In the first volume of this series, the theory is advanced that many of the narratives recounted in both the Old and the New Testaments, as also in the inspired portions of the scriptures and mythologies of other ancient peoples, contain far more than is apparent on the surface. Undermeanings are said to have been deliberately introduced and are conveyed by the use of a systemâ€”widely recognized in ancient timesâ€”of so narrating actual events that they also reveal underlying laws governing the emanation, involution and evolution of both universe and humanity. To this end the characters of the people in such stories are made to personify Intelligences, forces, procedures and stages of development in the unfolding universe and the spiritual, intellectual, psychological and physical components of every human being.
Acceptance of this view gives to world scriptures a far deeper significance than if they were regarded as narratives of physical events alone. This approach also helps to explain the inclusion of passages which either contradict known scientific and historical facts, or else repel because recording criminal, immoral or very cruel actions.
If I seem to apologize too much for condemning the literal meaning of certain passages and advancing possible hidden meaningsâ€”and I have been so charged by one reviewer of my first volumeâ€”it is because I remember and do not wish to hurt or harm those to whom orthodox beliefs mean much in their religious life. Having suffered myself from atheistic iconoclasm, I wish to lead my readers along a more pleasant pathway to what I have come to regard as truth, preferring to win over and persuade to further examination than entirely to crush.
Many biblical passages do indeed present grave difficulties, particularly when deeds are stated to have been performed either, as in the Old Testament, at the instance of the Supreme Deity or, as in mythology, even by deities themselves. Many such textual problems are resolved when the classical keys of interpretation are applied, and this volume of this work offers some of the results of study of the scriptures and mythologies of ancient peoples as if the sages of old had recorded them in the sacred language of allegory and symbol.Geoffrey Hodson
Auckland, New Zealand