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Manuscript Found in Accra ~Paulo Coelho

A friend introduced me to Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST a number of years after it had been translated, but in perfect timing for the twists and turns of my life to find solace for my soul.  It turned out to be one of those books I read numerous times.

When TLC book tours emailed me to squeeze another book into my schedule and I found out it was by Paulo Coelho I was very up for the experience.  The publisher overnighted the book to me and I read Manuscript Found in Accra in a one day read.  What an amazing history to this manuscript and how graciously Coelho has made it into a story and a piece of wisdom literature.

Two brothers in Upper Egypt were traveling and looking for a place to rest and in December 1945, in a cave they found an urn full of papyrus scrolls.  They took them home hoping to avoid the government restrictions and to make money on the black market.  Their mother thought these writing were bad luck; she burned some of them and then took the rest to the police.  They were handed to a priest who sold them to the Coptic Museum in Cairo.   They were then called the NAG HAMMADI manuscripts.

One of the manuscripts even ended up in the Carl Jung Institute and has since been returned to Cairo later to be released to a collector in Belgium.  There are thousands of pages in the Nag Hammadi collection.   These scripts have been carbon dated to AD 1307 and the city of Accra.  Coelho knew about the scripts from a friend in 1982 and was given a copy of this one in 2011 from which he created this possible story and understanding. It is described as a fantasy history.

In 1099 the city of Jerusalem is known as the City of PEACE.  The religions are all collaborating and everyone; Christian, Jew, and Muslim are respecting each other and their faiths.  On the 14th of July the city is surrounded by the French Religious Crusaders who have been sent by the Pope to destroy the city and all the people within.  The citizens have been divided into groups which are to leave and those who are to stay and fight.  Those within the city know they are all going to die.

A Greek shoemaker known as the Copt persuades the remaining people that what the future will want to know about them is not that they fought another battle and died. He calls together those people not planning the defense and they surround this wise man and ask a series of questions which when they go home they will write (thousands of scripts) or tell the story wherever they go. Here is what he says in the story:

“…when you ask your questions, forget about the troops outside and the fear inside.  Our task is not to leave a record of what happened on this date for those who will inherit the Earth; history will take care of that.  Therefore, we will speak about our daily lives, about the difficulties we have had to face.  That is all the future will be interested in, because I do not believe very much will change in the next thousand years.”

The book is a series of questions, answers and explanations, which are lovely discussions of how they were a city of Peace and Collaboration.  Even though there is only one narrator who describes life in the beginning and at the end of the Q&A, you are totally aware that this 21 year old man in going to die.  Because you are aware of this extreme tension, the story highlights the role of those who need to be at battle and conquer everything for power and control.

This discovery has been as exciting as the uncovering of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic Gospels, and the Essene Writings in the years of Jesus’ journey.  It also makes one look back on the few Church Father’s who canonized the writing that we now mark at the HOLY BOOKS of the faith.   It emphasizes that whoever succeeds in the battle gets to write the history and often gets to be honored or worshipped in a powerful way.

I am always surprised when I met someone who has their Bible version memorized and is sure they know exactly the right verse at the right moment, and yet they do not know that Women wrote thousands of the manuscripts over time but they were rejected by a “powerful” small group of men.  Women’s words were not even considered.

So as we are also experiencing a time of transition in the SPRING of the Middle East, as we watch once again the activities in Jerusalem and Iran and Israel – Syria – and as we watch the voting on a new POPE it is reassuring to know there is so much wisdom writing at hand and that Jerusalem was once know as the City of Peace and Collaboration.

I am so happy these words have been translated for us to read and know.  Knoff Publishers sent me an Uncorrected Proof copy of the book and TLC book tours asked me to review it for you.   I believe that they are offering a copy of this book for a comment on the blog.

Have you discovered a wisdom tome that helps you find peace?  Please share the book or writing that speaks to you at the greatest times of fear and gives you peace.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Related Reading:
We Are All Related
Dualism I
Hotel on The Corner Of Bitter and Sweet
The Shock Doctrine

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16 Comments on “Manuscript Found in Accra ~Paulo Coelho”

  1. #1 suZen
    on Mar 18th, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Patricia,
    One book that comes to mind is Pema Chodrons When Things Fall Apart – read it some years ago but it is wonderfully remembered.
    I’ll be deep into corrugated boxes for a while so if you don’t see me here, you’ll know why. Moving March 28.
    Hugs
    SuZen
    suZen recently posted..Inspiration, Spring, and Favorite QuotesMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Suzen,
    I have been thinking about your and your transition and I hope that it goes well. I will watch for your return to the air waves and know that you will be back in force soon.

