mercredi 6 juillet 2011

L’ “Évangile des Pyramides”, selon Thomas de Witt Talmage (XIXe s.)

L’Américain Thomas de Witt Talmage (1832-1902) était un prédicateur très réputé, souvent impliqué dans des croisades contre le vice et le crime. Durant des années, ses sermons, publiés dans de nombreux journaux, furent lus par 25 millions de “fidèles” (estimation).
Même les pyramides égyptiennes lui servirent de support pour une apologie de la religion et des bonnes pratiques chrétiennes.
Du chapitre “The Gospel of the Pyramids”, extrait de l’ouvrage From the pyramids to the Acropolis, 1892, je ne retiendrai ici que les développements principaux, mais déjà suffisants pour apprécier la logique particulière de l’auteur visant à démontrer que la Grande Pyramide fut la première Bible divine.
Une telle démarche “récupératrice” semble aujourd’hui obsolète, voire outrancière. J’y fais néanmoins une place dans ce blog-inventaire, par souci d’exhaustivité, tout en notant que le prédicateur de Witt Talmage, pris par son élan mystique, en est arrivé à faire peu de cas de certains détails techniques sur la construction et la structure du monument lui ayant servi de référence. Aucun effort de sa part, notamment, pour tenter de comprendre en quoi consistait le système d’élévation des blocs de pierre. Il s’empresse de supposer que la Grande Pyramide doit recéler d’autres chambres encore inexplorées. Par contre, la célèbre Chambre du Roi, parfaitement identifiée par la tradition égyptologique, est qualifiée (pour les besoins de la démonstration ?) de “souterraine”.
Il faut bien reconnaître, sans être pour autant rationaliste à tous crins, que ni la foi, ni la science ne ressortent grandies de pareil amalgame...

Auteur inconnu (1902)
“How can I describe the thrill of expectation, for to-day we are to see what all the world has seen or wants to see : the Pyramids. (...)
Though there are sixty-nine Pyramids still standing, the Pyramid at Gizeh is the monarch of Pyramids. (...)
I said the dominant color of the Pyramid was gray, but in certain lights it seems to shake off the gray of centuries and become a blonde and the silver turns to the golden. It covers thirteen acres of ground. What an antiquity ! It was at least two thousand years old when the baby Christ was carried within sight of it by his fugitive parents, Joseph and Mary. The storms of forty centuries have drenched it, bombarded it, shadowed it, flashed upon it, but there it stands ready to take another forty centuries of atmospheric attack if the world should continue to exist.
The oldest buildings of the earth are juniors to this great senior of the centuries. Herodotus says that for ten years preparations were being made for the building of this Pyramid. It has eighty-two million one hundred and eleven thousand cubic feet of masonry. One hundred thousand workmen at one time toiled in its erection. To bring the stone from the quarries, a causeway sixty feet wide was built.

