In the second half of the same century Hottinger, in his Theological Examination of the History of Creation, breaks from the belief in the phœnix; but his skepticism is carefully kept within the limits imposed by Scripture. He avows his doubts, first, "because God created the animals in couples, while the phœnix is represented as a single, unmated creature"; secondly, "because Noah, when he entered the ark, brought the animals in by sevens, while there were never so many individuals of the phœnix species"; thirdly, because "no man is known who dares assert that he has ever seen this bird"; fourthly, because "those who assert there is a phœnix differ among themselves."
In view of these attacks on the salamander and the phœnix, we are not surprised to find before the end of the century an attack on the basilisk; the eminent Prof. Kirchmaier, at the University of Wittemberg, treats both phœnix and basilisk alike as old wives' fables. As to the phœnix, he denies its existence, not only because Noah took no such bird into the ark, but also because "birds come from eggs, not from ashes." But the unicorn he can not resign, nor will he even concede that the unicorn is a rhinoceros; he appeals to Job and to Marco Polo to prove that this animal, as usually conceived, really exists, and says, "Who would not fear to deny the existence of the unicorn, since Holy Scripture names him with distinct praises?" As to the other great animals mentioned in Scripture, he is so rationalistic as to admit that behemoth was an elephant and leviathan a whale.
But these germs of a fruitful skepticism grew, and we soon find Dannhauer going a step further and declaring his disbelief even in the unicorn, insisting that it was a rhinoceros, only that and nothing more. Still, the main current continued strongly theological. In 1712 Samuel Bochart published his great work upon the animals of Holy Scripture. As showing its spirit we may take the titles of the chapters on the horse:
Chapter VI. Of the Hebrew name of the horse.
Chapter VII. Of the colors of the six horses in Zechariah.
Chapter VIII. Of the horses in Job.
Chapter IX. Of Solomon's horses and of the texts wherein the writers praise the excellence of horses.
Chapter X. Of the consecrated horses of the sun.
Among the other titles of chapters are such as: Of Balaam's Ass; Of the Thousand Philistines slain by Samson with the Jawbone of an Ass; Of the Golden Calves of Aaron and Jeroboam; Of the Bleating, Milk, Wool, External and Internal Parts of Sheep mentioned in Scripture; Of Notable Things told regarding Lions in Scripture; Of Noah's Dove and of the Dove which appeared at Christ's Baptism. Mixed up in the book with the principal mass