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yond doubt done great service in destroy-ninety-two feet lower than the Mediterraing error, and in showing how hasty and nean level. The naturalist who would crude are many of the views and objec- explain how the delicate sun-birds, who tions of theorists who have written against now inhabit this tropical valley, came to the Bible. Huge libraries of controversy find a home separated by great tracts of have been swept away when the spade of uncongenial desert from their fellows in the excavator has dug up the truth. Africa, would add an important detail to this picture of gradually changing climate, which converted a glacial Palestine into the sub-tropical region of our own times.
Let us glance, then, at the picture of ancient Palestine which has been thus recovered; and first let us consider what the country resembled in the early ages when it rose from the sea as dry land. Professor Hull, after visiting the East, and after studying the conclusions of Lartet and other writers who had previously treated of Palestine geology, draws the following sketch of the pre-human history of the country:
ranean, and this observation was of value in two ways: first, as showing the chimerical nature of the scheme which lately found favor with many, of making a Jor. dan Valley Canal to connect the Gulf of Akabah with the Mediterranean; and secondly, as showing clearly that the views already held by competent writers were correct, and that the Dead Sea already existed in Abraham's time in much the same condition as at present. Josephus believed that the cities of the plain were still to be found in his own times at the bottom of the Dead Sea; but such an idea, though it still commends itself to the fancy of some writers, has been conclusively proved by geological examination to be destitute of foundation in fact.
But while thus glancing at the geolog. ical history of Palestine, we must be careful not to confuse geological and historical time. Professor Hull is of opinion that the Jordan valley lakes were separated from the Gulf of Akabah already as early as Miocene times, and this view is fully confirmed by the observations of The whole of Palestine, and the greater previous explorers. The watershed which part of the Sinaitic peninsula, was up divides the Dead Sea from the Red Sea heaved, Professor Hull tells us, from the was shown, by observations taken during sea, during the Miocene period. The the professor's tour, to rise to a level of chalk, the nummulitic limestone, and other | about six hundred feet above the Mediterbeds which now form the chains of Lebanon and the backbone of the Holy Land, were before this time the floor of the ocean. When these chains were elevated, the great crack or fault, to which all geologists who have visited these regions attribute the formation of the deep Jordan valley, was the result of the shearing of the strata, which left the wall of Moab standing up, while the slopes on the west of the valley slid down beneath the sea level. A pluvial period followed, when glaciers covered the mountains, and a chain of great lakes extended from Hermon to the Dead Sea, the existence of which has now been long demonstrated by various observations. The climate resembled that of Great Britain as now existing, with an abundant rainfall; but the volcanoes of Bashan and the volcanic lakes found in western Galilee in 1872 were then in active movement, continuing as late as the Post-Pliocene period. Gradually, as the climatic conditions changed, the lakes of the Jordan valley, and those found by Sir C. Wilson and Professor Hull in Sinai, dried up, until in our own times they have dwindled down to the smaller sheets of the Merom and Tiberias Lakes, with the present Dead Sea, the surface of which is twelve hundred and
Great changes have, nevertheless, occurred even within historic times, in the regions under consideration. F. Delitzsch has carefully collected the evidence which shows that the length of the Euphrates and Tigris has increased about one hundred miles since the dawn of history, the head of the Persian Gulf having been filled by the mud brought down by these and other rivers from the plateaux of Kurdistan and of Persia. In the same way the Egyptian Delta has been steadily growing since Memphis was founded
be found that they were a branch of the old Accadian race which peopled Chaldea, whose language has been shown by Lenormant and others to be akin to the Finnish.
