Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/43

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27
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

CHAPTER II.

 

To begin, one circumstance, foreign to, and no way conducive to the examination of the book itself, is of a nature to inspire doubts as to the legitimacy of the deductions of M. Quatremère and Dr. Chwolson. Ibn Wahshíya translated “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” into Arabic in the year 904 of our era. The original text is universally admitted to have been in Aramaic. Two thousand two hundred years, therefore, according to Prof. Chwolson's theory,—seventeen hundred years according to that of M. Quatremère,—must have elapsed between the composition of the work and its translation. Such an instance is without parallel at any period before philology is organised into a regular science. Only