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they were originally deposited in strata of varying depths and in a definite order of succession at different ages, though now commingled in apparently hopeless confusion, till the wand of science makes them tell their tale; so is it with the Pentateuch as we have it to-day. The eye of the critical student discerns the strata deposited at different periods of the nation's history, and beneath all the apparently inextricable confusion of the Pentateuch, as it came from the hands of its last editor, can read the story of a uniform and consistent progress and development. The outlines of a merely local and national worship, given by Moses, develop in due course into the magnificent ceremonialism of Ezra and the priesthood of the second temple; and this, in God's providence, takes its right place as a preparation for the time when the germ of true religion, planted in the heart of the Chaldean Patriarch, after growing and spreading down the centuries put forth its full flower in Christ; and in Him Abraham became in truth the “ father of many nations," and the religion of Israel became the religion of the world. To the reverent student of the Old Testament this unravelling of the documents by which the historic development of Israel and her religion may be traced is deeply interesting, and as it proceeds he feels that, amid all the perplexity of the problems evoked, among which the origin and date of the Samaritan Pentateuch is not the least, he may fearlessly “assert eternal Providence, and justify the ways of God to men.”
NOTE.-On the questions involved in this paper I would refer the reader to Wellhausen's Prolegomena of the History of Israel, p. 498; Kuenen's Religion of Israel, vol. ii., pp. 206-8, 236, 249, 250 ; vol. iii., pp. 47 ff., in addition to those quoted. See also the same author's Hibbert Lectures, 1882,
Professor Robertson Smith's The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 1892, p. 61, and Lectures viii., ix., X., passim ; Ewald's History of Israel, vol. i., pp. 173-78, 188-96 ; vol. v., p. 216 ff., 279, 281 ; vol. viii., pp. 322-24; Professor Driver's Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, pp. 77, 135, 146, 471, 507 ff.
That the views expressed in this paper are not inconsistent either with loyalty to the teaching of our blessed Lord or the teaching of the Church as to Inspiration, is well brought out by Mr. Gore in his celebrated essay in Lux Mundi, pp. 351-61; by Professor Kirkpatrick in the book already cited, pp. 8, 9; and by the Bishop of Manchester, Teaching of Christ, pp. 37-43.
ZOROASTER AND ISRAEL.
II. By Rev. JAMES HOPE MOULTON, M.A. I must come to the second part of my work with a very sincere apology for delaying it so long. Absence from Kiriath-sepher has been to me for the last month a more serious thing than it was to Dr. Cheyne, whose article has been making me extremely uncomfortable for several reasons, which I must briefly touch on before proceeding with the inquiry immediately before me. First and foremost comes Dr. Cheyne's complaint of disrespect. Nothing could have been farther from my thoughts, and I confess, on reading what I said, my words seem no more discourteous than my intentions. As to the particular point in question, I did but accept Prof. Sayce's translation of the Tel-el-Amarna inscription. I hope I may be forgiven for regarding an Oxford Professor as infallible in his own province : the epithet “absurd” seems to me rather hard measure dealt for that belief, especially as Prof. Cheyne does not tell us wherein his colleague is wrong. But I hasten to pass from this, only reiterating my hearty regret for a rudeness which was never meant.
My misfortune in this matter is partly due to Prof. Cheyne's putting me among the host of those who have an à priori prejudice against his school of criticism. In this, I may assure him, he is entirely wrong, though the fault is mine. I did not attempt to make my position clear, simply because I am not a Hebrew specialist, and my opinions on criticism are not worth intruding on the public. But I have absolutely no “theological prejudice" against criticism as represented by Prof. Driver, or my friend Prof. Ryle, however little I may like some continental exaggerations of criticism, based mainly, I believe, on suspicion of miracle. There is surely no inevitable solidarity between the results attained by critics of the same school, and a rejection of Prof. Cheyne's thesis respecting the Psalms may be consistent with full acceptance of “constructive critical treatment” of the Old Testament. As I am not reviewing the Bampton Lectures, I do not either accept or reject them here. I did not say that a believer in "a unique revelation " might with some reason be troubled by the Lecturer's results; the italicized words are my critic's addition, and I only meant to describe a common feeling, on which I entirely abstained from expressing any opinion. The sentence Prof. Cheyne quotes on p. 116 is equally harmless in its original intention. I penned it without the least wish to do more than define certain conditions necessary for scientific proof, and stripped of its imaginary bias the sentence is a truism. There are two other points in which I have been misunderstood. I objected to the Professor's tracing an Avestan conception in Ps. xvii. 3-5, observing that in the Avesta the “ thought, word, and deed” is regularly a “clearly cut phrase," while the Psalm has “disguised" it well-nigh past recognition by expanding it over three verses. The idea of Prof. Cheyne's "disguising" the phrase was so foreign to my point that I never noticed the ambiguity of my language. Less ambiguous, I think, because guarded by the prefatory words, was the "admittedly fortuitous parallel " I drew between Yasna xxxi. 7 and Ps. xix., which I never meant to be taken so seriously. The stanza quoted supports the unity of Ps. xix. just as much, or as little, as the oft-repeated dictum of Kant. I meant only that parallels which were little more than curious seemed to me decidedly closer than some selected by Prof. Cheyne. Incidentally, however, the stanza had a "lesson,'
as it illustrated the fact that in the history of Zoroastrianism all that is loftiest and most spiritual in the system appears in its earliest proclamation. On this I must continue to lay stress, though I was not thinking of Prof. Cheyne in my application of it. Some critics take the à priori line that what is spiritual must generally be a later development. I think this utterly indefensible, and call Zoroastrianism as a witness ; for even if the Gâthâs are “far from being perfect in spirituality," there is little enough in the later Avesta which can rank with their least spiritual portions. The study of comparative religion seems to me to indicate degeneration rather than evolution as the prevailing principle :-God has saved mankind by ever sending His prophets to raise what must otherwise inevitably fall.
