« EelmineJätka »
with the roof instead of the conviction dawned upon him, and foundation, for I had no thorough of the method of his critical reacquaintance with the law, of searches: “In 1886 I occupied which I was accustomed to be myself in finding an answer to told that it was the basis and a question propounded by the postulate of the whole literature. Tayler Theological Society of At last I took courage and made Haarlem. The student was remy way through Exodus, Leviti- quired by the conditions of the cus, Numbers, and even through question to close the New TestaKnobel's commentary to these ment and to ascertain the origin books. But it was in vain that of Christianity from the Christian I looked for the light which was and from the Græco-Roman to be shed from this source on writers of the second century. the historical ” (i.e. later) “and I found that the Imperial writers, prophetical books. On the con- so to call them for convenience' trary, my enjoyment of the latter sake, knew nothing of the New was marred by the law ; it did Testament, nothing of those not bring them any nearer to me, strong dramatic representations but intruded itself uneasily like a which have been present with us ghost, that makes a noise indeed from childhood, as derived from but is not visible, and really hearing or reading the Church effects nothing. Even when there lessons. Christianity was a system were points of contact between it of mystical ideas derived from a and them, differences also made capricious exegesis of Old Testathemselves felt, and I found it ment writings.” Mr. Johnson impossible to give a candid de- then proceeded to carry his cision in favour of the priority of studies into Eusebius, the first the law. Dimly I began to per- Church historian, A.D. 315. “My ceive that throughout there was previous results,” he says, “ were between them all the difference confirmed by the study of Euse. that separates two wholly distinct bius. I saw the canonical books worlds. At last, in the course of were still unknown, except in a a casual visit in Göttingen in the bare scheme,' to this writer, who summer of 1867, I learned through pretends to be contemporaneous Ritschl that Karl Heinrich Graf with Constantine, and that he had placed the law later than the pro- no historical sources whatever.” phets, and almost without know ...“In further researches I ing his reasons for the hypothesis found that the whole of the I was prepared to accept it. I earliest Church literature proreadily acknowledged to myself ceeded from the cloisters of the the possibility of understanding two primitive orders of St. Basil Hebrew antiquity without the and St. Benedict. They and they book of the Torah.”
alone were the inventors of the "We observe here that a false designation Christiani, and of the historical method led to a purely whole system of ideas connected æsthetic and theoretical concep with it. Their literature was pertion, which led in turn to an im- sistently antedated into times
" The reader is earnestly requested to draw the exact parallel of the results supposed to be scientific in the Wellhausenian school of Old Testament criticism.'
mediate reception of a theory when it could not have been without any examination of the written. The whole problem was arguments for it. This is the now to ascertain when this mogenesis of the great Wellhausenian nastic confederacy began their hypothesis. To support this by literary enterprise. ... The cata“brilliant "arguments was hence comb Christian antiquities were forth a foregone conclusion' (pp. the invention of the fifteenth 249-50).
century. ... It may be added that the geography of the New Testament is the incorrect geography of the time of the third crusade, while Syria was yet a dreamland in the conception of the West.”
“The method of Mr. Edwin Johnson, applied to a subject better understood and more scientifically explored, is exactly in every respect the method of Wellhausen and Kuenen applied to a subject less understood, less explored, more ancient, more difficult, and at present apparently, for a large number of persons, more in the dark. But is a method which is plainly fallacious in the one case to be trusted in the other?' (pp. 255
257). Mr. Spencer's work is brought to a close by another series of notes on (a) Ezekiel and P, (6) the Samaritan Pentateuch, (C) Professor F. A. Wolf and Homer.
The two German works which are named at the head of this article could not have been omitted from any list of the latest important works on our subject. Cornill's Einleitung has passed into a second edition within a few months, and may be taken to be a brief expression of the latest views of the newer critical school. The portion on the Pentateuch (pp. 16-91) is a clear, perhaps upon the whole the best, short account of the Pentateuch Analysis ; though it by no means supersedes Westphal's Les Sources du Pentateuque, i. (1888), upon which it is largely based. He considers that the work of the last century and a half has practically settled the literary problem ; that the composition from four independent sources is established ; that the divisions are essentially accepted ; and that the relation and dates are the only points
still undecided (p. 27). The original view which made P the earliest is now almost universally abandoned. But a number of writers-among whom he names Delitzsch, Dillmann, Kittel,' and Baudissin 2—are anxious to maintain at least a pre-exilic date (p. 62). Dillmann's Commentary has now reached its sixth edition, and the veteran tells us, in a short preface, dated September 1892, that during the period which has elapsed since the last (1886) he has had the opportunity to revise the whole in the full light of recent discoveries and recent literature. His space is limited, and he has had to make way for additions by excisions. He has not been able to criticize individual English and American works, but thinks that this omission will be approved by those who know the difference between criticism and hypercriticism. His general position remains unchanged, and his Commentary is now more than ever unequalled, and approached only by the last edition of Delitzsch (1887), whose frank acceptance of the general principles of his lifelong opponent is recognized, though he does not commit himself to details, which are after all, in Dillmann's opinion, of chief importance. This edition of Delitzsch, we may note, for any who are not conversant with the subject, is called, and is, a New Commentary, and departs widely from the earlier editions. It is accessible in English, and may now fairly be taken to represent on the main critical question the via media in which Dillmann has been and remains the leader. The English edition (1888) has indeed the advantage of further revision by the author, and represents his final views.
