Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sect. IX.: Religion of Moses, or worship of the soul of the world (You-piter). - The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Sect. IX.: Religion of Moses, or worship of the soul of the world (You-piter). - Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, marquis de Volney, The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires 
The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires, 3rd ed. (London: J. Johnson, 1796).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Religion of Moses, or worship of the soul of the world (You-piter).
“Of this latter description was the Hebrew legislator, who, desirous of separating his nation from every other, and of forming a distinct and exclusive empire, conceived the design of taking for its basis religious prejudices, and of erecting round it a sacred rampart of rites and opinions. But in vain did he proscribe the worship of symbols, the reigning religion, at that time, in Lower Egypt and Phenicia(83) : his God was not on that account the less an Egyptian God, of the invention of those priests whose disciple Moses had been; and Yahouh(84) , detected by his very name, which means essence of beings, and by his symbol, the fiery bush, is nothing more than the soul of the world, the principle of motion, which Greece shortly after adopted under the same denomination in her You-piter, generative principle, and under that of Ei, existence(85) ; which the Thebans consecrated by the name of Kneph; which Sais worshipped under the emblem of Isis veiled, with this inscription, I am all that has been, all that is, and all that will be, and no mortal has drawn aside my veil; which Pythagoras honoured under the appellation of Vesta, and which the Stoic philosophy defined with precision, by calling it the principle of fire. In vain did Moses wish to blot from his religion whatever could bring to remembrance the worship of the stars; a multiplicity of traits in spite of his exertions still remained to point it out: the seven lamps of the great candlestick, the twelve stones or signs of the Urim of the high-priest, the feast of the two equinoxes, each of which at that epocha formed a year, the ceremony of the lamb or celestial ram, then at its fifteenth degree; lastly, the name of Osiris even preserved in his song(86) , and the ark or coffer, an imitation of the tomb in which that God was inclosed; all these remain to bear record to the genealogy of his ideas, and their derivation from the common source.”
[Page 279. (83).]The reigning religion in Lower Egypt. “At a certain period,” says Plutarch (de Iside) “all the Egyptians have their animal Gods painted. The Thebans are the only people who do not employ painters, because they worship a God whose form comes not under the senses, and cannot be represented. And this is the God whom Moses, educated at Heliopolis, adopted; but the idea was not of his invention.
[Page 280. (84).]And Yahouh. Such is the true pronunciation of the Jehovah of the moderns, who violate in this respect every rule of criticism; since it is evident that the ancients, particularly the Eastern Syrians and Phenicians, were acquainted neither with the Jé nor the V, which are of Tartar origin. The subsisting usage of the Arabs, which we have re-established here, is confirmed by Diodorus, who calls the God of Moses Iaw, (lib. 1.), and Iaw and Iahouh are manifestly the same word: the identity continues in that of Iou-piter; but in order to render it more complete, we shall demonstrate the signification to be the same.
[Page 280. (85).]Ei, existence. This was the monosyllable written on the gate of the temple of Delphos. Plutarch has made it the subject of a dissertation.
[Page 281. (86).]The name of Osiris preserved in his song. These are the literal expressions of the book of Deuteronomy, ch. 32. “The works of Tsour are perfect.” Now Tsour has been translated by the word creator; its proper signification is to give forms, and this is one of the definitions of Osiris in Plutarch.