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A General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture. 
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NortoooD IPrrBB 

J. S. Cuihinu 4 Co. - Berwick & Smith 

Norwood MMr II. S. A. 


E\\e Alumni nnli 5tutirnts 


Wsc f^oln Scripture 







In 1883 the volume entitled Biblical Study, its Principles. 
Methods, and History, together u'ith a Catalogue of Books of 
Reference was published. lu the preface it was said : " This 
work is the product of the author's experience as a student of 
the Bible, and a teacher of theological students in Biblical 
Study. From time to time, during tlie past fourteen years, he 
has been called upon to give special attention to particular 
themes in public addresses and Review articles. In this way 
the ground of Biblical Study has been quite well covered. 
This scattered material has been gathered, and worked over 
into an organic system." 

The volume has been issued from the press nine times since 
that date, and there stiU seems to be a demand for it on the 
part of the public. The author has long felt the need of a 
more thorough revision of the volume, as the result of fifteen 
years" additional study ; but he has been prevented by many 
hindrances from doing what he so greatly desired to do, until 
the present year. He has used his volume as a text-book in 
the Union Theological Seminary, Xew York, during all this 
period, and has gone over the whole subject afresh every year. 
This year being the twenty-fifth anniversary of his professorate, 
lie felt impelled to vmdertake the task, and to make out of the 
volume a new one, which would cover the whole ground of the 
study of Holy Scripture, and the results of all that study during 
the past fifteen years. Accordingly the volume has not simply 

been revised, it has been made over into a new one. The 
material in the old book has become the nucleus of new mate- 
rial, so that this volume has grown to be fully twice the size 
of the original work. 

The twelve chapters of Biblical Study have been worked 
over and brought up to the present position of Biblical Science, 
and enriched with ample illustration of every important prin- 
ciple and method used in the study. The chapter on the Canon 
has grown into two chapters, in one of which the historj' of the 
Canon has been traced from the earliest times to the present, 
and in the other a careful s|!atement of the criticism of the 
Canon has been given with the principles for discerning it and 
determining it with certainty. The chapter on the Text has 
grown into four chapters. This chapter was justly criticised for 
its incompleteness, as compared with other sections of the book. 
I have given great pains to this department, and have traced 
in successive chapters the history of the text of the Hebrew 
Bible, the history of the text of the Greek Bible, and the trans- 
lations of the Bible, and have explained the practice of Textual 
Criticism, giving illustrations of every important principle. I 
have contmued the history of the Higher Criticism down to 
the present time. Owing to circumstances beyond my control, 
I was compelled to undergo an ecclesiastical trial, and was con- 
demned for heresy for my views on this subject. This made 
ray views and my trial a necessary part of the history of Higher 
Criticism, and compelled me to give these a place in the history. 
1 have aimed to be as objective as possible. I have greatly 
enlarged my treatment of the Holy Scripture as Literature. 
In the chapter on Prose Literature, I have given a very full 
discussion of Biblical History, and especially of the Prose 
Works of the Imagination in the Old Testament. The chapter 
on Hebrew Poetry has grown into four chapters, ip wliich I 
endeavour by ample illustrations to set forth those views of 

Hebrew Poetry which I have held aud taught for the past 
twenty-five j^ears with increasing confidence. Illustrations 
from the New Testament as well as from the Old Testament 
are given here as elsewhere throughout the book. Some of 
my readers may be surprised at the amount of poetry found in 
the New Testament. But I think that they will see from the 
illustrations given that if the views of Hebrew Poetry taken in 
the volume are correct, the specimens from the New Testament 
are as fine and sure specimens as those from the Old Testament. 
In the preface to Biblical Study, it was said : " The ground 
for Biblical Study has been covered, with the exception of 
Biblical History. This department has been included in the 
Reference Library because it seemed necessary for complete- 
ness. It has been omitted from the discussions because it is 
usual to classify Biblical History with Historical Theology. 
The author did not care to determine this disputed question in 
a work already sufficiently extensive." In this volume I have 
made up that defect ; not only because it was a defect, but 
because in fact the Historical Criticism of Biblical History has 
become a burning question, and it is likely to burn with in- 
creasing flame and heat during the present generation. These 
chapters have cost me much labour. They open up the most 
difficult part of this work, and it is probable that in these I 
expose myself to the greatest criticism on the part of the so- 
called conservatives. I have composed these chapters with 
great painstaking and ^^dth a good conscience, and a deep sense 
of a call to public duty in this regard. I have prepared the 
way by a history of the study of Biblical History, then have 
opened up the principles and methods of Historical Criticism 
with ample illustrations, and finally I have endeavoured to 
organize and construct the discipline of Biblical History. 
Grave mistakes have been made in recent years in the dis- 
cussions of the Higher Criticism. Is it too much to hope that 

thej' will not be repeated in the discussions of the Historical 
Criticism ? 

I have given two new chapters, one on the Credibility of 
Holy Scripture, the other on the Truthfulness of Holy Script- 
ure. These chapters deal with burning questions also, which 
I have already considered at some length during my defence 
to the charges brought against me, touching the question of 
"the Inerrancy of Holy Scripture."' I have, in these chapters, 
discussed the question from the point of view of the induction 
of facts from all the ranges of the Study of Holy Scripture ; 
and have then carefully /tested the so-called " a priori argu- 
ment for the Inerrancy of Holy Scripture." I shall doubtless 
increase my offence in the eyes of those who condemned me 
before ; but I have confidence that I have so stated the case as 
to give relief and help to the multitudes who have been dis- 
turbed and even crowded from Holy Church and Holy Scripture 
by the Pharisees of our times ; and it is my comfort that I 
shall lead not a few, by these chapters, as I have by the grace 
of God througli my other writings, back to Holy Scripture and 
Holy Church, with a firmer faith and a holy joy and love in 
their exhibition of the grace and glory of our God and Saviour. 

The Table of Contents gives a full analysis of the volume. 
There are two indices. The Index of Texts may be used for 
reference in the exposition of a large number of the most im- 
portant and difficult passages of Holy Scrij)ture. The large- 
face tjqDe shows at a glance the most important references. 
The large-face type of the Index of Authors and Writings 
gives the passage where citations are made, or opinions are 
discussed, or titles of works are first given. The Bibliography 
of each subject may be found in its appropriate place in the 
volume in connection with the history of the discipline. The 
index will easily guide to all the titles of the booksi There is 
really a mucli fuller bibliography in this volume proportion- 

atel}' than in the classified list of books given as an appendix 
to Biblical Study. 

No one can read this book, whatever his opinion as to its 
merits may be, without saying that it corresponds with its title, 
and that the Bible is to the author Holy Seripture. 

Biblical Study was dedicated to Roswell D. Hitchcock, 
D.D., LL.D., and Isaac A. Dorner, D.D., "survivors of two 
noble faculties to whom the author owes his theological train- 
ing." These teachers have followed all my other teachers into 
the presence of our Lord. On this twenty-fifth anniversary of 
my professorate it seems appropriate, having become the senior 
professor in the Union Theological Seminary, that I should 
dedicate this volume to my pupils. This is especially gratify- 
ing because of the well-known loyalty with which they stood 
b}' me in those trying years when I was battling for truth and 
righteousness against an unreasoning panic about the Bible, 
and an anti-revision partisanship against those who had taken 
an active part in the movement for a revision of the West- 
minster Confession and the preparation of a new consensus 
creed ; and also in those more trying years in which I suffered 
tlie penalties of unrighteous and illegal ecclesiastical discipline. 
In the class-room thej-^ have encouraged me by their studious 
attention, their confidence, and their enthusiasm ; in the minis- 
try they have been faithful and loyal. I feel bound to them 
not only as a teacher and a friend, but in the stronger bond of 
that Holy Love which Our Master taught, and which I have 
endeavoured also, in so far as I was able, to teach them. One 
of these pupils is my daughter, Emilie Grace Briggs, B.D., 
mthout whose patient, laborious, and scholarly help I could 
not have finished this volume. To her my thanks are due, in 
public as well as in private. 


Januaet, 1899. 



