The Hermetic Deleuze

Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal

The Hermetic Deleuze

New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology

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Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: Published: August 2012

Author: Joshua Ramey

Politics > Political Theory, Religious Studies, Theory and Philosophy

In his writing, Gilles Deleuze drew on a vast array of source material, from philosophy and psychoanalysis to science and art. Yet scholars have largely neglected one of the intellectual currents underlying his work: Western esotericism, specifically the lineage of hermetic thought that extends from Late Antiquity into the Renaissance through the work of figures such as Iamblichus, Nicholas of Cusa, Pico della Mirandola, and Giordano Bruno. In this book, Joshua Ramey examines the extent to which Deleuze's ethics, metaphysics, and politics were informed by, and can only be fully understood through, this hermetic tradition.

Identifying key hermetic moments in Deleuze's thought, including his theories of art, subjectivity, and immanence, Ramey argues that the philosopher's work represents a kind of contemporary hermeticism, a consistent experiment in unifying thought and affect, percept and concept, and mind and nature in order to engender new relations between knowledge, power, and desire. By uncovering and clarifying the hermetic strand in Deleuze's work, Ramey offers both a new interpretation of Deleuze, particularly his insistence that the development of thought demands a spiritual ordeal, and a framework for retrieving the pre-Kantian paradigm of philosophy as spiritual practice.


“Comprehensive and detailed. . . . [A] beautifully written and well-researched book. . . .” — Dorothea Olkowski, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“This is a valuable book for Deleuze scholars, philosophy and religious studies students, and scholars who are interested in contemporary Continental philosophy. Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.” — D.W. Rothermel, Choice

"In this beautiful and daring book on Gilles Deleuze's esotericism, Joshua Ramey initiates us into a spiritual reading of Deleuzian ideas of immanence, founding, becoming, sign, and symbol. The defense of that great unsaid of reason, hermetic heterodoxy, is conveyed with elegance. Through exemplary scholarly study, Ramey seduces us with a dark side to thought. He inducts us into millennia of 'minor' traditions, while transforming them alongside Deleuze's most testing inventions. Rarely has scandalous instruction been so rewarding or rigorous." — James Williams, University of Dundee

"This inspired and rigorous engagement with Gilles Deleuze's concept of immanence raises fresh new problems and questions. Joshua Ramey reads Deleuze as a philosopher who both causes thought to happen and inquires how it happens; he philosophizes about philosophizing. As such, Ramey presents Deleuze as a philosophical demiurge, which is both exciting and provoking. This is an important book and a valuable contribution to the field." — Ian Buchanan, editor of the journal Deleuze Studies


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Joshua Ramey is Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Abbreviations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: Secrets of Immanence 1

1. Philosophical Modernity and Experimental Imperative 11

2. Dark Precursors: The Hermetic Tradition 32

3. The Force of Symbols: Deleuze and the Esoteric Sign 82

4. The Overturning of Platonism 112

5. Becoming Cosmic 148

6. The Politics of Sorcery 171

7. The Future of Belief 200

Coda: Experimental Faith 219

Notes 225

Bibliography 275

Index 283
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5229-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5215-0
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