Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

I. The expansiveness of treatment. To deny that there is an idealization of the earlier period, and that this as it comes to us presents figures “incredibly high," 1 is I fear impossible. Possibly Canon Driver's conclusion

, may pass : “It is illegitimate to explain these as due to textual corruption : the numbers. ... are systematically higher than in other parts of the Old Testament." And I accept, probably with a limitation as to degree, this writer's opinion that “pre-Exilic Judah was pictured as already in possession of the institutions and governed by the ideas and principles which were dominant at a later day. The empire of David and his successors was imagined on a scale of unsurpassed power and magnificence." To us such treatment is the stamp of inferior and tasteless poetry rather than of historical composition. But the differentiation is arbitrary. At all events we may not on account of the ornate garb deny a living entity within, or assume that embellishments mean utter absence of historical material.

II. A suspicious feature of a similar kind I will indicate in Wellhausen's words, merely remarking that our estimation of it will depend largely on our view of Divine Interposition in the history of the chosen nation. “ Merit is always the obverse of suceess. Joram, Joash, Ahaz, who were all reprobates, build no fortresses, command no great armies, have no wealth of wives and children. It is only in the case of the pious kings that the blessing of God manifests itself by such tokens. Statements about fortress-building regularly recur in connection with the names of good rulers.”

III. More important far is the alleged introduction of fabulous incidents, tending to aggrandize the Levitical order and vindicate a supposititious religious cult. I cite what seem to me the most striking allegations, premising that the most rigid conservatism must, I think, occasionally admit that the Levitical standpoint of the Chronicler's times is to some extent anticipated. The question really is, how much ? Is it, in fact, a case of mere embellishment, or one of pious fraud and designed invention? 2 Sam..vi. records Uzzah's death on touching the Ark. But 1 Chron. xv. supplements the story by making David attribute the disaster in some degree to the nonemployment of Levites as bearers, and therefore provide a cortege of orthodox character. In 2 Sam. vi., xxiv., we have records of David's offering burnt offerings and peace offerings at Jerusalem. But 1 Chron. xxiv.xxix. largely supplements this attestation of a sacred locale. David makes exhaustive preparations for the temple, provides enormous treasure, appoints the official priests, Levites, porters, singers in their thousands, and in their classes, each with its allotted functions. Preparations in this direction are already made in 1 Chron. xv., xvi., where David is distinctly indicated as the founder of the temple psalmody; and to the account of his sacrifice is here attached, without link of connection, an ideal thanksgiving hymn, which is really a compound of certain post-Exilic Psalms, and is sufficiently identical with our Ps. cv. 1-15, xcvi. 2-9, cvii. 1, cvi. 1, 47, 48. The Kings account of Solomon's ritual at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings viii.) receives important amplifications in 2 Chron. v. 2, vii. 10, and may be suspected of being deliberately recast so as to square with the established Levitical orthodoxy of the Chronicler's day 2 Kings xv. merely tells us that Azariah or Uzziah ended his days a leper. The Chronicler makes this disease the penalty of a presumptuous intrusion on the priest's prerogative of offering incense (2 Chron. xxvi.). The author of 2 Kings xvi. records without censure Ahaz's introduction of the altar from Damascus, and makes the priest Urijah execute it. In 2 Chron. xxviii. this appears as a transfer of allegiance from Jehovah to the Syrian gods, and a suppression of temple worship, because, says Wellhausen,“ an orthodox priest, a friend of the prophet Isaiah," could not have “lent a helping hand to set up a foreign altar.”

1 The most difficult cases, perhaps, are 1 Chron. xxi. 25 (cf. 2 Sam. xxiv. 24), xxii. 14, xxvii. 1-15; 2 Chron. xiv. 9, xvii. 11, xxvi. 13, xxx. 24. On the other hand, there are passages where the numbers are smaller than in the earlier historical book, or where we seem to miss this form of embellishment. The numbers in 2 Sam. viii. 13, xxiii. 8, 1 kings iv. 26 are lessened in 1 Chron. xviii. 12, xi. 11, 2 Chron. ix. 25. The destruction of Sennacherib's host loses in 2 Chron. xxxii. its startling character, and no numbers are given.

Many more such instances are alleged. Indeed, on the assumption that the laws of the Priests' Code had no sort of prevalence before the Captivity, the book is a sheer tissue of falsehood. For amplifications of the sort which we all recognize in the Chronicler's general method we have on this hypothesis to substitute pious fiction of the most startling and morally indefensible kind. To follow out this indictment through all its illustrations by Wellhausen is of course impossible in these papers.

But in how many of them, if we rigidly bear in mind that the above assumption is yet to be proven, does the indictment become a mere arguing in a circle ?