probably in a bay of the Mediterranean pig-tails, and indeed approached the Taruntil its ruins are now more than a hun-tars in appearance; and it may in the end dred miles inland; and it has been shown, by aid of the observations taken by engineers, since the making of the Suez Canal, that the Isthmus of Suez is now much broader than it was in the time of Moses. At the date of the Exodus, Kantarah, now fifty miles inland, was probably on the shores of the Mediterranean, while the Bitter Lakes and Lake Timsah formed the head of the Gulf of Suez. The choking of the Nile mouth, now called Wady Tumeilât, and the gradual rise of the shores of the Red Sea, account for the change, which is important in connection with the story of the crossing of the Red Sea. Professor Hull seemed inclined at one time to suggest that Africa was an island, and the Isthmus of Suez nonexistent in the days of Moses, but further consideration has induced him to follow the opinion of previous writers, in supposing an isthmus reaching from Ismailiah (probably to Kantarah), which appears to have been formed earlier than the earliest historic period of which we have any record.
From the Miocene to the pre-historic period is a great step in time, but one which we have few means of bridging over. The earliest tribes of which we have any notice in Syrian history are those which Abraham found in possession of the land. It might, perhaps, appear hopeless to expect that any contemporary records concerning these tribes should exist out side the pages of the Old Testament. Yet for the last twenty years the Eyptologists have been in possession of facts which prove the contrary, although it is only within the last few years, through the energy of Professor Sayce and other students, that the British public in general has become aware of the fact. We may mention the Hittites, the Phoenicians, and the Amorites, as the earliest inhabitants of Syria and Palestine of whose existence we have monumental evidence extant. For the last twenty years Egyptologists have been aware of the importance of the Hittites as a dominant race in northern Syria. Chabas was among the first to point out that they spoke a language apparently not Semitic. They had also scribes, and, consequently, were able to write, and their civilization and political importance were such as to place them on an equal footing with the Egyptians in the fourteenth century B.C. From pictures of this period we know that the Hittites were a light-colored, hairless race, who wore
The suggestion that the curious Syrian hieroglyphs found at Hamath and Aleppo, and further north at Carchemish, and in various parts of Asia Minor, are of Hittite origin, was first hazarded by Dr. Wright, and was independently advocated by Professor Sayce in 1880. These hieroglyphs are still unread, and it cannot be too distinctly stated that until we know in what language they are written and what they really contain, we cannot say with confidence with whom they origi nated. The reading of the Syrian hieroglyphics is one of the great problems of Oriental scholarship still awaiting its Champollion or its George Smith, and however probable the suggestion may be that these monuments are due to the Hittites, who without doubt dwelt in Syria, in Mesopotamia, and in Asia Minor, the attempts as yet made to treat the question of their interpretation are hardly to be considered safer than those made to read Egyptian or Cypriote before the key was discovered to its real meaning. The civilization of the Hittites appears, however, to have been closely connected with that of Egypt, and, so numerous are the signs common to the supposed Hittite and Egyptian hieroglyphs, that we can hardly think the coincidence to be accidental, and, when the key at length is found, we may expect to obtain great assistance in reading these new texts from our knowledge of Egyptian signs on the one hand, and of the language of the Accadians on the other. Meantime, we cannot be too cautious in the conclusions we draw from the very meagre materials as yet in our possession with respect to the Hittites.
