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Unformatted text preview: The Hidden isdottl in the HolyBible � .&--..-..----( ·�----' Geoffrey� lodson GeoffreB '}{odson Internationally famous sensitive, author of 'f'he Kingtlorn of the Gods, considers the inner meanings that are hidden in the stories of the book of Genesis. His insif(hts bring new vitality to the Old Testament. He makes it manifestly more meaningful for every Christian who has found difficulty in accepting a wholly literal meaoinf( to Biblical stories. According to the author, there is a sacred language of allegory and symbol which provides several keys to unlock the wisdom which is concealed in the myths, parables, and allegories of the Bible. The more incredible some of the stories may seem, the more important it is to seek for a credible inner meaninf(. Other Quest books by Geoffrey Hodson include the Second and Third Volumes of Hidden Reincarnation: Fact or Fallacy ISBN: 0-8356-0033-5 Wisdom, $5.50 and Cover an byjane A Evans The Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible VOLUME I by @ t Geoffrey Hodson This publication made possible wirh the assistance of the Kern Foundation THE THEOSOPHICAL PUBLISHING HOUSE Wheaton, IL U.S.A. I Madras, India I London, England C!'he Theosophical Publishing House, 1967 Published by the Theosophical Publishing House, a department of The Theosophical Society in America, Wheaton, Illinois, by arrangement with The Theosophical Publishing House, Madras, India 4th Quest Book printing 1983 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 67-8724 ISBN 8356-0033-5 Manufactured in the United States of America D E DIC A TION This work is dedicated to Philo Judaeus, the great Alexandrian Sage. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I gratefully acknowledge the valued assistance in the produc­ tion of this work received from my wife, Sandra, my valued literary assistant, Myra G. Fraser and my friend, Nell K. Griffith. I also wish to express my grateful acknowledgment to Lillian Collins for her work in the preparation of the index, and to my valued friends Roma and Brian Dunningham for their generous help through many years and the p rovision of stenographers. Origen of Alexandria, one of the most learned of the Greek Fathers, who lived in the Third Century, wrote in his De Principiis: "Where the Word found that things done according to the history could be adapted to these mystical senses, he made use of them, concealing from the multitude the deeper meaning; but where in the narrative of the development of supersensual things, there did not follow the performance of those certain events which were already indicated by the mystical meaning, the Scripture interwove in the history the account of some event that did not take place, some­ times what could not have happened; sometimes what could, but did not." • • • • • Moses Maimonedes, a famous Rabbi, Jewish theologian and historian, Talmudist, philosopher and physician (1135-1205 A.D.) wrote: "Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit." In the Kathopanishad 1-3-3 to 1-3-9, Dr. Radhakrishnan's translation from The Principal Upanishads, we find: "Know the Self as the Lord of the chariot and the body as, verily, the chariot; know the intellect as the charioteer and the mind as, verily, the reins. The senses, they say, are the horses; the objects of sense the paths (they range over) ; (the self) associated with the body, the senses and the mind- wise men declare- is the enjoyer. He who has no understanding, whose mind is always unrestrained, his senses are out of control, as wicked horses are for a charioteer. He, however, who has understanding, whose mind is always restrained, his senses are under control, as good horses are for a charioteer. He, however, who has no understanding, who has no control over his mind (and is) ever impure, reaches not that goal but comes back into mundane life. He, however, who has understanding, who has control over his mind and (is) ever pure, reaches that goal from which he is not born again. He who has the understanding for the driver of the chariot and controls the rein of his mind, he reaches the end of the journey, that supreme abode of the all-pervading." This work is founded upon the King James Bible and all quotations and references are taken from that version. CONTENTS PAGE ............ ................. AUTHOR'S PREFACE INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .... , i ................ v PART ONE MANKIND'S Qt.:EST FOR LIGHT CHAPTER I. Christianity and the Modern World II. The Symbolical Language .. ........ .. .. .... .. ....... ..... . .... III. Problems Arising From a Literal Reading of the Bible, IV. Examples of the Interpretation of Allegories and Some Solutions V. VI. . ... .. .. . .. .. .... .. . . . . ...... .......... 21 24 . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 39 The Sun Stands Still Upon Gibeon . . . . ........ .......................... 