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When I first started reading Massey's works many years ago (in the
mid 80's), I was fascinated by what he was saying, and my attitude at the time
was something like 'Where is he getting all this information?' I then started
looking deeper into his sources, perhaps thinking he was making it all up.
Having a strong interest in the esoteric for some years beforehand, I was more than
familiar with some of the obscure works he was referring to, but there were
others that I was less familiar with, which intrigued me. I was also somewhat
irked by his constant referencing to illustrations in books that were no longer
accessible. After all, it was not just a case of walking into my local Waterstones bookshop, taking the book off the shelf to have a good browse. Works
like Oedipus Aegyptiacus by Kircher, the volumes on the Roman catacombs
by Bosio, Garrucci, De Rossi, et al, the mammoth French work Description de l'Egypte,
and many others, were simply not available, not even at my large local library,
most of them being scarce, and no doubt hidden away in the vaults of the British Library.
This was, of course, many years before the advent of the internet where everything now is available at your fingertips; any good Google search will bring the desired title to your screen, especially if you know where to look.
For reasons I have explained elsewhere in these pages, I decided it would be a far better idea if Massey's works—which at the time I believed to have fallen into obscurity—could be made available once again, but with the added bonus of making the titles he refers to available as well. This was the inauguration of my bibliography, something I never anticipated would have taken me so long to compile as it did, as I will hereafter explain. Also, as this was lacking in the printed versions of the corpus, I felt it would make the reader's life easier, and he could check for himself that these books do actually exist, as well as including a full quote to prove that Massey was not making it all up, and that his research could be backed up by well documented data.
That was the main thrust behind the creation of Masseiana, as I have explained in the original introduction to this site (see Part 1), and to substantiate the theories Massey puts forth in his work (see Part 2), with a complete bibliography (see Part 3), a set of indices (Part 4) to help the reader along the way, and also provide some of the source material he used (see Part 5), and where possible a link to all those illustrations which otherwise would have remained hidden and forgotten about in some dusty old tomes.
Now for the reasons why all this has taken so long ...
I have said it before, and I will say it again, Massey is absolutely useless when it comes to referencing. I appreciate that in those days there was a tendency to abbreviate titles, to not provide a full reference, to not state the edition used, etc. However, this is totally unacceptable by today's standards. After all, if you are writing for a modern audience, say a thesis, you have to back up your research and provide full references, as well as a mandatory bibliography to prove that you have done your research, and to demonstrate that the data you are providing is based on solid, academic grounds. It is no good thinking, 'I will just put down the name Fuerst, they will know who I mean.' No we won't! And any such attitude, I'm afraid, smacks of laziness, because believe it or not, somebody like me may come along and tear your thesis apart if any, or none, of your references can be verified. It is for this reason, that what should have been a simple little job of providing the titles of the books Massey has used took me so long, because some of his references did not check out, and some I simply had to guess at what title or which author was intended. Now, I admit speculation is not a good way to go if you are compiling a list of over 2000 titles, but I had to start somewhere, and with the arrival of the internet the probability of completing it became even more likely; many of the titles alluded to could now be accessed online and verified, corroborated, etc. If there were errors, these too could be pointed out and amended. Admittedly, not all of the titles have become available, but where they are, it was at least now possible to substantiate most of what Massey was saying, and indeed determine its veracity.
My point on this is, if you are going to say something important like Christ never existed, then you have to back up everything you are saying. Do not think for one moment that it is possible to bluff your way through an argument by saying 'such and such says this,' 'such and such says that,' and spout off names no one has ever heard of. I have pointed this out in my essays (see Part 6), and I am not going to reiterate it here again, suffice to say, source material is everything, but use it with impunity.
It would be rather like an acquaintance saying to you,
'Christ didn't exist.' Your response would be, 'How do you know that?' 'Because
Mr Jones down the road says so'! Not only would we be less likely to believe
him, but we would want proof to back up such a claim, and we would be more than
disheartened to learn that Mr Jones is simply a greengrocer who does a bit of
reading in his spare time. However, if Mr Jones turned out to be an academic,
with twenty or thirty books under his belt, with a wide experience of different
cultures, and has letters after his name, we would be more likely to believe
him. And that is the whole point, otherwise you leave loopholes in your argument
that not only a tadpole could swim through, but also a 20-tonne shark. I am
not saying that Massey does this, for he does state the position of some of his
authorities, but only occasionally. And that, unfortunately, is not good enough.
I read recently an attack on Tom Harpur's book, Pagan Christ (an original title!), which was being ripped apart by a Christian who did not like what Mr Harpur was saying, and in the attempt was trying to prove that what Mr Harpur was saying was poppycock as it could not be backed up due to the fact that a few of the quotations he was giving did not exist! The worrying thing about all of this is that some of Mr Harpur's work is based on that of Massey's! So, if you lay yourself open to be attacked, then expect to be attacked, because you will be.
Secondly, if you are going to quote from a work, then quote verbatim. Do not change the words around for your own convenience; do not change the spelling of the words in the quote, or alter the spelling of the names of deities, etc., to suit your own preferences. Too many times have I come across quotes by Massey taken from respected Egyptologists that I could not find simply because he had changed the spelling of an Egyptian word or a god's name. For example, Massey prefers to write Taht rather than Thoth, Sut rather then Set, etc. So, if Samuel Birch (the once noted Egyptologist at the British Museum) has written 'The great god Thoth gives light,' do not change it to 'The great god Taht gives light.' That is unforgivable as it will knock out any Google search. If you are so inclined to give a different orthography, then at least use the original spelling with an alternative in square brackets; 'The great god Thoth [Taht] gives light,' would be more preferable. I have had great difficulty in tracking down all of Massey's sources due to his altering of the wording. I do not mean that he has deliberately twisted the quotation to his own advantage, but rather he has not quoted it accurately. Again, if you are going to quote then at least have the decency to quote exactly as it appears on the page.
Thirdly, I have also said this before and I am going to say it again: Massey is a borrower! He borrows left, right and centre. He indiscriminately ransacks books for quotes, without even acknowledging he is doing so. By that I mean, if you are going to quote from an author in another author's book, then at least say 'cited in' or 'quoted by,' otherwise it looks like plagiarism and gives the unfortunate impression that you have read the book you are quoting from, whereas in reality you have relied on another authority to provide it for you. See my essay (1) on this. And one thing I have found over the years whilst researching Massey's source material is the amount of books he has used that he doesn't even mention. These I have classed as 'silent sources,' most of which can be found listed in the Bibliography to that effect, within square parentheses. (I have compiled two tables to demonstrate Massey's use of this method. They can both be viewed here and here.)
contender in the latter class is Hislop's The Two Babylons. I have discussed
this in another essay (4), so I will refrain from repeating myself here. But if he
has used this work and doesn't mention it, then there is a high probability
there are others he has used and does not mention either; and
indeed that is the case. Not just a couple, or three or four, but many (that I
am aware of). Again,
consult the Bibliography, and see my table
here. We know he has
used these books because the quotations in them are identical to the ones he gives,
some even appearing on the same page. See, for example, the last section of
The Natural Genesis, which is
probably the most profound of all the sections of that work. Yet entire quotes
have been lifted from Baring-Gould's book,
Lost and Hostile Gospels. The same goes for the section in
The Natural Genesis concerning the
typology of the cross; most of the sources have been lifted from Zoeckler's
The Cross of Christ; also Dunlap's books have been consulted and used for
quotes, citations, etc., yet in nowise has he acknowledged the fact. I
appreciate that it is a convenient method, but it is inexcusable; poverty may be
a drawback, but it is no defence for laziness.
I do not mean to discredit Massey, for he was a profound thinker, with a better understanding of how the symbols, myths and, therefore, religions, evolved. For a Victorian, writing in Victorian times, he showed a remarkable detachment from his peers, and was not afraid to say what he really wanted to say, sometimes making so-called experts look incompetent by comparison. Massey, for his time, thought out of the box, a rare gift when one considers how thoroughly western minds were indoctrinated with biblical rubbish. To actually stand up against rigidly held belief-systems (which in themselves had very little in the way of solid foundations); when there was an archaeological society set up especially to prove that everything in the bible was true; when it was commonly accepted that the world was only a few thousand years old because some Irish bishop had calculated the date of Creation by tracing back the genealogies of biblical characters, etc., makes Massey something of a radical, and for that we can be thankful that the corpus presented here exists.
As I have said to many of my correspondents, I have been reading his books for nigh on thirty years now and I am still learning. Dipping in here and there, one section at a time; I have always felt that is the best way to approach them. And each time you come away with a little more understanding, a little deeper insight, etc.
