Page images
PDF
EPUB

distance in ten days, which is the shortest period we can, according to the scripture account, assign to the journey (vs. 22, 23). We must not judge of the capabilities of Arab women and children, flocks and herds, according to our Western ideas and experience” (See Athenaeum, May 22, 1862).

Dr. Beke's other incidental confirmations of his theory are less important. It is urged that unless Abraham was living near Damascus, he could not have had a servant in his household who was called " Eliezer of Damascus” (Gen. xv. 2). The answer to this is that the servant himself may possibly have been born there, and have wandered to the farther East before Abraham's migration; or more probably, may have sprung from a family that belonged originally to Damascus. Mr. Porter illustrates this latter import of the expression from his own experience: “I knew well in Damascus two men, one called Ibrahim el-Haleby, · Abraham of Aleppo'; and the other Elias el-Akka, · Elias of Akka,' neither of whom had ever been in the town whose name he bore. Their ancestors had come from those towns; and that is all such expressions usually imply in the East, in Arabic as in Hebrew” (Athenaeum, Dec. 7, 1861).

The coincidence of the name proves nothing as to the identification in question. The name (if it be Arabic) means “ arid, scorched,” and refers no doubt to the Syrian Hârân, as being on the immediate confines of the desert. The affix Arwamâd, i.e.“columns,” comes from five Ionic pillars, forty feet high, which appear among the mud houses of the village (see Porter's Hand-book, ii. p. 497).

Again, the inference from Acts vii. that Stephen opposes Charran to Mesopotamia in such a way as to imply that Charran lay outside the latter, is unnecessary, to say the least;' for he may mean equally as well that Abraham was called twice in Mesopotamia, i.e. not only in the part of that province where Charran was known to be, but still earlier in the more northern part of it, known as “ the land of the Chaldees," the original home and seat of the Abrahamic race. Not only so, but the latter must be Stephen's meaning, unless he differed from the Jews of his time, since both Philo and Josephus relate that Abraham was called thus twice in the land of his nativity and kindred, and in this view they followed the manifest implication of the Old Testament, as we see from Gen. xv. 7 and Neh. ix. 7 (compare Gen. xii. 1-4).

Dr. Beke found “ Blocks and sheep, and maidens drawing water at Hârân el-Arwamâd, and felt that he saw the scripture scene of Jacob's arrival, and of the presence of Rachel with “ her father's sheep which she kept” re-enacted before his eyes. But this is an occurrence so common in Eastern villages at the present day, especially along the skirts of the desert, that it can hardly be said to distinguish one place from another.

But the reasons for the traditional opinion entirely outweigh those

1 The“ born in my house” of the A. V. (Gen. xv. 3) mistranslates the Hebrew, which means only that Eliezer belonged to Abraham's household.

against it. (a.) The city of Nahor or Haran (Gen. xxiv. 10) is certainly in Aram-Naharim, i.e.“ Syria of the two rivers” (in the Auth. Ver., Mesopotamia). This expression occurs also in Deut. xxii. 4 and Judges iïi. 8, and implies a historic notoriety which answers perfectly to the Tigris and Euphrates, but not to rivers of such limited local importance as the Abana and Pharpar, streams of Damascus. (b.) Aram Dammesek (the “Syria Damascena " of Pliny) is the appellation of southern Syria, (see 2 Sam. viü. 6 and Isa. vii. 8), and is a different region from Aram-Naharim, where Haran was. (c.) Jacob in going to Haran went to the land of the people of the East” (Gen. xxiv. 1), which is not appropriate to so near a region as that of Damascus, and one almost north of Palestine, but is so to that beyond the Euphrates. In accordance with this, Balaam, who came from Aram-Naharim, speaks of himself as having been brought“out of the mountains of the East” (Deut. xxiii. 5; Numb. xxiii. 7). (a.) The river which Jacob crossed in his flight from Laban is termed anion i.e., “the river,” as the Euphrates is so often termed by way of eminence (Gen. xxxi. 21 ; Ex. xxü. 33; Josh. xxiv. 3, 4, etc.). (e.) The ancient versions (the Targums, the Syriac and the Arabic Pentateuch) actually insert Euphrates in Gen. xxxi. 21, and thus show how familiar the authors were with the peculiar Hebrew mode of designating that river. (f.) The places associated with Haran, as Gozan, Rezeph, Eden (2 Kings xix. 12; Ias. xxxvi. 12) and Canneh (Ezek. xxvii. 23) point to the region of the Euphrates as the seat of this entire group of cities. (g.) Incidental allusions (as in Gen. xxiv. 4-8; xxviii. 20, 21) show that Haran was very far distant from Canaan, whereas Damascus is upon its very border. So too Josephus (Antt. i. 16, § 1) not only places Haran in Mesopotamia, but sets forth its great distance from Canaan, as making Eliezer's journey thither to procure a wife for Isaac, formidable and tedious in the highest degree. (h.) The living traditions connect Abraham's life in Haran with Mesopotamia, and not with Damascus. Mr. Ainsworth, who visited Hârân, says that the people there preserve the memory of the patriarch's history ; they tell where he encamped, where he crossed the Euphrates, and how he and his herds found a resting-place at Berôea, now Aleppo.

