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purely literary questions, exposes a man to the accusation of heresy. Yet the domain of tradition has been invaded, and portions of it have been so far won that they are now admitted to be common ground. Take the first of Genesis for example. Scarcely any of the many interpretations of the six days' work, now current, would be called heretical. Once it was very different: although common sense long ago suggested that false doctrine and false criticism were not identical ; that a critical heresy was far more venial than a doctrinal one; and Dr. Davidson is not wrong in every sense when he says,
"Aberrations of intellect are venial sins : unfaithfulness to the high instincts which unite man to God, and reflect the divine, is irreligion.”
The work before us is to comprise three volumes; the first of which is devoted to an examination of the Pentateuch, the books of Joshua, the Judges and Ruth, and I. and II. Samuel. Commencing with the Pentateuch, the author starts at once with a list of passages which he considers to militate against its Mosaic origin. These passages contain notices historical, geographical, archeological and explanatory. There are others which seem to intimate that the writer was in Palestine, and there are, omissions which are unfavourable to the Mosaic authorship. Careful inquiries suggest that the Pentateuch was compiled with the aid of at least two leading documents, and probably of others. There are diversities, confusions, repetitions, contradictions, etc.; all which oppose the idea of single authorship. In a word, a great multitude of facts and arguments can be adduced, all tending to shew that Moses did not write the Pentateuch as we now have it: indeed, it was not completed until shortly before the reign of Josiah.
After discussing the general question of the authorship, composition and date of the Pentateuch, Dr. Davidson goes on to examine its separate books. Genesis is divided into two parts——i. to xi., and xii. to l., each of which is divisible into smaller sections, the contents of which are indicated. We are next led to consider the bearings of history and science upon mythology; and especially as illustrated in the Book of Genesis. A third point is the interpretation of the record of the fall; a fourth, the Canite and Sethite genealogies; and the fifth, the longevity of the antediluvians. The remaining topics are, the antiquity of the deluge; the sons of God and the daughters of men;
the name Elohim ; the xlixth of Genesis and Shiloh.
The matters enquired into in the Book of Exodus are these: The contents; the plagues of Egypt; the conduct of the magicians; sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt : passage of the Red Sea; song of Moses; decalogue; first institution of Sabbath ; division of decalogue; what is
l meant by God speaking; connexion of Exodus and history of Egypt; doctrine of immortality in the Pentateuch; and the golden calf.
Under the head of Leviticus we have the contents, sin and trespass offering; the word Azazel, the scapegoat of the authorized version; marriage prohibitions of chap. xviii. ; things clean and unclean; and sacrifice.
In Numbers we have, contents; disposition of the camp in chap. ii.;
census in chap. i., and Exodus xxxviii.; discrepancy in chap. xxxv. 4, 5; route of Israel from Egypt to Moab: condition of Israel in the desert ; Balaam and his prophecies ; character of laws of Moses.
Deuteronomy gives rise to a larger number of questions than either of the other Pentateuchal books. Among the points raised are these : nature of the Deuteronomic legislation; comparison of Deuteronomic and Jehovistic legislations ; deviations of Deuteronomist from the earlier books; lateness shewn by the manner of expressing the abrogation of some laws not written by Moses, etc.
Joshua comes next, and it is discussed in a similar manner. Contents: unity, independence, and diversity; sources and authorsbip; date; historical character and credibility; standing still of the sun and moon; destruction of the Canaanites, and the taking of Ai.
The plan adopted with the remaining books strongly resembles that which is followed in those we have named. The large extracts we have given from the contents, will render it needless for us to describe more in detail the order pursued by the learned writer. We will therefore, indicate a few of the positions which he defends; beginning at the beginning.