Apart from hypothesis, is the theory of Wellhausen and Kuenen a plausible solution of the problem? Can we regard the Chronicler's supplement as wild romance audaciously foisted into the well-known Book of Kings on no better authority than a Midrash on that work? To me this explanation carries a count of falsehood unparalleled, I believe, in the history of literature. It is repugnant not only on moral grounds, but on those of

For the reader must note, it is not as in the Pentateuch, an alleged tricking out of a period of hoar antiquity. It is not the familiar ascription to a primitive legislator of institutions of which he only laid the foundation stone. Nor is it the exhuming of a dark illiterate age void of recorders and annalists, an age that might be made anything of by a Levitical Geoffrey of Monmouth. No. The indictment implies inventionmeaningless in how many cases—in the matter of a history painfully familiar to every Jew, hallowed by its professed association with the very distinctive Jewish religion, and in the matter of reigns fertile in great

common sense.

See R. V. rendering and margin, 1 Chron. xvi. 7. The passage (8-36) shows us to what an extent idealization was thought allowable. For the references to post-Davidic times must have been discernible to the Chronicler's readers.

? Possibly, of course, it is so in the case of David's relation to the religious cult, though I myself believe the Psalter contains a number of Davidic Psalms. I deal here with the Midrash theory broadly, and the repudiation in toto of documentary attestations of the facts recorded.

It

prophetic writers, and known to have had contemporary annalists. implies a series of falsifications in history not very remote, which already had its popular literary presentation. And it implies that an age of notorious pragmatic literalism saw no difference between the old and the new-between Kings and Chronicles. Would, I may ask, a generation that liked to read of the 29 knives, the 245 mules, the 736 horses, the 6,720 asses of the first caravan of returning exiles, really deal so lightly with the strange vagaries in the Chronicler's account of Hezekiah or Josiah? Is it possible that a people who so relished the pedantries of genealogy and statistic would heedlessly, and without investigation, accept the transfer of the temple preparations from Solomon to David, or the reading into the reign of good king Joash of a lapse so appalling as to involve the martyrdom of the chief priest? Would it not be a hundred times as significant to the first readers of Chronicles as to nineteenth century critics, that Asa's great victory over Zerah's Ethiopian hosts was not mentioned in Kings, or that the Chronicler added to the earlier record of Manasseh his capture by an Assyrian general, his deportation to Babylon, and his repentance.?

Many explanations may be offered for the silence of the Kings narrative on these points; for a theory of wholesale fabrication often absolutely none. The stress of this argument increases as we consider the variety of the new subject matter; the scraps of family history, the records of architectural improvements, the dealings with surrounding nationalities, the doings of men otherwise absolutely unknown. Jahaziel the Levite, who aided Jehoshaphat's victory, is he merely a creation of the “law-crazed " Chronicler ? Had Zechariah, the martyr priest, whose name was endeared to later Jews, and whose fate our Saviour quotes, it would seem, in Matt. xxiii. 35, no existence but in Midrash? Or if these are to be suspected because of their caste, what of the personages who are not Priest or Levite-Hanani, the seer, who rebuked Asa ; Oded, the Samaritan prophet, who staid the vengeance of the victorious northerners ? Let the reader not confine his attention to the parts of the supplement that favour the sacredotal interest, but consider also what does not. Let him mark off the fresh detail which the Chronicler or the so-called Midrash writer is suppose to foist into the Kings narrative lying before him; then let him ask himself whether every instinct of patriotism, to take

The professional 7'310 " recorder” or “annalist" is mentioned in the Samuel-Kings accounts of David's, Solomon's, and Hezekiah's reigns, as a recognized public functionary (2 Sam. viii. 16, xx. 24 ; 1 Kings iv. 3 ; 2 kings xviii. 18, 37). The existence of this official in the early monarchical times is against the theory of an illiterate people indifferent to historical accuracy.

- For which Wellhausen can only account on the ground that a king who reigned fiftyfive years could not be allowed to be altogether bad. Yet it is the Chronicler who records Uzziah's apostasy, and he reigns fifty-two years.

3 I attach a table to facilitate this work. Roughly, the supplement after Solomon's reign includes 2 Chron. xi. 1-xii. la, 3-8, 12, 13a, 14, 15 ; xiii. 3-22 ; xiv. 6—xv. 15; xvi. 7-11; xix., XX., xxiii. 1-8 largely, 18, 19; xxiv. 3, 15-22, 23-25 largely ; xxv. 5-10, 12-16 ; xxvi. 5-20 ; xxvii. 3-7 ; xxvii. 5 fin.-15, 17-19, 21 fin.-25 ; xxix.-xxxi, la ; xxxi. lc-21, 27-30a ; xxxiii. 11-19, 23 ; xxxiv. 3-7, 11c-13, 21-24a largely, 24c-27 ; xxxvi. 6-7.

no higher ground, would not have deterred any respectable Jew from this wild distortion of an already well-known history. Whether, too, his work could have had chance of success among people who for centuries had had professional recorders and annalists. Chronicles won acceptance.

