Last Thursday, Religious Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Vadim Putzu, was invited to give a lecture at the Thomas Moore Johnson Library and Museum in Osceola, MO. Dr. Putzu shares his experience with us:
Tom Johnson, the grandson of Thomas Moore Johnson (whom I have been writing about in the past year), invited me to talk about “Judaism Past and Present” for their semi-annual lecture series. Given the daunting task, I briefly discussed various historical manifestations of Judaism including those extant in the Ozarks, and I mentioned TMJ’s peculiar interests for Judaism and Kabbalah. A couple of dozen people travelled from Springfield (including Tom Peters and Anne Baker from the MSU library) and elsewhere to gather in Johnson’s old Victorian house, surrounded by his 70,000 volume library. My lecture was recorded, and it will eventually be available through MSU library archives, as well as in the Johnson Library Journal. Since the 100th anniversary of TMJ’s death falls next year, Tom Johnson, other scholars and I are considering organizing a symposium to commemorate this relatively unknown Ozarkian Platonist who, through his writings and leadership, was instrumental in establishing occult and esoteric groups—such as the Theosophical Society, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, and the Sufi Order—in late 19th century America.