All the points, then, to which Prof. Cheyne takes serious objection prove to be misapprehensions of my meaning—a result which is anything but flattering to my lucidity. I sincerely apologize to Prof. Cheyne for an obscurity which was not a little due to haste, and trust that I shall be clearer this time. I must repeat again that my former article was not intended to be an attack on the Bampton Lectures, which, in my opinion, are not vitally affected by anything I have proved or propose to prove.
Prof. Cheyne apparently does not make the alleged dependence on Zoroastrian doctrine an argument for the late date of the Psalms. Granted his dates, the later Psalms were, we shall now see, written by men who knew well that the Persians of their time believed in immortality. The second of my propositions (THINKER, vol. i., p. 408) only affects the fringe of the Bampton Lecturer's argument. My subject in the present article—which must, I fear, be presented in two instalments—is the much more serious one propounded in the first of those summaries : What was the religion prevailing in Persia in the ages following Cyrus ? The theory I am about to state on this most difficult question professes little novelty except in the combination of propositions individually advanced before ; but I hope it may do something towards & solution of a problem that has long perplexed the history of religion.
The difficulties which demand harmonizing have been mostly mentioned already. What is the connection between the Magi and the Avesta ? Is the Avesta homogeneous ? Was Cyrus in any sense a Zoroastrian? Were the Achæmenian kings after Cambyses followers of Avestan doctrine ? and so on. I will give my theory first, and then apply it in detail.
The Avestan religion is, in my opinion, a not very harmonious combination of three pre-existing systems, which may be styled respectively Zoroastrianism, Iranian Mazdeism, and Magism. By the first I mean the teaching of Zarathushtra himself, as contained in the Gâthâs, together with its first stage of degeneration, represented in parts of the later Avesta. Iranian Mazdeism is the religion of Iran before the reform of Zarathushtra, and is approximately represented by the cuneiform inscriptions of Darius and Xerxes, and (in the main) by the locus classicus in the first book of Herodotus. Magism I understand to have been a non-Aryan system, nearly akin to the Accadian-Shemitic religion of Babylon. I proceed to sketch the characteristic
this by a
features of these three systems, giving as far as possible in footnotes an indication of evidence too technical to be produced in full.
I. On Gâthic Zoroastrianism I need say little here. Dr. Mills's paper in THE THINKER for August has presented Zarathushtra's teaching on Immortality, and the reader may judge for himself the loftiness of a creed worthy of such a climax. The Prophet proclaimed a Deity worshipped before his day, but the revelation of His unapproachable holiness and perfection was given for the first time through an inspired man to whom assuredly the One God spoke with unmistakable voice. To Him the peaceful countryman was to look for help against the fierce nomads who oppressed him, and by good words, good works, and good thoughts should gain beyond the grave an eternity of bliss. The uncompromising monotheism of this creed is not affected by the personification of the Deity's moral attributes or gifts—Goodness, Holiness, Providence, Wisdom or Devotion, Prosperity, and Immortality. There remains the problem of Evil. That Zarathushtra solved
“di-theism ” is often stated-last by the omniscient Professor Huxley—but the accusation is wholly mistaken. Ahura Mazda created all except what is evil. Angra Mainyu is on a level with Him only in that the existence of both reaches back to the same infinite past, when the wicked spirit chose wickedness, and the holy Spirit chose righteousness.2 Ahura cannot destroy his foe, but the long struggle, in which Zarathushtra calls man to take his part, will end in the triumph of good and the everlasting imprisonment of evil in hell. Thus, strictly speaking, the “dualism ” of Zarathushtra consists solely in his account of the origin of evil : in other respects he is practically at one with Christianity in proclaiming that evil will be finally conquered.
