The Kalyptos Seminar is a small group of scholars of religion— professors and graduate students— whose research focuses upon those premodern religio–philosophical traditions commonly known as ‘mystical.’ The research foci of the seminar extend across several disciplinary, chronological, and geographical domains, and may include topics such as— among many others— medieval Sufism and Kabbalah, Christian mysticism, monasticism and Hesychasm, south Asian Tantra, East Asian Taoist and Buddhist thought, and late antique Mediterranean Hermeticism, Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. This loose conglomeration of traditions share certain general features, such as, for example, the attempt to attain an especially intimate, erotic, or experiential relationship with divinity and / or the ritual divinization of the human psycho–physical complex; the elaboration of sophisticated contemplative techniques for self–transformation; and the concern with interiorization, esotericism, and the superimposition of multiple (and often competing) layers of discourse.

The purpose of the seminar is to provide a multidisciplinary forum for the informal workshop–style presentation and intensive discussion of nascent and current research at a phase of development prior to that which could be comfortably presented in more formal academic fora. Presentations will attempt to emphasize comparative, thematic and / or theoretical aspects of the topic and schould be accessible to nonexperts working in parallel fields. Outside speakers will also on occasion be invited to speak to the seminar. The Seminar will be centered on living, extemporal discussion rather than formal written papers, and on physical presence rather than electronic communication, with the recognition that face to face interaction— despite its immense and irreplacable value— has become increasingly rare amid the burgeoning possibilities for written scholarly communication on line. Throughout the 2010–2011 academic year, the seminar will be held irregularly (about 1 to 2 times per month) in various locations throughout the Boston area. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Seminar organizers using the ‘Contact‘ form. Please check this site for updates to the schedule.