Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/278

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The weight of interest will center upon Colonel Mallery's demonstration that the Israelites, at the period under examination, were polytheists. The interest is heightened by the appearance, in the "Jewish Quarterly Review" (London) for October, 1889, of a learned and exhaustive article by the Rev. Prof. A. H. Sayce, under the title "Polytheism in Primitive Israel," which comes to the same conclusion. Most of the points mentioned by Colonel Mallery in this regard are also brought out by Prof. Sayce, of course independently and with much greater elaboration. Some of his more striking passages may be quoted. He speaks of "the Israelites who first ventured to use the plural Elohim of their national God," and adds: "The fact that the Israelites never forgot that it [Elohim] was a plural term, that up to the last they often employed it in a plural sense, proves that the earliest users of it were worshipers of many deities. . . . We may gather from the history of Micah, in Judges xviii, that the worship of the teraphim was the necessary accompaniment of the tribal worship of Yahveh, as represented by a 'carved image,' and in the case of the tribe of Dan, at all events, it lasted 'until the day of the captivity.' . . . Yahveh was not yet conceived of as the sole god. ... It was in Judah that the older cult first died out of the popular belief. After the division of the kingdom, Judah with its central capital at Jerusalem formed a compact and organized community, in which the earlier tribal distinctions which had marked it off from Simeon, or Dan and Benjamin, were soon obliterated. The dynasty of David welded the community together, and the Temple of Solomon became more and more the center of the common faith. The worship that was carried on in it, the belief of which it was the outward expression, the religious teaching and influence which emanated from it, gradually affected the ideas and convictions of the Jewish people. A time came at length when Josiah could venture to destroy the 'high places' where the old local cults had been carried on for unnumbered generations, and order his subjects to 'worship before the altar' at Jerusalem alone." Prof. Sayce also denies that the Semites were fundamentally monotheistic.

This publication by one of the most learned of living Oriental scholars, who is a professor in the University of Oxford and a clergyman of the Church of England, is important as corroborating the statements of fact from which Colonel Mallery has drawn anthropologic lessons.


Scientific Papers of Asa Gray. Selected by Charles Sprague Sargent. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 2 vols. Pp. 397 and 503. Price, $3 each.

The literary value of the papers contained in these volumes is equal to their scientific value, and that is well understood. Botanical criticism and description are not usually classed among literary subjects, but Prof. Gray made them one; and a large proportion of what he has written in that field is æsthetically enjoyable. The period of his scientific writing lasted fifty-three years—from 1834 to 1887—and during that time he made a remarkable number and variety of contributions, all stamped with evidence of thoroughness and the complete familiarity with his subject that seem to have been habitual with him. His writings are grouped by Mr. Sargent in four divisions. The first in importance contains his contributions to descriptive botany, relating chiefly to the flora of North America; "and although," says the editor, "it did not fall to his lot . . . to elaborate any one of the great families of plants, the extent and character of his contributions to systematic botany will place his name among those of the masters of the science." Next in importance are his educational works, manuals or text-books, the influence of which on the development of botanical knowledge in this country has been great. The third