Sunday, 24 July 2016

How to Purchase 'The Sacred History of Being'

Nick Zacharewicz @NickSCZach
"All about how history is built by inclusion and omission. Even written histories have to hang together like a good story."

Around late November 2016, 'The Sacred History of Being' entered the bestseller lists at Smashwords, in the categories of Philosophy and History

I've been asked many times about the options for purchasing the book, so I've decided to digest my responses into one blogpost. The text contains active links to the relevant pages. This is all you need to know, in just a few paragraphs. 

Currently the book is available for sale in eBook format from a number of large retailers, including Itunes (click the link on the left which allows you to see the book in your Itunes application), Barnes & Noble, Blio (search on Thomas Yaeger), Kobo (preview available), Inktera, and other retailers around the world. So, if you are already signed up to an account with one of those (and half the planet seems to be signed up with Itunes), you can buy the book in exactly the same way as any other book.

Screenshot of the Kobo platform, with preview option for SHB

The book is not available from Amazon. Their current terms and conditions are why I chose to exclude Amazon from distribution of the book. Their terms and conditions may change, however.

The eBook is in ePub format, which can be read on Macs, iPads, iPhones, etc, and most other tablets, irrespective of the operating operating system they use. If you have an Amazon Kindle, the ePub formatting of the book can be converted easily to the MOBI format, which the Kindle uses, with the excellent eBook management software Calibre, which can be downloaded free.

The book can be read on a PC, laptop or notebook computer, in ePub or any other eBook format, using the Adobe Digital Editions software, which is also available free, in both Mac and PC formats. Supports conversion to many formats, including PDF. 

The principal distributor of The Sacred History of Being is Smashwords. The book can be downloaded from Smashwords directly, after a signup which takes just a couple of minutes. The book can be paid for using a credit or debit card, or with Paypal, if you have an account with them. After purchase, the book goes into a library space associated with your signup, and it can be downloaded on to your device from there. Just follow the link.

What is The Sacred History of Being about? The preface to the book is available in full, which  answers that question.Further detail is available on the static page for the book. 

Thomas Yaeger, July 24, July 29, July 30,  September 6, 2016, January 5, 2017 and February 13, 2017.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Popular posts on Mind, Knowledge and Perception

What has been most accessed over the fourteen months since this blog began?

1. 'Physics and the Origins of the Universe' has been accessed 5113 times since it was published on the 4th of February this year. It concerns the limitations of modern physics, which cannot provide a theoretical explanation of how the visible universe came to be. It cannot do this because the discipline of physics recognises only one cause: Aristotle's efficient cause. Aristotle had however four principal modes of cause at his disposal. One cause is not enough to provide any kind of theoretical or mathematical origin of the physical universe.

2. The much older article 'The Idea of Being in Israel', published in late April last year, has been accessed 2673 times, which is remarkable given the arcane nature of the subject (the idea that there was a philosophical aspect to the development of theological ideas in Israel). 

3. 'Cultural Parallels, and False Narratives' is a look at Augustine's definition of what religion is. When Augustine's definition is compared with Cicero's notion of religion dating from the 1st century B.C.E, they are clearly defining quite different ideas. By contrast, if Cicero's definition of cultus deorum' is compared with the Hindu notion of cult and observance in religion, they seem to possess a similar notion of what religion is. This article has been accessed 1910 times since it was published in late September 2015. 

4. 'Distinguishing Belief and Faith' explores the implication of the idea that religion is about 'binding together' (in faith), which is Augustine's definition, and not Cicero's. Ancient religions didn't require faith as such, since they are about knowledge, rather than a necessity to have an unchanging collective view about things which were then,  and still are, beyond human understanding. Alan Watts' explanation of the difference in outlook between a proper and open religious sense, and the closed mind of the believer, is referenced in this article, which has been accessed 1720 times since the 2nd of May 2015. 

5. The article 'Sameness and Difference in Plato' has been available only since the 14th of June this year, and has already been accessed 1508 times, which is around 46 accesses per day. Again, the subject is rather arcane, concerning how the ultimate Reality (as described by Plato),  which by definition does not move and is not subject to change, has to possess a relationship with itself, if a physical reality containing things which are subject to change is to have existence. The article suggests that this is the foundation of the ancient notion that the physical world is a species of illusion. It is illusion because it contains motion and change. 

6. 'The Divine and the Limit' looks at the strange nature of Roman religious observance, which shows an engagement with abstract ideas as represented in space and time (extremity, limit, beginning, ending, gateways, doorways, roads, the past, the future, etc.). This interest in abstract ideas resembles the interest that Pythagoras had in such things. But this aspect of Roman religion was understood to derive from Numa Pompilius, who is supposed to have lived some two centuries before Pythagoras. The god Janus, who looked both forward and backward at the same time, was invoked first in oaths and liturgy - even before Jupiter, the notional head of the Roman pantheon of gods.  The article has been accessed 1430 times since May 2015.

