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Sclavonic and Teutonic Names of God.
in the plural also, bagâha, meaning the gods. For instance, Says Darius the king, On that account Ormazd brought help and the other gods which are, because that I was not a heretic, nor was I a liar, nor was I a tyrant.' The very name of the sacred rock of Behistun, on the western frontiers of Media, on the high-road conducting from Babylonia to the eastward, where Darius had the royal charter of the Achæmenian dynasty engraved in arrow-head characters, — was originally bhagastháná,' the abode of the gods,' or, according to Diodorus Siculus, the abode of Zeus.'* Here, in the name of Behi-stun, we see the old word bhaga, much more changed and corrupted than in the Sclavonic bog; and we learn from this, that the name by which God is invoked by the present Czar of Russia, is the very same word which was used by Darius, by Zoroaster, and by the poets of the Veda; that is to say, we find the roots of a word which lives in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, in the fourth, the eighth, and the fourteenth century before Christ.
It is much more difficult to trace the Teutonic word, God,' back to its origin. There is no doubt that the Supreme Being has always been called by this name in all German tongues. We have guf in Gothic, god in Anglo-Saxon, cot in Old-High German, gud in Swedish and Danish, and gott in modern German. The most natural supposition, if we took into account our modern languages only, would be to take god as the same word, or as derived from the same root, as good. This may, indeed, be considered as the common Christian etymology of the word "god,' and an apparent authority has been found for it in the passage in the gospel of St. Mark, there is none good but one, that is God.'t But this etymology is indeed essentially Christian, and the occurrence of the same German word in the old heathen world, and for the old heathen gods, is fatal to it. Besides, although God and good have a very similar sound in English, the two words diverge, if we trace them back to the ancient German languages. Good in Gothic is not guß but gods, in Anglo-Saxon not god but god, in Old-High German not cot but cuot
, in Danish not gud but god, in Dutch not god but goed. However, Comparative Philology has not yet been able to substitute a better etymology. "The most common opinion of comparative philologists — we are not able to say with whom it originated that the Teutonic God is the same as the Persian
• Diodorus speaks of το δε Βαγίσταναν όρος, έστι μεν ιερών Διός, - Cf. Rawlinson's Memoirs, p. 187.
t In Anglo-Saxon, Nis nån man gôd buton god âna.' Gothic, Ni hivashun fiufeigs alja ains guß.'
Khodá— is equally untenable. Khodá means, indeed, God in Persian; but it is a word which, according to the phonetic laws of the Iranian tongue, must have sounded hvadâ or hvadáta in the old language of Darius or Zoroaster. Its meaning would be self-produced. But how is it credible that a word, which only after the time of Darius could possibly have taken the form of Khodá * in Persian, should, under this peculiarly Persian and modern Persian form, have been transmitted to the old Teutonic nations? Another etymology has been attempted by bringing the Teutonic word at once into connexion with the Sanskrit. Gudha,' which means hidden, concealed, a mystery.' But this word again is much too metaphysical to furnish a real and natural explanation of so primitive a word as ' God. We can only say, therefore, that. God’ was probably an old Teutonic word, used long before the introduction of Christianity, to signify either one Supreme Being, or gods in general. Indeed, we find that in the Old Norse, gođ in the neuter means a graven image, an idol, while gut in the masculine signifies God. Other Teutonic nations, after they had been converted, called their old heathen gods abgotts (Old-High German apcot), which makes it still more likely that god had been used by them before in the abstract sense of deus. In modern German an idol is called ein Götze, which is evidently derived from Gott; and Luther translates the verse from the Fifth Book of Moses,
And ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods' by • die Götzen ihrer Götter.'
The third word which we have still to consider, is the Latin deus, together with its modern derivations in Italian, Spanish, and French. The history of this term can be traced much more satisfactorily than the Teutonic word; and it allows us a deep insight into the silent vegetation not only of words and roots, but also of names and ideas.
