Rose Cross Over The Baltic * Susanna Åkerman (9004110305 * 1998)

Brill is a Dutch publisher that mostly publishes scholarly books in low editions. A book like this costs about $ 100,-. You can understand that I didn’t buy it. These kinds of books are mostly meant to be bought by university libraries and the like. Still these kinds of books are essential when you want to seriously investigate certain subjects. I lent the copy of the University of Amterdam. When you have a way of finding out where you can find this kind of literature they can usually be ordered through your local library, but a way into the scholarly milieu is also very helpfull.

Anyway, the subtitle for this book is clearer than the main title: “The spread of Rosicrucianism in Northern Europe”. Åkerman is a Swedish investigator and with “Baltic” she means the Baltic of the 17th century, the countries around the Baltic Sea. The book is mostly about Scandinavia, but also the Netherlands, Denmark and a little bit of England and Germany is written about.

Åkerman is part of the ‘new’ school of scientists investigating esotericism. Like most of them, Åkerman is very critical towards the groundbreaking (but old and therefor sometimes flawed) investigation of Frances Yates. However popular the books of Yates still are, recent findings sometimes prove her wrong and of course new facts came up. Still the serious recent scholarly works are not available for the common man and like this one, you have to either reach deep into your wallet or look for a copy to lend. Åkerman roughly gives a more recent version of the history of early Rosicrucianism. After this she focusses on her own environment and much pages are dedicated to Johannes Bureus (who was the reason for me reading this book). Scandinavia seems to have been active in the early Rosicrucian history and Åkerman also has some information that was new to me about my own country in these times. Of course this book is about the Rosicrucians, so I did not exactly find the information I was looking for, but a few nice hints and suggestions. And I am always interested to read of recent findings of that time, because the Renaissance keeps me interested. Sometimes I think that Åkerman is a bit rapid with her conclusions and here and there I believe her to be a bit sloppy and of course the book is seven years old and there are even more recent findings, but this book is good read, especially because there is not that much information about Scandinavia in the Renaissance. And about Bureus, his diary was (I believe) in Swedish and some of his works are too, so we need a Swede to investigate him. Hopefully Åkerman will continue to do so and especially: keep writing in English!
For articles about Bureus see here.
-7/4/05-

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