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The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928)

by Manly P. Hall

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,215612,328 (4.23)19
Manly P. Hall's magnum opus brings an interpretation of the themes underlying the ancient mythology, philosophy, religion, rituals, & arcane mysteries of all ages. An in-depth study of some 40 ancient & modern systems of spiritual development, it will contribute to everyone's quest for self-knowledge & philosophical awareness.… (more)
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» See also 19 mentions

English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Manly P. Hall, adept, sage, philosopher, Freemason, and intellectual, has given the world this amazing encyclopedic overview of the world's most important esoteric traditions and philosophical schools of thought. The reading is not light, but the reader will come away enlightened if they put the time into truly comprehending Mr. Hall's words - that is to say the teachings of antiquity. Anyone who wants an introduction to esoteric traditions need look no further. "Secret Teachings" is widely regarded as one of, if not the best books on the subject matter. Whether you decide to read it cover to cover or pick and choose from the dozens of chapters/subjects; purchase this tome and you will not be disappointed. ( )
  awholtzapple | Jun 20, 2012 |
I'm still slowly reading through The Secret Teachings of All Ages, about halfway through this gargantuan compendium of all things arcane in the disciplines of religious mythology and mystical religions, with their always intriguing ancient rites, symbols, and of course, "secret teachings". The book, I'm discovering, is really more of a reference work than a book to pick up and read from start to finish, though finish it I happily will.

The lengthy introduction provides abstracts of just about every philosophic movement in history, and serves as an excellent refresher course for students of philosophy. Someday I'd like to itemize the founders and features of each philosophy with maybe an abstract of my own, for later reference, just for fun.

I can't say I believe much of what I'm reading in this book, however, at least regarding the history and veracity of the ancient gnostic's vast (and complexly convoluted) underworld network of behind-the-scenes movers and shakers in world politics, religion, and thought.

The core conception of The Secret Teachings of All Ages -- that an "Elect" few denizens of ancient secret societies have existed from time immemorial, and are still operating today, covertly shaping and re-shaping and preserving in the process, through the eons, the world's major movements (and advances) in mathematics, the sciences, philosophies, and religions -- I find dubious at best. Too conspiratorial for my taste, like The Da Vinci Code. Guess I'm just a Doubting Tomás.

Nevertheless, as a fan of good books like Foucault's Pendulum -- that contain their own unique compendium of secret societies -- I'm inevitably fascinated by and attracted toward what Manly P. Hall has termed "The Mysteries" that are veiled within the symbolism and creeds and esoterica of secret societies.

Manly P. Hall authored somehow, what in less skilled hands might have become a tedious and too-recondite reference work, a remarkably readable tome. In fact, The Secret Teachings of All Ages is not just plain readable, but pretty darned unputdownable. ( )
9 vote absurdeist | Feb 13, 2011 |
Fantastic reference book. ( )
  Sippara | Jun 18, 2009 |
One of the best books on comparative religion written by an authority who had a tremendous library of rare books on ancient religions for his source of information. ( )
  drj | Aug 1, 2008 |
A very enjoyable read, except some huge statements are made without giving enough (or in some cases any) evidence. If you are a very critical reader this may turn you off. Needless to say, appeals to science are not made very frequently in this book. Suspend your disbelief and read this more as a clever philosophical story than as fact.

In any case, Hall's interpretation of ancient and pre-modern beliefs puts current ideologies into the perspective of simply being different branches of one symbolic religious trunk, much older indeed. His contention that religions have an exoteric aspect for the masses (e.g., a literal interpretation of the Bible), and an esoteric aspect based on the proper reading of the symbols and allegories suited only to the initiated, will grip the imagination of any readers willing to entertain some mystery in their lives.

A very interesting bibliography is also included. One wonders how many of these selections would still be in print, though. ( )
  openset | Dec 10, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Manly P. Hallprimary authorall editionscalculated
Drake, Henry L.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, Obadiah S.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knapp, Augustus K.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ybarra, NitaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This Book
is dedicated to the Rational
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Preface to the Diamond Jubilee Edition:
On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of this volume, it seems fitting to reflect on the circumstances that led to its wrirting.
Introduction:
Philosophy is the science of estimating values.
When confronted with a problem involving the use of the reasoning facilities, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon the question.
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Manly P. Hall's magnum opus brings an interpretation of the themes underlying the ancient mythology, philosophy, religion, rituals, & arcane mysteries of all ages. An in-depth study of some 40 ancient & modern systems of spiritual development, it will contribute to everyone's quest for self-knowledge & philosophical awareness.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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