The Rosicrucian Enlightenment * Frances Amelia Yates (isbn 0415267692)

This book is part of a ‘series’ by Yates including “The Art Of Memory”, “Giordano Bruno And The Hermetic Tradition” and “Theatre Of The World”. The last one is the only book by Yates which I haven’t read, the others are reviewed on these pages somewhere. “The Rosicrucian Enlightenment” is purely historical again and in the time Yates wrote this book several things were unclear or even unknown. She did some groundbreaking investigations though. The Rosicrucian manifests were not written by a Rosicrucian society, since this was non-existant and a “ludibrium” (‘joke’ is not the best translation, but still) according to the writer of the manifests Johann Valentin Andrea. Yates does think that there was at least something behind the ideas, but on the other hand, the manifests breathe the occult traditions of the Renaissance. The writer tells us about the influence of the English occultist John Dee on the Rosicrucian writings, the most prominent people who associated themselves with the invisable Rosicrucian society the German alchemist Michael Maier and the Brittish Paracelsian doctor Robert Fludd. When Rosicrucianity became something you didn’t want to be associated with Andrea more severely took distance from his earlier writings, but did found a real Christian society. Anyway, a nice history of the Rosicrucian history, but I think you do have to read a more recent one too.

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