48 ..... .. ...... .. . . . . . .. ..... .. ... ... .. ... . .. .. .. ... ..... .. 56 The Ageless Wisdom .. .. PART TWO THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM I. II. 75 Some Keys of Interpretation . ........ ..... .. .................. Four Major Keys .. 84 PART THREE A PORTION OF THE ALPHABET OF THE SACRED LANGt.:AGE I. II. A Rosetta Stone for the Language of Symbols .. . . .... .. . .... .. .. .. 99 The Symbolism of Numbers . . . ............ ... ............................... 145 PART FOUR THE CYCLIC PATHWAY OF FORTHGOING AND RETURN THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON AS AN EXPOSITION OF THE LAW OF CYCLES PAGE CHAPTER I. II. Ill. General Introduction 151 ......... . .. . . The Pathway o f Forthgoing . . . ISS The Pathway of Return 175 PART FIVE THE LIFE OF C HRIST SPIRITUALLY Il'TERPRETED I. II. The Nativity .... 198 From Baptism to Ascension ... 210 PART SIX "STRAIT IS THE GATE, AND NARROW IS THE WAY" I. II. The Way of Holiness . . .. .... ...... .... Stepson the Pathway to Divine Manhood . ..... ......... ........ 216 . . ......... 221 .... . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . AUTHOR'S PREFACE IN common, I believe, with the majority of fellow Christians, in my early years I accepted the Bible as the inspired word of God, a direct message from Deity to man. Later, however, a more critical approach to the Scriptures revealed incredibilities, impossibilities, and even obscenities, which both shocked and repelled me. Finding myself unable either to ignore these barriers to belief or to adopt a tolerant, uncritical acceptance of Holy Writ, two alternatives pre­ One was to discard entirely the orthodox sented themselves. conc;:ept of the Bible as an error-free and infallible source of spirit­ ual wisdom and moral counsel, and the other to undertake a de­ tailed study of the whole text. This latter course was chosen, and in this decision I was largely influenced by the discovery that many of the difficulties arising from a literal reading disappeared if por­ tions of the Bible were regarded as allegorical. Many erudite scholars, I found, affirmed that some of the authors of world Scriptures deliberately concealed beneath cleverly constructed veils of allegory and symbol profound truths which they had discovered by direct research. This enveiling was forced upon them because such knowledge would inevitably bestow very great spiritual, intellectual, psychical and supernormal physical powers. Since these powers were, and still arc, subject to grave misuse-the evils of priestcraft and mental domination, for example - it became necessary to do all possible to make available to the trustworthy and to conceal from the profane the wisdom and knowledge of which the authors had become possessed. For this purpose they invented a special category of literature which differs from ordinary writing in that, with some historical fact as founda­ tion, it is largely composed of allegories, symbols and certain key worc!s. These were given an agreed universal significance, the whole constituting a cipher by means of which the ageless Wisdom Religion,1 theoretical and practical, was with reasonable safeguards made available to mankind. Such, I learned, were the origin, the nature and the purpose of the sacred language.2 1 Tho one religion which underlies all eraed5. 2 .AI Dictionary of th� StJcred Lunguagt vi All Sc:,.lptures ond Mylh�. G. A. Gwktll. Ocorae Allen & Unwin Ltd. On making the discovery that parts of the Bible are allegori· cal,1 I began to apply the various keys- also to be found in ancient and modem literature on the subject- to many of the books of the Bible. The rewards- the resolving of many textual difficulties and the gaining of a philosophy of life, spiritual, intellectual and pre· eminently practical - have been so immeasurably rich that I have felt moved to share them in book form. This first volume is largely devoted to a consideration of the sacred language itself and the presentation of certain classic keys of interpretation, with some of the results of their application to scriptural stories, inclading especially the life of Christ. Although I have approached this task with all caution, naturally no claim is made for anything like a complete and error-free presentation. Care has, however, been taken neither to overstress a possible symbolical significance, nor to read into a narrative more than is inherent within it or was presumably present in the minds of the authors. Major interpreta­ tions have been both suggested by and compared with the writings of sages and philosophers, including Hebrew scholars. This com­ parison was made in order to test the validity of such an approach, and a lso its value in providing a key to the scriptures an d mytholo­ gies of ancient peoples. The quotations which precede this preface will indicate some of these literary sources, while the introduction and Chapter I give a fuller exposition