As far as the study of Illuminati source documents is concerned, Baron Adolph Knigge’s Philo’s Reply to Questions Concerning His Association with the Illuminati is an excellent point of entry, and that for several reasons. For one, Knigge was one of Germany’s most beloved literary figures in the 18th Century. In fact, his treatise Über den Umgang mit Menschen (On Human Relations, 1788), a treatise on effectively interacting with other persons, was so influential, that the name Knigge is still synonymous with civil conduct in the German speaking world today.
Moreover, in the space of only 128 pages, Knigge outlined the Illuminati’s global agenda, internal structure, stance toward Christianity, and history up to the point of his resignation in 1784. Philo’s Reply also provides a revealing character sketch of the order’s founder, Adam Weishaupt, as well as his own autobiography and spiritual searching up to his own recruitment by the Illuminati.
By and large, the book provides an honest and accurate sketch of the internal workings of the Bavarian Illuminati. However, as Knigge wrote Philo’s Reply in response to the media furor surrounding the exposure of and prohibitions against this secret society, it must be understood that Knigge, having to answer not only to the general public, but also personal friends, former members of the Illuminati, and brother Freemasons, glossed over a few things concerning his own role in the Illuminati and the the Illuminati’s intentions for Freemasonry.
For one, Knigge and Weishaupt, while sharing a similar global vision for humanity, had different intentions for the Illuminati. For example, Knigge sought to integrate the Illuminati into Freemasonry, while Weishaupt intended to incorporate Freemasonry into the Illuminati. Furthermore, Knigge’s claim that the Illuminati sought reform Freemasonry is innocent enough. However, their tactics, while no more unethical that the practices of contemporary political action committees, were not altogether innocent or above board.
It must be kept in mind, that Knigge, whose contributions to German literature, Freemasonry, and the rapid growth of the Illuminati during the time of his membership cannot be denied, wrote Philo’s Reply because he found himself in a position in which he had to answer some very uncomfortable questions from many people. In this book, Knigge’s struggle between rendering an accurate, informative, and impartial account and his attempt to save face becomes very apparent.
Click on the image to preview Philo’s Reply to Questions Concerning His Association with the Illuminati.