Translated from German by Jeva Singh-Anand, Adolph Freiherr Knigge’s Philo’s Reply to Questions Concerning His Association with the Illuminati is the first full-length English language translation of any work by a major player of this secret and once very powerful brotherhood. This is not a book about the Illuminati; it is a translation of one of their source documents, originally written in 1788 by Adolph Freiherr Knigge, one of the foremost German writers and thinkers of his time. It is also a compact primer on the topic.
The book features a character sketch of the order’s founder, Adam Weishaupt, a brilliant thinker but abrasive man with grandiose plans to unite humanity under a common cause.
“[Weishaupt] was undoubtedly a brilliant mind, a profound thinker,” Knigge wrote. “His heart was ablaze with an unmatched selfless zeal to accomplish something great and useful for humanity, and few difficulties deterred him (65).”
But Weishaupt was primarily a theoretician, and he often alienated those who were close to him.
Knigge further outlines the Illuminati’s degree system and the functions and responsibilities for each degree, including the Illuminati’s ties to Freemasonry.
“The Minervals were to be pupils and students,” Knigge explained. “The Freemasons, educated, worldly men and businessmen; the priests, scholars and teachers; the regents, leaders and directors; and finally, the members of the Higher Mysteries degrees, speculative seers, who had withdrawn into a philosophical retirement after they had been active in the world long enough (79).”
Knigge was enthusiastic about the Illuminati’s goals, to liberate humanity through education, but he did not like how they “meddled in political matters and procured civil advantages to the members of the order (53).”
In this brief work, he chronicles story of the Illuminati’s rise to power from a small band of individual struggling against religious oppression to a secret network that spanned all of Germany.
Philo’s Reply to Questions Concerning His Association with the Illuminati is available for purchase at lulu.com.
Philo’s Reply … has received enthusiastic reviews by Terry Melanson, author of Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati, Marco di Luchetti, translator of Nicolas Bonneville’s The Illuminati Manifesto of World Revolution (1792): L’Esprit des Religions and esoteric writer and podcaster Cate Cavanaugh.
Melanson affirmed, “It’s the first full English translation of a primary Illuminati source, and, for that reason alone, is highly recommended.”
Di Luchetti calls the translation of this work “overdue,” and Cavanaugh highly recommends this book for its merit.