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The Astronomy of the Bible An Elementary Commentary on the Astronomical References of Holy Scripture   By: (1851-1928)

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Transcriber's Notes: Variations in spelling and hyphenation have been left as in the original. Words italicized in the original are surrounded by underscores . Characters superscripted in the original are enclosed in {braces}. In this text, in words translated from Hebrew, ` represents an aleph, and ' represents an ayin. Some typographical and punctuation errors have been corrected. A complete list follows the text.

There are diacritic accents in the original. In this text, they are represented as follows:

[=a] = "a" with a macron [)e] = "e" with a breve [=e] = "e" with a macron [vs] = "s" with a caron [=i] = "i" with a macron [vS] = "S" with a caron [=o] = "o" with a macron [H.] = "H" with an underdot [=u] = "u" with a macron [h.] = "h" with an underdot

THE ASTRONOMY OF THE BIBLE

[Illustration: From the Painting by Sir Edward Burne Jones in the Birmingham Art Gallery.

THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM.

"We have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him."

[ Frontispiece. ]

THE ASTRONOMY OF THE BIBLE

AN ELEMENTARY COMMENTARY ON THE ASTRONOMICAL REFERENCES OF HOLY SCRIPTURE

BY E. WALTER MAUNDER, F.R.A.S.

AUTHOR OF 'THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY, GREENWICH: ITS HISTORY AND WORK,' AND 'ASTRONOMY WITHOUT A TELESCOPE'

WITH THIRTY FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

NEW YORK MITCHELL KENNERLEY

RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED, BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.

To

MY WIFE

My helper in this Book and in all things.

PREFACE

Why should an astronomer write a commentary on the Bible?

Because commentators as a rule are not astronomers, and therefore either pass over the astronomical allusions of Scripture in silence, or else annotate them in a way which, from a scientific point of view, leaves much to be desired.

Astronomical allusions in the Bible, direct and indirect, are not few in number, and, in order to bring out their full significance, need to be treated astronomically. Astronomy further gives us the power of placing ourselves to some degree in the position of the patriarchs and prophets of old. We know that the same sun and moon, stars and planets, shine upon us as shone upon Abraham and Moses, David and Isaiah. We can, if we will, see the unchanging heavens with their eyes, and understand their attitude towards them.

It is worth while for us so to do. For the immense advances in science, made since the Canon of Holy Scripture was closed, and especially during the last three hundred years, may enable us to realize the significance of a most remarkable fact. Even in those early ages, when to all the nations surrounding Israel the heavenly bodies were objects for divination or idolatry, the attitude of the sacred writers toward them was perfect in its sanity and truth.

Astronomy has a yet further part to play in Biblical study. The dating of the several books of the Bible, and the relation of certain heathen mythologies to the Scripture narratives of the world's earliest ages, have received much attention of late years. Literary analysis has thrown much light on these subjects, but hitherto any evidence that astronomy could give has been almost wholly neglected; although, from the nature of the case, such evidence, so far as it is available, must be most decisive and exact.

I have endeavoured, in the present book, to make an astronomical commentary on the Bible, in a manner that shall be both clear and interesting to the general reader, dispensing as far as possible with astronomical technicalities, since the principles concerned are, for the most part, quite simple. I trust, also, that I have taken the first step in a new inquiry which promises to give results of no small importance.

E. WALTER MAUNDER.

St. John's, London, S.E. January 1908.

CONTENTS

BOOK I

THE HEAVENLY BODIES

CHAPTER I... Continue reading book >>




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