Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Review: The Genius of the Few

"The Story of Those who Founded the Garden in Eden"

Subtitle of The Genius of the Few
by Christian O'Brien with Barbara Joy O'Brien

What does an exploration geologist do with himself upon retirement from a career with a Middle Eastern-based oil company? In the case of Christian O'Brien, he partners with his wife, Barbara Joy, and the two spend their golden decades digging into ancient texts and unearthing archeological clues to help solve some of the mysteries of human origins. The O'Brien studies in the libraries of man and nature demonstrate a shift in viewing perspective; they aimed at secular interpretation and translation of the data. This shift allows the reader breathing room to evaluate and contemplate the implications in the ancient historical records.

"All modern concepts of the Garden of Eden stem from a few verses in the biblical Book of Genesis, none of which is entirely free from ambiguity", begins the O'Brien analysis after a short preface and introduction. Many intelligent and well-read individuals would agree with this statement however very few can argue coherently on or near the point. The Genius of the Few stands ready to arm the most reluctant of debaters with evidence and clarity sufficient to maintain a sturdy, well-informed posture when debating the early biblical texts.

The book provides a flowing stream of references and illustrations along with bibliography and appendices to satisfy the slightest curiosity of scholar, student and weekend researcher. The principal sources for the work are:

1) Sumerian Tablets from the Library at Nippur (held at at the University of Pennsylvania and partially deciphered by George Barton in 1918);

2) Ancient documents from the Hebraic Books of Enoch (Ethiopic, Slavonic and Greek Syncelles and Akkhim framents versions); and

3) The biblical Book of Genesis (Jewish Torah, Jerusalem Bible, King James and Authorized Versions).

The chapter entitled "Eastward in Eden" looks at the Old Testament terms Elohim and YHWH and proposes an alternative interpretation of the words with all due respect to former translators. Elohim is interpreted as "the shining ones" by means of etymological origins in Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian. YHWH (Yahweh) is translated as "leader". (Jehovah being a late entry in the language loom and a derivative of YHWH , it was not independently identified in word or as an entity.) Written together, Yahweh Elohim is translated as Leader - or Lord - of the Shining Ones. The word Khar-sag is translated as "principal" or "lofty" - "fenced enclosure" and is identified as a proper name of a specific location on the map, namely in Lebanon near the Rachaiyah Basin. Thus with the location of the Garden and descriptions of the founders in mind, the foundation is established for forward interpretation of the creation stories.

It is preferable - and worthy - to list here the chapter titles following Eastward in Eden. They are self-explanatory. Any one with an interest in any aspect of the discussions will easily recognize the chapter destinations in Part I of the book:

Where Heaven and Earth Met: The Annunage in Kharsag
The Chronicles of Enoch: The Summons of a Scribe
The Fall of the Watchers: Upset in the Genetic Balance
The Reality of Eden and its Peoples: Study in Geography
and Time
The Making of Man: Study in Hybridization
Destruction in Eden: The First Diaspora

Part II takes up with The Enigma of Yahweh: War-Lord of the Annunage. After rigorous wandering in the desert with Moses and the Pillar, this reader found the following and final chapter, The Unity of Truth, to be a welcomed refreshment. Truth remains available for inspiring discussion and Barbara Joy O'Brien steps lively with a discussion of globally-recognized prophets and their philosophies. The chapter is a more superior guide than a Cliff's Notes for we who are interested in an overview of wise and ancient teachings.

A special delight in the lineup of Appendices is E: An Alternative Genesis. I was reminded of Steve Allen's work entitled "On the Bible, Religion and Morality" wherein he familiarized himself and any interested readers with certain historical facts about the Bible. It is the efforts of society's profoundly devoted, high-caliber independent researchers - such as the O'Briens and Steve Allen and so many more - that revitalizes interest in our stories and emphasizes the necessity of studying their meaning. A passion was fired in Christian O'Brien while a young man under the tutelage of another (Victor Boileau), fueling a quest to sift through the records of human origins. It is good fortune to learn of ones such as he who press on and share historical data not under consideration by the experts, even though the information promises monumental insights regarding the human condition.

With this work, the O'Briens ventured out to blow the dust off of the old manuscripts and tablets and apply logic and common sense when putting together the pieces of the records. Examination and evaluation of the creation and creator deity(ies) may be a responsibility or an honor, as you like it, and either is made friendly through The Genius of the Few.