Wright, Taylor Hayden. “The Orient, The Occult, and The Other”, Boston College, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109455.
Throughout history, the idea of “hidden wisdom” and “primordial truth” has been a perennial fixture of innovative or heterodox beliefs. Repeatedly, novel methods of thought, be they religious, political, or social, have been introduced as a product of a vaunted time and space: lost secrets of the Persian magi, rediscovered wisdom of Solomon, uncovered Egyptian mysteries, etc. This persistent trope begs examination, and highlights one of the oldest trends in human thought: to find legitimacy in tradition, imagined or otherwise. Furthermore, the literature seems to always point towards a land in the greater Middle East as the font of wisdom - even in the writings of people from the Middle East, who simply attribute works to peoples and lands different from their own. Finally, in more modern times, there is a tendency to lean upon the narrative of a lost past for purposes of cultivating a new national identity, especially by peoples grappling with the overbearing mantle of Arabness or the struggles of a stateless people. Overall, the lost golden ages of the Middle East serve as the ideal wellspring of legitimacy for unorthodox ideas regarding the divine, the state, and the nature of a people.