Biblical Study the most important of all studies, 1 , the most extensive, 1 ; the 
most profound, 2 ; the most attractive. 3. 

Obstacles to the study of Holy Scripture, 4 ; Bibliolatry, 5 ; Sectarian partisan- 
ship, 6 ; using the Bible as an obstruction to progress, 8. 



General term of the department, 12 ; relation to other departments, 12. 
Biblical Literature, 18 ; Biblical Canonics, 21 ; Textual Criticism, 23 ; the 

Higher Criticism, 24. 
Biblical Exegesis, 27 ; Biblical Hermeneutics, 27. 

Biblical History, 35 ; Historical Criticism, 37 ; Biblical Archaeology, 37. 
Biblical Theology, 39 ; Biblical Religion, Faith, and Ethics, 40. 


The languages of the Bible prepared by Providence for the purpose, 42. 

The Shemitic famUy, 46 ; the Arabic group, 46 ; the Assyrian group, 47 ; the 
Hebrew group, 47 ; the Aramaic group, 49. 

The Hebrew language, 51 ; its origin, 61 ; simple and natural, 54 ; correspond- 
ence of language and thought, 55 ; majesty and sublimity, 50 ; life and 
fervour, 59. 

The Aramaic language, 61 ; language of commerce in Persian period, 61 ; com- 
mon speech of Palestine in the time of Jesus, 62. 

The Greek language. 64 ; comjilex and artistic. 65 ; style of speech, 66; beauti- 
ful and finished, 60 ; strength and vigour, 67 ; Hebraistic colouring, 68 ; 
transformed for expression of Christian ideas, 70. 



Inherent necessity of criticism, 76 ; historical necessity, 77. 

What is Criticism ? 78 ; a method of knowledge, 79 ; destructive and construc- 
tive 79 • requires careful training to use it, 80. 

Principles of criticism, 81 ; derived from General Criticism, 81 ; from Historical 
Criticism 82 ; from Literary Criticism. 85 ; Textual Criticism, 86 ; the 
Hi-her Criticism, 92 ; integrity, 92 ; authenticity, 93 ; literary features, 94 ; 
credibility, 95 ; historical position, 95 ; differences of style, 97 ; differences 
of opinion, 99 ; citations, 100 ; positive testimony, 101 ; silence, 101 ; Bentley 
and the Epistle of Phalaris, 107. 

Criticism of Holv Scripture, 109 ; confronted by traditional theories, 109 ; un- 
hindered by deo^sions of the Church, 112; or Catholic tradition, 115; 
demanded by the truth-loving spirit, 115. 


History of the term Canon, 117 ; Holy Scripture and Covenant, 117. 

Formation of the Old Testament Canon, 118 ; The Ten Words, 118 ; Deuter- 
onomic Code, 119 ; the Law, 120; tradition of the fixing of the Canon by 
Ezra 120 • by the Great Synagogue, 121 ; the Prophets, 123 ; the Writings, 
124;' evidence of Ben Sirach, 124; of the Septuagint, 124; of Pliilo and 
.Tose'phus. 125 ; disputes of the Pharisees as to the Canon, 128 ; final determi- 
nation of the Canon at Jamnia, 130. 

Canon of Jesus and His Apostles, 131 ; general terms do not decide, 131 ; they 
abstain from using writings disputed among the Jews, 131 ; they do not 
determine the Canon except as to the authority of certain writings, 132. 

Formation of the Canon of the New Testament. 133; the Gospels, 133; the 
PauUne Epistles, 134 ; the Catholic Epistles, 134. 

The Canon of the Church, 137 ; Decisions of Synods, 137 ; two streams of 
tradition, 138 ; Canon of the Codices, 138. 


The Canon in the Reformation, 140 ; Luther and the Reformers. 142 ; Decision 
of the Council of Trent, 143 ; the Protestant principle, 144 ; Protestant 
scholasticism, 147. , „ ,. . ,.a 

The Canon of the British Reformation, 140 ; the Articles of Religion, 148 ; 
the Scotch Confession, 149. , ,-, u i 

The Puritan Canon, 149 ; The Westminster Confession, 160 ; Cosin, 161 ; Herle, 
152 ; Lyford, 164. 

The Canon of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 155 ; dogmatic reac- 
tion, 156 ; Semler, 158. 

Modern American theorj' of the Canon, 158 ; the Princeton School, 159 ; Canon- 
icity and Authenticity, 100. 

Determination of the Canon, 163 ; testimony of the Church, 163 ; character of 
Holy Scripture, 165 ; witness of the Holy Spirit, 166. 


The original text of the Hebrew Bible, 169; primitive script, 170; Aramaic 

script, 171 ; editorial work of the early scribes, 173. 
The text of the Sopherim, 174 ; the official text, 175 ; the work of the Sopherim, 

The Massoretic text, 180; vowel points and accents, 181 ; work of the Massorites, 

Hebrew Manuscripts, 183 ; Palestinian, 183 ; Babylonian, 185 ; Samaritan Codex, 

Printed texts, 186 ; earliest text, 186 ; Complutensian text, 186 ; second Eab- 

binical Bible, 186 ; Baer and Ginsburg, 187. 


The Greek Septuagint, 188 ; translated gradually in the order, Law, Prophets, 

Writings, 188. 
The Greek New Testament, 190 ; at firet separate writings on rolls, 190 ; no 

codex till third century, 191. 
Other Greek versions, 191 ; Aquila, 191 ; Theodotian, 192 ; Symmachus, 192. 
Official Greek texts, 192 ; Origen's Hexapla, 192 ; Hesychius, 193 ; Lucian, 193. 
Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, 195 ; Majascules and Minuscules, 195. 
The Neutral text, 195 ; Vatican Codex, 195 ; Sinaitic Codex, 196. 
The Egyptian text, 197 ; Alexandrian Codex, 197 ; Codex Ephraem, 198. 
Text of the Hexapla, 200 ; recently discovered Hexapla text, 200. 
Western text, 200 ; Codex Bezie, 200 ; recent discussions of Western text by 

Harris and Blass, 202. 
Text of Lucian, 203 ; relation to Josephus, 203. 
Later Syrian text. 205 ; characteristic conflation, 205. 
Printed Greek texts, 206 ; Complutensian, 206 ; Erasmus, 206 ; Aldine, 206 ; 

Stephens, 206 ; Beza. 206 ; Sixtine, 207 ; Elzevir, 207 ; Mill, 207 ; Bengel, 

207 ; Wetstein, 207 ; Griesbach, 207 ; Holmes and Parsons, 207 ; Lachmann. 

208 ; Tischendorf, 208 ; Tregelles, 209 ; Westcott and Hort, 209 ; Lagarde, 
209 ; Swete, 209. 




Aramaic Targums, 210 ; Onkelos, 211 ; Jonathan, 211 ; others, 211. 

The Syriac Bible, 212 ; Curetonian, 212 ; Peshitto, 212 ; Haraklean, 212. 

The Latin Vulgate, 213 ; Jerome's version, 213 ; Codex Amiatinus, 213 ; Sixtine 

edition, 213 ; Clementine edition, 213. 
The Arabic version, 214 ; Saadia, 214 ; others, 214. 
Persian version, 214 , Tawus, 214. 
English versions, 214 ; Tyndale, 214 ; Rogers, 215 ; Tavemer, 215 ; Coverdale, 

215 ; Great Bible. 215 ; Genevan, 216 ; Douay, 215 ; Authorized Version, 

216 ; Revised Version, 216. 

Other versions, 216 ; German, 216 ; French, 217 ; Dutch, 217 ; others, 217. 



Textual criticism at the Reformation, 219 ; Ximenes, 219 ; Levita and Ben 
Chayim, 209 ; de Rossi and Scholastics, 221. 

Textual criticism in the seventeenth century, 222 ; Cappellus, Horinus, and 
Buxtorf, 222 ; Walton and Owen, 224 ; Matthew Pool, 226. 

Textual criticism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 226 , Bentley and 
Mill, 227 ; Lowth, 228 ; Wetstein, Griesbach, Lachmann, 227 ; Tischendorf 
and Gregory, 228; Westcott and Hort, 228; Keil, Green, and W. R. 
Smith, 229. 

