Mackie – Bible Manners and Customs

PREFACE
An artist engaged on a classical picture and wishing to paint a Greek lyre inquired of a young university friend as to the ordinary colour of that instrument. The student had seen illustrations of its form, could quote from the Latin poets about it, and tell the familiar story of Orpheus and his lyre, but he had never pictured to himself its actual coloured appearance.
The endeavour to supply such local colouring to the common objects and occupations referred to in the Bible will excuse the enumeration in the following pages of many details that in themselves might seem insignificant.
It is hoped that the study of these manners and customs will convey an impression similar to that which is produced by residence in Palestine. With much that explains and confirms Scripture, the chief teaching of the Holy Land is a demonstration of something absent. The body is not the spirit and the form is not the life. These earthly accompaniments of revelation confess, by their impotent survival to-day, that they originated nothing. But in a very special manner this land has heard the voice of the Lord, and its customs and institutions still preserve echoes of the tone and teaching of the Divine Word.
Of the books that may be profitably consulted, the standard work of reference is Thomson’s Land and the
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Book. Its arrangement, agreeably to its twofold title, is that of a pilgrimage under the charge of a well-informed guide rather than a classified treatment of the different subjects. More on the lines of the present text -book are Eastern Customs in Bible Lands by Canon Tristram, and Dr. Trumbull’s Studies in Oriental Social Life, both published by Hodder and Stoughton.
G. M. MACKIE.
Beyrout, Stria, 28th June 1898

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