There are passages in the Pentateuch itself which he believes convey well founded doubts of its Mosaic authorship. Thus Gen. xii
. 6, The Canaanite was then in the land ;” and Gen. xiii. 7, “The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land." "These words obviously imply that when the writer lived, the Canaanites and Perizzites had been expelled from the land.” Again, "In Gen. xxiii. 2, and xxxv. 27, “Kirjath-Arba; the same is Hebron," etc. as a name, is posterior to Moses.” Again, “ In Gen. xiv. 14, Abraham is said to have pursued the kings who carried away Lot his nephew, as far as Dan." The ancient name was Laish, and Dan was the name the place received from the Danites “after their father.” Again, " These are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the land of Israel” (Gen. xxxvi. 31). last clause of the verse could hardly have been written till after there had been a king in Israel.” In Exod. xvi. 35, “The children of Israel did eat manna forty years, till they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna till they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” “ Moses was dead before the manna ceased, and therefore it is natural to infer that he did not write these words." Such are a few of the expressions which are adduced as indicative of a later date. Most of them have been often discussed, and explained in different ways; but · Dr. Davidson is persuaded that they betray a later hand than that of Moses. This persuasion is strengthened by a class of passages which seem to intimate that the writer was in Pălestine. The conviction is still further supported by the omissions which occur in the continuity of the narrative.
That one author did not write the Pentateuch is strongly maintained on the ground of the well-known Jehovistic and Elohistic texts, which are investigated at considerable length, and with much acuteness and
ingenuity. Traces of at least two, and probably of more, original documents are asserted to exist. Supposing there were three, it is considered plain that the primitive Elohist wrote after the Canaanites had been driven out of Palestine, and perhaps in the time of Saul. The Jehovist wrote still later, perhaps in the first half of the eighth century before Christ; perhaps the junior Elohist lived in the time of Elisha. The learned author is not very clear here, for although he suggests the time of Solomon for the Jehovist, he seems to prefer the date we have named; and this would make the junior Jehovist really the older of the two. He is however clear in this, that he believes Deuteronomy to be the most recent book of the Pentateuch, and that the whole was written before the time of Josiah. Probably the question of the age and authorship of the Pentateuch was never before so minutely sifted by any writer in the English language, and certainly the difficulties in the way of the Mosaic authorship were nerer so distinctly and elaborately propounded.
propounded. Believing as we do that the Pentateuch is substantially the work of Moses, we are not awed by this array of objections, although it will require superior learning and great judgment to answer some of them. They are formidable by their number, and by the skill with which they are marshalled and sustained; and yet we think that individually many of them may be readily met. Meanwhile, one thing is apparent: the old faith will no longer be allowed to dwell at ease; it will no longer be able to take shelter behind its old defences; it must come forth and accept the challenge which has been thrown down; it must oppose learning by learning, criticism by criticism, facts by facts. The days of ipse dixit are numbered, whether it be the ipse dixit of the unquestioning believer in traditional opinions, or of the new critic. 66 To the law and the testimony," has been a favourite motto in matters of doctrine, and it is right: but now men come and boldly ask us, 66 What is the law and the testimony ?" We must answer them. If their reasonable questions remain unanswered, the consequences may be serious. Even their unreasonable questions must not be treated with scorn.
With regard to Dr. Davidson, it is but fair to him to say, that bold as he is in his criticism, he never shews any tendency to irreverence or unbelief. He is irreverent and unbelieving enough towards what he regards as human error, and so are all of us, if we are honest; but he is never irreverent towards that which he conceives to be divine. Herein there is a wide difference between him and certain German critics : and it is the whole difference between a religious and an irreligious man. We are very far from seeing with the doctor on all points, and not seldom we have had our prejudices shocked; but still we have been everywhere compelled to admit his candour. If he has a fault in this respect it is this, that he is too candid.
We must not bring our too brief notice of this work to a conclusion, without saying a word or two about its later portions. The book of Joshua in its present form is, on various grounds, assigned to the writer or editor of Deuteronomy, although he probably did not write the whole of it; it is moreover intimately and organically connected with the Pentateuch. The reign of Manasseh, therefore, was the period of its production. The book of Judges is an ancient document compiled by one editor partly from previously existing materials, and probably in the time of Ahaz; hence it is an older book than Joshua. The most searching examination into the book of Ruth points to the time of Hezekiah as that in which the writer lived. The books of Sainuel are a compilation, made by some one after the death of Solomon.
