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Lectures on Ancient Philosophy Paperback – September 8, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Philosophical Research Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1934 for the purpose of assisting thoughtful persons to live more graciously and constructively in a confused and troubled world. The Society is entirely free from educational, political, or ecclesiastical control. Dedicated to an idealistic approach to the solution of human problems, the Society's program stresses the need for the integration of religion, philosophy, and the science of psychology into one system of instruction. The goal of this instruction is to enable the individual to develop a mature philosophy of life, to recognize his proper responsibilities and opportunities, and to understand and appreciate his place in the unfolding universal pattern. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Manley P. Hall (1901-1990), widely regarded as a sage and teacher steeped in the wisdom of antiquity, was one of the leading esoteric scholars of the twentieth century. The author of the landmark work The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Hall was named a 33° Mason in 1973. It is the highest rank Freemasonry can bestow.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (September 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585424323
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585424320
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Manly P. Hall (1901-1990) founded the Philosophical Research Society in 1934, a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of useful knowledge in the fields of philosophy, comparative religion and psychology. In his long career, spanning more than 70 years of dynamic public activity, Mr. Hall delivered over 8000 lectures in the United States and abroad, authored over 150 books and essays, and wrote countless magazine articles.

Many of Mr. Hall's lectures have been transcribed and are available as pamphlets; others were taped live, and the audio recordings are available on CD's as well. He is perhaps best known for his 1928 classic, "The Secret Teachings of All Ages," an encyclopedia of the world's wisdom traditions and symbolic disciplines.

Today, younger generations are re-discovering the works and words of Manly Hall, finding that the material he put forth so many years ago is still relevant and useful today. Mr. Hall's hope for humanity was to learn from the greatest minds of all times so that we may solve current problems - both in society and in the individual - today.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As is often the case with Manly Hall, this book is deceptively clear. Much of what he says sounds obvious and easy to understand -- until you put the book down and try to understand the authors he's written about. Then you will find that he has brought a wonderful clarity to the essential truths of ancient philosophy, delivering the heart of wisdom without the encumbrances of academic verbiage. An excellent starting-point for young people interested in the great visionaries of the past, and an enlivening refresher for those bogged down in the tedium of classical philosophic texts.
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Since learning from Manly P. Hall and others of the reality of reincarnation, I have often wondered why I chose to incarnate at this time -- i.e., in such a materialist and therefore decadant age. One reason seems to be the writings and wisdom of Manly P. Hall himself. As one reviewer has said, Hall explains the obscure allegories, mythologies, and ideas of the Secret Doctrine, or the Occult Western Tradition, in a way that someone seeking a genuine understanding of the nature of him/herself and of the universe can truly understand. When has humanity ever had such a clear expositor of the sublime truths of philosophy, theology, and science? He has truly been a very modern light in the darkness of human understanding.

I have not read the entire book, but felt compelled, this Sat. morning, to write a brief review. The book is essential reading next to Hall's Secret Teachings (an improper title compared to its original title: "An Encyclopedic Outline of Ancient Rosicrucian, Freemasonic ... etc., etc." -- because it really is more of an encyclopedia, with each chapter being an independent 'window' into the most precious, though recondite, wisdom of the human family).

The first 4 chapters (preceded by the most wonderful preface critiqing modern materialist values) provide the foundation of the book's metaphysical outlook, namely what Hall refers to as "the dot, the line, and the circle" -- representing the (source) God, the angelic beings or lesser gods, and finally the world of form (where humanity is 'trapped'). chapters 2-4 explain each of these in turn.
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I know that this book was written as a supplement to THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES but it seems to me that it is the equal to that masterwork, if not perhaps superior in some ways. I found it to be a well-organized, precise exposition of the Ancient Wisdom from the Neoplatonic viewpoint of the Alexandrian School in particular and the Greek Mysteries in general. Nor do I have any doubt that the Ancient Wisdom of Hall is exactly the Philosophia Perennis of Guenon and Schuon. Of course Hall didn't revise this volume after it was originally written- you cannot "improve" upon the eternal wisdom if it has been carefully and correctly expounded.

When Hall speaks of perfect consciousness it is the same as Schuon's intuitive intellection. Subject and object become one in perfect union. Consciousness is union with Self. Lesser mind is incapable of reaching the state of perfect consciousness. Yet, this lower, rational, materially based mind must be developed to its absolute limit of attainment- so that it may come to know its ultimate limitations- and therefore die. The lower mind must die, must be sacrificed, that the Great Work be accomplished. There is no higher goal. In the secret teachings the mind itself is the Savior-God. Mind, as the Savior-God, must be sacrificed and transcend in order that the worlds of Spirit and Matter might be joined. A being who attains this union within himself, who resides at the apex of the two pyramids, will never quite seem to fit into the conventional material environment known by others.

Once upon a time, when I was still infatuated with lower mind I would have written this book off as unreadable gibberish. Now that I have verified its teachings through my own experience and being I find it to be a gem beyond price.

This is the true Philosophy, the love of Wisdom. The academic discipline that currently goes by the title of "philosophy" is no such thing. It is rather philosophy's obscene ab*rtion...
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I've read this book numerous times over the years, and I have a hardcover signed by Hall. This book is better than his often touted magnum opus The Secret Teachings of All Ages. The reason why Secret Teachings received more attention, I think, is because its content is more exoteric. Lectures on Ancient Philosophy contains a lot more higher abstractions and requires a reading process that is intuitive, not rational. Because of this nature, the book reaches fewer audiences.

No review is going to capture the book's immense value succinctly enough, but I can say that Hall's ideas are Neoplatonic, and that one should read Plato's Dialogues and the works of Plotinus in addition to reading this book by Hall. Lectures on Ancient Philosophy will make the older writings more comprehensible and, to put it simply, manageable.

My only complaint about Hall's work, including this book, is that he focuses entirely upon natural transmutation. I'm not sure if he had any concept of the more technological applications of the occult, but if he did, he said little to nothing about them. Like what Hall points out using sacred geometry, there are levels to True Education: reasoning/science/technology, philosophy/spirituality, and theology/religion. He prefers the center-most position, obviously. It takes all three, however, to apply the occult in ways rarely seen and practiced anymore.

There is, of course, a reason for that.
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