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traditions of the first age after this revolution are also individually often dark, intricate, clouded enough. This was but natural, before the heaving elements of the preserved human race and the newly-arisen nations could have subsided anew and settled into order. It is not difficult to conceive that the saga of the primeval period, in relation to that first portion of time after the revolution during the first origin of the separated nations, would be preserved even purer and historically clearer. Now if the author finds in the Zendavesta the detailed circumstances and causes of the last great deluge given with admirable correctness (according to his by no means improbable hypothesis of it), why then perhaps other old traditions, the Indian for instance, furnish us also with very remarkable ruins and remains, traces, or hints of that very same antediluvian period. I expressly abstain as yet from mentioning here the Mosaic sacred document or primeval history, for this the author attempts to keep aloof from the train of his ideas and for the moment to set aside, fearing lest the application of it should interfere with and disturb the freedom of inquiry and a comprehensive criticism. For which reason we may well excuse him, if the historical contents of the Genesis be understood, or rather misunderstood, in the usual circumscribed manner, and be then polemically brought forward against all other old traditions. In a primitively historical inquiry, thoroughly carried out and really comprehensive in every respect, the matter would assume quite another aspect. As in a later and, compared to the other, lower region of antiquarian science, the old Herodotus, once so often reproached with being so fabulous, is now fully and universally appreciated by the most learned geographers and historians, is justified and lauded by them for his simple and candid wisdom; so likewise the more our Egyptian, Indian, Persian, and Chinese studies of the primitive age progress, the clearer our geognostical and primevally historical views become, may Moses and the Genesis, together with much new light, reattain also their ancient dignity in the most ample degree. The author does not like this string to be touched, although he actually is not opposed to the Holy Writ; yet it is singular and striking, that he should not have remarked himself, how his declaration (p. 31)—" That the probable commencement of human history occurs in the intervals between the two last re
formations of the earth"-properly understood, so accurately agrees with the Mosaic account. A. supposition, which is certainly not regarded by us as such, as a mere probability, but as an historical certainty, as much as anything can be called certain in the primitive bistory of man.
The last grand revolution of the earth remains the main theme of the author. That by this, in the Zendavesta also, the flood of Noah or the deluge is meant, and there assigned to the operation of the enemy of nature in the shape of a dragon-star or comet, that this is the same, which Moses likewise describes to us, is clear and indubitable from the circumstance, that the Zend myth connects the emigration of Jemjid pretty nearly with that frightful catastrophe, and this primeval king Jemjid is recognized to be a personage identical with the Shem of the Genesis.
The principal thought of the author concerning the last revolution of the earth or the deluge is this :- A great internal alteration was going on at that time in the earth, inasmuch as it very considerably deranged the axis and equator of its daily revolution, by which means also the geographical and climatical nature of the firm land was entirely changed. This great catastrophe in nature was occasioned by a comet that approached very near the earth, having risen in the southern sky, as is evident from the description of it in the Zendavesta. As far as regards the alteration of the pole, as asserted, the author relies also for its confirmation on astronomical remarks and suppositions with respect to the anomalies resulting from the measurements of degrees of latitude, such as they have been made up to the present time.
Now, since in this science of antiquity and primitive history, . as in every other, the truth reposes on the evidence of “two witnesses,” consequently here writ and nature, it is but reasonable, that besides the writ, as the sum of all the sacred old traditions, the other witness also, nature, that is, the spirit of geography and astronomy, as far as it has yet flourished, should be heard, so as to throw light into the darkness of the primeval world, while we are exploring there. An hypothesis of geography which, drawn up with this overpowering clearness, should unite and present so much that is acceptable from its lucid conviction and probable from its almost satisfying our doubts, has appeared not unimportant to us. I mean parti
cularly by that only the principal fact as to the alteration of the earth's axis and equator, and to the entire climatic change of the habitable earth, that is quite naturally, not to say necessarily, connected with it. Whether a comet were the cause, as has been often thought, probable as it appears, that is for us a secondary matter. I will not meddle with that part of the subject. The real fact which throws light upon primitive history is that alteration of the equator, and in the climate of most countries. Supposing it also to be positively ascertained that a comet was the cause, we should nevertheless not lay too high and exclusive a value on the circumstance that it stands in the Zendavesta, although the mentioning of it, allowing that it really so was, must certainly be regarded as remarkable. This would be precisely as if we should allow Pythagoras to be the sole object of our admiration among the Greek philosophers, because he knew the true system of the world and the revolution of the earth about the sun, and not place a higher value on the sagacity of Heraclitus, the sublimity of Plato, the all-comprehensive penetration of Aristotle. Such a partial and too absolute an estimation of one primitive historical source, to the depreciation of all the others, ought by so much the less to be resorted to by the author, as he most justly censures a similar proceeding on the part of those who mistakenly apply the high authority of the Genesis for limiting investigation and confining the judgment.
