Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/878

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
852
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

What Moses saw and heard; or, the Idea of God in the Old Testament. By A. O. Butler. Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons. Pp. 434.

In this book a study is made of the character of the material surroundings in which the authors of the Old Testament were placed, and the nature of the impressions upon them which the Church regards as revelations from Deity, and which they describe as the voice of God speaking to them, or as appearances in a vision or a dream. It involves also an inquiry into their psychological condition. In the chapters on "The Bible as it is" and "The Publication of the Pentateuch," the author's conclusions respecting the origin and dates of the books agree in the main with those of the school of criticism represented by Kuenen. The inquiry is continued in chapters on "The Idea of God in Creation," "What Moses saw and heard," and "The Spirit of Inspiration." It is held that Moses saw the presence of God in the lightning or the fire, and heard his voice in the clouds; and the agency of God in the work of creation was the divine spiritual fire which the author of Genesis saw flashing in the clouds. Those who reject this construction may still find the interpretation of his expressions in the motion which God by his word, or by some power in himself, in the first instance communicated to matter. This suggests to the author the inquiry whether the writer of the first chapter of Genesis and the twentieth chapter of Exodus did not know that light was only a mode of motion.

An Introduction to the Local Constitutional History of the United States By George E. Howard. Vol. I. Development of the Township, Hundred, and Shire. Baltimore: Publication Agency of the Johns Hopkins University. Pp. 626.

This work forms an extra volume of the "Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science." In it a subject is treated which, although it has been a very important feature in the development of the American colonies and the organization of our States, has received but little systematic attention. It is only recently, in fact, that the matter of local governmental organizations has been formally considered by historians and political students. But, since Freeman began publishing his historical studies, the theory of an English local constitution, coeval in origin with that of the race, has become familiar; and, as the investigation has been extended, such a constitution has been found to have been a characteristic feature of Aryan civilization. Nowhere has local self-government played a more important part than in the development of our own American institutions, and it has become common with publicists to assign to it the origin of some of the most precious features of our system of government. As the author of this work remarks, in describing the New England town-meeting, "it is difficult to see, without the township, how the Englishman could have triumphed over the Frenchman in the struggle for the control of the continent; it is no less difficult to understand how, without it, the English race in America could have grown into an independent nation." The development of the various forms which local government has assumed in the United States is traced back to its beginning, and the modifications they have undergone are followed. Their origin lies far back in the history of the race. In this light are described the evolution of the township, hundred, and shire or county, with their various aspects, their divisions, and their combinations. The book is intended simply as a general introduction to the study of the subject, and leaves room for special treatment in different localities. But it points out "a rich field in which many laborers may find profitable employment," and which it would be well to have carefully cultivated.

 

Numbers Universalized, by David M. Sensenig (Appletons' Mathematical Series: D. Appleton & Co.), is intended as an advanced elementary algebra, which will be made part first of a higher algebra soon to be completed. It is thus bound separately in order to meet the wants of such schools as have arranged a higher course in algebra than is outlined and treated in the author's first book, "Numbers Symbolized," and yet have not time enough devoted to this branch to complete a full course in higher algebra. It is especially adapted to schools preparing students for college, and to advanced classes