Application of textual criticism to Holy Scripture, 231. 

The genealogical principle, 231 ; text of Ben Asher. 231 ; the Mishna, Baraithoth, 
and Gemara, 232 ; Midrashim, 234 ; Jewish rabbins, 235 ; use of ancient 
versions, 236; Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, 237 ; the original autographs, 
238 ; illustrations of the genealogical principle, 239 ; genealogy of the Greek 
Bible, 240. 

Conflation and other corruptions, 242 ; illustrations from the Gospels, 242 ; 
illustrations from the Old Testament, 242 ; corruptions of alphabetical 
Psalms, 242 ; dittography, 243 ; wrong separation of words, 243 ; slips of 
the eye, 244 ; an original logion of Jesus, 244. 


The Higher Criticism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 247 ; of the 
Reformers, 247 ; of the Puritans, 248 ; of the Reformed Theologians, 249 ; 
Bentley and Boyle, 260 ; how to deal with traditional theories, 251. i 


The Rabbinical theories, 252 ; the Baba Bathra's statement, 252 ; the Gemara 
upon it, 256. 

Hellenistic and Christian theories, 256 ; Josephus and Philo, 256 ; Apocalypse 
of Ezra, 257 ; the Fathers, 257. 

The New Testament view of the Old Testament, 259 ; Jesus and criticism, 259 ; 
New Testament use of the Writings, 261 ; of the Psalter, 262 ; of the 
Prophets, 265 ; of the Law, 268. 

Rise of the Higher Criticism, 273 ; Spinoza and Simon, 274 ; scholastic opposi- 
tion, 276; mediating theories, 276; Astruc's discovery, 278; Eichhorn's 
documentary hypothesis, 279. 

Higher Criticism of the nineteenth century, 282 ; Geddes, Vater, and the frag- 
mentary hypothesis, 282 ; De Wette and the genesis of documents, 285 ; 
Reuss, Wellhauseu, and the development hypothesis, 283 ; Home, 284 ; 
Colenso, 284 ; Samuel Davidson, 285 ; W. Robertson Smith, 286 ; Toy, 
Briggs, and H. P. Smith, 286 ; more recent Higher Criticism, 289. 



Literary study of the Bible, 293 ; Literary training necessary, 293. 

The Historical Evidence, 295 ; the Second Isaiah, 295 ; date of the Apocalypse 

of John. 296. 
The evidence of style, 296 ; etymological differences, 296 ; syntactical differences, 

300 ; dialectic differences, 300 ; differences of style, 300 ; description of 

Leviathan, 301 ; Epistle to the Hebrews, 301. 
The evidence of opinion, 302 ; theophanies of the Hexateuoh, 302 ; Holy Spirit 

in Isaiah, 303 ; Messiah of the Apocalypse, 303. 
The evidence of citation. 304 ; in the Psalter, 304 ; in Jonah's Psalm, 305 ; 

Logiou in the Gospels, 305. 
The evidence of testimony, 306 ; Micah in Jeremiah, 306 ; Saint Paul in Second 

Peter, 307. 
Argument from silence, 307 ; not within the author's scope, 307 ; within his 

scope, 307 ; reasons for silence, 308. 
The Integrity of Scripture, 309 ; single writings, 309 ; collections of writings by 

same author, 310 ; by different authors, 310 ; edited works, 310 ; inter- 
polations, 314. 
The Authenticity of Scripture, 317 ; name of author given, 317 ; traditional 

ascription, 318. 
Anonymous Holy Scripture, 319 ; Histories, 319 ; Wisdom Literattire, 320 ; 

Psalter, 321 ; Law, 322. 
Pseudonymous Holy Scripture, 323 ; not forgeries, 323 ; pseudepigrapha, 324 ; 

Biblical pseudonyms, 325. 
Compilations, 326 ; Kings and Chronicles, 326 ; Luke and Acts, 326 ; Matthew 

and John, 327. 



Poetry and Prose, 328 ; Rhetorical Prose aud Poetry, 329. 

Historical Prose, 329 ; Prophetic and Priestly Histoid, 329 ; three strata of 
Prophetic History, 330; the four Gospels and Acts, 330. 

Historical use of the Myth, 333 ; Monotheistic myths, 333 ; Sons of God and 
daughters of men, 333 ; Samson, 333. 

Historical use of the Legend, 335 ; early chapters of Genesis, 335 ; legends in 
the life of David, 336 ; poetic legends, 337. 

Prophetic Discourse, 338 ; oratory in prophetic histories, 338 ; prophetic elo- 
quence, 339 ; discourses of Jesus, 339 ; of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, 339. 

The Epistle. 340 ; Letters in E^a and Nehemiah, 340 ; Epistles of the New 
Testament, 340. 

Prose works of the Imagination, 341 ; Haggada of Rabbins, 341 ; Parables of 
Jesus, 341 ; apocryphal stories, 342 ; poetic works of the imagination, 342. 

The Book of Ruth an Idyll, 342 ; scenery of the times of the Judges. 343 ; 
ideal picture, 343 ; conflict with Deuteronomic law, 343 ; historic basis, 344. 

Tlie Story of Jonah, 345 ; sets forth a prophetic lesson, 345 ; the miracles are 
marvels, 345 ; the ideal repentance, 346 ; the prayer figurative, 347 ; an 
early Haggada, 348 ; a marvel of the love of God, 340. 

The story of Esther, 349 ; historic discrepancies, 350 ; does not explain Purim, 
350 ; Esther, heroine of patriotism, 350. 

The stories of Daniel, 351 < a Maccabean book, 351 ; Aramaic stories, 351 ; his- 
torical discrepancies, 352; historic fiction, 352. 


Features of Hebrew poetry, 355 ; religious poetry, 356 ; simple and natural, 357 ; 

subjective, 358 ; sententious, 358 ; realistic, 359. 
Ancient theories of Hebrew poetry, 361 ; compared with Arabic poetry, 361 ; 

compared with cla.ssical metres, 302. 
Modern theories, 303 ; .Jones, 303 ; Saalchutz, 363 ; Bickell, 364 ; Ewald, 305. 
Lowth's doctrine of parallelism, 300 ; Bishop Jebb's introverted parallelism, 367 ; 

the stairlike movement, 367. 
Ley's theory of measures, 369 ; Briggs' early views, 370 ; primary and secondary 

poetic accent, 370. 
Poetic language, 371 ; full sounding forms, 371 ; archaisms, 371. 



Assonance and rhyme, 373 ; identical suffixes, 373 ; assonance, 375 ; word play, 

Measures by word or accent, 376 ; trimeter, 376 ; tetrameter, 379 ; pentameter, 

380 ; hexameter, 382 ; -varying measures, 384. 


Parallelism of members, 385 ; the couplet, 385 ; the triplet, 388 ; the tetrastich, 
390 ; the pentastich, 392 ; the heiastich, 394 ; the heptastich, 395 ; the 
octastich, 397 ; the decastich. 397. 

The strophe, 398 ; of two lines, 400 ; of three lines, 401 ; of four lines, 401 ; of 
five lines, 402 ; of six lines, 403 ; of seven lines, 406 ; of eight lines, 407 ; of 
nine lines, 410 ; of ten lines, 411 ; of twelve lines, 411 ; of fourteen lines, 
412 ; unequal strophes, 413. 


Lyric poetry, 415; the hymn, prayer, and song of Moses, 415; Psalter, 415; 

Lamentations, 415. 
Gnomic poetry, 416 ; fable, 416 ; riddle, 417 ; temperance poem, 418 ; gnome of 

the sluggard, 418. 
Composite poetry. 418 ; dramatic poetry, 419 ; P.salm xxiv. 419 ; Hosea xiv. 419 ; 

Job, 420 ; Song of Songs, 420 ; Poetrj' of Wisdom, 422 ; Job xxxi. 422 ; 

prophetic poetry, 424 ; Isaiah liii. 424. 


