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by the elder historian. Chronicles, in fact, tacitly explains to us why Abishai, Joab, and Asahel occupy such a prominent place among David's officers, and why it was Amasa to whom Absalom turned when he hatched his conspiracy. It agrees with the Chronicler's genealogy that Asahel's paternal burial place is casually mentioned in Samuel as being at Bethlehem (2 Sam. ii. 32). And the evidence is completed by the designation in 2 Sam. xvii. 251 of Abigail as “ sister to Zeruiah, Joab's mother.”
The good faith of the Chronicler is often impeached on the ground that he omits what is unfavourable to David's character. Solomon, who had lapsed so far from the standard of orthodoxy in old age, and who even in his better years had “multiplied horses to himself, and caused the people to return to Egypt," in defiance of the Deuteronomic Law (Deut. xvii. 16), was but a sorry author for the temple and its institutions. The glory had to be transferred to his father, who is therefore presented to us stainless. All this sounds credible enough when we are told that the Chronicler omits such incidents as the surrender of Saul's sons to the vengeance of the Gibeonites, the murder of Uriah, the marriage with Bethsheba, the vindictive instructions of the dying monarch to his successor.
But again the modern theorists prove too much. Looking closer, we find that just in proportion as the usurping hero of the temple legend is “ whitewashed, so is the deposed Solomon, whose aberrations are never once mentioned. So, for that matter, are Tamar and Shimei and Ahitophel and Joab and Absalom. The simple explanation is that to recount unpleasant episodes which were sufficiently familiar to his readers did not fall in with the Chronicler's purpose.
But omission is a very different thing from contradiction, and charges of this kind should have some consistency with common sense. Do the Chronicler's assailants then really suppose that in the face of a national classic like “Samuel,” to say nothing of Psalm li. (possibly a production of the very school that gives us Chronicles), it was intended to obliterate David's failings by a great conspiracy of silence ? To me, plainly though I recognize our historian's partiality for David, this imputation seems to violate all historical conditions. Such criticism may possibly be in place when we find an author who continually magnifies the sacerdotal caste omitting the record of Solomon's deposition of Abiathar the priest. Or positively it may induce suspicion in such a passage as 1 Chron. xv. 2, 13, where David is made to ascribe Uzza's misfortune to his not being a Levite. But to apply it in the sweeping fashion of Wellhausen and Kuenen is continually to predicate of the post-Exilic Jew a credulity,
* The statement here that Abigail was “ daughter of Nahash" is perhaps best explained, as Dean Stanley conjectured, by the supposition that Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been the first husband of Jesse's wife.
* I note further that 1 Chron. viii. 11 even makes Solomon scrupulous as to his Egyptian queen's dwelling in the locality where the ark had once rested. Again, not only David's sin in the matter of the census, but one of the greatest acts of cruelty with which he is charged, is retained in 1 Chron. xx. 3, if the popular interpretation be correct. See, however, Rev. P. H. Mason's valuable monograph on this passage.
and of his informant a lack of ordinary principle, which seem to have little warrant from the national ethics. It is well to remember that there were other parties in the Jewish community besides that pledged to sacerdotal interests, and also that the Chronicler's legerdemain was played in broad daylight and deceived everybody. Was there none who noted that if the Chronicler said much of David's care for the temple and the psalmody he refers to sources not mentioned by the earlier historian—the dibré of Samuel, Nathan, and Gad? Was there none sufficiently interested to ask about the credentials of these dibré if the presentation of David as the Psalmist and the Temple planner was really such a novel portraiture ?