(For a fuller study of some aspects of Massey's work, see the
essays (Part Six below). A rough outline of the Masseian
been included here (see Part One) along with details of
the minor amendments made to the corpus.
Originally it was intended to also include a full biography of the man, but
this has proved unnecessary as David Shaw did a worthy job back in 1995
with his slim but profitable biography, Gerald Massey: Chartist, Poet,
Radical and Freethinker. It is available as a
revised edition in another site dedicated to Massey and his works (mainly
poetry, reviews, etc.) and is thoroughly recommended. (See www.gerald-massey.org.uk in
www.gerald-massey.org.uk/biog_contents for Shaw's biog.) An expanded edition
of this work has now been published with additional material and appendices. The book can be ordered directly from the publisher,
www.lulu.com, as either a paperback (£14.12) or
as a download (£2.90). Other material relevant to Massey's life and his work will be found in
And now, regrettably, I am calling it a day; I have simply had enough, and I wish to move on to other things. I have taken it as far as I can. There will be no more input from me to this site. I know I have said that before, but I mean it this time; I need to get away from typing, reading, proof-reading, Googling, and computers in general, otherwise I will be liable to a nervous breakdown. I acknowledge that my work here isn't really finished, and that there are still quite a few unresolved references that need to be sorted out. These have proven to be somewhat problematic, for various reasons, and I cannot resolve them without outside help. So I have therefore provided a list here and will be most grateful to anyone who can help me and put me on the right track. That will be the only input from me from now on; to get the last of those annoying references nailed down once and for all. (Incidentally, for those interested in figures, the reference pages on this site contain a total of over 12,000 references. Out of the 12,000 I have posted there are only just over 220 I have not been able to resolve. So please do not be too harsh on me with my admission that I am now giving up. Believe me, I have tried, and yes I have failed on these, but that is an insignificant proportion in comparison with the total amount.)
Lastly, I would like to thank all those people who have been in touch over the years and have added comments, helpful hints, etc. I would especially like to thank the following people; David Shaw, Ian Petticrew, Damian Osbourne, Robert Agasucci, Aaron Crim, Marianne Herdt (for help with some German texts), Jerome Silverman, and many others who have written in and thanked me for my work. Once again, thanks.
A BRIEF UPDATE
Masseiana has now been online exactly seven years. It was set up in October 2007 to coincide with the centenary of Massey's death and has received a lot of praise from all quarters. I am pleased to say that it is still serving its purpose and that it will continue to do so for many years to come. However, as I mentioned above, I am taking time off from it for awhile so I can concentrate on other projects. Anybody who is interested in my other work can view some of it here: www.amazon.co.uk.
For those interested, my latest book, a novel I originally wrote over twenty years ago, has now finally been published. It incorporates the work of Aleister Crowley and Kenneth Grant (who, in turn, based most of his work on that of Massey's). It can be found on the above link. I will be promoting more work through CreateSpace, so keep checking this link.
MASSEY VINDICATED ONCE AGAIN
This site contains Egyptian hieroglyphics and Coptic characters. Download and install the following fonts:
It also contains his major expository works—totalling over 3400 pages. And the following:
A bibliography of 2,200 titles
50 major other works
404 minor ones
4 versions of the Ritual
6 essays by the Editor
Over 500 illustrations
Notes on The Masseian Corpus
The Masseian Corpus
A Book of the Beginnings (revised)
The Natural Genesis (revised)
Ancient Egypt, The Light of the World (revised)
Massey's published Lectures (revised)
A Bibliography to the Masseian Corpus
Indices to the Masseian Corpus
A Selection of Massey's Primary Source Material
Relevant to the Masseian Corpus
Other Minor Works Referenced in the Corpus
Essays by the Editor
NOTE: Apart from the first one, the other essays are in obvious need of updating; they have been included here as it was thought it would be pertinent as part of a brief examination of some aspects of the Masseian corpus.
Other Pertinent Material
'For myself, it is enough to know that in despite of many hindrances from straitened circumstances, chronic ailments, and the deepening shadows of encroaching age, my book is printed, and the subject-matter that I cared for most is now entrusted safely to the keeping of John Gutenberg, on this my nine-and-seventieth birthday.'
(Introduction to AE)
South Norwood Hill,
29th May, 1907.
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This page last updated: 10/11/2014