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The Oera Linda Book, by Wiliam R. Sandbach, [1876], at

p. v


The work of which I here offer an English translation has excited, among the Dutch and German literary societies, a keen controversy in regard to its authenticity—a controversy not yet brought to a conclusion, some affirming that it contains internal evidence of truth, while others declare it to be a forgery. But even the latter do not insist on its being the work of a modern fabricator. They allow it to be one hundred, or perhaps one hundred and fifty, years old. If they admit that, I do not see why they refuse it a greater antiquity; and as to the improbability of the stories related in it, I refer the reader to the exhaustive inquiry in Dr Ottema's Preface.

Is it more difficult to believe that the early Frisians, being hardy and intrepid marine adventurers, sailed to the Mediterranean, and even proceeded farther, than that the Phœnicians sailed to England for tin, and to the Baltic for amber? or that a clever woman

p. vi

became a lawgiver at Athens, than that a goddess sprang, full grown and armed, from the cleft skull of Jupiter?

There is nothing in the narratives of this book inconsistent with probability, however they may vary from some of our preconceived ideas.; but whether it is really what it pretends to be—a very ancient manuscript, or a more modern fiction—it is not the less a most curious and interesting work, and as such I offer it to the British public.

In order to give an idea of the manuscript, I have procured photographs of two of its pages, which are bound with this volume.

I have also followed Dr Ottema's plan of printing the original Frisian opposite to the translation, so that any reader possessing a knowledge of the language may verify the correctness of the translation.

In addition to the Preface which I have translated, Dr Ottema has written two pamphlets on the subject of the Oera Linda Book (1. Historical Notes and Explanations; 2. The Royal Academy and Het Oera Linda Bok), both of which would be very valuable to any one who wished to study the controversy respecting the authenticity of the work, but which I have not thought it necessary to translate for the present publication.

p. vii

There has also appeared in the "Deventer Courant" a series of twelve letters on the same subject. Though written anonymously, I believe they are from the pen of Professor Vitringa. They have been translated into German by Mr Otto.

The writer evidently entered upon his task of criticism with a feeling of disbelief in the authenticity of the book; but in his last letter he admits that, after a minute examination, he is unable to pronounce a positive conviction either for or against it.

His concluding remarks are to the following effect

"If the book is a romance, then I must admit that it has been written with a good object, and by a clever man, because the sentiments expressed in it are of a highly moral tendency; and the facts related, so far as they can be controlled by regular history, are not untruthful; and where they deal with events of which we have no historical records, they do not offend our ideas of possibility or even probability."


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