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Students of the Hebrew Scriptures do not now need to 
have their attention called to the apparent connexion 
between the personality of Jahveh and the element of fire, 
nor to that which subsists between the worship of sacred 
trees and the ancient popular religion of Canaan and of 
Israel. There is no more striking instance of either than 
the manifestation of the presence of Jahveh in a flame of 
fire out of the midst of a 1 bush (Ex. iii. 2 ; cf. Deut. 
xxxiii. 16). 

So far as the mere presence of the deity within a tree 
is concerned, the subject will be sufficiently illustrated by 
a reference to the passages quoted from Mr. Frazer in 
explanation of Isa. lxvi. 17, J. Q. R., VIII, 704, 705. These 
apply to the cultus of Osiris and to that of Adonis. But it 
is worth observing that the tamarisk, a tree sacred to the 
former, was at Beer-sheba, at the southern extremity of 
Canaan, associated with the worship of dSj> ba niiT, Gen. 
xxi. 33 (J 2 ), cf. 1 Sam. xxii. 6, xxxi. 13. And if, as seems 
probable, " the thom-bush " (so Addis, in loc.) of Ex. iii. 2 
signifies an acacia 2 , that too was sanctified by the indwell- 
ing presence of Osiris. Add to this that the Didu, the 

1 For the use of the article in rrjDn compare Robertson Smith, Bel. Sem., 
2nd ed., p. 126, note : " The definite article is used because in such cases 
definition cannot be carried beyond the indication of the species." 

2 For the sanctity of the acacia vid. Bel. Sent., pp. 133, 427 ; the only tree 
of the Arabian wilderness, p. 103, cited below. 


characteristic symbol of this god, must, to say the least, 
have borne a strong family likeness to the Asherah, which 
was apparently a symbol of Jahveh (Deut. xvi. ai). " The 
pillar was interpreted, at least in later Egyptian theology, 
as the backbone of Osiris. It might very well be a con- 
ventional representation of a tree stripped of its leaves ; 
and if Osiris was a tree-spirit, the bare trunk and branches 
of a tree might naturally be described as his backbone " 
(Frazer, Golden Bough, vol. i. p, 304). So Maspero : " The 
trunk of a tree, disbranched, and then set up in the ground, 
seems to me the origin of the Osirian emblem called tat or 
didd" (Dawn of Civilisation, p. 84, note 3). Without 
pressing this analogy too far 1 , it remains probable that the 
narrative under discussion must be referred to the same 
order of beliefs which took shape in the cultus of the 
Asherah, and it will presently be shown that it has close 
parallels in the religion of ancient Egypt. 

It would seem that it was especially the solitary tree, 
growing on the margin of the desert, and nourished neither 
by rain nor irrigation, but by subterraneous waters, or by 
springs rising from the ground, to which was attributed 
a supernatural life, and the indwelling presence of a deity. 
"The sanctuary of Beersheba," writes Robertson Smith 
(Rel. Bern., 2nd ed., p. 181), 

properly consisted of the "Seven Wells," which gave the place 
its name. ... In the canons of Jacob of Edessa we read of 
nominally Christian Syrians who bewail their diseases- to the stars, 
or turn for help to a solitary tree, or a fountain, or seven springs, 
or water of the sea, &c. (The italics are my own.) Again, It was 
not at the great sanctuaries of cities, but in the open field, where 
the rural population had continued from age to age to practise 
primitive rites without modification, that the worship of "solitary 
trees" survived the fall of the great gods of Semitic heathenism 
(ibid., p. 186). As regards the connexion of holy waters and holy 
trees, it must be remembered that in most Semitic lands self-sown 
wood can flourish only where there is underground water, and where 
therefore springs or wells exist beside the trees (ibid., p. 190). 

1 See further, Note A, at end of this paper. 


Turn now to ancient Egypt, where most of us who are 
not Egyptologists must henceforth seek our knowledge of 
it, in the noble work of M. Maspero, The references are to 
the English translation of the first volume. 

