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How could language arise? it says; and it answers, Why, we see it every day. We have only to watch a child, and we shall see that a child utters certain sounds of pain and joy, and very soon after imitates the sounds which it hears. It says ah! when it is surprised or pleased; it soon says Bah! when it sees a lamb, and Bow-wow! when it sees a dog. Language, we are told, could not arise in any other way; so that interjections and imitations must be considered as the ultimate, or rather the primary facts of language, while their transition into real words is, we are assured, a mere question of evolution.

This theory seems to be easily confirmed by a number of words in all languages, which still exhibit most clearly. the signs of such an origin; and still further, by the fact that these supposed rudiments of human speech exist, even at an earlier stage, in the development of animal life, namely, in the sounds uttered by many animals; though, curiously enough, far more fully and frequently by our most distant ancestors, the birds, than by our nearest relation, the ape.

It is not surprising, therefore, that all who believe in a possible transition from an ape to a man should gladly have embraced this theory of language. The only misfortune is that such a theory, though it easily explains words which really require no explanation, such as crashing, cracking, creaking, crunching, scrunching, leaves us entirely in the lurch when we come to deal with real words-I mean words expressive of general concepts, such as man, tree, name, law-in fact, nine tenths of our dictionary.

I certainly do not wish to throw unmerited contempt on this Theoretical School. Far from it. We want the theorist quite as much as the historian. The one must check the other, nay, even help the other just as every government wants an opposition to keep it in order, or, I ought perhaps to say, to give it from time to time new life and vigor. I only wished to show by an example or two what is the real difference between these two schools, and what I meant when I said that, whether by temperament, or by education, or by conviction, I myself had always belonged to the Historical School.

Take now the science of religion, and we shall find again the same difference of treatment between the historian and the theorist.

The theorist begins by assuring you that all men were originally savages, or, to use a milder term, children. Therefore, if we wish to study the origin of religion, we must study children and savages.

Now at the present moment some savages in Africa, Australia, and elsewhere are fetish-worshippers. Therefore we are assured that five thousand or ten thousand years ago religion must have begun with a worship of fetishes-that is, of stones, and shells, and sticks, and other inanimate objects.

Again, children are very apt not only to beat their dolls, but even to punish a chair or a table if they have hurt themselves against it. This shows that they ascribe life and personality-nay, something like human nature-to inanimate objects, and hence we are told that savages would naturally do the same. A savage, in fact, is made to do everything that an anthropologist wishes him to do; but, even then, the question of all questions, why he does what he is supposed to do, is never asked. We are told that he worships a stone as his god, but how he came to possess the idea of God, and to predicate it of the stone, is called a metaphysical question of no interest to the student of anthropology—that is, of man. If, however, we press for an an swer to this all-important question, we are informed that animism, personification, and anthropomorphism are the three well-known agencies which fully account for the fact that the ancient inhabitants of India, Greece, and Italy believed that there was life in the rivers, the mountains, and the sky; that the sun, and the moon, and the dawn were cognizant of the deeds of men, and, finally, that Jupiter and Juno, Mars and Venus, had the form and the beauty, the feelings and passions of men. We might as well be told that all animals are hungry because they have an appetite.

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We read in many of the most popular works of the day how, from the stage of fetishism, there was a natural and necessary progress to polytheism, monotheism, and atheism, and after these stages have been erected one above the other,

all that remains is to fill each stage with illustrations taken from every race that ever had a religion, whether these races were ancient or modern, savage or civilized, genealogically related to each other, or perfect strangers.

Again, I must guard most decidedly against being supposed to wish to throw contempt or ridicule on this school. Far from it. I differ from it; I have no taste for it; I also think it is often very misleading. But to compare the thoughts and imaginations of savages and civilized races, of the ancient Egyptians, for instance, and the modern Hottentots, has its value, and the boldest combinations of the Theoretic School have sometimes been confirmed in the most unexpected manner.

Let us see now how the Historical School goes to work in treating of the origin and growth of religion. It begins by collecting all the evidence that is accessible, and classifies it. First of all, religions are divided into those that have sacred books, and those that have not. Secondly, the religions which can be studied in books of recognized or canonical authority, are arranged genealogically. The New Testament is traced back to the Old, the Koran to both the New and Old Testaments. This gives us one class of religions, the Semitic.

