The Chinese Gnosis * Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharosa de Petri (isbn 9067321834)

Jan van Rijckenborgh and Catharosa de Petri are two outstanding writers from the Dutch modern Rosicrucian movement (the Lectorium Rosicrucianum). I was happily surprised when I saw at Amazon how many of their works are also available in the English language and also my “De Chinese Gnosis” seems to have an English counterpart. The cover is of my Dutch version and my copy is released by “Rozekruis Pers”, which is the publisher of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum. I don’t know if the English versions are printed by ‘independant’ publishers.
“The Chinese Gnosis” has as subtitle (almost unreadable in the picture) “commentaries on the Tao Teh King”, which immediately proves that this book is not the average Rosicrucian work. Western esoteric knowledge (“gnosis”) is essayed and compared with the ancient Chinese knowledge of Lao Tse, which results in an extremely interesting mix of western and eastern teachings.
The book is divided in 33 short chapters which are the chapters of the Tao Teh King (Tao Teh Ching, …) which are first given in translation and then explained and commented by the writers. The writers use biblical quotes to make things clearer, gnostic writings such as the Pistis Sophia, Rosicrucian books such as the “Chemical Wedding of Christian Rozenkreuz” (or however the exact title is in English) and they are also familiar with other eastern writings. Being a Rosicrucian work, it all has a rather ‘Christian’ sauce of course.
The writing style of Van Rijckenborgh and De Petri is very direct and clear, but rather old-fashioned. I don’t know if translaters took over this old-fashioned style, but it seems that it is rather typical for Dutch Rosicrucian writings. It is not irritating or difficult in any way though.
All in all I can recommand this book to anyone who is interested in reading a Rosicrucian work, but of course also to everyone who is open for a different interpretation of the Tao Teh King, because the commentaries are of course very different from the usual translations of ‘experts of the east’. And be sure to look out for other books of these writers, because they make a good representation of modern Rosicrucianity.

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