Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
This book should be much better known and more widely read
on 28 December 2014
This book provides an excellent, introductory yet also insightful, overview of the Western esoteric traditions. For me two of its key qualities were firstly (but along with other such texts) a clear distillation of the key elements of esotericism, and secondly an excellent historical narrative showing the continuities and developments in the traditions and philosophies. Initially I borrowed the book from my university library, but very quickly realised I wanted my own copy, partly to be able to liberally annotate the text with connections and further themes to follow up. The book provides a fascinating integrating framework of a relatively little-known tradition that has enormous implications for our understanding of ancient Greece and Rome, the crucible libraries of Alexandria and their synthesis of Oriental knowledge into Western thinking, and the Renaissance, as well as the more usual themes of Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Anthroposophy and Theosophy.
I may even go so far to say that you can't fully understand so much great Western art without a strong grounding in the Western esoteric traditions outlined and discussed in this book.
Although it is basically an academic textbook, it is certainly not in any way dull, indeed I found the book very hard to put down. Finally the author's untimely death in 2012 is such a tragedy, and it is hoped that EXESESO, the Centre for the Study of Esotericism, that he founded in the University of Exeter, can continue with its important work in the future.