With respect to the difficulties which the name of Shishak has inflicted on chronological inquiries, and to which the author has devoted several pages, they may be removed by the supposition, that it was a title borne, like Pharaoh, by several kings, and that it may have been merely TTHET, sasăkă, a ruler or governor. The Doctor's connexion of particulars in Ethiopian and Arabian history with the scriptural is interesting and able; and although it may be a point which cannot be decided, it is exceedingly probable that Esau and Homeir were the same person; that after having established a part of his descendants in Seir, he removed with the others to Yemen, therefore, that from him the Hamyaric dynasty proceeded. It is shown that there are not chronological objections to this idea; and that as the Hebrew and Arabic words equally mean red, the Hebrew may have been retained at Seir, and the Arabic have been adopted at Yemen. But those who, with Sir Wm. Drummond, supposing the Hagarim to have been the Agraians of the Greeks, deduce their name from the Arabic of Petra, in Arabia Petræa, have fallen into the error of confounding if with n, the Hagarim being written with the former, and with a radical equivalent to the latter; nor is it to the purpose, on the authority of Michaelis and Assemanni's text, to urge that the Syriac reads ng or, because it is grammatically impossible, and must either have arisen in a textual fault, or the ignorance of the writer, who mistook, for 3. The meaning of the words is also very distinct from each other.

After a curious disquisition on the book of Job, and a synopsis of the different opinions concerning its author and its original form, Dr. Russell returns to the origin of writing. Many, on

be a corruption of the Arabic urna, or play, merciful. The name font, rukmin, (nom. rukmī,) is, however, Sanskrit, and was borne by a prince slain by Baláráma. The fourth, "Apophes," may have been 3799, appapu, protector of the water (Nile), as Varuna was called tufa, appăti, lord of waters; unless it be the same name. The fifth is " Janias, or Sethos,” which was perhaps FGTT, Jỉna, victorious, triumphant. Sethos is clearly an interpolation from another dynasty. The last is “ Assis or Aseth,” which we may retrace to a derivative from 37TĘ, ās, to rule, or to one of Indra's names 3TH. Asăd. Some may perhaps be inclined to account Goshen qwa, a modification of

te 7, Gosthăna, a place for cattle.

questionable grounds, imagine the first alphabet to be of divine origin: the notion perhaps arose from tradition. Thus Ferdausi represents the Devs instructing Tahmuras in the art:

نوشتن به خسرو بیاموختند دلش را بدانش برافروختند

They taught the good king to write;

They inflamed his heart with knowledge. The poet then proceeds to give him the ability of writing to thirty cities in their respective languages. That the art of writing was known before the delivery of the Law, and probably before the days of Moses, the author has established beyond doubt: and the hieratic character of the Egyptians, as distinguished from the hieroglyphic, shows how in that country it proceeded beyond the original symbol. Dr. Russell lays a great stress on the alphabets of Wahshih, edited by Hammer: we long since have carefully inspected them, but are not satisfied of their authenticity. But when, arguing from the Chinese, and the system of hieroglyphics, the Doctor would intimate that the language of the Old Testament was at one time in the same state as the Chinese now is,—displaying a distinct meaning to the eye by certain lines and curves, without being accompanied to the full extent with the capacity of being uttered in corresponding sounds,” we think that he is resting on a theory without foundation. We have referred the rise of the language, particularly called Hebrew, to the days of Abraham; and if Dr. Hales's astronomical calculations (of which he approves) be properly applied to the book of Job, fixing the period of his trial 184 years before the birth of Abraham, the mention of writing in that book will place the art before the patriarch's days. Still the question, as to the nature of the art, will remain :-on this we feel convinced, that no one can advance any thing beyond hypothesis, but we are at the same time persuaded, that there is not the slightest reason to compare it to the Chinese. Dr. Lamb's work, to which the Doctor again adverts, manifestly originated in the investigations of those who have devoted themselves to Egyptian antiquities; and those who will compare the 35th and following pages of Champollion's Letter to A. M. Dacier, cannot fail to perceive what gave rise to the theory. But, as the date of an alphabet cannot be fixed, (we suppose it to have been anterior to Abraham), we may account for its introduction among the Hebrews without imagining a system of Hebrew hieroglyphics. And we have as much right to suppose it anterior to the patriarch, as others to conjecture the reverse.

For not only Moses, but Abraham himself resided in Egypt; consequently, if this improvement had there taken place before the period of his residence, he would undeniably, as

the sheikh of a powerful tribe, which had dealings with the caravans, have made himself acquainted with its principles, and accommodated it to his own language. But the Canaanites, long before his removal from Ur, must have had intercourse with Egypt; and whatever improvement in the art of communication had been made there, or in any country visited by the caravans, would assuredly have been almost immediately known and adopted in every part of the then mercantile world.

We have not space to meet this theory at every point. We presume, that the derivation of the meaning of the alphabetic characters from the supposed hieroglyphic emblems in the note at p. 297 is taken from Dr. Lamb; it is built on the hypothesis of those who have attempted to decipher the Egyptian monuments, and has the same objection in making different characters express the same thing. We are indeed surprised that a writer of Dr. Russell's intelligence should for a moment have been deluded by such visions. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is pronounced to have a separate meaning, and the sense of the root to be sometimes confined to one character (for which “ sometimes " we should read, according to the development of the theory, in most instances "); but as certain sturdy roots bid defiance even to Dr. Lamb's ingenuity, a convenient salvo is provided, that “ in other cases it (the sense of the root) is derived from all the letters which enter into its composition."

Much as we have been heretofore astonished at Parkhurst's vagaries, we never expected a surprise like that which Dr. Lamb has prepared for us in his interpretation of patriarchal names; it, however, has the advantage of enabling Dr. Lamb to explain any Hebrew word just as his fancy pleases, and to disregard any opposition which the cognate languages and the principles of criticism might raise. What can be more preposterous than his interpretation of Gen. ix. 27, on which Dr.

