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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


The Greek Qabalah: Alphabetical Mysticism and Numerology in the Ancient World by Kieren Barry (Weiser) is a landmark new work in its field, with extensive academic research and a conclusion that is bound to be controversial in some quarters-namely the Greek origins of the literal Hebrew Qabalah. Drawing from a vast array of ancient authorities and archaeological evidence from Aristotle to Zosimus, from Pythagoras to St. Paul, from Egyptian papyri to graffiti at Pompeii, Kieren Barry carefully documents the use of the alphabet in philosophy, religion, oracles, and magic in the ancient world. Barry takes you on a journey through history, from the dawn of the alphabet over a millennium before Christ to the late Byzantine Era, following the continuous evolution of alphabetic symbolism from the number-mysticism of Pythagoras, through to the Greek philosophers, the Egyptian magicians of Alexandria, the Romans, the Gnostics, the early Church Fathers, the Neoplatonists, and the Jews. Special attention is also given to the topical use of the Qabalah in the Bible, Gnosticism, and in the recently discovered Nag Hammadi Codices.

The Greek Qabalah is a book that will be of interest to a wide range of readers, from students of Ancient History and early Christianity, to Qabalists and modern magicians. Extensive notes and citations from original sources will make this revolutionary and authoritative work an essential reference for researchers and practitioners for many years to come. Also included are appendices for tables of alphabetic symbolism, a list of authors, and a numeric dictionary of several thousand Greek words, which represents the largest collection of gematria or isopsephy yet available in print.


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