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The International Critical Commentary (ICC): Judges

by George F. Moore

Bibliographic information

TitleThe International Critical Commentary (ICC): Judges
AuthorGeorge F. Moore
PublisherVarda Books
Publication Date2005



THE interest and importance of the Book of Judges lie chiefly in the knowledge which it gives us of the state of society and religion in Israel in the early centuries of its settlement in Palestine, for which Judges and Samuel are our only sources. In addition to this, parts of the book are of preeminent historical value: in particular, ch. I, which contains by far the oldest and most trustworthy account of the invasion of Canaan; and ch. 5,
the Song of Deborah, the only contemporary monument of Israelitish history before the Kingdom.

In the following commentary matters of history, antiquities, and especially the social and religious life of the people in this period, are properly given the largest place; not only for their intrinsic interest, but because the knowledge of these things is indispensable to any right understanding of the history of Israel and of its religion. The work of the prophets can only be comprehended in its relation to the national religion of Israel. But before there was a national religion, there was a common religion of the Israelite tribes which was one of the most potent forces in the making of the nation. What this religion was, which they brought with them into Canaan, and what changes it underwent in contact with Canaanite civilization and
the religions of the land, we learn in no small part from the Book of Judges; while here and there, as in the Song of Deborah, we have glimpses of a remoter past, the adoption of the religion of Yahweh by the tribes at Horeb, the work of Moses.

About the Author 

George F. Moore ---

George Foot Moore (Oct. 15, 1851 - May 16, 1931)one of the most important American teachers of religion; born in West Chester, Pennsylvania and died in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Moore graduated from Yale in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1878, and became professor of Hebrew in Andover Theological Seminary in 1883. In 1902 he went to Harvard and was made professor of the history of religion just two years later.

Moore's work was of importance in four fieldsthe shaping of U.S. scholarship, the reshaping of U.S. concepts of religion, the study of the Hebrew Bible, and the study of tannaitic Judaism. He did much to shape the concept of religion as a universal human activity of which the various religions are particular instances, and the study, one of the "humanities." This conception was important for the ecumenical movement, cooperation between Christians and Jews, reorientation of missions from conversion to social work, and introduction of courses on the history of religion into college curricula.

In the study of the Hebrew Bible Moore not only introduced German methods, standards, and conclusions, but added his own common sense and enormous learning. Beside his many articles in the Andover Review and Cheyne's Encyclopaedia Biblica, his Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges (1895) remains most valuable. Finally, his Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim (3 vols., 192730, 19662) is an outstanding study of rabbinic Judaism. Although it too much neglects the mystical, magical, and apocalyptic sides of Judaism, its apology for tannaitic teaching as a reasonable, humane, and pious working out of biblical tradition is conclusive and has been of great importance not only for Christians, but also for Jewish understanding of Judaism.

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