Did God Have a Wife?: William G. Dever
Dever, one of the world's most renowned archaeologists has finally asked the BIG question, and his research, archaeology, and scholarship have come up with the most stunning answer. Yes, God was married!
His analysis of the folk religion, and how the common folk worshipped was one of the powerful aspects of this book, the stuff that never made it into the Bible, yet is reflected in the archaeology of the people in the countryside. This is archaeology at its level-headed best.
A very shocking book, as well as revealing for his amazingly coherent, and provocative challenges, and answers to the nay-sayers of Asherah being God's wife.
I highly recommend it. (*****)
Giorgio Santillana, Hertha von Dechend: Hamlet's Mill
This is not the easiest book to read or understand, but it is by far one of the most influential ones I own for the sheer power of generating ideas and themes to research and write on. It is archeoastronomy detective work like no other text. Scholarly, erudite, difficult, astounding, breath-taking. I also rate this one as one of those books in my all time favorite top 10.
I know others have not found their overall thesis convincing, but archeoastronomy is indepted to this book for having a serious start, and it has also come a long way since, especially with John Major Jenkins work on "Maya Cosmogenesis 2012" and "The Galactic Alignment."
Archeoastronomy became a hobby of mine directly because of this book. I highly recommend it. It was reprinted for the 3rd time in 1992, and well worth shelling out the dough for it. (*****)
- Hugh Nibley: The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri
This 2nd edition has been enlarged, updated, totally checked footnotes for accuracy of quotes and use of sources, all new pictures and more than what the original edition had, and all footnotes put at the bottom of the page for easier reading.
John Gee, the LDS Egyptologist at BYU/FARMS (Now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute) spent 17 years checking the accuracy of every single quote and deserves our accolades and congratulations. So does FARMS for putting back all the materials that were supposed to be originally in here. It has gone from a 270 page text to over 600. It is a magnificent tome, very useful indexes, much nicer to read and understand, and is one of my all time favorite top 10 books. (*****)
Jason Lotterhand: The Thursday Night Tarot
In his down to earth style and humor, Lotterhand opens up the world of the Tarot symbolisms and what they can mean for us in our every day to day lives. Without stuffy erudition, nor with New Age silliness, Lotterhand goes through the Major Arcana of the Tarot Cards and analyzes their interpretations as he understands things. You can't help but come away from this book feeling good. This is the collection of his classes he has taught for years and years, including questions from many of his students and his responses.
I have read it many times, and will continue reading it as a perfect introduction as to what the Tarot symbolisms and use really means, not what phony prognosticators of the New Age Movement have hijacked the Tarot to mean. Their use of it is an "adulterated use" to quote Paul Foster Case, another of the true Tarot interpreter geniuses.
The overall view of the Tarot following Lotterhand's interpretation is one of love.... love for God, our fellowman, as well as for ourselves. That Tarot has nothing at all in any form to do with Satan worship, devil loving wickdness, and magic is more than proven by Lotterhand's scholarship in this fascinating area. I highly and strongly recommend this cure for the disease of understanding Tarot as an evil Devil inspired system. (*****)
- John W. Welch, David & JoAnn Seely, editors: Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem
The most complete, insightful look into Jerusalem as she existed in 600 B.C. just before the Babylonian captivity. It analyzes and looks into the social life, economic, political, physical, spiritual, archaeological, and in every way possible to understand what life was like for Lehi as a parent, and Nephi as a child.
The updating of the Lachish Letters, of the reform of King Josiah, the Rechabites, International affairs occurring, Egyptian connections, etc., is powerfully transforming our understanding on the very real background and pathbreaking work that the FARMS group (now called the Neal A. Maxwell Institute) is performing on all aspects of the LDS scriptures, culture, doctrine, and history.
A most delightful read! (****)
- Kevin Townley: The Cube of Space
This book (Archive Press, 1993) is the singular most comprehensive description, discussion, meditation, and writing of the Sefer Yetzirah's description of the Cube of Space in existence. Townley has written a book like no other, although his followup book "Meditations on the Cube of Space" (Archer Books, 2003) is also in-depth and provocative.
David Allen Hulse's book "New Dimensions for the Cube of Space," Samuel Weiser, 2000) is a simpler guide, with different developments, discussions and assignments for the Tarot Card symbolisms on the cube however.
Townley has discussed every single available notion of the cube, its symbolisms, significance, and interest in both the Jewish Kabbalistic texts, as well as for us in our modern meditations for further understanding of the cosmos. His two books are nothing less than a tour de force, which gives years of pleasant reading. (****)
Leonora Leet: The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah
This book just simply stunned me. It is one of the most fascinating analysis of Sacred Geometry and modern Quantum Physics along with a detailed discovery after discover after discovery of the Jewish religious system called Kabbalah.
Leet's geometric charts make the book even easier to understand, but the depth of her cogent reasoning concerning the cosmos, geometry, and music is a sight to behold.
Her follow up book "The Universal Kabbalah" is quite interesting in the first few chapters and then bogs my mind down with so much detail and analysis that it is far over my head, though I am working on deciphering it.
Leet spent over 20 years analyzing and writing about her discoveries. The most significant one concerns the Kabbalah Tree of Life diagram which is remarkably elucidated by Leet, both in the historical aspects of its changes, as well as the reasons why it is the shape and form that it is, and the meaning of sacred geometrical extensions of the already existing lines of the Tree of Life.
A most significant contribution, not only to my own understanding of Kabbalah and Geometry, but for my own enthusiasm of learning more about the Kabbalah (****)
Margaret Barker: The Great High Priest
With her astonishing range of scholarship and working with ancient archaeological and linguistic data, Barker has changed our understanding of the ancient Hebraic Priesthood as well as religion. This book is a milestone. (*****)
Menas Kafatos, Robert Nadeau: The Conscious Universe
The Quantum Physics notion of Complementarity (two particles being connected, no matter how far apart they are in the universe), as well as understanding how the part relates to the whole is what is explored in this gem of a little book.
This is no spiritual guru linking of science and religion together by mis-representing one or the other or both of the disciplines, but a sober, real look into the ideas of consciousness, and how Quantum Physics has come around to recognizing the universal aspect of consciousness in *all things*. An amazing book, quite technically written, but with amazing conclusions. The main conclusion being that consciousness can no longer be separated from the problem of the way science operates. (****)
Robert Eisenman: The New Testament Code
Again, with his impeccible schoalrship and thirst for detail Eisenman extends his analysis and evidence for a First Century Early Christian provenance for the Dead Sea Scrolls using the internal materials of the scrolls themselves, their literary usages, their dramatis personae, and their descriptions of what sins abound with the wicked foreign leaders, which can only possibly apply to the Herodians.
I wish Eisenman's writing style was easier however. For this reason I can't give it a 5 star rating. His information is astonishingly useful however, and rather controversial, my kind of book! (****)
Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism: Howard Schwartz
Magnaminous! This compilation from all periods of Jewish mythology, using hundreds, if not thousands of the texts, shows without doubt or question that there was a Jewish mythology, and its power of presentation for relevance is unsurpassed in all of mythology.
From the Creation, the the Shekhinah as the wife of God, to Israel's woes, and successes, this detailed, and humorous, insightful, powerful book has so much in it from the lives of the Patriarchs, the prophets, and the rabbis, that it will take many months to read all the way through it. I have referenced it several times, and spent not a few very delightful evenings (even rainy days) browsing through its pages, and the excellent scholarly discussions by Schwarts itself placing things in context. This is a book I turn to again and again and again with new "Aha!" insights from every single page. (*****)