Ancient Shrines In Northern Syria -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:221 (Jan 1899)
Article: Ancient Shrines In Northern Syria
Author: Anonymous

Ancient Shrines In Northern Syria

[For the sake of giving it a more permanent place in literature, we copy entire a recent extremely important communication to the Independent from an associate editor, who is spending the year in Syria.—Eds.]

The: permanence of Oriental manners and customs is recognized by all intelligent students of the East. In the domain of language Professor Noeldeke and other scholars see in the Arabic the best representative of an original Semitic language, which stands in the same relation to other Semitic languages that Sanscrit does to the Indo-European languages. And it is among the Ancient Arabs that the late Professor W. Robertson Smith and Professor Wellhausen have sought illustrations of primitive Semitic religion. These ceremonies have been handed down from father to son through the millenniums. Professor Smith has shown how the institutions of worship in ancient Israel rest on a Semitic basis. It is perfectly possible to hold his view without thereby invalidating the theory of divine revelation to ancient Israel.

Undoubtedly the country and the people still furnish interesting illustrations of primitive rites and ceremonies, although, according to the testimony of old people, there has been a great change in this respect since the missionaries first came to Syria. Among these, which were found in ancient Israel, was the worship of the Baalim (Judges 2:13; 8:33; 1 Kings 16:32; Hos. 2:8; 13:1), the worship on high places (Dent. 12:2; 2 Kings 16:4; Jer. 3:6) under every green tree (Hos. 4:13). Indeed, certain trees seem to have had a specially sacred character1 (Gen. 12:6; 21:33; Deut. 11:30; margin of Rev. Ver. and Variorum Bible; Gen. 35:4; Josh. 24:26), and certain shrines, were alike holy to Israel as well as Canaanite from a very remote antiquity (Gen. 12:6; Josh, 24:1, 25; Hos. 6:9, marg.; 1 Kings 3:4,...

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