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The rapid advance of Science in the last century and the discovery of the high civilization of the Ancient Empires of the Near East, before only known through the Hebrew Scriptures and the discredited accounts of Herodotus, occasioned revision of these works. That of the Greek historian was thorough and largely restored faith in his accuracy; but the eminent theologians selected to put forth the “Revised Editions" concerned themselves only with the amending of the text and the substitution of modern terms for the obsolete words and phrasing of the Authorized Version. Reverence for the traditional view of the Inspiration of the Hebrew writings must have prevented the majority of the revisers from accepting the views of those collaborators who are now recognised as authorities in the study of the Bible. Hence all sorts of blemishes arising from the uncritical editing of the earliest native revisers still cling to the current editions like barnacles to a ship, of no worth in themselves and impeding its usefulness.
This is by no means the first attempt to acquaint the public with the results of applying scientific methods to the study of the Sacred Scriptures. Thirty-two years ago the late Dr. Samuel R. Driver, Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, England, gave the English-speaking world a masterly “Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament"; wherein, by means of schematic analyses of the Hexateuch and copious lists of words and phrases peculiar to each author, editor or group of collaborators in the whole Canon, accompanying them by his own felicitous criticisms, he supplied everyone interested, and who had time to use it, with a sufficient apparatus for estimating not only the work so far accomplished, but its incomparable value. American scholars were not slow to perceive the advantages of Dr. Driver's method and to make it more practical. Dr. Benjamin W. Bacon, now of Yale University, published in 1894 "The Triple Tradition of the Exodus", in which he distinguished typographically from each other and from the interpolations of post-exilic editors the two accounts of the Flight from Egypt contained in the books of Exodus and Numbers. Dr. Paul Haupt, of the Johns Hopkins University, had already planned a remarkable edition in which the books of the Old Testament were to be “newly translated and annotated by eminent scholars of Europe and America, and printed in colors exhibiting the composite structure of each book”, thereby enabling the reader to grasp in their integrity the argument and style of the original author. The first volumes of this “Polychrome edition" appeared in 1898, and took the literary world by storm. No such royal road to learning had enticed the young student or delighted the Bibleteacher before. Unfortunately, the enterprise was soon abandoned, owing, it was said, to the heavy cost of production; and this unique aid to the study of the Sacred Scriptures as literature remains incomplete. However, in 1904 appeared the first volume of the "Student's Bible" by Dr. Charles F. Kent, Professor of Biblical Literature in Yale University, which sets side by side, in proper sequence and with their approximate dates, the several contributions to the text of each book in the Old Testament. Dr. Kent has also assembled the opinions of the highest authorities on still disputed points; and, with his able introductions to the several volumes, together with excellent charts and maps, he has almost obviated the necessity for any other book of reference for the lay student.
But these volumes and others of their sort are at once too cumbrous and too costly for the ordinary reader,-for the busy man of affairs who consecrates some of his precious leisure to a Sunday Bible-class, for the mother who asks how she shall answer her children's questions, or for the instructor who would have his pupils gain their impression of these great writers from their own words and not from hearsay. The “Revised Editions" do indeed distinguish between poetry and prose by inset lines and capitals in the Historical Books, but not in the books of the Prophets, whose teachings are mostly embodied in noble poems. The “Temple Edition" (Oxford, 1902) of the Authorized Version, and the “Modern Reader's Bible" (Moulton, R. G. 1904), have remedied this oversight, but present little more of the now established results of critical analysis than did the “Paragraph Bible" (Nourse, James, 1834), published before such analysis was begun. Perhaps the time was not then ripe for a bolder advance. New discoveries in Bible-lands, new results from younger scholars might any day upset seemingly wellgrounded conclusions. But for twenty years past, every product of continuous research has only confirmed these conclusions. The preacher, the lecturer, even the daily press frequently refer to and build upon them as received truths. Moreover, the political problems in the Near East and new inquiries into the basis and development of our religion demand that the original documents of the Hebrew writers, of the keensighted politicians and inspired leaders of thought known to us as the Hebrew Prophets, should be in the hands of every thoughtful student of affairs.
For these reasons the present simple edition, unencumbered with notes, is offered. The references at the head of each separate division are always to the Authorized Version (A.V.). A short list of works of reference easily obtainable at most public libraries, and some points in the development of criticism which the editor has found useft in class-work are put at the end of the volume. The few words necessary to supply connecting links between passages ruthlessly separated by the native compilers are put in brackets. Otherwise, no foreign matter has been introduced into the text, and that omitted in Part I. will be found in its proper chronological order in Part II., which will present the Exilic and Post-exilic writings.
I find no words to express adequately my gratitude to my inspiring teachers, Dr. Irving F. Wood, of Smith College; Dr. Richard Gottheil, of Columbia University, and Dr. Charles P. Fagnani, of the Union Theological Seminary, New York, for their kind encouragement and valuable criticism; also, without their casual agreement or suggestion in and out of class, the work would never have been attempted. They can never know how often memory has recalled their very voices as I have come acress a passage on which they gave the final word which I have thankfully adopted; but whatever mistakes I have made cannot be laid at their door; they are all my own.
To other friends most dear, among them many of my former pupils, I am indebted for their enthusiastic encouragement and their insistence upon the immediate completion of the work, for which they themselves have felt the need. To each and all of these I tender my heartfelt thanks. I will not chronicle their names; each will know his or her own share. But to Mr. Elmer Hunter Scott, of Omaha, Neb. and Washington, D. C., and to Prof. C. Alphonso Smith, of the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., I owe special thanks for their examination of my plan and introduction and their favorable verdict upon them.