1. Terry

    I got my copy in the mail yesterday. I’ve read the first two chapters (on the BofA critics and the state of Egyptology, and the Egyptian preoccupation with death, respectively) and like what I’ve read. Much of it is a repeat of what he had written elsewhere (in his Improvement Era series and his book on the Joseph Smith papyri), but the material here is very accessible–my impression was that it is geared to the layperson. Other chapters discuss dispensations and axial periods, myth and ritual, ascension accounts, hypocephali, Alexander the Great, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, Nimrod, and sacred geometry. There are also two chapters discussing Facsimile #2 figure by figure.

    Besides being Nibley’s last work, it was also largely unfinished when he passed away. Therefore, it is unique in having a co-author (as opposed to an editor). Michael Rhodes says in the introduction that he did quite a bit of polishing, adding transitions, and the like. It appears that he also added a brief summary at the end of each chapter. He admits that in contrast to Nibley’s vigorous style, his writing is more “pedestrian” (his term), and it’s not too hard to spot where he made his contribution. Still, there is plenty of the “vintage Nibley” style to satisfy. My main quibble is that apparently Nibley never got around to writing a concluding chapter to sum it all up–I find the concluding chapters in his other works to be among his most affecting and inspiring writing. Still, it’s terrific to have an actual book from Nibley, as opposed to a collection of articles and talks. It’s his first book–written as a book–since Abraham in Egypt back in 1981. I’ve been waiting some 17 years for this to come out and am devouring it. Kudos to Nibley’s family, to FARMS and Deseret Book, and to Michael Rhodes for undertaking this mammoth project. I can only imagine the challenges they faced. Rhodes’ introduction gives a good description of what he was up against in terms of sheer bulk–and the story of how he came to take it on is fascinating.

  2. I had no idea this was in the works. I am very excited. Even more so, hearing Terry’s opinion that it is “geared to the layperson”. I absolutely love the 10% of Nibley that I comprehend. Hopefully, this work – with the assistance of co-author Michael Rhodes – can raise that percentage slightly.

  3. I got mine last week in the mail (pre-order). And I’m about the same place as Terry. It feels a little more candid that most of his writings, in my opinion. I find the citations/synthesizing are a lot more diverse than usual, which is really neat: Stephen Hawking, William Shakespeare, Ernest Becker, Soren Kierkegaard.

    Has anyone read Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death”? Sounds intriguing…

  4. Manuel Arjona

    I just got the book in Spain, on Tuesday. I have read the first 4 chapters and the last one on geometry. It is worthwhile and I agree that is more accesible than other of his books. My commendation to Rhodes for his great work and all the others that have contributed as well. Each chapter should be a whole book, this book is more of a door to open fields of study and reflection. It looks more like a summary or a synthesis of fascinating and deep subjects. One misses a deeper and more extensive treatment on several topics (like relativity physics in the treatment of Kolob, the relationship of the hypocephali to euclidean and non-euclidean geometries, the golden number, modern cosmology, etc.). I wish they would publish on the web the whole set of files Nibley produced (probably thousand of pages no doubt) for free access to all those wishing to study in depth this work of his. One feels the book is just a window on each subject. However is of great value and concentrates and stimulates your mind like very few books do.
    I suggest some books to enhance the wealth of this work. It is by no means the only or best list, it is just one way of pointing to further study.
    – General: Nibley’s An Egyptian Endowment, Temple and Cosmos, Abraham in Egypt, Abraham Creation Drama, Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price, Ancient State, An Approach to the Book of Abraham.
    – General: The Anthropic Cosmological Principle of Frank Tipler. And of course some classics: The Iliad and The Odissey of Homer, Faust by Goethe, The Greek Myths of Robert Graves and all the books of Mircea Eliade (the Romanian foremost world scholar on religion).
    – Geometry: The Road to Reality of Roger Penrose (mind boggling, but really useful on modern cosmology, and Mathematics and Physics realities, Is God a Geometrist? of Ian Stewart, The Golden Ratio of Mario Flavio, The Dancing Wu Li Masters of Gary Zukav, The Universe in a Nutshell of Stephen Hawking.
    – Kabbala and Hermeneutics: The novel Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (the hocus pocus of people in History who think they have the true secret and knowledge), The Limits of Interpretation of Umberto Eco (a great book on Semiotics, hermeneutics and signs and symbols), also his Treatise on Semiotics and In Search of the Perfect Language.
    – On mind-conscience relationship the three books of Roger Penrose The New Mind of The Emperor (incidentally Roger Penrose and particularly this book is quoted by Nibley several times in his talk Abraham and the Creation Drama, and he fancied his ideas, comparing them to the Kabbala), The Shadows of the Mind and Of Great and Small Things. His latest ideas on aeons (eternities for him) and What Happened Before the Big Bang and of particular interest as well.
    I also miss the inclusion and comments of some scriptures related (like 1 Nephi 10:19 and D&C 3:2), maybe they are on the original manuscripts.
    Overall, a great book to have and study, and great door opener to a life of study and searching.
    My thanks to Hugh Nibley, family, Rhodes and all others for this great work.

  5. Manuel Arjona

    It is really significant that the latest book of Umberto Eco (Lists) starts his first chapter with Achilles’ shield and explanations on it, and the latest book of Roger Penrose (The Road to Reality) finishes up with a tale on the green light effect related to research on quantum gravity (what a happy coincidence!)

  6. Bryce – I thought I would post a note here to my introduction to Hamlet’s Mill which Nibley quoted often in this and other works. Reading Hamlet’s Mill is perhaps more difficult than many of Nibley’s writings and is pregnant with meaning. It is possible to trace his treatment of many cosmological and mythological themes back to this book that are not documented in the collected works.

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