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the Bifford Lectures
BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
F. MAX MÜLLER, K.M.
FOREION MEMBER OF THE FRENCI INSTITUTE
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
NEW YORK AND BOMBAY
(All rights reserred)
BL181 M94 1898a
First Edition June, 1889; Second Edition April, 1892'; Re-issued March, 1898, in Collected Edition with new
Preface. Reprinted March, 1898.
PREFACE TO COLLECTED WORKS.
I HOPE that this Collected Edition of my principal works, besides being convenient to the student, will also serve to place the chief object of all my literary labours in a clearer light. At first sight books on Language, books on Mythology, books on Religion, and books on the Science of Thought, may seem to have little in common, and yet they were all inspired and directed by one and the same purpose. During the last fifty years' I believe I have never lost sight of the pole-star that guided my course from the first, and I hope it will be seen by the attentive reader that I have steered throughout towards one beacon with its revolv. ing lights. I wanted to show that with the new materials placed at our disposal during the present century by the discoveries of ancient monuments, both architectural and literary, by the brilliant decipherment of un
IM. M.'s Translation of the Hitopadesa, Leipzig, 1844.
known languages and the patient interpretation of ancient literatures, whether in Egypt, Babylonia, India, or Persia, it has become possible to discover what may be called historical evolution, in the earliest history of mankind. This could be done and was done by introducing historical method where formerly we had to be satisfied with mere theories or postulates, so that at the present moment it may truly be said that what is meant by evolution or continuous development has now been proved to exist in the historical growth of the human mind quite as clearly as in any of the realms of objective nature which Darwin chose for the special field of his brilliant labours. Language, mythology, religion, nay even philosophy can now be proved to be the outcome of a natural growth or development rather than of intentional efforts or of individual genius. In the early history of mankind the influence of the many on the few can be shown to have balanced, nay, to have outweighed the influence of the few on the many. Even the founders of the great religions and philosophies of the ancient world have now been recognised as the children rather than as the makers of their time. The so-called Zeitgeist is no longer an unmeaning name, but