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am 15. Mai 2000
Although the book is an interesting read for the number of tidbits that the author reveals, I would like to warn anyone interested in this book about the pernicious absurdities that underlying this book, that seem to have been completely ignored by its critics. Although Hancock does not state it explicitly, he is trying to imply that edifices of the ancient Egyptians and South Americans were constructed according to knowledge imparted by Aryan survivors of Atlantis. This is a current theory in occult circles, which has been circulating since the sixteenth century, and was most clearly elaborated by H.P. Blavatsky, god-mother of the New Age movement. Essentially, this theory posits that the Aryans are the most advanced of races, and that they have been created by a race of divine beings on the continent of Atlantis. When the continent was destroyed, the Aryans fled, later conquering several civilizations, imparting the advanced knowledge they had rescued.
Hancock searches the mythology of the Egyptians and South Americans to find evidence of the colonization of white civilizers. These civilizations divided history among the rule of the Gods, the rule of heroes and the rule of men. The rule of the gods is thought to refer to the original Aryan colonizers. At one point, Hancock attempts to demonstrate that the South Americans had depicted a Caucasian in a blatantly ambiguous relief sculpture, whose only Aryan feature would be small beard. Hancock also goes on the present the worldwide recognition of a universal cataclysm, to refer to the period that these Caucasians or Aryans would have survived. Because astrology is one of the main aspects of what is thought be the Ancient Wisdom of the Aryans, finally, Hancock attempts to prove that the pyramids were configured according to astronomical data.
As acknowledged by occultists, the Ancient Wisdom is the Kabbalah, from which they have borrowed their fansical theories. However, the Kabbalah is not an ancient wisdom, but a Jewish heresy of the sixth century BC. This astronomical knowledge identified with the Kabbalah can also be demonstrated to have emerged in the same century. It has often been attributed to the Babylonians, who supposedly taught it to the Egyptians, or to the Indians who taught it to the Babylonians, but always back to the original Aryan conquerors. However, as Franz Cumont has pointed out:
"That Babylon was the mother of astronomy, star-worship, and astrology, that thence these sciences and these beliefs spread over the world, is a fact already told us by the ancients... But the mistake of the Pan-Babylonists, whose wide generalizations rest on the narrowest and flimsiest of bases, lies in the fact that they have transferred to the nebulous origins of history, conceptions which were not developed at the beginning but quite at the end of the Babylonian civilization. This vast theology, founded upon the observation of the stars, which is assumed to have been built up thousands of years before our era, nay, before the Trojan War, and to have imposed itself on all still barbarous peoples as the expression of a mysterious wisdom, cannot have been in existence at this remote period, for the simple reason that the data on which it would have been founded, were as yet unknown...
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am 18. Juni 1999
Hancock's book, as widely pointed out, is quite entertaining... much as is the Weekly World News. The vast majority of reviews seem to take anything that Hancock says as Gospel truth. The problem with this approach is that the people who believe it all so fervently have seldom read anything from an opposing view, so there is no counter-balancing evidence.
I am writing this not as someone convinced that everything said by conventional archaeology is true--such would be arrogance as great as that of someone saying that the bulk of archaeology is untrue without substantiation of the assertion.
Hancock's logical and factual fallacies have been amply pointed out by many others. (I would add to the catalogue, however, that Hancock shouldn't speculate on Mayan linguistics--his conclusions are absurd.)
The biggest shame is that there are reputable archaeologists out there who agree with some of Hancock's claims, but they will now be forced to labor under the stigma of having "Hancockian theories". His work, while popularizing certain theories, has done a terrific job of setting back any mainstream archaeological inquiry into those theories by its sensationalist tone and the strong implications that he, the almighty Grahman Hancock, knows more than he can tell us. Anyone now who wants to look into these ideas will have to dispel the mystical, hidden knowledge atmosphere now.
An enjoyable read it was, but, alas, it is very unbalanced and poorly thought out. Those who like it would probably have loved to have read the first Rosicrucian tracts.
If you want to read about going too far with theories like this, read Ecc's "Focault's Pendulum", and see the "logical" result of too much indulgence in conspiracy theory.
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am 28. April 2000
Maybe the reason why critical reviews have such a smaller "approval ratio" than adoring ones is that the people who look up a book on Amazon are more likely to be fans of it than bitter, twisted enemies, bent on revenge.