An interesting and valuable work called "The Empire of the Hittites" has just been published by Dr. Wright. In it the reader will find summarized all the information already collected which is diffused through the works of De Rougé, Chabas, G. Smith, Brugsch, Mariette, and in the later publications of Professor Sayce and Mr. Rylands. Dr. Wright does not refer to the early papers of Chabas on the subject, published in 1866, but most of the results of this scholar's work were adopted by Dr. Brugsch. To the plates already published by the Biblical Archaeological Society Dr. Wright adds a long text by Professor Ramsay, and several other valu
able drawings; and he has, moreover, | est Syrian races. The survey of Moab written a most graphic account of his ex- resulted in the examination of various pedition to Hamath in 1872, when he great centres of rude stone monuments succeeded, where all before had failed, in erected by an illiterate race at an early getting a true copy of the famous inscribed period; and a study of the distribution of stones here found by Burckhardt early in these remains and of the incidental notices the century. of menhirs, stone circles and stone altars, of the Canaanites, in the Old Testament, seems clearly to indicate that the Syrian dolmens, circles, and menhirs were originally erected by the nations which Israel conquered and dispossessed. The injunctions of the author of Deuteronomy, put in force by the later kings of Judah, included the destruction of these monu. ments; and we find that while in the region beyond Jordan, where the kings of Judah were powerless, the dolmens yet remain intact, they have entirely disap peared in those districts which were visited by the iconoclastic Josiah and the priests of Jehovah. Thus, while among the Hittites we have evidence of early civilization in Syria, we have evidence also of the existence of other tribes whose rites must have closely resembled those of the Druids in our own lands, including human sacrifice, which, as can be conclusively proved, remained a common custom throughout Syria,to a late historic period. It is very remarkable, as a writer in the Edinburgh Review 'points out, that one of the great dolmen centres is close to the probable site of the Mizpah where Jephthah lived, and where he sacrificed his daughter, in fulfilment of his rash vow, an episode which has its parallel in Greece in the story of Iphigeneia.
To Dr. Wright's book two chapters are added by Professor Sayce concerning the reading of the texts. The conclusion that the hieroglyphs found in Syria and Asia Minor by Burckhardt, G. Smith, Professor Ramsay, Dr. Gwyther, Professor Sayce, and others, and even as far north as the Halys, as far west as Smyrna, and on the east round Aleppo, are of Hittite origin, is accepted by Dr. Isaac Taylor and by several safe authorities; but — with deference be it said it is not yet proven, how ever probable. The discovery that the boots of the figures which really represent Hittites at Karnak are turned up like the boots of the figures on the monuments with Syrian hieroglyphs is the latest and perhaps most valuable item of evidence as yet collected by Professor Sayce; but as a rule the figures approach much more closely to the Semitic work of Phoenicians and Babylonians than to the representation of beardless, pig-tailed warriors given by Rosselini from the great basreliefs of the battle of Kadesh at Karnak (which have by-the-by not found a place in Dr. Wright's otherwise exhaustive work), and it is well known that Syria in the fourteenth century B.C. had a mixed population, Semitic and non-Semitic; while the local deities, Set, Kadesh, and Ashtoreth, mentioned in connection with the The study of Phoenician archæology is Hittites, were all Semitic. It is evident, yet another most important department then, that until the language in which the of Syriology. The work of Gesenius, inscriptions of Syria are written has been Movers, Renan, and others in this direcreally determined, and found to be, like tion, still remains to be completed. Hiththat of the Hittites, non-Semitic, we are erto we have suffered, first, from the zeal as yet not able to say with certainty that of those who saw in Phoenicia the origin the texts are Hittite or Turanian. The of all European civilization; and, secondopinion of great authorities at presently, from misconceptions due to seeing the favors this supposition, which is prima facts through the medium of Greek mis. facie probable this is the utmost that representations. Much also in Phoenicia can be safely said; but meantime the is of very late date, belonging to a pecareful collection of authentic information -though it might be supplemented by further details from Rosselini and Chabas, and though it should be clearly understood that the Kheta or Hittites were known to the Egyptologists twenty years ago, and have not been newly discovered within the last few years-renders Dr. Wright's work a valuable contribution to Oriental archæology.
The Hittites and their hieroglyphs are not, however, the only relics of the earli
riod of decadence under classic influence. This was the age of many Phoenician antiquities discovered by Renan; and the religion of the Phoenicians must be judged by better information than that contained in the perverted accounts of Philo of By. blos. New light is, however, being continually shed on the civilization and history of this most interesting race. From Egypt we obtain details as early almost as the time of Moses; and in Phoenician seals and gems we discover that curious
mixture of Assyrian and Egyptian art which we should expect to find among a people commercially connected with the two great centres at Memphis and at Nineveh.
