The Real History Of The Rosicruciansby Arthur Edward Waite
Does the secret order known as the Rosicrucians even exist? Though fabled for centuries as clandestine movers and shakers of European and world events-alongside the Knights Templar and the Freemasons-evidence for its authenticity is shaky. But that doesn't mean that later organizations haven't claimed the name, or that libraries of words haven't been written about them. Waite, a preeminent 19th-century expert in esoterica, here surveys all the literature necessary for understanding the roots of the Rosicrucians, whether they are real or fantasy.
This volume, first published in 1887, includes translations of the 17th-century German documents at the foundation of the story of the Rosicrucians as well as a comprehensive survey of literature about the Rosicrucians. Students of secret societies and European history and literature will be enthralled.
American-born British occultist and author ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE (1857-1942) was co creator of the famous 1910 Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Among his numerous books are Book of Ceremonial Magic, The Holy Kabbalah, and New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
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Ignoring Yate's The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, whose arguments and scope were comparatively narrow, A.E. Waite's two volumes on the Rosicrucian phenomena (Real History...(1887) and The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross (1924) remain the only substantial general histories of the Rosicrucian furore in the English language. Of Waite's two volumes, this is the least useful, but remains significant for its sustained analysis and argument based on source documents. While occassionally impeded by chronic verbosity and a predilection towards mysticism, Waite nevertheless weaves some intelligent and plausible arguments around a slippery subject in this volume, although note that his opinions concerning Andreae's authorship of the manifestos changed dramatically upon his 1924 revisitation of the material. While the weight of recent research based on painstaking bibliographical enterprise renders much of this study obsolete, as in the works of Roland Edighoffer, Richard van Dulmen, and in particular Carlos Gilly, this is still an interesting and useful English language introduction to the major texts, characters and ideas of the Rosicrucian furore.