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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
1880, I a.lt Trans,
PRINTED BY WERTIIEIMER AND CO.,
CIRCUS PLACE, FINSBURY CIRCUS.
The Book of Genesis abounds with problems no less perplexing than interesting. Its vast range includes branches of the natural sciences and of history, of ethnography and philosophy; and with materials of singular variety skilfully blends great and fruitful ideas. It has, accordingly, provoked an overwhelming mass of comment, partly in confirmation, and partly in opposition to its stateinents; it has proved the battle-field for almost every shade of opinion, both religious and sceptical; and it is evidently destined to become the arena for the critical discussion of the whole ground-work of Biblical theology, and for the introduction of a new era in religious thought.
The conviction of the surpassing importance of the book has strengthened us to face the numerous difficulties of a conscientious interpretation. We have endeavoured impartially to weigh the facts, and calmly to draw the inferences. It has been our aim to neglect no essential evidence. But after due consideration, the conclusions have been stated with unreserved frankness. As we have no preconceived theory to defend, we have never been tempted to distort the text, or to indulge in reckless combinations; and we have always tried so to unfold the argument, that the reader may at once either discover our error, or admit our result.
The excavations on the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris, the continued researches on Indian and Egyptian antiquities, the many new accounts of observing travellers