Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
Now if Water be the Best, and Gold be the most Precious, so now to the farthest bound doth Theron by his fair deeds attain, and from his own home touch the Pillars of Heracles. 1 Pathless the things beyond, pathless alike to the unwise and the wise. Here will I search no more; the quest were vain.Pindar (Myers).
In Part Second, at the very beginning of our discussion, attention was called to the two classes of tests which the hypothesis of an Arctic polar site for Eden must of necessity meet: first, the tests which would apply alike to all the ordinarily proposed sites in temperate and inter-tropical latitudes; and second, the tests which would be inseparable from the aspects and adjustments of Nature at the Pole. In the first class seven were enumerated, and at the close of Part Fourth we saw how surprisingly and convincingly all of the seven had been met. In the second class seven others were particularized as "new features" introduced into the problem of the site of Eden by the very nature of our hypothesis. They were all of so peculiar and extraordinary a character, and they so modified the requirements to be made of all corroborative human tradition, that nothing short of the truth of the intrinsically improbable hypothesis could save it
from obvious and ridiculous failure at each successive point. In the present Part we have now brought together the facts, or at least a portion of the facts, which go to demonstrate that the hypothesis of a Polar Paradise, and no other, can meet and satisfy each one of these new and more difficult requirements. Speaking after the manner of the mathematicians, though of course with due remembrance of the nature of the reasoning employed, it may be said that we have first solved our problem, and then, by a new process and with changed elements, proved and verified our answer. Whoever would see how strikingly complete and cogent this verifying process is should turn back to the second chapter of Part Second and carefully collate the seven "new features" there enumerated with the facts of the first seven chapters of the present Part. The result of such a collation upon any candid mind can hardly be doubtful.
In the writer's firm-grounded conviction, then, Lost Eden is found. To no one of his readers can its true site be more surprising than it was at first to him. Every antecedent probability seemed in array against it. First of all, in such problems every new hypothesis is inherently unlikely in direct proportion to the number of hypotheses previously propounded and found wanting. Where had more been advanced by the learned and ingenious than here? Again, from its nature the hypothesis greatly aggravated the conditions and requirements of the problem itself. And if, during centuries of discussion, no sublunary site had been found which could meet the simple conditions of Genesis, how unlikely that with new and far more
extraordinary conditions added a place could be found corresponding! Again, in order to its verification, the hypothesis required that a wholly new interpretation of mankind's oldest cosmological ideas and traditions should be propounded and verified,an interpretation unanimously forbidden by the consensus of modern scholarship in almost every department of historical and archæological research. How supremely unlikely that any such undertaking could be crowned with success!
Happily, human events do not fall out according to our short-sighted human likelihoods. Even the thoughtless man sees it, and exclaims, "It is always the impossible that happens!" The more reverent soul, who discerns in all history a higher than human agency, and in whose eyes Nature itself is supernatural, must least of all be daunted by the unpromising first appearances of any clue to truth. His conceptions of the actual are larger than those of mere believers in nature, and thereto are adjusted his conceptions of the probable. Identifying himself with that personal Power which everywhere makes for truth no less than for righteousness, he is ever expecting the otherwise unexpectable, and for the same reason ever looking upon each new truth attained, not as a personal achievement, but simply as one more proof and precious pledge of pupilhood.
In the progress of the studies here summed up many curious things have come to light, one of which may appropriately be mentioned in this place. Archæologists are well aware that more than one hundred years ago, in his "Lettres sur lAtlantide de Platon," 1779, and "Lettres sur lOrigine des Sciences," 1777, the learned and ingenious Jean
[paragraph continues] Sylvain Bailly advocated the view that the primitive cradle of civilization was in Siberia, under the 49th or 50th degree of latitude. In the latter of the works named there occurs a noteworthy passage in which the author, rhetorically fixing the birthplace of mankind at the very Pole, remarks upon the "singular conformity "of such a starting-point, both with all the phenomena of civilization and with the indications of mythology. In the same breath, however, as if startled by his own temerity, he reassures his readers by announcing that his suggestion is "only a philosophic fiction," and that it "lacks the support of history." 1 Is it too much to say that the support of history has now been furnished? 2
Though our hypothesis needs no further confirmation, it would be perfectly easy to develop a new and striking line of evidence from the light which it throws on the origin of the erroneous preconceptions which in the past have either perpetually suggested false theories, or else occasioned the conviction that the problem was insoluble. Thus, after what we have learned as to the posture of worshipers in all ancient nations, it is easy to understand
that the primitive Garden "in the Front-country" must have been in the North. But since in the Post-Glacial ages this Front-country was naturally associated with the East, and all investigators, Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan, were trying to find some Oriental region of Paradisaic climate, with a central Tree and a quadrifurcate River by which the primitive Gan-Eden might be identified, we have in this preliminary misconception reason enough for their failure age after age.
