Allan Kardec wrote only five Spiritist books – but these five books serve as the foundation to Spiritism, a progressive body of knowledge that has continued to grow to near 1,000 books since Kardec first published “The Spirits’ Book” in 1857. Because they served as the starting point to Spiritism, and because they were the result of a collaboration between hundreds of intelligences in both planes of life, Spiritists often refer to Kardec’s five books as the “Spiritist Codification”. That is: as the set of works that helped organize and shape (codify) the specific spirit teachings that came to be known as Spiritism. The same rationale applies to why he used the name “Kardec” when publishing these books and why this body of knowledge was aptly named “Spiritism” and not “Kardecism” – because it is the direct result of the wisdom and kindness of enlightened spirits and not the result of the work of one sole man.
Thus, the 5 books that comprise the Spiritist Codification are:
- The Spirits’ Book (1857);
- The Mediums’ Book (1861);
- The Gospel According to Spiritism (1864);
- Heaven and Hell (1865); and
- Genesis – Miracles and Predictions According to Spiritism (1868).
Because each book adds a different layer to Spiritist knowledge, and because as an educator Kardec employed a pedagogical approach that allows each book to stand on its own, they do not need to be read in chronological order. Thus, it is not uncommon to see those who are interested in understanding mediumship begin to read “The Mediums’ Book” without first reading “The Spirits’ Book”; or those who are more drawn to Christian morals dive into “The Gospel According to Spiritism” before reading “The Spirits’ Book” and/or “The Medium’s Book”. No matter your preference, readers will find plenty of material in any of Kardec’s books to last them a lifetime of inquiry and reflection.
If a suggestion can be made, however, it would be to include “The Spirits’ Book” in your library as a reference point even if you are starting with a different work. As the first work of the Spiritist Codification, “The Spirits’ Book” lays the foundation to much of the Spiritist content we see everywhere else. In fact, if one looks at the structure of “The Spirits’ Book”, which is divided into four parts, one may find a clear relation to the four works that followed. Kardec, as you may soon find out, was a very structured thinker keen to make the content of the books as accessible as possible without dilluting depth of thinking.
To help you understand the connection between the books in the Spiritist Codification, here is a quick aid:
|The Spirits’ Book||The foundation of Spiritism. Questions and answers format to remove the editor’s bias as much as possible. Addresses: what is God, spirits, the world of the spirits, reincarnation, free will, moral laws, and future hopes and solaces.|
|The Mediums’ Book||Focuses on mediumship, the mechanism through which the spiritual and the physical worlds communicate. Addresses: what is mediumship, types of mediumship, who is a medium, how to develop one’s mediumship, how to evaluate spirit communications.|
|The Gospel According to Spiritism||Revisits some Christian teachings through the Spiritist lens. Various spirit communications about the meaning of different parts of Christ’s epic “Sermon on the Mount”.|
|Heaven and Hell||Spirits offer a first-hand account of their state in the after-life and how that is a direct reflection of their choices and actions while living on Earth.|
|Genesis – Miracles and Predictions According to Spiritism||A more detailed, scientific evaluation and explanation of the miracles and predictions found in the New Testament through the Spiritist lens.|
To find out more about each book, click on the links above. We sincerely hope you enjoy them and find them as transformational as many of us have.
If you would like to know more about Spiritism, please visit Spiritism.org.