Our object is not to criticize Dr. Davidson's book, or we would have called attention to some of its weak points as well as its strong ones. If we admit, as we do, that there are strong points, the author will not take offence if we suggest that some are weak. One of these is now under our eye. In 1 Sam. xiii. 1, we read in the English version, “Saul reigned one year,” which is not the right rendering of the words, but, “ Saul was one year old when he began to reign.” Is it so ? The Hebrew runs thus, “A son of a year Saul in his reigning, and two years he reigned over Israel.” Now if Saul was a son of a year in his reigning, he had been a king one year, and what follows merely denotes that he had entered upon his second year. Certainly there is no need to adopt Dr. Davidson's explanation or paraphrase of the words; and we must submit that our old version comes nearer to the sense.
Saul was one year old as a king, if you like, but not 5 when he began to reign.” Lapses like these occur, we know, in the best of books, and we would not make too much of them. What is wanted, and what will try the stamina of the critics of the old school, is a refutation or counter arguments, manifesting equal learning and talent. The gauntlet is thrown down; who will take it up ? We earnestly hope this question will not long remain unanswered.
If Ďr. Davidson is the means of evoking a more thorough and satisfactory defence of the sacred books, and a more complete resolution of critical difficulties, he will not have laboured in vain. At present we will only say that he has put forth all his great strength in the endeavour to place our literary faith, as we may term it, on a new basis.
Of the question of inspiration we have said nothing, although we are not unaware of the bearings of this enquiry upon the subject of inspiration. Dr. Davidson's task has been that of a critic, and essentially a literary one. He has compared and analyzed a multitude of texts, and viewed them philologically, historically, and in other ways. In all this he has not exceeded the limits and liberties of criticism. Whether he is right in all his inferences is another question, and now that he has adventured boldly and honestly to declare those inferences and the reasons of them, he will have no fair cause to complain if his arguments are sifted, and if his critics attempt to shew that he is in
Of one thing we are assured, and it is this, that the foundations of our religion cannot be shaken, and that when criticism has made its last effort, the Holy Scriptures will retain their glorious prerogative as the Word of God.
The History of Joshua ; viewed in connexion with the topography of
Canaan, and the customs of the times in which he lived. By the
Rev. THORNLEY SMITH. Edinburgh : Oliphant and Co. This valuable and instructive work is more than a history of Joshua; it is to a considerable extent a commentary upon the book which bears
The author has endeavoured with much success to throw light upon the scenes to which the history refers; and if readers will be at the pains to master the topographical and antiquarian facts here set forth, they will have a much easier and better understanding of the sacred text. Commentaries which develope the moral and religious lessons of the Bible are common, and their doctrinal and practical character renders them desirable for purposes of edification. But they are not sufficient. We require commentaries which display the results of philology and verbal criticism on sound grammatical principles. Of these there are fewer, although happily their number is increasing. But we also want commentaries which explain and illustrate the topography and actual scenes of Biblical events, the manners and customs of ancient nations, and the remains of antiquity. These are not numerous ;
but when well written by learned and good men, they are attractive and highly beneficial. To the last-named class the work before us mainly belongs, but it goes further and contains important matter of many kinds. Mr. Smith considers the question of the authorship of the book of Joshua in his preface, and supposes on reasonable grounds that it was written soon after Joshua's death by one of the elders who outlived him, and that Joshua himself may
have supplied some of the materials. In the series of chapters of which the work is composed, the leading events of the life and times of Joshua are narrated, and illustrated by a large collection of valuable facts. There are a number of pictorial illustrations which, if small, are appropriate and well executed. The author himself has performed his task in a very satisfactory manner. His criticism is strongly evangelical and somewhat conservative, but decidedly liberal; as, for instance, where he considers the well-known passage where the sun is said to stand still. He does not insist upon a literal miracle, but admits another explanation. We have not seen Mr. Smith's kindred works on Joseph and Moses, but it is evident that he is well qualified for labours of this description, and we shall be glad to hear that he has taken up some other life, as that of Daniel, to treat it in the same admirable manner.
Adventures of Baron Wenceslas Wratislaw of Mitrowitz. What he
saw in the Turkish metropolis, Constantinople; experienced in his captivity; and after his happy return to his country, committed to writing, in the year of our Lord, 1599. Literally translated from the original Bohemian, by A. H. WRATISLAW, M.A. London:
Bell and Daldy. We have read this book with unmixed pleasure, and are glad of an opportunity of thanking the learned and able translator for placing it