Again, in reviewing the results of the theologians, we saw that not a few of the more modern had, like Luther, been repelled and disgusted by the apparently senseless and contradictory representations of the earlier fathers and church-teachers, in some of which Paradise was placed in heaven, and yet apparently on earth, and anon perhaps midway between heaven and earth; as high, in fact, as the moon. In view of such representations we cannot be surprised that a keen-witted satirist like Samuel Butler, in enumerating the rare accomplishments of Hudibras, should have said,
Our study of the prehistoric Paradise-mountain, standing upon the earth at the Arctic Pole and lifting its head "to the orbit of the moon," brings instant light into all this confusion. The mountain is at once in heaven and on earth. And it is interesting to note that late mediæval theologians, despite their meagre opportunities for historical research, traced this conception to just that apostle who, according
to ecclesiastical tradition, as special "Apostle of India," had best opportunity to learn of the East-Aryan Meru, and to report this peculiar and venerable tradition of Paradise. 1 Moreover, as we have seen, there were in several Asiatic religions two Paradises, a celestial and a terrestrial, connected by a pillar, or bridge, up and down which holy souls could pass. When, therefore, an ancient writer is found alluding in one place to Paradise as on earth and in another to Paradise as in heaven, the confusion is not in his own mind, but merely in that of his reader.
Here, too, a good word can be put in for poor Cosmas Indicopleustes,the man who has had the honor of being more ignorantly and contemptuously abused by modern scientists than any other cosmographer of early Christian ages. Doubtless it is easy to ridicule his rude representation of the universe, but who will assure us that, thirteen or fourteen centuries hence, it may not be equally easy to ridicule the speculations of Herschel as to the form of the Cosmic Whole? However this may be, the foregoing chapters have given a new significance to the thought of the monk "who sailed to India," showing us that his "Mountain" to the North of the known countries of his day was none other than Mount Meru, the legendary heaven-supporting culmination of the Northern hemisphere. His location of Eden, so far as the verdict of science is yet rendered, is at least as well supported as Hackers
in lost "Lemuria," or Unger's in a mid-Atlantic "Atlantis." Most remarkable of all, just North of the Arctic Ocean boundary of Europenot in the West, as sometimes falsely represented 1he locates "the land where men dwelt before the Flood." 2 If our conclusions are correct, Cosmas was the earliest known geographer who gave to the Christian world a true account of the original seat of the post-Edenic antediluvian world. Thus those who have so long made him their pet illustration of the ignorance and unscientific spirit of "Christian" teaching may yet see occasion to revise their judgment, and to transform a portion of their ridicule into praise.
The same principles which explain the strange world of Cosmas explain also the strange conception of the Earth which we found in the letters of Columbus. According to this latter, it will be remembered, the historic hemisphere was true to the spherical figure, but the hemisphere of his far West explorations rose to a lofty eminence at the equator, in what he supposed to be Asia, but which afterwards proved to be the northern part of South America. This gave to the Earth the figure shown in the adjoining cut,a figure which he compared to that of a nearly round pear. 3 At first view this conception
seems altogether arbitrary, and even whimsical; but if we
centre of the habitable hemisphere; the other was conceived to be covered with water. Out of this ocean the mountain of the poet's Purgatory rises up, like the Peak of Teneriffe, from the bosom of the waves, and is exactly opposite to Mount Zion, so that the two become the antipodes of each other. The mathematicians in their measurement of Dante's Hell proceeded in this wise: An arc of thirty degrees was measured from the meridian of Jerusalem westward as far as Cuma, near Naples, and here, at the 'Fauces Averni' of Vergil, it pleased them to locate its dreary entrance. Another arc of thirty degrees was next measured from the same meridian eastward, so that both together made up a portion of the earth's circumference of about 4330 English miles, the chord of which would be equal to its semi-diameter. This was made the base of their operations, so that with the world's centre for its apex . . . the Inferno became as broad as it was deep. At this centre of gravity, firmly wedged in everlasting ice, the grim monarch of these dolorous realms is placed." 1
A more recent editor remarks, "Dante's Purgatory is figured as an island mountain whose summit just reaches to the first of the celestial spheres, that of the Moon. . . . It is exactly at the antipodes of Jerusalem, and its bulk is precisely equal and opposite to the cavity of Hell. . . . On the summit of the mountain is the Earthly Paradise, formerly the Garden of Eden." 2
Upon the correctness of "the mathematicians" above mentioned, the present writer is not prepared to pass judgment, 1 but no careful reader of the Divine Comedy can fail to see that its "Mount Zion" and the Purgatorial "Montagna malagevole, altissima et cinta de mare," are simply unrecognized "survivals" of prehistoric thought,antipodal world-mountains once situate at the poles, but here relocated to suit the demands of sacred mediæval cosmology. They are the Su-Meru and Ku-Meru of India figuring in Christian poetry. In Lord Vernon's illustration of this curious cosmos, a Hindu pundit would almost certainly think he had a Puranic mappe-monde. 2 That after the Paradise-mount has thus declined, first to the latitude of Central Asia, then to the equator, and finally to the pendant position in which Lord Vernon places it, directly under the City of God, with a hypogene central Inferno between,that after such translocations it should so long have eluded the recognition of all Paradise-seekers is surely little wonder. 3
Our Arctic Eden, therefore, by explaining the origin of the cosmological conceptions of ancient Chaldæa and Egypt and India, explains at the same time the origin of the most eccentric and apparently senseless conceptions of mediæval and modern cosmographers, and presents what may properly enough be called the philosophy of the errors and misconceptions and fancies of previous searchers after Paradise. It is much that an hypothesis meets all the requirements of a given problem; it is more that it does this better than any other hypothesis; it would seem to be past all question when it so illuminates and enriches the very data of the problem that every previous solution falls away of itself, the philosophy of its origin and of its inadequacy being patent and unquestionable.