Oral and written Word, 427 ; general interpretation, 428 ; art of understanding 

and explaining, 428. 
Rabbinical interpretation, 429 ; legal or Halacha, 430 ; illustrative or Haggada, 

431 ; allegorical or Sodh, 432 ; Cabala or mystic, 432 ; literal or Peshat, 433. 
Hellenistic interpretation, 434 ; allegorical method of Philo, 434 ; rules of 

allegory, 435. 
Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New Testament, 436 ; Jesus' use of 

the Halacha, 437 ; of Haggada, 438 ; of the Sodh, 438 ; Jesus' characteristic 

methods, 441 ; methods of the apostles, 443. 


Interpretation of the Fathers and of the Schoolmen, 447 ; TertuUian, 447 ; 
Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, 448 ; Tj-chonius' rules, 449 ; Augustine's 
rules, 449 ; Antiochan school, 451 ; tradition and ecclesiastical authority, 
453; Epitomes, Postiles, Glosses, 454 ; Lyra, 454; Council of Trent, 455. 

Interpretation of the Reformers and their successors, 456 ; Erasmus and Tyn- 
dale. 456 ; the Protestant principle, 457 ; the scholastics, 458. 

The Interpretation of the Puritan and Arminians, 459 ; Cartwright, 459 ; Ball, 
460; Westminster Confession, 461; Leigh, 462 ; Francis Roberts, 464 ; Fed- 
eral school, 466 ; Pietism, 467 ; Grotius, Hammond, and John Taylor, 468. 

Biblical interpretation of modem times, 469 ; Eruesti, 469 ; Semler, 469 ; the 
grammatico-historical method, 470 ; Schleiermacher and the organic method, 
471 ; the method of interpretation of Scripture as the history of redemption, 



Grammatical interpretation. 474 ; philological study, 474 ; great improvement in 

knowledge of Biblical languages, 475. 
Logical and rhetorical interpretation, 476 ; laws of thought, 476 ; logic of Bibli- 
cal authors, 477 ; Biblical rhetoric, 478. 
Historical ijiterpretation, 478 ; mistakes of supernaturalism, 479 ; tradition versus 

history, 479. 
Comparative interpretation, 480 ; mistakes of rationalists, 480 ; unity in variety, 

The literature of interpretation, 481 ; magnitude of the literature, 481 ; consent 

of the fathers, 481 ; bondage to the theologians, 482. 
Doctrinal interpretation, 483 ; the rule of faith, 483 ; the analogy of faith in the 

substance of Holy Scripture, 483. 
Practical interpretation, 484 ; the Bible a book of life, 484 ; Holy Spirit the 

supreme interpreter, 485. 


The use of Biblical History prior to the sixteenth century, 487 ; Josephus, 487 ; 
Tatian, Hegcsippus, and Julius Africanu.s, 488 ; Eusebius. 489 ; Sulpicius 
Severus and Augustine, 489 ; Rudolf of Saxony, 489. 

Study of Biblical History in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 489 ; Har- 
monies, 490 ; archseological writers, 490. 

Study of Biblical History in the eighteenth century, 490 ; conflict of supernatu- 
ralists with Deism, Atheism, and Rationalism, 490 ; mediating efforts, 491 

Biblical History in the nineteenth century, 491 ; Heixler ami Eichhorn, 491 ; 
Deists and Thomas Payne, 492. 

The mythical hypothesis, 493 ; DeWette and G. L. Baur, 493 ; Strauss. 493 ; 
Ullmann, 405 ; failure of mythical hypothesis, 496. 


The legendary hypothesis, 497 ; Renan, 497 ; failure of the legendary hypothe- 
sis, 498. 

The development hypothesis, 498 ; F. C. Baur and Vatke, 498 ; schools of Baur 
and Neander, 499 ; Ritsehl, 500 ; Haruack, 500 ; criticism of tlie school of 
Ritschl, 503 ; Ewald, 504 ; Wellhausen, 504 ; Stade, Kittel, and Kent, 504 ; 
Graetz and Jost, 505. 

Advance in several departments of Biblical History, 505 ; the rise of contem- 
porary history, .505 ; Schneckenberger and Bertheau, 505 ; more recent 
studies in Oriental archaeology, 506 ; unscientific methods of Sayce and 
Hommel, 506 ; Robinson, the father of modern Biblical geography, 507 ; 
Biblical geography since Robinson, 507. 

The results of historical criticism, 508 ; defects of the older histories, 509 ; a 
new Biblical History, 510. 


Genesis of historical material, 511 ; illustrated from Biblical chronology, 512 ; 

from the history of the chronicler, 513 ; from naming of Saint Peter, 514 ; 

from speaking -with tongues at Pentecost, 517. 
Grenuineness of historical material, 519 ; illustrated in question of the historicity 

of Daniel, 519 ; of erroneous historical statements, 520 ; rashness in finding 

errors, 521 ; the myth, 521 ; Arabic gospel of infancy, 522 ; the virgin birth 

not a myth, 522 ; legends, 527 ; used in the epistles, 527 ; in the Gospels, 527. 
Reliability of historical material, 529 ; illustrated by the story of the Deluge, 

529 ; Water from the Rock, 529 ; Census of Quirinius, 530. 
The Aim of Historical Criticism, 531 ; removal of erroneous traditions, 531 ; the 

recovery of historic truth and fact, 532. 


The Scope of Biblical History, 533 ; Biblical histories, 533 ; History contained 
in other Holy Scriptures, 533. 

Contemporary History, 534 ; of the ancient empires, 534 ; of New Testament 
times, 534. 

The History of Israel, 535 ; part of L^niversal History, 535 ; other nations guided 
by Providence, 537. 

Biblical History proper, 538 ; the types of Biblical History, 538 ; the theophanic 
presence, 542 ; the kingdom of redemption, 547 ; divine fatherly discipline, 
549 ; sovereignty of the Holy God, 550. 

The Order of Biblical History, 553 ; History of the Old Covenant and New Cov- 
enant, 553 ; Moses, David, Ezra, 553 ; Forerunners of Christ, Christ, and 
his Apostles, 553. 

Sections of Biblical History, 554 ; Biblical chronology and geography, 554 ; Bib- 
lical archaeology, 554. 


Sources of Biblical History, 555 ; mytbical sources, 557 ; legendary sources, 558 ; 

poetical sources, 559 ; ancient laws, 5G0 ; documentary sources, 563. 
The Historic Imagination, 564. 


The four types of theology, 569 ; the mystic, 570 ; the scholastic, 570 ; the 

speculative, 571 ; the practical, 571 ; the comprehensive catholic, 571 ; 

mingling of types, 572. 
Rise of Biblical Theology, 575 ; Zacharia and Ammon, 575 ; distinguished from 

dogmatics, 575 ; Gabler, 576 ; De Wette and Von Coin, 578 ; the historical 

principle, 576. 
Development of Biblical Theologj', 578 ; Strauss, 578 ; F. C. Baur, 578 ; theory 

of Jewish Christian, and PartUne parties, 578 ; Neander's theory of types, 

579 ; Schmid assigned Biblical Theology to Esegetical Theology, 579 ; Reuss 

and Lutterbeck set Biblical Theology in the midst of the religious ideas of 

the times, 583 ; Kuenen and Wellhausen, 585 ; recent investigations, 587 ; 

younger Ritschlians, 589. 
The Idea of Biblical Theology, 592 ; limited to canonical writings, 592 ; not a 

history of religion in Biblical times, 593 ; how related to Dogmatics. 594 ; 

the ethical element, 597 ; the element of religion, 597 ; the theology of the 

Bible in its historic formation, 598. 
The place of Biblical Theology, 599 ; not a part of Biblical Historj', 599 ; the 

highest section of the study of the Bible, 600 ; the fundamental source of all 

other divisions of Theology, COl. 
Methods of Biblical Theology, 601 ; the genetic method, 601 ; the inductive 

method, 602 ; the unity and variety, 602 ; blending of methods, 603. 
System of Biblical Theology, 603 ; the covenant the dominant principle, 604 ; 

iistoric divisions, 604 ; synthetic divisions, 604 ; the several types, 606. 


