Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam


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Egil Asprem: Legatum Stolpianum winner!

Categories: Announcements,Cover Story,HHP

The Dissertation of Egil Asprem, The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900-1939, has been awarded the Legatum Stolpianum. It is a prize awarded only every five years.

The dissertation was written in the context of the Faculty of Humanities, the Institute for Culture and History,  the Department of Art, Religion, and Cultural Sciences, and the capacity group for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. It was defended to cum laude on February 5, 2013.

Official Press Release:

Century old scholarly prizes for modern historical studies with current significance

The 260 year old prize of the Legatum Stolpianum has been awarded in 2014 to two well written historical studies of high quality and with current significance.

Tazuko van Berkel receives the prize for her study about the impact of the introduction of minted money in Ancient Athens on the discourse about friendship, philia. A question that is still relevant today: To what extent can social interactions be described appropriately with economic metaphors? She earned her doctorate in Leiden in 2012 with the study The Economics of Friendship: Changing Conceptions of Reciprocity in Classical Athens.

Egil Asprem receives the prize for a study about physics, parapsychology and esoteric discourse in the early twentieth century. He argues for a new interpretation of the modern era, the period characterized according to Max Weber by ‘disenchantment’. Asprem earned his doctorate at the University of Amsterdam in 2013 with the study The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900-1939. Are we moderns rational? How to think about the persistence of magical discourse?

The prizes will be awarded on Friday May 16, 2014, in the Senate Hall of the Academy Building of Leiden University.

The prize, established in the last will of Jan Stolp in 1753, is one of the oldest academic prizes in Europe. There used to be annual prize questions, on the power of reason and empirical studies in theology and on reason in ethics. As an Enlightenment phenomenon, the prizes were about faith, science, and civilization. On the basis of the will of Jan Stolp, the jury consists of professors in theology, philosopy, medicine, law, the natural sciences and the humanities. Since 1959, the prizes have been awarded for dissertations already published.

Editorial information

Further information can be onbtained from the secretary of the Legatum Stolpianum, professor Willem B. Drees, Universiteit Leiden. Contact w.b.drees@hum.leidenuniv.nl; tel. +31 527 2580. Further information at http://www.luf.nl/fondsen/geesteswetenschappen/legatum-stolpianum .

The award ceremony will be on Friday May 16, 2014, in the Senate Hall of the Academy Building of Leiden University, Rapenburg 67-73, Leiden. The 2014 prize consists of a certificate and 1500 euro per person.

The award winning study of Dr. Egil Asprem will appear with Brill Publishers in the series Numen; a trade edition of the study by Dr. Tazuko van Berkel is in preparation.