She returned with him in 1846 to Burma, where the rest of his life was devoted largely to the rewriting of his Burmese dictionary.
Any careful perusal of modern attempts to recover historical facts or an historical outline from the book will show how very inadequate the material proves to be, and the reconstructions will be found to depend upon an interpretation of the narratives which is often liberal and not rarely precarious, and to imply such reshaping and rewriting of the presumed facts that the cautious reader can place little reliance on them.
But when once revision or rewriting is conceded, there is absolutely no guarantee that the present Pentateuch is in any way identical with the five books which tradition ascribed to Moses (q.v.), and the necessity for a comprehensive critical investigation of the present contents makes itself felt.2 Literature.
The parallel portions in Chronicles also sometimes preserve better readings, but must be used with caution as they may represent other recensions or the result of rewriting and reshaping.
D'Epinay and others, and while Mrs Macdonald's researches have done much to suggest a rehabilitation of Rousseau's veracity they have not definitely been accepted to an extent which would justify the rewriting of these other lives in her sense.
No doubt, however, he went on writing and rewriting well into the last period of his life; for example, the recently discovered 'Ath i valwv 7roXtreia mentions on the one hand (c. 54) the archonship of Cephisophon (329-328), on the other hand (c. 46) triremes and quadriremes but without quinqueremes, which first appeared at Athens in 325-324; and as it mentions nothing later it probably received its final touches between 329 and 324.
He began to hope that his earlier work, if recast and lightened, might share the fortunes of its successor; and at intervals throughout the next four years he occupied himself in rewriting it in a more succinct form with all the literary grace at his command.
He spared no pains to acquire true style, frequently rewriting his chapters, and sometimes testing passages of philosophy and description in eight different forms. Yet to a certain extent he lacked the representative power and often failed to conceal his art, many pages ringing with artificial tones.
It is true that the language has some features which appear to link it with the narratives in Samuel and Kings, but it might fairly be assumed either that the book is the work of a late author well acquainted with the earlier literature, or that an old narrative had undergone some rewriting at a later age.
The earliest probable reference to our Homilies occurs in a work of doubtful date, the pseudoAthanasian Synopsis, which mentions "Clementines, whence came by selection and rewriting the true and inspired form."
The six years which followed were occupied in writing and rewriting, altering and revising the first volume, which appeared in June 1857.