Introduction to the Literature of the...

Long the standard English work on the subject, now is prepared to work interactively with Hebrew-English Tanakh: the Jewish Bible.

PREFACE XI employed in literary composition. There is a human factor in the Bible, which, though quickened and sustained by the inform-ing Spirit, is never wholly absorbed or neutralized by it; and the limits of its operation cannot be ascertained by an arbitrary à priori determination of the methods of inspiration; the only means by which they can be ascertained is by an assiduous and comprehensive study of the facts presented by the Old Testa-ment itself.* * Two principles, once recognized, will be found to solve nearly all the difficulties which, upon the traditional view of the historical books of the Old Testament, are insuperable, viz.—( 1) that in many parts of these books we have before us traditions, in which the original representation has been insensibly modified, and sometimes ( especially in the later books) coloured by the associations of the age in which the author recording it lived; ( 2) that some freedom was used by ancient historians in placing speeches or discourses in the mouths of historical characters. In some cases, no doubt, such speeches agreed substantially with what was actually said; but often they merely develop at length, in the style and manner of the narrator, what was handed down only as a compendious report, or what was deemed to be consonant with the temper and aim of a given character on a particu-lar occasion. No satisfactory conclusions with respect to the Old Testa-ment will be arrived at without due account being taken of these two principles. Should it be feared that the first of these principles, if admitted, might imperil the foundations of the Christian faith, it is to be pointed out that the records of the New Testament were produced under very different historical conditions; that while in the Old Testament, for example, there are instances in which we can have no assurance that an event was re-corded until many centuries after its occurrence, in the New Testament the interval at most is not more than 30– 50 years. Viewed in the light of the unique personality of Christ, as depicted both in the common tradition embodied in the Synoptic Gospels and in the personal reminiscences un-derlying the fourth Gospel, and also as presupposed by the united testi-mony of the Apostolic writers belonging almost to the same generation, the circumstances are such as to forbid the supposition that the facts of our Lord’s life on which the fundamental truths of Christianity depend can have been the growth of mere tradition, or are anything else than strictly historical. The same canon of historical criticism which authorizes the as-sumption of tradition in the Old Testament, forbids it— except within the narrowest limits, as in some of the divergences apparent between the par-allel narratives of the Gospels— in the case of the New Testament. It is an error to suppose, as appears sometimes to be done, that topo-graphical exploration, or the testimony of Inscriptions, supplies a refuta-tion of critical conclusions respecting the books of the Old Testament. The Biblical records possess exactly that degree of historical and topographical accuracy which would be expected from the circumstances under which all reasonable critics hold that they were composed. The original sources   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C  | I n d e x

Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament


About Book Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament

Front MatterTitle PageCopyright PagePrefaceContentsAddition and correctionsAbbreviationsIntroductionI. THE HEXATEUCH.§ 1. Genesis.§ 2. Exodus.§ 3. Leviticus.§ 4. Numbers.§ 5. Deuteronomy.§ 6. Joshua.§ 7.The Prophetical Narrative of the Hexateuch.The Priestly Narrative of the Hexateuch.Synopsis of the Priests' Code.II. JUDGES, SAMUEL, AND KINGS.§ 1. The Book of Judges.§ 2.1–2 Samuel.§ 3.1–2 Kings.III. ISAIAH.IV. JEREMIAH.V. EZEKIEL.VI. THE MINOR PROPHETS.§ 1. Hosea.§ 2. Joel.§ 3. Amos.§ 4. Obadiah.§ 5. Jonah.§ 6. Micah.§ 7. Nahum.§ 8. Habakkuk.§ 9. Zephaniah.§10. Haggai.§11. Zechariah.§12. Malachi.VII. THE PSALMS.VIII.THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.IX. THE BOOK OF JOB.X. THE FIVE MEGILLOTH.§ 1. The Song of Songs.§ 2.Ruth.§ 3.The Lamentations.§ 4.Ecclesiastes.§ 5.Esther.XI. DANIEL.XII. CHRONICLES, EZRA, AND NEHEMIAH.§ 1. Chronicles.§ 2.Ezra and Nehemiah.Index I.Index II.Index III.
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