The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason

Eighteenth-century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and its Relationship to the Enlightenment


The Rose Cross deals with the interaction between two movements of thought in eighteenth-century Germany: the philosophy of the Enlightenment, and the complex of ideas known as Rosicrucian. Dating from the early seventeenth century and drawing on Pietism, Freemasonry, Kabbalah and alchemy, the Rosicrucianism movement enjoyed a revival in Germany during the eighteenth century.
Historians have often depicted this neo-Rosicrucianism as a Counter-Enlightenment force. Dr. McIntosh argues rather that it was part of a "third force", which allied itself sometimes with the Enlightenment, sometimes with the Counter-Enlightenment.
This book is the first in-depth, comprehensive study of the German Rosicrucian revival and in particular of the order known as the Golden and Rosy Cross (Gold und Rosenkreuz). Drawing on hitherto unpublished material, Dr. McIntosh shows how the order exerted a significant influence on the cultural, political and religious life of its age.
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Biographical Note

Christopher McIntosh studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and German at London University. As a writer, he has specialized in the history of the western esoteric tradition. In addition to the present work, he has also written a more general study of Rosicrucianism, a book on astrology and a biography of Eliphas Lévi.

Review Quotes

' ...a solid work of scholarship.'
Joscelyn Godwin, Theosophical History, 1995.

'The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason is a stimulating and pioneering work which should encourage others to follow in its author's footsteps. It deserves a place in every masonic library of repute.'
Robert Gilbert, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 1993.

' Christopher McIntosh signe là sans doute l'ouvrage le plus précieux pour saisir la genèse et l'influence du mouvement rosicrucien, et pour comprendre ce qui fait la grandeur et le particularisme de la Rose+Croix...Nous souhaitons que cet ouvrage indispensable soit rapidement édité en français.'
Robert Eisenman et Michael Wise, l'Esprit des Choses, 1995.

' Apart from being a valuable contribution to theoretical reflection on the nature and origins of the Enlightenment, this study is useful because the second and third chapters offer a clear and concise general introduction to the 17th- and 18th-century history of Rosicrucianism.'
W.J. Hanegraaff, Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift,

' By investigating the German and East European Rosicrucians McIntosh has contributed an important study that will add to our understanding of a movement whose members would not accept the world of the philosophes. McIntosh has surely acoomplished his goal...this book is essential for those interested in eighteenth-century intellectual history.'
Allen G. Debus, Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences, 1995.


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