Antiquities, Sacred

Antiquities, Sacred a term that may be considered as embracing whatever relates to the religious, political, social, domestic, and individual life, not only of the Hebrew race, but also of those kingdoms, tribes, and persons that were connected with, or more or less influenced by the chosen people (with the exception of history and biography) in the several stages of its development prior to the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans, and to the usages of the Christian Church during the earlier ages.

I. Biblical. — The Scriptures themselves are the great source whence a knowledge of Hebrew and Christian antiquities may be drawn; and whoever wishes to have an accurate and thorough acquaintance with the subject must, with this express purpose in view, make the holy record the object of a careful, sustained, and systematic study. Much of the Old Testament is, in the best sense of the term, picture writing; and the history of the Savior carries us into the very bosom of domestic life. The knowledge which is acquired from these sources is peculiarly valuable, from the stamp of truth which every part of it bears. Few, however, have the disposition, the leisure, or the ability for the requisite study; and therefore the aid of the scholar and divine is desirable, if not indispensable. But besides what may be learned from the Scriptures themselves, much remains to be known which they do not and cannot teach; for, like all other books relating to ages long by-gone, they contain allusions, phraseology, modes of thought and speech, which can be understood either not at all, or but imperfectly, without light derived from extraneous sources; and that the rather because the Hebrews were not a literary people, and the aim of the sacred penmen was far higher than to achieve intellectual reputation. The heathen writers afford very scanty materials for illustrating biblical antiquities, so ignorant or prejudiced were they on topics of that kind. Indirect information and undesigned testimonies may be here and there extracted from their writings, but in general they communicate no useful information except on geographical and kindred subjects. The least barren of them is the earliest prose writer extant, Herodotus, who, in his second book and part of the third, furnishes snatches of information which may be of service, especially in conjunction with the light which recent discoveries in Egyptian antiquities have so happily thrown on the biblical records (The Egypt of Herodotus, by John Kenrick, M.A. 1841; Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, by Sir J. G. Wilkinson, 1837, 1841).

The study of biblical antiquities, viewed as an aid in the interpretation of the books of the Old Testament, began probably on the return from the Babylonish exile, when a lengthened past already stretched out to the Israelitish nation as they looked back toward their origin; and, from the new circumstances in which they were placed, and the new modes of thought and action to which they had become habituated, they must have found many things in their sacred books which were as difficult to be understood as they were interesting to their feelings. The ideas, views, and observations which thence resulted were held, taught, transmitted, and from age to age augmented by Jewish doctors, whose professed duty was the expounding of the law of the fathers; and after having passed through many generations by oral communication, were at length, in the second and some subsequent centuries of the Christian era, committed to writing. SEE TALMUD. This source of information, as being traditionary in its origin, and disfigured by ignorance, prejudice, and superstition, must, to be of any service, be used with the greatest care and discrimination. It seems, however, to have fallen into somewhat undue depreciation, but has been successfully employed by recent writers in delineating a picture of the age in which our Lord appeared (Das Jahrhundert des Heils, by Gfrorer, Stuttgart, 1838). In the first century Josephus wrote two works of unequal merit, on The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews, which, notwithstanding some credulity and bad faith on the part of the author, afford valuable information, particularly in relation to the manners, customs, and opinions of his own times. Had another work of which the writer speaks (preface to the Antiquities) come down to these days, which appears to have been a sort of philosophical treatise on the Mosaic laws and institutions, giving probably, after the Imanner of Michaelis in his Mosaisches Recht, the rationale of the several observances enjoined, some considerable light might have been thrown on the antiquities of the nation, though the known propensity of Josephus to the allegorical method of interpretation diminishes the regret experienced at its loss. The works of Philo, the celebrated Alexandrian teacher, which were also produced in the first century, have their value too much abated by his love of the same allegorical method; which he was led to pursue mainly by his desire to bring the mind of the Hebrew nation into harmony with Oriental, and especially Grecian systems of philosophy, of which Philo was a diligent student and a great admirer. Little advantage is to be gained by the study of writers among the modern Jews; for, till a very recent period, no sound intellectual activity was found among this singular and most interesting race. Inspired, however, by the spirit of the eighteenth century, Mendelssohn opened to his fellow-believers a new era, and introduced a manner of thinking and writing which prepared the way for many valuable Jewish productions, and gave an impulse.to the mind of "the nation," the best outward results of which are only beginning to be seen.

