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The Sphinx Mystery: The Forgotten Origins of the Sanctuary of Anubis Paperback – January 20, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The author blends his expertise as a professor of history and philosophy to provide a fine in-depth probe of Egyptian mysteries." (The Midwest Book Review, May 2009)

"Robert and Olivia not only did an outstanding job of pulling together a treasure trove of little known historic facts and photos but they put them together in a way that tells an exciting and compelling story. This book clearly lays out the age-old Sphinx mystery like a puzzle, and then solves it while making sense of every anomaly along the way. What an excellent piece of work!" (Walter Cruttenden, Director, Binary Research Institute)

"More than the unraveling of a mystery story, this book is a close-up look at the vanishing art of historical research and how academic infighting, politics, reckless restoration, and economic concerns affect such work. Temple makes an excellent case for the restoration of rigorous scholarly standards and the teaching of research techniques that go beyond electronic searches." (Anna Jedrziewski, New Age Retailer, Jan 2009)

“The true mysteries of the Sphinx, both hidden and forgotten, are brilliantly exposed in this compelling book by Robert and Olivia Temple. They have uncovered hard data revealing the manipulation and misinterpretation that dominate this area of Egyptology. Their use of solid evidence, textual and photographic, make their case unarguable.” (Michael Baigent, coauthor of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and author of The Jesus Papers)

“Brilliant! A remarkable work of detailed and painstaking research, integrative thinking, and original insight. The Temples’ reinterpretation of some Egypt’s abiding mysteries is more than thought-provoking: it is inspiring.” (Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of The Presence of the Past)

“I was swept straight into this marvelous book. It’s brilliant, original, occasionally delightfully malicious, and it showed me just how little I really knew about the Sphinx.” (Colin Wilson, author of Atlantis and the Kingdom of Neanderthals and The Outsider)

"Quite brilliant detective work and deduction has gone into the book and the photographic reproductions (most of them from the massive collection that Robert holds personally) are simply immense. . . . This is a book not to be missed." (Simon Cox, Into the Duat Magazine, Feb 2009)

"Although moderately technical (there really is no way to avoid it on a subject this compex), it is eminently readable and fairly easily understood. . . . Professor Temple makes no attempt to placate either side of the debate. He simply lays out his conclusions and allows the reader to decide whether they agree or not." (Michael Gleason, Witchgrove.com, Feb 2009)

"For anyone interested in ancient Egypt this book is required reading. It is a fascinating and compelling study of how consensus blindness, adopted too often with a dogged arrogance, is the perennial enemy of research and understanding." (Michael Baigent, Freemasonry Today, Issue 48, Spring 2009)

"Temple analyses ancient texts, commentaries, later eyewitness accounts, and early photographs, uncovering overlooked details. He discusses now-sealed secret chambers and his exploration of a tunnel at the rear of the structure (see www.sphinxmystery.info). This is indeed a monumental work!" (Nexus New Times Magazine, Vol. 16, No. 3, May-June 2009)

"What makes Temple so exciting, quite apart from the stupendous depth of his research, is his refusal to take on board any received wisdom. His attitude towards received wisdom and 'consensual reality', bringing into his sights declining standards of scholarship in the Google Age and the 'restorative' work done on the Sphinx, is blatantly critical: 'One of the greatest myths of humanity is that everyone cares about the truth. Many people do not . . . " (Jerry Glover, Fortean Times 250, May 2009)

"Whether or not Temple is right in his theories, the way he presents his case makes The Sphinx Mystery an interesting book if you're into Egyptology. It has rekindled my interest in the subject and should be read. It may wash the consensus blindness from your eyes." (Curled Up with a Good Book, May 2009)

From the Back Cover

ANCIENT MYSTERIES / EGYPT

“The true mysteries of the Sphinx, both hidden and forgotten, are brilliantly exposed in this compelling book by Robert and Olivia Temple. They have uncovered hard data revealing the manipulation and misinterpretation that dominate this area of Egyptology. Their use of solid evidence, textual and photographic, make their case unarguable.”
--Michael Baigent, coauthor of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and author of The Jesus Papers

Shrouded in mystery for centuries, the Sphinx of Giza has frustrated many who have attempted to discover its original purpose. Accounts exist of the Sphinx as an oracle, as a king’s burial chamber, and as a temple for initiation into the Hermetic Mysteries. Egyptologists have argued for decades about whether there are secret chambers underneath the Sphinx, why the head-to-body ratio is out of proportion, and whose face adorns it.

In The Sphinx Mystery, Robert Temple addresses the many mysteries of the Sphinx. He presents eyewitness accounts, published over a period of 281 years, of people who saw the secret chambers and even went inside them before they were sealed in 1926--accounts that had been forgotten until the author rediscovered them. He also describes his own exploration of a tunnel at the rear of the Sphinx, perhaps used for obtaining sacred divinatory dreams.