A few words must suffice on this question of David's connection with the Psalter. There is no discernible reason for a mythical “Psalmist David.” Samuel himself, of whose eloquence in prayer Dean Stanley has made so much, would be a far more promising subject for any idealist. Why did the myth “catch on," as it is certain it did, if without the evidence of history? Why was the national psalmody always viewed, (and even named by Greek-speaking Jews) in deference to this tradition ? Why does Jesus Ben-Sirach (cir. 200) present to us a David who “praised the Holy One Most High with words of glory,” who “with his whole heart sung songs, and loved Him that made him," "who set singers also before the altar “ that by their voices they might make sweet melody”? (Ecclus. xlvii. 8, 9). Why were the ascriptions of Psalms to David and to isolated episodes in David's life existent in variant form and in language already unintelligible, even before Greek-speaking Jews effected any translation of the national psalmody-presumably the earliest literature after the law, to be translated for religious use ? Why, again, do a large proportion of the Psalms entitled “to David” betray that rough and uncouth style which differentiates them for the Hebrew reader from the easy fluent post-Exilic hymns of the book (Pss. cvii.-cl.), as markedly as a George Herbert is distinguishable from the latest addition to “Hymns Ancient and Modern ”? It may be said, in fact, that the roughness of diction and the subjective character of thought again and again here bespeak a poet rather than a writer of congregational music. Who, then, is the author, who with such unusual modesty retired behind David's mythical laurels, and with no apparent motive aided the Chronicler's presentation of a fabulous Psalmist-king? And why, if his poetry is evoked by full-blown Leviticism and latter-day Temple ritual, do we not find the familiar verbiage, wherewith in every religious cult after a time conventionality puts out of court new developments ? How a late idealist would represent David's psalmody may be seen in 1 Chron. xvi. 7-36; how his prayers, in 1 Chron. xxix. 10-19 (cf. xxii., xxvii.). Let such Psalms as iii., iv., vii., viii., xi., xii., xv., xxiii. be contrasted. The language, the thought, the relations to the national worship, as palpably bespeak what is modern in the former pieces as that which is old and (save by a crafty forger) unproducible in the latter.
Such are some of the arguments which uphold the less "advanced” view of the Psalter and of David's relations to the national religion. Neither the extreme German evolutionists nor their English admirers appear to me to meet the conditions of the problem. À priori assumptions as to the precise religious status in this or that period are, I contend, inadmissible as arguments till our material is largely increased. The subjective considerations which Prof. Cheyne presses would have far greater negative force in the case of Shakespeare, and countless others, who have written contrary to what the critic in his wisdom would have expected. That the linguistic argument is strongly on the conservative side has been attested by scholars at least as competent as any of the new lights of criticism. And the historical ground is unassailable till it is proven that the Chronicler is no mere panegyrist, but a very wily and very fortunate forger.
To sum up for the Davidic times, as for those preceding and following, the Chronicler had access to records not used by the compiler of SamuelKings. It would scarcely be necessary to suppose that these were of service in his presentation of David as a Psalmist. Ex hypothesi, such a view of David was familiar to all readers. It is in the account of David's temple preparations that new ground is seemingly broken. And I believe that whether his account of these was new to his readers or not, the Chronicler is still working here on a documentary basis. It must be added that glad as I should be to attain precise results, it seems impossible to determine how much here has this kind of warrant. Whenever the theme dear to his professional instincts is touched, the dry jejune statistician is transformed into a florid rhetorician. A series of mises-en-scène are produced, and the student cannot but recognize these as largely ideal. It is hopeless, probably, to claim anything beyond such fragments of testimony as we have encountered elsewhere for the speeches and the prayers so fully given in the Chronicler's own idiom) in chaps. xxii., xxvii., xxix. And however the phenomenon may be explained, the figures in which David's resources are presented are historically impossible.
Chronicles will, I believe, yet be admitted as an invaluable witness when stripped of such embellishments, and when viewed apart from pedantic theories. As a canonical book it is a standing refutation of all Procrustean dogmas of inspiration. To the student it is strikingly suggestive of the difference between ancient and modern methods of compilation and historical treatment. A rigorous criticism may condemn it in its one-sidedness and inflations; and the provocation to speak harshly is the greater, in that the Chronicler drops precise narrative just at the point where our present needs imperatively demand it. Such censure need not lead us to those sweeping verdicts of the more destructive critics mentioned in my first paper. In several respects the divergences of Chronicles may remind us of the departure of the fourth Gospel from the Synoptic narrative. Religious communities keenly desirous of truth in both cases admitted the variant narrative to their canon. Here is the pregnant fact. That they were not alive to discrepancies and difficulties, and blindly followed this or that “ tendency” of the day is an assumption which is no longer pressed in the criticism of the New Testament, and which may possibly yet be recognized as inadequate in that of the Old.
