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CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: ESSWE PhD Thesis Prize  2022 (updated)

Nominations are invited for the seventh biennial ESSWE PhD Thesis prize, awarded by the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism.


The prize will be given for an outstanding PhD. thesis defended in 2019-2021 on any aspect of Western Esotericism. Candidates for the prize must be members of the ESSWE. The thesis must have been approved formally by the nominee’s thesis committee, but the degree need not have been formally awarded. The prize will not be awarded if no submissions are deemed qualified.

Notification & Certification

The prize-winner will be notified in April 2021 and will receive an award of €500 and a certificate, to be presented at the ESSWE conference in Cork, Ireland 5-7 July 2022. The ESSWE will also make a substantial contribution to travel expenses and lodging costs, and the conference fee will be waived.


The thesis will also be recommended for publication in the ARIES Book Series, though the final decision on publication will be taken by the ARIES Book Series editorial board.


Nominations must be made by email to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Boaz Huss (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, by 1 January 2022. The nominator must be a faculty member at the institution that awards the nominee’s PhD degree, or a member of the nominee’s thesis committee. Each nominator may make only one nomination.

The applications should consist of pdf files of the following material:

  1. A one-page description of the thesis and motivation why it is nominated for the prize
  2. The nominee’s thesis
  3. Documentation to show that the thesis has been approved

Item 1 needs to be in English, whereas items 2 and 3 can be in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

The Prize Committee consists of: Boaz Huss (Chair), Ben Gurion University of the Negev; Bernd-Christian Otto, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; Helmut Zander, Université de Fribourg

ESSWE PhD Thesis Prize Winners

2009 Robert Collis, “The Petrine Instauration: Religion, Esotericism and Science at the Court of Peter the Great, 1689-1725.”

2011 Daniel Jütte, “Das Zeitalter des Geheimnisses. Juden, Christen und die Ökonomie des Geheimen (1400–1800).”

2013 Egil Asprem, “The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900-1939.”

2015 Tim Rudbøg, "H. P. Blavatsky's Theosophy in Context: The Construction of Meaning in Modern Western Esotericism."

2017 Julian Strube, "Sozialismus, Katholizismus und Okkultismus im Frankreich des 19. Jahrhunderts. Die Genealogie der Schriften von Eliphas Lévi”

2019  Mike Zuber, “Spiritual Alchemy from the Age of Jacob Boehme to Mary Anne Atwood, 1600–1900”

2022 Yves Muehlematter, "Accelerating Evolution in Annie Besant’s Theosophy: Pedagogy in India between “Western” and “Eastern” Roots"

2023 Peter Lanchidi, “The Kabbalistic-Masonic Art of Rabbi David Rosenberg: Jewish Kabbalah and Freemasonry in the Nineteenth Century"

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