« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
yellow; 2, the black, other yellow and Allophyllian whites; 3, the Semites; 4, the Aryans, the two latter divisions being regarded as descended from Noah, and they are the essentially white races; in this classification the Hamitic section is included amongst the Semites, and the Aryans are supposed to have sprung from Japhet.
Now, it is somewhat remarkable that whilst amongst the three great groups of mankind which are generally regarded as unquestionably sprung from Noah, the Aryan, the Semitic, and Hamitic, which are the essentially white races, the tradition of the flood is found to form an integral part of their traditions, amongst the black negro races it is totally absent; and if found in any form amongst the yellow and red races, it is present only as an importation brought in, according to Lenormant, at certain periods beyond which there are to be found no traces of it.1
A few centuries after the flood, took place that event known as the confusion of tongues at Babel, and it is from this event that the dispersion of mankind, and the origin of the various linguistic differences of speech have been generally regarded as having sprung; but can this have been the case, is this interpretation of that event correct? Is it not far more probable that the occurrence in the plains of Shinar was but an episode in the history of the race of Shem ? and what is commonly spoken of as a confusion of tongues or languages, far more probably a confusion of wills, in other words, discord ? The Hebrew word translated as language, or lip, signifies far more often in Scripture the sentiments which the lip or instrument of speech expresses. Gesenius in his Hebrew lexicon cites four instances in which the word is used for language, whereas the word occurs more than a hundred times where it is never so used. This passage of Scripture does not force us to see in it anything more than a disagreement amongst the members of a particular race leading to their dispersion. This is far more probable than that 400 years after the flood all the descendants of Noah should have been found assembled within the small Babylonian area to build a city—they would have required, it is well said, a multitude of cities. M. Halevy, the Orientalist, in his “ Recherches Bibliques” adheres to the view that the Semites alone were concerned in the building of Babel, and notes the striking fact that this is actually indicated by the name Peleg, and the play on words “ Schêm Schâmaim," the cry of the Semites.
It is again pointed out that if the event of Babel referred to the dispersion of all the sons of Noah, it would be out of its proper place in the narrative; for, after having shown the peoples dispersing, the writer should show whither they went. But nothing is said before this Gen. x., which gives us the geographical distribution of the descendants of Noah. The Babel episode, coming as it does immediately after these details, falls into
Origines de l'histoire d'après la Bible, pp. 382-489, &c.
2 Mgr. de Harlez observes that the Septuagint translates ver. 7 rendered in our version “that they may not understand one another's speech” by iva un á kotowol thu pwrhy—that they may not listen to, hear so as to heed.
its proper position if it is, as thus supposed, an account of the dispersion of the Semites; it is the natural transition from general history to the history of the Chosen Race. So, then, adopting this view, we have to trace back the differentiations of races and languages to an earlier period; and that that was antediluvian the following considerations, if established, tend to prove. Orientalists have, during late years, been enabled to throw a vast amount of light upon the ethnography of the races which are generally admitted to have sprung from the three sons of Noah; and in so doing the result of their researches has been to confirm, in a very striking manner, the wonderful accuracy of the Biblical account. But it is also maintained by Lenormant and others that these researches have brought into view the remarkable fact of the simultaneous existence of other races, which could not have originated with Noah, and which were already in occupation of the soil when his descendants entered their lands in the course of their migrations; the Noachidæ came into contact in every direction with peoples who were non-Aryan, non-Semitic, and presumably non-Hamitic. Also, it is to be observed that all these three divisions of mankind are members of the great white stock; they are the essentially white races. According to these facts, if established, the family of Noah gave rise to post-diluvian races, which, as they spread abroad, encountered members of older yellow and black and other races which had escaped the flood, and, mingling with them from time to time, gave rise to the various peoples of mixed origin which form so large a part of the world's population.