The top stones were lifted by machinery such as the world knows nothing of to-day. It is seven hundred and forty-six feet each side of the square base. The structure is four hundred and fifty feet high, higher than the cathedrals of Cologne, Strasbourg, Rouen, St Peter's and St. Paul's. No surprise to me that it was put at the head of the Seven Wonders of the World. It has a subterraneous room of red granite called the “King's Chamber", and another room called the “Queen's Chamber", and the probability is that there are other rooms yet unexplored. The evident design of the architect was to make these rooms as inaccessible as possible.
After all the work of exploration and all the digging and blasting, if you would enter these subterraneous rooms you must go through a passage only three feet eleven inches high and less than four feet wide. A sarcophagus of red granite stands down under this mountain of masonry. The sarcophagus could not have been carried in after the Pyramid was built. It must have been put there before the structure was reared. Probably in that sarcophagus once lay a wooden coffin containing a dead king, but time has destroyed the coffin and destroyed the last vestige of human remains. (...)
The Pyramid, built more than four thousand years ago, being a complete geometrical figure, wise men have concluded it must have been divinely constructed. Man came through thousands of years to fine architecture, to music, to painting, but this was perfect at the world^s start, and God must have directed it. All astronomers and geometricians and scientists say that it was scientifically and mathematically constructed before science and mathematics were born. From the inscriptions on the Pyramid, from its proportions, from the points of the compass recognized in its structure, from the direction in which its tunnels run, from the relative position of the blocks that compose it, scientists, Christians and infidels, have demonstrated that the being who planned this Pyramid must have known the world's sphericity, and that its motion was rotatory, and how many miles it was in diameter and circumference, and how many tons the world weighs, and knew at what point in the heavens certain stars would appear at certain periods of time.
Not in the four thousand years since the putting up of that Pyramid has a single fact in astronomy or mathematics been found to contradict the wisdom of that structure. Yet they had not at the age when the Pyramid was started an astronomer or an architect or a mathematician worth mentioning.
Who then planned the Pyramid ? Who superintended its erection ? Who from its first foundation stone to its capstone erected everything ? It must have been God. (...) The Pyramid is God's first Bible. Hundreds, if not thousands of years, before the first line of the Book of Genesis was written, the lesson of the Pyramid was written.
Well, of what is this Cyclopean masonry a sign and a witness ? Among other things, of the prolongation of human work compared with the brevity of human life. In all the four thousand years this Pyramid has lost only eighteen feet in width, one side of its square at the base changed only from seven hundred and sixty-four feet to seven hundred and forty-six feet and the most of that eighteen feet taken off by architects to furnish stone for building in the city of Cairo. The men who constructed the Pyramid worked at it only a few years and then put down the trowel and the compass and the square and lowered the derrick which had lifted the ponderous weights ; but forty centuries has their work stood and it will be good for forty centuries more. All Egypt has been shaken by terrible earthquakes and cities have been prostrated or swallowed, but that Pyramid has defied all volcanic paroxysms. It has looked upon some of the greatest battles ever fought since the world stood. Where are the men who constructed it ? Their bodies gone to dust and even the dust scattered. Even the sarcophagus in which the king's mummy may have slept is empty. (...)
As in Egypt that December afternoon, 1889, exhausted in body, mind, and soul, we mounted to return to Cairo, we took our last look of the Pyramid at Gizeh. And you know there is something in the air toward evening that seems productive of solemn and tender emotion, and that Great Pyramid seemed to be humanized and with lips of stone it seemed to speak and cry out : “Hear me, man, mortal and immortal ! My voice is the voice of God. He designed me. Isaiah said I should be a sign and a witness. I saw Moses when he was a lad. I witnessed the long procession of the Israelites as they started to cross the Red Sea and Pharaoh's host in pursuit of them. The falcons and the eagles of many centuries have brushed my brow. I stood here when Cleopatra's barge landed with her sorceries, and Hypatia for her virtues was slain in yonder streets. Alexander the Great, Sesostris and Ptolemy admired my proportions. Herodotus and Pliny sounded my praise. I am old, I am very old. For thousands of years I have watched the coming and going of generations. They tarry only a little while, but they make everlasting impression. I bear on my side the mark of the trowel and chisel of those who more than four thousand years ago expired. Beware what you do, oh, man ! for what you do will last long after you are dead ! If you would be affectionately remembered after you are gone, trust not to any earthly commemoration. I have not one word to say about any astronomer who studied the heavens from my heights or any king who was sepulchred in my bosom. I am slowly passing away. I am a dying Pyramid. I shall yet lie down in the dust of the plain and the sands of the desert shall cover me, or when the earth goes I shall go. But you are immortal. The feet with which you climbed my sides to-day will turn to dust, but you have a soul that will outlast me and all my brotherhood of Pyramids. Live for eternity ! live for God ! With the shadows of the evening now falling from my side, I pronounce upon you a benediction. Take it with you across the Mediterranean. Take it with you across the Atlantic. God only is great ! Let all the earth keep silence before Him. Amen."

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