There is an old root in Sanskrit - div, to shine which, according to a general rule of Sanskrit grammar, may be changed into dyu. From this root comes the Greek word Zeús, which, by a regular transition of letters, is nothing but the root dyu or yu with the s of the nominative, and corresponds, therefore, exactly to the Sanskrit Dyaus. The Greek language does not
* · Le mot Khodai, seigneur, qui sous les Sassanides avait été appliqué aux rois, ne servait, depuis l'introduction de l'Islamisme, que pour designer Dieu ; de sorte que Firdousi pouvait craindre qu'on ne lui reprochất comme un blasphème le titre de la source principale de son ouvrage (Khodai námeh), et toute accusation d'impiété, si frivole qu'elle fût, était grave pour le poëte au milieu de la cour jalouse et bigote de Mahmoud.'-J. Mohl, Shah-nameh, Introduction, p. x.
335 admit of two such consonants as dy at the beginning of a word. It has sometimes dropped the first, sometimes the second letter. Dropping the y, we get the Greek form Acús, which, according to ancient authorities, was used instead of Zeús. The initial di is likewise preserved in the accusative Aía. Dropping the first letter, the Sanskrit y is regularly changed into the Greek 5– (like Sansk. yuj= feúyvopi, Sansk. yava=(a) — so that Zeús may, indeed, be considered as the Greek pronunciation of the Sanskrit yaus. In Latin there is no nominative, like Jos, which would be the Latin form, corresponding to Sanskrit Dyaus, but the old word reappears in the oblique cases, where we have Jovem, &c. Other words, like Dispater and Diespiter, show that, like the Greek and Sanskrit, the Latin also knew both forms of the ancient root. The corresponding words in Old German are Zio and Tius, one of our old heathen gods, now long forgotten, but whose name still lives in the name of Tuesday.
It has generally been supposed, that the Sanskrit language and religion did not know Dyaus as a god, but that dyaus in Sanskrit, as a feminine, was used only for heaven and sky. Yet, if we examine the Sanskrit in its oldest form, as we find it in the Veda, traces can still be discerned, proving the former existence of a god Dyaus. It is true, that in the Commentaries, dyaus is always explained by the resplendent sky. But it may be observed in the hymns of the Veda, that the word dyaus, which is a feminine, is sometimes used as a masculine, and in these cases it always means the god Dyaus. Thus we read in the Rig Veda :
When the pious man offers his morning libation to the great Father Dyaus, he trembles all over, as he becomes aware that the archer sent forth from his mighty bow the bright dart that reaches him, and, brilliant himself, gave his own splendour ' unto his daughter, the Dawn. Moreover, Aurora is frequently called duhitâ Divah, which is usually translated by the daughter of the sky.' But, according to the principles of mythology, she cannot be the daughter of the sky. She is produced by the Sun from Night, and, therefore, she is the daughter of Night and of the Sun, that is to say, of the god Dyaus.
Although, then, to the Indian mind, the name of the god Dyaus was lost already at an early period, because his name had become the usual word for sky, as in Latin “sub dio,' and because poets and priests soon introduced other names for this deity, as Agni, Indra, Mitra, and the like, yet we see, that he was once known under his old Arian name in India, and we thus arrive at a result which flashes, like a sudden ray of light, through the dark world of the first mythological ideas among the Arian nations. We see that, before their separation took
place, they had a name for a god, expressive of the brilliancy of the sun, the sky and daylight, that they called him · Dyaus, and the Great Father. We see that Žeus was not an invention of Homer, that Jupiter was not borrowed from Greece but that long before the Arians immigrated into Greece and Italy, they had worshipped the same god under the same name that the Brahmans who migrated towards the South invoked him along the rivers of the Penjáb, and that the Teutonic nations proceeding towards the North, celebrated the same god on the mountains of Scandinavia.
