5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2015
I found this a very interesting subject and the author tickled my interest on many occasions. While reading this ambitious work I found myself questioning some of my own beliefs. On the one hand I am a confirmed "materialist" , with no time for anything I have read, up until now at least, on Idealism or Intelligent design. On the other hand i have often experienced Telepathy and the power of Prayer - which means that I am open -minded about the presence of Angels and spirits.
I agree with another reviewer - the stories told about Lincoln, Hitler and the Dalai Llama, for example, seemed unfinished. The chapter on Hitler especially was especially disturbing. It suggests that there are great Satanic 'influences' out 'there' - as well as good and well-meaning ones. I personally do not like to dwell on this as it is unsettling and negative - unless some sort of tool ( meditation/prayer for example) is discussed to help fight off these demons ( that are apparently gathering their forces as I write…) The description of the Jewish girls and their angels were uplifting - but in the end they were abandoned by these spiritual helpers and all murdered by the Nazis anyway … what was the actual point of telling this and other similar stories ? I may have missed the punchlines ...
Several other details left me feeling frustrated - for example, the author talks about plants not undergoing sexual reproduction but this is entirely untrue for plants that produce flowers . He states that they undergo Parthenogenesis instead. Year 4 biology should set him right on this point - flowers are nothing else other than flagrant sexual organs. As a biologist this annoyed me and made me a bit skeptical about other things he stated with absolute dogmatism.
The book is , however, an admirable attempt to make us all think about things we may not often think about. For this reason I did enjoy many parts of it.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
For the benefit of all who are thinking of buying it, buy it.
It is brilliant.
if you're familiar with Jonathan Black's previous book "The Secret History" and you want to read more, then this is essential.
It does touch upon the accounts, ideas, myths and philosophy which are in the other book, but elaborates these to present a beautifully written and illustrated book depicting the evolution of the World according to myth and legend and sacred religious and scriptural history - using everything from Norse to Hindu, Shamanic to Sumerian legend, Christ to Muhammed, belief and myth.
It is written with an excellent preface and introduction, and then as a sequence of stories dating back aeons and gradually progressing towards modernity.
The stories are in a sort of chronological order, they corroborate and compliment each other, Jonathan Black is trying to portray a unity and theme common to stories from different parts of the world which could mean that there could be a universal truth in them - ie. Flood myths and heroes related to these myths. Mystical beings - Gods/Angels play a prominent role in each of these under the auspice and eye of The Great Cosmic Mind. The stories include well known ones and obscure ones - those of Noah, Gilgamesh, Perseus, Theseus, Moses - in other words; Mystics, Prophet's, Demi-Gods and Heroes.
The stories can be enjoyed in many ways, as the author intended or as stories in their own right to be read for merely the pleasure of story telling and reading.
Jonathan Black uses material available since he wrote his previous book - and material he didn't touch upon before, including more ideas from Ibn Arabi to Lorna Byrne.
The stories are interspersed with thoughts, reflections, philosophy and knowledge, all brilliantly realised and fleshed out making the stories make perfect sense.
The book is absorbing and enlightening and difficult to put down, as I want to know where the author is taking me and want to travel with him on this journey.
I already have an idealistic view of the Universe and mankind, and have deep spiritual convictions which I base on experience, so the stories mean a lot to me and have filled me with hope - no doubt what the author intended - I wont spoil it for you though.
The stories and ideas go deep into our past and deep into our consciousness and depths which cannot be explained in a laboratory, and I for one don't box myself in to a certain mind set, and so allow myself freedom to listen, read and accept according to experience and to love and cherish and be filled with wonder at what our ancestors since prehistory have to tell us and teach us.
So readers who completely slated the previous book, didn't agree with it, didn't understand it, and denounced it - such readers will be advised to stay clear of this as they wont like it and they'll be wasting their time.
Those who have an open mind and take matters of consciousness and experience as having a meaning, and cherish the stories, beliefs and doings of our ancestors since prehistory could enjoy this, and of course I'd recommend The Secret History to be read before this.
