Personal and Miscellaneous News.
The death of Heinrich Brugsch has removed the most striking figure
in Egyptology since Lepsius. His works are known all over the world,
but the scholar is most deeply indebted to him for handy, clear and
systematic publications in almost every branch of Egyptian literature.
His loss will be felt now most keenly in demotic, a study which he created,
and in which his knowledge was still almost unrivalled; and in hieroglyphic
texts of the basse-epoque, with all their wealth of geographical, calendrical
and mythological information. At twenty years of age, in 1848, he
published his first work on demotic papyri, and from that date onward
his pen was busy, often under most untoward circumstances, writing huge
dictionaries, a history, endless texts and translations, with occasionally a
popular work, for nearly half a century. This continued almost to the
day of his death, on the 9th of September, 1894.
Professor Erman, who is now a Vice-President of our Society, has
been elected a member of the Berlin Academy. The speech made by
him on the occasion of his reception is in the nature of a manifesto, and
is well worthy of attention. It reveals at once, to those who know it not
already, the secret of the success, unparalleled on the linguistic side, that
attends the School of Egyptology at Berlin.
"... Some of our older fellow-specialists complain that wo of the younger
generation are depriving Egyptology of all its charm, and that out of a
delightful science, abounding in startling discoveries, we have made a dry
philological study, with strange phonetic laws and a wretched syntax.
There is doubtless truth in this complaint, but it should be urged against
the natural growth of the science, and not against the personal influence of
individuals on its development. The stage through which Egyptology is now
passing is one from which no science escapes. It is a reaction against the
enthusiasm and the rapid advance of its early days.
I can well understand that to outsiders it may seem as though we had only
retrograded during later years. "Where are the good old times when every
text could be translated and understood 1 Alas ! a better comprehension of the
grammar has revealed on every side difficulties and impediments of which
hitherto nothing had been suspected. Moreover, the number of ascertained
words in the vocabulary is continually diminishing, while the host of the
unknown increases; for we no longer arrive at the meaning by way of audacious
etymologies and still more audacious guesses.
We have yet to travel for many years on tho arduous path of empirical
research before we can attain to an adequate dictionary. There is indeed an excep-
tional reward which beckons us on to the same goal, namely, that we shall then be