Notes in The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting
The copied screen shot (notes excluded) of the prices for the only three copies available of The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting on the 4th of December 2016 show its extreme rarity. A few days later, the Power! Bam! Biff! copy was the only one available on Amazon for sale.
We think the high asking prices reflect the value of the book's rare content in its extensive end-notes at the end of the volume that note the page numbers in The Electric Mirror . . . to which they refer. We also believe that those like the ones referring back to page 119 may have served as a huge draw to curious Bible readers. We will therefore include them here:
*Page 119—The Bible is a misleading authority in regards to the existence of the “gods” of the Hebrews. However, it is noteworthy to point out to our readers the fact that the Hebrew gods (elohim) are mentioned around 2,000 times in the Bible, but nearly all translators and biblical commentators—from about the time of Christ—have mistakenly or intentionally chosen, in almost every case, to convert them into a singular “God” or combination of divine names that implies that one Hebrew god rules the universe. You can verify this by checking any Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, or The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments—in which the renowned Oxford professor of Assyriology A. H. Sayce clearly verifies their plurality. In his learned and refreshing declaration, he maintains:
Elohim is a plural noun, and its employment in the Old Testament as a singular has given rise to a large amount of learned discussion, and, it must also be added, of a learned want of common sense. Grammarians have been in the habit of evading the difficulty by describing it as a “pluralis majestatis,” “a plural of majesty,” or something similar, as if a term in common use which was grammatically a plural could ever have come to be treated as a singular, unless this singular had once been a plural. We can construe the word “means” with a singular verb, but nevertheless there was once a time when “means” was a plural noun.
We may take it for granted, therefore, that if the Hebrew word Elohim had not once signified the plural “gods,” it would never have been given a plural form, and the best proof of this is the fact that in several passages of the Old Testament the word is still used in a plural sense. Indeed there are one or two passages, as for example Gen. i. 26, where the word, although referring to the God of Israel, is yet employed with a plural verb, much to the bewilderment of the Jewish rabbis and the Christian commentators who followed them. It is strange how preconceived theories will cause the best scholars to close their eyes to obvious facts.
The Israelites were a Semitic people, and their history down to the age of the Exile is the history of a perpetual tendency toward polytheism. Priest and prophet might exhort and denounce, and kings might attempt to reform, but the mass of the people remained wedded to a belief in many gods. Even the most devoted adherents of the supreme God of Israel sometimes admitted that he was but supreme among other gods, and David himself, the friend of seers and prophets, complains that he had been driven out of “the inheritance of Yahveh” and told to go and “serve other gods” (1 Sam. xxvi. 19). What can be plainer than the existence of a persistent polytheism among the bulk of the people, and the inevitable traces of polytheism that were left upon the language and possibly the thoughts of the enlightened few?
**Page 119—Yahweh, or Yahveh, was one of only several gods—as Sayce has just pointed out—that the ancient Hebrews believed in. Exodus 34:14 specifically identifies one of their gods, “whose name is jealous,” and state that he “is a jealous God.” Of what he is jealous, we do not know. Nevertheless, in opposition to the popular monotheistic notion that Jews and Christians entertain today—of one almighty God of Israel always ruling everything—then and now—stands adequate historical evidence that shows this notion originally emerged from an earlier age ruled by several gods. Monotheism (a belief in only one God) sprang forth from polytheism (the worship of many gods) at a relatively recent time in human history, and it progressed slowly, and only began to flourish several centuries after the time of Christ. It developed from the later Hebrew worship of a sole God, Yahweh—as in The Religious Teachings of the Old Testament, Albert C. Knudson, a professor in the Boston University School of Theology, so aptly points out:
The sole godhead of Yahweh was a truth that was only gradually attained. The different steps in this development may be distinguished with a fair degree of clearness. We begin with the Mosaic age. It was to Moses, as we have seen, that the establishment of Yahweh-worship was due. Previous to his time the Israelites seem to have been polytheists. On one of the cuneiform tablets discovered by Winckler at Boghazköj and belonging to the pre-Mosaic age we read of “the gods” of the Habiri or Hebrews, and in Josh. 24.2, 14f. and Ezek. 20.7f., 24 we are told that both in Mesopotamia and Egypt the Israelites worshiped other gods. The very name “Yahweh” also points in the same direction. The manifest purpose of such a name was to distinguish the god of Israel from other gods. If the Hebrews had not believed in the existence of other deities, there would have been no need of giving a personal name to the Divine Being through whom they were delivered from Egypt. He would have been to them simply God. Then, too, it is a significant fact that the common Hebrew word for “God,” Elohim, is plural in form. This plural, it is often said, was not numerical, but simply enhancive of the idea of might, a plural majesty. And this was no doubt to a large extent true of later usage. But originally the plural form must have had a polytheistic background. People could have begun to use the plural “gods” to express the idea of divinity only at a time when they believed in the existence of a plurality of divine beings. This is illustrated by the Greek use of theoi and the Latin use of dei. The plural, Elohim, points, then, back to an earlier polytheistic stage of belief. And this stage we naturally locate in the pre-Mosaic period.
What Moses did was to put monolatry in place of the earlier polytheism. He did not deny the existence of other gods, but proclaimed Yahweh as the sole god of Israel. He did not say that there was but one God, but insisted that it was Israel’s duty to have but one God. But while he thus did not teach monotheism [like the wayward do now], the monolatry he established was an important step in that direction.
In fact, The Emphasized Bible even goes so far as to translate Amos 5:26 thus: “But ye carried the tent of your king-idol, and your Saturn-images—the star of your gods, which ye made for yourselves.” This is a more accurate translation than that in the King James Bible—wherein the Hebrew word used for “God” is actually elohim, which once again, should be translated “gods,” just as the Emphasized Bible translates it. Apparently its translators saw no great danger in rendering elohim as a divine plural in this particular instance. But, like about two thousand or so other times in the King James Translation, and in other translations as well, the translators apparently thought it was safer and wiser if the naive flock would read just “God,” so that the greatest deception of two millennium—that is, that there is but one God in this infinite universe—could be effectively propagated to future generations for perhaps another two thousand years. It is time for religious shepherds to teach the their naïve flocks the truth for a change.