Page images

age must conform to these natural conditions. The sphere in which man's faculties are exercised widens in all directions, spiritual and material, as time proceeds. His stores of knowledge, divine and human, grow, and his faculties strengthen by use. But any attempt to change the natural meaning of the words certainty and truth must fail, and sooner or later react injuriously alike upon the teachers who have taught and on the pupils who have accepted it. There cannot be a greater offence against the cause of truth than to identify the lofty truths of morality and religion which commend themselves to the universal intellect of man with those helps for human weakness which God has sparingly yet sufficiently provided, but which man has extravagantly and unhealthily enlarged. The greatest offenders in this wise are the inventors of the modern Roman doctrine of Infallibility. For here is a doctrine the evidence of which, such as it is, is of a purely contingent character, and which no man is bidden by his reason or his conscience to accept. The being of a God and the divine mission of Jesus Christ appeal directly to reason and conscience ; but the infallibility of the Pope must be established by historical arguments of the weakest degree, supported by that fear of doubt and desire for guidance which even when they are innocent and reasonable fall infinitely below the self-evidencing power of the great truths we have named. Such, however, is the papal system that all that is taught as truth must be presented together as equally sure : for what can be surer than infallibility? And men are invited on the same grounds and under the same penalties to accept the faith of God and the legend of the Assumption.

'Though natural religion,' says Mr. Bowden, ‘rests upon the surest basis of reason, yet, seeing the difficulty men experience in understanding the force of demonstrative argument, or in recognizing with certainty what is most evidently proved ; and seeing further the doubts begotten by the conflicting theories of those who are reputed wise, therefore God has provided for all a safe means of knowing what is needed for salvation.''

We believe that God has provided means by which those who cannot understand the force of demonstration may be borne harmless at the judginent seat, and brought through life without disaster. But these means do not consist in providing another infallibility to supply the place of that supreme certainty, at once natural and supernatural, and enjoyed far more often by the simple than by the learned, which is found in

1 Introduction on “Certainty,' p. xxxi.

the communion of the soul with God; but in those far lower expedients which consist in submission to authority and dependence on His pitiful allowance for our infirmity. To give these their place is prudence, modesty, and good sense ; to give them more than their place is voluntary slavery. But the direct access of the soul to God is Natural Religion.


I. An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament,

By S. R. DRIVER, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, formerly Fellow of

New College, Oxford. (Edinburgh, 1891.) 2. Neue kirchliche Zeitschrift. I. Jahrgang, Hefte 9, 10.

Beiträge zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Pentateuchs. D.
KLOSTERMANN. (Erlangen und Leipzig, 1890.)

The interest in the question of the so-called 'higher criticism' of Holy Scripture continues to increase. Brought to the front by the publication of Lux Mundi, it has not been suffered to languish. The appearance of Canon Driver's Introduction, the discussion at the Church Congress, and the weighty Charge of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, have very considerably extended the area of the controversy. At first the new departure taken by the younger divines of the Catholic school, the rupture between them and those brought up in the traditions of Dr. Pusey and of the Oxford movement, seemed rather to stupefy than to arouse the public mind. The earnest endeavours of Dr. Liddon and others to prevent the controversy from reaching an acute stage also tended to narrow its range. But the very outspoken utterances at the Congress, where the readers and speakers, to what theological school soever they might belong, seemed almost with one consent to discard the traditional view of Holy Scripture, has not only revived the interest which had been felt, but has considerably augmented it. Much anxiety and alarm has been expressed at some of these utterances, and we can only hope that the learned, spirited, and most effective Charge of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol on the traditional side may help to allay it. His account of the reasons which have weighed with men of the later Oxford school in coming to terms with the new criticism

is doubtless in the main correct. Catholic theology has never rested its case wholly on the Bible, as Protestantism has done. A co-ordinate authority has ever been supposed to attach to the voice of the Spirit in the Church; and the Oxford Catholics believe that they are doing service to those who come within the sphere of their influence by surrendering what appear to them to be mere outposts, and concentrating their efforts on the revelation of God in Christ. They have been anxious to point out that if the new criticism should prove to be well grounded, the Christian faith has, in their opinion, nothing to fear. It had been well if they had confined themselves to this. But, unfortunately, they have gone much farther. The doctrine of pious illusion' has been coquetted with. It has been regarded as arguable not merely whether Moses wrote the Pentateuch, and whether the Pentateuch is a composite or a homogeneous work, but whether Moses was the author of what has been hitherto known as the Mosaic Law, whether the institutions of Israel as handed down to later times, and as commented upon, for instance, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, were anything but post-exilic inventions, whether the Israelites ever received the Revelation of Jehovah at all, as described in Holy Writ, and whether, in contradiction to the whole received history of Israel, they were not given at first to a polytheistic worship precisely analogous to that of their neighbours. Now, the older school of Tractarians, without committing themselves to anything like Bibliolatry, adhered strictly to the doctrine that the Church was 'the witness and keeper of Holy Writ.' They held that in the sacred volume was contained the deposit of truth which it was the bounden duty of the Church to guard and to interpret, and that any derogation of the supreme authority of the written Word, any confession of error in its essential teaching, would be ultimately fatal to the religion of which it professes to be the record. The course, therefore, of what we may venture to call the neo-Catholic school was, in the eyes of their elder brethren, an extremely hazardous one. But unfortunately this is not all. The necessities of their position drove them into a course still more hazardous—the assertion of the limitation of the human knowledge of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It is not our purpose to discuss this question. On it we must refer our readers to articles in previous numbers of the

1 This is the belief of Wellhausen and Kuenen. Mr. Cooke at the Congress did not go quite so far, but he said that their religious rites were by no means so different from those of their neighbours as had been supposed.

