Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/45

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
29
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

less, diffuse, bald style, full of minute discussions and extraneous matter. Books of this kind do not remain intact during many generations of copyists. They grow with the times; or, to speak more correctly, they have only a limited fame, and are replaced by other treatises which are found more suitable, or believed to be more complete.

This is but a prejudicial view of the case; it is from the examination of the book itself that one must expect more convincing arguments. It will be confessed, however, that the opinion which attributes such remote antiquity to “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” must be abandoned, if I succeed in proving that its author understood Greek science, the institutions of more advanced (achimedienne) Persia, and the Jewish traditions in their apocryphal and legendary form. Now these three points I trust to be able to prove.

Prof. Chwolson acknowledges that a great number of Greek words occur in the translation of Ibn Wahshíya, especially when