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valuable account of the fauna and flora of the Holy Land, by Canon Tristram ; and the last is devoted to an account of twenty years of exploration in Jerusalem, with papers in addition on the history of the city and on its existing monuments. The great work thus completed forms the basis of a true scientific study of Palestine antiquities ; but the most valuable results are perhaps still in the future, when this mass of information has been well sifted and summarized. In addition to this work, we have the Survey of Eastern Palestine, inaugurated in 1881, which has already yielded important results as yet lying hidden in manuscript plans and notes which the Society should strive to produce as soon as possible ; for though the district examined was small, the amount of information collected was larger and more interesting than any which they have as yet published relating to Western Palestine. Accounts of the exploration of the Hebron Haram by the officers accompanying the Royal Princes in 1882, and the reconnaissance of Sinai and southern Palestine, with a view to the settlement of geological questions, undertaken by Professor Hull for the Society in 1883, are also among the more recent publications of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
The Biblical Archæological Society has turned its attention to the so-called " Hittite” question, which promises results of great interest in the future; and the Egyptian Exploration Fund has employed M. Naville, the well-known Swiss antiquarian, to dig in the Delta, with the interesting result that he has identified Pithom, thus castiug important light on the Exodus route. In addition to these labours, the publication of Dr. Isaac Taylor's “ History of the Alphabet” marks an important advance in our knowledge of epigraphy which will assist future students of this great subject to assign due value to their discoveries, while the Harkavy manuscripts of the Prophets may well be expected to yield new critical results, especially if they should prove to be older than the earliest existing manuscripts as yet known of the Hebrew Scriptures ; and the discovery of the valuable tractate called “ Teaching of the Apostles,” in Turkey, shows that even in early Christian literature new and important discoveries may yet be possible.
In individual discoveries the general reader may feel little interest. There are some who do not care where Succoth was, and think it of little importance in what character the kings of Judah wrote their inscriptions. Yet such general readers do feel a constantly growing interest in the general question as to the results of all those inquiries which bear on the Bible literature. There are questions connected with the Bible on which exploration throws no light, and aspects with which the antiquarian has little to do. The naïve question, which the explorer has often to answer, "Do your discoveries go to prove that the Bible is true ? ” betokens a somewhat vague habit of thought and speech, and is one which cannot properly be answered in a single word. It cannot but be felt, however, that exploration has resulted in disposing of many crude objections to the Bible narrative. It has explained very many difficulties, it has shown some curious expressions and episodes to be perfectly correct from an Oriental point of view. It has given a true colouring to our understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures, and has shown that the historic facts of such books as Kings or Chronicles with the geography of Joshua and of the New Testament are genuine and reliable, and that they can be checked by incidental notices in the history of Assyria or of Egypt, in monuments yet legible in Syria or Moab, in the ruins and ancient nomenclature still remaining in the Holy Land. From a purely human standpoint, which regards the Scriptures as ancient literature, exploration has beyond doubt done great service in destroying error, and in showing how hasty and crude are many of the views and objections of theorists who have written against the Bible. Huge libraries of controversy have been swept away when the spade of the excavator has dug up the truth.
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 :
The whole of Palestine, and the greater part of the Sinaitic Peninsula, was upheaved, Professor Hull tells us, from the sea, during the Miocene period. The chalk, the nummulitic limestone, and other beds 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 1,292 feet lower than the Mediterranean level. The naturalist who would explain how the delicate sun-birds, who now inhabit this tropical valley, came to find a home separated by great tracts of uncongenial desert from their fellows in 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.
But while thus glancing at the geological 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 previous explorers. The watershed which divides the Dead Sea from the Red Sea was shown, by observations taken during the Professor's tour, to rise to a level of about 600 feet above the Mediterranean, and this observation was of value in two ways: first, as showing the chimerical nature of the scheme which lately found favour with many, of making a “ Jordan 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.
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 100 miles since the dawn of history, the head of the Persian Gulf having been filled hy 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—probably in a bay of the Mediterranean-until its ruins are now more than 100 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 non-existent 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 outside the pages of the Old Testament. Yet for the last twenty years the Egyptologists 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-coloured, hairless race, who wore pig-tails, and indeed approached the Tartars in appearance; and it may in the end 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.
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 originated. 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 valuable drawings; and he has, moreover, written a most graphic account of his expedition to Hamath in 1872, when he succeeded, where all before had failed, in getting a true copy of the famous inscribed stones here found by Burckhardt early in the century.
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, however 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 Phænicians and Babylonians than to the representation of beardless pig-tailed warriors given by Rosselini from the great bas-reliefs 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 nonSemitic; while the local deities, Set, Kadesh and Ashtoreth, mentioned in connection with the Hittites, were all Semitic. It is evident, then,