300:1 "Atlas gave to Heracles the κόσμου κίονας which contained all the secrets of Nature." Rawlinson's Heradotus, vol. i., p. 505 n. Compare below, Part VI., ch. ii. Also Jonnès, LOcéan, pp. 121, 107, et passim.
303:1 "Au reste, si jai tracé la marche de lhomme né sous le pôle, savançant vers léquateur, inventant toutes les différentes mesures de lannée, par les circonstances physiques des différentes latitudes, ce nest quune fiction philosophique, singulière par sa conformité avec les phénomènes, remarquable par lexplication des fables; fiction qui surtout na rien dabsurde en elle-même, et à laquelle il ne manque que dêtre appuyée par lhistoire: "pp. 255, 256.
303:2 Since the announcement of his results the writer has received letters from three plain, unschooled Bible-students, who appear to have anticipated, each in his own way, the conclusions of this book. One of them, Mr. Alexander Skelton, a machinist and blacksmith, of Paterson, N. J., obtained a hearing, it seems, in the New York Tribune, in 1878, and his argument, though brief, is remarkably comprehensive and cogent.
305:1 "I have found it in some most ancient books that Thomas, the Apostle, was the author of the opinion . . . that Paradise was so high as to reach to the lunar circle."Albertus Magnus, Summa Theologiæ, Pars II., Tract. xiii., qu. 79.
306:1 E.g., by Donnelly, Atlantis, p. 96.
306:2 "Terra ultra Oceanum ubi ante Diluvium habitabant homines." Cosmas Indicopleustes. De Mundo, lib. iv. Montfaucon, Collectio Nova, tom ii., Tabula i., opp. p. 188.
306:3 "It is probable that this idea really dates from the seventh century. We may read in several cosmographical manuscripts of that epoch that the earth has the form of a cone or a top, its surface rising from south to north. These ideas were considerably spread by the compilations of John of Beauvais in 1479, from whom, probably, Columbus derived his notion." Flammarion, Astronomical Myths, p. 307 p. 296. See also G. Marinelli, La Geografia e i Patri della Chiera. Roma, 1882.
308:1 Henry Clark Barlow, Contributions to the Study of the Divina Commedia. London, 1864: pp. 169, 170.
308:2 A. J. Butler, The Purgatory of Dante. London, 1880: Prefatory Note. Compare Witte's genial lecture on "Dante's Weltgebäude," in his Dante-Forschungen, Bd. i., pp. 161-182.
309:1 Dante's instructor in the natural sciences was Brunetto Latini, who was born A.D. 1230 and died 1294. He is paid an affectionate tribute in the Inferno, xv. 85. He wrote a work of which Li Livres dou Tresor, Paris, 1863, is an Old-French edition. In it (lib. i., part iii., c. v.) the author ably advocates the doctrine of the spherical figure of the earth. Dante's references to the author and to his work have been carefully collected and presented in a learned paper in the Jahrbuch der Deutschen Dante- Gesellschaft, Bd. iv., pp. 1-23.
309:2 See the "Figura universale della Divina Commedia," p. xxx. of vol. i. of LInferno di Dante Alighieri da G. G. Warren Lord Vernon. London, 1858.
309:3 Flammarion's picture (Myths of Astronomy, p. 3111 corresponds quite closely to Lord Vernon's, only the exactly south polar position of the mountain is made, if possible, more unequivocal by inserting the words "Southern Hemisphere," and making the pendant mount p. 310 its precise culmination point beneath. See, further, S. Günther on "Die Kosmologische Anschauungen des Mittelalters," in Die Rundschau für Geographie and Statistik, Bd. iv.