The paper focuses on the concept of leading European researcher of the history of Western esotericism Wouter Hanegraaff which was presented in the monograph «Esotericism and the Academy». This concept is briefly formulated as follows: Division by Alchemy and chemistry occurs through two types of scientific research. The first type is focused on the opening of the wisdom of the ancients in the interpretation of texts of earlier eras. The second type now known as chemistry is based on the language of experimental science. Hanegraaff’s approach, therefore, is opposed at the same time to the theories of positivists, Jung and Eliade, as well as the "new historiography" of Newman and Principe.
The paper deals with the beginning of medieval reception of physiognomics, a specifi c complex of doctrines and knowledge about human body, that, on an individual scale, enabled the adept to judge about what we would call the «character» of an individual. The author analyzes some texts of the 13th century: the «Secret of Secrets» and especially the still unedited «Liber physonomie» by Michael Scot (ca. 1230). Physiognomics was received not at universities, but at the courts of some cultivated seigneurs, ecclesiastical and laic.