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Isis Unveiled [Two Volume Set] Paperback – Facsimile, February 1, 1999

4 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


One of the most remarkable productions of the century. --New York Herald, 1877

It must be acknowledged that she is a remarkable woman, who has read more, seen more, and thought more than most wise men. Her work abounds in quotations from a dozen different languages, not for the purpose of a vain display of erudition, but to substantiate her peculiar views . . . her pages are garnished with footnotes establishing, as her authorities, some of the profoundest writers of the past. To a large class of readers, this remarkable work will prove of absorbing interest . . . demands the earnest attention of thinkers, and merits an analytic reading. --Boston Evening Transcript, 1877

The appearance of erudition is stupendous. Reference to and quotations from the most unknown and obscure writers in all languages abound, interspersed with allusions to writers of the highest repute, which have evidently been more than skimmed through. --N. Y. Independent, 1877

From the Publisher

Theosophical University Press, publisher of quality theosophical literature since 1886. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1471 pages
  • Publisher: Theosophical Univ Pr (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911500030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911500035
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of the few books that humble me when I contemplate it. Rather, Madam Blavatsky's knowlege and intellect humbles me. Take just about any "newly rediscovered" esoteric topic of any worth and you will most probably find it explained in considerable detail in either this work or _The Secret Docrine_. I am dismayed that so few people, or biliographies, give credit to Madam Blavatsky, or to the Theosophical Society that she founded. I guess we are just too "quaint" and "old-fashion" for the "New Age."

There is just too much encyclopedic knowlege here to simply read through from scratch. You need to work up to it. Try a introductory text like _Ocean of Theosophy_ by William Q. Judge. However, do not be afraid to pick up either volume and simply "browse." I still do this after all these years- and I am still surprised and amazed at what I find.

One further thing, there has been a considerable amount of character assassination against Madam Blavatsky in the last few years. The authors that have penned these attacks have no understanding of the matters that they address. First of all, no one was a stronger critic of seances than Madam Blavatsky. Secondly, the Society has always held that one should never charge money for spiritual matters. As for the ad hominem attacks that she was grossly obese, well, this is the lowest form of slander and doesn't deserve comment. Simply take a look at any of the surviving photographs to see the truth.

Concerning attacks on Theosophical concepts such as the "seven races" and "seven globes", just keep in mind that the perenial philosophy holds that the highest part of what makes up a person pre-exists on a higher plane- and will return there after we cross over. Just remember the old gnostic concept of "seven heavens." Literalism is a mistake in theosophy, just as it has proven in fundamentalist Christianity.
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Format: Paperback
I recommend this edition of "Isis Unveiled" as it has detailed endnotes from the editor that situate key textual references within their nineteenth century context. This edition also has an important historical introduction by its editor Boris de Zirkoff. That being said, it is important to note that these two volumes, purported to be dictated or inspired by disincarnate and incarnate personalities, contain a stunning wealth of historical, mythical, philosophical, and semi-scientific material. Blavatsky wrote the text to resurrect what she called the "Ancient Wisdom" during a period of scientific materialism on the one side and spiritualism, with its claims about the life of the dead, on the other. She wished to situate her theosophical perspective within an older Platonic tradition that would give due place to matter (an inferior but quite real position) and yet to the power of spirit to shape and transform matter. Her fight with Darwin did not entail a simple rejection, but rather left the field of physical evolution to him (and Wallace), while making room for a prior (temporally and ontologically) involution in which spirit encased itself more and more in matter. In her view, we have reached the deepest level of involution and are now on the cusp of a return back toward the light of spirit from which we have come. She posited an emanationist Platonic cosmology but one that tried, not always successfully, to honor the science of the nineteenth century. Yet she was also a master polemecist and took on the Christian theology of her time, with special hatred reserved for the missionaries working in India.Read more ›
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The book is cumbersome not only in size, but also in its writing. Plus the print is very small, making it a slow reading book. I'm not blaming Helen (as long as it took me to read it, I feel like we are on a first name basis) since the book was written a long time ago, and that is probably the style of the time. It does include an astounding amount of information, and I am still shaking my head over the level of her sheer knowledge of spiritualism, religion and their historical development. It also has a pretty hot image of Isis on the cover.

Volume I shows how the scientists of old were also philosophers. They understood the bigger picture. This was taught through the mystery schools. They were all spiritualists.

Modern man believes in nothing beyond the superficial evidence of his senses. Spiritualism was not accepted because the big thinkers of the time did not want to subject themselves to ridicule - peer pressure. No one was willing to go outside the box. There was too much dogma. Once in place, there was resistance to change - the herd mentality.

In Volume II of the book, Blavatsky presents the argument rather convincingly, that the basis of all religions and esoteric philosophies originated in India. Christianity was plagiarized from earlier religions like Hindus and Buddhists - not just the bells, beads and rosaries. Judaism and Christianity are all based upon the identical cosmic myths, symbols and allegories as these ancient religions.

Helen also proves how hypocritical the teachings of Christianity have become since their advent, and how superior the ancient teachings of religion and spiritualism are in every point of honor.

As Helen puts it in summation, there being but one truth, man requires but one church, the temple of God within us, walled in by matter but penetrable by anyone who can find the way.
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Isis Unveiled [Two Volume Set]
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