Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/74

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58
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

bylonian or Syrian origin, which bear the name of a patriarch, and round which are grouped a greater or less number of followers. “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” is of a period when these writings possessed full authority, and this explains why the Jews, who furnished the originals of all these fictions, are not mentioned in the work of Kúthámí. The apocryphal traditions of which I am speaking were, in fact, in such general circulation, that they passed at Babylon for Babylonian, in the same manner as the Arabs, who, when relating their fables of Edris and Lokman, never acknowledge that they owe them to the Jews, but always seem to forget or ignore the fact.[1]

If we look at the general character of “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture,” in-

  1. It is Dr. Chwolson himself (“Die Ssabier,” t. i., l. i., c. 13) who has most clearly shown how the Jewish patriarchs were adopted by the Sabians, the Harranians, and other sects of the East. Dr. Chwolson describes, elsewhere (pp. 186, 187 of his new memoir), a very curious passage of a Jewish apocryphal tale, fathered on Noah, which has the most complete affinity to those of the Nabathæan text.