Book Review: The Greek Qabalah

The Greek Qabalah: Alphabetical Mysticism and Numerology in the Ancient World by Kieren Barry

My rating: 1 of 5 stars. Most have given it 4-5 Stars. I am alone here.

I had wanted to read this since it came out but the price was prohibitive.  When I finally got a copy through Scribd, I was amazed at who poorly written, but also the sloppy scholarship.   This  dissertation reprinted but nothing is fleshed out with no outside substantiating evidence given. His theory that the Hebrew Alphabet comes from Greek and not Egyptian hangs on a flimsy chain. The only thing that the Hellenized Jew did at Alexandria was translate the written Hebrew in 322 BC under Alexander the Greek, as the Septuagint for the Greek literati.

Somehow Mr Barry takes this slim thread and transposes it in a major work, ignoring what really happened  & that was that the Greek and Hebrew alphabet came from Egyptian in major proportions, but as the Hebrew was also around as slaves in the Phoenician, Mesopotamian and Sumerian Empires.  Still Barry avoids the Egyptian links despite the very explicit Book of Exodus notes — as a historial text it is totally ignored though of all the citations he uses, it is one of the oldest and most secured. 

 While it is said that no one makes a name agreeing with the past in academia, a pack of lies and poor scholarship is not worthy of publication just because Red Wheel (a pagan Wiccan imprint) has a political agenda against the Bible. What stuns me is the amount of people that read this and thought it was right! Didn’t anyone see the Ten Commandments by Cecil B Demille and realize that it was written way before (try 1000 years before) Alexander the Great hit the desert.

Another reason that Mr Barry is wrong, is that in the 1st Century AD the Jewish scribes codified the Old Testament, worried that with the rise of Christianity and “New Testament”, that their original documents would be forgotten and ignored. So while the original Hebrew, is in consonantal Hebrew, later versions, as the language developed, are written in a Hebrew that employed both consonants and vowels.

This carried an extra burden of transcription, as not all copyists knew both forms, so they often they turned to the Greek Translations from the 3rd and 2nd BC at Alexandria, written under Alexander the Great, to often fill in parts that were hard to read or heavily damaged.

All of this makes the oldest Hebrew manuscript, that of the Pentateuch, the most revered of all of the Jewish Scriptures, dated after the Greek New Testament in the 9th Century AD with the rest of the Old Testament in the 10th century AD. Funny, isn’t it?

Surprisingly one of the books with the least amount of the “corrupted” Hebrews alphabets is the Book of Judges, except for the Song of Deborah which is seems was always suffering from the copyists who wanted to “improve” the poetry in what is an age old argument of literalness or meter. You see that today in the various Bibles out there.

Instead, I recommend, either Edward Dingle, The Typal Use of the 22 Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Another valuable book linking the Hebrew and Greek Qabalah to the underlying Egyptian one is John Lamb’s Hebrew characters derived from hieroglyphics (1888) . Both are on If you are really ambitious give Gardner’s Egyptian Grammar a go, hard to find in public domain though the answer keys are freely about …There is even from 1848 this A comparison of Egyptian symbols with those of the Hebrews. By Frederic Portal. Tr. from the French, by John W. Simons.

So while there are lots of nice gift throughout but without using the Egyptian as the basis it’s all, in the end, a waste….