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Heathen Writers have given of the Rise and Original, Laws, Manners, and Religion of the Jews. In this the Egyptians, the Grecians, and the Romans have agreed, and have endeavoured to cart all the Scandal and Aspersion, and all the Dirt they could, upon that once-flourishing, but now unhappy, Nation. This is what I propose at present to consider, and to make the Subject of these following Sheets. 'Tis what has been touched upon, I must confess, by several Writers, en passant, and as it came occasionally in their way; but has not, that I know of, been treated of ex profesjo by any one before me. What gave occasion to thefe Remarks, and drew my Thoughts into this Track, was a Book I have lately had the Pleasure to read, called The Calumnies of the Heathens upon the Christians accounted for by Mr. Turner : A Piece penn'd with such Learning and Judgment, such Fairness and Impartiality, that it is hard to say whether it is more useful and instructive, or more curious and entertaining; and to which I own myself much obliged for several Hints and judicious Remarks I have made use of in the Course of this Essay. I might perhaps have found farther Aflistance from a Book written by a learned German, called, Tractatus de Calumniis Paganorum in veteres Christianos ; but after all the Search I made, I could not get a Sight of it. Before I proceed, I shall beg Leave to make an Observation or two, which may clear the Way, and lay the Scene more open to the Readers. The first is, that whereas, in the Histories of other Nations, the earliest and most antient Writers, for want of clearer Light and better Information, are often in the Dark, apt to give into the Fabulous, and to commit many Mistakes which following Authors may more easily avoid ; in the Matter before us the Case is exactly the Reverse, since the oldest Writers, as Tully, Strabo, and Tro
gus Pompeius, have given fairer and more impartial Accounts, than Dio, Plutarch, Juvenal, and Tacitus, who lived so long after them, and had several Helps and Advantages which the other did not enjoy; and who, besides the Septuagint Transation, written in a Tongue which was the fashionable and universal Language of the World, might have consulted, and had a full Information of the Laws, Customs, Antiquities, and Religion of that People, from that vart Number of Jews whom Titus brought with him from Jerusalem ; and who resorted to Italy and Rome after the Destruction of their City and Temple ; and might also have had recourse to Josephus, who gives a full and exact Account of the Histories and Antiquities of that Country. It will perhaps be said that Josephus was of a Nation which the Romans Nighted, and look'd upon with Contempt, and so might thew no Regard to that Historian, or perhaps have never seen or heard of his Works. But this last is by no means the Cafe ; for Josephus had been in Favour with two of the best and greatest of their Enperors, Vespasian and his Son Titus, which last received his History as a very agreeable Present, and shewed so great a Regard for it, that he ordered it to be transcribed, and reposited in the Publick Library at Rome. This, I confess, was only the History of the Jewish War; but it must have led and directed them to the Reading of his Antiquities; a Book, fi non alio nomine saltem propter Stylum legendus ; which tho' it had nothing else to recommend it, was worthy their Perusal upon the Account of the Beauty and Eloquence of the Stile ; which was so valued by the Antients, and partin cularly by St. Jerom, who was a very coinpetent Judge, that he called Josephus the Livy of his Time. The consulting this Author would have saved 'em many egregious Blunders and Mistakes,
and the Shame of blushing for them afterwards. My other Observation is, that the chiefest and heaviest Calumnies that have been cast upon the Jews, are chiefly owing to the Egyptians. For since the old Grudge between the two. Nations, since the heavy Plagues and Judgments they had suffered upon the Account of that People, they had conceived such an inveterate Hatred against 'em, that it became Matpotapedotov odisse Judæos; it was hereditary for the Jews to be hated and detested by the Egyptians; and to this old Grudge and Resentment we may add national Jealousy in Point of Antiquity, between the two Nations. This was the main Reason of Manetho's writing so virulently against them. Manetho was an Egyptian Priest, who lived in the Time of Prolomy Philadelphus, in the 450th Year of Rome; who, out of this Pique in Point of Antiquity, as some learned Men have thought) undertook his History, to blast and disa credit the Account that Moses had given of the Creation of the World. 