Skip to content

All SAP systems will be unavailable on Saturday 10th December 2022 from 0800-1800 UK Time.

If you can’t place an order, please contact Customer Services to complete your order.

UK/ROW +44 (0) 1223 326050 | US 1 800 872 7423 or 1 212 337 5000 | Australia/New Zealand 61 3 86711400 or 1800 005 210, New Zealand 0800 023 520

Register Sign in Wishlist

John Dee's Conversations with Angels
Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature

$29.99 (G)

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521027489

$ 29.99 (G)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Elizabethan England's most famous natural philosopher John Dee recorded his reflections on the natural world, the practice of natural philosophy, and the apocalypse in a series of conversations with angels, which have long been an enigmatic facet of his life and work. This book makes extensive use of Dee's library and annotations to clarify this mystery by providing a detailed analysis of these conversations. Professor Harkness contextualizes Dee's angel conversations within the natural, philosophical, religious, and social contexts of his time, arguing that the conversations represent a continuing development of John Dee's earlier concerns and interests. This book will appeal to those with an interest in the history of science, students of religion, and everyone who approaches the new millennium with a wary eye.

    • Focuses on Elizabethan England's most famous 'scientist' or natural philosopher
    • Heavy use of Dee's library and annotations
    • Apocalyptic ideas as a context of Dee's conversations
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    " John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature, marks an important addition to Dee scholarship. For the first time, it places Dee's conversations with angels into a comprehensible framework. Harkness elegantly demonstrates that Dee's angel conversations were at the center of his mission to reform nature and the world in the midst of intellectual and religious tumult when the end of human history was imminently expected. This book brilliantly brings out the place of the angel conversations as exegetical aids in a natural philosophy that was meant to restore a corrupted and decaying Book of Nature. Natural philosophy was to provide a bridge between this world and the next, but only with the help of angels could faulty human perception and intelligence be remedied and the real significance of the things of nature be made clear." Pamela Smith, Pomona College

    "John Dee's 'angelic conversations' have long proved resistant to the attentions of intellectual historians. Deborah Harkness's impressive and important new book, by situating this unique intellectual formation in a full range of appropriate historical contexts not only makes them intelligible for the modern reader, but identifies some of the key cultural imperatives which shaped late-Elizabethan intellectual life." Stephen Clucas, Birkbeck College, University of London

    "[A] fascinating study." Religious Studies Review

    "Harkness' book is a welcome addition to Dee scholarship, one that perpahs will open the way to solving the questions that remain." Albion

    "Harkness's monography is a lively read that offers an interesting interpretation of Dee's works and their place within early modern intellectual life. It is a work that clearly deserves a place within the corpus of Dee scholarship." The Historian

    "Through careful description and analysis, Harkness takes us into that very strange world of early modern thought-a world of astrology, alchemy, and Christian cabala-which eventually led to the rise of science. This is a scholarly book, full of interesting footnotes and with an extensive bibliography, Such apparatus, however, should not dter the interested but nonacademic reader. This is clearly one of the best books to be published on esoteric spirituality during the Renaissance in recent years. It is clear, insightful, and a pleasure to read." the quest Sept-Oct 2001

    "This is a truly remarkable story and merits telling for its own sake. Harkness's version is beautifully written with rich footnoting and a good command of the sources. That she has told it unflinchingly and with sensitivity to its subject only adds to its value." Canadian Journal of History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521027489
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of abbreviations and conventions
    Part I. Genesis:
    1. The colloquium of angels: Prague, 1586
    2. Building Jacob's ladder: the genesis of the angel conversations
    3. Climbing Jacob's ladder: angelology as natural philosophy
    Part II. Revelations:
    4. 'Then commeth the ende': apocalypse, natural philosophy, and the angel conversations
    5. 'The true cabala': reading the book of nature
    6. Adam's alchemy: the medicine of God and the restitution of nature
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Deborah E. Harkness, University of Southern California
    Deborah Harkness is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern California. She is the prize-winning author of articles on John Dee's angel conversations and his household.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.