Oh, almost forgot to mention Fingerprints of the Gods. Well there's not much I can say about it that hasn't already been said. Hancock present to us a hugely diverse range of fascinating oddities, from all around the world, and attempts to link them together with the grandiose notion of a highly advanced civilization, about which we know virtually nothing because (wait for it)... any remaining evidence will be buried beneath miles of Antarctic ice.
Certainly there's lots to ponder over, but I'm afraid that Hancock's treatment of the evidence is sorely lacking in scientific rigour (for instance, many times we're told something along the lines of: Such and such a thing is an uncannily accurate and expertly crafted representation of X, but the people couldn't possibly have known about X unless blah blah blah, but the thing in question doesn't look very accurate or expertly drawn to me... maybe I'm just a philistine).
I don't doubt that we have a huge amount of explaining to do before we can honestly claim to understand how, say, the Egyptian pyramids came to be constructed - and this book certainly does a fine job of drawing this to our attentions. However, the links Hancock draws between the disparate trails of evidence are far too tenuous to justify his conclusions.
Still, it's great fun to read - just be sure to approach it with your skeptical hat on.
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am 25. Januar 1999
This book fills in and satisfactorly explains the "holes" in pre-history using the abundence of over-whelming, global circumstantial evidence.
Most Egyptologists and Archeologists are at a near complete loss and usually ignore or explain away evidence as coincidental that may contradict some of their life long "theories". It is fascinating watching humans protect their pride and ego defending some of these "theories" that actually defy common sense.
For example: Maps from the 1500's (drawn from earlier maps) correctly depicting Antartica's mountain ranges and coast lines - without ice. Antartica was only "discovered" in the 1800's and mapped using ultra sound in the 1950's. These maps also have correct longitude. The longitude problem in navigation and map making was only corrected with accurate time pieces invented in the 1800's.
The vertical water erosion marks on the Sphinx. It doesn't really rain that much in the Sahara and sand does not leave vertical erosion marks as confirmed by geology.
"Flash" frozen, Wooly Mammoths and other animals that are still intact in the permafrost of Alaska, Yukon and Siberia.
Anyway, enjoy reading the book.
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am 22. September 1999
The man supports that Antarctica has shifted 2.000 miles in 11.000 years, yet here is a page full of "anti-conformists" ready to believe anything, EVERYTHING that contradicts established (as in scientifically proven) historian, geological, ethnological, and geographical research. These laughingstocks have obviously either read or heard about Galileo, and now they think believing every absurd self-contradictory "outcast" theory makes them year 2000's Galileos. If only they would research a bit before volunteering to have their minds "wide open" to every imposter's pseudoscience the world over.
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am 19. Oktober 1999
As a teenager, I was taken with Eric Von Daniken, but always felt there were opportunities that could be better explored. Sadly they were not, which always left a feeling of something of importance missed. Graham Hancock has achieved the same feeling, but this time I am left wondering is this deliberate. Has Graham purposely set out with errors to mislead? There are two references I would suggest require further investigation. In the early part of the book, it is suggested that Mayan calender cycles were of a large but significant number, relating to cycles of our solar system. This number could be calculated by the recall of elements of a 'folk story' handed down over generations, but missed the number by a miniscule amount. However, when the elements of the story are added back into the equation, hey presto, there is a comparable sum as accurate as the mathematically projected calculation for planetary line up. The second error I suggest, lies with the 'folk tales' in regard to the rotation of the zodiac, not so much a change in the heavens as part of the natural dawning of zodiac influences, rather a literal statement, i.e. a significant rotation of our planet around an axis which itself would create the illusion of the heavens moving, which of course they cannot. Graham's later work, especially the series as shown in the UK on channel 4, listed certain ancient sites, e.g. Stonehenge, Giza, Easter Island etc. The local 'history' holds them as the 'navel of the world', a play on words & it might be, that these are indeed the centre of the world, points of rotation. Interestingly enough the computer projected image of these points, as land sites, suggest a correlation to the points of the zodiac yet again. They also more curiously, share the same plane. It follows that calculation should show the distribution of those points on the same plane relate to the zodiac whether on land or not. It saddens me that this point was not pursued or discussed, which in the main is the purpose of this review, to raise the debate should anyone care to contact myself. Furthermore, If anyone has a contact for Graham, please forward this on my behalf, as I genuinely believe we stand at the edge of the most important discovery of our lifetimes. Regards to anyone choosing to read this. Keith F-S. AKA 'stacker298@aol.com'
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am 6. März 2000
This is a book you MUST read to make up your own mind. If you don't want to spend the money on a book you think is controversial (and it is) - go and get it out of the Library. Don't let any of these reviews make up your mind for you, including this one. Just read it.