7. Modern historical writing about the ancient world is steeped in ideas developed by Marx and his successors who created the modern subject of sociology. Many aspects of the ancient world are either of no interest from the Marxist point of view, or are reframed in such a way that they can be discussed within a Marxist model of society, which understands the world to be determined in terms of material and economic dynamics. Even ideas are determined by these dynamics, so ideas in themselves are of very little interest. The article 'Marx and Historicism' discusses where Marx got his model, which ultimately was from the Platonist Proclus, last head of Plato's Academy, via the German Idealist George Hegel. Marx and Engels just turned Hegel's dialectical model upside down. Accessed 923 times since April 2015. 

8. 'The Nature of Reality' concerns the argument of the Irish philosopher George Berkeley, who argued, in relatively recent times, the immaterial basis of reality.  The universe which we perceive is held in the mind of God, and not in ours. As a consequence, physical reality, however real it may seem to us, is an illusion. The article has been accessed 913 times since April last year. 

9. Evidence from Mexico and Ancient China suggests that a similar intellectual model may lie underneath the construction of the underground interior of the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan, which may contain a burial, and the tomb of the Emperor Qin at Mount Li in China. Both underground constructions featured representation of the heavens, and featured representation of terrestrial rivers on the floor. In both cases the rivers were filled with liquid mercury. The similar use of highly reflective mercury in both cases, suggests that the terrestrial world may have been understood to  mirror the divine world of the heavens. The article 'Teotihuacan and the river of Mercury' has been accessed 901 times since it was posted on the 25th of April 2015. 

10. 'Knowledge and Belief in Ancient Israel' was posted on the 8th of May 2015, and has been accessed 862 times. A concept explored elsewhere in The Sacred History of Being,  published on the 2nd of November 2015, is that the phenomenal polytheism of the Mesopotamian states of Assyria and Babylonia enshrined a profound and noumenal monotheism, having at its core the idea that it was focused on ‘looking to the one thing’, which was, as in Greece, understood as something without shape, colour or form, The god Aššur represented this noumenal monotheism, even when given shape, colour and form. 

There may always have been such an idea of the divine present in the religion of Israel, or it may have been borrowed later from Mesopotamian sources. As now, the idea is easy to misunderstand, and the Old Testament is full of reference to the objections to cult images. Prohibitions eventually took in religious iconography and religious objects, and later images of any kind. In the end, private religious practice was discouraged, save with a simple altar of earth. The final stage was the removal of private worship of Yahweh altogether, and communion with the god of Israel was centralised in the Temple at Jerusalem.

In Greece and Mesopotamia divine images once functioned as a part of a complex system, a chain of images of Being, to enable intellectual access to the most difficult of all images which might be apprehended by man or god: the one true thing, which is the nature of reality itself, and the source of all knowledge. In Israel, the polytheistic show was entirely removed. The monotheism which emerged in Israel was necessarily no longer about access to knowledge of the divine and its apprehension - a mental discipline - but about belief.


Each of these posts is accessible through the links in the table below. 

Thomas Yaeger, July 14, 2016. Links added in text, July 26, 2016.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Papers and Books by Thomas Yaeger listed at

Brief summaries of documents and books published and in progress. Three of the papers at are available for download in PDF format.


The Babylon Mis Pi Ritual

One of three chapters in 'The Sacred History of Being' which discuss Mesopotamian
ritual for the installation of Divine images. The Babylon ritual dates from the 6th century B.C.E.
The chapter is based on the critical edition of the texts from Nineveh and Babylon,
'The Induction of the Cult Image in ancient Mesopotamia', published in 2001, by Christopher
Walker and Michael Dick. 'The Sacred History of Being' was published as an eBook, November 2, 2015. Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc.
Mesopotamian Religions, Ancient Near East, Ancient Mesopotamian Religions, Assyrian archaeology, Assyrian Empire,

One of three chapters in 'The Sacred History of Being'  which discuss Mesopotamian ritual for the installation of Divine images. The Nineveh ritual dates from the 7th century B.C.E. The chapter is based on the critical edition of the texts from Nineveh and Babylon, 'The Induction of the Cult Image in ancient Mesopotamia', published in 2001, by Christopher Walker and Michael Dick. 'The Sacred History of Being' was published as an eBook, November 2, 2015. Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc.
Historical Theology, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Mesopotamian Religions, Ancient Near East, Assyria

Available for download. This paper contains extensive information about the Adapa discipline and its role in the preparation for kingship in Sargonid Assyria, and the the place of both within the Assyrian model of the world. Both the myth and the discipline of Adapa can be argued to have been of central cultural importance in the Sargonid period; the evidence for this is particularly strong in the textual remains of the later kings, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. This aspect of the kingship illuminates the self-perception of the Sargonids perhaps more clearly and concisely than any other single form of evidence, and may even constitute the backbone of that self-perception, providing the order about which the other types of evidence ought to be arranged.
Theology, Assyriology, Ancient myth and religion, Neo-Assyrian studies, Ashurbanipal,

This is a chapter from Part 3 of 'The Sacred History of Being' (published as an ebook, November 2, 2015). It looks at the names of the gods listed as aspects of Marduk in the Enuma Elish (the liturgy of the Babylonian New Year Festival), and their associated properties and attributes, as an aggregation of the characteristics understood to be necessary for the proper exercise of Mesopotamian kingship.
Mesopotamian Religions, Ancient Philosophy, Babylon, Mesopotamian literature, Ancient Near Eastern Religions,

