It is difficult to pinpoint his thesis. It is easier to examine the argument and narrative as they unfold. Strictly speaking, the question deals with the nature of the philosopher’s stone—the alchemical device allegedly used to transform base metals into gold. Farrell looks at it from a different angle—the philosopher’s stone is the physical medium itself. Transforming one element into another is simply putting stress on that medium.
From that thesis Farrell brings in his discussion of the occult, high physics, and Nazi technology. First, alchemy’s occultic roots. Farrell picks up where his Giza Death Star Destroyed left off. Before we discuss that we should note a little background information and some of Farrell’s presuppositions. Farrell assumes (and I think I hold to something similar) there was an ancient “high” civilization with an ancient technology. Either this civilization experienced a civil war or fought (and lost) a war from the outside. In either case the losing side “went underground” for much of what would later become ancient and Western history.[i] Much knowledge was lost and alchemical research is perhaps a search for that knowledge.
Farrell notes that the ancient neo-Platonic magicians spoke in alchemical concepts (and probably studied alchemy). When St. Constantine converted the Roman Empire, alchemy and many of the schools of magic disappeared.[ii] With the rise of the Templars almost 1,000 years later, alchemy and “magic” revived in full form. Farrell asks the very interesting question, “How did it appear without ‘missing a beat’ when most movements take decades to fully develop?” The reasonable explanation is an underground alchemical movement.
Farrell takes this reasoning a step further. Many alchemists were able to disguise alchemical research via Filioquist terminology. Indeed, if one studies the hermetic and neo-platonic texts of this period, they use almost the same language and concepts of the Augustinian Filioque and doctrine of Absolute Divine Simplicity.
Farrell’s book then becomes an extended discussion in theoretical physics and will probably lose most readers. Granted, the Nazi connections are intriguing and explain the evidence better than any other model offered by “academics,” but only the most committed reader can progress beyond this phase.
There was a very good discussion on Nikolai Kozyrev and St Maximus the Confessor. Farrell (likely borrowing from God, History, and Dialectic) shows how Maximus’ worldview on “being and becoming” is very similar to what Kozyrev said on the nature of time.[iii]
CONS OF THE BOOK
It was really hard to follow at times. I’ve followed Farrell’s works and have read some of his books, but many of his discussions seemed to belabor the point.
PROS OF THE BOOK
While his discussions belabored the point, they also seemed to prove the point. His arguments are most thorough.
Further, his rhetorical skill has few equals. He can draw out the implications of a concept or line of argument better than most. While his discussions on theoretical physics are dizzying because most people aren’t familiar with post-Einsteinian physics, he does a good job of explaining the points.
[i] An alternative reading of this situation is that the losing side was completely destroyed and the victors were too weak to press the advantage. Further, one could surmise that most of the knowledge was lost and only a small segment was passed down through certain “cliques.”
[ii] While it is doubtful that David Bradshaw entertains this thesis, his book Aristotle East and West suggests something similar. He notes that many of these ancient sources went mysteriously untranslated.
[iii] Thomas Torrance said the ancient Greek scientist John Philoponos translated the concepts of St Athanasius and St Cyril of Alexandria into “physical concepts” and anticipated something like modern physics.