Dyaus, as the name of this old Arian god, means light, but not light, in its abstract sense, not as a feminine or a neuter, but as a masculine, as the shining sun, the bringer of light and life. It was a happy thought of the sons of nature, who first raised their eyes up to heaven, to perceive there, high above them, the brilliant manifestation of a divine power: and it was a happy grasp of language, to express the awful feeling of the existence of a divine power by a word which meant light. It was the light of the sun, by which men were awakened every morning from the sleep of night, and with the setting of the sun, their own life faded away into an unconscious slumber. That brilliant globe, whence they received light and warmth, the silent majesty of whose daily course the clear atmosphere of the Himalayan regions permitted them to witness, must have excited the feeling of devotion in every human heart; and, although the poetical genius of men may have perceived afterwards the active presence of a divine power, in other forms of nature, from no other source could it have beamed with greater splendour. If then, as we cannot doubt, the consciousness of God was latent in the hearts of all men, like a veiled remembrance of a former world, it was the power of the Sun that pierced and lifted the veil, and thus brought the idea of God in its brightness before the eyes of the heathens. How natural, that the name of the Revealer should have been given to that which he revealed, and that the sun, by which the glory of God became first manifest in this world to the senses of men, should have been taken as a manifestation of God himself! Nothing in this world could have been nearer, no image worthier to represent and express God, than the sun; and it shows the existence of a transcendental power in the mind of those early worshippers, that they looked for their God, not in the world around them, which they could touch and grasp, (fetichism,) but up to that world, which one sense only, and that the highest, presented to the mind's eye.
What we have here said, however, would only prove that, the Arian nations possessed some of their mythological gods in
Deva. Osos. Deus.
common, but it would not enable us to affirm that they had also felt the want of an expression for the simpler and purer idea of God in those early times when they were still connected by the bonds of a common language, and of a common faith. In order to prove this, we must take into account another class of common Arian words, formed from the same root div, by means of a derivative, which gives to these words a more general and abstract meaning. These words are deva in Sanskrit, Jeós in Greek, deus in Latin, diewas in Lithuanian. Deva, which means originally bright, brilliant, divine, expresses a quality equally ascribable to all the different forms and names of God that had arisen out of the individualising spirit of language; and it adapted itself, therefore, most easily and naturally to express the general and essential idea of God, godly, divine. This is already the case in the Veda, although the transparency of the vedic language permits, in most cases, the original meaning of the word deva – that of brilliancy – to shine through. Whether, for instance, the old poets meant to say the divine • Aurora,' or the brilliant dawn,' by calling Ushas (aurora) as well as her rays, devi, must remain doubtful in many passages. In Greek and Latin, however, Jeós and deus, are neither attribute nor name of God, but they have really become the word for God, expressing at once the abstract idea of the philosopher, the poetical image of the old bards, and the breathing creation of the sculptor.
These pages were all hut struck off before we had seen a most interesting pamphlet by Sir George Staunton : * An Inquiry into the proper mode of rendering the word “God,” in translating the Sacred Scriptures into the Chinese language. Although it refers to a country with which, as far as we know, the Arian tribes have had no connexion in language or history, it offers the most striking parallel with regard to the progress of language, and its influence on the human mind among the Chinese and the Indo-European nations. There has been a long controversy between the different sects of Christian Missionaries as to the best way of rendering the word "God' into Chinese. The first preachers of the Gospel who visited China accepted without scruple the Chinese words Tien and Shang. tee, which they found already in popular use. The word Tien, how, ever, though, according to the imperial dictionary of Kanghee, it means the Great One, He that dwells on high and regulates all
below,' is also used in a physical and material sense, as heaven, and in that sense it constantly occurs in the most familiar language. It is even used in the sense of day. Kin tien, literally “new heaven, means only to-day,' and ming tien, literally bright heaven,' means 'to-morrow.' We must here add, that exactly the same takes place in Sanskrit. From the same root Div, from which, as we have seen, Zeus, Dispater, and Deus were derived, we also have dies, in