Oedipus Judaicus: Allegory in the Old Testament (Interpreting the Old Testament Allegorically, Especially Focusing on Its Astrological Significance) by William Drummond (1866)

Oedipus Judaicus by William Drummond was first published in 1811 in a limited edition of 200 copies. The book was originally intended for use in a scholastic setting in an attempt to protect Drummond’s political career from ridicule. The work is a commentary on a supposed astrological allegory in the Old Testament of the Bible, patterned after the Oedipus Aegyptiacus of Kircher. In the book, Drummond seeks possible sources of the Biblical writings, from the Temple of Denderah to parallels with the Roman gods, dealing primarily with the 49th chapter of Genesis and the book of Joshua to draw his conclusions. The book was reprinted in 1866 and again in 1986,

William Drummond’s Oedipus Judaicus provides a surprisingly bold and learned allegorical commentary on the Old Testament. The many subjects covered include comparisons between differing zodiacs (the Nile itself was taken as a symbol of the starry heavens), interpretations of the names of ancient kings within the Old Testament, irrefutable conclusions about the mysterious contents of the Ark of the Covenant, and the portrayal of the downfall of the Walls of Jericho as an inventive parable for the reform of the lunar calendar. Initially printed for private circulation in 1811, this classic work is now regarded as a rich source of reference and clearly anticipates more recent findings. An avowed theist, both the author’s manner of presentation and his heavy assault on the entrenched thinking of some of his contemporaries aroused heated controversy. Yet this book still persists in bearing its readers towards realms of much untold and original discovery.

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