Dogmatic theory of the infallibility of the Bible, 007 ; need of a reconstruction 
of the doctrine of tlie Bible, 607. 

The Bible and other sacred books, 608 ; errors in sacred books, 608 ; mistake of 
depreciating them, 609 ; their excellent features not derived frouii the Bible, 

Science and the Bible, 612 ; Bible subject to the criticism of Science, 613 ; Bible 
does not teach Science. 614 ; scientific errors do not destroy credibility, 614. 

The Canon and Inerrancy, 615; the question of errors in the original autographs, 
615 ; Canon is independent of the question of the autographs, 616 ; auto- 
graphs of authors and of editors, 618 ; autographs neglected by early Jews 
and Christians, 020. 


Textual criticism and credibility, 621 ; errors in best texts obtainable, 621 ; no 
infallibility of vowel points or script, 621 ; the divine authority in transla- 
tions, 622 ; no stress to be laid on external letter of Scripture, 623 ; textual 
form not infallible, 624. 

The Higher Criticism and credibility, 627 ; traditional errors as to literattire, 627 ; 
inconsistencies due to variation of sources and authors, 628 ; literary form 
not infallible, 629. 

Historical Criticism and credibility, 631 ; discrepancies, 631 ; errors in sources, 
631 ; historical form not infallible, 632 ; infallibility in substance of divine 
teaching as to religion, faith, and morals, 633. 



Is the Bible the Word of Grod ? 634 ; it cannot be assumed but must be proved. 
634 ; essential truthfulness consistent with circtmistantial errors, 635 ; human 
medium of revelation, 635 ; providential superintendence not inspiration, 

Must God speak inerrant words to men ? 637 ; argument from the Book of 
nature, 637 ; from theophanies, 638 ; from psychology and pedagogy. 638 ; 
from the methods of Jesus. 639 ; Bible inerrant onlj' in its religious instruc- 
tion. 640. 

Gradual development of the Hebrew religion, 641 ; burnt-offerings of human 
beings, 641 ; sacrificial system, 642 ; laws of ceremonial sanctity, 643 ; in- 
stitutions of Israel elementary, 643. 

Gradual development of morality, 643 ; laws sufficient for the time, 643 ; but 
inadequate for a later age, 644 ; the ethics of falsehood, 644; the spirit of 
revenge, 644 ; Mosaic law of divorce, 645 ; the temporary and the eternal, 
645 ; ethics of Jesus, 645. 

Gradualness of Biblical doctrine. G46 ; doctrine of God, 646 ; vindictiveness, 646 ; 
anthropomorphisms. 647 ; doctrine of man, 647 ; doctrine of redemption, 
647 ; messianic ideals, 648 ; future life, 648 ; inadequateness of form, infal- 
libility of substance, 649. 


Redemption by the grace of God, 651; the principles of the Reformation in their 
harmony, 6.52. 

The Gospel in Holy Scripture, 6.52 ; relations of faith to Holy Scripttire, 652 ; 
relation of grace to Holy Scripture, 653 ; exaltation of the person of Christ, 
654 ; organic work of the Divine Spirit in the Church, 654. 


The Grace of God in Holy Scripture, 654 ; Scripture contains the Gospel of Sal- 
vation, 665 ; contains the redemption offered and applied in Christ, 656 ; 
grace of regeneration, 657 ; of sanctiiication, 658. 

The efficac}- of Holy Scripture, 659 ; not ez opere operato, 660 ; dynamic in the 
experience of man, 660. 

The appropriation of the Grace of Holy Scripture, 660 ; attention, 661 ; faith, 
665 ; practice, 668. 


Texts of Holy Scripture, 671. 
Books, Authors, and Subjects, 679. 





1. Biblical Study is the most important of till studies, for 
it is the study of the Word of God, which contains a divine 
revelation of redemption to the world. Nowhere else can such 
a redemption be found save where it has been derived from this 
fountain source or from those sacred persons, institutions, and 
events presented to us in the Bible. The Bible is the chief 
source of the Christian religion. Christian theology, and Chris- 
tian life. While other secondary and subsidiary sources may 
be used to advantage in connection with this principal source, 
they cannot dispense with it. For the Bible contains the reve- 
lation of redemption ; the Messiah and His kingdom are the 
central theme ; its varying contents lead by myriads of paths 
in converging lines to the throne of the God of grace. The 
Bible is the sure way of life, wisdom, and blessedness. 

'1. Biblical Study is the most extensive of all studies, for its 
themes are the central themes which are inextricably entwined 
in all knowledge. Into its channels every other study pours 
its supply as all the brooks and rivers flow into the ocean. The 
study of the Bible is a study for men of every class and every 
occupation in life, for all the world. No profound scholar in 
any department of investigation can avoid the Bible. Sooner 
or later his special studies will lead him tliither. The Bible 
is an ocean of heavenly wisdom. The little child may sport 
upon its shores and derive instruction and delight. The most 
accomplished scholar finds its vast extent and mysterious 
depths beyond liis grasp. 


We open the Bible and on its earliest pages are confronted 
with the story of the origin of the world, the creation of man, 
and the problem of evil. The biblical histories present, in 
brief yet impressive outlines, the struggle of good and evil, 
the strife of tribes and nations, and, above all, the interplay 
of divine and human forces, showing that a divine plan of the 
world is unfolding. The springs of human action, the secrets 
of human experience and motive, are disclosed in the measures 
of psalm and proverb. The character, attributes, and pur- 
poses of God are unveiled in the strains of holy prophets. The 
union of God and man in redemption is displayed in the prog- 
ress of its literature. Two great covenants divide the plan 
of redemption into the old covenant and the new. The former 
presents us instructions which are a marvel of righteousness, 
sacredness, and love ; institutions that are symmetrical and 
grand, combining, as nowhere else, the real and the ideal, — 
the light and guide to Israel bearing on to the new covenant. 
In the latter the jNIessiah presents His achievements of redemp- 
tion in which are stored up the forces which have shaped the 
Christian centuries, and the secrets of the everlasting future. 
All the sciences and arts, all the literatures and histories, all 
the philosophies and religions of the world, gather about the 
Bible to make contribution to its study and derive help from 
its instruction. A student of the Bible needs encyclopiedic 
knowledge. The Bible will never be mastered in all its parts 
until it is set in the midst of universal knowledge. It comes 
from the Supreme Wisdom, and it can be comprehended only 
by those who have attained the heights of wisdom. 

3. Biblical Study is the most profound of all studies, for 
it has to do with the secrets of life and death, of God and man, 
of this world and other worlds. Its central contents are divine 
revelations. These came from God to man because man could 
not ivttain them otherwise. Even those contents of the Bible 
that are not revealed, are colored and shaped by the revelations 
with which they are connected. All study which goes beyond 
the surface soon reaches the mysterious. There are mau}'^ 
mysteries that patient and persistent investigation has solved ; 
others are in process of solution ; still others future study maj- 


be able to solve. But the mysteries revealed in the Bible are 
those which man had not been able to attain by inductive and 
deductive investigation, and which it is improbable that he 
could have attained without special divine guidance, at least at 
the time that that knowledge was necessary for the progress 
of mankind at the stage in his historical development when the 
revelation was given. When the study of the other depart- 
ments of human learning has reached their uttermost limits, 
there still remains a wide expanse between those limits and the 
contents of divine revelation, which man cannot cross by his 
own unaided powers. Divine revelation is to the other depart- 
ments of human knowledge what heaven is to earth. It is above 
them, it encircles them, and it envelops them on every side. 
Like heaven, it discloses illimitable heights and breadths. 
Those things which are revealed lift the student of the Bible 
to regions of knowledge that reach forth to the infinite. And 
yet profound as the divine revelation is, it is simple. It is like 
the sunlight bearing its own evidence in itself. It is like the 
blue vault of heaven clear and bright. It is a revelation for 
babes as well as men, for the simple as well as the learned. 
God sendeth it as the rain on the just and the unjust, for " He 
is kind unto the unthankful and the evil." ■* The most profound 
study cannot master it. Any attentive study of it is rewarded 
with precious knowledge. 