The sycamores planted on the edge of the desert -were supposed 
to be inhabited by Hathor, Nuit, Selkit, Nit, or some other goddess. 
In vignettes representing the deceased as stopping before one of 
these trees and receiving water and loaves of bread, the bust of the 
goddess generally appears from amid her sheltering foliage. [Such 
a representation will be found at p. 185 of the same wort.] But 
occasionally, as on the sarcophagus of Petosiris, the transformation 
is complete, and the trunk from which the branches spread is the 
actual body of the god or goddess. Finally, the whole body is often 
hidden, and only the arm of the goddess to be seen emerging from 
the midst of the tree, with an overflowing libation vase in her 
hand (p. 84, note 1). 

There were casual divinities in every nome . . . such as an excep- 
tionally high palm-tree in the midst of the desert, a rock of curious 
outline, a spring trickling drop by drop from the mountain to which 
hunters came to slake their thirst in the hottest hours of the day, 
or a great serpent, believed to be immortal, which haunted a field, 
a grove of trees, a grotto, or a mountain ravine (ibid,, p. 120). 

The tree, the rock, the spring, the serpent, all play their 
part in the mythology of the Exodus. 

Everywhere on the confines of cultivated ground, and even at some 
distance from the valley, are fine single sycamores, flourishing as 
though by miracle amid the sand. . . . But on examining the ground 
in which they grow, we soon find that they drink from water which 
has infiltrated from the Nile, and whose existence is in nowise 
betrayed upon the surface of the soil. . . . Egyptians of all ranks 
counted them divine, and habitually worshipped them. . . . There 
were several such trees in the Memphite nome, and in the Letopolite 
nome from Dashur to Grizeh, inhabited, as every one knew, by detached 
doubles of Nuit and Hathor. These combined districts were known 
as the " Land of the Sycamore," a name afterwards extended to the 
city of Memphis; and their sacred trees are worshipped at the present 
clay both by Mussulman and Christian fellahin. The most famous 
among them all, the Sycamore of the South . . . , was ■ regarded as 
the living body of Hathor on earth (ibid., pp. 121, 122). 

Finally, to complete the catalogue of Egyptian examples, 


myths told how the Phoenix was born " from the midst of 
flames which arose from out of the summit " of the sacred 
tree of Heliopolis (Wiedemann, Religion of the Ancient 
Egyptians, Eng. trans., pp. 156, 193). " On its foliage 
Thoth, or else Safekht, the goddess of learning, inscribed 
the name of the king, who by this act was endowed with 
eternal life " (ibid.). It would seem to follow that the tree 
itself was possessed of immortality, and in a similar con- 
ception we may reasonably seek the explanation of the 
divine name associated with the tamarisk of Beer-sheba 
(Gen. xxi. 33) l . 

The indwelling presence, and even the visible manifes- 
tation of the deity, " out of the midst of the bush," — the 
solitary shrub growing where subterranean waters gush 
forth, at the junction of the divine mountain (DM^NH in) 
with the desert plain, — have now found their true place 
in the sphere of ancient religious ideas. It remains to 
discuss the mysterious fire which burned but did not con- 
sume the bush. Students will naturally turn to the page 
where Robertson Smith adduces analogous examples of 
supernatural luminosity, and seeks the physical basis 
of such a conception in electrical phenomena incidental to 
the clear dry air of the desert or of lofty mountains 
(Rel. Sem., 2nd ed., pp. 193, 194). But this hypothesis will 
hardly serve to account for the Aryan examples which may 
be found in the often cited work of Mr. Frazer (ii. p. 365). 