    This was a surprise review and a good read…comforting and illuminating.
    Good journey to you

  2. #2 Hilary
    on Mar 19th, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Hi Patricia .. I think I have Paul Coelho’s “The Alchemist” here .. and at some stage must give both of these two books a read. I love the travel aspects of man and where and how he moved around a 1,000 or 2,000 years ago …

    Interesting .. and so pleased you enjoyed it .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..Ice House Earth, Greenhouse Earth and those in-between times … our planet and its peoples … part 1/4My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Hilary,
    This is a book of Questions and Answers in the face of conquest and death – the Alchemist has more of a story read to it – Do read that one first when you get to reading them.

    It was a good read in the last days of Winter and with all the stuff going on in our government right now – which sometimes just brings up too many hopeless feelings. This made the light shine

  3. #3 Laurie Buchanan
    on Mar 19th, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Patricia – I, too, have read (and loved!) Paul Coelho’s “The Alchemist.” The delightful way you’ve presented this book sounds like “Manuscript Found in Accra” will be just as great a read. Thank you.

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    I have no doubt that you will enjoy this book very much – packed full of wisdom – and is a bit better at not leaving the women out

  4. #4 Sara
    on Mar 20th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Patricia — I’m so excited about this book. I did a lot of study about the Gnostic Gospels. They were fascinating. I focused mostly on the Gospel of Thomas. They were hidden for many years and contain, in my opinion, some beautifully writings. Some did picture women in more powerful ways than our current Bible.

    It goes to show even hiding something full of light in the dark cannot extinguish the light; it will not be denied. It may centuries, but it will find it’s way out of the darkness.
    Sara recently posted..Your Photo ChallengeMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Sara,
    I do wonder if this was common practice to hide in urns important texts that folks wanted to pass on to the future? I studied the Essene s, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gnostic Gospels a great deal in graduate school and found them fascinating and I have never forgiven the Church Father’s for just throwing out all the writing by women first thing before they began the canonization process. I have learned so much more from the women’s voices

    I am sure you will like this book, If they were not in Egypt I think I would like to study the Nag Hammadi manuscripts some day – I have found some interesting things on the Internet popping up since the riots this past spring. I think women’s voices were very powerful – so powerful that they had to hide them

    Have you read THE DOVEKEEPERS by Hoffman? fascinating novel

    The light just keeps shine and we just have to keep looking

  5. #5 Alien Ghost
    on Mar 20th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Patricia,

    I don’t have a specific book to read in stressing times, but rather pay more attention to the surroundings trying to find a “signal” of some sort, and it seems that always something happens that allow me to think deeper in the problem at hand, or present me an alternative view I didn’t considered before, helping with it to better manage the problem and the moment of tension.

    Raul
    Alien Ghost recently posted..Human InterconnectionMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Raul,
    I have so many books, I do not think I rely on just one or even two, but I love these discoveries which open my mind to more possibilities.

    When I am coping with a problem, I often use a technique that I learned in mediation training – 4 sided thinking or Japanese Pillow thinking Tool….I think we all need something to assist us when the mind is stuck

    Are we not lucky that we can know how to un stick, think and move forward?

  6. #6 Talon
    on Mar 22nd, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I have my “Gardening the Soul” by Sister Stanislaus Kennedy that I keep close-by…it’s written with a page a day like a calendar and it’s always soothing and inspiring.

    patricia Reply:

    Talon,
    The giveaway for this book is a day by day calendar, only problem we are having is that it is not written in English!!!

    This is a wise book.
    I used to like gardening books and cook books to just read and enjoy – at this moment they feel more like WORK that soothing!

  7. #7 Diane@BibliophilebytheSea
    on Mar 25th, 2013 at 3:03 am

    I haven’t read this author in a few years, but this one sounds really fascinating. Thanks for sharing and have a fun week.
    Diane@BibliophilebytheSea recently posted..Mailbox Monday – March 25thMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Diane,Thank you for coming by and commenting, welcome- welcome.

    I had not read Coelho since the Alchemist so this was refreshing. I do follow his facebook page and his tweets, but I do not always use the translator – when I do I am so glad I did!

  8. #8 Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours
    on Apr 21st, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    Patricia Reply:

    Welcome, I enjoyed the book