Patriarchal Palestine by Archibald H. Sayce

Map: The Chief Places mentioned in the Books of Genesis and ExodusProfessor Archibald Sayce’s Patriarchal Palestine applies the (then) recent archaeological discoveries in Babylonia and Assyria to illustrate the biblical accounts of Genesis. The frontispiece map is particularly helpful, so I have extracted this and made is available as a separate download at various resolutions. This title, kindly provided by Book Aid, is in the public domain.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], Patriarchal Palestine. London: SPCK, 1895. Hbk. pp.227.[Click to visit the main download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • List of Dynasties
  1. The land
  2. The People
  3. The Babylonians in Canaan, and the Egyptian Conquest
  4. The Patriarchs
  5. Egyptian Travellers in Canaan
  6. Canaanitish Culure and Religion
  • Index


A few years ago the subject-matter of the present volume might have been condensed into a few pages. Beyond what we would gather from the Old Testament, we knew but little about the history and geography of Canaan before the age of its conquest by the Israelites. Thanks, however, to the discovery and decipherment of the ancient monuments of Babylonia and Assyria, of Egypt and of Palestine, all this is now changed. A flood of light has been poured upon the earlier history of the country and its inhabitants, and though we are still only at the beginning of our discoveries we can already sketch the outlines of Canaanitish history, and even fill them in here and there.

Throughout I have assumed that in the narrative of the Pentateuch we have history and not fiction. Indeed the archaeologist cannot do otherwise. Monumental research is making it clearer every day that the scepticism of the so-called “higher criticism ” is not justified in fact. Those who would examine the proofs of this must turn to my book on The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments.

Archibald Sayce on the Decipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphic Texts

Archibald Sayce [1845-1933]Archibald Sayce [1845-1933] was Professor of Assyriology at Oxford University for 28 years. I recently came across offprints of four of his articles from the Royal Asiatic Journal and am pleased to be able to make them available here. They are all in the public domain.

Articles from the Royal Asiatic Journal

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “The Origin of the Hebrew Alphabet,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 3 (July 1920): 297-303.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “Geographical Notes,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 1 (Jan. 1921): 47-55.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “The Discipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphic Texts,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 4 (Oct. 1922): 537-572.

Archibald Henry Sayce [1846-1933], “The Libraries of David and Solomon,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society No. 4 (Oct. 1931): 783-790.

I am developing an on-line bibliography of Archibald Sayce’s works on this page, where you find links more of his books and articles.

The Discipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphic Texts

There are the same recognized rules for the decipherment of an unknown script as there are for that of an ordinary cipher, and if they can be followed the script can be deciphered with as much ease as the cipher. Sometimes they cannot be followed, sufficient materials being absent; in this case, all we can do is to wait patiently until the materials are forthcoming

At one time this was the case with the so-called Hittite hieroglyphic texts. But it has long ceased to be so. The materials for a scientific decipherment of them have been gradually accumulating, and verification has gone hand in hand with the determination of the value and meaning of the characters. We are no longer dependent upon a few fragmentary inscriptions, too often in so imperfect a condition as to make the forms of the characters upon them more or less uncertain. [Continue reading]