4. Biblical Study is the most attractive of all studies. No- 
where else is there so great a variety in unity. The Literature 
of the Bible has been carefullj' selected out of a vastly greater 
extent of Literature by the taste of God's people in many suc- 
cessive generations, each one adding its approval to that of 
its predecessors. This taste determined that which was given 
for the permanent blessing of mankind and discriminated the 
writings gathered in the Bible from others which were tempo- 
rary, local, and provisional in their character. The wise 
guidance of the Divine Spirit on the one hand and the recogni- 
tion of excellence by God's people on the other hand, co-worked 
to produce Holy Scripture. 

In the Bible there is a wonderful variety of topic, covering 

1 Mt. 515 . Lk. 685. 


the whole field of Theology, that divine science which embraces 
and absorbs all human knowledge. In the Bible there is a 
marvellous richness of material combining in one organic whole 
the sublime and the beautiful in God, in man, in nature, and 
in the interrelation of God with man and nature. In the Bible 
there is an extraordinary wealth of literar}' form and style, 
representing the thinking and the emotions of manj' genera- 
tions ; composed in three of the greatest languages used as 
the vehicle of communion of man with man. 

In the Bible there is a magnificent unity and variety in 
history. Nowhere else are the generations of mankind so 
linked together. In the Bible the hearts of the fathers are 
turned to the children, and the hearts of the children to the 
fathers.! Though the Jewish people constitute the central 
nucleus of this marvellous stor}^ they are not the whole of it. 
They are the centre of a story which is as wide as humanitj' 
and whose circumference is the creation of God. 

The Bible is as various as human life is various. It is in- 
teresting to the child, it attracts the peasant, it charms the 
prince, it absorbs the sage. It is the Book of love, salvation, 
and glor}"^ for all the world. 

Obstacles to the Study of Holy Scripture 

The Bible is designed for the blessing of all mankind. But 
all have not enjoyed its benefits ; partlj' because those who have 
the Bible in their possession have not made it known to their 
fellow-men as they were commissioned to do bj' our Saviour ; ^ 
and partly because they have made the Bible known only so 
far as they understood it, or they supposed that their fellow- 
men were able to receive it. If they have given it to others 
at all, it has been in such bits of it as the teachers were able 
to explain to their humble and obedient pupils. Even in 
Christian lands, where the Bible ma}' easil}' be found, there 
are few who experience its ideal advantages. Too many re- 
ligious teachers, in mistaken zeal, are so anxious to guard the 
sanctity of the Bible tliat they refrain from opening its treas- 
1 Mai. 4«. » Mk. 16«. 


ures to the free use of the people. Other teachers in all 
generations perpetuate the work of the Pharisees and obtrude 
their theories and speculations upon the Bible, making the 
Word of God of none effect through their traditions; they take 
away the key of knowledge ; they enter not in themselves, and 
them that are entering in they hinder. ^ If the Bible has been 
withheld from the people by Roman priests, obstacles to the 
study of the Bible have been erected in the path of students 
by Protestant ministers. It would be a happy result if each 
could so expose the sin and guilt of the other as to induce both 
to bring forth fruits meet for repentance and to render entire 
obedience to the commission of Christ. 

1. The Study of the Bible is most commonly obstructed 
among Protestants by BibJioJatry. 

The Bible has been hedged about with awe as if the use of 
it, except in solemn circumstances and with special and pre- 
scribed devotional feelings, was a sin against the Holy Spirit. 
Men have been kept from the Bible as from the holy sacraments 
by dread of the serious consequences involved in any fault in 
their use. The Bible has been made an unnatural and unreal 
book, by attaching it exclusively to hours of devotion, and 
detaching it from the experiences of ordinary life. The study 
of the Bible will inevitably lead to holy and devout thoughts, 
will surely bring the student to the presence of God and His 
Christ, and will certainly secure the guidance of the Spirit of 
God. But it is a sad mistake to suppose that the Bible can be 
approached only in special frames of mind and with peculiar 
devotional preparation. It is not to be covered as with a fune- 
real pall and laid away for hours of sorrow and affliction. It 
is not to be placed upon an altar and its use reserved for hours 
of public or private worship. It is not to be regarded with 
feelings of bibliolatry.^ It is not to be used as a book of magic, 

> Mt. 15«; Mk. 7"; Lk. 11^; Col. 28. 

* It is noteworthy that the most radical Protestants, those who are most bitter 
in their denunciation of the adoration of the Holy Sacrament by such of their 
fellow-Christians as believe in the real substantial presence of our Lord therein, 
are the ver)" ones who are most inclined to Bibliolatry. It is certainly no easier 
to think that our Saviour should dwell between the covers of a book than that 
He .should be resident for a time in the bread of the Holy Communion. 


as if it had the mysterious power of determining all questions at 
the opening of the book.^ It is not to be used as a cabalistic 
book, to determine from its words and letters, the structure of its 
sentences, mysterious guidance for the initiated alone. ^ It is not 
to be used as an astrologer's horoscope, to discover from its won- 
drous symbolism, through seeming coincidences, the fulfilment 
of biblical prophecy in the events transpiring round about us or 
impending over us. The Bible is no such book as this. It is 
a book of life, a real book, a people's book. It is a blessed means 
of grace when used in devotional hours, — it has also holy les- 
sons and beauties of thought and sentiment for hours of leisure 
and recreation. It appeals to the gesthetic and intellectual 
as well as moral and spii-itual faculties, the whole man in his 
whole life. Familiarity with the Bible is to be encouraged. 
It vnll not decrease, but rather enhance the reverence with 
whicli we ought to approach tlie Holy God in His Word. The 
Bible takes its place among the masterpieces of the world's 
literature. The use of it as such no more interferes with 
devotion than the beauty and gi-andeur of architecture and 
music prevent the adoration of God in the worship of a cathe- 
dral. Rather the varied forms of beauty, truth, and goodness 
displayed in the Bible will conspire to bring us to Him who is 
the centre and inspiration of them all. 

2. The Study of the Bible is obstructed by sectarian partisan- 
ship. A sin against the Bible is often committed by the indis- 
criminate use of proof texts in dogmatic assertion and debate. 
These texts are hurled against one another by zealous partisans 
in controversy with such differences and inconsistency of inter- 
pretation as to excite the disgust of all openminded persons. 
It has become a proverb that anything can be proved from the 
Bible. Then again the Bible is too often used as a text-book 
of abstract definitions giving absolute truth. The' Protestant 
Reformers threw aside the authority of the Church as the in- 

1 There are many sad instances of this misuse of the Bible. Doubtless there 
are cases in which there has apjiareutly been good guidance, but there are others 
in which men and women liavc been misled to the ruin of themselves and other 
people. This method of resnrtiiis to a divine oracle is less likely to lead to faith 
and holiness than to disappoiiitniL-nt. di.strust of God. and eventual unbelief. 

•^ See Chap. XVIII. p. 4.32, for this method of using the Old Te.stament. 


fallible interpreter of the Bible and refused to submit to the 
interpretation of the Fathers of the Church as final. They 
asserted tlie right of private judgment for themselves and 
others. But their successors established a Protestant rule of 
faith which became as tyrannical over private judgment as 
Roman tradition had ever been. Over against these abuses, we 
maintain that the Bible was not made for ecclesiastical dogma- 
ticians and lawyers, but for the people of God. It gives the 
concrete in the forms and methods of literature. Its state- 
ments are ordinarily relative ; they depend ujjon the context in 
which they are imbedded, the scope of the author's argument, 
his peculiar point of view, his type of thought, his literary 
style, his position in the unfolding of divine revelation. There 
are occasional passages so pregnant with meaning that they 
seem to present, as it were, the quintessence of the wliole 
Bible. Such texts were called by Luther little bibles. But 
ordinai'ily, the texts can be properly understood only in their 
context. To detach them from their place and use them as if 
they stood alone, and deduce from them all that the words and 
sentences may be constrained to give, as absolute statements, is 
an abuse of logic and the Bible. Such a use of other books 
would be open to the charge of misrepresentation. Such a 
use of the Bible is an adding unto the Word of God new mean- 
ings and a taking away from it the true meaning. Against 
this we are warned by the Bible itself.^ Deduction, inference, 
and application may be used within due bounds, but they 
must always be based upon a correct apprehension of the 
text and context of the passage. These processes should be 
conducted with great caution, lest in transferring the thought 
to new conditions and circumstances, there be an insensible 
assimilation first of its form and then of its content to these 
conditions and circumstances, and it become so transformed 
as to lose its biblical character and become a tradition of man. 
It is a melancholy feature of Biblical Study that so much 
attention must be given to the removal of the rubbish of 
traditional misconceptions and misinterpretations that has been 
heaped upon the Word of God continually just as in the times 
' Rev. 22"'- '". 


of Jesus. The Bible is like an oasis in a desert. Eternal 
vigilance and unceasing activitj- are necessary to prevent the 
sands from encroaching upon it and overwhelming its fertile 
soil and springs of water. 

