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CHRONOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY,
HISTORY AND PROPHECY :
PRECEDING SYSTEMS, AND TO OBVIATE THE CAVILS OF
REV. WILLIAM HALES, D.D.
RECTOR of KILLESANDRA, IN IRELAND ; AND
SECOND EDITION, correcTED AND IMPROVED,
I N F O U R V O L U M ES.
L ON DO N :
sT PAUL’s CHURCH-YARD,
To THE FIRST EDITION.
THIS work is the result of many years' study of the History, Antiquities, and Prophecies, respecting the principal nations recorded in the Bible; namely, the Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews, the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians, the Medes and Persians, the Grecians and Romans, the Saracens and Turks. It was originally suggested, by the frequent interruptions and embarrassments experienced by the author in his Historical Researches, from the imperfection and discordance of the Chronological systems of the Jews, Scaliger, Petavius, Usher, Lloyd, Marsham, Newton, Jackson, &c. which he found utterly insufficient to adjust and harmonise the leading dates of Sacred and Profane History; all of them differing from each other, more or less, in the principles upon which they were founded, and in the application of these principles; sometimes adjusting Sacred by Profane Chronology, sometimes the reverse, without any settled rule or standard. Finding it impossible to extract from these systems any uniform scheme which could render Sacred History consistent with itself, and with the great range of Profane History connected therewith, he endeavoured to trace the subject to its original sources, and to explore the most ancient records, chronicles, and fragments still extant, and the earliest Historians and Chronologers; namely, the Masorete and Samaritan Hebrew Texts; the Watican and Alexandrine Greek Versions; the works of Josephus, Theophilus, Eusebius, Syncellus, Abulfaragi, and Eutychius; the Greek and Latin Historians, Herodotus, Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus, Ctesias, Justin, &c.; the fragments of Sanchoniatho, Berosus, and Manetho, respecting the Phoenician, Chaldean, and Egyptian antiquities, and the Hindu records published in the Asiatic Researches. His first attempt was to examine carefully the principles upon which the reigning systems were built, in order to seek a solid foundation for a general system. This led him into a minute investigation of the evidences for and against the longer and shorter computations of the Patriarchal generations from Adam to Abraham, found in the Masorete and Samaritan Hebrew Texts, in the Greek Version, and in Josephus; and the result was, a conviction of the untenableness of the shorter computation, which he discovered to have been first fabricated by the Jews, about the time of the publication of the Seder Olam Rabba, their great system of Chronology, in A.D. 130. His next attempt was to retrieve the genuine Chronology of Josephus, many of whose leading dates had been adulterated by his early editors, in order to make them correspond with the Jewish system, which unfortunately was too soon adopted by several of the primitive Christian writers. And at length, by repeated trials, amidst the mass of spurious dates that pervade his works at present, he found a few genuine ones, which led to the discovery of his original system; a system which he flatters himself is now established by a connected chain of analytical and synthetical argument, shewing the conformity of the general outline, with the particular periods that compose it, in detail; and also, by its agreement with that of the first Christian Chronologer, Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, in A.D. 168, according to the representation of Abulfaragi, the celebrated Armenian annalist. And the rectified era of the Creation, B.C. 5411, furnished by both conjointly, forms the basis of the present system; which, if it be found just in its principles, and correct in its construction, will, he trusts, reconcile Sacred and Profane Chronology together more satisfactorily than any that has been hitherto submitted to the inspection of the learned.
The usual arrangement of the received systems of Chronology seemed also to require emendation. Those of Petavius, Usher, Prideaux, &c. exhibit an intermixture of Sacred and Profane History, a variety of controversial discussions, and of elaborate digressions, which tend to render their works prolix and perplexing to readers who might wish to confine their attention to one branch of Chronology at a time, and to acquire a clear and connected view of Sacred by itself, and of the several branches of Profane by themselves. He has therefore treated of each branch separately. To simplify the subject still more, he has thrown into a copious Introduction matters merely of a controversial nature, as far as could be effected; and has there discussed the