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GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH
BY ROBERT BROWN, Jun., F.S.A.
. I strive and struggle to deliver right
That music of my nature, day and night,
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
All rights reserved
221. e. 284
In the midst of other and varied occupations I have amused some leisure hours with the consideration of the DIONYSIAK Myth,—a study which has at length taken a tangible form in the following pages. Whilst the outline of the subject is sufficiently familiar, its present treatment will, it is believed, be found to be novel to a great extent, and, moreover, to be in accordance with the recent and splendid discoveries whose magical force has reduced to uselessness vast quantities of earlier effort in this direction. Those who have not followed the thought and progress of the age are naturally unable to understand the present immense importance of Religious-mythology, and too generally regard it as a mass of idle, unmeaning, and often highly objectionable, fables ; or, again, suppose that the subject has been exhausted by the efforts of luminaries long since extinguished. But the keener minds on all sides, whether religionists or not, are becoming fully alive to the magnitude of such enquiries in a religious point of view; and the study has, at the same time, claims no less strong upon the archaeologist, the psychologist, and the historian. One of the vastest questions which can be submitted to the mind—a question, moreover, which is rapidly coming to the front in the great debates of the age-is, Whether Religion and all that it entails sprang from man's unaided cogitations upon himself and the material world around ? An answer to this momentous enquiry is supplied by the scientific consideration of the historic course of religious thought. .
With respect to my chief modern authorities, and in order to satisfy the reader at the outset that the views of various important writers have not been overlooked, I have consulted the leading Assyriologists and Egyptologists of the time, such as Baron Bunsen, Sir J. G. Wilkinson, Sir H. C. Rawlinson, Canon Rawlinson, and Messieurs Birch, George Smith, Fox Talbot, Sayce, Cooper, Lepsius, Brugsch, Chabas, Lenormant, and Maspero. Acquaintance also with the admirable Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and with the Records of the Past, must be possessed by all writers on Mythology who do not confine themselves exclusively to Aryan studies or to the beliefs of modern savages. I have also, as far as is necessary in the treatment of the subject, considered the standpoint of Payne Knight, Dulaure, and the phallic school, down to the late Dr. Inman; and the researches of D’Hancarville, Lobeck, Creuzer, Movers, Gesenius, Welcker, Rolle, Donaldson, K. 0. Müller, Mure, Grote, Sir G. C. Lewis, Maury, Preller, Deutsch, Professor Ruskin, Mr. Gladstone, Dr. Schliemann, Dr. Tylor, Sir John Lubbock, Professor Max Müller, the Rev. G. W. Cox, Messieurs Herbert Spencer, C. W. King, A. S. Murray, F. A. Paley, and others.
In a subject so wide and so replete with difficulty all dogmatism, especially on minor points, is altogether out