Samuel macauley jackson, D. D., LL. D




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knowledge; it therefore did not seem to the maker





Inscriptions THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG g

necessary to give specific details, so that the iden­tification of the events is often doubtful or im­possible. Not seldom, the inscriptions are mere laudations of the Pharaoh, or, again, are hymns in praise of him. Others are records of building enter­prises, giving the personal history of the ruler or administrator. Decrees of administration appear. In private tombs records of filial performance in the maintenance of the tomb occur, and there are also found interesting accounts referring to wars or enterprises otherwise unknown. The longest in­scriptions are the Pyramid texts of the Pharaohs of the fifth and sixth dynasties, discovered in 1880, dealing largely with matters religious, including magic. The Palermo Stone is one of the most noted monuments a fragment of a stele containing a record of pre dynastic kings, continuing to the middle of the fifth dynasty, and giving brief royal annals. The various erections at Karnak afforded apace for voluminous inscriptions, to some of which reference must be made later.

Since the fifteenth century attempts were made to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics, though without success till the early part of the 3. The Ro  nineteenth century. But meanwhile a setta Stone foundation was laid for a broader and and Deci 

pherment. sounderappreciation gypn phermeat. arche 

ology bhe work done on Coptic

since the time of Athanasius Kircher, who published

the first Coptic grammar (Rome, 1643 44). The

epoch making work of Champollion (see below) was

in no small part due to his mastery of Coptic. But

all attempts to read the hieroglyphics were complete

failures until the key was furnished by the Rosette

Stone. This is a slab of black granite, three feet

nine inches by two feet four and a half inches and

eleven inches thick, bearing an inscription in hiero­

glyphic and demotic Egyptian and in Greek. It

was found in 1799 by M. Bouasard, a French mili­

tary officer, at Fort St. Julien, near Rosette, on the

Rosette branch of the Nile (40 m. n.e. of Alexan­

dria), was taken to England after the fall of Alex­

andria, and was presented to the British Museum

by George III. (1801). The upper portion and the

lower right hand corner are broken away. It con­

tains a decree of the Egyptian priests in honor of

Ptolemy V. Epiphanes (205 181 B.C.), and its date is

Mar. 277, 195 B.C. It bears 100 lines of text, fourteen

of hieroglyphic (about half of the original), thirty­

two of demotic, and fifty four of Greek (the ends

of some of the lines broken off). Its significance is

not in its contents, but in the fact that it proved

to be the key to the decipherment of the hiero­

glyphic and demotic writing, and consequently

opened up nearly all that is known of and through

Egyptian texts. The results gained through the

decipherment of this text were checked and con­

firmed by the trilingual stele of Canopus found by

Lepsius at Tanis in 1866, containing a similar decree

of the year 238 B.C., in honor of Ptolemy III.

Euergetes I. (247 222 B.C.). Yet the process of

decipherment was somewhat tedious. Sylvestre de

Sacy (1802) detected several groups in the demotic

text which corresponded to the Greek forms of

the names Ptolemy, Berenice, and Alexander. The

Swede J. D. Akerblad (1802) obtained the phonetic

values of most of the demotic characters in the proper names and used the Coptic to determine the meaning of several words. Thomas Young (1814), an English scientist, determined the mean­ings of several groups of demotic characters and established four alphabetical hieroglyphic charac­ters. Jean Franco?s Champollion put the crown upon all these efforts by reading from a bilingual obelisk in Philae, in hieroglyphic and Greek, the names of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, deciphering the names of Greek and Roman rulers, making out all the characters, discovering ideograms and deter­minatives, gaining insight into the phonetic system, and discerning the relations of the three kinds of script. He made a statement of his discoveries and expounded his system to the Acaddmie des Inscrip­tions, Sept. 22, 1822. Karl Richard Lepsiua worked on the lines of Champollion and corrected some mistakes, but proved the general soundness of Champollion's conclusions against the captious and envious criticism of several German writers. The science of Egyptology has been advanced by many later scholars, such as to name only a few, Emman­uel de Rougd, Augusts Mariette, Paul Pierret, Jacques de Morgan and Gaston Maspero in France, Heinrich Brugsch, Alfred Wiedemann, Georg Ebers, Adolf Erman and Georg Steindorff in Germany, John Gardner Wilkinson, Samuel Birch, Peter le Page Renouf, Edward Naville, Ernest Alfred Thomp­son, Wallis Budge, and William Matthew Flin­dera Petrie in England, W. Max Muller and James Henry Breasted in the United States.