Then, again, the sacred books of Buddhism, of Zoroastrianism, and of Brahmanism are classed together as Aryan, because they all draw their vital elements from one and the same ProtoAryan source. This gives us a second class of religions, the Aryan.

Outside the pale of the Semitic and Aryan religions we have the two bookreligions of China, the old national traditions collected by Confucius, and the moral and metaphysical system of Laotse. This gives us a class of Turanian religions. The study of those religions which have sacred books is in some respects easy, because we have in these books authoritative evidence on which our further reasonings and conclusions can be safely based. But in other respects, the very existence of these books creates new difficulties, because, after all, religions do not live in books only, but in human hearts, and where we have to deal with Vedas, and Avestas, and Tripitakas, Old and New Testaments,

and Korans, we are often tempted into taking the book for the religion.

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Still the study of book-religions, if we once have mastered their language, is easier and admits of more definite and scientific treatment than that of native religions which have no books, no articles, no tests, no, councils, no pope. Any one who attempts to describe the religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans I mean their real faith, not their mythology, their ceremonial, or their philosophy-knows the immense difficulty of such a task. And yet we have here a large literature, spread over many centuries, we know their language, we can even examine the ruins of their temples.

Think, after that, how infinitely. greater must be the difficulty of forming a right conception, say, of the religion of the Red Indians, the Africans, the Australians. Their religions are probably as old as their languages, that is, as old as our own language; but we know nothing of their antecedents, nothing but the mere surface of to-day, and that immense surface explored in a few isolated spots only, and often by men utterly incapable of understanding the language and the thoughts of the people. And yet we are asked to believe by the followers of the Theoretic School that this mere surface detritus is in reality the granite that underlies all the religions of the ancient world, more primitive than the Old Testament, more intelligible than the Veda, more instructive than the mythological language of Greece and Rome. It may be so. The religious map of the world may show as violent convulsions as the geological map of the earth. All I say to the enthusiastic believers in this contorted evolution of religious thought is, let us wait till we know a little more of Hottentots and Papúans; let us wait till we know at least their language, for otherwise we may go hopelessly wrong.

The Historical School, in the mean time, is carrying on its more modest. work by publishing and translating the ancient records of the great religions of the world, undisturbed by the sneers of those who do not find in the Sacred Books of the East what they, in their ignorance, expected men who no doubt would turn up their noses at a kitchen-midden, because it did not con

tain their favorite lollypops. Where there are no sacred texts to edit and to translate, the true disciples of the Historical School-men such as. for instance, Bishop Caldwell or Dr. Hahn in South Africa, Dr. Brinton or Horatio Hale in North America-do not shrink from the drudgery of learning the dialects spoken by savage tribes, gaining their confidence, and gathering at last from their lips some records of their popular traditions, their ceremonial customs, some prayers, it may be, and some confession of their ancient faith. And even with all these materials at his disposal, the historical student does not rush at once to the conclusion that either in the Legends of the Eskimos or in the hymns of the Vedic Aryas, we find the solution of all the riddles in the science of religion. He only says that we are not likely to find any evidence, much older or much more trustworthy, and that therefore we are justified in deriv ing certain lessons froin these materials. And what is the chief lesson to be learned from them? It is this, that they contain certain words and concepts and imaginations which are as yet inexplicable, which seem simply irrational, and require for their full explanation antecedents which are lost to us; but that they contain also many words and concepts and imaginations which are perfectly intelligible, which presuppose no antecedents, and which, whatever their date may be, may be called primary and rational. However strange it may seem to us, there can be no doubt that the perception of the Unknown or the Infinite was with many races as ancient as the perception of the Known or the Finite, that the two were, in fact, inseparable. To men who lived on an island, the ocean was the Unknown, the Infinite, and became in the end their God. men who lived in valleys, the rivers that fed them and whose sources were unapproachable, the mountains that protect ed them, and whose crests were inaccessible, the sky that overshadowed them, and whose power and beauty were unintelligible, these were their unknown beings, their infinite beings, their bright and kind beings, what they called their Devas, their Brights," the same word which, after passing through many changes, still breathes in our Divinity.


