Babel And Bible: Three Lectures On The Significance Of Assyriolo

Babel and Bible: Three Lectures on the Significance of Assyriological Research for Religion, Embodying the Most Important Criticisms and the Author's Replies

by Dr. Friedrich Delitzsch

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From the INTRODUCTION.
THE traveler starting overland from the port of Alexandretta, in northern Syria, beholds beyond the high pass of Beilan the widely extended plain of Antioch, a view surprising in novelty and charm. As far as the eye can reach the plain is strewn with mounds of varying height, often grass-covered, their artificial origin easily discernible. These mysterious elevations, called by the Arabs Tell, by the Turks Tepe, accompany the traveler to Aleppo and even farther to the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris, and they constantly increase in height, extent, and number, from Mosul down the stream and through Babylonia, crossing into the Elamite plain and to Susa. They are the marks of the civilisation of pre-Christian millenniums. The large and small cities of the oldest empires of western Asia, of the Hittite states of northern Syria, of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Elamite empires, with their palaces and temples, walls and gates, terraces and towers, lie buried beneath them.
From these mounds of ruins of the Euphrates and Tigris region, weather beaten, grave, and silent, rising from the lonely and lifeless desert, French, English, and American explorers have plucked unfading laurels. They have awakened to new life, after the sleep of thousands of years, the buried glory of millenniums gone, and from innumerable monuments of sculpture and writing living knowledge reaches us of Babylon, Nineveh, and of those earlier peoples whose civilisation continues, in no small measure, to be preserved in our own. The mounds of ruins in the fairyland of The Thousand and One Nights have become for France, England, and America mounds of treasure-trove, from whose darkness they bring to light treasures of human art and science that are the greatest ornament and pride and the never-resting ambition of the great national museums.
It was in the year 1820 that Claudius James Rich, an officer of the English East India Company at Bagdad, undertook, for the recovery of his health, a trip into the Kurdish Mountains, and on his way back he spent a few days at Mosul, the well-known commercial town on the right bank of the Tigris. There the large mounds on the other side of the river attracted his attention. They resembled those which he had seen near Hilla on the Euphrates and which he correctly took for the remains of ancient Babylon. As the southern of the two largest mounds still has the official name of Nunia, and is crowned with a mosque dedicated to the prophet Jonah, the hypothesis suggested itself that there, opposite Mosul, lay the ruins of Nineveh, the ancient capital of Assyria. Rich examined the mounds. He also heard of a large stone slab, engraved with representations of human figures and animals, which had been found some time before, but had been broken by the Turks because of religious prejudice. He was not, however, in a position to continue his investigations....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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