Professor Sayce, in his recently published Races of the Old Testament, shows that "the whole of the country between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf was originally occupied by tribes speaking agglutinative dialects. blood was akin to the yellow or Mongolian race. To it, he says, belonged Chedorlaomer of Elam; but Miss Edwards speaks of the early Turanians of Chaldæa as being driven out thence by Elamites under Chedorlaomer's predecessor, Kudur-nan-Khundi; if so, then we may suppose that the Elamites adopted the language of those whom they conquered. Professor Sayce tells us that Semitic nomad tribes from Arabia crossed the Euphrates into North-west Chaldæa at a very early period, and gradually established a monarchy of their own there about 2000 B.c., leaving Accad, in the southeast, in the hands of the alien race for a time. If we turn to Egypt, we learn that the race of Mizraim, the second son of Ham, did not find the Valley of the Nile unoccupied ; a black race was already in possession, whilst these Hamites were of the white stock.
Turning to Palestine, we find that the Semites, when they entered it, found an earlier race established there. When the Semitic races—Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, and Israelites--invaded the land, they encountered peoples named in Scripture Raphaims, Zuzims or Zam-Zummims, Anakims, or Emims, the Avims, and the Horites or Cave-dwellersof Seir, and the powerful Amorite tribes. Professor Sayce supposes the peoples just named to have
1 Job xxx, 1, 3-8.
been Amorite clans; but these Amorites were members of the blonde, white race; whilst everything points to the presence of a dark race, which must at a yet earlier date have occupied the land. What that race actually was which preceded the Amorites we are unable to discover; but the fact remains, and seems to add another proof that survivors of the flood other than the sons of Noah existed.1
Turning to another part of the world, we find that when the Aryans entered India, after crossing Thibet, they there encountered a powerful Dravidian population?; whilst to the north the Aryans came into contact with Turanian and Altaic peoples—these latter being, it has been supposed, derived from an ancient intermingling of the white with the dark races.
The question, then, is, how are we to explain the presence of all these populations in the earth at the time when, as far as we can gather, the sons of Noah began their migrations. It is urged that the only possible explanation is that the flood did not involve the entire human race, but only certain portions of it.
Language again, it is said, helps to support this view. “The natural transition of language is from the monosyllabic or isolating to the agglutin. ating tongues, and from those to the inflectional; and according to their greater or less aptitude for civilization, the races of men pass more or less rapidly through these stages of speech.” Now, all the languages spoken by races undoubtedly sprung from Noah are inflectional, whilst those spoken by those races which have been supposed on other grounds to have been prediluvian, and therefore non-Noachian, belong to the less advanced types.
We have now to notice another remarkable fact. Moses in his table of nations, given in the tenth chapter of Genesis, observes a strange silence as to certain races and peoples ; the early inhabitants of Canaan find no place in his list, the yellow and black races are ignored; he could not have been unacquainted with the negroes with whom he must have come into close contact in Egypt, as he must also have done with respect to the Hittites, who during long ages played so prominent a part in the history of Egypt, and were of Mongolian blood. The silence of Moses was surely intentional and studied; of some of the races of man he may probably have been utterly ignorant, but if he passes over others in silence, may not the reasons have been that his great object was not to give us a complete ethnographical table, but to allocate to their respective districts the descendants of Noah only? The races which he omits were precisely those which appear to have been the oldest ; they were not members of the white stock, their languages were
1 The Comte de Gobineau, in his Essai sur l'inegalité des races humaines, 1853, speaks of the above tribes as that mysterious population which appears to have been none other than the remnants of some of those black tribes which were the sole masters of Asia before the advent of the white Hamites.
? On the banks of the Ganges and the Indus were Mongolian tribes who had themselves dispossessed, at a still earlier period, a black race, which they had driven into the fastnesses of the Deccan.-Abbé Ch. Robert.
of a different and more rudimentary and presumably older type; they were, in addition to this, just those races amongst whom we find no recollection of a universal flood, or, at the best, but a borrowed tradition. Are we not, then, justified in supposing that these races were descended from ancestors other than the sons of Noah, and were therefore antediluvian? If so, we have a complete harmony between the deductions of Scripture and the researches of science through the adoption of the theory that the flood was partial, not only in respect to the earth, but also in respect to man. This theory resolves every difficulty, even those which otherwise seem inexplicable. Eusebius of Cæsarea inclined to this view, and St. Jerome speaks of it as being known and discussed in his day.