? ', yaphet Elohim leyepheth. The yod he chooses to interpret “ a man,” a phe, “the opening,” and n tau, " of the tent," whence Japheth means, the man of the opening of the tent, and the verb, to open wide the tent door. Gen. ix. 27 should therefore be translated, “ God will open wide the tent door to Japheth;" where we may perceive by the introduction of the word wide," that he has found it convenient to insert the real sense of the root. It is almost needless to say that our version is correct.

After this specimen, we cannot be expected to follow him in his other baseless speculations; we will, however, observe, that Dr. Lamb's marvellous discovery about Elohim tends to show that the tabernacle and temple contained an infraction of the second commandment; that if he be right in making the cherubim God, he makes several passages of Scripture inexplicable, and renders

,יפת אלהים ליפת Russell dwells with pleasure ? The words are

the Psalmist guilty of using a most outrageous figure, when he represented God riding on a cherub, if that cherub was himself.

Having duly examined the origin of alphabetic characters, and shown that, even according to the proposed theory, Abraham may have become acquainted with them during his residence in Egypt without the necessity of conjecturing Hebrew hieroglyphics, we may be allowed to state our own ideas. The great extension of commerce must soon have shown the necessity of ciphers adapted for an easy correspondence; and as the chief manzils or halting places of the caravans were in the vicinity of temples, and as from these commercial expeditions the priests derived no inconsiderable emolument, we may presume that they, in whom the chief learning of the times was centred, first directed their attention to the supply of this want. Leaving Egypt, its phonetic hieroglyphics and the Chinese characters out of the question, we perhaps shall not err in supposing the possibility of these caravans having brought the gift from other regions. From all that we can as yet discover of the nature of the arrowheaded characters in Babylonia and Persepolis, they were alphabetical ; indeed some Persian MSS. affect to give the clue to the latter. We have also no evidence, that the ancient Indian alphabets proceeded from hieroglyphics; and it certainly was not a greater effort of ingenuity to invent an alphabet, than the wonderful structure and euphonic combinations of the sacred tongue of the Hindù priesthood. Where men could be found capable of such a stupendous achievement, it will not be too much to imagine, that the ear would naturally catch the sounds of language,

and the genius devise some ciphers emblematic of them. This, perhaps, was the simple truth: and if it be admitted to be probable, the rise of other alphabets may, as we have remarked, be easily explained by the commerce of the times.

Dr. Russell proceeds to the history of the Jews, as connected with that of the Egyptians and Assyrians, and takes occasion to rectify some chronological errors. The narrative is managed with great skill; many things are offered in a new point of view; and the connexion of profane history, with the references to it in the Bible, is forcibly and judiciously drawn. In many places he examines pagan opinions and superstitions, traces the different people to their national source, aims to discover the causes of enmity or alliance between them and the Jews, and intersperses amidst his subject observations and disquisitions which are of most valuable importance. He, however, adopts the usual idea, that only Judah and Benjamin returned from captivity; and we certainly have not direct evidence to the contrary. Yet, it would seem, that as the proclamation of Cyrus granted permission to all Jews in his dominions to return (Ezra i. 1-4), and as the decree of Artaxerxes (vii. 13) was, that every one of the people of Israel in his kingdoms, who had the inclination, (373105

baru y yo aboa) might, as well as the priests and Levites, go to Jerusalem; we want something more than the mere silence of history to persuade us, that the offer was not as well accepted by many of the exiles in Media and Persia as by those in Babylon. We think too slightly of modern Jewish genealogies and traditions to believe, that none but the members of the two tribes were delivered from captivity; and we cannot admit that the decrees were restricted to the Persian possessions in the Babylonian empire, because in both the word is in the plural (bo), and must have comprehended every place subjected to the Persian dominion. We do not mean to affirm that the ten tribes returned; but we assert, that since in these decrees a liberty of return was granted to them, we cannot reconcile the idea to probability, that none out of their number accepted it. Those who returned, perhaps, were to be found among the Samaritans.

Two recapitulatory chapters, in which there is considerable digression respecting the European nations, conclude the work. Still adhering to his former positions, the author acknowledges the difficulty which the preservation of Homer's poems presents without the use of writing; but doubts if the art was practised in his time, ascribing the preservation of his verses to the memory of reciters. It may, however, be inquired, Could works of such a magnitude have been composed, if writing had been unknown? Now, Cadmus is supposed to have brought letters into Greece about three centuries and a half before the birth of Homer; and it remains to be shown, that the Pelasgi were ignorant of them; consequently, the presumption that Homer could write, is considerably strengthened. The author also conceives, that the art was for a long time lost to the Hebrews under the kings; but, weighing all his reasons, we cannot incline ourselves to coincide with him in this opinion; and notwithstanding the labour by which he has sought to substantiate his positions, we observe the following passage in his seventh chapter :-“It is certain that some species of writing was practised by the Egyptians and ancient Hebrews at the remotest periods comprehended within the range of sacred history." Such is our own notion, but we know not how to reconcile it with his former assertions; since his allusion cannot be to hieroglyphics, because the former part of the sentence relates to the traditional existence of letters among the Assyrians.

In the recapitulation of that part which relates to ancient commerce, Dr. Russell imagines a certain degree of traffic with China to have been carried on by the Indian merchants, who were met by those of Arabia, Tyre, and Sidon; and thus to have been extended to the countries through which the caravans passed. Nor is this improbable. As Biblical intimations of a connexion with Eastern Asia, after noticing the mention of mercantile caravans, he adds; “ We cannot hesitate to believe,

« ForrigeFortsett »