of the central idea and its applications to both theological and world problems. One of the most readily available of such sources, I have found, is the literature of The Theosophical Society and, indeed, Theosophy itself so far as it has been made available to mankind. The Neo-Piatonists of the early centuries of the Christian era, notably Ammonius Saccus and his disciples, coined the word Theosophia, meaning Divine Wisdom.2 For them, Theosophy con­ noted the totality of the revealed wisdom and discovered knowledge allotted to man throughout the ages. The use of this source is mentioned here to explain, should it be necessary, the constant reference to theosophical literature, ancient and modern, and the adoption of some of its terminology. For both brevity and accuracy of presentation Sanskrit words are occasionally employed, but in I Mk. 4: II, Gal. 4:24. 2 Sk. Brahma Vidya. the \Vis�om of Brahma. ii all cases brief expositions of doctrines and full translations of Sanskrit words are given as footnotes. Thus studying the Bible, I have found that many of the diffi­ culties and discrepancies which had hitherto proved so perplexing no longer exist. May those who are similarly perplexed and simi­ larly seeking find in these volumes solutions of their problems and the restoration of their faith. GEOFFREY HODSON Auckland, New Zealand. iii INTRODUCTION A large number of writers in both ancient• and modern times have affirmed that spiritual wisdom and a practical philosophy of life have always been available to mankind and that, however deeply hidden, they are to be found in the Scriptures of the great world faiths. Man, they state, has but to remove the concealing veils of allegory, parable and symbol to discover a knowledge which can bestow serenity of mind and heart and lead to spiritual illumination. Mere folk tales and primitive superstitions apart, the scrip­ tures and mythologies of ancient peoples may, it is claimed, be similarly approached. At least two views exist concerning their origin. According to one of these, world myths gradually developed as explanations of the phenomena of nature. Primitive races, who possessed little or no scientific knowledge, personified the forces of nature and dramatized their interactions. Such tales may be thought of as folk myths in contradistinction to those based upon historical, or presumedly historical, foundations. The second view is many of these ancient stories were psychological and moral significance by poets, seers and prophets who later arose within the nations. Aeschylus, for example, thus relied upon Greek myth and legend for many of his plots, as also did Homer, Sophocles and Euripides and more especially Pindar and Hesiod, who in­ corporated the Homeric gods into the Greek pantheon. In this way many archaic legends were both preserved and vitalized, having become imbued with religious or philosophic meanings. Initiates� of the various occult schools and the mystery religions of the older civilizations are also said to have deliberately refash­ ioned the stories into vehicles for the transmission to later races of their knowledge of cosmogony, cyclic involution and evolution,3 and the true nature and destiny of man. Modern scientists have also found in ancient myths appropriate symbols for the subtle given deep that cosmogonical, religious, 1 St. Paul, Orlgen and other early Church Fathers: Xabalists, ancient, medieval, and modern. The Neo·Piatonic School, lounded In 193 A.D. by Ammonlus Saccus, included Ale:undrian phil�ophers who sought tu interpret the Bible accordiq to a system of allegory and symbol and were, in consequence, named Analogeticists. 2 Initiate. From the Lat in lrdflaluJ. The designation of anyone who was received into and had revealed to him the secrets and my�leri� of o ccult philosophy; ¥ide: Par t VI of Volume I. 3 PartlY mental processes they study and attempt to elucidate. Freud, for example, used the phrase "Oedipus complex", while the term "Achilles' heel" is sometimes employed to indicate vulnerability. lung, in his tum, found in the ancient stories symbolic archetypes of human responses. In these various ways the religions and philosophies of the ancients prove profitable to the modern student, while those possessed of knowledge of the sacred language and the keys of interpretation 1 recognize ideas which are found to be common to all world faiths. The universal use of symbols with which to portray those ideas makes them readily available; for the meanings of the symbols used are found to be constant, as constant also are the doctrines which they reveal. Thus, while ancient superstitions and magical practices, and the instinctive personification and dramatization of natural phenomena by primitive peoples, are recognized, world scriptures and mythologies may legitimately be regarded as rich mines of the ageless wisdom. On occasion through­ out this work, therefore, parallels are drawn between Biblical statements