I am not a scientist and therefore cannot back or belittle these theories scientifically. But I am a person with an open mind with intelligence.
Graham Hancocks book is a fantastic theory whether you believe it or not. Reading this book made me realise how a lot of Egyptologists and scientist go around with blinkers on and are not prepared in any way to listen to another theory, especially if it may change school textbooks and the fact that they may have got it wrong.
We must remember that when we do walk around in musuems a lot of information that they have on artifacts are just good scientific guesses (a lot of people do believe everything they read - perhaps me included...), because basically they do not really know. Be nice if they were not too proud to admit that.
One part of the book which really got me upset (which was good) is the fact that a lot of artifacts which they really do not know what they are, are left to rot in the archives and eventually forgotton about (and perhaps thrown out! forever to be lost to us).
This book bought to me that it is about time some groups of people (i.e. egyptologists, Nasa and the rest of the world) started to work together with the realisation that we might actually discover some real truths about the world and our lost history that would benefit us all not just individuals if we simply worked as a team.
But I guess that is human nature. Shame.
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am 8. März 1999
It's not a hard task to find flaws and half truths in Hancock's "Fingerprints of the Gods" and many reviewers have done so. Hancock seems to have acquired only as much familiarity with the subjects of mythology, sacred art and symbolism, egyptology, religion, geology and astronomy as was necessary to dress up his theory of a lost mother civilization from Antarctica bringing the gift of its own civilization to different peoples in South America, Mesopotamia and Egypt after a worldwide catastrophe has destroyed the original cultures in these places and forced the surviving communities into forgetfulness and savagery. Hancock has woven together a great number of fascinating facts but may have left out more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle than he thinks. For example, how will his theory accomodate the extremely old traditions handed down through Hinduism, traditions barely mentioned in his book?
It is also disconcerting to see myths and sacred symbols interpreted as coded descriptions of physical realities (don't expect to find anything truly attributed to God in this book) while it should really be the other way around. Just as in genuinely spiritual alchemy, the physical appearances of things (including the constellations above us) serve as supports and symbols for entirely abstract realities. Thus, a pole stuck into the ground, regardless of its eventual practical or magical uses, actually and much more importantly symbolizes a number of levels of reality (psychic or spiritual as the case may be), anywhere from a vertebral column to Immutability itself. Likewise, flood myths are not quasi-literal eyewitness accounts of what happened physically to our forefathers on some specific occasion or what will happen to our progeny in the near future (though many such things probably did and might again happen), but is rather an allegorical way of teaching us about the principle of cosmic cycles and, ultimately, to allow us to transpose this same notion to analogical realities pertaining to our own spiritual constitution. In this lies the true meaning and usefulness of such symbols. In short, history and empirical facts can add nothing to sacred symbols and myths since the latter were formulated to express the essence of the former and not to depict any odd number of contingencies.
But let us not miss all the good parts in Hancock's exciting hunt for a meaning in prehistoric sites. The book reads well and at times can be hard to put down. Above all, Hancock has a rare and precious talent for applying an all-too-rare common sense to simple, observable facts, such as when he asks us why builders supposedly unassisted by heavy machinery would go to the trouble of handling 200-ton blocks when their stoneworking skills indicate they could as easily have cut them down to brick size, or why the largest and most skillfully erected constructions in the world (the pyramids at Giza) feature corridors one cannot stand up in, or how half-savage artisans could have hollowed out and worked the inside of perfect and almost indestructible stone recipients, or even why ancient farming peoples would have created enormous stone calendars for predicting dates which they must have had fixed before they brought in the first boulder and which any country-born person is able to determine well enough for agricultural purposes.
Thus, I have located tens of instances where Hancock's common sense has been put brilliantly to use raising issues to which specialists have never given us anything but rather puerile explanations. So while "Fingerprints of the Gods" may be superficial in several of the complex disciplines it necessarily encompasses, drawing conclusions much too fast and one-sidedly, it clearly outstrips a great many experts in its overall common sense approach to a bulk of "anomalous" evidence whose consequences these experts have unforgivably turned a blind eye to. It's all very well for experts to shake their heads at Hancock's attempts at erudition, but maybe they should apply their privileged minds to answering the riddles posed by the intriguing level of perfection inherent in the prehistoric engineering works Hancock has so laboriously sampled for our appreciation.