The Bible was given to us in the forms of the world's litera- 
ture, and its meaning is to be determined by the reader as he 
determines the meaning of other literature by the same princi- 
ples of exegesis. It is a Protestant principle that the Word 
of God should be given to the people in their own familiar 
tongue with the right of private judgment in its interjiretation. 
It is a corollary of this principle that thej- be taught that 
it is to be understood in a natural sense, as other writings 
are understood. The right of private judgment is debased 
when partisanship determines that judgment and when secta- 
rianism perverts it. The Bible was not given to sustain the 
partisan or to uphold the sect ; but to teach the Truth of God 
and to guide in the holy life. The right of private judgment 
implies the right to seek the Truth in the Bible and the dut}' 
to teach that Truth without fear or favour. Any unnatural 
and artificial interpretation of the Bible bears its own condem- 
nation in itself. The saving truths of Scripture can be " sav- 
ingly understood " only through the illumination of the Sjiirit 
of God,i but this is not for the reason that they are not 
sufficiently plain and intelligible, or that some special princi- 
ples of interpretation are needed of a bibliolatrous, scholastic, 
or cabalistic sort ; it is owing to the fact that in order to 
salvation they must be applied to the soul of man by a divine 
agent, and appropriated by the faith of the heart and the 
practice of the life. 

3. The Study of the Bible has been greatly hindered by the 
use of it as an obstruction to progress in knowledge and in life. 
The craving for place and power is felt by self-willed men in 
all ages and in all callings. The Church has not been able to 
keep itself free from such ambitions. Ecclesiastical domina- 
tion is the worst kind of domination, because it is so contrary 
to the ideal of the Church and tiie example of Christ. And 
yet in every generation men arise who claim to be the cham- 

' Westminster Ci»)fi'ssioH. I. 0. See pp. 485 spq. 


pions of orthodoxy ami tlie guardians of ecclesiastical autlioritj'. 
They assert the authority of the Church and hold up texts from 
the Bible as the supreme test of every new thing that is pro- 
posed for the improvement of mankind. They presume to 
oppose the discoveries of science, the researches of philosophy, 
the unfolding of theology into fresher and better statements, 
the improvement of religious life and work, and even the 
deeper and more thorough study of the Bible, by holding 
up isolated texts and insisting on antiquated interpretations. 
Nearly every profound thinker, since the days of Socrates, has 
been obliged to pause in his work and defend himself, like 
the apostle Paul, against these "dogs" and "evil workers.""^ 
Galileo was silenced by- the quoting of the Bible against the 
Copernican theoi-y of the revolution of the earth around the sun.^ 
Descartes had to defend his orthodoxy. The enemies of the 
critical philosophy of Kant charged that no critic who fol- 
lowed out the consequences of his positions could be a good 
man, a good citizen, or a good Christian.^ 

The results of Geology have been ojjjDosed by those who in- 
sist that the world was made in six days of twenty-four hours. 
Biology has to fight its way against those who affirm that the 
doctrine of development is against the Scriptures. Such use 
of the Bible has too often the effect of driving scholars away 
from it, and especially from the Old Testament, the most abused 
part of it.* 

Every advance in the study of the Bible has been confronted 
by these enemies of the truth. The investigation of the Canon, 
Textual Criticism, the Higher Criticism, Historical Criticism, 
Biblical Theology, all these departments had to fight for exist- 

1 Phil. 32. 

2 White, History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. 
N. Y. 1896. Vol. I. pp. 130 seq. 

•■* These points are discussed by Krug, Ueher das Verhdltniss der ICritisrhen 
Phihisiiphie zur moralischen, politischen und religiiisen Kultxir der Mensrhcn. 
Jena, 1708. 

* " The fact is therefore indisputable, that theologians have liandled Scripture 
on such faulty principles, that they have laid down as truths indisputably divine 
a number of dogmas which have brought revelation into direct collision with 
some of the greatest discoveries of modern science, and that after having, on 
their enunciation, denounced tliem as incon-sistent with the belief that 
Scripture contains the record of a divine revelation, they have been compelled to 


ence, and then, after they had won their right to exist, have 
the still more difficult battle to wage against those hypocritical 
and traitorous companions who make a show of using the prin- 
ciples and methods of the scientific study of the Bible, either 
for the purpose of discrediting them, or else as advocates and 
partisans of traditional and sectarian opinions. The history 
of all these combats is the same. The theological Bourbons 
never learn anything from past defeats. They z-epeat the same 
obstructive methods, and, when defeated, make the same insin- 
cere apologies. The race of time-servers continues to propa- 
gate itself from age to age. They alwaj'S take the via media 
and lean to the traditional side. They alwaj-s encourage the 
traditionalists, and obstr:uct faithful biblical scholars. And so 
the combat goes on.^ The Divine Spirit leads into all the truth 
in spite of every obstacle erected by Christian dogmaticians 
and ecclesiastical assemblies. The later theologians correct 
the earlier theologians, and later ecclesiastical assemblies al- 
waj"s eveutuall}' give their voice on the side of the Truth of 

But it is ever necessary for the friends of truth and of prog- 
accept them as unquestionable verities. Moreover, the general distrust arising 
from failures of this kind has been intensified by the pertinacity with which 
theologians have clung to various unsound positions which they have only 
abandoned when further resistance had become impossible. The history of the 
conflict between Science and Revelation is full of such instances, and the con- 
sequences have been disastrous in the extreme." — C. A. Row, Revelation and 
Modern Theology Contrasted. London, 1883. p. 7. 

1 " The newer thought moved steadily on. As already in Protestant Europe, 
so now in the Protestant churches of America, it took strong hold on the fore- 
most minds in many of the churches known as orthodox : Toy, Briggs, Francis 
Brown, Evans, Preserved Smith, Moore, Haupt, Harper, Peters, and Bacon de- 
veloped it, and, though most of them were opposed bitterly by synods, councils, 
and other authorities of their respective churches, thej- were manfully supported 
by the more intellectual clergy and laity. The greater universities of the coun- 
try ranged themselves on the side of these men ; pereecution but intrenched 
them more firmly in the hearts of all intelligent well-wishers of Christianity. 
The triumphs won by their opponents in assemblies, synods, conventions, and 
conferences were really victories for the nominally defeated, since they revealed 
to the world the fact that in each of these bodies the strong and fruitful thought 
of the Church, the thought which alone can have any hold on the future, was 
with the new race of thinkers ; no theological triumphs more surely fatal to the 
victors have been won since the Vatican defeated Copernicus and Galileo." 
— White, History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 
Vol. II. p. 370. 


ress in the Church to oppose and to overcome obstructionists. 
It is the duty of all lovers of the Bible to break up the super- 
stitions that cluster about it, to expose the false polemic use of 
its texts, to prevent dogmaticians from using it as an obstacle 
to progress in civilization, and to show that it favours all truth 
and every form of scholarly investigation. The Bible is an 
honest book in all its parts, — it is the Word of God, and every 
sincere disciple of wisdom will find in its pages not only the 
real and the highest truth, but will be stimulated and encour- 
aged to press forward under the guidance of the Holy Spirit 
unto all truth.i 

The design of this book is to set forth the principles and 
methods of the Study of Holy Scripture, to describe its depart- 
ments, and to give sketches of their history. It is proposed, 
first of all, to survey the whole field, and then to examine in 
more detail the several departments. We shall aim to explain 
the true uses of the Bible and show throughout that Biblical 
Study is, as we have claimed, the most important, extensive, 
profound, and attractive of all studies. 