The researches of Dr. Isaac Taylor, founded on the long neglected discovery of De Rougé, have clearly shown to us the natural birth of that great Phoenician alphabet which is the parent of every form of European writing, and of the scripts of Persia, Bactria, Arabia, and India as well. We now know that by simplifying the hieratic syllabaries used in their trading negotiations with Egypt, the Phoenicians constructed the alphabet which the Greeks and the Arameans borrowed from them, and which spread at least as early as 800 B.C. (and in all probability much earlier) over the whole of Palestine, and even to the deserts of Moab.
The old objections to the antiquity of the Hebrew Scriptures, which were founded on the supposition that writing was unknown until about the time of Peisistratos (550 B.C.), have thus been swept away forever; and the newer argument representing the Hebrews as inferior in civilization even to the Moabites, which was founded on the discovery of the Moabite stone, has shared the same fate since the recovery at Jerusalem itself of a beautifully graven text (the Siloam inscription) in six lines, dating probably from the time of Hezekiah, and showing us both the character employed and the language used by Israel in the time of the kings of Judah before the captivity.
The discovery of this important inscription teaches us that we need not despair of finding monumental evidence of Hebrew historic events within the limits of the Holy Land itself. As yet, we have only two monuments, although a tomb with a short inscription in letters like those of the Siloam text was found in 1873 by the English survey party in the Jordan valley; but who shall say that nothing remains to be found under the ruins of Jerusalem or in Damascus or elsewhere in Palestine, now that we know the Hebrews to have engraved on stone like the Phoenicians and other neighboring peoples? *
The Phoenician text mentioned by M. Clermont Ganneau, in a recent letter to the Times, as discovered by himself in the village of Silwân, must not be confused with the Siloam inscription. M. Ganneau's inscription is unpublished, and it appears to be entirely illegible from its age and the action of the weather. is now in the British Museum, but is unfortunately of
little value on account of its condition.
A great deal has also of late been done in the study of the later characters used by the scribes after the captivity. The surveyors have added more than one inscription to those already known, and M. Clermont Ganneau, to whom we owe a valuable Phoenician text from Cyprus, has made an interesting collection of se pulchral graffiti from Jaffa and Jerusalem, some of which may be as early as the first and third centuries A.D. The sur veyors have also found in Moab Nabathean texts, which offer new forms of great importance to the history of the alphabet. Such knowledge, while, on the one hand, it at once enables the student to detect such frauds as the notorious Shapira MS. of Deuteronomy, will, on the other, enable him to set a date upon really valuable texts, like the Harkavy MS. of the prophets, which may prove to be the earliest text of any part of the Old Testament yet found-the tattered fragments of the earliest previously known MSS. (the unpointed texts of St. Petersburg) being at earliest not older than the seventh century. The use of vowel points began about 570 A.D., and the newly found MS. might therefore be supposed to be earlier than that time, but the forms of the letters used, together with the absence of final forms, would seem to indicate the seventh century A.D. as the earliest possible age of the newly found copy from Rhodes, deciphered by Dr. Harkavy.
Dry as such researches may be in them. selves, the general reader will be interested to glance at the slow but steady accumulation of sound knowledge in such matters, and especially if he is aware how meagre are still our materials for critical examination of the Bible. The doctrines of the youngest German school, depending mainly on an exegesis which is not alone sufficient to carry conviction, will assuredly be found in many instances both fanciful and unscientific when they are weighed in the balances of a knowledge firmly based on a true comparative study of Hebrew antiquities.
