The Occult Tradition by David S. Katz is a book I read a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed, mainly because it didn’t just discuss dubious claims of current witches dating back their ancestry to ancient Egypt, but took an in-depth look at ‘occult’ concepts in a very literal sense – in the sense of discussing hidden or obscure material.
A lot of the book focused on Jewish and Christian mysticism, which was interesting because again this isn’t something that’s always heavily discussed in books on occult themes.
Below is a selection of interesting quotes from the book, although I highly recommend reading it in full.
“The first three letters of the Hebrew Bible, beth – resh – aleph, for example, could easily be an abbreviation for ben – ruach – ar, son – spirit – father.”
“Yet I cannot but think the fever he had twenty years ago, when he supposes he was ‘introduced into the society of angels’, really introduced him into the society of lunatics; but still there is something noble, even in his ravings.” – Wesley on Swedenborg
“22 October 1844 – the cosmic non-moment forever to be enshrined as the ‘Great Disappointment’. Rather than bringing about a general collapse of Messianic fervour, however, the dispersal of the Millerites after 1844 sparked a chain reaction of new religions that sought to interpret what did not happen. Most prominent among these were the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Seventh-Day Adventists.”
“An enthusiast was someone who claimed to be en theos, to be filled with a deity, specifically God. Such a person was likely to exhibit rather eccentric behaviour such as involuntary body movements or spontaneous speech, and to report experiences and feelings beyond the realm of normal human happenings.”
“The word ‘fundamentalism’ originally referred to a series of a dozen pamphlets entitled The Fundamentals, which were distributed free of charge by the American Bible League between 1909 and 1915.”
“[John of Revelation] speaks of a ‘beast’ who rules over mankind for forty-two months, is granted ‘great authority’ by Satan, and is assisted by a second Beast… (These bestial personalities will later fuse in popular lore with Satan and become the ‘Antichrist’.)”
“The basic idea of pyramidology was that the Great Pyramid is God’s original record of revelation, presented in symbols and terms of modern science and preserved in the stones of the pyramid itself.”
“Melchizedek, who was really Job.”
“Rutherford [believed] ‘That the Great Pyramid in Egypt is a Divinely designed monument and that it is truth in structural form… the teaching of the Bible and that of the Pyramid are identical in every particular, the one in words, the other in stone.'”