The scholarly papers in this volume were presented at a 1995 conference in the Czech Republic to honor the 1972 publication of The Rosicrucian Enlightenment by British historian Francis Yates. She describes the life and work of Christian Rosencreutz (1385-1484) whose knowledge of the Hermetic tradition and the arcane arts of the Middle East enabled him to found the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross whose goal was to transform the world.
John Matthews discusses the Rosicrucian use of the powerful symbols of the rose and the cross. Christopher Bamford looks at the utopian ideals of this society and its rule. Christopher McIntosh sums up the legacy of Rosicrucianism, which he characterizes as "a holistic vision, embracing religion, science, philosophy, and politics." The other essays in the collection shed light on the historical background of this enlightenment movement.