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much may be accomplished by the mere collation of the scattered fragments
of information in ancient authors, is seen in the great work of HADRIAN RELAND. This learned writer, until lately, “ facile princeps” among those who have gleaned in that field,—has so nearly exhausted the earlier sources of information, as to possess himself almost the authority of an original witness. And yet the materials so diligently compiled are insufficient except for the most general purposes. They enabled the geographer to construct maps of the Holy Land with tolerable accuracy of outline, and to designate the more important sites. But still there were many inaccuracies, not to say great incompleteness in all these charts. To show by a few examples the deficiency of data afforded by the early writers, we may refer to a map constructed from them by Nicholas Sanson, geographer to the king of France, about A. D. 1660. On this map, among other curious matters, we find Mount Seir stretching in a southeasterly direction from the vicinity of Gaza to a point south of the Dead Sea ; while along its base flows the Torrent of Egypt from Petra to the Mediterranean. The river Kishon, also, is made to connect, like a canal, the waters of Gennessaret with the Bay of Acre ;-a facility for internal navigation, which we have seen copied into maps constructed even within the present century. So, likewise, the chart prepared by Lightfoot, from the Talmudists, Josephus, Pliny, etc. (about A. D. 1650), is wholly inaccurate. The following are some of its features: the mountain ranges of Libanus and Anti-Libanus are laid down as running east and west, instead of north and south. The river which waters the plain of Damascus is made to run westwardly, contrary to the fact. The Kishon is placed at the southern instead of the northern base of Mount Carmel. The Jordan runs nearly west from the Sea of Tiberias to the Dead Sea. The Red Sea, instead of being separated into two bays by the peninsula of Sinai, is represented as a single gulf, extending nearly east and west, while Mount Sinai lies northeasterly from Suez, and northwesterly from Ezion Geber. A circumstance which greatly impairs the utility of the ancient geographical notices is this: they are accustomed to say, for example, that one place is north from another, when it lies in any northerly direction, whether northeast or northwest, or still nearer to the eastern or western points. For reasons such as these it is manifest that, in reference to geography alone, the early wri
ters are extremely defective. And this deficiency is equally striking in other particulars.
A second class that has furnished materials of the kind we are considering is composed of writers who flourished between A. D. 400 and 1400. The authors belonging to this period were either ecclesiastics residing in Palestine, or pilgrims and crusaders from abroad—with the exception of the Arabian geographers, El-Edrisi, (A. D. 1150,) and Abulfæda, (A. D. 1300,) Bohaeddin, the companion of Saladin (A. D. 1200,) and Benjamin of Tudela, a Spanish Jew, (A. D. 1170.) Of the Christian authorities, the most important are the French Bishop Arculfus, as drawn up by Adamnanus, near the close of the seventh century, and William, Archbishop of Tyre, a historian of the Crusades, at the end of the twelfth. The tract of Brocardus, A. D. 1283, the amusing “voiage and travaile” of Sir John Maundeville, A. D. 1322—56, and the journal of Ludolph de Suchem, about the same time, should also be added. At the beginning of this millennium of darkness and superstition, when religion was gradually becoming less spiritual, and passing more and more every year into a mere excitement of the imagination by means of relics and traditions, there was a constant motive for the priests and monks to multiply the sources of this excitement. Hence they traced out the site of every scriptural event, and legendary occurrence that could be in any way connected with the Scriptures. The inventions of succeeding generations of ecclesiastics did not suffer these sites to diminish in number or sanctity; so that tradition, once fixed, remained unchanged in its essential features during the whole period under review. This traditionary information is not unfrequently absurd in itself, as well as directly at variance with the Scriptures.* Moreover the monks were generally foreigners, knowing little of the topography of the land, and less still of the vernacular language of the people,-an acquisition by no means necessary for the purposes of their mission. Of course,
* For example, the monks show in Jerusalem the houses of Dives and Lazarus as historical verities. They also designate the top of Olivet as the place of Christ's ascension, while the Evangelist tells us expressly, that he ascended from Bethany. Luke 24: 50, 51.
