Obrázky na stránke

Mosaic account is concerned. Whichever of the versions we accept, the result is the same. I give both:


PROFESSOR SAYCE'S VERSION. It was delightful all that was estab- 1 (Anu) made suitable the mansions of lished by the great gods.

the (seven) great gods. He arranged the stars and caused their 2 The stars he placed in them, the lumappearance in (figures) of animals, to asi * he fixed. establish the year thro' observing 3 He arranged the year according to their constellations.

the bounds that he defined. He arranged twelve months of stars 4 For each of the twelve months, three in three rowe,

stars he fixed, from the day when the year com- 5 from the day when the year issues mences to its close.

forth to its close. He marked the position of the plan- 6 He established the mansion of the ets to shine in their courses,

god Nibiru, that they might know

their laws (or bounds), that they may not injure nor trouble 7 that they might not err or deflect at any one.

all. He fixed the position of the gods 8 The mansion of Bel and Hea he es. Bel and Hea with him.

tablished alone with himself. And he opened the great gates which 9 He opened also perfectly the great were shrouded in darkness,

gates in the sides of the world; whose fastenings were strong on the 10 the bolts he strengthened on the left right hand and on the left.

hand and on the right. In the mass he made a boiling.

11 In its center also, he made a stair-case. He made the god Uru (the moon) to 12 The moon-god he caused to beaurise out of it.

tify the thick night, and he fixed for it the seasons of its nocturnal phases

which determine the days. The night he overshadowed, to fix it 13 He appointed him also to hinder (or also for the light of the night until balance) the night that the day may the shining of the day;

be known. that the month might not be broken, 14 (Saying): Every month without break, and that it might be regular in its observe thy circle.


At the beginning of the month, at the 15 At the beginning of the month also, rising of the night,

when the night is at its height, its horns break through to shine in 16 (with) the horns thou announcest that the heavens.

the heaven may be known. On the seventh day it begins to swell 17 On the seventh day (thy) circle (be. to a circle,

gins to) fill, and stretches farther toward the 18 but the half on the right will remain dawn.

open in darkness. When the god Shamas (the sun) in 19 At that time the sun (will be) on the the horizon of heaven in the east ... horizon of heaven at thy risiog. ... formed beautifully.

20 (Thy form) determine, and make a

(circle ?)

* A constellation.


21 (From hence) return (and) approach

the path of the sun 22 (Then) will the darkness return; the

suu will change. 23

seek its road ... 24 (Rise and) set, and judge judgment.

the gods on his hearing. This tablet, according to Mr. Smith, Lenormant, and Assyriologists generally, parallels the fourth of the creative periods of Genesis. But on comparison it will be seen that the resemblance is confined to the one fact that both speak of the sun, moon, and stars. As to all else the difference is radical. The tablet in Mr. Smith's version opens with the statement that all that the gods had established was delightful. This epithet -it is used also in the seventh tablet-corresponds, in Mr. Sunith's opinion, to “good” in the story of Genesis. “Good," when applied to things without moral qualities, has but one signification; namely, fitness for their proper nise or complete

But delightful has no such meaning. It is only a synonyın for “pleasing;” and when applied, as in the seventh tablet, to monsters, is simply burlesque. Professor Sayce substitutes “suitable," and Lenormant says "excellent.” Both of these improve the sense; but either takes from the tablet what has been claimed as a proof that the Hebrews took their account from this source. But the difference here between Genesis and the tablet is more profound than a matter of words. In the former the Creator is represented as surveying his work and pronouncing it good. . In the tablets there is no creator, but only an arranger, or arrangers, of what already existed. And it is not they who pronounce the mansions of the gods and the inonsters "pleasing” or “suitable' or “excellent ”-whatever the correct rendering may be-but it is the writer of the story.

Even in the order of its statements, the tablet is antipodal to Genesis. The one speaks of the stars first, then of the moon, and last of the sun. The other reverses this, and tells of the sun and moon, and then of the stars. In Genesis we read that God made them all. In the myth they are eternal. The creation of the universe—a beginning to the “everlasting hills”was an idea to which the writer of the tablets had not risen, In his belief, Anu merely arranged the stars, and caused the already existent moon to come from its place in the center of the earth, while the sun was in no way affected by him, or any of the other gods. The myth says that Anu established the year through observing the constellations of the stars. In Genesis the stars have no part to perform for our earth. It is the "great lights” that are to be for signs and for seasons, for days and years. In the tablet we read : “ He marked the position of the planets in their courses, that they may not injure or trouble any one." How thoroughly this is saturated with the astrological notion then, and for centuries later, so prevalent, that the stars exert an influence over men for good or for evil! There is nothing like this in Genesis.

