Gambar halaman

being popularly misunderstood, and is too readily assumed to render the con. tents altogether untrustworthy. It is even openly asserted that the pulpit of to-day should deal almost exclusively with the later and advanced revelation given in the New Testament, and that the Old Testament may be left to the study of the archæologist and historian. But all who believe in a continuous communication to the race of the Divine Will, and the education of the race in morals and religion, by an ever-advancing series of lessons, will be anxious to preserve or recover the Old Testament, and this can only be done by bringing ever more and more clearly into view its moral and spiritual uses. The idea of the education of the human race is not yet sufficiently apprehended. If it were, it would be seen that revelation is an essential feature of it; but revelation is a much larger and more inclusive thing than is popularly assumed. It is not to be limited to the communication of Divine ideas by means of words, or by a book. It needs to be shown that men themselves, in their characters and lives, may be, and have been, God's revelations to their fellow-men. They are the living embodiments of some principle, some truth, some duty, and though they may never give any message to men in words, they give their message by living their lives, and by expressing their individuality in their lives. And this general truth may be effectively illustrated in those lives which gain prominence in the older Scriptures.

The treatment of Bible biographies hitherto cannot be regarded as altogether sufficient or satisfactory. Events and incidents have been considered rather than the men who moved in the events; and general lessons have been drawn from the incidents which often bore little relation to the men, and might with equal propriety have been drawn from the lives of other men. The author of this work has taken a fresh line, and one which should renew interest in the Old Testament biographies. His leading idea is that every man born into the world is a marked individuality; that every man may be commonplace in ninety-nine things, but he is unusual, he is unique in some one thing. If this cannot be admitted concerning every man, it may be admitted concerning all who are born leaders of their fellows; they are leaders by virtue of their individuality. Mr. Tuck endeavours to discover what is the unique feature in each Old Testament character, in the hope of finding in each case the moral or directly religious lesson which the man, as a man, may be said to embody.

The previous works of this author, The Age of the Great Patriarchs and the First Three Kings of Israel, indicate that his studies have for years been directed to Old Testament biography, but the practical aims set before him have hardly allowed of that severe critical study which more advanced thinkers may desire. He has, however, more than usual skill in the reading of character, and is able to give a very fresh revelation of a whole life by discovering the keynote of the character, the mental or moral bias. He indicates the marked peculiarity of each man by a distinguishing adjective, and is usually very happy in his selections. “ Self-Conscious Lot," "Bargaining Jacob," “ Eloquent Aaron,” “Undisciplined Saul," " Wily Joab,"

* ” “ “Lonely Elijah,” are very suggestive of new light thrown on the old stories. The word chosen for Gideon, Sign-Seeking," is not happy, though it does indicate his peculiarity. Such an adjective as Hesitating” would have been more in harmony with the others. The lesson or truth revealed to humanity in each character is placed as a heading to each chapter, which contains a brief reading of the life, so as to support the estimate which is formed.

Mr. Tuck has a simple and clear way of writing, and the reader is never in doubt about his point; but a more rhetorical form, though to our mind far from being an advantage, would make his work more popularly attractive. He assumes his reader's

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

familiarity with the Old Testament narratives; but the dramatic retelling of those narratives makes the popular fascination of the books of such writers as Wylie and Macduff.

The book should be very suggestive for the pulpit-work of the clergy and for the class-work of the teacher. It should also be attractive to thoughtful young people. It is an important aid to a wise recovery of confidence in the Old Testament Scriptures, because it leaves on the mind of the reader such an effective impression of its revelational value, and because, while the treatment is thoroughly honest and liberal, it is also thoroughly reverent and devout. Of course, the term Revelation is used by the author in a very comprehensive way. He explains in his preface the position that he takes. Revelation is often spoken of as the Divine intervention to supply the truth which men are either naturally incapable of discovering or have rendered themselves incapable of apprehending by the physical and moral consequences of their wilfulness and transgression. But the full idea of Divine revelation involves that God has also been pleased to emphasize truths and principles which men had discovered but were not appraising at their true value, or using with practical efficiency.”

The author evidently belongs to the modern school, which would “ level up " humanity by fully recognizing the Divine in the human. His book is virtually a protest against sentimentally making the Old Testament men into semi-deities, unhuman beings, and finding extraordinary virtues or vices in them. He points out that the real force of their example lies in the genuineness of their humanity—they were men of like passions with us; they were swayed by the same considerations as we are; and what we see in them is the various ways in which their moral force and their specially religious force dealt with their good or evil circumstances.