THE TRUTH OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
BY JULIUS KAFTAN.1
FIRST HALF. The main thoughts on which Kaftan's work rests are akin to those of Ziegler's book, Zum Entscheidungskampf um den Christlichen Glauben. But they here appear in a more comprehensive connection, and in the form of a strictly scientific process of proof, in the course of which the large mass of material dealt with receives a most careful and detailed treatment. The broad basis on which the proof for the truth of Christianity here proceeds is the exhibition of former proof-methods, and the discussion of theories in epistemology. Ziegler addresses himself to the educated classes in general, but Kaftan's book will also be intelligible to others besides experts. For his thorough mastery of the difficult material has enabled the author to present his subject in a way which, in respect of clearness and precision, is quite a model. It is long since a book has come into my hands that has afforded me so much instruction and help. This personal experience may be my justification if I refrain from merely making general remarks about the book. Kaftan's work appears to me so important and valuable that I can think of no better service I can render to readers than to make them acquainted with the book itself by reproducing its contents.
I. In undertaking to furnish a proof, the first requisite is that there be a clear apprehension of what is to be proved. In the present case it is the truth of the Christian religion that is to be proved. By this is meant the truth of the Christian faith-that is, of the Christian faith-propositions. Although the doctrinal positions of a religion are not its first and its essentially determining factor, yet it is certainly they that come under consideration when the truth of the religion is to be proved.
The object of all religious faith, and of all faith-knowledge, is God. But it must be added, God, not as He is in Himself, but as He reveals Himself in the world for men. And so the world and mankind in their relation to God
1 In the August number of The THINKER we published an article on "The Ritschlian Theology,” by Rev. Prof. Orr. In this and following paper our readers will have an opportunity of studying the other side of the question. Prof. Kaftan is the successor of Dr. Dorner at Berlin.
* Contribution to the decisive battle for the Christian faith.
NO. V, - VOL. II.-THE THINKER.
likewise become the object of religious knowledge. If the question is the truth of the Christian faith, then the question means—is that true which Christian faith asserts about God in His relation to the world, to humanity, and to the individual man? Now, Christian faith affirms that God is the originator of all things, and that He controls their course in accordance with the end which it is His will to realize. What philosophy has all along aspired to, namely, a highest knowledge, furnishing a solution of the enigma of the world, Christian faith claims to be—that is, the true knowledge of the first cause and the final purpose of all things. It must be shown, therefore, that this claim is justifiable. In this consists the problem of proving the Christian religion true.
A faith, or a portion of knowledge, is held by us as true when we are convinced that its declarations are according to reality, and that this reality exists apart from our own faith or knowledge. Now, a scientific argument for the proof of the Christian faith must be obviously of such a kind that it can convince every reasonable man. It must not consist of a series of discussions which, by assuming the truth of the faith, would only have worth for believers. That a proof appealing to all is a possibility we may venture to affirm from the outset, since Christian faith and the rational knowledge of things cannot surely stand out of all connection with each other.
But there comes to meet this proof a difficulty of quite a special kind. The knowledge reached by the way of the understanding is certainly not the means by which the truth of the faith-propositions can be made apparent. In order to this the will and the personal judgment must in a pre-eminent degree be laid under arrest. But the scientific proof referred to would address itself simply to the thinking power. The personal factor would therefore have to be eliminated. This appears, too, to be possible. If faith itself assumes that its object actually exists, whether it be believed or not, would it not necessarily follow that it might be shown that this really existing object of faith is in co-existence and co-relation with all other existence cognizable by us, and so that we can come to know the truth of faith in the same way in which we find other universally valid truths ? A distinction between faith-knowledge and philosophic knowledge would then no longer exist, and the contents of faith would become the object of scientific knowledge as everything else is. As a fact, this method of proof has been the dominant one in Church dogmatics since the second century.
But there is another method of proof possible. This method would have to show that scientific knowledge is not in the position to ascertain the cause and purpose of the world ; that there belongs rather to a comprehensive view of the world (Weltanschauung) a faith governed by a practical idea to which the will accords. In this way the personal factor that is essential to faith-knowledge would be taken account of. It would then have to be shown that it is precisely in the Christian idea of the kingdom of God that we have the supreme principle of world-knowledge which reason demands, and that the faith governed by this idea can claim