Stone Worship

Stone worship.

One of the earliest modes of commemorating any remarkable event was to erect a pillar of stone or to set up heaps of stone. These in course of time came to be looked upon as sacred, and even to be worshipped. The stone which Jacob anointed and set up at Bethel is the first instance on record of a consecrated pillar, and Vossius alleges that, at an after period, it became an object of worship, and was conveyed by the Jews to Jerusalem, where it remained even after the city was destroyed by the Romans. According to Bochart, the Phoenicians worshipped Jacob's pillar; but whether this was the case or not, we know, on the authority of Sanchoniathon, that they had their own boetylia, or anointed stones, to which they paid divine honors. These, in all probability, were aerolites, or meteoric stones, as indeed appears to be indicated in the fact that Sanchoniathon traces their origin to Uranus, or the heavens. Eusebius goes so far as to allege that these stones were believed to have souls, and accordingly, they were consulted in cases of emergency, as being fit exponents to the will of Deity. Herodian refers to a stone of this kind as being consecrated to the sun under the name of Heliogabalus, and preserved in a temple sacred to him in Syria, "where," he says, "there stands not any image made with hands, as among the Greeks and Romans, to represent he god, but there is a very large stone, round at the bottom and terminating in a point, of a conical form and of a black color, which they say fell down from Jupiter." Sacred stones have frequently been worshipped by heathen nations, the Druids, etc., and traces of the practice are even yet to be found. SEE STONE.

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