Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/35

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BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

disappeared without leaving any traces; literatures of high antiquity are only represented by shreds, passed through a thousand transformations, and are scarcely recognisable. I willingly admit that Babylon may have had books and schools fifteen centuries before Christ. The title of “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” to the high antiquity which Dr. Chwolson attributes to it, must be sifted without bias of any kind.

Dr. Chwolson’s principal argument is derived from the information furnished by “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” as to the political condition of Babylonia at the time when the work was composed. He agrees with M. Quatremère, that it contains no trace of the existence of Christianity, or of the existence of Arsacidan, Seleucidan, and Sassanidan rule. Twenty Babylonian kings are enumerated in “The Agriculture,” and of these twenty names, there is not one which coincides with that of a king of any known Babylonian dynasty. In the chapter