Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review of Jenner, The Gold Leaves

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Edward Jenner, The Gold Leaves: (Being an Account and Translation from the Ancient Greek of the so-called ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets). Pokeno: Atuanui Press, 2014. Pp. 160. ISBN 9780992245375. $35.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (

The Orphic gold tablets have generated much bibliography in the last decade. The comprehensive recent works of Bernabé/Jiménez and Graf/Johnston, as well as the collection of studies edited by Edmonds, include thorough editions and translations of all the tablets, and tackle the main problems which they pose.1 E. Jenner’s book has little to add to this scholarship. However, on the tablets are inscribed poetic texts that, due to the lack of external references to them in ancient literature, their comparatively recent discovery, and their esoteric content, have seldom reached a wider public.2 Such is the audience targeted by this book, written by a poet and classicist whose earlier work includes translations of Ibycus and Sappho.

I've not noted these tablets before and I don't recall hearing about them. It's alway interesting to come across another inscription on metal. And, with reference to the contents of the latter post, recent developments on the fake metal codices are noted here and here.