+ This is as true in modern as it was in ancient times. Rev. Pliny Fisk met with a Catholic priest at Cana, near Nazareth, they were incapacitated as well as indisposed for original investigation, and blindly received for themselves and imparted to others traditionary tales instead of authentic facts. When, at length, the crusaders arrived, it was to conquer and not to investigate. The reports, then, which crusaders and pilgrims have left us concerning Palestine, are to be regarded as furnishing only casual illustrations of its geography and condition, while the mass of their itineraries are still the same repeated stories of credulous superstition or the inventions of
The period since A. D. 1400 has been prolific in works on Palestine, although by far the greater number add little on which the interpreter can rely. The following deserve most notice. Mejr-ed-Din, an Arabian writer in A. D.1495, described the Holy City. Breydenbach and Fabri visited Jerusalem and Mount Sinai in 1484. The botany of Palestine was partially investigated by Rauwolf in 1573. In 1586, a Fleming named Zuallert produced his “ Devout Pilgrimage to Jerusalem.” His engravings, though by no means accurate, seem to have served as copies for many of the pictorial illustrations of later journalists. A better class of writers are the following-Cotovicus, (1598,) Sandys, (1610,) an original observer and faithful narrator, Monconys, (1646,) who collected valuable facts concerning the arts and sciences in Egypt and Syria. Doubdan, a Frenchman, in 1652, exhibits considerable learning, and his researches have probably supplied less accurate and painstaking authors with many interesting facts and speculations. D’Arvieux resided in Sidon from 1658 to 1665, and gave an account of the Arab tribes. But no travellers have been more used by expositors of the Bible, than Henry Maundrell and Dr. Shaw. The former was chaplain to the English factory at Aleppo, and made a hasty visit to Jerusalem in 1697. His observations on portions of the north of Palestine have not, even to this day, been superseded by any more accurate work. Shaw's travels date a quarter of a century later, and his notices are judicious and valuable. The natural history of Palestine received its most important contributions from the letters of Hasselquist, the Swede, to Linnæus, about 1750. Niebuhr (1767,) is another of the scientific travellers of the first class; but it is to be regretted that his visit to Jerusalem was hurried, and he learned little more than was told him by the monks.
who had been thirty years in Palestine without ever learning the language of the country.
In the present century, the earliest traveller is Dr. E. D. Clarke, who, though long regarded as the best of authority, is now found to have been rash in his theories and deficient in judgment. Those who have been induced by his learning to confide in his hypotheses have been obliged, on better information, to reject much of what he had taught them. In proof of this we have but to refer to his assertion, that the castle of Santorri (Sânnûr) is the ancient Samaria ; again, that the Jordan maintains its current through the whole length of the sea of Galilee; and that Mount Zion lay south of the valley of Hinnom! From 1803 to 1810, Seetzen, a judicious and enterprising traveller journeyed extensively in the East, and great value is attached to his researches. But unhappily, the greater part of his manuscripts have never been published ; and those which have been given to the world are scattered through many volumes of a German periodical, and therefore not generally accessible. An indefatigable laborer in the cause of science, John Lewis Burckhardt, resided in the East from 1809 to 1816. Although his observations on the Holy Land were only incidental,-his main object being to explore the interior of Africa yet they are of great value in reference to the topography of Palestine and the customs of the Arab tribes. Burckhardt is one of the very few travellers in that country who had intercourse with the people, and spoke their language. Still the disadvantages attending his observations were very great; and he was often compelled in the most interesting localities to make his notes by stealth, or to forego them entirely, on account of the jealousy of his Bedawin companions.
Besides the writers above enumerated there have been many others of a more popular character, which, however interesting on account of personal incidents, are of little value to the interpreter of Scripture. Such are the eloquent but superficial itinerary of Chateaubriand; the travels of Buckingham,- too well understood to need to be characterized; the travels of Dr. Richardson,-pleasing but not always to be trusted; the poetical fancies of Lamartine,-to write which it was not needful that he should ever have left Paris; and the work of Laborde, valuable rather for its splendid plates than for the accuracy of its topographical information. To the same general class belong the “Incidents of Travel" of our countryman, Mr. Ste
phens,—a pair of volumes unsurpassed in the interest of per onal adventure, but adding little to our previous stock of topographical information, because the writer had never made Palestine his study, and therefore, except in tact and enterprise, was quite unfurnished for the work of exploration.
We have been thus minute in our glance at the materials for fact, biblical illustration, in order to impress upon the reader the that the great work of collecting exact information on this subject is but just begun. Of the writers to whom we have referred, how many give us only the silly fables of the convents. How large a proportion of travellers have visited Palestine under circumstances that forbade their prosecuting any extended inquiry. Maundrell's visit was very brief. Buckingham was in Palestine only about three months; Dr. Clarke but seventeen days; and Niebuhr not much longer. Volney was a proclaimed infidel; nor did Burckhardt manifest any special sympathy with Christianity. Some visitors were learned but skeptical; others were pious but unlearned; others still were greatly wanting in a tact for observation. Thus Jowett, though deeply interested in the sacred uses to which his notices might be turned, makes the Kedron flow westward from Jerusalem-exactly contrary to the fact. Most travellers have been unable to hold intercourse with the people of Palestine, except through interpreters incapable of appreciating the subjects of communication. Even Pococke knew little Arabic, and the recent travellers have been, almost without exception, cut off by this circumstance from all communication with the natives. Thus they were compelled to see every thing through the eyes of the monks, and to take the legends of the convents instead of personal investigation. How little just information of the interior of the oriental bosom with its peculiar associations; how little even of topographical details could they acquire in these circumstances. Let us suppose some foreigner,-a Bedawi Arab, for instance,-to spend six or eight weeks in travelling post-haste through New England ; suppose him obliged to communicate with the people only through an interpreter, and that interpreter some African slave who had learned Arabic in his youth on the great Sahara, and English amid the cotton fields of Georgia. How much information could the most intelligent visitor, amid such circumstances, carry away with him, to be used in illustrating the literature, the physical, social and moral condition of the Yankees and their country ? Scarcely less preposterous