Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Rule of 4.

I'm one of those people who reads when I'm bored or having a mental block. Books, magazines, articles, tabloids and blogs. I do not discriminate and I devour all that with relish.

Anyway I've ploughed through "The Rule of Four".

"A marvelous book with a dark Renaissance secret in its coded heart"
-- The New York Times Book Reviews

"One part THE DA VINCI CODE, one part THE NAME OF THE ROSE ... a
blazingly good yarn"
-- San Francisco Chronicle

Well well well... I was blinded and robbed of $20 then. It's not as fast paced as Da Vinci Code and when I was halfway through 527 pages of this "enthralling literature", there's still NO mention of what was so captivating to the New York Times people. Sure, you know there's a secret hidden in an ancient book. But more than half the book was the writers' infatuation and recollections of their fabulous time at Princeton channeled into the main characters.

It's like telling the people the traditions of Princeton which I have no interest in. So what if they have a Nude Olympics (scraped now) for sophomores? I just want to latch on to the adventure and discover the mystery.

I don't really recommend this book. But the ancient book in limelight is worth surfing for.

The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.

Coded in 7 languages, most of them dead (eg. Latin), it's actually the story about a person's dream. Yes, a big fat hundred year old book about some guy's dream that went on and on. The author of this book is unknown and people just speculate who that guy might be. It's the biggest thing after the Gutenberg Bible.

Actually I'm more interested in the Nag Hammadi Text.

Nag Hammadi is best known for being the site where in December, 1945 thirteen
leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by local peasants.

The writings in these codices comprised 52 mostly Gnostic tractates (treatises), but they also include three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum and a partial translation of Plato's Republic.

The codices are believed to be a library, hidden by monks from the nearby monastery of St Pachomius when the possession of such banned writings denounced as heresy was made an offense. The zeal of Athanasius in extirpating non-canonical writings and the Theodosian decrees of the 390s may have motivated the hiding of such dangerous literature.

Well, the codices are actually "lost" gospels. The manuscripts are from the 3rd and 4th century. How they lasted through the ages is beyond me. Fascinating stuff.

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