YAHWEH AND HIS WORLD, ILLUSTRATED
- SUMMARY FOR BOOK JACKET -
This is a picture book, and it is based upon Bible themes, but it is not just decorative art or children’s stories. This book goes far beyond mere artistic visualizations of activities and episodes from Hebrew history. These unique illustrations are intended to display radical new concepts hitherto unexplored in the supernatural world as commonly conceived by the authors of the Hebrew scriptures. Therefore, if taken seriously, these images must have a profound effect on the doctrines and philosophies of the Judeo-Christian community.
The artwork of the book is done with a careful consideration of the iconography of Bible times. Herein is assembled a visual panorama of primitive cosmologies, multi-formed divinities, legendary creatures, and esoteric symbols that made up the colorful imagery of proto-Judaism. Here the viewer meets with the original concept of the Hebrew Deity, Yahweh, as a strong, black-bearded warrior whose cult totem is the mighty aurochs. Here one perceives the amalgamation of cosmic trees with ancient tree worship and primitive animism to produce such concepts as pillars of heaven, phallic poles, the tree-shaped lampstand (menorah), the personified date palm divinity, and the Tree of Life.
Herein are intimate glimpses into the imaginary worlds of the Divine Council, the Heavenly Temple, the Garden of Eden, and various schemes of angelic hierarchies. Here is depicted the Creator’s great primordial struggle with chaos monsters that preceded the fabrication of the world. Also shown is the development of the Evil One from early stages of the Lying Spirit (sent by Yahweh to confuse false prophets and misdirect sinners), the character of misanthropic Satanael as a member of the Divine Council, the evil-adversary Dragon, and the rebellious Lucifer with his demon hordes. And too, one meets throughout this book the ancient notion of supernatural fire - as evidenced in lightning, in halos, in fiery serpents, in fiery chariots, in flaming seraphs, in a burning bush, and in nether world torture chambers.
Throughout these simulations of ancient iconography one perceives in the ancient theme of a geocentric, multi-tiered universe still-current concepts of heaven above and hell beneath. One meets in the recurrent decorative motifs of bulls, lions, goats, and serpents the material that led to later perceptions of devils, monsters, dragons, and symbolic devices found in both church and synagogue even to this very day. Also included in this book are parallels between the mythologies of various religions.
The artist-author, Richard Atkins, is a life-long student of mythology, of comparative religions, and of science. He is a Bible teacher in a progressive Baptist church, where he makes extensive use of visual aids and religious artifacts. He has, for example, constructed a full-sized replica of the Ark of the Covenant and a thirty-foot long Timeline chart.