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HISTORICAL CRITICISM.

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Thus, the histories of primæval ages, and of patriarchal and Mosaic times, were treated according to a religious, poetical, and didactic plan; and the Pentateuch became the “theocratical epic poem* of the Israelites," written without a critical investigation of facts, chiefly designed to inspire the people with reverence for their sacred laws and institutions, and comprising genealogical and ethnographical accounts not without some historical foundation, yet rather the result of fancy and conjecture, than of genuine historical inquiry

The learned labours of Niebuhr, Arnold, Hare, Thirlwall, Grote, Bunsen, Kenrick, Sharpe, and other eminent scholars, have of late years been devoted to the formation of Roman, Grecian, and Egyptian histories, on a plan of compre hensive and independent research. De Wette, Gesenius, Ewald, Von Bohlen, Tuch, Milman, and Francis Newman, have aspired to occupy a similar position with reference to the history and literature of the Hebrew people; and it is thus from distinguished writers in our own time, that we have obtained the most important results of modern historical criticism.

Von Bohlen's prosperity at Königsberg was at its height in 1836: he had at that time forty-seven pupils in his class on archæology; nineteen scholars on his exposition of Job; and some students either in Sanscrit or Arabic. His private pupil at home was, in that year, the Earl of Shelburne, son of the Marquis of Lansdowne, and now Member of

* Critical and Historical Introduction to the Old Testament, by De Wette, translated by Theodore Parker. Boston, 1843 ; vol. ii. pp. 42–47.

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EDITOR'S PREFACE.

Parliament for Calne. The Professor had received the degree of Doctor gratuitously from the Philosophical Faculty of Königsberg, on his first arrival in that university. His talents were appreciated in the intellectual society of the northern capital of Prussia, and his domestic circle was an increasing source of interest to him, accompanied however with anxiety respecting an adequate provision for his family.

A serious illness in 1837, at Hamburg, impaired Von Bohlen's constitution. On leaving his kind friends in that hospitable city, he crossed the sea to London, where he was immediately invited by the noble family of Lansdowne to their beautiful country-seat at Bowood, in Wiltshire, which he describes to his friend Voigt, as a terrestrial Eden.

Lord Shelburne and the Professor visited the clergymen and farmers in the neighbourhood; and the Oriental works in the splendid library at Bowood were a constant treat to Von Bohlen. A visit, subsequently, to the Isle of Wight proved of temporary benefit to his health; but he was never able to resume his professorial exertions; and the winter was passed at Hyères, in the south of France.

The orange-gardens, olive-trees, and rocky peaks of Provence were not admired by the invalid Orientalist, and of that country generally he quotes the following proverb in one of his letters :

“La paresse, l'égoïsme, et l'ignorance,
Le clergé, le mistral, et la Durance,

Sont les six fléaux de la Provence." Von Bohlen obtained from the Prussian Minister leave of absence from Königsberg until Easter, 1839, which was afterwards considerately extended for another year.

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A beautiful Indian poem, the Seasons' of Kalidâsa, often engaged his leisure hours at Halle, in 1839; and his kind old tutors, Wegscheider and Gesenius, as well as Professors Wilda, Rödiger, Pott, and Tuch, aided by their conversation in cheering the last few months of his life. His last literary work was the translation of the 'Ritusanhâra,' or Cycle of the Seasons, which he completed shortly before his death, and of which he had the pleasure of sending copies to his two patrons at Berlin, the Minister of Public Instruction Baron Von Altenstein, and the Privy Councillor Schulze.

Von Bohlen's faith in the immortality of the soul is described by his biographer as the firm anchor to which his mind held fast, in the prospect of approaching dissolution. His last requests were, that he might be buried simply; that if his friend Professor Wilda wished it, there should be a stone over his grave, but that there should be no cross on his coffin; and that Gesenius should be consulted about everything.

On the 5th of February, 1840, Von Bohlen died, in peace and tranquillity, and, as one of his friends writes, “the best of hearts ceased to beat."

Sacred songs were sung by students of Halle at his funeral, and Professor Franke delivered an impressive address to the assembled mourners, dwelling on Von Bohlen's vicissitudes in youth, his indefatigable and persevering efforts in the field of knowledge, and his death in a strange city, where, as a youth, he had derived instruction from the genius of the most highly esteemed teachers.

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“Ardent to the latest moment of expiring life," observes his friend Wilda, " for what he considered to be the truth, our Bohlen peacefully and with resignation awaited the call of the Most High, in the firmest confidence that the Almighty would receive him as an affectionate father.”

The following generous letter from the Minister Von Altenstein to Von Bohlen arrived at Halle shortly after the decease of the Professor, in reply to the before-m tioned present of his Oriental translation :

“I thank you most sincerely, Sir, for the agreeable communication of the poem of 'Ritusanhâra,' edited, illustrated, and translated by yourself, which has reached me, conformably with your wish, through the medium of the Consistorial Councillor, Dr. Gesenius. I have read your excellent translation of this poem, and the elegy on the death of the wife of Panditarâja Jagannatha, with the most lively interest, and at the same time not without sorrow, as from the letter of Dr. Gesenius, of the 25th ultimo, I regret to find that the state of your health has not allowed of your sending me a letter in your own handwriting along with the valuable present to myself, which is particularly dear and valuable to me as a token of your remembrance. You may rest assured, that, whatever may be the end of your present illness, the sincere interest which I have felt in you for a number of years will not only be continued to

a yourself, but to your children, and will honour your memory by proportionate care of them. Sincerely do I hope that this promise may comfort and quiet you ; it is with a heavy heart that I thus express myself to you, and in this manner renew the assurance of my devoted and distinguished consideration.

ALTENSTEIN. Berlin, 4th February, 1840.”

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LETTERS TO VON BOHLEN.

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On the publication of the “Historical and Critical Illustrations of Genesis,” in 1835, the following letters were received by Von Bohlen :

PROFESSOR GESENIUS TO VON BOHLEN.

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“My most esteemed Friend, “I have this moment received by post the handsome present of your Commentary on Genesis,' and hasten to send a reply, at least in a few words, as it might otherwise be delayed for some time. I have an idea at present of making a journey to Holland and England, and probably back through France, which however will not extend beyond the holidays, and has a very special object, respecting which the little book, which I send you simultaneously with this letter but through the bookseller, will inform you how I have assigned you lately the second pamphlet of the Thesaurus, which has just proceeded from the emporium. You see I have broken the ice, and you will perceive this still more in the course of this winter, when a great work of mine, the ‘Marmora Phænicia,' will reach

you. “Genesis, i. e. your Commentary upon it, I have not been able to study as I wished, in the trouble I am now in; but have read enough to make me rejoice over the spirit and sense of it. I will take it with me on my journey, and shorten thereby the autumn evenings, which are already becoming cool. For this public token of your love and kind interest accept my most fervent thanks!

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“ My answer is already three times as long as the letter I received. Yet my conscience would trouble me for writing so short a one to you, if it were not so late in the night, and morning will soon be breaking, and also there are talking and other noises going on around me.

Therefore I shall merely repeat my sincere thanks for the great pleasure you

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