The contribution to the subject which gives the title to this article has been made at an opportune moment by Mr. F. Watson, who has a well-merited reputation as a Cambridge scholar and teacher, and would be welcomed by those who are best acquainted with his work to a higher sphere of service to the University and the Church. It is rightly described on the title-page, The Book Genesis shown by comparison with the other Books of the Old Testament and early ancient records to be a true history, and the first book of the Hebrew Revelation. Its object-and surely at this time it is a very important object-is to prove that even if the main con
i Geschichte der Hebräer, i. 87-119 (1888).
? Geschichte des Alttestamentlichen Priesterthums, 1889. Neither of these works, and still less König, Offenbarungsbegriff des Alt. Test, 1882, comes within our limits of books of the last few months, but they are of much importance as firmly holding that newer critical views are consistent with the older orthodoxy.
clusions of the so-called higher criticism are accepted, the historic truth and consequently the value as revelation of the Book Genesis remains untouched. The author takes his starting point from the statement of Delitzsch:1 'Believing investigation of Scripture will not subdue this nuisance of critical analysis, until it wrests the weapon from the adversary's hand, and actually shows that analysis can be exercised without thereby trampling under foot respect for Holy Scripture.' 'Of such process, however,' Delitzsch goes on to say, 'scarcely a beginning has been made,' and Mr. Watson expresses the hope that this book may be a humble beginning, at once believing, reverent, and truthful' (p. 9).
We may at once say that we are in entire agreement with the author's estimate of his work. We are not sure that the simple form in which the work is presented will not damage it in a generation which too often estimates a book by the profession and profusion of learning which it shows, and that the author's sobermindedness which lands him in a via media will not repel many of the combatants in this strife who seem able to rest only in the extremes of one-sided statements. But we have read this little book more than once, and without committing ourselves to approval of every statement or of every deduction which it contains, we feel it to be due to the author to express our thankful appreciation of a piece of work which seems to us to be perfectly honest as well as reverent, and to be based throughout upon full knowledge and careful thought. Mr. Watson speaks of his book as a 'humble beginning' of the process which Delitzsch desiderates. We shall be glad if this means that a continuance of the same work may be expected from the same hands. The student would welcome and value the materials which it is clear that Mr. Watson has at his command; and the path which he has commenced is still practically untrodden.
Our task is, however, to estimate the present, not to anticipate the future. In a short introductory chapter we are told clearly what the question at issue really is, and what our duty is in the face of it: '... when Faith and Reason seem to combine in reverent investigation, and to uphold one another in the results attained, none can afford to pass the arguments and conclusions by. Fidelity to the truth places us under obligations which we cannot ignore... He further expresses this in the language of Delitzsch, whose latest position he practically assumes : “The love of truth, submission to the force of truth, the surrender of traditional views
i New Commentary on Genesis, i. 54, 55.
which will not stand the test of truth, is a sacred duty, an element in the fear of God' (p. 9). He might have expressed it in the language of St. Paul : ‘We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.'
The two-fold problem of the Old Testament is then stated : 1. 'How and when were the different books of the Old Testa. ment composed ?' 2. ‘Are the Old Testament narratives, early and late, patriarchal and national, substantially historical ?' (pp. 9-10). Though these questions are related, and though the answer to the second may follow from the answer to the first, the questions are essentially distinct. A contemporary historian has great advantages, but he has also great disadvantages. A later editor with access to contemporary materials loses on one hand, but he gains on the other. So also the genuineness and authenticity of a book may be separate questions. As a matter of fact the greater part of the Old Testament is anonymous, and of the historical books no one tells us of its authorship. Knowledge of the authors would not, moreover, appreciably increase the value of the books. In the book of Genesis (considered in itself) no question of authorship arises, for no hint is given upon the subject.
The methods of composition is a question of greater practical importance than authorship. If the documentary hypothesis is accepted, it supplies the key to a good many difficulties. Genesis may be regarded as what one author calls, after the analogy of a Diatessaron of the four Gospels, a Diatrion; and if so, discrepancies and difficulties in detail must of course be expected. The hypothesis may be accepted without in any degree giving up the unity of Genesis, which is attested by its use for 2,000 years with general acceptance of its unity. Mr. Watson puts the case perhaps too strongly when he says “the composite character remained unsuspected till the middle of the eighteenth century A.D.' (p. 14), but the acceptance is none the less proof of the essential unity in plan, spirit, and even materials.'
Mr. Watson proceeds to express his own general acceptance of what he calls ‘the predominant theory of the Pentateuch as put forth by Wellhausen, and as it has received the adhesion of such scholars as the late Professor Delitzsch, Professor Driver, and others,' and if this sentence does not distinguish accurately the position of the writers who are named in it, the matter is put right by what follows almost immediately. After explaining briefly the symbols for the various documents and their supposed dates, of which we have written more than enough, he further defines his own position in these words :