The Worship of the Dead: Or the Origin and Nature of Pagan Idolatry and Its Bearing Upon the Early History of Egypt and Babylonia (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, 16‏/09‏/2017 - 466 من الصفحات
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Excerpt from The Worship of the Dead: Or the Origin and Nature of Pagan Idolatry and Its Bearing Upon the Early History of Egypt and Babylonia

The intimate relation of the ancient Paganism to the early history of mankind, and its influence on the fate and fortunes of the human race, gives no little interest and importance to any inquiry into its origin and nature, and many learned men, during the last sixty years, have carefully collected and compared the traditions and archaeological remains relating to it in various countries. But, although their works form a valuable literature on the subject, they are not only too voluminous to be consulted by the ordinary reader, but they fail to supply a succinct and comprehensive history of its origin, development and exact nature, without which its true character and significance cannot be fully recognised.

In the present work the author has endeavoured to supply this want, and, while availing himself of the researches of previous writers, has endeavoured to compress into a moderate compass and readable form, the facts and archaeological discoveries which show the relation of the gods and religious systems of various nations to each other, and to point out the significance and interpretation of the ancient traditions and mythological stories, and their bearing on the events of actual history.

Attention is called to the fact that the numerous testimonies referred to by the author are not those of one people and one age but of many individuals living in different ages, and of different nationalities; and that one and all are without the slightest evidence of artificial construction or systematic purpose. They are, for the most part, the statements of persons without relation to each other, who simply record the statements and opinions of the people of other countries, or briefly allude to the general belief current in their own. They form, therefore, a number of perfectly independent witnesses, whose testimony is all the more valuable because they are often entirely unaware of the import and significance of their own evidence.

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