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am 9. November 1998
I really enjoyed reading this book and thinking about some of the things Hancock talks about, especially about the pyramids and the mathematics involved. I've also read his 'Message of the Sphinx' and found that equally interesting. The thing is, I found myself following some of his lines of investigation and evidence and going, "Okay, okay, that makes sense...whoa! Where did that come from??" Hancock has a bad tendency to take one piece of evidence and say, "This may be the key to the mystery....now that we know this is TRUE therefore, this must also be true." So I'm perfectly willing to entertain the theory that something like the pyramids or the sphinx may be older than we think, and that the ancient Egyptians had advanced mathematical knowledge but when he tries to link everything together to show some kind of global cataclysm is coming, I can't help but put him in the same category as all the other Chicken Little millenialist doomsayers. He certainly is enthusiastic and has a dramatist's flair, often ending chapters with a breathless statement that you suppose will be addressed in the next chapter, but he tends to drift and not really give you a big wind-up to his cliffhangers. For all that it is interesting and he does have some points to make about Egyptology and the fossilized attitudes of academia. So read it, and more importantly, THINK about it and draw your own conclusions, read between the lines and see what does and doesn't make sense, and don't go cashing in your mutual funds and blowing it all on a big party ten years from now because Graham Hancock says the world is going to end...
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am 9. Januar 2000
I read this book when it was first published, back in 1995, and as a rather credulous 14 year-old, was captivated by the exotic locations, ancient structures, and provocative theories it featured. Hancock's writing style, though not in the least scientific, had such an energy and a genuine enthusiasm for even the most outlandish claims that I found myself utterly engrossed by the material.
Looking back some years later, after subsequent re-consideration, I have concluded that while my initial worshipful praise of the book was unmerited, neither does the volume deserve the reproof and utter condemnation accorded it by some previous reviewers.
It is certainly dangerous to uncritically accept many of the more improbable theories of this book, most notably the claim that Atlantis was in fact Antarctica, which itself (in an ice-free state) was home to an ancient and highly advanced civilization. The appeal here, as in many other instances, is to popular imagination rather than rational inquiry: the book is not written for specialists, but for the public, and as such Hancock can afford to spout baseless theories knowing full well that many gullible readers will be taken in. The opinionated attacks on so-called "orthodox" Egyptologists and the highly tenuous astronomical, mythological, and historical claims are not only irresponsible and unscholarly, they aid the spread of misinformation among a public that is obviously all too eager to absorb any new, enticing, "unorthodox" theory.
At its very core, however, the book is grounded in fact, and it is at this most basic level that the astute reader can glean some genuine insight. The chapter dealing with Giza, in particular, raises some perfectly valid questions about the building methods of the Egyptians. Why, for instance, are the pyramids of Giza totally unadorned? Not a single commemorative line, cartouche, or relief sculpture graces the inner chambers of what are reputed to be the burial places for three great Pharaohs of a prominent Egyptian dynasty. How where these great structures built, and why did the builders prefer cyclopean, 200-ton blocks to smaller, more manageable ones, which would have been perfectly adequate in terms of structural and aesthetic qualities? These questions, and many more (particularly those concerning the antiquity of the sphinx) are sound and thought provoking.
Despite some of the clear-headed logic that emerges in certain instances, the book often lapses into far-fetched theories on subjects as varied as Aztec mythology and Ice-Age climate. Hancock takes a valid point and carries it far beyond its logical conclusion. The book is at heart entertainment, and it is written to please the imagination rather than the intellect. We all want to believe in an ancient, highly-advanced civilization, a mysterious "Golden Age," lost in the depths of antiquity, during which humanity attained a godlike perfection. This desire (it unquestionably exists) is more the realm of psychology than history, and Hancock has taken it, as many of the myths he analyzes, far too literally.
So, if anyone has bothered to read this far, the book is an entertaining read which provides descriptions of some of the world's most intriguing and ancient structures: it simply does not provide believable answers to the questions it raises. Take what you can from its more lucid passages, and approach the rest with a dose of logic and measured skepticism.
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