Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/88

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72
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

extraordinary accident, the only three Babylonian writers, whose works have come down to us, should, at such immense intervals, have been attached to the same institution?

The fourth Nabathæan work, entitled كتاب اسرار الشمس والقمر which sets forth the opinions of the pretended Babylonian sages, Adámi, Ankebúthá, and Askolábíta, on the artificial production of living beings, appears anterior, at least in point of ideas, to “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture,” since Kúthámí constantly appeals to the principles which are there developed.[1] Now it is very difficult to allow that this novel composition belongs to high antiquity. The science which it contains, is that which we find in Berosus and Sanchoniathon; a sort of atheism, professing to explain the formation of beings after a materialist fashion, and without the intervention of the Godhead. This idea appears to have been one of the fundamental principles of Babylonian science.

  1. P. 165 ff.