Robert Temple reveals that the Sphinx was originally a monumental Anubis, the Egyptian jackal god, and that its face is that of a Middle Kingdom pharaoh, Amenemhet II, which was a later re-carving. In addition, he provides photographic evidence of ancient sluice gate traces to demonstrate that, during the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx as Anubis sat surrounded by a moat filled with water--called Jackal Lake in the ancient Pyramid Texts--where religious ceremonies were held. He also provides evidence that the exact size and position of the Sphinx were geometrically determined in relation to the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren and that it was part of a pharaonic resurrection cult.

ROBERT TEMPLE is a visiting professor of the history and philosophy of science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a member of the Egypt Exploration Society, Royal Historical Society, Institute of Classical Studies, and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. He is the author of 12 books, including The Sirius Mystery, Oracles of the Dead, and The Genius of China. He and his wife, Olivia, also translated Aesop: The Complete Fables. They live in England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594772711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594772719
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book is full of information about the sphinx and its surrounding structures that has been compiled by an enormous amount of work by the author. Every person who reads this book will learn some new things, and correct some of their misconceptions about the sphinx. It is inspiring to encounter a researcher who has the abilities to find information from so many different sources--where none of them involve the Internet. His data is based on keen on-site observation, historical documentation, and measurable analysis. The book is mostly written well, and it is a fun and rewarding read. Temple's analysis is creative and gives the reader a lot of things to think about.

Temple does offer many speculations that the reader can ponder. The book is not perfect, and I do not agree with several of Temple's conclusions. For example, after undertaking a fascinating analysis of the Sphinx Temple and its adjacent Valley Temple, the author points out much evidence regarding water weathering due to filling and emptying the moat from the Nile river, the buildings' functional purposes, and underground chamber placement. However, he doesn't mention anything about how the granite block in the Valley Temple are cut to fit the already weathered, and much larger, limestone blocks.

Thus, one of the major arguments presented by John West and Robert Shoch are not considered when Temple dismisses the rainfall theory of the weathering. The author apparently considers the interior granite blocks to have been in existence since the origin of the Valley Temple, which does not seem to fit the on-site evidence. And even though the author is fully aware of other megalithic structures across the world, they are not considered here at all.
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Every once in a while, I go on an "alternative" history binge, reading a book that's supposed to turn the common knowledge of history on its ear. This time, when that urge hit me, I picked up Robert Temple's (along with his wife Olivia) The Sphinx Mystery, a book subtitled "The Forgotten Origins of the Sanctuary of Anubis." It's quite an interesting book, though it tails off at the end and becomes a bit of a slog to get through. Still, I persevered and was rewarded. Temple makes his case well. While I don't know enough about Egyptology to definitively say that Temple is right or wrong, the book is certainly plausible. It has its fun moments as well.

Yes, I did say "Sanctuary of Anubis" in the last paragraph. One of the obvious things about the Sphinx is that the head is much too small for the huge body that it's sitting on top of. Was it recarved into a pharaoh's image? If so, whose? Temple not only makes the case for who actually did the recarving, but he also his an interesting theory about what the Sphinx was before this. He states that the Giza plateau, where all of the Great Pyramids sit and where the Sphinx sits just off to the side, is a sacred entrance to the realm of the dead, and that the Sphinx is the guardian of that entrance. While the Sphinx is commonly described as having the body of a lion, Temple says there is no way that this is a lion. Instead, it's a giant statue of the god Anubis, the dog/jackal that deals with those crossing over from the living to the dead. He proposes that the statue was disfigured during the 150 years of chaos between the Old and the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, and that a pharaoh decided to make it his own face instead.
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The "complete" review/listing of everthing ever written in regard to the Sphinx - for me too much of the historical review (one can just skip over those areas if so inclined!), but still very worthwhile for new insights/explanations and bringing back to public attention things already discovered about the Sphinx (inner/lower chambers, inscriptions, original likeness and even a good case for the correct pharoah who had it re-carved). Highly recommend for the specialist or the lay reader. Quite the "hefty tome", but a must read if one intends to comment intelligently on the Sphinx and it's "checkered" history. The Egyptologists should read what the "professional" Egyptologists have forgotten/ignored.
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Over my many years - going on 70, I have been fascinated by ancient history of all kinds. Robert Temple is no stranger to my library. At first I thought this book might just be a rehash of what Temple's earlier books said about Egypt. It isn't. The book is very well documented with a lot of new information, and very masterfully presented in an agumentative format that raises serious questions about commonly held beliefs about the Phoenix, about hidden rooms in and under the monolith, and raises the most obvious question about the silly head and face of the Phoenix. No intellegent person could possibly accept that the head, as it is today, is the orignal - yet nearly everyone blindly accepts the commonly held belief that is is, and that the Pharoah's face who adorns it must surely have carved the beast out of the plateau rock. History is constantly being added to and even re-written, and the Sphinx is deserving of a very serious re-write. Robert Temple does an exceptional job at moving things in that direction.
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