The Story of the Fall of Babylon

Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon
Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon [Source: Wikipedia]
The following public domain article is now available on-line in PDF:

Theophilus G. Pinches [1856-1934], “From World Dominion to Subjection; The Story of the Fall of Babylon,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 49 (1917): 107-141.

From World Dominion to Subjection;

The Story of the Fall of Babylon

The romance connected with the power and the wonders of Nineveh and Babylon has for ages attracted the attention of the world, and this romance has, perhaps, been rather increased than diminished by the legendary nature of what has come down to us with regard to the realm of which Babylon was the capital. Surrounded, as it was, by the mystery with which tradition had invested it, hints of other wonders over and above those related by the historians naturally fired the student’s imagination. And that Babylonia was in very deed a country of wonders there can be no doubt. As everyone who has watched the progress of the Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia knows, the Persian Gulf region is, for Europeans, an inhospitable tract, parched, dry, and rainless in summer, and swampy, notwithstanding drainage (to a certain extent) by innumerable waterways, in winter. In the wet season, malaria reigns, and the stranger finds life altogether too burdensome. Babylonia’s fruitfulness in springtime, and later, is wonderful. It is one of the principal homes of the date-palm-that tree whose fruit both Babylonians and Europeans have always highly appreciated. Otherwise, however, the tract north of the Persian Gulf is a treeless plain, into which all timber which the people need has to be imported. Before the fierce heats of summer it is a land of corn and the fruits of the earth which are able to grow there, and it might become one of the granaries of the world.
Here, in this land of the Middle East, were located, of old, two races-the Sumerians and the Akkadians-non-Semites and Semites respectively; races suited to the soil, who became thoroughly acclimatized to their fruitful but sun-scorched country. Divided, in the beginning, like the Heptarchy in England, into several small states, a great nation ultimately arose by their gradual amalgamation under the military pressure and leadership of Babylon, and became the pioneer of ancient civilization in the Semitic East. The irrigation of their land had made the states of Babylonia great canal-diggers; the dearth of stone made them great users of brick in the constructions and buildings; and the bitumen-springs of Hit supplied them with a substitute for mortar (“slime”). The floods which inundate the country in the early spring, when the snows melt in the Armenian mountains, probably obliged the Babylonians to become geometricians, as they had to find and reinstate the boundaries of their plots. As agriculturists they were, in their day, probably unsurpassed, and they were among the earliest of great cattle-raisers and ass-breeders. Their literature was largely drawn upon by the Greeks and the Romans in the domain of sacred myth and history, and many thousands of documents testify to their knowledge and acuteness as lawyers, their inventiveness as writers and poets, and the wonders of their mythology and their religious system-their teachings in the domain of cosmology and theology. Their trying climate and the other disadvantages under which they laboured do not, therefore, seem to have impaired their energy as workers and as inventors, or their progress in war, art, literature, or such of the sciences as they were acquainted with, for besides agriculture it is probable that not only writing, but also astronomy, began in the Land of Shinar.

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Alan R. Millard on the Historical Accuracy of Daniel

In 2012 Crossway published an impressive collection of 21 essays defending the historical reliability of the Bible under the title Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? The publishers have kindly granted permission for Theology on the Web to host Alan Millard’s contribution to that volume, dealing with the accuracy of Daniel’s account of Babylon:

Alan R. Millard, “Daniel in Babylon: An Accurate Record?” James K. Hoffmeier & Dennis R. Magary, eds. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. Crossway, 2012. Pbk. ISBN-13: 978-1433525711. pp.263-280.

You can download a copy in PDF here.

Thomas McCall’s essay on religious epistomology (Chapter 1) is also available here.

Leon Morris on Apocalyptic

The following book is now available on-line in PDF:

Leon Morris, Apocalyptic, 2nd edn. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans / Leicester: IVP, 1973. Pbk. ISBN: 0851113125. pp.128.

Thanks to the kind permission of the Leon & Mildred Morris Foundation I am pleased to be able to rescue this helpful little book from obscurity and make it available to a new generation of students. As Leon Morris writes in his preface:

This little book is not meant to be a profound or original contribution to a difficult subject. It is written out of two convictions: the one, that apocalyptic is an important part of the background of the New Testament, the other, that it is not well understood by the average student. Indeed, I fear that the average student would be hard put to it to give more than one or two characteristics of this kind of literature. I have written accordingly to help him get the picture. Recog­nizing that experts in apocalyptic differ widely among them­selves and that there are many points of uncertainty, I have tried to show what are the generally held opinions and what are the controverted areas. This then is simply an intro­duction to a very important but little understood part of the background of the New Testament.