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. The first series, published in 1889 (2nd edn, 1894), has long been a classic work. The second and third series were never published, owing to the author's ill health; however, the manuscript of them still exists in the Cambridge University Library and was recently discovered by John Day, who has produced this edited version of the work to commemorate the centenary of Smith's death. The Lectures, which constitute a work of considerable Semitic and Classical learning, are on the following subjects: Feasts, Priests and the Priestly Oracle, Prophecy and Divination, Semitic Polytheism and Cosmogony. Dr Day has written an Introduction, which evaluates the work and includes nineteenth-century press reports of the Lectures.
John Day is Professor of Old Testament Studies in the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.