But it is not merely through the recovery of ancient sites, ancient monuments, and ancient writings, that material is to be collected for the advancement of learning. We have living commentaries to study in the East; we have the descendants of Hittites and Canaanites, with Oriental Jews and other ancient stocks, from whose manners and dress, language and superstitions, we have much to learn. The student of literary Arabic lays down
ruins of Palestine shows us that, with the exception of the Tyrian tombs, the Hebrew sepulchres, the great rampart walls at Jerusalem and Hebron, and the dolmens of Moab, Gilead, and Galilee, we have as yet nothing that can with certainty be ascribed to a period older than the Christian era. We have a few relics of the Herodian period, we have magnifi
grammatical rules as to that rich but guttural language, which to himself, in his study among his folio lexicons, appear to be immutable laws. The explorer who lives among the peasantry from year to year, and who watches their life and hears them speak almost in the very tongue which poets and prophets used in the days of Isaiah and in the time of Christ, thinks little of the fictions of the gramma-cent Roman work of the second century, rian when he can penetrate to the very heart and genius of the language. Much has been done, but yet more remains to be accomplished, in carrying out this comparison between the sturdy Syrian stocks of our own days and the energetic races, Phoenician or Hebrew, Hittite or Accadian, of the earliest Asiatic history. The folk-lore of the pure Arab tribes, the peas ant customs of the fellaheen, the secret rites of the pagans of north Syria, handed down from the times of the Assassins and of the secret societies of Islam and of Persia, dating back to the orgies of Cybele, the Dionysian mysteries, the old Tammuz worship of Phoenicia, and the sacred libations and May-poles of Chaldea, all these survivals of paganism interest to the utmost the student of ancient religion, and cast new light on many an obscure passage in the Talmud or the Targums, and not less on the books of the Old and New Testament.
we find synagogues in Galilee of the same period, and countless chapels and monas. teries of the Byzantine centuries. Rather later, we find in Jerusalem, Damascus, Ammân, and elsewhere, some of the oldest Moslem buildings in the world; and then suddenly the Gothic work of the Normans rises throughout the land, eclipsing in strength and beauty all previous efforts, and covering Palestine with castles, cathedrals, and burghs. Norman law supersedes all other, and Norman society replaces the purely Oriental, or the imita tion of classic civilization. Again, a century later, this is once more swept away by the fierceness of the Kurdish Saladin'; and the beautiful erections of the Arabs in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries mark the latest period of prosperity which Palestine has as yet known.
Now, all these remains have to be studied, dated, and classified, in order to clear the ground for the examination of more ancient things. We no longer mistake a Crusading castle for a specimen of "pure Phoenician art," as one popular writer did only twenty years ago. We know when we see a drafted stone that, although it may be either Roman or Byzantine, Crusading or Arab, in workmanship, according to its size and finish, it is almost certain that it is not Phoenician. The Herodian masonry of Jerusalem and Hebron is drafted, no doubt, but the stones are four feet high and twenty feet long, and they are finished with a toothed chisel, which no other builders used. By such minute observation alone can really sound gener
But there is a danger which is ever to be guarded against natural to the student of these early civilizations - the danger of forgetting the lapse of centuries, and of overlooking the history of the country he studies. There was a time when the recovery of a drafted stone was sufficient evidence in the eyes of a traveller that he had found a Hebrew or Phoenician ruin; there was a time when Stonehenge was supposed to be a Phoenician temple, and the bronze celts of Norway to be of Phoenician manufacture. The work of the Palestine Exploration Fund has been important, not only on account of a few genuine discoveries of primary impor-alizations be reached in treating of monutance, but also because of the destruction of a great mass of hasty and unfounded assertions which clogged the wheels of true progress. Those who have worked for the society have not striven after the sensational. Men like Sir C. Wilson and Sir C. Warren have set truth and permanency before effect and popularity; and, however arduous be the way which leads to knowledge, it may safely be predicted that the work done in Palestine will outlast many brilliant theories and many popular delusions. The study of the
ments undated or without inscription.
In conclusion of this brief summary of architectural study in Palestine, reference may be made to two points in particular. First, the thorough exploration of the Hebron Haram, which has added to our information concerning the mysterious cave where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are said to have been buried, the fact that a rock-cut chamber really does exist under the mosque, with a door very like that of an ordinary Jewish tomb. In the second place, no single discovery of the Palestine