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THE RELIGIOUS WORLD., Issue 15680, 19 December 1914
THE RELIGIOUS WORLD.
THE STORY OF THE CREATION. A BAB\XONIAN^ONFIRMATION. The publication of the discovery made Inr Dr Langdon, of Jesus College, Oxford, of * pre-&mitic account of the Deluge among tho early Babylonian tablets disinterred at Nippnr, has aroused the greatest interest among students of the Bible • in all lands. For example, Dr Solomon Schecter, the well-known theologian and •ardflident of the Jewish Theological fcenunary, London, since 1902. a former professor of Hebrew ot Cambridge University and now professor,of Hebrew at University College, London, is quite enthusiastic over Dr Langdon's discovery, roncerning which he says : "1 know that Professor Langdon is a sareful scholar, and I have great faith fat hia announcement. If it is as anMunced, I can only say that it is so femarkable as to bo titanic. 1 cannot make intelligent observations about this until I have the full information. I am going over to Hamburg next week, and I shall cross over to England and see with rny own eyes what he has found. As 1 understand the announcement, Professor Langdon has found tho origin of the Book of Genesis, and his discovery goes to prove the authenticity of that work. Deorgo Smith's discoveries in Chaldea, which, was the ancient name for Babylonia, in 1872 and 1873, while fairly complete, differed in material facts from the text of the Book of Genesis as lianded down by the Hebrews. That led to a great amount of controversy which lias never been satisfactorily settled. Now. the Chaldean account of the deluge is of I later date than the Nippur tablets that Professor Langdon has just translated. That proves that they are an account of the same storv, corrupted by generations of telling anil shaping to the religious necessities of the day. The Langdon translations are of writing that might date hack to over 2,0C0 years 8.C., while those of the Chaldean account must dato from about between 600 and LOCO years B.C. —Jews' Treasured Story.— *' Thus it is easily deduced that the Jews obtained the more ancient account of tho deluge, for at the time all those countries were under the same king or emperor. Later the Jews became a separate kingdom, and kept the- old story perfect and intact, whue in Assyria and Asia Minor it was corrupted aud adapted to the needs of the people. It is not surprising that the oldest account of the flood should agree with that in the Jewish records. I am very sorry that there are breaks in the inscriptions. They, of course, lead to inaccuracies. The account of the Fall of Man, in which Noah appears instead of Adam, requires fnrther explanation. It is my opinion that a fragment of the Enoch legend has entered into this and created confusion that has resulted in the identities of Adam and Noah being confused. This, however, is only conjecture. The portion of the tranlation in which Noah received revelations from the Babylonia water god, Enki, being taught in the wisdom of the gods, will require much explanation. I can find no parallel to thi3 in the Bible, although Noah was advised of tho coming of the flood. This sounds a little like the Enoch legend also, and it will be difficult to determine the exact truth. Yon know, Enoch occurs in several places and seems to have been an important personage, but there is never very much about him. He is one of those systical, almost mythical characters in the ancient writings who are always being confounded with someone else *nd leading to inaccuracy. The story of Enoch as told in the Apocrypha seenu to have a pertinent relation to tho Noah of Professor Langdon's translations. Professor Langdon's discovery when properly placed before the public will add greatly to tho proof of the authenticity of the Book of Genesis and the whole Old Testament." —A Doubter.— Professor Loring Woart 'Batten (Clement C. Moore), professor of the literature and interpretation of the Old Testament at tho General Theological Seminary. Chelsea square, was yreatlv interested in Professor Langdon's discovery, but thought it was not of very great importance. He said : "I doubt if Professor Langdon has discovered anything new, and the announcement that 1 read contained only a. few facts. As soon as I can get the full text of his translations I will be better able to judge and decide if there is anything new in it. He seems to have found only another variation of the same story that the Jews wrote in their Bible. That story was common property all over Assyria, Asia Minor, and adjacent countries, and was adapted and corrupted by each people that used it. The fact that the Jewish version of it is accepted, was that they were the ones to preserve it in their Biblical writings, and so hand it down to us. Professor