The scantiness of illustration of Biblical history afforded by the Egyptian monuments as compared with the abundance gained from the

4. Ulna  Assyro Babylonian records has been

tration of to man a cause of rest disap­

pointment. The explanation of this

scantiness is, however, not hard to discover. One

reason is the vagueness of Egyptian records (see

above). Another, which is on the surface, is that

after the Hebrews settled in Palestine contact of

Egypt with Palestine was occasional and not

always of such a character as to dispose the monu­

ment makers to speak of it they recorded only

victories, not failures or defeats. That mention of

the Hebrews who had broken away fro;n Egyptian

control would appear in the inscriptions was hardly

to be expected, nor that pre Mosaic Israel would

be differentiated from the numerous nomads of

Semitic stock who occasionally sought refuge in

the Nile land. Accordingly, apart from that general

illustration of manners of living which is a conse­

quence of a sort of commonality of life in the East,

little of specific detail need be looked for from the

Egyptian inscriptions either corroborating or con­

tradicting Biblical statements, especially if, accord­

ing to the view now generally accepted, the He­

brews were very few in numbers. What little specific

illustration there is takes on either a geographical

or ethnological character. The first comes through

the mention of places conquered in Palestine by the

Pharaohs. Thothmea III. (eighteenth dynasty),

who made fifteen expeditions into Syria and Pales­

tine has recorded in the temple of Amon at Karnak,

on the wall of the southern pylon and on the north 





7 RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Inscriptions

ern wall at the western end of the temple, a list of places in that region the submission of which he ', claims to have received (cf. Records of the Past, '
new aeries, v. 29 53, for the list of names). Note­worthy and productive of a vast amount of dis­cussion are the names Yakob el and Yoaep el, which seem to represent an early form of the names Jacob and Joseph. The real significance of these names, paralleled from the cuneiform inscriptions, is as yet under debate, but eponymous derivation seems to be favored. The geography is also il­luminated by the lists of Seti I. and Rameaes II. (nineteenth dynasty), the tatter's inscriptions on the Rameaseum at Thebes and at Karnak, and by that of Rameses III. at Medinet Haba.

Shishak I. (twenty second dynasty) also fur­nished on the south wall of the great temple at Karnak a list of geographical names in which there are 156 cartouches, not all legible (cf. W. M. Miiller, Amen and Europa, Leipsie, 1893, pp. 166 aqq.).

The monuments of Seti L, Ramesea II. and IV.,

and Meneptah contain references which are thought

by the advanced school to bear on pre Mosaic

history. That the Aperiu (cf. Heb. `Ibhri,, "He­

brew " and the Habiri, of the Amarna Tablets, q.v.)

were Hebrews is not yet assured, though it is

possible. Seti I. and Rameaes II. speak of an Aseru

or Asoru in western Galilee in the region assigned

to the tribe Asher in the Hebrew records (Judges

v. 17, cf. i. 32). Of this alternative explanations

are given: the Asheritea were a Canaanitic tribe

absorbed later into the Hebrew confederation

(which would go with the assumed eponymous de­

rivation of the name and with the Biblical so­

count of descent from a concubine) or the He­

brews who settled in the region took the name

of the country (W. M. Miiller, ut sup. pp. 236 239).

On a stele of Meneptah discovered in 1895 occurs

the only known mention of Israel on the Egyptian

monuments (in the form 1 ai^r 'Z) as a people whom

Meneptah had reduced. This mention is compli­

cated by the fact that Meneptah is now quite

generally regarded as the Pharaoh of the Exodus;

how, then, could Israel be in Palestine during his

reign? Accordingly many commentators are dis­

posed to see in the Israel of Meneptah's inscription

a part of the Hebrews settled in Palestine who did

not go down into Egypt and gave their name to

the confederation in later times; these commen­

tators regard as confirmation of this the occurrence

of Yakob el and Yoaep el (ut sup.). Light on the

Exodus of the Hebrews comes not from the hiero­

glyphic, but from a combination of a Greco Ro­

man inscription with the identification of Succoth

and Pithom through indications in the Coptic

version of the Old Testament and through indica­

tions in Greek writers (see Ecyrr). While the

bearing of Egyptian inscriptions on Hebrew history

and ethnology is thus vague and indecisive, if it

has any value at all it is in the way of strengthen­

ing the case of the newer school of constructive

history. GEO. W. GILMORE.

II. Cuneiform Inscriptions: Cuneiform, from the Latin cuneue, " wedge," was first applied in the year 1700 by Thomas Hyde, professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford. In that day Hyde was

acquainted only with some rude copies of Assyrian characters, and with some equally rude copies of

Sassanian and Pahnyrene inscriptions, 1. The concerning which he argued that they Name; Area were not letters, nor intended for Covered 'by
letters, but were mere ornament. the script. Later investigation has shown that the cuneiform method of writing is one of the oldest known to man and one of the most widely diffused, and that it sufficed for more than five thousand years to express the ideas of nearly a score of peoples, among whom were some of the greatest culture races of antiquity. It was invented by the pre Semitic Sumerian inhabitants of Babylonia, was adopted by their conquerors, the Semitic Babylonians, sad thence carried to Assyria. It was besides dif­fused among all the neighboring peoples and came into use as far east as Elam and as far west as Egypt (see Aninxrre TABLETS).

The first modern observer of cuneiform characters was Pietro dells Valle, about 1618 A.D., who copied

from the ruins of Persepolis in Persia
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