Explorations in Bible Lands During the 19th Century...


Book Details

Author  H. V. Hilprecht
Publication Date   January 3, 2011
Pages  958


This volume was published in 1903.

Excerpt from the Preface:
Nearly ten years ago Messrs. A. J. Holman & Co. ap-
proached me with a request to prepare, for the close of the
century, a brief historical sketch on the explorations in Bible
lands, which would convey to the intelligent English-reading
public a clear conception of the gradual resurrection of the
principal ancient nations of Western Asia and Egypt. After
much hesitation, I consented to become responsible for the
execution of their comprehensive plan, provided that I be
allowed to solicit the cooperation of other specialists for
the treatment of those subjects which did not lie directly
within the sphere of my own investigations, as most of the
books dealing with this fascinating theme suffer from the
one serious defect that their authors are not competent au-
thorities in every part of that vast field which they attempt
to plough and cultivate for the benefit and instruction
of others. Several well-known German specialists, whose
names appear on the title-page, were therefore accordingly
invited to join the editor in the preparation of the volume,
and to present to the reader sketches of their respective
branches of science, with the historical development of
which they have been prominently connected during pre-
vious years. At the close of 1900 the entire MS. was
ready to be printed, when the results of a series of exca-
vations carried on by the Babylonian Expedition of the
University of Pennsylvania began to attract more than
ordinary attention on both sides of the Atlantic. In view
of the growing demand for a popular and authentic report
of these important archaeological researches, the publishers
deemed it necessary to modify their former plans by asking
the editor to make the exploration of Assyria and Babylonia
the characteristic feature of the uncompleted book, and,
above all, to incorporate with it the first full account of the
American labors at Nufar. Thus it came about that the
opening article of this collective volume, intended to give
but a brief survey of a subject which at present stands in the
centre of general interest, has grown far beyond its original

As the results of Koldewey's methodical excavations and
topographical researches at the vast ruin fields of the ancient
metropolis on the Euphrates, belong chiefly to the twentieth
century and, moreover, are not yet fully accessible to other
scholars, their omission in these pages will scarcely be re-
garded as a serious deficiency, since the object of the present
book was to set forth the work of the explorers of the pre-
vious century. If, however, the public interest in the mate-
rial here submitted should warrant it, they will find their
proper treatment in a future edition.

It is the hope of both authors and publishers that the
present volume may help to fill a serious gap in our modern
literature by presenting in a systematic but popular form a
fascinating subject, equal in importance to the Bible student,
historian, archaeologist, and philologist. The rich material
often scattered through old editions of rare books and com-
paratively inaccessible journals has been examined anew,
sifted, and treated by a number of experts in the light of
their latest researches. It was our one aim to bring the
history of the gradual exploration of those distant oriental
countries, which formed the significant scene and back-
ground of God's dealings with Israel as a nation, more
vividly before the educated classes of Christendom. May
the time and labor devoted to the preparation of this work
contribute their small share towards arousing a deeper
interest on the part of the public in excavating more of
those priceless treasures of the past which have played
such a conspicuous role in the interpretation of the Old
Testament writings.
JENA, December 27, 1902.

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