Investigating the Illuminati

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Mike Jay’s illuminating investigation of Scottish scientist John Robinson’s 1797 influential tract, Proofs of a Conspiracy: Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, Carried on in the Secret Meetings of Freemasons, Illuminati and Reading Societies, is a good introduction to a prime text in the literature surrounding what detractors label “the conspiracy theory of history.”  While the article strived to be fair-minded and balanced, an objective historical presentation of how this classic work has impacted history, he reached his negative conclusion regarding the Bavarian Illuminati’s illusive role in effecting events without citing or discussing a wide variety of scholarly sources, from that period to the present. Here are two Amazon book lists of recommended volumes which attempt to undertake that task: Utopian Nightmares and Gnostic Political Religions, and Apocalyptic Conspiracy Theories & Millennial Belief Systems. In particular, consult Vernon Stauffer’s The Bavarian Illuminati in America: The New England Conspiracy Scare, 1798, James H. Billington’s  Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith, and Terry Melanson’s Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati.

12:49 am on April 3, 2014