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"The Lost Ark of the Covenant" by Tudor Parfitt is a controversial book. The very selection of the theme, the quest for traces of Lost Ark of Covenant, the most sacred physical object in the entire biblical narrative - is controversial by itself.
No wonder, after Indiana Jones or Sussman's "The Last Secret ..." it is hard to write about the Ark without falling or into scholarly-historic-archeological style or into a kind of thriller.
When you read it however, you find both notes — sometimes the melody is like it was to accompany Indiana Jones — sometime you hear a song of true scholar.
The book describes the author's life-long quest for the biblical Lost Ark of Covenant. Parfitt, from the very beginning shows his preference for the hypothesis of African trail of the Ark. And for good. He is a very well known advocate of the theory that assumes that the African tribe of Lemba, where a Judaic trend is clearly visible, was directly responsible for preservation of the Ark.
The book becomes a real page turner when it describes apparently futile, long and dangerous trip through Yemen and later, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. In another chapter he goes after the Judaic trails in Papua, New Guinea. This episode, with some recent cannibalistic tribe goes too far toward "Indiana Jones melody".
However, in other parts, particularly those devoted to the Ark itself, called 'ngoma lungundu' by Lemba people he writes in a very good scholarly but not entirely dull, tone. The Ark, according to Parfitt was in fact ... a drum, a horrifying musical instrument and the ancient weapon of mass destruction.
The book concludes in a better tone. There are no fanfares, no pseudo-religious boosting - there is just a moldy drum, sitting in a dusty museum storeroom, which author believes IS the true Ark's duplicate made in XIV century...
Good Book !
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