Thus in Bohemia it is said that " on St. John's day fern-seed blooms 
with golden blossoms that gleam like fire." Now it is a property 
of this mythical fern-seed that whoever has it, or will ascend a 
mountain holding it in his hand on Midsummer Eve, will discover 
a vein of gold, or will see the treasures of the earth shining 
with a bluish flame. And if you place fern-seed among money, 
the money will never decrease, however much of it you spend. 
Sometimes the fern-seed is supposed to bloom at Christmas, and 
whoever catches it will become very rich. Thus, on the principle 
of like by like, fern-seed is supposed to discover gold because it is 

1 With Dto to mn> ; cf. Arab. el-Khudhr, Note C. 


itself golden ; and for a similar reason it enriches its possessor with 
an unfailing supply of gold. But while the fern-seed is described 
as golden, it is equally described as glowing and fiery. Hence, when 
we consider that 'two great days for gathering the fabulous seed 
are Midsummer Eve and Christmas — that is, the two solstices (for 
Christmas is nothing but an old heathen celebration of the winter 
solstice)— we are led to regard the fiery aspect of the fern-seed as 
primary, and its golden aspect as secondary and derivative. Fern- 
seed, in fact, would seem to be an emanation of the sun's fire at the 
two turning-points of its course, the summer and winter solstices. 
This view is confirmed by a German story, in which a hunter is said 
to have procured fern-seed by shooting at the sun on Midsummer Day 
at noon ; three drops of blood fell down, which he caught in a white 
cloth, and these blood-drops were the fern-seed. Here the blood 
is clearly the blood of the sun, from which the fern-seed is thus 
directly derived. Thus it may be taken as certain that fem-seed 
is golden, because it is believed to be an emanation of the sun's 
golden fire. 

Mr. Frazer supposes that the Golden Bough as described 
by Virgil (Aen. vi. 136 sqq. and 203 sqq.) is nothing but the 
mistletoe invested with this supernatural golden glory, "seen 
through the haze of poetry or popular superstition " (ii. 363). 
" The name was not simply a poet's fancy, nor even pecu- 
liarly Italian ; for in Welsh also the mistletoe is known as 
the tree of pure gold" (365). According to Mr. Frazer's 
theory, as it will be found summed up towards the close of 
his work, the supreme deity of the ancient Aryans was a 
spirit of vegetation, especially embodied in the oak. The 
midsummer bonfire, kindled from the wood of the oak, 
annually renewed the fires of the sun. But the life of 
the oak was conceived to reside as an external soul in 
the parasitic mistletoe; 

Therefore the mistletoe must have contained the seed or germ of 
the fire which was elicited by friction from the wood of the oak. Thus, 
instead of saying that the mistletoe was an emanation of the sun's 
fire, it would be more correct to say that the sun's fire was regarded 
as an emanation of the mistletoe. No wonder, then, that the 
mistletoe shone with a golden splendour, and was called the Golden 
Bough (ibid., pp. 367, 368). 


Few are competent to pass judgment on a theory set 
forth with such power, and supported by so vast an array 
of learning. Perhaps, if its essential parts could be stated 
with greater simplicity, they would then be felt to possess 
a higher degree of security. Primitive man, we may sup- 
pose, has beliefs rather than a creed, a mode of thought 
rather than a system of opinions. Possibly, if we had 
enjoyed the benefits of definite religious teaching from 
some early theologian, some predecessor of Augustine, 
some Cedric or Athelstan of the Germanic forest, the lesson 
might have run much as follows : — 

The sun is a big fire up in the sky. It is all alive, just 
like our fires down here, and it burns and shines just as 
they do. At Midsummer, when it begins to go down hill, 
we light big fires to keep it burning. And again at Mid- 
winter, when it gets very low, and the days are very short 
and cold, we light big fires to make it burn up again. We 
make them of the wood of the oak, because there is fire 
in the oak, and when we rub two pieces of wood together, 
a hard piece and a rotten piece, it comes out and sets all 
the heap in a blaze. And we use dry bracken to kindle it, 
for there is fire in that too. That is why the seed under 
the leaves is yellow, and the whole fern turns yellow when 
it gets dry and ready for kindling. Sometimes in summer, 
when the sun is very hot, fire comes down from the sky, 
and sets the forest and the hillside all alight, and then we 
have to run for our lives. For the fire is a great god, and 
devours all that it comes near. 

