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Egyptian OedipusAthanasius Kircher and the Secrets of Antiquity$
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Daniel Stolzenberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226924144

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226924151.001.0001

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Oedipus at Large

Oedipus at Large

(p.226) Chapter Eight Oedipus at Large
Egyptian Oedipus

Daniel Stolzenberg

University of Chicago Press

This chapter attempts to explain the surprising endurance of Kircher's hieroglyphic studies among scholars who deemed them fundamentally flawed. One cannot say that Kircher's work was unsuccessful as it was read, cited, and commented on by other scholars with considerable frequency for more than a century. As the Yverdon Encyclopedia observed, despite Kircher's reputation as an eccentric, copies of Egyptian Oedipus were still “expensive and sought-after” more than a hundred years after its publication. The deficiencies of Kircher's hieroglyphic studies had not gone unnoticed, however. Many early modern critics particularly lambasted the two defects that most stand out to the modern reader: Kircher's reliance on discredited sources such as the Corpus Hermeticum; and the fantastic quality of his interpretations of hieroglyphic inscriptions.

Keywords:   Kircher's hieroglyphic studies, Yverdon Encyclopedia, eccentric, Corpus Hermeticum, hieroglyphic inscriptions

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