Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/113

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97
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

the work of Said, entitled Kitáb tabacáth al-úmen, we find a Babylonian scholar figuring as Istéfan al-Babéli,[1] whom the Arabian author places confidently in the times of Jethro, in spite of his Greek name and Christian prefix of Stephanus. If some Hellenistic scholar were to take the trouble of carefully examining the Greek manuscripts on astrology and magic which have come down to us, I have no doubt that he would find there a host of texts, really Babylonian, kindred to those to which Dr. Chwolson has drawn our attention.

From all this we may deduce, I imagine, a complete idea of the intellectual state of Babylonia, in the first centuries of our era; but it will not, as Dr. Chwolson believes, furnish us with science at all equal to that of the Greeks. What was deficient in this movement was neither activity nor extent; it lacked earnestness and method. If we seek to appreciate, as a whole, the part which Babylon took in the grand work of civili-

  1. Pp. 21-22 of the manuscript of M. Schefer.