2. GLORIOUS VIEW FROM NEBO. It has been usually thought that the description given of the view which Moses had from Nebo, the top of Pisgah, just before his death, was one addressed to the imagination and not to the eye. Some of the points mentioned may have been seen, it is said, but the others were only suggested. Dean Stanley, among others, has placed the matter in this light. One reason for this impression has been that no summit of the Moab mountains, the Abarim, opposite Jericho, was known to furnish a prospect like that represented as visible from Nebo : “ And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead unto Dan; and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and

Manasseh ; and all the land of Judah unto the utmost sea (the Mediterranean); and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees unto Zoar” (Deut. xxxiv. 1-3). Hitherto but few travellers comparatively have gone into this trans-Jordanic region. It is surprising how little we have known from actual trial of the possibility of seeing with the natural eye the magnificent panorama which Moses is said to have seen, in his survey of the Promised Land from Nebo. But this question at length has been put to the test. Mr. Tristram, in his recent exploration of a part of the Belka (Land of Israel, 1851), ascended one of the brows there overlooking the mouth of the Jordan, over against Jericho," from which he beheld a landscape which corresponds remarkably with the biblical representation.

It must be left to his own words to describe the scene: 4 The brow cannot be less than four thousand five hundred feet, so completely does it overlook the height of Hebron and of central Judea. To the eastward, as we turned round, the ridge seemed gently to slope for two or three miles, when a few small, ruin-clad • tells' or hillocks (Heshbon, Main, and others) broke the monotony of the outline; and then, sweeping forth, rolled in one vast, unbroken expanse, the goodly Belka – one boundless plain, stretching far into Arabia, till lost in the horizon - one waving ocean of corn and grass. Well may the Arabs boast, Thou canst not find a country like the Belka.' As the eye turned southwards toward the line of the ridge on which we were clustered, the peak of Jebel Shihan just stood out behind Jebel Attarus, which opened to reveal to us the situation of Kerak, though not its walls. Beyond and behind these, sharply rose Mounts Hor and Seir, and the rosy granite peaks of Arabia faded away into the distance toward Akabah. Still turning westward, in front of us, two or three lines of terraces reduced the height of the plateau, as it descended to the Dead Sea, the western outline of which we could trace in its full extent, from Usdom to Feshkah. It lay like a long strip of molten metal, with the sun mirrored on its surface, waving and undulating in its further edge, unseen in its eastern limits, as though poured from some deep cavern beneath our feet. There, almost in the centre of the line, a break in the ridge and a green spot below marked Engedi, the nest once of the Kenite, now of the wild goat. The fortress of Masada and jagged Shukif rose above the mountain-line, but still far below us, and lower, too, than the ridge of Hebron, which we could trace, as it lifted gradually from the southwest as far as Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The buildings of Jerusalem we could not see, though all the familiar points in the neighborhood were at once identified. This must have been from a slight haze or want of power in our glasses, as the point where we stood is certainly visible from the roof of the English Church at Jerusalem. There was the Mount of Olives, with the church at its top, the gap in the hills leading up from Jericho, and the rounded heights of Benjamin on its other side. Still