It need hardly be said that we do not always agree with the author in his character estimates. Like Archdeacon Farrar, who has evidently somewhat influenced him, he is rather hard on Solomon and on Jonah. Some of the freshest chapters are those on “ Peaceful Isaac,” “ Eloquent Aaron,” Wily Joab," and “ Lonely Elijah.” As an illustration of the style and method, the following estimate of Solomon may be given :

Solomon is the same everywhere. He never could have had a friend, for he never let his heart out to anybody. The man lived to make the best for himself of this world. His eye is ever to the main chance ; he is always pleasing himself, getting his own ends. He never seems to have done anything for anybody. You see it in his foreign alliances, in his palaces of luxury, in his works of art, in his books, in his building schemes, in his State ceremonials, in his commercial enterprises, and in his eclectic religion. He was set upon securing an all-round success, but his life was all outside ; what he really was, in deepest thought and feeling, nobody knows. He was sincerely enough for Jehovah, and preserved to the end an official loyalty to the supreme God of the nation ; but he had no strong masterful sense of the right: coldly intellectual natures very seldom have. His dominant rule was--find out the expedient. He let the expedient stand in place of the right, and he had to learn that the expedient sometimes is not the right, and is even opposed to it. No nobility is possible to any man who shapes his conduct by the principle of expediency. There can never be wise compromise when right and wrong are opposed.”

We regard the book as an exceedingly valuable contribution to the literature of the Old Testament, and can confidently recommend it as a useful Christmas giftbook for teachers and young people.


[ocr errors]







[ocr errors]

THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE “HIGHER CRITICISM” (The Church Quarterly Review, October, 92).—This article is a critical review of four recent works bearing relation to the modern critical treatment of the Old Testament—“Canon and Text of the Old Testament," by Dr. Frants Buhl ; “ The Canon of the Old Testament,” by H. E. Ryle, B.D.; “The Old Testament in the Jewish Church,” by W. Robertson Smith (second edition); and The Early Religion of Israel,” by James Robertson, D.D. Robertson Smith's work, and probably also Ryle's, are familiar to our readers, and we need only give an outline of this author's criticisms of Buhl's and of James Robertson's recent books.

Old Testament criticism is the question of the day. The relation of the old covenant to the new has to be re-discussed, and, it may be, re-settled by the present or the succeeding generation. Dr. Buhl deals exclusively with the history of the canon and the means of determining the text. The work is based upon the latest investigations of scientific research on these points. It is scarcely possible to overrate the value of such a volume to the student who is ignorant of German, or who has no time for extended researches. He will find information fully up to date concerning the materials for a fuller textual criticism than has hitherto been possible in the case of the Old Testament. Dr. Buhl leaves it to be inferred that he throws in his lot with those who “assume that there has been no essential recasting of the Pentateuch after Ezra.” He believes that the law had been already regarded as canonical“ before the institution of the Samaritan community, and of the worship on Gerizim.” He regards Ezra and Nehemiah as having “ introduced among the Jews the Book of the Law' as canonical Scripture, and made it the ruling standard for their religious and social life.” He recognizes no post-Exilic portions of that law, though, in common with Robertson Smith, he regards the Hagiographa as having originally been of inferior authority, and he speaks of Canticles, Esther, and Ecclesiastes as among the antilegomena of the Jewish Church.

The reviewer recognizes in Prof. Ryle's book a bright and lively style, a sober and reverent tone, and a remarkably clear method and arrangement; but the general result strikes him as unsatisfactory. It suggests that, while not venturing to contradict his authorities, Prof. Ryle has much doubt in his own mind whether their conclusions are sound. So there is a hesitating tone manifested throughout the volume. Its conclusions are largely based upon conjecture.

If any one wants to know what real arguments can be offered in support of the new criticism, it is to the writings of Prof. Robertson Smith that he must turn. “His masterly thirteenth chapter states the case for the new theories in a very different manner to that in which it is presented by any other author with whom we are acquainted. This chapter is well and closely reasoned throughout. Instead of being repelled and irritated by the perpetual resort to assumptions, the wearisome iteration of assertions which are made to do duty for arguments, the reader is fairly staggered at first by the clearness and cogency of the considerations which are advanced. It is not until he finds that it is in truth the case for the prosecution, and that only, which has been placed before him, that he can resist the pleadings which have been so skilfully arranged."

Prof. James Robertson's work is, however, the one to which we wish now to direct attention. He has been daring enough to champion the traditional view of Israelitish history. He is not without qualifications for his task. He has resided in Palestine. He knows the nature of an argument, and “the ordinary laws of historical investigation," and he is well acquainted with the latest German literature in the department of Biblical criticism. He does not touch the literary controversy. His object is purely historical. He asserts the right of the ordinary reader to decide for himself on the questions involved. “If certain books, or portions of books, are rejected as unhistorical and untrustworthy, or if certain passages are declared to be interpolations or additions, the ordinary reader ought to be satisfied on what grounds this critical sifting is exercised. If he is told that this is done on scholarly grounds, of whose validity he is incapable of forming an opinion, it comes to this, that the advocate of the theory constitutes himself the judge also, and there is no case for the jury. But it may turn out that the critical processes in question are controlled by canons of whose validity the ordinary reader is quite competent to judge.” Prof. Robertson also says, “One indispensable qualification for pursuing an inquiry like the present is that knowledge of human nature and sympathy with it which we call common sense." His method is scientific in another respect. He proposes to base his inquiry, not on theory, but on fact. Accordingly he starts with authorities undisputed on all sides, the writings of the prophets Amos and Hosea ; and he points out the remarkable fact, that the Jews continue to this present, while Assyria, Egypt, Persia, Greece, have “crumbled to ruins.” It was the religion of Israel which was the cause of this uniqueness in Israelite history; as indeed Wellhausen and Stade admit. But some external influence must have impressed its peculiar religious stamp upon the Jewish people. And no satisfactory explanation has been given of the phenomena except the traditional one that God revealed Himself to Israel by Moses.