This unconscious process of theogony is historically attested, is intelligible, requires no antecedents, and is, so far, a primary process. How old it is, who would venture to ask or to tell? All that the Historical School ventures to assert is that it explains one side of the origin of religion, namely, the gradual process of naming or conceiving the Infinite. While the Theoretic School takes the predicate of God, when applied to a fetish, as granted, the Historical School sees in it the result of a long-continued evolution of thought, beginning with the vague consciousness of something invisible, unknown, and unlimited, which gradually assumes a more and more definite shape through similes, names, myths, and legends, till at last it is divested again of all names, and lives within us, as the invisible, inconceivable, unnamable-the infinite God.

I need hardly say that in the science of religion, as in the science of language, all my sympathies are with the Historical School, but the Theoretical School has likewise done some good work. Let both schools work on, carefully and honestly, and who knows but that their ways, which seem so divergent at present, may meet in the end.

Nowhere, perhaps, can we see the different spirit in which these two schools, the historical and the theoretical, set to work, more clearly than in what is called by preference the Science of Man, Anthropology; or the Science of People, Ethnology; or more generally the science of old things, of the works of ancient men, Archæology. The Theoretic School begins, as usual, with an ideal conception of what man must have been in the beginning. According to some, he was the image of his Maker, a perfect being, but soon destined to fall to the level of ordinary humanity. According to others, he began as a savage, whatever that may mean, not much above the level of the beasts of the field, and then had to work his way up through successive stages which are supposed to follow each other by a kind of inherent necessity. First comes stage of the hunter and fisherman, then that of the breeder of cattle, the tiller of the soil, and lastly that of the founder of cities.



As man is defined as an animal which uses tools, we are told that according to the various materials of which these tools were made, man must again by necessity have passed through what are called the three stages or ages of stone, bronze, and iron, raising himself by means of these more and more perfect tools to what we might call the age of steel and steam and electricity, in which for the present civilization seems to culminate. Whatever discoveries are made by excavating the ruins of ancient cities, by opening tombs, by ransacking kitchen-middens, by exploring once more the flint-mines of prehistoric races, all must submit to the fundamental theory, and each specimen of bone or stone or bronze or iron must take the place drawn out for it within the lines and limits of an infallible system.

The Historical School takes again the very opposite line. It begins with no theoretical expectations, with no logical necessities, but takes its spade and shovel to see what there is left of old things; it describes them, arranges them, classifies them, and thus hopes in the end to understand and to explain them. When a Schliemann begins his work at Hissarlik he digs away, notes the depth at which each relic has been found, places similar relics side by side, unconcerned whether iron comes before bronze, or bronze before flint. Let me quote the words of a young and very careful archæologist, Mr. Arthur Evans, in describing this kind of work, and the results which we obtain from it.*

In the topmost stratum of Hissarlik, he writes (which some people like to call Troy), extending six feet down, we find remains of the Roman and Macedonian Ilios, and the

Aeolic colony; and the fragments of archaic Greek pottery discovered (hardly distinguishable from that of Spata and Mykenai) take us back already to the end of the first millennium before our era.

Below this, one superposed above the other, lie the remains of no less than six successive prehistoric settlements, reaching down to over fifty feet below the surface of the hill. The formation of this vast superincumbent mass by artificial and natural causes must have taken a long series of centuries; and yet, when we come to examine the lowest deposits, the remains of the first and second cities, we are

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struck at once with the relatively high state of civilization at which the inhabitants of this spot had already arrived.

The food-remains show a people acquainted with agriculture and cattle-rearing, as well as with hunting and fishing. The use of bronze was known, though stone implements continued to be used for certain purposes, and the bronze implements do not show any of the refined forms-notably the fibule-characteristic of the later Bronze Age.

Trade and commerce evidently were not wanting. Articles de luxe of gold, enamel, and ivory were already being imported from lands more directly under Babylonian and Egyptian influence, and jade axeheads came by prehistoric trade routes from the Kuen-Lun, in China. The local potters were already acquainted with temples of the Second City evince considerable the use of the wheel, and the city walls and progress in the art of building.


Such is the result of the working of the Historical School. It runs its shaft down from above ;, the Theoretical School runs its shaft up from below. may be that they are both doing good work, but such is the strength of temperament and taste, even among scientific men, that you will rarely see the same person working in both mines; nay, that not seldom you hear the same disparaging remarks made by one party and the other, which you may be accustomed to hear from the promoters of rival gold-mines in India or in the south of Africa.