turning northward, the eye was riveted by the deep Ghôr, with the rich green islets of Ain Sullân and Ain Dûk — bright twins, nestling, as it were, under the wall of Quarantania (the traditionary scene of Christ's temptation). There, closer still, beneath us, had Israels last camp extended in front of the green fringe which peeped forth from under the terraces, our foreground. The dark, sinuous bed of the Jordan, clearly defined near its mouth, was soon lost in dim haze. Then looking over it, the eye rested on Gerizim's rounded top; and, further still, opened the plain of Esdraelon, the shoulder of Carmel, or some other intervening height, just showing to the right of Gerizim ; while the faint and distant bluish haze beyond it told us that there was the sea, the utmost sea. It seemed as if but a whiff were needed to brush off the haze and reveal it clearly. Northward again, rose the distinct outline of unmistakable Tabor, aided by which we could identify Gilboa and Jebel Duhy. Snowy Hermon's top was mantled with cloud, and Lebanon's highest range must have been exactly shut behind it; but in front, due north of us, stretched in long line the dark forests of Ajlun, bold and undulating, with the steep sides of mountains here and there whitened by cliffs, terminating in Mount Gilead, behind Es-Salt. To the northeast the vast Hauran stretched beyond, filling in the horizon line to the Belka, between which and the (Bashan) there seems to be no natural line of separation. The tall range of Jebel Hauran, behind Bozrah, was distinctly visible.”

Moses died in the full possession of his powers, as the historian informs us, and though he mentions as one of the proofs of this that the patriarch's “ eye was not dim” at his advanced age, it is striking to observe that he mentions the fact immediately after describing this wide scene which Moses had compassed with his natural eye. Thus, as it were, without thinking of it, he has forestalled an objection which might be supposed to arise in the mind of the reader.

ARTICLE IX.

NOTICES OF RECENT GERMAN PUBLICATIONS.

FROM OUR GERMAN CORRESPONDENT.

BEGINNINGS OF REFORMATORY MOVEMENTS IN SPAIN, UNDER CHARLES V., exhibited from Original Documents of the Inquisition of Toledo.' – Some years ago a number of folio volumes of original docu

1 Francisca Hernandez und Frae Franzisco Ortiz : Aufănge reformatorischer Bewegungen in Spanien unter Kaiser Karl V. Aus originalacten des Inquisitionstribunals zu Toledo dargestellt. Von Dr. Edward Böhmer. Leipzig: H. Hassel; London : Asher and Co., Trübner and Co. 1865. Price, 2 thaler 20 sgr.

ments, recording the proceedings of the Spanish Inquisition, especially in Toledo, fell into the hands of Dr. Edward Böhmer of Halle; and from these he has drawn, among other things, the materials for the work whose title is given above. We have ourselves seen several of the volumes in question, and can testify to their deeply interesting character. Among other documents is a letter addressed by a “ heretic” to Philip II. of Spain, with marginal notes in the king's own hand-writing. Franzisca Hernandez and Franzisco Ortiz, concerning whose life-relations to each other and treatment by the Inquisition Dr. Böhmer gives an excellently written account, with numerous incidental notices of other matters, giving evidence of as much learning in this department as he has shown in so many others, were respectively a female mystic and a Franciscan monk. The former seems to have had decided Protestant leanings, and exercised a remarkable evangelical influence on all who came into closer contact with her. The latter was one of the most popular preachers of his time, who suffered much because he maintained the purity of Franzisca's character and the excellence of her influence. An appendix contains numerous beautiful extracts from the mystical Abecedario espiritual of Franzisco de Osuna, teacher of St. Theresa, and a disciple of Franzisca Hernandez.

LECTURES AND TREATISES ON HISTORICAL SUBJECTS.' - Dr. Zeller, Professor of Philosophy in Heidelberg, is the author of the celebrated History of Greek Philosophy. The treatises contained in this book were published originally in Sybel's “ Historische Zeitschrift ” and in the “ Preussische Jahrbücher.” The subjects discussed are the following: The Development of Monotheism among the Greeks ; Pythagoras and the Traditions about him ; Defence of Xanthippe; The Influence exerted by the Platonic State on the Mind of later Generations; Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ; Wolff's Expulsion from Halle; the Struggle between Pietism and Philosophy; Johann Gottlieb Fichte as Politician; Friedrich Schleiermacher; Primitive Christianity; The Tübingen Historical School ; Ferdinand Christian Baur; Strauss and Renan. We have seldom taken up a German book which we have read with greater interest. Dr. Zeller writes an excellent German style and very clearly. We do not, indeed, agree at all with the views he advocates and describes, so far as they bear upon Christianity, but there can be but one opinion as to the ability and clearness with which they are set forth. Of special interest are those which relate to the Tübingen school, of which Zeller is a distinguished member. They give a careful, accurate, and popular summary of the principal results arrived at by Baur and his several pupils. The essay in defence

1 Vorträge und Abhandlungen geschichtlichen Inhalts. Von Edward Zeller. Leipzig: Fues ; London : Asher and Co., Trübner and Co. 1865. Price, 3 thaler,

« PreviousContinue »