If we may venture to accept Mr. Frazer's theory, in this 
slightly modified form, it seems difficult to avoid the con- 
clusion that there exists a real and close analogy between 
the Golden Bough and the Burning Bush. Each is a mani- 
festation or discovery of the principle of fire inherent in 
the tree, and all fire may be regarded as akin to that of the 
sun. It seems certain that Jahveh, like the Zeus of Dodona 
and the Jupiter of the Capitol, was, in one of his aspects, 
a tree-spirit. In another, he was a god of fire. The living, 


therefore divine, tree, nourished by the living waters, which 
spring from the living rock, nourishes in its turn the living 
and divine flame. 

At this point it may be convenient to bring together 
a few notes bearing upon the character of Jahveh as the 
Rock, so strongly insisted on in the " Song of Moses " 
(Deut. xxxii). The ideas current in early times as real 
myths, and as such obliterated by the progress of religion, 
are preserved or revived as metaphors in the poetical com- 
positions of a later age. We have already seen how the 
ancient Egyptians reverenced " a rock of curious outline." 
This is simply, perhaps, an instance of what Sir Alfred 
Lyall has described as the worship of the Unaccountable 
Thing. But to the nomads of the desert, the mountain 
with its grandeur, its wildness, and its dangers, its asso- 
ciation with cloud and tempest, with the lightning and the 
thunder, above all when considered as the source of springs 
and brooks, upon which they depended for their existence, 
and at times of irresistible and destroying floods, must 
needs have appeared the habitation of Divinity. Nay, the 
very rock of which it was composed, and from which those 
springs (themselves divine) gushed forth, was instinct with 
a supernatural presence. 

We see this plainly enough in Exod xvii. 6, " Behold, 
I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb ; and 
thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out 
out of it, that the people may drink " (E). The presence of 
Jahveh, standing there upon the rock, is an antecedent 
condition to the performance of the miracle. Again in 
Ex. xxxiii. %\ (J E) the theophany is closely associated 
with the rock. I would apply these passages to explain 
the narrative at the end of Ex. xvii (E). Moses, we are 
told, built an altar and called the name of it ~va®\ *Di rw 
•T D3 by T *3. The context seems to require > D3 mm. Now 
in ver. 12 we read, " But Moses' hands were heavy ; and they 
took a stone and put it under him," &c. I would venture 


to suggest that this stone was originally either the throne, 
or the symbol, of Jahveh 1 , and that the " hand upon the 
throne of Jah " was the uplifted hand of the prophet him- 
self (vv. 11, 1 a). 

M. Maspero, in his second volume, which I cite in the 
French edition (the English version, as is well known, 
having been emasculated by the Society for Promoting 
Christian Knowledge, in a fit of religious frenzy 2 ), relates 
how the theologians of By bios " imaginerent que le cercueil 
d'Osiris jete" a la mer par Typhon avait atterri quelque 
part dans la banlieue, au pied d'un tamarisque : l'arbre, 
croissant rapidement, l'avait absorbs peu a peu et cache" 
tout entier dans son tronc." And at the same page (570) 
is a very interesting vignette, showing " L'arbre qui pousse 
sur le tombeau d'Osiris." According to the narrative as 
given by Mr. Frazer, it was an erica tree, whatever that 
may be ; "a taller and more bushy species than our com- 
mon heather," say Liddell and Scott, s.v. ipeUrj. The 
tamarisk, both as an evergreen, and from its property of 
flourishing by the sea-shore, seems peculiarly appropriate 
to a tomb so situated. I suppose I may assume that the 
Egyptian jsr = Heb. b&H (see Maspero, Dawn of Civiliza- 
tion, p. 28, note 3). 

Mr. Grant Allen, in his edition of the Attis of Catullus 3 
(Bibliotheque de Carabas), has advocated, with great in- 
genuity, a theory which has for its aim to deduce tree- 
worship from ancestor-worship, through the intermediate 
link supplied by the tree (usually an/evergreen) planted on 
the tumulus of some deceased chieftain (cf. 1 Sam. xxxi. 13); 
and incidentally to reconcile the, views of Mr. Frazer with 
those of Mr. Herbert Spencer. Non nostrum, inter vos 

1 Cf. Grant Allen, " Sacred Stones," Fortnightly Review, Jan. 1890. 
9 Dea, magna dea, Cybelle, dea domina Dindimi, 

Procul a mea tuus sit furor omnis, hera, domo. 

