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Biology of the Lake of Tiberias 1

Naturevolume 92pages480481 (1913) | Download Citation



THAT natural history had its students among the ancient inhabitants of Palestine is clear from the book of the Levitical law and from the biography of King Solomon. But during the first century of our era there is nothing to show that the study excited the slightest interest in that locality. Fishes are mentioned for their economic use; mint, anise, and cummin as objects of taxation; the stars in the sky and the flowers of the field for their superficial beauty; crops are supposed to spring from dead seeds; pearls of impossible size are made the symbols of celestial splendour. It is only in modern times, and even now by strangers rather than natives, that a striking contrast to this apathy has been brought about. If the water of the Jordan is still carried westward for religious rites, samples from the Sea of Galilee are now collected with equal care for chemical analysis; Syrian Entomostraca are reared in England from mud out of the pool of Gihon at Jerusalem; from the Galilean lake, by the use of tow-nets, hand-nets, and special, dredges, a varied fauna is obtained, such as might have excited the interested surprise of Solomon, but would probably have been viewed with disgust by the Sanhedrim of a later epoch.

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