Conversations with Eternity - Robert K.G. Temple

This is a fascinating book that explores some of the methods ancient people have used to predict the future. The first section dealing with the fascinating and elaborate Oracle tradition of Ancient Greece and later chapters delving into the spiralling colons of extispicy (divination by means of inspecting the entrails of sacrificed animals).

Robert K.G. Temple is dubious of the thaumaturgists - wonder-workers - of yore and accuses them of charlantry , devising complex trickery to dupe unwitting enquirers who he believes were mostly drugged and suffering from sensory deprivation. 

This book certainly contains an incredible amount of thoroughly researched material and I especially enjoyed the sections on the Oracle of the Dead at Baia and Trophonious which is a particular interest of mine.

The second half of the book is a analysis of ancient Chinese divination, with special emphasis on the I Ching and very ancient tortoise plastron and oracle bone methods.

Temple is much more convinced and enthusiastic about these techniques and recognises the natural pattern based systems as overall quite superior to the dramatic, illusory devices of the Greeks.

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