From the Stone Age to Christianity - Monotheism and the Historical Process
FROM THE STONE AGE TO CHRISTIANITY MONOTHEISM AND THE HISTORICAL PROCESS BY WILLIAM FOXWELL ALBRIGHT PH. D., UTT. D., D. H. L., TH. D. Utrecht W. W. Spcnce Profeswr of Semitic Languages in the Johns Hopkins University Sometime Director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem BALTIMORE THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS 1940 . COPYRIGHT 194O, THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS SECOND PRINTING, JUNE, 1941 1MUNTED INT TUB tINXTKtt BTATES OF AMKUZCA nv jr. ir. FURHT COMPANY, BALTI IOHE, TO SAMUEL WOOD GEISER SCIENTIST, HISTORIAN, AND FRIEND PREFACE The purpose of this book is to show how mans idea of God developed from prehistoric antiquity to the time of Christ, and to place this development in its historical context. This task does not, however, consist merely in the accumulation of his torical details it involves an analysis of the historical patterns which emerge from the mass of detail. It is, therefore, a task both for the historian and for the philosopher of history. Since the purpose of the book is thus both historical and philo sophical, it becomes a matter of fundamental importance to define the respective functions of the historian and of the phi losopher as clearly and precisely as possible. Only by the great est care can we avert the vagueness of thought and the illogical formulation of conclusions which appear to be generally char acteristic of works dealing with the philosophy of history. Chapter I is largely devoted to the methods by which ancient Near-Eastern history has been developed in the past century from a little collection of scattered facts to a vast and well integrated body of knowledge. It may be observed in passing that this sketch is unique in modern historicalliterature, since there has been no comparable treatment of archaeological and philological methodology in the light of their history. Chapter I forms an indispensable part of our work, providing the founda tion both for the treatment of the subject-matter of history in Chapter II and for the lavish use made of archaeological data in subsequent chapters. Recognizing that history does form pat terns, difficult though it may often be to see them clearly, we have devoted Chapter II to an analysis of the recent develop ment and the basic principles of the philosophy of history. Both our restatement of historical epistemology and our formu lation of an organismic philosophy of history depend largely on the materials analyzed and interpreted in Chapter I. The remaining four chapters are devoted to the development of the idea of God and of the relation between God and man in the light of the historical evolution of the ancient Near East. In Chapter III we have been forced to pay more attention to cultural and national history than we have in subsequent chap vii Vlli JfREFACE ters, in order to indicate the nature and course of cultural evolution clearly and effectively. In consequence, this chapter contains the most up-to-date account of the present state of our knowledge of prehistory and of the ancient Near East. In Chapter IV we demonstrate the early date and originality of Israelite monotheism in Chapter V we show that the prophetic movement was a reformation, not a religious revolution in Chapter VI we bring the book to a close with a new statement of the historical position of our Lord. In an Epilogue we collect the strands of our theme and recapitulate our conclusions. In dealing with sowide a field mistakes and oversights are inevitable. Nor can we be sure of having succeeded everywhere in making our meaning clear. We shall, accordingly, be grate ful to readers and reviewers who call our attention to errors and omissions and who uncover forced or inconsistent reasoning, so that the necessary corrections can be made later. Dr. H. M, Orlinsky has assisted me in reading proof and has helped me to achieve clarity of expression, Drs. G. Ernest Wright and Malcolm F. Stewart have contributed some very useful suggestions...
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