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“Palmblätter” of Herder and Liebeskind. These celebrated tales were especially copied, with a few modifications, from Blanchet, Cardonne, Sauvigny, and some English essayists, who have copied the style of Oriental tales. Thus, one sees that this study is connected with the Arabic bibliography of Chauvin. The “Palmblätter” have been translated many times into French. On the subject of one of these translations, a Catholic author* has written the following appreciation, which deserves, for the sake of its oddness, being quoted : “ This work is a collection of fables translated from the German of Herder, president of the Ecclesiastical Consistory. Although emanating from a corrupt source, Muhammadanism, and introduced by an inimical hand, that of a Protestant, this book may be placed without danger in the hands of Catholic youth." Charming, is it not? This paragraph is a real bijou.

On the occasion of the Exhibition of Paris, E. Doutté has published an excellent manual on Islam in general and the Islam of Algeria in particular.t Therein the author discusses, with the great competency which he has shown in his former publications, the dogmas, worship, law of Islam, the rites or schools, the Islamizing of minor Africa (the Khārijites), the worship of saints, mysticism and mystic associations, the religious brotherhoods of Algeria, religious ceremonies, superstitions, religious edifices, and official Islam of Algeria, etc. One of the most interesting chapters (in the Appendix) is devoted to Mussulman sciences in the Algerian madrasas and to Islam in the superior schools of Algiers. We cannot recommend too much this little work, which is very precise, clear, and well got up, for the initiation of the general public to a true knowledge of Islam.

The fifth volume of the French translation of the “Thousand and One Nights," by Mardrus, has lately been published. We have already remarked the special character of this work, a character which shows itself, if possible, still more in this new volume ; it is impossible to have in this regard but one opinion among men of science.

There remains to be pointed out in the Zeitschrift des deutschen Palaestina - Vereins (vol. xxii., part 4) an interesting article upon the Syrian desert (“Beiträge zur Kenntniss der syrischen Steppe ").

Finally we mention a small work of some value by Prockschon blood-feuds amongst the Arabs before the time of Muhammad, and on the position taken up by the Prophet in regard to this ancient custom.

* “La Bibliographie catholique,” ii. 171.
† “L’Islam algérien en l'an 1900,” Algiers, Giralt, 1900.

Paris, editions of the Revue Blanche, 1900. § “Ueber die Blutrache bei den vorislamischen Arabern und Mohammeds Stellung zu ihr,” Leipzig, Teubner, 1899.





The moral claim of the Gâthas upon our attention and our sympathy is very peculiar. After such remarks as were made about the old edition of 1892-94* in the Critical Review of January, 1896 (which I have elsewhere recalled for an obvious purpose), it may be regarded as settled that these hymns occupy almost a unique place in the development of religiously philosophical ideas. The author of those sentences was indeed a Zendist, but it is evident from their tone that he preferred to speak for the moment as if from the outside, and as one of the deeply-interested lookers-on. And so understood, his opinions are of wider bearing, for he seems to speak for others.

Specialists upon this most severe of Aryan subjects may, then, enjoy one further solid satisfaction in feeling that they have been working on a lore the interest of which is acknowledged by intelligent people to be second to none in a religious sense. One deterrent element alone is present. It is this : The mass of its ostensible disciples is not numerically great, like the throngs who worship Buddha. If the Gâthic lore is "the most precious relic of Oriental religion” in the mind of a sober judge, the specialists who have mined in its depths have, at least, effected a certain practical result. But here comes in, as ever, a difficulty. The same writer who expresses so evidently his own strong personal conviction adds a remark which seems to modify what he had just let pass from his pen. He spoke of the “differences between Zendists” as to their renderings. If differences of such a character exist, may they not in so far mar the moral effect of the fragments that they cannot benefit the lay mind? If so, one very prominent object which I have in view in re-editing the verbatim and metrical translations from the larger book will be entirely frustrated.

I have been deeply touched by a note from a superior young Parsi in Hong Kong, who wrote (in passing) that during his "holy days” (the chief sacred seasons of his religion) he had been reading the metrical versions (from my book), much as we read our Bible. But if the differences between specialists are so great, may he not have received the “evangelical compunction ” from sentences which would be differently rendered by other scholars? And if so, may not all the impressions which have been made upon him prove illusory? I have re-edited and annoted (sic) the verbatimst and metricals largely with a special intention to prove that such would not be the case. The differences in opinion which prevail among specialists

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* The first edition appeared in 1894, and is exhausted, only leaving a very few copies reserved for private purposes. † Verbatims this time in English.

need not have such an unhappy effect. It may be said of the Gathas, as it may be said of all religious works of the kind (such as, for instance, the Psalms), that, differ as we may on matters important to linguistic critics, it is impossible to either destroy or seriously to modify their devotional effect as a whole.