Alios age incitatos, alios age rabidos. 
3 The Evolution of the Idea of God has appeared since this was written. 


tantas componere lites, his 'readers are likely to exclaim, 
If we are called upon to derive the whole range of animism, 
in all its extent and variety, directly and exclusively from 
the worship of deceased ancestors, I confess that I can see 
in such a deduction neither necessity nor probability. A 
species of animistic beliefs is invoked to explain the origin 
of the genus. But it is the besetting sin of this department 
of inquiry, that an hypothesis perfectly valid for a certain 
class of data is continually strained and twisted to serve as 
a Key to all Mythologies. If Mr. Grant Allen had merely 
said that a particular class of sacred trees owed their 
sanctity to being planted on the graves of persons whose 
spirits they were supposed to embody, such a view would 
have derived a striking confirmation from the tamarisk of 
Osiris. But even here it might still be asked, whether is 
more primitive, the worship of the Divine Tree, or the 
myth perhaps devised to serve as an explanation ? 

"When a man has journeyed in the Arabian wilderness," writes 
Robertson Smith (Bel. Sem., 2nd ed., p. 103), " traversing day after 
day stony plateaus, black volcanic fields, or arid sands walled in by 
hot mountains of bare rock, and relieved by no other vegetation than 
a few grey and thorny acacias or scanty tufts of parched herbage, 
till suddenly, at a turn of the road, he emerges on a Wady where 
the ground-water rises to the surface, and passes, as if by magic, 
into a new world, where the ground is carpeted with verdure, and 
a grove of stately palm-trees spreads forth its canopy of shade against 
the hot and angry heaven, he does not find it difficult to realize 
that to early man such a spot was verily a garden and habitation 
of the gods." 

" To the same circle of ideas belongs the conception of the Garden 
of Eden, planted by God, and watered not by rain but by rivers" 
(ibid., p. 104, foot-note) \ 

Apparently (Gen. ii. 10) the river had its source in Eden, 
and from it were derived the principal streams of the 
world known to the ancients. 

Of this garden of God (Ezek. xxviii. 13) the central 
feature (Gen. ii. 9) was the Tree of Life (D"nn yy). We must 

1 With this and the next extract, cf. Note C. 
VOL. X. L 1 


recognize the possibility that the garden should rather be 
considered as a garden of the gods, the tree as a tree of 
souls. Now this tree had the property (iii. 22) that the 
mortal who partook of it became immortal, that is, a god. 
This implies, I think, that the tree was itself immortal and 
divine. Yet from iii. 3 it would appear that Man and 
Woman (ii. 23), the mother of all living (Ti i>3 DN iii. 20), 
were threatened with death if they partook of its fruit. Now 
in ancient Egypt, when the soul on its journey westward 
entered the desert, it encountered one of those divine syca- 
mores of which we have already spoken. Then, " out of 
the foliage a goddess — NMt, Hathor, or Nit — half emerged 
and offered him a dish of fruit, loaves of bread, and a jar 
of water. By accepting these gifts he became the guest of 
the goddess, and could nevermore retrace his steps without 
special permission" (Dawn of Civilization, p. 184). Just 
so, when the Sioux " Male Elk " visited the homes of the 
spirits of his forefathers, " Had I eaten of the food for 
spirits, I never should have returned to earth" (Tylor, 
Prim. Cult., 3rd ed., p. 52). But as every reader of Primi- 
tive Culture knows, there is no ultimate distinction between 
gods and spirits of the dead. All the gods of Egypt were 
dead, and their tombs shown at various places (Dawn of 
Civilization, p. 111). Therefore, whether it is the soul of 
the deceased that partakes of the fruit (or bread and water) 
offered to him by the tree-goddess, or whether it is Man 
that eats of the forbidden tree in Eden, in either case the 
effect is to translate the eater to the world of the gods. 
The trees make him a god because they are themselves 
divine *. 

