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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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The Discovery of Oriental Antiquity

The Discovery of Oriental Antiquity

(p.151) Chapter Five The Discovery of Oriental Antiquity
Egyptian Oedipus

Daniel Stolzenberg

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Kircher's study of Near Eastern texts, focusing on two cases. In his study of Arabic literature about Egypt and Hermes Trismegistus, Kircher carried out significant, original investigations of Oriental sources. In his treatise on the Kabbalah, on the other hand, he exaggerated his firsthand study of Jewish authors and concealed his reliance on Latin secondary sources. Since Egyptian Oedipus was, to a large extent, cobbled together from the texts of unacknowledged early modern authors, a careful examination of its sources is needed to appreciate the mixture of original and derivative learning that Kircher set indiscriminately before his reader. In his scholarship, the antiquarian imperative to expand the historical data pool trumped the skeptical imperative of critical philology.

Keywords:   Near Eastern texts, Arabic literature, Oriental sources, Kabbalah, antiquarian imperative, historical data pool, skeptical imperative, critical philology

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