Perhaps, and for reasons which I have already once explained in earlier numbers of this Review, what I have just said is more positively the case with regard to the Gâthas than with reference to any similar compositions of antiquity. The close linguistic questions as to etymology and syntax, and the philological questions as to definite points in the meaning, are more severe than in the case of other known works of their description ; but there is an especial reason why the main drift (which is what we need for personal religious edification) not only is not obscure in them, but it also cannot possibly be made obscure, for reasons given elsewhere.*

The mass of the sentences consist of unmistakable terms which positively exclude all casts of meaning except those of one character—so much so that readers who prefer the poetic changes of the Rk or the Yashts accuse the Gâthas of monotony. A Parsi who wishes to refresh his personal religious life as to "thought, as to word, and as to deed,” cannot avoid strong and searching sentences at every strophe, which, when turned into prayers for an edifying purpose, leave little to be desired. When a man prays for the “prizes of the bodily life and for that of mind," declares that he “knows the rewards of God for actions,” prays for "all deeds done in accordance with the law,” and pleads "O Asha (Angel of the Holy Truth), when shall I see thee ?” it is difficult to suggest how he could express him. self more searchingly; and when he anticipates the “ Judge's Bridge” and the moment when the saints shall "unite in the good abode of heaven,” he surely possesses a system for practical religious supplication which is as complete as any. The Gâthas, aside from the three texts of the Asiatic commentaries, are indeed not extensive ; but do they lose anything by that (in their effect as formulas for religious devotion)? Do the Psalms always gain from their numbers, or the Rks from their “machine " additions ? Beyond any reasonable doubt the Gâthas were once as numerous as the Psalms themselves, though never so many as the Řks. But my question now is as to their present use. And I most fully believe (deriving no small satisfaction from the conviction) that any fair presentation of the Gâthas among the Parsis will be of great spiritual benefit.

In the “Commentary on the Gâthas,” pp. 394-622, as well as throughout in the Latin verbatims, I endeavour, as always, to give the various differing opinions of the ancients and moderns and continue this in the present book; but here I restrict my report more to differences which bear upon the devotional element, and, as I have said, it is surprising how few they are. My last versions have, of course, the advantage of being in English, and otherwise the only ones of their particular kind as yet in the field, and I devoutly hope they may have a practical religious effect until someone else may provide editions still more acceptable.

* See the former articles in this Review by the present writer.

Surely the fact that the Parsis do not number more than they do should not turn our interest into indifference. I for one am much moved to hear that they are all thinking of bringing their practical doctrinal standards more and more into line with the Gâthas rather than with the richlycoloured but pagan Yashts and other portions of the later Avesta. If it be true that this tendency exists among this deeply-interesting people, they will certainly be a community professing one of the purest forms of religion that has ever been developed from the soul of man.



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By the term "landlord” tenures we mean to separate that
class of larger land-ownerships in which the estate extends
(or previous to partition did extend) over many villages,
and sometimes over several thousands of acres; and they
are held by some “Zamindār” or Talukdār, once a chief,
or a State lessee of the territory. *

It is the interesting fact that the whole of such tenures-
in whatever part of India, and however much they are now
impoverished—are all the product or result of a series of
changes which are uniform in tendency, though locally
various in their incidents according to circumstances.

The landlord tenures as they now exist are solely the creation of British law and administration. But the creation was brought about by determinate antecedent conditions and factors.

In the old customary and written law of India, such a being as a private freehold owner of land (in the English sense) did not exist. I mean that a "landlord” who can sell, mortgage, and bequeath his estate, or any part of it; who deals with his “tenants” solely on the basis of contract; who disposes of his land in building plots, marketgarden allotments, or in tenant-farms at competitive rates and according to his own ideas of profit, has no place in the ancient Indian idea of land-holding.

We can discern, on the contrary, two distinct forms of interest in land, and the two could, and often did, coexist : (1) There was a direct, hereditary right of possession and cultivation based on the right by “occupation” and firstclearing, and making the holding fit for the plough.

* It goes without saying, that we do not speak about purely modern proprietorships of waste land, etc., depending on conveyance and grant and sale by modern law, and having no history behind them.

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