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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want one book on Western Esotericism, do buy this one...
The Product Description of the contents of this book is excellent.

There are many books which have been written about the esoteric. They vary from the outrageous to the academic. Many present the speculative as if it is factual. This book sticks to the facts, is academic but very readable. It is a reliable base to start any research into the esoteric...
Published on 6 Feb 2009 by Polly

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A public secret
"The Western Esoteric Traditions" by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke is a very basic introduction to the subject. To be honest, I found it boring! But then, I've read quite a bit on the subject, including some of the author's other books, which are much more detailed.

In this work, Goodrick-Clarke takes us on a journey through the often bewildering maze of European...
Published 15 months ago by Ashtar Command


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want one book on Western Esotericism, do buy this one..., 6 Feb 2009
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This review is from: The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction (Hardcover)
The Product Description of the contents of this book is excellent.

There are many books which have been written about the esoteric. They vary from the outrageous to the academic. Many present the speculative as if it is factual. This book sticks to the facts, is academic but very readable. It is a reliable base to start any research into the esoteric. Whether your interest is academic or a passing fancy, I can unreservedly recommend keeping a space on your bookshelf for this book. If you believe you are well-informed, this book may surprise you with new facts!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rigorous and comprehensive, 13 Feb 2011
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Vanilla Beer "nil" (france) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction (Hardcover)
If you are interested in the esoteric and don't want to be caught in the fields of speculation, this is perfect. N.G-C has written a detailed analysis of the historical origins of the written alternative theologies, (non-canonical and heretical), showing their development and relationships with one another. He makes clear some very complex thinking, opening the door to further studies. Highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A public secret, 8 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction (Hardcover)
"The Western Esoteric Traditions" by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke is a very basic introduction to the subject. To be honest, I found it boring! But then, I've read quite a bit on the subject, including some of the author's other books, which are much more detailed.

In this work, Goodrick-Clarke takes us on a journey through the often bewildering maze of European occultism. It's all in there: ancient Hermetism, Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism; the magic, alchemy and Naturphilosophie of the Renaissance; the Christian Kabbala of Jacob Boehme and the speculations of Swedenborg; Rosicrucianism and "Scottish" Freemasonry; Theosophy and its offshoots; ritual magic á la the Golden Dawn; and modern developments, which are sometimes "scientist" in character. Even Rupert Sheldrake, Wilhelm Reich and James Randi's adversary Jacques Benveniste have been crammed into this overview.

The differences between the various periods are obvious enough (to take just one example, 17th century Rosicrucianism was "progressive", while 18th century Scottish Masonry was "reactionary"), but the continuity is nevertheless fascinating, as is the geographical spread of the phenomenon. The Western world is often portrayed as strictly Christian before becoming strictly scientific, but that view of history is a polemical oversimplification. Judging by Goodrick-Clarke's overview, occultism always had support in high society, including Church and scientific circles. Esotericism must be the West's most public secret...

I'm not sure how to rate this book, since it feels very basic, but in the end, I give it three stars.
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The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction
The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (Hardcover - 23 Oct 2008)
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