Serpent Worship – anonymous

Serpent Worship
Anonymous
Tutor Press, 1980

The full title of this book is Serpent Worship, aka Ophiolatreia: The Rites and mysteries connected with the origin, rise, and development of serpent worship in various parts of the world, enriched with interesting traditions, and a full description of the celebrated serpent mounds & temples, the whole forming an exposition of one of the phases of phallic, or sex worship, aka The Rites and mysteries connected with the origin, rise, and development of serpent worship in various parts of the world, enriched with interesting traditions, and a full description of the celebrated serpent mounds & temples, the whole forming an exposition of one of the phases of phallic, or sex worship.

It’s essentially an overview of the role of snakes and related creatures around the world and throughout history. There’s a heavy emphasis on the Classical world–Greece, Egypt, and surrounding civilizations, though a number of North and South American cultures are also featured, among others.

Now, admittedly, it was written in 1889, so the writing style is quite different from today, and as it is an academic text from the time it’s not designed to be easy reading. However, there are plenty of scholarly texts from around the same time that are much easier on modern readers, IMO.

There also doesn’t seem to be a lot of organization to the text. The information is sometimes arranged in a seemingly arbitrary way, and isn’t always tied together very well.

I’d imagine that not everyone will have as much issue with this as I did. Thanks, but no thanks–there are much better books that have the exact same information in a better format. This is officially my newest Worst Book Ever.

One pawprint out of five.

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2 Comments

  1. April 30, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    I could be wrong, but I think I saw that book in my college library. Looked kinda interesting, but it looked like it was trying to cover way too much in one book.
    The other problem is most likely, a lot of the scholarship has been debunked. Victorian antiquarians (like James Frazer) tend to have these pet theories that they try to shove everything into.

    I’m reading your reviews with interest- I am impressed with your writing I have seen though I have not yet read any of your books. I have a book review blog as well, in the link above. I will link to yours.

  2. lupabitch said,

    April 30, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    *nods* The time period it was written in is the primary issue. The writing style of the time is very different from what it is now, and there were crappy writers back then, too. And you make a really good point about the bias of the times. In anthropology and related fields you really don’t see the tides shifting away from Eurocentric biases until well into the middle of the 20th century.

    And thank you for the link! I’ve added you to my blogroll; you’ve got some really good suggestions in there 🙂


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