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Round and round in gender circles

The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introduction
by Hal Taussig, 2010

I am researching this and other works from the period for my own interest. When I started to read this book, I was carried along by the enthusiasm (there's heaps of it) of the writers and the genuinely interesting take they have on this Coptic tractate. The analysis runs for nearly one hundred pages and by about half way through I had the uncanny feeling of déjà vu, that I was reading the same stuff over and over, only worded a little differently. In fact the authors keep repeating their key points and they love long mouthfuls of wordfull wordy words. For example (p94):   Through the combination of its overwhelming ironies, the focus on the "I," and its endlessly elaborative and improvisational rhythm, it opens up a space for provisional and embodied identities beyond the dominant presumption.   I think they may have been talking about their own writing.

Hal Taussig and co. have certainly put great effort into the translation which seemingly builds on the works of previous translators, particularly in regard to gender ambiguity. I would have been happier if they had cut the flowery intellectual hyperbole and reduced their thesis to 30 pages instead of 100. I was also disappointed that there is very little solid reference to historical context and culture - I would have liked more meat and less gravy. But the book is still well worth the buy if you are inspired by this fabulous work from the ancient world.

Review on Amazon 04/01/2011


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