To this must be added, that the correct astronomical interpretation of the old Asiatic documents is indisputably subject to great difficulties and uncertainty. The Tashter, for instance, which the author so decidedly considers to be the planet Jupiter, is, according to a communication made to me by a friend deeply versed in the Persian dictionaries and documents, in the Bundehesh, far more likely a fixed star; whilst others (see Creuzer, Symbol. i. p. 751, note 101, new edit.) take it to be the planet Mars. It cannot be doubted that a comet is meant in that passage of the Zendavesta, which speaks of the enemy of nature, a dragon-star, as occasioning the flood. Now whether the Zendavesta be right, whether a comet was really the cause or not, we leave this for the author to settle with the astronomers ; as also the mathematically correct determination, whether the old South Pole is to be placed exactly in the fortieth or fiftieth
degree of southern latitude beneath the Cape of Good Hope. The course of the former equator, and consequently also of the tropical climate right through Asia in a south-westerly direction, and through the middle of Europe, has, nevertheless, historically, a great deal in its favour for explaining monuments actually there, and the remains of the primeval world. By this, for instance, are satisfactorily explained at once, and without difficulty, all the beds of elephant teeth in Siberia, the palms and cactuses in the strata of northern countries, and so on. In so violent and great an alteration, there can be no doubt whatever but that much which was once firm land has become sea, and vice versa. Thus it becomes quite intelligible why fossil human bones are found 80 rarely and exceptionally, as on the island of Guadaloupe (p. 2), or in the Sierra Nevada of southern Spain (p. 35), although the earth was inhabited by a numerous race of men before the flood, since we can well assume that those human bones may lie in very many ways covered by the depths of the sea. It is therefore not exactly necessary to assume, according to De Lüc's arbitrary and violent conclusion (which some of our readers no doubt remember in the work of Stolberg), that all the previous land became sea in consequence of the deluge, but that the old bottom of the sea rose up, forming the actual habitable land ; an hypothesis which has the fault of being too much of a good thing. We may, nevertheless, safely assume, that a very important change in the main land took place during the catastrophe, so much so that it would be idle labour were we to attempt to define geographically on the present earth the position of the real primeval land, such as it was before the flood. Hence also the four rivers of paradise in Moses, or wherever they are alluded to besides in Asiatic traditions, as Stolberg, in the text quoted (part i. p. 380), rightly observes, must now be solely regarded by analogy as a type ; since in no part of the earth is a spot to be found, wbere four such streams, as there expressly mentioned, spring from one common source. This is the case, whether you consider the Phison, the only doubtful one, as St. Hieronymus did (Epist. II. 15), to be the Ganges, or look upon it as the Caucasian river.* To this must be added, that in that passage of the Genesis the deeper symbolical meaning of the four rivers* is of more immediate importance, since their geographical names are evidently merely added for the depicting of the analogy ; so many examples of which are similarly to be found in other passages of Scripture. In the same manner as the author considers the great flood and the change in the earth's axis that then took place, is also explained, in some measure, although not quite sufficiently, the highly irregular and utterly rent shape of our present four or five parts of the earth, unless it would be more correct, from deeper reasons of geography, to assume only three. According to the opinion of those, for instance, who find the character of an isolated part of the world most expressed in America, not alone in the peculiar impress of all its vegetable and animal productions, but also in the conformation of its shape, approaching at least more a certain norm, where the great north and southern halves are joined by a narrow isthmus. Here then it is assumed, that Europe and Africa, originally belonging to each other, were connected by an isthmus, now burst asunder, in the straits of Gibraltar; and so likewise Australia with Asia by the chain of islands still existing. But in as much as the northern halves of these two parts of the world, Europe and Asia of the one,
* I see on the Mosaic map of the world in Multe Brun's Atlas, that this celebrated geographer is inclined to regard not merely the Phison,
but even the Gihon, as the Cux and the Araxes, and to place them in Armenia. According to this explanation, the four streams would certainly rise in one region, or nearly so. But how still remote this is from one source dividing itself into four rivers ! The difficulty, therefore, on this side is only apparently removed. The same geographer places the land Hevilath in Southern Arabia. But as Moses expressly says, that the Phison flows around the land of Hevilath, the difficulty now becomes magnified even, and completely insuperable. Hence I perfectly agree with Stolberg, that no geographical solution or explanation is here possible.
* Compare with this, what the Apostle says (Ephes. iii. 18):" Ut possitis comprehendere cum omnibus sanctis, quæ sit latitudo et longi. tudo, et sublimitas et profundum.” Those four dimensions of the true life," which the saints recognize," were no doubt knowu to man also in his originally pure condition ; they may best conduce to point out to us the real meaning of the four regions of the world and the rivers of life in paradise.
+ Thus in Jesus Sirach (xxiv. 32—37), the divine gifts, which proceed from the Mosaic law and Book of the Covenant, are compared to full streams of wisdom ; and among these streams, three of those in paradise are named, the Phison, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.