The Spirits' Book / Edition 1

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Overview

When two "grave and serious" spirits began speaking to a French academic through two young mediums and "completely revolutionized [his] ideas and convictions," Allan Kardec decided to set down these spiritualistic revelations. The result electrified the high society of the mid 19th century, which was already fascinated by "spirit tapping" and other paranormalities, and earned Kardec-a pseudonym his spirits commanded him to use-a place in this history of the paranormal as the father of spiritism.

Kardec "interviews" the spirits, asking more than 1000 questions about morality, the nature of the soul, the history of humanity, and more, including:

. "Is the soul reincarnated immediately after its separation from the body?"
. "Does the spirit remember his corporeal existence?"
. "Could two beings, who have already known and loved each other, meet again and recognise one another, in another corporeal existence?"
. "What is to be thought of the signification attributed to dreams?"
. "Are good and evil absolute for all men?"
. "What is the aim of God in visiting mankind with destructive calamities?"
. "Is it possible for man to enjoy perfect happiness upon the earth?"

Promising nothing less than the secret of the destiny of the human race, this extraordinary book, first published in 1856, is as curious today as it was a century and a half ago.

French scholar HIPPOLYTE LEON DENIZARD RIVAIL (1804-1869), aka Allan Kardec, was a longtime teacher of mathematics, astronomy, and other scientific disciplines before turning to the paranormal.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596053137
  • Publisher: Cosimo
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 651,746
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan Kardec is the pen name of the French teacher and educator Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (Lyon, October 3, 1804 – Paris, March 31, 1869). He is known today as the systematizer of Spiritism for which he laid the foundation with the five books of the Spiritist Codification.
Early life Rivail was born in Lyon in 1804. He was a disciple and collaborator of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, and a teacher of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, physiology, comparative anatomy and French in Paris. For one of his research papers, he was inducted in 1831 into the Royal Academy of Arras. He organized and taught free courses for the underprivileged.
He was already in his early 50s when he became interested in the wildly popular phenomenon of spirit-tapping. At the time, strange phenomena attributed to the action of spirits were reported in many different places, most notably in the U.S. and France, attracting the attention of high society. The first such phenomena were at best frivolous and entertaining, featuring objects that moved or "tapped" under what was said to be spirit control. In some cases, this was alleged to be a type of communication: the supposed spirits answered questions by controlling the movements of objects so as to pick out letters to form words, or simply indicate "yes" or "no."
Rivail used the name "Allan Kardec" allegedly after a spirit identified as Zefiro, whom he had been communicating with, told him about a previous incarnation of his as a Druid by that name. Rivail liked the name and decided to use it to keep his Spiritists writings separate from his work, basically books for high school students.
On April 18, 1857 Rivail (signing himself "Allan Kardec") published his first book on Spiritism, The Spirits' Book, comprising a series of 1,018 answered questions [n 1] exploring matters concerning the nature of spirits, the spirit world, and the relations between the spirit world and the material world. This was followed by a series of other books, like The Book on Mediums and The Gospel According to Spiritism, and by a periodical, the Revue Spirite, which Kardec published until his death. Kardec thus produced the books that form the Spiritist Codification.
Allan Kardec coined the word "spiritism" and followed pseudo-scientific methods in its study, which was recognized among others by Camille Flammarion, a famous French astronomer and author, who said "spiritism is not a religion but a science".
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