I might show the same conflict between Historical and Theoretical research in almost every branch of human knowledge. But, of course, we are all most familiar with it through that important controversy, which has occupied the present generation more than anything else, and in which almost every one of us has taken part and taken sides, I mean the controversy about Evolution.

It seems almost as if I myself had lived in prehistoric times, when I have to confess that, as a young student, I witnessed the downfall of the theory of Evolution which, for a time, had ruled supreme in the Universities of Germany, particularly in the domain of Natural History and Biology. In the school of Oken, in the first philosophy of Schelling, in the eloquent treatises of Goethe, all was Evolution, Development, or as it was called in German, Das Werden, the Becoming. The same spirit pervaded the philosophy of Hegel. Ac

cording to him, the whole world was an evolution, a development by logical necessity, to which all facts must bow. If they would not, tant pis pour les faits. I do not remember the heyday of that school, but I still remember its last despairing struggles. I still remember at school and at the University rumors of Carbon, half solid, half liquid, the famous Urschleim, now called Protoplasm, the Absolute Substance out of which everything was evolved. I remember the more or less amusing discussions about the loss of the tail, about races supposed to be still in possession of that ancestral relic. I well remember my own particular teacher, the great Greek scholar Gottfried Hermann,* giving great offence to his theological colleagues by publishing an essay in 1840 in which he tried to prove that as the female was less perfect than the male, the law of development required that Eve must have existed before Adam. Quoting the words of Ennius Simia quam similis, turpissima bestia, nobis, he goes on in his own peculiar Latin :

Ex hac nobili gente quid dubitemus unam aliquando simiam exortam putare, quæ paullo

minus belluina facie et indole esset? Ea, sive illam Evam sive Pandoram appellare placet, quum ex alio simio gravida facta esset, peperit, ut sæpenumero fieri constat, filium matri quam patri similiorem, qui primus homo fuit.

Hæc ergo est hominis generisque humani origo, non illa quidem valde honesta, sed paullo tamen honestior multoque probabilior, quam si ex luto aqua permixto, cui anima fuerit inspirata, genus duceremus.

Surely Gottfried Hermann was a bolder man than even Darwin, and to me who had attended his lectures in 1841, Darwin's Descent of Man," published in 1871, was naturally far less novel and startling by its theory than by the facts by which that theory was once more sup ported. Kant's philosophy had already familiarized students of Anthropology with the same ideas. For he, too, toward the end of his " Anthropologie,' had spoken of a third period in the development of nature, when an OranUtang or Shimpanse may develop his

* "Evam ante Adamum creatam fuisse, sive de quodam communi apud Mosen et Hesiodum errore circa creationem generis humani," in Ilgen's "Zeitschrift für die histor. Theologie,"

1840, B. X., p. 61-70.

organs of locomotion, touch and speech to the perfection of human organs, raise his brain to an organ of thought, and slowly elevate himself by social culture.

But this was not all. Oken (17791851) and his disciples taught that the transition from inorganic to organic nature was merely a matter of development. The first step, according to him, was the formation of rising bubbles, which he called Infusoria, and the manifold repetition of which led, as he taught, to the formation of plants and animals. The plant was represented by him as an imperfect animal, the animal as an im perfect man. To doubt that the various races of men were descended from one pair was considered at that time, and even to the days of Prichard, not only a theological, but a biological heresy. All variety was traced back to unity— and in the beginning there was nothing but Being; which Being, coming in conflict with Not-being, entered upon the process of Becoming, of development, of evolution. While this philosophy was still being preached in some German universities a sharp reaction took place in other universities, followed by the quick ascendency of that Historical School of which I spoke before. It was heralded in Germany by such men as Niebuhr, Savigny, Bopp, Grimm, Otfried Müller, Johannes Müller, the two Humboldts, and many others whose names are less known in England, but who did excellent work, each in his own special line.

I have tried to describe the general character of that school, and I have to I have remained a humble disciple of it. I confess that during the whole of my life am not blind to its weak points. It fixes

its eye far too much on the individual; it sees differences everywhere, and is almost blind to similarities. Hence the bewildering mass of species which it admitted in Botany and Zoology. Hence its strong protest against the common origin of mankind; hence its still stranger protest against the transition plant to the beast, from the beast to the from inorganic to organic life, from the man. Hence, in the science of language, its reluctance to admit even the possibility of a common origin of human speech, and in the science of religion, its protest against deriving the religion

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