Tag Archives: Baigent Leigh

The Elixer And The Stone * Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (isbn 0140247939)

Another great work from Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. This time they investigate the history of the esoteric systems of the West, in particular the Hermetic tradition. The writers also give some background of their own beings as children of the 60’ies ‘occult revival’ and their youthfull interest in the modern forms of Hermeticism in literature, poetry, art, etc.

The story more or less begins in Alexandria, the Greek city that Alexander the Great founded after the take-over of Egypt around 330 BC. Alexandria soon became the meeting place and hotbed for numerous philosophical, religious and occult people, movements and groups. This resulted in a high state of tollerance and interest of the inhabitants in different viewpoints and philosophies and Alexandria became the cultural capital of the world with two libraries of which the largest contained 500.000 book-rolls and the smallest 40.000. These not only had works of Pythogoras and Plato, also translations in different languages, but even much of what would later become the ‘corpus’ of the Hermetic writings and translations of texts that much later were discovered to be part of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
For a long time everything seemed perfect, but of course there were other cultures at hunt for land and power and Alexandria was attacked several times and eventually taken over and torn down. Many of its treasuries were lost.
The Alexandrian culture didn’t die out just like that and later many of its inhabitants found a new home among the upcoming followers of the Islam which was a very tollerant and openminded religion. Hermeticism even became a part of the Islam when the main movement took over elements from the suffists who were very much influenced by the Hermeticists that lived in the area. Hermeticism even became a ‘religion’ when Muslim leaders were travelling through their empire to see if the different movements among their inhabitents were “people of the book” (meaning, having a religion based on a revelation like the Koran, the Bible or the Vedas) and a group of Hermeticists named books like the Corpus Hermeticum, the Picatrix, etc. which were found legitimite by the Muslims.
Under Muslim flag Spain eventually became the most tollerant and diverse part of Europe regarding philosophy, religion and occultism. This was about 715 AD.
Of course in the end also Spain was taken back, the Muslims were stopped in their rise for the rest of Europe and eventually fought back to about the regions where it is still the main religion today.

Then the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are dealt with and a whole range of great names pass the revue. Names like Cosimo, Ficino (who both founded universaties in Italy), Reuchlin, Dürer, Paracelcus, Trithemius, Agrippa, emperor Rudolph II (the ‘hermetic’ emperor who protected many ‘heretics’ in his kingdom), Da Vinci, Shakespeare, John Dee, Bruno and many more. Some more in depth than others. read more

The Temple And The Lodge * Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (isbn 1559701269)

I know that this is the third book that I review of Baigent and Leigh, but their books are just very interesting historical works on interesting persons and subjects.
And looking through the cases of more serious bookstores, there are many kindred books about several interesting historical subjects, but actually I find historical information quite unusefull. It is nice to know that Jaques de Molay was the last leader of the Knight Templars and was burned in 1313, but this doesn’t add much to my personal worldview. Therefor I think that I will read only a few more of such books (they are read quickly anyway since it is nothing more than absorbing information) and then return to my ‘usual literature’.

This time a book in which the writers prove that Freemasonry descents from the Knight Templars, which is indeed completely the opposite of my article / book review of “The Children Of Hiram“. Of course you can gather facts to prove your story and leave out other facts, to back up your theory or explain the facts in a different way. Many facts are in fact theories and the stories and history and built together from the information that is found. Personally I prefer the version of Baigent and Leigh over that of Van den Abeele, maybe for ‘romantic’ reasons, but the amount of information and ‘facts’ that are given by Baigent and Leigh appeal more to me than the (seemingly) lack of certain historical facts in Van den Abeele’s account, but most things correspond in both books and “The Children Of Hiram” definately is a very worthwhile book on the history of Freemasonry with only facts and almost no theories drawn from them.

But let us move to the version of Baigent and Leigh. read more

The Inquisition * Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh (isbn 0140274669)

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have (together and seperately) written an agreeable amount of books about Christianity and its side-issues.
“The Inquisition – bizarre crusade against heretics and people thinking differently” (I don’t know the exact original title, but it should be something like that), seems to be their latest work.

The writers claim to give a full history of the Inquisition, starting with the events leading to the establishment of the Inquisition in 1234 straight to the present day. As it seems to me, they reached their goal.

Most people only know the worst of all inquisitions, being the Spanish version, but actually most countries had their own inquisition, sometimes under authority of the Pope, sometimes of the crown. The book deals with several versions of the inquisition and also with several meriting point, spead over various chapters. These are as follows:
-a fiery zeal for the faith;
-origins of the Inquisition;
-enemies of the Black Friars;
-the Spanish Inquisition;
-saving the New World;
-a crusade against witchcraft;
-fighting the heresy of Protestantism;
-fear of the mystics;
-Freemasonry and the Inquisition;
-the conquest of the papal states;
-the Holy Office;
-the Dead Sea Scrolls;
-the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
-visions of Mary;
-the Pope as the problem. read more