It will not escape the reader that the part played by the 
tree-goddess in the Egyptian examples is equivalent to that 
of the serpent in the biblical narrative. I venture to sug- 
gest that the serpent is the Genius or Spirit of the Tree of 
Life. For the serpent as a tree-spirit, see Robertson Smith, 
Mel. Sem., p. 133. 

1 See Note B. 


The same idea appears in the story of Harb b. Omayya and 
Mirdas b. Abl 'Amir, historical persons who lived a generation before 
Mohammed. When these two men set fire to an untrodden and 
tangled thicket, with the design to bring it under cultivation, the 
demons of the place flew away with doleful cries in the shape 
of white serpents, and the intruders died soon afterwards. The jinn, 
it was believed, slew them "because they had set fire to their 
dwelling-place." Here the spirits of the trees take serpent form when 
they leave their natural seats, and similarly in Moslem superstition 
the jinn of the 'oshr and the katnata are serpents which frequent 
trees of these species. 

If that which tempted Eve were " a literal and ordinary 
serpent " (Addis, Documents of the Hexateuch, vol. I, p. 5), 
we have certainly some reason to complain that its con- 
duct was unusual and its motives incomprehensible. If, on 
the other hand, the view here suggested should find favour, 
it may perhaps throw some light upon the history of the 
brazen serpent (spe> Num. xxi. 8, nETU two ver. 9. Cf. 
2Ki.xviii. 4), its healing power, its elevation on a standard, 
and its continued worship until the days of Hezekiah 1 . It 
must be remembered that the snake, even apart from the 
venom of the deadly species, has acquired from its habits of 
haunting tombs, gliding into houses, and emerging from 
holes in the ground, last but not least from its annual 
casting of its skin, an intimate association with the ideas 
of Death and Immortality. 

In the Theban necropolis, Khafitnibous = en face de son 
maitre — " le maitre &ant ici l'Amon de Karnak " (Maspero, 
II, 506, note 1). 

Une grosse vipere personnifiait la mort, la reine de l'Occident, 
et on la designait sous le sobriquet de Maritsakro, ramie du silence. 
On lui attribuait trois tStes diverses sur un seul corps ou une seule 
tele de femme. Elle logeait dans la montagne vis-a-vis de Karnak, 
ce qui lui avait vain, comme a la necropole meme, les deux epithetes 
de Khafitnibous, et de Ta-tahnit, — La Cime . . . ses serpents sacres 

1 The curse pronounced upon the serpent in Gen. iii. 14 is explained by 
Fergusson as representing a reaction against an earlier cult. — Tree and 
Serpent Worship, ist ed., p. 6. 

l 1 a 


rampaient et viraient par la necropole, accomplissant des miracles 
et guirissant les maladies les plus dangereuses. [The italics are my own.] 
Les fideles leur dediaient souvent, en guise d'ex-voto, des steles ou des 
eclats de pierre a peine degrossis, dont les inscriptions temoignent 
d'une reconnaissance ardente. 

" £coutez : Moi, du temps que j'^tais sur terre, j'etais un Domes- 
tique de La Place Vraie (member of the Corporation of the Royal 
Tombs), Nofirabou, un ignorant insense qui ne distinguait pas le 
bien du mal [again I italicize], et je pdchais contre La Cime. Elle me 
chatia . . . J'invoquai done ma maitresse . . . et elle me delivra 
de souffrir, car e'est ma vie que La Cime d'Occident, quand elle est 
apaisee, et on doit l'invoquer " (Maspero, Histoire Ancienne de V Orient 
Classigue, II, 537, 538). 

In the text, which I have endeavoured to abridge, the 
sufferer apparently attributes his recovery to a visit from 
the Divine Snake. Here the serpent-goddess of the 
tombs has the power both to kill and make alive (cf. Deut. 
xxxii. 39), to inflict disease and to heal it. 

