Book Reviews THE CIPHER OF GENESIS. By Carlo Snares

(Stuart and Watkins. 2.)

Review by J. C. Cooper

Studies in Comparative Religion , Vol. 4, No. 1 (Winter, 1970) World Wisdom, Inc.

  It is maintained, in this work, that the book of Genesis has been completely misunderstood and mistranslated and that the monotheistic religions, based on the Hebrew tradition, should face the implications of a radical reinterpretation. It is stated that the first five chapters of Genesis are written in code, the letters representing numbers and the numbers, in turn, symbolizing forces at play in the universe, a symbolic significance which is well known to students of Cabalism; indeed, the author asserts that Genesis is, in fact, part of the Cabala, which is neither mysticism nor occultism but the introduction to these forces which are a present, immediate and transforming agency.

There is a dual interplay in the universe, between the two powers Aleph and Yod, which ends in the ultimate triumph of Aleph, the "life-death, unfathomable, timeless mystery, "over Yod," "its projection into the time-space continuum, which is its antinomy. The winner, obviously, is always Aleph because all that exists must of necessity come to an end".

The allegories of the Old Testament are not to be personalized; they are not histories of people but are to be understood on a symbolic level as mythical archetypes. "In the original meaning there is no reference to a personal God; woman does not issue from the rib of Adam; she is not called Eve in the Garden of Eden; she does not disobey; there is no question of sin; the woman is not expelled from Eden; Cain does not kill Abel... and if we jump a few hundred centuries to enter the allegory of Yhshwh, better known as Jesus, we find that the only apostle who aided him in the fulfillment of his enterprise was called Judas..."

It is suggested that the first step to understanding is to "avoid thinking about anything that we cannot conceive of". In other words to leave the mind free simply to listen. Man desires "the psychological security of a protecting deity", but a true reading of the revelation of the Bible would destroy security and plunge man into the life-death struggle within, so that he becomes that very life-death. The Scriptures must be read, not in a local-temporal sense, but as universal and timeless.