'Tis certain the Egyptians were very jealous in this Point, and great Boasters of the Antiquity of their Nation; as appears by the famous Dispute between them and the Scythians, which is recorded by Juftin. The Egyptians believed that Men and other Creatures originally sprang from the Slinie and Mud of the Earth, heated and impregnated by the kind Warmth and Influence of the Sun ; and pretended that when the Nile subsided, and left the Mud, the Power of the Sun was such in their Country, that it animated those Clods of Earth, and filled that part of the World with Animals before any other, The Scythians on the other Side (not being Philosophers enough to difprove equivocal Generation, which would at once have destroyed and knock'd o' the Head the System and Pretensions of the Egyptians) alledged, that as the Earth at present lay all under
Water, where these came to fall and subside 'twas but natural to suppose these were the first Parts of the World that were settled and inhabited. I once thought this Notion of the Scythians might come from some dark Tradition of the Creation, and the Account that Moses gives, that the Spirit of God moved upon the Face of the Waters; which I make no doubt gave Occasion to some Philosophers to imagine, that Water was the Materia prima, the primitive Matter from which all Things were created and formed. This, as Porphyry relates, was the Sentiment of Numenius, that all Things sprung out of the Water, BeoTyów brti, being divinely inspired ; and this long before him, was also the Opinion of Thales, the * Milefan, who, according to + Tully, maintained that Water was the Beginning of all Things ; and that God was the Mind which formed all Things out of that Element. But I am now inclined to believe this Notion of the Scythians proceeded from some Tradition of the Deluge, and the Ark's settling and landing in that Country. I know the common received Opi-. nion among learned Men is, that it settled upon Mount Ararat in Armenia. But some ancient Writers, and one particularly (quoted by Portius Cato) who lived two hundred and fifty Years before the Time of Ninus, faith, that the Earth, which had been over-flowed with Water, began first to appear in Saga Scythia, and those Northern Parts of the World ; and this I find, with Pleasure, is the Opinion of a learned and judicious | Writer, in
* Thales was not born at Miletus, but was by Birth a Phænician, but was so called from his living and residing in that City; as Clemens Alexandrinus affirms, Ouans Dósvig v TÒ γέν& 'Αιγυπτίων προφήταις συμβεβληκέναι άρηται. Clem. Alex. Edit. Potteri, p. 354.
+ Thales dixit aquam esse initium rerum, Deum autem mentem quæ ex aqua cuncta finxerat. Tully Lib. i. de Nat. Deorum. || Mr. Shuckford, Vol. III. p. 209. B 3
his Connectiou of the sacred and profane History ; who says that the Ark, upon the subsiding of the Waters, stopped upon the Mountains of Scythia, or at Baftria, which is contiguous to it ; that Noah made his first Settlement there, and that those who travelled to Shinar, and there built the Tower of Babel, were only fome Colonies of Men that departed from him, left they should incumber and overstock the new Settlement; or rather that they might find some more fruitful and temperate Countries to dwell in. This that learned Man, by the Help of some Traditions, and the perfect Analogy he finds between Noah and the first Chinese Kings, has set in so clear a Light, as he does indeed every Thing he takes in Hand, as not to leave any Room for a Reply. But to return to the History which Manetho pretends he composed from some Inscriptions upon Pillars, and other Records in the Temples: These learned Men look upon as mere Fables and Fictions, to set off the Original of his own Country, to discredit the Account of Moses, and to fink and depreciate the Antiquity of the jews. If he had gone no farther, he would have been lefs to blame, his romantick Account would only have been look'd at as a Gasconade, and vain Boaft, proceeding from national Love, the patrii dulcedine foli, and would rather deserve to be laugh'd at, than seriously confuted. But not content with this, he has carried his Malice farther, giving a deeper Wound to the Jewish Nation, by representing 'em as a vile, naity, and despicable People, who, upon the Account of Scabs and Leprosy, were expelled out of Egypt, left they should poison and infect the Country. Manėtho is reckoned the first Author and Broacher of this Calumny, which Josephus, with his usual Exactness, has examined, and shewed the Falshood and Absurdity of it from the Laws and and Insti