John Dee was the 16th century's real-life Gandalf

Thanks for bringing this up. Even better, I was ready to discount this until he responded and pretty much confirmed it.

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You mean movie titles lie to us…

John Crowley’s beautifully written Aegypt quartet features the Dee-Kelley saga as a major subplot.


Mod note: Stay on topic

Hear, hear! I logged in specifically to post this, along with the Francis Yates scholarly works:

  • The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age
  • The Rosicrucian Revival
  • The Art of Memory
  • Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition

Finally, for those of you scowling on Dee for his involvement in the “occult,” remember that Newton was more interested in the occult and alchemy than he was in physics, etc. Dee’s biggest flaw was not writing something along the lines of the Principia.

As far as cryptography goes, Dee was responsible for inventing the codes and such that Walsingham used in the spy-vs.-spy network he set up for Elizabeth to ferret out closet Catholics and Spanish agents.

it does a disservice to the actual scientists of the period. Newton, for example, may have wasted years on alchemy, but unlike Dee he made major world-changing discoveries and all but defined the image of science in Elizabethan times

Dee and Newton weren’t at all of “the same period”. Newton was born over a century later and had nothing to do with Elizabethan times. You might as well say Newton was rubbish because he wasn’t as good as Einstein, if you are going to compare scientists from different ages.

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Okay, okay, you’re right about the dates. But nevertheless Dee was no scientist, and his work really was rubbish. Angel summoning, Enochian language, and spiritual alchemy, all completely worthless.


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