Langdon's discovery amounts only to a corroboration of what the Jews wrote, and makes their Bible more authentic, if another version of what seems to have been common property among a great number of different and constantly warring peoples can amount to a corroboration. I have found in the writings that have been discovered by the late Prof. Georco Smith and subsequent explorers, and now Professor Langdon, that there is a great confusion between the characters of Adam. Noah, and Enoch. In some inscriptions it is one and in others another. The main story, however, remains the same; it is only its variations that differ." Other Jewish rabbis and students of Biblical history are of opinion that Dr Langdon's discovery is of the first importance. After comparing ancient Hebrew texts with the few facts that have been published concerning the Nippur tablets they declare that the latter make the story of Adam and Eve stronger than ever. But they add that Dr Langdon may have made a mistake in one ot the fragments that he has translated, and that the story of Enoch may have crept in and been taken for that of Noah. COUNTING HLS (THICKENS, ETC Preaching at St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral at Wellington on the Sunday before the • General Election, and taking for his text the words "Seek yo first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," Canon Gaxlond is reported to have said, inter alia: The principles of justice were travestied by the course taken by the Education Committee of the House of Representatives. Thoy did not claim that every member of the churches was wholly with | them, but the churches which represented 75 per cent* of the people made a modest request. . . . Two priests of the Church of. England and a handful of Presbyterian ministers objected. A handful of Methodist ministers did the same thing, and Parliament had said to the world: "We won't listen to the voices of any of these Christian churches, but wo •will pay every attention to two dissentient priests, to a handful of ministers from one of these churches, but we will treat with contempt the voice.* of these • ehurchea themselveo." "There's one Church they don't treat with contempt, and it is not 75 per cent, of the popple—the Roman Church. That Church said very clearly 'We don't believe in a referendum,' and Parliament takes a course which shows that it is in agreement with the view of the Roman Church." It was time, then, for Christian ministers, to speak out when these rights of a majority had been crushed under the noisy encroachment of the few. would be their verdict on Thursday? Were they going to think of Mr Ma,«sey or Sir .Tosemi Ward, or were they going to think of God?—-arid, he adjured the congregation that wherf in the ballot box thev should think of God, to whom they would one day have to answer for their action. ..Evident!* the electors had-their own opinion as to which party had God on its aide, for they have returned an overwhelming majority of members opposed to the unjust proposals of the league. AN INGLORIOUS RECORD. Prom the standpoint of moral reform the Parliament which closed down last week was one of tbe least satisfactory that New Zealand has known. In racing and gambling •irate* sad in liquor circles it* memory will -e toasted with high glee, and that, to quote
!j_r Gladstone's words, "fa the men-ore of our discredit and disgrace." When the greatest contributors to national unrighteousness receive supreme consideration in the Parliament of any country, it is high time that all to whom moral considerations are of any moment showed some signs of shame. We have, no reference whatever to party politics in our criticism} so' far as we can see, all parties are much of the same color in relation to the great moral issues that are before the country. Unfortunately # for the country's credit, this Parliament with such an inglorious record was but the reflection of the mind of the people who elected it. And we shall have precisoly the same kind of discreditable record in tho new " Parliament if the SHme blind following of party leaders is shown at tho coming poll. That is the game that the forces ot evil profit by every time. "Never mind what views the candidate holds on gambling or liquor, vote for your party;" And in slavish response to that slogan thousands of people who begin the day on bended knee, praying to God "Thy Kingdom come," have gone to the poll to vote for the kingdom of tho Devil. If Christian people were to vote as they pray, is it possible that we should have had a Parliament so disgracefully regardless of a policy of moral reform as that which has recently dissolved?—' New Zealand Methodist Times.*
THE RELIGIOUS WORLD., Issue 15680, 19 December 1914
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