For want of direct evidence, I will merely indicate the 
possibility that the Tree of Life, the Brazen Serpent, and 
the hypothetical tree of Isa. lxvi. 17, may all have been 
regarded as symbols or embodiments of Jahveh; and 
similarly the possible relation of the fruit of the Divine 
Tree, the D"n yv, to the maternity of the Ti i>3 dk. The 
narrative, as it stands, has been complicated by the intro- 
duction of a second tree (Addis, op. cit, p. 3, with a refer- 
ence to Kuenen) which has the property of rendering the 
partaker as a god, to know good and evil (iii. 22). The 
condition of man in the garden, before eating of this tree, 
is that of a new-born babe, naked, innocent, and ignorant 
(cf. Isa. vii. 16). Is it possible that man's sojourn in the 
garden symbolizes a pre-natal existence ? That of course 
is not a biblical idea ; but the myth is no doubt of far 
greater antiquity than the document through which it has 
been transmitted to us. It may interest some readers to 
remark that in the mystical system of William Blake, 
eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge symbolizes the 
passage of the soul from the Divine world of liberty and 


imagination (Blake's Jerusalem, Gal. iv. 26) to that of 
finite individual existence, mundane law, and merely sen- 
sible perceptions. I am not able to give a reference for this, 
as Blake's interpreters do not favour their readers with an 
index. But the idea is illustrated by what is said of the 
symbolic garden of Eden, Ellis and Yeats, vol. I, p. 272. 

Finally, whence did Spenser derive his splendid myth of 
the Garden of Adonis 1 (Faerie Queene, Bk. Ill, canto vi, 
st. 29-50). 

Note A. 
Robertson Smith (Rel. Sem., 2nd ed., p. 191, foot-note) 
writes : " The sacred erica was a mere dead stump, for it 
was cut down by Isis and presented to the Byblians 
wrapped in a linen cloth and anointed with myrrh like 
a corpse. It therefore represented the dead god. But as 
a mere stump it also resembles the Hebrew ashera. Can 
it be that the rite of draping and anointing a sacred stump 
supplies the answer to the unsolved question of the nature 
of the ritual practices connected with the Ashera V He then 
refers to 2 Kings xxiii. 7. Now it seems fairly certain that 
the erica of Byblos was equivalent to the Osirian Didfi, 
and in the Dawn of Civilization, p. 130, the reader will 
find a vignette of the Didu vested in a long flowing dress, 
" from a figure frequently found in Theban mummy-cases 
of the twenty-first and twenty-second dynasties." Was 
this the appearance of the Asherah ? 

Note B. 
It has always been felt a difficulty to account for the insig- 
nificant and obscure place which the conception of another 
world or of a future life fills in the Hebrew scriptures. 
May not the real explanation be that in virtue of the 
identity of gods with spirits of the dead (1 Sam. xxviii. 19), 
the underworld was in its very nature a land of gods 
other than Jahveh ? 


In Matt. xxii. 3i,32 = Mark xii. 2,6, 27=Luke xx. 37, 38, 
Jesus argues against the Sadducees for the resurrection of 
the dead from this very episode. "But as touching the 
dead, that they are raised ; have ye not read in the book 
of Moses, in the place concerning the Bush, how God spake 
unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God 
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ? He is not the God of the 
dead, but of the living." Jahveh is emphatically the living 

Note C. 

In the second volume of Peter's Nippur, p. 313, there is 
an interesting account of " el-Khudhr ... a grove of the 
same description as the once famous Daphne. ... It serves 
as a place of asylum, where all life, even that of birds and 
beasts, is inviolable. Some members of the British Survey, 
in 1838, not knowing the nature of this grove, and seeing 
game there in abundance, shot some of the sacred animals, 
in revenge for which desecration the outraged natives 
attacked the expedition and tried to massacre its members. 
The name, el-Khudhr, the Evergreen, is also applied by 
Moslems to Elijah, and accordingly he has come to be 
regarded as the patron and founder of this old heathen 

G. H. Skipwith.