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John Dee's Occultism: Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs (SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions) Hardcover – July 5, 2005
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Both academics and occultists will find this book most enjoyable, though challenging and dense. Great gift for the magician/intellectual who has everything, essential for libraries and bookshelves dealing with Renaissance Magic and the Elizabethan Age.
Be warned, this book is somewhat heavy reading and is boring and repetitive in certain parts. Overall though, it was an excellent purchase and I do recommend it to anyone interested in John Dee, historians and occultists alike.
Szonyi analyzes Dee's occult philosophy within the context of Renaissance esotericism's mystical-magical concept of exaltation (or "exaltatio"), the deification of man. This concept was understood and applied by Dee within the Judeo-Christian context (via the Old Testament book of Genesis) of a Primordial Fall of the human race and its need for restoration. According to Szonyi, Dee's aim "was to restore the Adamic or Enochian wisdom of the Golden Age that had been lost with the Fall and which would not be compatible with the methods and means of the fallen science relying on discursive logic" (page 16). Dee's fervent desire was for elevation to the sphere of perfect knowledge, even omniscience, "in order to understand the divine plan of creation and God's intentions with the cosmos and man" (ibid).Read more ›
It gives an overview of the key literature of (and leading up to) Dee's work, and takes an even-handed yet critical view of the various influences at play in Rennaisance magical and occult thinking. Whilst a scholarly work, it is nevertheless surprsingly easy to read and respectful of the material discussed.
The only minor annoyance was that many book titles and small quotes are left in their original Latin, without translation. I can only assume the author thinks we can all read Latin, or we can infer from the Latin quote what is meant.