The study of classical antiquity, which commenced at the revival of letters, was not without an influence on biblical archaeology; but this branch of knowledge is chiefly indebted for its most valuable results to the systematic study of the Bible, and the cultivation of the long-neglected Hebrew language, which the interests of the Reformation both needed and called forth. It was not, however, till within the last century that the intelligent spirit which had been applied to the examination of classical antiquity in Germany so directed the attention of Oriental scholars to the true way of prosecuting and developing a knowledge of Hebrew and Christian antiquities as to bring forth treatises on the subject which can be regarded as satisfactory in the present advanced state of general scholarship. In no one thing has the mental activity of recent times contributed more to the science of biblical antiquities than by leading well-informed travelers to penetrate into eastern countries, especially Syria, since, by communicating to the world the fruits of their enterprise, they have been enabled to present to no small extent a picture of what these lands and their inhabitants must have been of old, permanence being one of the chief characteristics of the Oriental mind. From Shaw (Travels in Barbary and the Levant) and Harmer (Observations on various Passages of Scripture) down to the valuable work by Prof. Robinson (Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1841, 1856), a numerous series of publications have been put forth, which have contributed to throw very great light on Jewish and Christian antiquity.

The earliest treatise in the English language expressly on the subject of Jewish antiquities was written by Th. Godwyn, B.D. (Moses and Aaron, Civil and Ecclesiastical Rites used by the Ancient Hebrews observed, etc. 4to, 1614). This work passed through many editions in England; was translated into Latin by J. H. Reiz (1679); furnished with a preface and two dissertations by Witsius (1690); was illustrated, amended, and enlarged by Hottinger (1710); and further annotated on by Carpzovius (1748). In 1724 - 5, Thomas Lewis gave to the public his Origines Hebroeoe, or Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic, 4 vols. 8vo, which is a very elaborate and carefully compiled treatise, composed of materials drawn from the best authorities, both Jewish and Christian. A work of much value, as affording fuller views on some topics, and written in an easy style, is a posthumous publication by Dr. Jennings, entitled Jewish Antiquities, or a Course of Lectures on the three First Books of Godwyn's Moses and Aaron, London, 1766; edited, with a preface of some value, by Philip Furneaux. Fleury's work (Dr. Adam Clarke's edition) on The Manners of the Ancient Israelites, containing an Account of the peculiar Customs, Laws, Policy, and Religion of the Israelites, offers a pleasing and useful introduction to the study of the Old Testament Scriptures. A valuable and (for ordinary purposes) complete treatise may be found by the English student in Biblical Antiquities, by John Jahn, D.D., translated by T. C. Upham (Andover, 1827, etc.; N.Y. 1858). Those who wish to enter more fully into the subject may consult the original, of which the foregoing is an abridgment (Biblische Archaologie). A carefully compiled and well-written work may be found in The Antiquities of the Jews from authentic Sources, and their Customs illustrated by Modern Travels, by W. Brown, D.D. (2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1820). Much important matter is presented in Academical Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures and Antiquities, by J. G. Palfrey, D.D., LL.D. (2 vols. 8vo, Boston, 1840). German scholars have produced numerous works on the subject, of which we may mention as worthy of special attention, G. L. Bauer's Kurzgefasstes Lehrbuch der Hebr. Alterthumer des A. u. N.T. (second edition, by E. F. K. Rosenmuller, Leipsic, 1835); J. Matthew A. Scholz's Handbuch der Bibl. Archaologie (Bonn u. Wien, 1834); De Wette (Lehrbuch der Hebr. — Judisch. Archaologie, Leips. 1830), translated by Rev. Theodore Parker, Bost. Helon's Pilgrimage to Jerusalem may serve as a connecting link between Jewish and Christian antiquities, being almost equally useful for both, as it presents a picture of Judaism in the century which preceded the advent of our Savior. The English translation (by the Rev. John Kenrick, M.A.) from the German original is accompanied by valuable notes and a preface, in which may be found a brief outline of the sources of biblical archaeology. The work is conceived and executed in the form of a story or:novel, and possesses no ordinary interest, independently of its high theological value, as affording a living picture of the customs, opinions, and laws of the Jewish people. In French there is a somewhat similar work by M. de Montbron, under the unsuitable title of Essais sur la Litterature des Hebreux (4 tomes, 12mo, Paris, 1819), in which a number of short tales illustrative of ancient Hebrew usages and opinions are prefaced by a large and elaborate Introduction, and followed by a great number of learned and curious notes.

