Saturday, March 20, 2010

On First Looking into Nibley's One Eternal Round

One difficulty in responding to Hugh Nibley's and Michael Rhodes's One Eternal Round lies in the wish, for joy, never to actually finish the thing. I plan to take my full allotment of 52 years. The book once opened, a Saturn's ring of surprises might well hie this reader round many western islands to Kolob and beyond. Hugh Nibley had no interest in today's world. His maidan, his one wide expanse, plots a course into forever: 40,000 years of fun is only the beginning (see pages 128-9; 171).

And from the beginning, flows steadily on, without digression and true to the mark, the voice of the teacher. Here springs Pierian a voice of simplicity, compression, summing-up that, like a flame before the wind, projects the reader onto new peaks of Darien (pages 47-8). I recognize that voice: Hugh Nibley in his last essays on Abraham; James E. Faust in his final conference talks.

Who knows enough to tackle such a book? Let the Wisdom of Solomon start the reviewing for us:

"For she [Hathor, Sarah, Isis, Sophia] is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God," in which man may observe "the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternations of the solstices and the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars." For the seeker: "She is an initiate in the knowledge of God, who introduces "the solutions of riddles," and the "foreknowledge of signs and wonders" (Wisdom of Solomon, Chapters 7 and 8, RSV).

Only now, as I sit reading in the Hugh Nibley Ancient Studies Library, do I suddenly see how these words written while a student at BYU perfectly describe, and unfold, the hypocephalus. Now back to looking up copies of Zelia Nuttall and Anton Moortgat with a wild surmise (the idea is one could dream up a response to the footnotes).

One word more: One Eternal Round answers the critics of the Book of Abraham. Further answers will not be necessary (pages 148-9).

If you liked Catherine Graindorge-Hereils's "Les oignons de Sokar," you'll love this one.

Breathe its pure serene.

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