Prof. Robertson sets himself to prove from Amos and Hosea, first that their writings are distinct evidence that Israel possessed a high literary, and next a high moral and religious, development at the time when they wrote, and that these unquestionable facts compel us to carry the literary and religious history of Israel a great deal further back than the critical school is willing to allow. The contents of Amos and Hosea postulate a definitely understood religious development, with religious ideas, and a corresponding religious vocabulary, for a considerable period before they wrote. His treatment of the argument from Amos and Hosea cannot be given in the limits of a summary.

He has, of course, to meet the objection that the passages in these books which conflict with the preconceived notions of the critics are interpolations. He shows that the theory of interpolation makes nonsense of the passages in which it is supposed to exist. Prof. Robertson follows Wellhausen, Robertson Smith, Kuenen, and Stade through their assumptions with keen, and often revealing and overwhelming, criticisms; and every student who really desires to be fair must take his book into account. The author of this critique says, “ Prof. Robertson has rightly, we believe, divined the true question at stake. It is not so much when and by whom the books of the Old Testament were written, though even on this point we believe that the theories at present in fashion will have to be very largely modified. It is the correctness of the account these books give us of God's preparation for the revelation of Himself by Jesus Christ. If difficulties are found in a volume of such antiquity, containing a simple and artless, but by no means complete, account of the ancient history of Israel, it is no more than might have been expected. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of such a conclusive refutation of some modern theories as is contained in the book before us, appearing as it does at a critical moment in the history of English religious thought in connection with the Bible."

THE LATEST RESEARCHES ON PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA. By Dr. LEOPOLD Cohn. (The Jewish Quarterly Review).--The advance which historical science has made in this century is seen in the renewed study of Philo. Philosophers and theologians have equal interest in an exact investigation of Philo's teaching. “As the culmination of Judæo-Alexandrian religious philosophy, Philo marks an important stage in the history of ancient philosophy, the latest systems of which are incomprehensible without a knowledge of Philonic doctrine. But by reason of his intimate connection with the sacred literature of the Jews, and his unmistakable influence upon the origin and the older literature of Christianity, the study of his philosophy will always remain indispensable for theologians, both Jewish and Christian.”

The first efforts at a complete presentation of the philosophy of Philo were the works of Gfrörer and Dähne, but both these writers approached Philo with precon. ceived notions; and occupied themselves in explaining the origin of Christianity from Philo. Their work is therefore altogether unsatisfactory. The first genuinely scientific presentation of the Philonic philosophy was given by Ed. Zeller. “With admirable lucidity and vividness Zeller describes how Philo, starting from the Jewish belief in revelation and adhering strictly to it, but on the other hand filled with the Hellenic spirit and convinced of the great worth of Hellenic culture, sought by means of allegorical explanation of the actual words of the Bible to harmonize the religion of Judaism with Greek speculation.” Dr. Cohn criticizes Zeller's idea of the Essenes, who were a purely Jewish sect, and not, as Zeller thinks, a product of the influence of neo-Pythagoreanism upon Judaism.

Dr. James Drummond's Philo-Judæus (1888) is a highly meritorious production, based upon a thorough knowledge of Philo. Dr. Drummond refers to the Greek sources from which Philo drew. He was notoriously eclectic. He has drawn from Plato (doctrine of ideas, creation), and from the Stoics (doctrine of the Logos, ethics) ; in his symbolisin of numbers he attaches himself to the Pythagorizing-Stoic school. He has also borrowed much from the peripatetic philosophy, and occasionally even did not disdain the teachings of the Sceptics. Hitherto the “doctrine of the Logos has formed the chief subject of investigation. His work needs to be dealt with more comprehensively, so that we may estimate to what extent he is original.

On the other, the theological side, Philo approaches us as a professor and defender of Judaism. He is not only a philosopher. In a still higher degree he is a writer on religion, and a Bible exegete. His writings really are expository works on the Bible, philosophical teachings which have grown up on Greek soil, and been attached to the words of Holy Writ. His exegesis is the “method of allegory." He did not invent the method. Both Greeks and Jews had previously used it. Indeed, Philo himself appeals to older exegetes, who followed the same method, for confirmation of his own positions.

What is his relation to the Septuagint? He used it, and not the original Hebrew. “As Philo is the earliest writer who made use of the LXX., it is evident how high a value his citations and interpretations have for the criticism and restoration of the original form of the Septuagint, the text of which has, in the course of time, undergone so many changes and disfigurements.” To be sure of his relation to the Septuagint, we must, however, wait until the amended text Philo's works lies before us. The present text is largely untrustworthy.

Z. Frankel was the first to recognize and correctly represent the true character of Philo's interpretation of the Bible, and its sharp contrast to the Palestinian exegesis. But not a few of his allegorical interpretations are to be met with in the Midrashim ; and it is a question whether Philo has drawn from the Palestinian Midrash, or

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »