Focus Group 'Secret'

The focus group 'secret' dealt with the phenomenon of secrets and secrecy in various religious traditions during different periods of history. The group analysed and defined the content and social function of secrets and esoteric traditions in different religions.

Possible distinctions in regard to secret are

  • epistemic and/or social secrets,
  • unspeakable secrets and secrets for the initiates of elite groups,
  • esoteric secrets as part of the leading elite (e.g. Tibetan Buddhism), and esoteric secrets as an expression of deviant groups against European mainstream Christianity,
  • secret as knowledge or as practice,
  • ambivalence of concealing and/or unveiling the secret,
  • secret, mystery and mysticism: connections and differentiations.