An exploration of a pattern of ideas expressed in both divine ritual and the architecture of royal palaces of the Neo-Assyrian period, including reference to Pauline Albenda's pioneering work on the use of carpet design in palace decoration. Some borrowings from Egyptian iconography are discussed. The paper is under revision, and will be available as a chapter in the follow-up to 'The Sacred History of Being': 'The Janus Perplex', (forthcoming).
History of Ideas, Symbolism, Liminality, Assyria, Ancient Egyptian Iconography

This is a chapter from 'The Sacred History of Being'  published as an eBook, November 2, 2015. Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc. The book argues a Mesopotamian origin for the philosophical understanding of the divine, at least as far back as the middle of the 2nd Millennium BCE. The chapter looks at the Old Testament prohibition of images as a diachronic development, much of which seems to post date the Babylonian Exile. Aniconism is explored as a marker of the presence of a philosophical conception of the divine, which, by its nature, can have no shape, colour or form. The chapter compares this interpretation with Tertullian's later discussion of the nature of idolatry.
Philosophy, Philosophy Of Religion, Biblical Theology, Aniconism, Plato and Platonism,

This is a chapter from Part 3 of 'The Sacred History of Being' (published November 2, 2015). It explores the common understanding of Ocean as a generative power in Greece and Mesopotamia, and the use of the associated symbol of the serpent.  Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc.
Philosophy, Symbolism, Ancient myth and religion, Ancient Greece, Neo-Assyrian studies,

This is a chapter from 'The Sacred History of Being' (published November 2, 2015). Plato scholars are for the most part split into two camps - those who think that Plato taught a consistent doctrine, though it is hard to understand what it was because of apparent inconsistencies; and those who think that Plato was undertaking research, in which case the inconsistencies in his arguments can be read as the result of his changing viewpoint over time. This chapter reviews two hundred years of Platonic scholarship, including stylometric analysis of his works, and compares modern scholarly views of Plato with an alternative view from late antiquity (Olympiodorus). Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc.
Philosophy, History of Ideas, Plato, Ancient Greek Religion, Plato and Platonism,

This is a chapter from Part 2 of 'The Sacred History of Being' (published November 2, 2015). The chapter establishes Plato's understanding of the nature of transcendent reality by means of close examination of two key dialogues - the Timaeus and the Sophist, with reference to many of his other dialogues.  Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc.
Philosophy, Ontology, History of Ideas, Plato, Philosophical Theology,

The symbolism of the Sacred Tree was referenced in a number of contexts in Assyria,
including in connection with gates and thrones. This paper, first drafted in 2005,
discusses some of the variant forms of the Sacred Tree, and will be published in the
follow-up to 'The Sacred History of Being': 'The Janus Perplex' (forthcoming 2017).
Assyriology, Mesopotamian Archaeology, Mesopotamia History, Mesopotamian Religions,


A great deal of worthless prose has been written on Akhenaten, Egypt's 'heretic' king. Mostly because we have a fragile grasp of Egyptian ideas about the gods, and the implex of ideas surrounding Egyptian theology. The experience of the dynasties which preceded Akhenaten give us some clues as to what was happening in Egypt in the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C.E., and suggest why the 13th to 17th Dynasties were entirely excluded from mention in at least one public record of Egyptian history. Akhenaten's heresy was just the icing on the cake. Forthcoming, 2018.
Religion, Ancient Egyptian Religion, Egyptology, Egyptian Archaeology, History of Egyptology,

An investigation into the role of the idea of limit in the ancient world, and ideas which are related to it. Subjects explored include: collection and division; nominal and verbal understandings of Being; the concept of the threshold in Assyria; the concept of the threshold in Greece and Rome; and the function of the limit as a technical abstraction. Forthcoming, 2017.
Religion, Philosophy, Theology, Phoenicians, Assyrian archaeology,

This is a record of a seminar series held at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, during the Spring Term of 1990. The seminars were organised by Amelie Kuhrt and John North. The speakers were, in addition to the organisers of the series, Philip Lomas, Tim Cornell, Robert Morkot, Edith Hall, Andrew Sherratt, Chloe Chard, Alex Potts, Sue Frankenstein, and Daniel Pick. Only one of the presentations was formally published (Edith Hall's contribution, which appeared in Arethusa in 1992). Forthcoming, 2016.
Ancient History, Phoenicians, Historiography, Carthage (Archaeology), History of Egyptology,

The argument that the discipline of philosophy was not invented by the Greeks, but was in existence elsewhere, and as far back as the middle of the second millennium BCE, has been gaining ground over recent years. The detail of its presence can be traced in the civilizations around the ancient Near East, and particularly in Assyria and Babylonia. The Sacred History of Being collects some of the key evidence together, and examines the idea of the divine as a philosophical concept in Greece, Israel, and ancient Assyria. Published as an eBook, November 2, 2015. Available from Barnes & Noble, Itunes, Kobo, Blio, Inktera, Smashwords, etc.
Philosophy, Ontology, History of Ideas, Theology, Assyriology,