Robert K. G. Temple’s Trenchant Criticisms of “the Academic World”




 Damien F. Mackey



“If it were not for the activities of a few polite and genteel ‘trouble-makers’ like Nibbi and O’Mara, Egyptology would become totally petrified and incapable of ever generating a new insight”.

Robert K. G. Temple



Although I do not necessarily agree with the spectacular conclusions arrived at in his books by the outspoken professor Robert Temple (e.g. on Atlantis), I would almost fully concur with his descriptions of crusty academics – his experiences being also mine.

For example (taken from Egyptian Dawn. Exposing the Real Truth Behind Ancient Egypt, Century 2010).


Pp. 399-400 [my emphasis]:


“[On the Atlantic Culture] …. Countless authors, ancient and modern, have commented upon the Atlantic cultures, but these remarks have rarely been given proper attention. Perhaps the reason for this is that there is no academic discipline or academic department concerned with ‘Atlantic culture’. As soon as the archaeologists of one region of the world begin to discuss it, they feel uncomfortable, because they are ‘straying beyond their boundaries’. There is nothing that makes an academic more nervous than that, because it opens him up to criticism by his colleagues. The academic world is a vicious world, where no mercy is ever shown, and where the slightest slip from ‘consensus behaviour’ can endanger an academic’s entire career. It is only people like myself, who do not depend upon the favour and approval of peers for a livelihood, who can say what they like and stray over as many boundaries as they please. With every passing year, the competition for jobs within the academic community becomes more intense, the level of fear rises and the timidity of discourse increases. One of these days, the academic world will just seize up like a sea of ice, with no movement at all, and all opinions will remain perfectly rigid. Then everybody will be safe. …”.


Pp. 430 [my emphasis]:


“…. Alessandra Nibbi’s ideas are so extraordinarily interesting and relevant that at one point I considered attempting an extended survey of them here, and compiling a comprehensive bibliography for her as I have done for Patrick O’Mara (whom she frequently published in her journal). If it were not for the activities of a few polite and genteel ‘trouble-makers’ like Nibbi and O’Mara, Egyptology would become totally petrified and incapable of ever generating a new insight. Thus, people like Nibbi and O’Mara should be encouraged enthusiastically, because they poke the corpses of the ‘walking dead’, the orthodox scholars who never deviate by a hair’s-breadth from consensus opinions, and make them awaken from their sleepwalking and stir slightly. However, I have had to abandon my noble idea of surveying Nibbi’s ideas, however important they are in terms of what I have been discussing, because the task would be too vast, and this book would never end. I shall content myself therefore with quoting only one of her many, many articles, which appeared in her own journal in 1995, as her comments are so shocking in the light of what we have been considering: … we are given [in a book she has just quoted] a resume from the Egyptological textbooks on the ‘Libyans’ without considering the fact that there is a great deal of uncertainty and assumption in piecing together the Egyptological material, and no clarity at all concerning the geographical background of these people, which cannot have been the desert…. We must accept the Roman use of this term which applied to all the area immediately to the west of the Nile . . . Thus the term westerner is more appropriate than Libyan for the people we are discussing. . . More recent studies of ‘Libyan’ people have been reluctant to separate them from the area that is Libya today and rarely attempt to identify them from any evidence. We even find references to ‘ethnically Libyan pharaohs’, whatever that may imply: At the seminar which formed the basis of Anthony Leahy’s Libya and Egypt c. 1300)-750 B.C. (1990), no attempt was made to define ‘Libyan’. Scholars depended considerably on Leahy’s earlier article on the Libyan period in Egypt which attempts to identity the foreign ‘Libyan’ Dynasty in Egypt as rule by men of ‘Libyan extraction’, even though ‘the retention of their ethnic identity is obscured by the evidence’. …”.

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