Let us, then, in conclusion turn again to the Scriptural narrative. We find ourselves placed as we commence Genesis vi. in the presence of an event belonging specially to the country dwelt in by Noah. It was here that the fatal alliances were made by which the God-fearing race of Seth was corrupted, and it was this country and its inhabitants which was overwhelmed; this country alone was necessarily involved in the catastrophe. The only individuals who were able to tell the story of the great judgment of God were Noah and his sons.
May we not, then, read the history from their standpoint as an event which, according to the plan of the Book of Genesis, concerned a fraction only of the human race? Look at the 5th chapter of Genesis.
. It is with this that Moses passes from the general history of mankind to the special history of the ancestors of the Chosen People, the history of the line of Seth. He omits the secondary branches; he has nothing more to say as to Cain and his race, save to mention the probable part played by it in the corruption of the Sethites. We are thus no longer in the presence of the general history of mankind-only in that of the race of Seth, in the midst of which dwelt Noah and his family. We can hardly suppose that at this time all the human race were still collected together in one single region of the earth; “ for more than twenty centuries”—and how many more who shall say y? Men had multiplied on the face of the earth, and it is not likely they could have remained stationary. Everything points the other way. Noah, then, has cognizance only of those around his home; whilst the distant members of the human family would, in their far-off dwellings, know nothing of the threatened judgment, nor of the ark. The patriarchal world concerned in this history would be that portion of the race of Seth to which the patriarchs belonged, who were dwelling side by side with a branch of the evil race of Cain. The corrupt influence of the Cainites threatened to ruin those whom God had chosen for the fulfilment of His designs, and therefore the flood was sent. Noah was chosen to preserve the primitive traditions of Redemption, which otherwise would have been lost. He was, it is justly said, the only one who could keep alive the truth of God, and thus be the seed of life in a moral sense, being the ancestor of those great white races to which the world owes all its best civilization and moral goodness.
Moses personally may have had no very precise idea as to the actual scope of the flood. It was not its scientific history he was inspired to write, but its moral history; and he relates the story of the flood as conveyed by tradition, either written or unwritten, derived in the first instance from either Noah or his son Shem, who would have described the course of events from his own standpoint in the ark. To him the world would be bounded by the horizon embraced from his point of view. As he looked forth upon the wide expanse of waters, to him the whole world would have appeared to have been submerged, and he would naturally make use of universal terms. He could not have done otherwise. As far as he could see, extended a waste of water under the whole heaven of his vision, in the midst of which the sole living beings appeared to be those within the ark. Is not this a possible, not to say a probable, account of the flood ? If so, it meets every difficulty that has been suggested, and brings about absolute harmony between the sacred narrative and the various deductions from the latest researches, whether in physical, ethnological, or philological science. Day by day, year by year, man's studies are pursued, and advances in knowledge made in all directions; old views and theories are either confirmed or discredited as new light breaks in upon them; but, amidst all changes and shiftings of human opinions, Truth remains victorious. • The word of the Lord endureth for ever.”
One other point only remains to be noticed, and that is the objection which some have urged against the restriction of the flood to a portion only of the human race—that this theory is opposed to that doctrine of the faith which holds forth the ark as the type of salvation, a figure of Christ, out of Whom none could be saved. But the hypothesis in question does not affect the symbolism of the ark. Why should not the representatives of a single race be set forth as prefiguring all the nations who should be saved in Christ? Have we not instances of a similar nature? The house of Rahab the harlot represented all nations, which the Church should enfold. It is amongst the little people of Israel, it has been well pointed out, that the prophetic types of the whole Christian world are found. “The brazen
" serpent, seen but by the Israelites—the means of physical salvation to them alone-was, for all that, the type of the world's salvation. This type did not require that all mankind should be bitten by the serpents, nor even that all the Israelites should have been bitten. To see a single race, a single people, typifying the universal Church is not more astonishing than to see one man, whoever that man may have been-Joseph, Isaac, or Jonahprefiguring Christ. The universality of the flood as regards man is not necessary to the perfection of the type” (Ch. Robert).
But it has again been argued that, “as baptism is the necessary and indispensable means of justification for all men, that means of salvation which is according to St. Peter its type, must have been in a similar way the sole means of safety for mankind when the flood came.” M. Motais has ably replied to this objection. “We allow," he says, “that the flood
, was, in the Divine mind, prophetic of baptism.” St. Peter's thought appears