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Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (First Series)

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The outstanding nineteenth-century biblical scholar and Semitist William Robertson Smith gave three courses of Burnett Lectures on the Religion of the Semites at Aberdeen just over a century ago. This first series, published in 1889 (2nd edition, 1894), has long been a classic work and considered a foundational text in the comparative study of religion. The lectures, which constitute a work of considerable Semitic and Classical learning, view the primitive religions of the Semetic peoples in relation to other ancient religions, and to the spiritual religions of the Old Testament and of Christianity.

With the Logos Bible Software edition of William Robertson Smith's Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (First Series), all Scripture references are tagged and linked to the Bibles in your library. By employing the advanced search features in Logos, you can find the exact topics or passages you’re looking for—finding, for example, every mention of “kinship,” or “sacrifice.” Whether you are encountering the cultural context of the Bible for the first time, or you’re working on advanced archaeological, historical, or textual research, the Logos Bible Software edition of Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (First Series) is right for you.

Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (Second and Third Series) by William Robertson Smith are available in the Continuum Near Eastern History Collection (13 vols.).

  • Eleven distinguished lectures
  • Illuminating introduction by William Robertson Smith
  • General index
  • Index of passages of scripture
  • Introduction: The Subject and the Method of Inquiry
  • The Nature of the Religious Community, and the Relation of the Gods to Their Worshippers
  • The Relation of the Gods to Natural Things—Holy Places—The Jinn
  • Holy Places in Their Relation to Man
  • Sanctuaries, Natural and Artificial—Holy Waters, Trees, Caves, and Stones
  • Sacrifice—Preliminary Survey
  • First-Fruits, Tithes, and Sacrificial Meals
  • The Original Signifigance of Animal Sacrifice
  • The Sacramental Efficacy of Animal Sacrifice, and Cognate Acts of Ritual—The Blood Covenant—Blood and Hair Offerings
  • The Development of Sacrificial Ritual—Fire-sacrifices and Piacula
  • Sacrificial Gifts and Piacular Sacrifices—The Special Ideas involved in the Latter
This is a most interesting and valuable book. When Professor Robertson Smith's series of lectures are concluded, they will form the standard work upon their subject.

The Jewish Quarterly Review

. . . known to scholars as a bold and vigorous thinker, [Robertson Smith] was well equipped for the task of delivering a series of lectures on the Semitic religions, and it is evident that he has applied all his skill and resources to the development of his highly interesting theme.

The Methodist Review

It is no exaggeration to say that this book is of great value as well as of deep interest to the Biblical student.

The Reformed Quarterly Review

  • Title: Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (First Series)
  • Author: William Robertson Smith
  • Publisher: Adam and Charles Black
  • Publication Date: 1894
  • Pages: 507

William Robertson Smith (1846–1894) was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and attended Aberdeen University and New College, Edinburgh. Professor of Arabic at the University of Cambridge, Smith also authored The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, The Prophets of Israel, as well as important articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica, where he later served as an editor.


Digital list price: $16.49
Save $4.00 (24%)