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THE BOOKS OF MOSES,
THE BOOKS OF MOSES ILLUSTRATED BY THE
MONUMENTS OF EGYPT:
WITH AN APPENDIX.
DR E. W. HENGSTENBERG,
PROFESSOR OF THEOL. AT BERLIN,
FROM THE GERMAN
BY R. D. C. ROBBINS,
ABBOT RESIDENT, THEOL. SEM., ANDOVER.
WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES
BY W. COOKE TAYLOR, ESQ., LL.D., M.R.A.S.,
OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.
THOMAS CLARK, 38. GEORGE STREET.
The recent interest in the subject of Egyptian antiquities began with the publication of the works of Champollion the younger, about twenty years ago. Since his death, which occurred in 1832, these researches have been prosecuted with much zeal by several of his scholars and other distinguished archaeologists. Two of the learned men of Holland, Professors Reuvens and Leemans, have made important contributions to the subject, derived in part from the treasures of the Leyden Museum. The results of the labours of Rosellini, professor of oriental languages and antiquities at Pisa, are of the highest value. In 1829, he and his brother accompanied Champollion in the scientific expedition to Egypt, which was undertaken under the joint auspices of the governments of France and Tuscany. Champollion, just before his death, committed to him the honourable office of bringing before the world the result of their associated labours and studies. The first part of the great work of Rosellini, which is yet incomplete, appeared in 1832, at Pisa, in folio, entitled, “I monumenti dell'Egitto e della Nubia disegnati della Spedizione scientifico-letteraria toscana in Egitto, distribuiti in ordine di materie, interpretat ed illuistrati.”
Through the liberality of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, it is brought out in the highest style of typography.
It consists of a series of treatises which embrace the most important results of the investigations into the history and civil institutions of the ancient Pharaohdynasties, under the Pagan, Greek, and Roman dominion. The contents of the work are as rich as the plan is comprehensive. It abounds in researches relating to the languages, civil history, and history of the arts in the valley of the Nile. Rosellini published in Rome, in 1837,
in quarto, a valuable Egyptian grammar, entitled, “ Elementae Linguae Egyptiacae, vulgo Copticae.'
In this interesting field of research, several Englishmen have acquired high distinction. Among these are Dr Young, Major Felix, Lord Prudhoe, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson. Dr Young shares with Champollion the honour of having first indicated the right method of deciphering the hieroglyphical language. To Mr Wilkinson justly belongs the encomium which he has himself bestowed on Rosellini. “ He is a man of erudition and a gentleman, and one whose enthusiastic endeavours, stimulated by great perseverance, are tempered by judgment, and that modesty which is the characteristic of real merit.” Mr Wilkinson's principal works on Egypt are contained in nine volumes, namely, “A general View of Egypt, and Topography of Thebes,” in two vols. (a new edition was published in 1843), and “ Manners and Customs of the ancient Egyptians, including their private life, government, laws, arts, manufactures, religion, and early history,” in two series of three volumes in each. A second edition of the first series was published in 1842. These works are full of most valuable materials, accompanied with many fine illustrations. They everywhere exhibit that caution, sound judgment, modesty, and enthusiasm, which greatly delight the reader. At the same time, the arrangement is susceptible of improvement, while the style is somewhat heavy, and wanting in precision and scholarlike finish. It is delightful to observe the reverence with which the author regards the sacred volume, and the gratification which every undoubted illustration of its authenticity affords him. He has now, for the fourth time, we believe, taken up his abode in Egypt.
Another distinguished investigator in these fascinating studies is Dr Richard Lepsius, a native of Naumburg, in Prussia. He published, in 1834, a prize dissertation, entitled “ Palaeographie als Mittel für die Sprachforschung
zunächst am Sanscrit nachgewiesen.” Ilis studies led him to Turin and then to Rome, where he was appointed one of the two corresponding secretaries of the Archaeological Institute there. In 1842, Dr Lepsius was sent to Egypt by the Prussian government, in connection with a number of other learned men. Ile is reaping “a rich harvest on this earliest scene of the history of mankind.” If the results of the expedition correspond to the promises of the commencement, much new light will be thrown on the ancient condition of Egypt.
These researches derive special importance from the light which they cast upon the Old Testament records, especially upon the Mosaic history. An incidental, undesigned, but most valuable proof is thus drawn from witnesses that cannot lie, in favour of the trustworthiness of those records. Paintings, numerous and beautiful beyond conception, as fresh and perfect as if finished only yesterday,” exhibit before our eyes the truth of what the Hebrew lawgiver wrote, almost five thousand years ago. The authenticity of the documents of our faith thus rests, not on manuscripts and written records alone, but the hardest and most enduring substances in nature have added their unsuspecting testimony.
Egyptian history and the manners of the most ancient nations,” Mr Wilkinson remarks, “ cannot but be interesting to every one; and so intimately connected are they with the scriptural accounts of the Israelites and the events of succeeding ages relative to Judea, that the name of Egypt need only to be mentioned to recal the early impressions we have received from the study of the Bible.”
It is the object of the present volume to collect and apply the results obtained by these and numerous other authors, as far as they relate to the Books of Moses. This had not been done before the appearance of this work in 1840. Even the most recent German commentators are sadly deficient in this respect. They have scarcely made