The Jesus ben Sirach, who, as we have seen, used Kings, prefers the Chronicles account in his list of defectivel sovereigns. Despite its position outside the “prophets,” we know not that its claims were ever disputed. It challenged with its large supplements the position of a national monument, and it won it. To me no mere furore for all that told for Levitical institutions accounts for this.

ZOROASTER AND ISRAEL.-A REPLY.

BY REV. JAMES HOPE MOULTON, M.A. DR. Mills's exceedingly kind notice of my first paper gives me the opportunity of expressing my great regret that I must defer once more the continuation which I had hoped to have prepared for the next number of THE THINKER. I belong just now to the luckless minority of Cantabs who have no time for either frivolity or research during the last period of the May term, and I fear an article written now would show yet more of the haste which my friendly critic only too surely detected in my former essay.

. I must restrict myself now to a few words of very hearty thanks to the distinguished scholar who has encouraged my endeavour to bring up the question of Jewish indebtedness to Zoroastrianism from a new point of view. In a few particulars I shall try to restate more clearly the points on which I

a must continue to lay stress.

As to the two schools of Avestic interpretation, I certainly never thought of suggesting that any scholar could deny the quasi-identity of Zend and Sanskrit etymology and grammar. As little did I think of excluding hints from tradition. But it is hardly possible for the same scholar to be a specialist in Pahlavi and in comparative Indo-European linguistics, with Vedic exegesis, at the same time. The inevitable result is that the Pahlavi student leans to the tradition as his primary authority, while the etymologist's first instinct is to look for equivalent words and phrases in the Vedas, and to some extent also in other Indo-European languages. Each approves to a certain extent the complementary method, but the man who can use them both with rigid impartiality and exactness is not likely to appear too often. In reading the Gâthâs I have most frequently come across translations which are professedly supported by Sanskrit, but which lose that support in an instant when the strictest modern tests are applied. The student who knows thoroughly Bartholomae's admirable Iranian grammar, or Brugmann's

See Ecclus. xlix. 4, seq.

monumental work, the Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik, cannot help negativing a large number of guesses about difficult words, though due to first-rate scholars, for the simple reason that they violate the established principles of sound-relationship. “Etymologising" may be “ laughed at in Germany as in France "—though I am surprised to hear it—but etymology, after all, possesses the right of veto, which occasionally gives her a very pretty revenge on them that laugh. M. Darmesteter is a great Avestic scholar, but if he derides etymology I hope he has given her satisfaction for having equated the Vedic apsards with the Zend pairika.1

I was rather“ in want of time” than “ behind the times” when I spoke of the “ascertained meaning of the equivalent Sanskrit.” The phrase was certainly not happy, for of course there is plenty in Vedic which is ambiguous enough. I meant “the meaning when ascertained," and I can hardly believe that Dr. Mills would assert that we are as near certainty in Gâthic as in Vedic. Every reader of the Gâthâs knows well how often we cannot even decide whether a form is noun or verb, a kind of ambiguity which is rare in Vedic language. It is obvious that words cannot be expected always to mean the same thing in the same language, much less in different languages; but this is not the point. Supposing that the Pahlavi gives a sense which is clearly derived from a mistake in grammar, or from a misunderstanding which we can account for, it is wise to accept hints from established analogies in Sanskrit or even European languages of the same family. This is, of course, what Dr. Mills does in his own translation. The only difference between scholars is in the extent to which they use this principle. The Pahlavi specialist will be loth to leave the guidance of that tradition whose secrets he has learned with labour we laymen can but vaguely conceive. The specialist in etymology will have a keener critical instinct for the tradition's mistakes, and will err, when he doeserr, mainly in the direction of too great eagerness to accept analogies from other languages which may be merely fanciful.

I fear this discussion will not greatly interest most who read these pages, and I must pass on. I ought to justify myself first, however, from the suspicion of under-estimating that prince of orientalists, Roth. I did refer to him as “the greatest scholar of the comparative exegesis," and if I brought in Bartholomae's name as the most characteristic writer of his school, it was because of his contributions to Indo-Iranian grammatical science. As an interpreter of the Avesta he is rather too open-minded ; his translations are superseded by new ones so often that the breathless student loses confidence by failing to keep pace. But after all this only shows how large is the margin of uncertainty left when the tradition is proved untrustworthy, for Bartholomae's translations can hardly ever be criticised as grammatically untenable.

This brings me to the admission I cheerfully make, that the obscurities of the Gathâs do not generally affect their theology to any serious extent. But there is this important result of their difficult language, that their

S.B.E., vol. iv., p. lxvi. ; Ormuzd et Ahriman, $ 142.

NO. I.VOL. II.-THE THINKER,

B

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »