.

Photograph of Dr Róbert Péter

Booking is not required. 

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