Nearly all the rest of the tablet refers to the moon and its duties. It is to beautify the night, and to make the month. To the moon the greatest prominence is given by the writer of the tablet, for to the Chaldeans the month was not only the most natural division of time, next to days, but, from its connection with religious ceremonies, the most important. Nothing, therefore, was more natural, and every way fitting, than that, in a cosmogony manufactured to meet the needs of their religion and their science, the month should occupy the most prominent place; and so it does in the Chaldean story, but in the Genesis account it is not even named. It is incomprehensible that a Hebrew, to whom the month was of as great religious importance as to the Chaldeans, should have copied their account and omitted all about that measure of time. What has been said abont the character of the physical statements in the pre vious tablets applies with equal force to this. So far as they concern what all can see, they are commonplace platitudes. As to all else, they are absurd fables.

In the first few lines there is the setting forth of the beginning of an astronomy, or rather an astrology, which had noted the year, divided the stars into constellations, and traced the paths of the planets. This is of value as evidence that men had begun to study the heavens, and to record the results of their observations, but has nothing to do with any thing in the first chapter of Genesis.

The tablet also tells us of the moon, that " at the beginning of the month, at the rising of the night, its horns break through to shine in the heavens. On the seventh day it begins to swell to a circle, and stretches farther toward the dawn.” This is Mr. Smith's version. Professor Sayce's is almost unintelligible. I need not say this, too, has no counterpart in Genesis.

Unfortunately the rest of the tablet is so defaced that little can be made of it. Enough can be read in Mr. Smith's version to show that it tells something about the sun.god. But, according to Professor Sayce, it is doubtful whether any thing was intended to be said about the sun, except as to its position relative to the moon. Indeed, the Babylonians honored the moon more than the sun, even making the sun-god the child of the moongod. It was natural, therefore, to say less about it.

The sixth tablet has not been found.

The seventh tablet. This,” Professor Sayce says, “is probably represented by a fragment found by Mr. Smith in one of the trenches at Kouyunjik.” He translates it as follows. The differences between this and Mr. Smith's and Lenormant's versions are unimportant.

At that time the gods in their assembly created ...

They made suitable (or pleasing or excellent) the strong monsters ...

They caused to come living creatures

Cattle of the field, beasts of the field, and creeping things of the field ...

They fixed for the living creatures. .
.. cattle and creeping things of the city they fixed ..

.. the assembly of the creeping things, the whole which were created ...

which in the assembly of my family .. and the god Nin-si-ku (the lord of the noble face) joined the two together ...

... to the assembly of the creeping things I gave life .. ... the seed of Lakhamu I destroyed ...

In this fragment is to be seen a slight verbal resemblance to one of the statements in Genesis. The gods, the myth says, made “cattle, beasts, and creeping things ;” and Genesis says: God made “ beasts, cattle, and creeping things." But if the anthors of these two accounts were to speak of land animals at all, it is difficult to see how they could avoid that mnch of agreement. The latter part of the tablet is so badly mutilated, and, in its present condition, so nearly meaningless, that it calls for no remark.

There is an important difference which runs through the two accounts, to which I have already alluded. It shows how widely their respective authors differed in the manner of thinking and speaking, the one of his God, the other of his gods. In Genesis the Deity is represented as announcing in advance his work in successive fiats—“God said, let there be,” precedes each creative act; and when the fiat has been obeyed, God surveys his work and pronounces it “good.” But all through these myths the gods are dumb. As blind forces they do certain things; but they utter no fiat, announce no purpose, speak no approval.

These are all the tablets that, with any great probability, can be said to belong to this series. There is, however, a more doubtful fragment which Mr. Smith thinks belongs here. He gives it, however, under reserve. Professor Sayce says: “It is more than doubtful whether it has any thing to do with the creation tablets. It seems rather to be a local legend relating to Assur, the old capital of Assyria, and possibly recording the legend of its foundation. Bit-sarra (the place spoken of in the inscription) or E-sarra “the temple of the legions,' was dedicated to Ninip.” *

I copy the fragment here, that nothing of possible value mas be omitted. I give Prof. Sayce's version. Lenormant says he knows nothing of it, and merely quotes Mr. Smith's rendering:

The god Khir ... Si ...
At that time to the god
So be it, I concealed thee
From the day that thou
Angry thou didst speak . .
The god Assur opened his mouth and spake to the god ...
Above the deep, the seat of
In front of Bit-sarra, which I have made . .
Below the place I strengthen
Let there be made also Bit-Lusu, the seat
Within it his stronghold may he build and
At that time from the deep he raised ...
The place . . . lifted up I made ...
Above. heaven ...
The place . . . lifted up thou didst make.

the city of Assur the temples of the great gods

his father Anu ... The god . . . thee and over all that thy hand has made

thee, having over the earth which thy hand bas made having Assur which thou hast called its name.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Page 63, Chaldean Genesis. Revised Edition.

« PredošláPokračovať »