Eric Parker is a Ph.D. student at McGill University under the supervision of Prof. Torrance Kirby. His research focuses on the group of 17th century English theologian/philosophers known as the Cambridge Platonists and their use of Proclus’s Neoplatonic notion of “conversion” or epistrophe – as an intellectually intuitive turn within to the “One within the soul” – to promote a sort of “re-enchantment” of the self and its world in the face of the encroaching materialism of Hobbes and Spinoza. Eric studies how ordinary activities such as conversation, reading, and the writing of personal letters and poetry functioned as a sort of Protestant “theurgy,” which the Cambridge Platonists performed as a sort of divinization of the self and which they hoped would ultimately lead to the divinization of the public sphere.
Eric recently taught a course at McGill entitled “Persuasion and Conversion in Early Modernity” which dealt with how early modern Christians thought of conversion and its political dimensions. He has also published articles on religion and ethics in Martin Luther and Peter Martyr Vermigli.