By the time of his death in 1875, Eliphas Lévi was recognized in both Europe and America as the greatest occultist of the 19th century. In life, his work was the inspiration for Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma, the most influential American Masonic book of its day, and in death, it proved to be a seminal influence on figures as diverse as Madame Blavatsky, A.E. Waite, and Aleister Crowley–but during his lifetime none of his writings appeared in English.
The Paradoxes of the Highest Science first appeared in 1883 in Calcutta as a pamphlet in the Theosophical Miscellanies series. In it, Lévi makes an appeal for a balance between science and religion by addressing seven paradoxical statements including “Religion is magic sanctioned by authority,” “liberty is obedience to the Law,” and “reason is God.” Included in this edition are the extensive and illuminating footnotes that were added to Lévi’s text.
Some of these are by the anonymous translator, and some by the “Eminent Occultist” who seems to have been Madame Blavatsky herself. Lévi could have asked for no better commentator upon his work.