ANCIENT INSCRIPTIONSB.C. 1500.
At the annual m siting of tho Victoria Inatituto (Phlloßophlcal Society of Hrreat Brlta(n) held on' July 2, at tho Sooloty of i Arto Ho 08(3, undoc th.-j prealdonoy of Sic Qjorgo 3tokcß, P.R 8., Rev D-r Wright 1 read a valuable paper by Prof"fßir Snyc^ of 7rbloh the @Boretary, Captain Fr.iroln Petrlo, has Bant us a saramiry, describing tho Important ounelform lnso'lpMons whloli were d'Boovered the wliitur before last at Tel-el-Amarna, Uppor ffigypt. The tula of these tablets i«i a frnly wonderful one, showing that !m tho fifteenth century before oar eeraa — a century before the BJrod.ua— -active llta-ary (ntotcourse was going on throughout the oivJKsacJ worid of Western Asia, between BabylonU >\nd Egypt, and tho smaller stutas of i Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, and even of Eastern O»ppndoolv This lnte r ciutßo was carried on by means of the Babylonian language, and the complicated Biby.'onian soript. Ia fact, Babylonian w^a an inaoh the languigo of diplomacy and oaMviited soolety throughout these regions as Frenoh hai been m modern times. This inflnenoo explains, among other thing*, the existenoo of Babylonian names In P»l°Btlne while "tha O»naac!te was still m the land." Tha newly-found tablets oonfirm the conclusions already arrive 3 at by Egyptologists, that Palestine was OanaanUe at the close of the elghteoath dynasty, the fnnnder .of the nineteenth dyntsty being "the new king who knew not Joseph." The towns of theoonntry were, moreover, garrisoned by Egyptian tro?pi, and, though its governors bore Semitic nnmea, they were < ffioUls of the Egyptian king. One of tbe moit Interestlup; p*«s»goß In the paper dwelt with the question of the antiquity of welting. It has long bean ttoluv assumed by the critical sohoolthat writing wns not only a rare art In Pales tine before the age of D,;vld| but was praotloaUy unknown; Little historical oredence Ofti be placed, l r > b>s beeo urged, m the earHar record* of the Hebrew people, beo»na'e' they could not have been committed to writing until » period when tha history of the past had become traditional and mythical. This assumption la now triumphantly shown to be opposed to facts. Long before the Exodus, Canaan had Its librarlßd aud sorlbes, lti schools and literary men. Thi annals of tbe country, It is true, ware not inscribed m th^ tetters of the Phoeilolan, alphabet on perUhable papyrus ; the writing material was the i«'f arishable clay— the oharaoters those of the ouneiform Byllabary A new light is thus thrdwa on royal lists like that contained m Genesis xxzvi. Why ebonld this not be an eztraot from the chronicles of Edom, originally written m the ouneifcrm syllabary of Babylonia ? In what is nseertiid by the critical school to be the oldest rejio of Hebrew literature .— the nonz of Debornh — reference ia made to the eoribfcfl of Zebulon " that handle tho pen of the writer" (Judges v., 14), and we have now no longer any reason to interpret the word a m anon-nataral sense, nnd Ir»nsform the scribe into a military commander. Professor Sayce'a paper oono'uded; with Borne wcrJa on the rich reward which still awaits the explorer's toil beneath tho soil of the Holy Land, Workmen and funds are found for exhuming the buried history, of Greece, but little or nothing is done to seoure the treasures that lie beneath the surface of tho sacred land of our faith. The tablets of TeUel-AmarnV are, Professor Sayoo holds', an earnest of what is yet to be unearthed m the Holy Land.
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