Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/12

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xii
PREFACE.

began to “eat bread in the sweat of his face,” the first husbandman. Hence it is but natural to suppose that the earliest of the sciences should have been handed down from generation to generation in a religious form; and, when first reduced to writing, that it should have retained that form. So we arrive at the conclusion that the earliest literature of which we have any traces, very properly combined in itself the principles of worship and progress, of religion and civilization. It is just this form which gives such an air of high antiquity to “The Book of Nabatheean Agriculture,” and which has induced Dr. Chwolson to ask: “Had Greek literature been completely lost to the world during the dark ages which followed the fall of the Roman Empire, and now, for the first time, the works of Plato and Aristotle, of Hippocrates and