While the climatic conditions have made Egypt a veritable archaeological museum, or, as Professor Breasted has termed it, as vast his torical volume,» and have made possible the preservation of very valuable and extensive sources of historical information in the remain; of the architecture, the engineering feats, the plastic art, and even the inscriptions cut on the stone surfaces of tombs, palaces, temples and there have been few or no Egyp tian historical writings preserved. With the exception of a few fragmentary annals, such as the «Palermo Stele» no native Egyptian histori cal writings have been discovered except the garbled and incomplete work of Manetho re ferred to above. One may safely agree with Professor Hall that 'no real historian is known to us in Pharaonic Egypt, nor is it Likely that one will ever be discovered,» While the true historical narrative can scarcely be held to have originated with the Babylonians or Assyrians, they certainly made a closer approximation to this achievement than the Egyptians. The earliest historical writings of the Babylonians, dating back to the third millenium ac., were the votive inscriptions, giv ing the names of the kings, their genealogies and a record of the buildings they erected. The great cylinder inscriptions of Gudea (2450 n.c.) are a valuable source for the contemporary manners and customs, while the Code of Ham murabi (2150 ac.) is probably the most import ant single document in the history of dence. In the period following Hammurabi there were important writings of the i kings set ting forth their achievements, but n an epic rather than a truly historical manner. The sec ond Babylonian kingdom of the 6th century B.C. contributed some important chronicles epitomiz ing some much earlier narratives, which are now preserved only in fragments, and lists of the Babylonian kings. While the Babylo nians were concerned mainly with the arts of peace, the Assyrians dealt primarily with the feats of war in their annals and campaign and votive inscriptions. A most important histor ical document, ascribed by some to Babylonian and by others to Assyrian sources, is the 'Syn chronous History,' compiled in the 8th century B.C. This describes the successive boundary dis putes between Babylonia and Assyria from 1600 to 800 ac., with a list of the kings who participated. Finally, from Assyrian sources there are the above mentioned lists of limmi or the eponym canon, covering the period from 892-704 B.C. The Babylonian counterpart of Manetho's work, Berossos' history of Babylonia in three books, written about 280 ac., was the first systematic historical narrative produced by a Babylonian or Assyrian scribe. It has, un fortunately, been lost and only survives in scanty references in Iosephus, Eusebius and a few other later historians. Whatever its value, its date shows that real historical narrative was not a product of the period of the height of either Babylonian or Assyrian culture.
The honor of having first produced a true historical narrative of considerable scope and high relative veracity must be accorded to the Hebrews of ancient Palestine. The conventional assumption of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and the synchronous nature of its books, questioned by Hobbes in 1651 and by Spinoza in 1670, was riddled by the French physician, Jean Astruc in 1753, and the German theologian, Karl David Ilgen in 1799. The true nature of the composite authorship of the Pen tateuch and the widely divergent dates of the composition of its various books were estab lished as a result of the work of a number of courageous and brilliant scholars, the most prominent of whom were Professor De Wette of Jena, Professor Hupfeld of Halle, Pro fessor George of Berlin, Bishop Colenso of Natal, Professor Kuenen of Leyden, Professor Robertson Smith of Cambridge, Professor Bacon of Yale, and, above all, Professor Julius Wellhausen of Greifswald and Gottingen. Their labors have revealed the fact that the Pentateuch was the work of some five different authors, or groups of authors, writing between 900 and 450 n.c., their diverse writings were consolidated in the Pentateuch, as it is now arranged, some time before 400 B.C. The oldest. or Jahvise source, was written about 900 B.C., the next, or "Elohist," about 725 ac., the third, or "Deuteronomist," from about 700 to 620 B.C., the fourth, or °Holiness Code,* about 575 a.c., and the last, or Priestly Book,' about 450 B.C. Their union, upon the fifth source as a basis, was accomplished some time in the 5th century B.C. The beginnings of the historical narrative among the Hebrews were stimulated by the great expansion of Hebrew prosperity and pres tige under Saul, David and Solomon. As Pro fessor Moore has said, "the making of great history has often given a first impulse to the writing of history, and we may well believe that it was so in Israel, and that the beginning of Hebrew historical literature, in the proper sense of the word, was made with Saul and David.* This origin of Hebrew historical writing, which marks the earliest appearance of true historical narrative of which any record has been pre served, is to be found in the work of the un known author of the °jahvist" sources of the Pentateuch, Joshua, the Books of Samuel and the opening of the first Book of Kings. Of the
labors of this writer, who, though he can claim the honor of being the first of the line of true historians, is known only to students by the recently acquired appellation of °J,* Professor Breasted makes the following comment, "they are the earliest example of historical writings in prose which we possess among any people, and their nameless author is the earliest his torian whom we have found in the early world.* The ujahvist" narrative reaches its highest point in 2 Samuel, ix-xx, which is probably the best example of both Hebrew and Oriental his torical writing. Of this passage Edouard Meyer says: It is astonishing that historical literature of this character should have been possible in Israel at this time. It stands far above everything which we know else where of ancient Oriental historical writing.' The remaining historical books of the Old Testament Canon were the Books of Kings, which were written about VS B.C., and Chron ides — Ezra — Nehemiah, written about 300 ac. The Books of Kings were the first practical illustration of Polybius', Dionysius of Halicar nassus' and Lord Bolingbroke's view of history as "philosophy teaching by example,* for the author sought primarily to convince his people by historical illustrations of the disasters that had come to the Hebrews by deserting their national religion. Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah constitute the work of a single author, who by genealogies and narrative surveys the whole of Hebrew history with the aim of glorifying through tremendous exaggerations the splendor of the Hebrew kingdom under David and Solo mon, and of re-emphasizing the warning of the author of Kings respecting the penalty of deviation from the true religion. Both Kings and Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah are distinctly in ferior to "J" from the standpoint of accuracy and lucid narrative. One of the greatest prod ucts of Hebrew historiography is a work, which, for some curious reason, has not been included in the Protestant canon of the Bible — the first Book of Maccabees. This narrative, written about 125 ac. by a devout and vigorous Sad ducee and an ardent admirer of the Asmonean house—a sort of a Judean Treitschke—tells the stirring story of Hebrew history from the con quest of Palestine by Alexander the Great to the accession of John Hyrcanus. The work centres about the deliverance of Palestine from Syrian domination through the military ex ploits of Judas Maccabzus and his successors. While fired by the thrills of patriotic pride, the author produced a unique work for his time, in that he explained the victories of the Hebrews as having resulted from the personal ability and courage of the Asmoneans and not from the direct intervention of the Deity in behalf of the Jews. Unfortunately, however, the Christian historians of medieval Europe took as their Hebrew model not the brilliant secular nar rative of First Maccabees, but sought to strengthen their followers' zeal and to terrorize their opponents by imitation of the more con ventional Hebrew tales of the miraculous inter position of the Deity in rewarding the faithful and punishing the sinner. The last of the dis tinguished Hebrew historians was Flavius Jo sephns (c. 37-105 A.D.). He was the national historian of the Jews and, writing after the destruction of the power of his people in 70 A.D., he tried to compensate for the contemporary distress of the Jewish people by emphasizing the glories of their past. Consequently, he almost outdid the author of Chronicles-Ezra Nehemiah in his exaggeration of the wealth, population and international prestige of ancient Palestine. His two chief works were the