4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great esoterica, unique information on Ethiopia,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sign and the Seal: Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant (Paperback)
Hancock delves an enormous number of sources and finds long distance connections to investigate whether the Ark of the Covenant might be in Ethiopia, as the locals believe. Hancock was uniquely placed to write this book, as he acted as Mengistu's voice to the western world for several years. This is esoterica, written in a chatty, at times annoying, journalistic style and falls well short of academic standards. What makes this book potentially more important than Fingerprints of the Gods is that he makes a conjecture which has since made its way into the serious academic literature. Specifically, he proposes that around the time of the fall of the temple, a community of Jews set themselves up in Egypt. Several hundred years later, these Jews themselves became subject to pressure, and headed south to Ethiopia. This theory brings the arrival of Judaism to Ethiopia considerably earlier and by a different route from the orthodox theory that it came from Yemen. Hancock has found a convincing explanation for the Ethiopian belief that it once had the Ark of the Covenant. He would like to think he has proved it is indeed there. But ultimately no one can know what is in the Holy of Holies in Aksum, if indeed anything, until the Ethiopian Church decides to let someone have a look. The book is also important because it is the only accessible study on the fascinating history of Ethiopia - a shame it should be written by someone with less than academic standards of rigour.