II. Ecclesiastical Antiquities. — Among the fathers of the Christian Church, Jerome, who was long resident in Palestine, has left in various works very important information respecting the geography, natural history, and customs of the country. Most of the fathers, indeed, furnish, directly or indirectly, valuable notices respecting Christian antiquity, and in a body constitute the source whence for the most part writers and scholars of later ages have drawn their materials. The reader may with advantage consult Some Account of the Writings and Opinions of Clement of Alexandria, by John, bishop of Lincoln (1835); also, Some Account of the Writings and Opinions of Justin Martyr, by the same (Cambridge, 1829).

A useful compendium, as giving specimens of the writings, and therein views of the opinions, manners, rites, and observances of the early Christian Church, may be found in Bibliotheque Choisie des Peres de l'Eglise Grecque et Latine, by M. N. S. Guillon (Paris, 1828).

For a long period after the revival of learning the subject of Christian antiquities received no specific attention, but was treated more or less summarily in general histories of the Church of Christ; as, for instance, in the great Protestant work, Ecclesiast. Historia per aliquot viros in urbe Magdeburg (1559-74); and on the part of the Catholics, by Baronius, Annales Ecclesiast. a Christo nato ad annum 1198 (Romans 1558). If any exception is to be made to this general statement, it is on behalf of Roman Catholic writers, whose works, however, are too inaccurate and prejudiced to be of any great value in these times. The first general treatise on Christian antiquity proceeded from the pen of an English divine, Jos. Bingham, Origines Ecclesiasticoe, or the Antiquities of the Christian Church (London, 1708-22, 10 vols. 8vo); which was translated into Latin by Grischow (1738), and into German (1778). The work corresponds in no slight degree to the learning, care, and time bestowed upon it; but, besides being somewhat in the rear of the learning of the day, it has its value diminished by the High-Church notions of the writer, as well as by the strength of his prejudices against the Roman Catholics. A useful compendium, written in a liberal spirit; and compiled chiefly from German sources, has lately been published in English (A Manual of Christian Antiquities, by Rev. J. E. Riddle, M.A. London, 1839), in which (Preface, § 2, and Appendix H) may be found a concise but detailed account of the literature of Christian antiquities. A more complete catalogue of works, embracing each particular branch, is given in Winer's Handbuch der Theologischen Literatur. Among the best Continental treatises on the general subject of Christian antiquities may be mentioned those of Augusti, Handbuch d. Christl. Archaol. (Leipzig, 1836-7, 3 vols. 8vo); Bohmer, Die christl.-kirchl. Alterthums Wissenschaft (Bresl. 1836, 8vo); Siegel, Handbuch der christl.-kirchl. Alterthiumer (Leipzig, 1836-7, 3 vols. 8vo). SEE ARCHAEOLOGY.

III. Other treatises on Biblical archaeology in general: Muller (Giess. 1830); Ugolini (Venet. 1744-69); Bellermann (Erf. 1787 and 1812); Ackermann (Wien, 1826); Schmidt (Neust. 1834). On Hebrew antiquities: Iken (Brem. 1732, etc.); Wahner (Gott. 1743); Warnekros (Weim. 1782, etc.); Faber (Halle, 1773); Babor (Weim. 1794, Lpz. 1805); Pareau (Ultraj.

1823); Wait (Cambr. 1825); Hullmann (Lpz. 1834); Kalthoff (Munst. 1840). On Christian antiquities: Fabricius (Hamb. 1760); Palaeotinus (Ven. 1766)1; Blackmore (Lond. 1760); Baumgarten (Hal. 1768); Simonis (Hal. 1769); Chrysander (Lpz. 1775); Selvaggi (Neap. 1772); Pellica (Neap. 1777-81); Haag (Tub. 1785); Volborth (Gott. 1789); Binterim (Mainz, 1825-32); Rheinwald. (Berl. 1830); Locherer (Frkf. 1832); Miinter (Kopenh. 1828); Borsius (Lugd. B. 1825). For the sources of biblical antiquities, SEE ARCHAEOLOGY, where also will be given a more detailed view of the Christian department of the subject.

 
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