This volume (one of the English and Foreign Philosophical Library) contains "the first part of Tiele's "Comparative History of the Egyptian and Mesopotamia Religions," which appeared In Holland in 1872. The author, well known as an able student of the history of religions, had previously published a valuable little manual entitled 'Outlines of the History of Religion to the Spread of the Universal Religions', which may be called the first orderly presentation of modern views on this subject. But he saw that the attempt to ...
This volume (one of the English and Foreign Philosophical Library) contains "the first part of Tiele's "Comparative History of the Egyptian and Mesopotamia Religions," which appeared In Holland in 1872. The author, well known as an able student of the history of religions, had previously published a valuable little manual entitled 'Outlines of the History of Religion to the Spread of the Universal Religions', which may be called the first orderly presentation of modern views on this subject. But he saw that the attempt to construct a general history of religion was premature until the particular religions had been worked out in detail, and he has since devoted himself to more special studies. This is now the understanding among scholars everywhere, and solid foundations for the new science are being laid by the Hibbert lectures in England (so for delivered by Max Muller, Renan, Le Page Renouf, and Kuenen), the Revue de l'Histoire des Religions in France, and various contributions elsewhere. The really elementary work to be done is the study of the savage religions, in which not much has yet been accomplished; till this field is explored, the student of the more advanced faiths will find himself constantly perplexed by questions which baffle his resources, and his work will be of a tentative and unsatisfactory sort. So Tiele has found it in undertaking to give a history of religions so highly developed as those of the Egyptians and the Semites-religions which are already old when they appear on the stage of history. He is well aware of this, and has no hope of saying the last word on any of the important problems of his subject; but he has done good service in marshalling the facts so far brought to light, investigating their meaning, and stating clearly the difficulties that still exist.... ...The question of diversity of local worships is connected with the equally obscure one of the elements of the ancient population of Egypt, about which, notwithstanding the valuable illustrations of Ebers and others, we as yet know very little. Ebers has shown that the Semites (Phoenicians) were numerous and influential in Egypt in very early times, but there seems to be no evidence for a Semitic coloring of the primitive Egyptian religious ideas. All Egyptian questions in which early ethnological relations are involved must be treated cautiously. When Tiele says (p. 87) of the worships of Ptah and Neith that there is reason to think they were not of "purely Egyptian origin," it might puzzle him to say exactly what this expression implies; for who were pure Egyptians in the earliest times, it is hardly possible now to determine. On this point he seems to hold one preconception that, it is to be feared, will not tend to advance his inquiry: he speaks sometimes (pp. 12,13) almost as if it were necessary to identify the Egyptians either with the Aryans or with the Semites. He says, indeed, that, inasmuch as sufficient light has not yet been thrown on this subject, he will not "as yet" rank the Egyptian among the Semitic peoples, but he is evidently seriously inclined to this position, which his scientific sobriety prevents him from distinctly announcing. The same disposition is shown in his remarks on the religion, as where he says (p. 75) that "the myth of Osiris might be described as more Semitic in character, while that of Ra is more Aryan "-that is, Osiris corresponds to the beneficent sun-god of the Semites, killed by the consuming god of the summer sun, while Ra, like all the Aryan gods of the light and the sky, fights against the demon of darkness. In the same connection, however, he intimates that the differences in the Egyptian conceptions rather point to an earlier stage of religious growth, when Semites and Aryans were one, and there existed a parent myth from which the Semitic and the Aryan and the two Egyptian have descended (so also on p. 224).... -- The Nation , Vol. 34 
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Fair. No dust jacket. 1882. 230 pages. No dust jacket. Brown cloth with gilt decoration and lettering. Rough cut page are lightly tanned and thumbed at the edges, with some creased corners and foxing. Some internal hinge cracking and a loose bind. Boards are mildly rub worn, with some light shelf wear to spine, edges and corners, corners are bumped. Slight crushing to spine ends. Sunning to spine and edges. World of Rare Books Item ref. 1487925784CJD (Use this ID when enquiring about this item. )
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