This system seems to me explicable only as the work of a single mind. The religion which Zarathushtra found in possession will be delineated in our next section, where it will be seen that the distinctive doctrines of the Gâthâs are not recognizable at all in the primitive Iranian Mazda-worship.3 The Prophet speaks, especially in the great doctrinal exposition of Yasna xxx., as if his hearers knew of Ahura Mazda as the supreme God, but knew nothing of His relation to the evil of the world, nor of good hope in another life for those who chose righteousness in this. He deals with the existing polytheism indirectly, by describing Ahura's all-sufficient perfection, and thus endeavouring to draw men's minds away from inferior gods, whom he neither names nor hints at, thus doubtless hoping to escape
* Ahura created even "eternity” itself (zrvan akarana): see the Zâusparam i. 24 (West, S.B.E. iv. 160). That he and Angra Mainyu were both the offspring of this “eternity," is never stated in the Avesta,
2 See Yasna xxx. 5.
3 Dr. Mills (S. B. E. xxxi., p. xxxvi., &c.) thinks Mithra and his fellows fell into neglect gradually before the Gâthic period. I cannot help thinking that the Prophet's teaching, as conjecturally sketched above, suits better the fact that Mithra-worship existed before Zarathushtra, and returned after him in the train of the other elemental deities of Indo-Iranian times. See infra.
opposition, and enable his doctrines to secure acceptance by their own power and beauty.
Opposition, however, the Prophet met very soon. The Gathâs are full of it-see especially Yasna xlvi.—and it seems to come from men of the same race, who expel him and his followers from their “kin and clan," and will not let them pursue in peace their quiet pastoral life. It has been made exceedingly probable by Dr. A. V. Williams Jackson 1 that this opposition was at first entirely successful. Reconciling the perplexed evidence which places Zarathushtra now in the West, now in the East, he maintains that the Prophet was born in Atropatene, preached without success in the Median Ragha, and then turned to Bactria, where he was welcomed by King Vishtâspa : and established a permanent church. After his death his doctrines continued to flourish, but his abstinence from denouncing expressly the Iranian polytheism enabled the old cults to return under shelter of the new creed, while the Amesha Spenta, the poetical personifications of God's attributes and gifts, became archangels and objects of idolatrous worship. We are reminded of the history of Christendom—how heathen deities returned thinly disguised as Mary and the saints, while angelic beings received their share in a practically polytheistic worship; the name of polytheism remaining an object of horror in the one creed as in the other. The “Gátha haptanghaití," written in the same dialect as the other Gâthâs, shows us very clearly how Zarathushtra's teaching fared when the master was gone.
It is exceeding Vedic in its style, brings up for adoration the most characteristic nature-powers of the Indo-Iranian pantheon, and does not once mention Angra Mainyu 4-a striking testimony to the individuality of Zarathushtra's philosophy, which did not survive him, though its terminology was adapted long after in the Magian Vendidad, as we shall see. The development traced in this later Gâthâ seems to have proceeded on the same lines as Zoroastrianism spread towards the West. Before it had reached Ragha again, it had yoked to its founder's formulæ so much of the unreformed Iranian Mazdeism that the country which had expelled Zarathushtra welcomed his successors. In the course of this migration the Gâthic dialect had developed into the later Avestan, and at this stage I
1 Journal of the Amer. Oriental Soc., 1891, pp. 221 sqq.
3 Identical in name with the father of Darius, but “Hystaspes " was not a king, to say nothing of the other overwhelming difficulties in the way of the often asserted identity of person.
4 Note the adoration of fire (Y. 36. 2), stars (Y. 36. 6), and sun (ib.), which are the "body" of Ahura ; the waters (Y. 38. 3, 5), addressed as “female Ahuras ;” the earth and the “female powers” (Y. 38. 1); the fravashis, or guardian spirits of good men and women (Y. 37. 3), on which see below. The title Amesha Spenta (“Holy Immortals ") is given for the first time (Y. 35. 1, and two other places). A curions and decidedly unZarathushtrian feature is the worship of "the wild beasts and the fierce bcasts" (Y. 39. 2), as a substitute presumably for prayers to Ahura against them.
5 I have to thank Dr. Mills for his very interesting criticism (THINKER, August, p. 112 on my comparison between Gâthic and the later dialect. My point in bringing up "anhou