and the same ideas appearing in different forms in other sacred writings. The value of this approach to world scriptures becomes evident when the keys of interpretation are applied to the Bible. This has, however, been rendered difficult by at least three prev­ alent practices. The first of these is to mistake the veils for the truths which they both conceal and reveal. The second is to require the acceptance as fact of much that is purely allegorical and, indeed, in some cases incredible.2 The third is the insistence by some Christian denominations upon unquestioning belief in dogmas, based upon a literal reading of certain passages of the Bible, as essential to the salvation of man here and hereafter. Unfortunately this is carried to still greater lengths by ex cathedra pronouncements that failure to affirm implicit belief in stated dogmas may lead to excommunication, and even to eternal damnation. These trends observable in orthodox Christianity may be regarded as particularly harmful at the present period in world history; for as a result of them the attention of Christians is 1 Pari II of Volume I. 2 Pp. 93-97 of Volume I. diverted from eternal verities. These especially include the exist­ ence of the divine presence within man, ''Christ in you, the hope of glory",1 and the fact that the divinity in all men is one and the same. When the spiritual unity between all members of the human race is fully recognized, aggressive competition, organized crime and wars of conquest become impossibilities. The spiritually darkened, war-threatened and competitively divided condition of humanity today may well be among the tragic consequences of the long continued imposition by the spiritual heads of the Chris­ tian faith - doubtless with the highest motives and out of consid­ eration for the spiritual welfare of the people- of dogmas based upon the literal reading of Biblical allegories; for when accepted and applied to life such dogmas inevitably affect international, national and personal relationships. They may be partly responsible for the divided condition of Christianity, and even of humanity itself. How, then, may the veils of allegory and symbol be drawn aside and the hidden wisdom revealed? This work- among many others upon the subject in ancient and modem literature -oilers both general and detailed answers to that most vital question. Briefly stated, those who seek to discover the wisdom underlying inspired allegories should proceed somewhat as follows:(a) Determine to discover essential truths. (b) Mentally utter a cry for interior light,2 with the single motive of becoming an ever more efficient servant of humanity. (c) Oear the mind of the tendency to regard the literal read­ ing as the only true and ecclesiatically permissible one. (d) Practice meditation in order to develop the intuitive per­ ception necessary for the discovery of the successive layers of revelation concealed beneath scriptural allegories, ancient myths and some traditional fairy tales. (e) Study the writings of notable exponents of the sacred language. 1 Col. 1:27. 2Lk.ll:9,10. "And I say unlo you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and It shall be opened to you. "Fur every one that askcth rcccivelh; and he that seeketh flnd4fth; aod to him that knockclh it shall be opened." �ii (f) Learn the major keys and the method of interpretation, and practice until proficient the science of their applica­ tion to the elucidation of world scriptures and mytholo­ gies. As stated in the author's preface, care must always be taken neither to overstress a possible symbolical significance, nor to read into a narrative more than is inherent within it or was presumably present in the minds of the authors, merely in order to support preconceived ideas. The task of unveiling was undertaken in this age with great insight and erudition by Madame H. P. Blavat<;ky, co-founder of The Theosophical Society. Her aptly titled books, Isis Unveiled1 and The Secret Doctrine! give the traditional keys and many inter­ pretations of world allegories. G. A. Gaskell has made a magni­ ficent contribution to the subject by producing a Dictionary of the Sacred Language of All Scriptures and Myths.2 Fabre d'Olivet's The Hebrew Tongue Restorelfl and F. J. Mayers' The Unknown God4 advance the kabalistic keys and apply them to the Book of Genesis. Indebtedness is here acknowledged to these and other standard works. The literature which proceeded from the Neo-Piatonists of Alexandria, especially the writings of Philo Judaeus ( approxi­ mately 30 B.C. to 45 A.D.) to whom this work is dedicated, is also a valuable source of information. The interpretations of the symbolism of the Bible which he gives are very remarkable. The animals, birds, reptiles, trees and places mentioned in the Bible are said by him to be "allegories of conditions of the soul, of faculties, dispositions, or passions; the...
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