Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/38

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22
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

author flourished. In separating into their respective classes the quotations which are mingled together in the “Agriculture,” he finds at Babylon a rich and varied literature, fully equal to that which was developed among the Greeks one or two thousand years later; a matured literature, full of controversies of schools, of sects, and of disputes between religion and philosophy. It is not here a question, in fact, as to one of those primitive literatures, which do not discover the identity of an author, and where an abstract genius seems to wield the pen for an entire nation. The writers of Babylon must have been thinkers with distinct views, discussing step by step, and in the minutest details, the opinions of their adversaries. The founders of Babylonian religions must have been philosophers gifted with clear perceptions, amicably opposing each other, and debating one and all, like academical professors. The work of Kúthámí is, in this wise, not a first book, but a work of recapitulation and