If you enjoyed and understood The Secret History, if metaphysics, spirituality, religion, esoteric thought, Rudolf Steiner and shamanism interest you, and you've enjoyed Robert Bauval, Graham Hancock, Lorna Byrne and other literature too - including religious scripture The Holy Bible, The Gita, The Veda's and The Quran you'll love this and it'll take pride of place on your book shelf after you've finished it.
If you've ever tried Astral Projection, or have had any lucid dreams, or altered states of consciousness - this will mean a lot to you.
This book is not for everyone, it is not a book on History, nor religion, and some may find the contents contrary to their religious belief - but is presented in Jonathan Black's way and language with meaning and vision which I think is inspirational.
NB. An excellent bibliography and appendix of sources is included
After reading it and having had a lot of time to reflect over what I read - the book is even more brilliant than I at first thought. it really inspires, and teaches and gives insight and wisdom, and in this age of suspicion and cold soulless atheism, it is full of light..
Under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge, until this tyranny be over past..
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2013
The Sacred History is an astonishing tour de force that takes you on a journey that begins with the creation of the universe and ends in the present day, offering an astounding vision of what awaits us. What I particularly enjoyed about the book was the way in which it gave me summaries of all those mythic tales I have been meaning to study, but have never found time for - Greek myths, stories from the Bible, the Hindu epics, the Arabian Nights and more - weaving them together to tell the history of the world in an utterly original way, drawing wisdom from each one to offer insights into how humanity has evolved, and how these myths play out in our own lives. As a result the book is a voyage through consciousness as well as Time. And although the book is clearly written by someone deeply immersed in the Perennial Wisdom Tradition, with a deep understanding of philosophical and theological questions, there is a warm, down-to-earth quality in the way the book is written that makes it extremely accessible. My faith in the fundamentally spiritual nature of reality has been renewed with this book.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2013
To be honest, I'm not sure I can improve on The Saracen's review!
In his previous book, Black took his readers on a journey, inviting them to look at everything they thought they knew but turned inside-out and upside-down. It was a through-the-looking -glass world, where familiar stories, places and objects became pieces in a carefully constructed and complex jigsaw puzzle. It's always been there, but we didn't see it because we weren't looking through the correct lense.
The emphasis in this book is more on how our world has been shaped by spiritual forces. Again, if we only choose to look, the evidence, says Black, is there in all the major religions and in our ancient stories, morphed into fairy tales and myths. I loved, as I did in The Secret History, the way in which he shows that the same stories with the same characters are repeated throughout history in different forms. It convinces me that cultural differences are only as deep as the material world and that what unites us spiritually is the same, and always has been, whatever we choose to call it.
There is a prevalent - modern - assumption that knowledge somehow progresses in a straight line- that we are always cleverer and better- informed than those who came before. This dangerous certainty can be equated with the other dangerous certainties of any sort of fundamentalism- atheistic or religious. Black's books are fighting fundamentalism. They demonstrate, above all, that ancient knowledge is the key with which we might attempt to unlock many mysteries, if we will open our minds and ask the questions.
on 21 July 2015
Excellent book. The author has found a good balanced way of presenting a complex topic. He argues his points and doesn't just expect the reader to swallow everything he says without thinking. In fact the book encourages the reader to think about what is being presented and to decide what they conclude for themselves. The writing style is clear but intelligent, entertaining but does not dumb down or skim. I have his other books and recommend them highly, I have even bought them for friends and they have enjoyed them also. In fact this book makes a great gift for anyone as it is very approachable no matter what your background or age.
If you enjoy myths, legends, history, alternative history, religion, spirituality and reading about the human psyche and the nature of the human race and reality you will enjoy this book.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2013
I would call myself sceptical but open-minded when it comes to the other worldly and supernatural. The rational me dismisses such fancies but there's a part of me that wants a different, more magical, version of the world to exist. This book didn't turn me into an angelic believer, but it did make me reassess certain myths and stories, and Jonathan Black's wonderful retellings or interpretations of our shared global narratives really do offer an alternative view of human history. There's something magic within the pages of THE SACRED HISTORY which I found affecting and thought-provoking, so I recommend it whole-heartedly.