The Great Pyramid (circa 1893) [Public Domain Image]
A Miracle in Stone:
or, The Great Pyramid of Egypt
by Joseph A. Seiss
Still one of the largest pieces of architecture ever constructed, the Great Pyramid has long been the subject of wonder as to when it was built, by whom, and most importantly, why. The conventional explanation is that it was built during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu by skilled Egyptian laborers as a funerary monument. In the 19th century, in the absence of hard information other than detailed studies of its dimensions, a whole class of speculation grew up which has been called 'pyramidology.' The pyramidologists came to believe that the Great Pyramid encoded advanced knowledge of the physical universe, and the course of human history. This book is one of the primary texts of pyramidology.
In addition to pyramidology, Joseph Seiss was a Christian dispensationalist, a 19th century millennialist school of thought. The dispensationalists viewed human history as a series of covenants with God. They were certain that the end of days could be pinpointed using Biblical prophecy. This was the origin of a set of beliefs widely accepted by contemporary evangelical Christians.
Seiss advances many dubious assertions, such as his statement that there were no predecessors to the Great Pyramid. Egypt is dotted with dozens of prior examples, including several that collapsed because the Egyptians were still experimenting with the correct proportions. He makes a whole range of claims that specific dimensions of the Great Pyramid, when multiplied by some other number, can be associated with the size of the axis of the Earth, its density, and so on (a staple of the pyramidologist literature). He matches details of the interior passages to the dispensationalist timeline. And he somehow concludes that the Egyptians did not build the pyramid, but some other hitherto obscure race of Philistines, led by an individual named Melchisedec, who was identical to the Biblical Job!
Seiss and the other 19th century pyramidologists have abundant modern successors. Their answer to 'when' goes as far back as the last ice age; their answer to 'who' includes space aliens and Atlanteans, and their 'why' includes 'as a huge electrical generator.' Time will tell whether their theories will appear as spurious as Seiss a hundred years from now, or lead to some radical new understanding of the 'Miracle in Stone.'