THE BESTIARY OF CHRIST by Louis Charbonneau-Lassay


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 The first English-language edition of Charbonneau-Lassay's near-legendary meditations on the symbolic import of animals, real and imagined. Elegantly translated by Dooling (coauthor, I Become Part of It, 1989), from the one of the handful of copies that remained after the original French edition was nearly destroyed by a bomb after its 1940 publication, the book contains the fruits of Charbonneau-Lassay's lifelong researches into the hidden meanings of some three-score beasts, such as the lion, the dog, the wolf, the unicorn, and the sphinx. While his findings, based on sources ranging from ancient Egyptian to Gnostic, are invariably intriguing (``The analogy between the dead person and the caterpillar in its chrysalis state arose spontaneously in ancient Egyptian thought. Their mummified dead...were like the chrysalis in its silken sheath''), what is perhaps most provocative here are the remarkable lessons the author distills from his animals: ``Between two infinities of the past and the future, human life is only a moment and the soul is an eagle which ought not to waste its energy in futile things.'' Accompanied by over 400 of the author's original woodcuts, this is a treasury of the wisdom of symbols, a hidden classic of spiritual literature revealed.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-930407-18-0
Page count: 496pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991