The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason: Eighteenth-Century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and its Relationship to the Enlightenment

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Overview

Examines the relationship between diverse iterations of Rosicrucianism and the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

This new edition of Christopher McIntosh's classic book on the Golden and Rosy Cross order is eagerly awaited. The order stands out as one of the most fascinating and influential of the high-degree masonic and illuminist groups that mushroomed in Europe from the 18th century onward. Active mainly in the German-speaking lands, it recast the original Rosicrucian vision ...

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Overview

Examines the relationship between diverse iterations of Rosicrucianism and the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

This new edition of Christopher McIntosh's classic book on the Golden and Rosy Cross order is eagerly awaited. The order stands out as one of the most fascinating and influential of the high-degree masonic and illuminist groups that mushroomed in Europe from the 18th century onward. Active mainly in the German-speaking lands, it recast the original Rosicrucian vision and gave it renewed vitality. At one point it became politically influential when the Prussian King, Frederick William II, was a member of the order. Historians have often perceived the Golden and Rosy Cross as having had a conservative, anti-Enlightenment agenda, but this study – drawing on rare German sources – shows that the matter was more complex. The members of the order practiced alchemy and operated a degree system that was later imitated by later orders such as the Golden Dawn. Like the latter, the Golden and Rosy Cross exerted a wide and enduring cultural influence. Both the alchemy of the order and its powerful ritual system are insightfully described in Christopher McIntosh's clear and compelling style.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Christopher McIntosh is a faculty member at the Centre for the Study of Esotericism, University of Exeter, England. He is the author of Eliphas Lévi and the French Occult Revival, also published by SUNY Press.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Foreword to the Second Edition ix

Introduction 1

1 The Enlightenment, the Aufklärung and Their Opponents 7

2 Rosicrucianism from Its Origins to the Early 18th Century 23

3 The Masonic Phase 39

4 The World of the Initiate 59

5 The Alchemy of the Gold- und Rosenkreuz 75

6 The Polemical Stance of the Gold- und Rosenkreuz 91

7 A Rosicrucian on the Prussian Throne 113

8 The Aufklärung Reaction and the Decline of the Gold- und Rosenkreuz 133

9 Rosicrucianism in Poland and Russia 147

10 The Asiatic Brethren 161

11 Conclusion 179

A Note on Sources 185

Bibliography 189

Index 195

Illustrations 201

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