[ocr errors]

Church Quarterly Review, and to the masterly and elaborate exposition of the Christian doctrine of the Kenosis in Bishop Ellicott's Charge. We content ourselves with echoing the warnings which will there be found against unguarded statements on so solemn a subject. And we would add that on this point we desire to enter into no controversy with those who deny the historical authority of the Old Testament. It is of course possible that their view of Old Testament criticism may be correct. In that case we should have to reconsider our position'—to use a phrase of the late Canon Liddon's—in regard not only to the Old Testament but to Christ Himself. All that is meant is simply this: we question the judgment of those whose boast it is that they are Catholic Christians, yet who would make so considerable, so sweeping, a surrender of what are not mere theological outposts, but important and even vital truths, in prospect of dangers which after all may prove to be imaginary.

The object of Canon Driver's work is to provide the student of Holy Scripture with a guide to the contents of the Old Testament, according to what are supposed to be the latest results of scientific criticism. Of the 520 pages, 150, or somewhat more than a third, are devoted to a review of the Hexateuch, and to this, as far the most important part of the book, we shall exclusively devote ourselves in the remarks which follow. The remaining historical books, with the exception of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, are treated in 43 pages. Nearly 150 pages are devoted to the Prophets, and of course the doctrine of a second Isaiah is maintained in reference to chapters xl.-Ixvi. The Psalms are briefly treated. We are glad to find that Canon Driver rejects the sweeping criticism of Professor Cheyne, which would assign the whole Psalter to a period subsequent to the exile. But we may be permitted to regret that the exigencies of a theory have induced Canon Driver to assign Ps. Ixxviii. to that period, contrary to the opinion of critics of note, and without any reasons assigned. The Book of Job is divided into two parts, not more. The extravagances of the extremer school of critics are not adopted. The rest of the book demands no particular notice, save that the pre-exilic composition of Ruth is maintained against Ewald, Wellhausen, and Kuenen, and while it is stated that there is certainly much’in Chronicles that cannot be strictly historical,' the writer is defended from the accusations of Wellhausen and others of being 'guilty of a deliberate perversion of history.''

1 Introduction, p. 501.

The one,

It is necessary to observe that the new school of Old Testament criticism is divided into two sections. the more advanced school of Wellhausen and Kuenen, regards the Old Testament as a whole with little favour. As to the Book of Chronicles, no words are too strong to describe its fatuity and its prejudice.' Its wholesale inventions to prop up the recently invented doctrines of the 'priestly party' are as morally culpable as they are intellectually absurd. And to these writers the whole law is a later invention. The Jews owed to Moses only the original form of the Ten Commandments. They worshipped the same gods as the nations of Canaan, and with rites almost precisely similar. It was only in the reigns of the later kings of Judah that the 'priestly party' began to teach monotheistic doctrines, and to found religious ceremonies upon them, and at last to produce a forged document—the so-called Book of Deuteronomy —which they ascribed to Moses, and on which all the remaining provisions of the Jewish law were subsequently grafted. It is but fair to Canon Driver to say that he and his English followers advance no such extreme theories as these. They confine themselves to the assertion that the Pentateuch, or as they call it, with the addition of the Book of Joshua, the Hexateuch, is a composite work. It consists of the writings of a Jehovist and of an Elohist narrator, combined, and in some cases so skilfully blended that it is impossible to distinguish the two narratives, by a later hand. These works are assigned to a date from 750-900 B.C., and the Jehovist is by some, the Elohist by others, regarded as the earlier. To these, which Canon Driver calls the Prophetical Narrative,' is to be added another which he calls the ‘Priestly Narrative.' Its style is stereotyped, measured,


‘, and prosaic.' 4 Its date, according to Canon Driver, who here follows Wellhausen and Kuenen, is after the return of the Jews from the Captivity. He gives his reasons, to which we shall hereafter recur. But he is very reticent about the names of those who hold that it is as old as, or older than, the two narratives we have just mentioned. There are still scholars," he says, 'who assign at least the main stock of it to 9-8 cent. B.C. As a matter of fact all the older critics of note,

| Hist. of Israel, pp. 173–209. Wellhausen declares that cunning, treachery, battle, and murder are passed over in silence' by the author of Chronicles in a deliberate, and, in its motives, a very transparent mutilation of the original narrative,' and he adds that in Chronicles “power is the index of piety, with which it rises and falls.'

Kuenen, Religion of Israel, vol. ii. p. 7. 3 Wellhausen, Hist. of Israel, p. 9.



· P. 123.

« PreviousContinue »