This book, first published in 1854, was perhaps the first to describe and identify the links between eyptological studies and the Bible. Written by a committed Christian with firm religious views and a passion for the new study of Egyptian history & culture, it provided a useful resource for anyone interested in either subject. In his preface, the author clearly states his view that "if this discovery [the Champollion method of reading hieroglyphs] be real, and if the Bible be a statement of facts, the one must of necessity illustrate the other".
William Osburn (1793-1875) was a Yorkshire merchant, egyptologist and writer with a wide range of interests – in travel, other lands and cultures, history, theology. He also shared his father’s fundamentalist religious views, which led him into active campaigns on behalf of the poor and exploited: condemning the use of children to sweep chimneys, promoting working class education (he was a Sunday School teacher for 40 years), and passionately supporting improved conditions for factory children. But in the 1820s he was thrilled by the new, exciting discoveries from Egypt, on display in London, including the Rosetta stone. He studied the first works on the subject, acquired a cast of the stone, learnt how to interpret the characters, and finally identified the Leeds mummy as that of the important priest Nesyamun. He wrote and lectured on his work, increasingly focussing on the association between ancient Egypt and the truth of the Bible, publishing the first of several books on the subject in 1841. Despite becoming bankrupt in 1843, losing his home and family, he travelled at least once to Egypt to see its wonders himself, and published five more successful books, on religion and ancient Egypt, including the comprehensive ‘Monumental History of Egypt’. He was a respected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, still gave occasional lectures, and served on the committee for the Leeds contribution to the 1851 Great Exhibition.
Our book is a 2nd edition, revised & shortened copy, containing no maps or publisher's adverts as in 1st edition of 1854. Bound in brick-red cloth with impressed motifs and borders to both covers, gilt title and illustrations on the spine and a gilt illustration on the front, it is in surprisingly good condition for its age. Externally, the covers are a little scuffed and worn at angles and edges, corners are lightly bumped, and there is a little shelf wear to top & tail of the spine, but generally-speaking the condition is good. Inside, the foxing evident on the long edge of the textblock has migrated slightly into the first and last few pages, but otherwise the pages are clean and bright, and the binding is firm with no loose pages. A number of helpful illustrations enhance the whole. A previous owner's name, dated 1963, is on the front fep.