1 John 16». 



The general term for the various departments of the Study 
of Holy Scripture as given in most Theological EncyclopEedias 
is Exegetical Theolegj-. Exegetical Theology is one of the 
four grand divisions of Theological Science. It is related to 
the other divisions, as the primary and fundamental discij)line 
upon which they depend, and from which they derive their chief 
materials. Exegetical Theology is not an appropriate term for 
the stud}' of the Bible, especially as that study is now under- 
stood. For the exegetical study of the Bible, although an im- 
portant section of Biblical Study, is far from being the whole 
of it. And the work of exegesis is just as important in the 
study of the sources of Church Historj', or the sources of any 
other study. No one can study the Bible thoroughly and com- 
pletely without the use of the historical method and without 
also the systematic organization of his material, and the prac- 
tical use of it. We shall use for oui- purpose, therefore, the 
simpler term Study of Holy Scripture. 

This study is limited to the Holy Scripture itself and to 
those auxiliary departments, which are in essential relation to 
it. It has to do with the Sacred Scriptures, their origin, his- 
tory, character, exposition, doctrines, and guidance in life. It 
is true that the other branches of theology have lik-ewise to do 
with the sacred writings, in that their chief material is derived 
therefrom, but they differ from the study we now have in view, 
not only in their methods of using this material, but likewise 
in the fact, that they do not themselves search out and gather 
this material directly from the lioly writings, but depend upon 
the more particular Study of Holy Scripture therefor. Church 


History traces the development of that material as the deter- 
mining element in the historj- of the Church of God ; Dogmatic 
Theology arranges that material in the form most appropriate 
for systematic study, for attack and defence, in accordance with 
the needs of the age ; Practical Theology directs that material 
to the conversion of the people, and training them in the holy 
life. Thus the whole of theology depends upon the study 
of Holy Scripture, and unless this department be thoroughly 
wrought out and established, the whole theological structure 
will be weak and frail, and it will be found, in the critical 
houi', resting on the shifting sands of human opinion and prac- 
tice, rather than on the immovable rock of Divine Truth. 

The Study of Holy Scripture is all the more important, that 
each age has its own peculiar phase or department of truth 
to elaborate in the theological conception and in the life. 
Unless, therefore, theologj' freshens its life by ever-repeated 
draughts from Holy Scripture, it will be unequal to the tasks 
imposed upon it. It will not solve the problems of the 
thoughtful, dissolve the doubts of the cautious, or disarm the 
objections of the enemies of the truth. History will not do 
so with her experience, unless she grasp the torch of divine 
revelation, wliich alone can illuminate the future and clear up 
the dark places of the present and the past. Dogmatic The- 
ology will not satisfy the demands of the age if she appear 
in the worn-out armour or antiquated costume of former gen- 
erations. She must beat out for herself a new suit of armour 
from biblical material which is ever new ; she must weave to 
herself a fresh and sacred costume of doctrine from the Scrip- 
tures which never disappoint the requirements of mankind ; 
and thus armed and equipped with the weapons of the Living 
One, she will prove them quick and powerful, convincing and 
invincible, in her training of the disciple, and her conflicts with 
the infidel and heretic. And so Practical Theology will never 
be able to convert the world to Christ, and sanctify the Church, 
without ever renewing its life from the biblical fountain. The 
pure, noble, and soul-satisfying truths of God's Word must 
so pervade our liturgy, hymnology, catechetical instruction, 
pastoral work and preaching, as to supply the necessities of 


the age, foi- •• man shall not live by bread alone, but by every 
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."'^ 

The history of the Cliurch, and Christian experience, have 
shown that in so far as the other branches of theology have 
separated themselves from this fundamental discipline, and in 
proportion to the neglect to study Holy Scripture, the Church 
has fallen into a dead orthodoxy of scholasticism, has lost its 
hold upon the masses of mankind, so that, with its foundations 
undermined, it has yielded but feeble resistance to the onsets 
of infidelity. And it has ever been that the reformation or 
revival has come through the resort to the sacred oracles, and 
the reoi-ganization of a freshly stated body of doctrine, and 
fresh methods of evangelization derived therefrom. We thus 
have reason to thank God that heresj' and unbelief so often 
drive us to our citadel, the Sacred Scriptures, and force us 
back to the impregnable fortress of Divine Truth, so that, 
depending no longer merely upon human weapons and defences, 
we may use rather the divine. Thus we reconquer all that 
may have been lost through the slackness and incompetence 
of those who have been more anxious for the old ways than 
for strength of position and solid truth, and by new enterprises 
we advance a stage onward in our victorious progress toward 
the End. Our adversaries may overthrow our systems of 
theology, our confessions and catechisms, our local church 
organizations and methods of work, for these are, after all, 
human productions, the hastily thrown up outworks of the 
truth ; but they can never contend successfully against the 
Word of God that liveth and abideth,^ which, though the heavens 
fall and the earth pass away, will not fail in one jot or tittle 
from the most complete fulfilment,^ which will shine in new 
beauty and glory as its parts are one by one searchingly ex- 
amined, and which will prove itself not only invincible, but 
all-conquering, as point after point is most hotly contested. 
We are assured that at last it will claim universal obedience as 
the pure and faultless mirror of Him who is Himself tlie efful- 
gence of the Father's glory and the very image of His substance.* 

1 Deut. 8» ; Mt. 4<. « 1 Pet. l^". » Mt. 5". 

* 2 Cor. 3" ; Heb. 1». See Briggs, Messiah of Apostles, p. 244. 


It is an important characteristic of the Reformed churches 
that they give the Sacred Scriptures such a fundamental posi- 
tion in their confessions and catechisms, and lay so much stress 
upon the so-called /o/-»ia^ principle of the Protestant Reforma- 
tion. Thus in both Helvetic confessions and in the Westmin- 
ster confession they constitute the first article,^ while in the 
Heidelberg and Westminster catechisms they are placed at the 
foundation — in the former as the source of our knowledge of 
sin and misery and of salvation ; ^ in the latter, as dividing the 
catechism into two parts, teaching " what man is to believe con- 
cerning God, and what duty God requires of man " ; ^ and the 
English Articles of Religion lay down the principle of the An- 
glican Church that : " Holy Scripture containeth all things neces- 
sary to salvation : so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor 
may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that 
it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought 
requisite or necessary to salvation."* 

The Study of Holy Scripture being thus, according to its 
idea, the fundamental theological discipline, and all-important as 
the fruitful source of theology, it must be thoroughly elabora- 
ted in all its parts according to exact and well-defined scientific 
methods. The methods proper to the discipline are the syn- 
thetic and the historical, the relative importance of which is con- 
tested. The importance of the historical method is so great that 
not a few have regarded the discipline, as a whole, as at once a 
primary division of Historical Theology. The examination of the 
biblical sources, the Sacred Writings, being of the same essential 
character as the examination of other historical documents, they 
should be considered simply as the sources of Biblical History, 
and thus the writings themselves would be most apjjropriately 
treated under a history of Biblical Literature, and the doctrines 
under a history of Biblical Doctrine.^ But the sacred writings 
arc not merely sources of historical information ; they are tlie 

1 Xiemeyer, Colleetio Confess., pp. 115,467 ; Schaff, Creeds of CItristi'ndom, 
1877, III. pp. 211, 2.37. 2 Quest, iii. xL\. 

^ Larger Catechism, v. ; Shorter Catechism, Quest, iii. * Art. VI. 

^ Compare the author's articles on Biblical Theology, American Presbyterian 
Rpvieic. 1870. pp. ]22 seq., and Presbyterian Jieview, .Tuly, 1882, pp. OO.*! seq., .and 
Chap. XXIII. of this volume. 


sources of the Faith to be believed aud the morals to be prac- 
tised b}" all the world ; they are of everlasting value as the sum 
total of sacred doctrine and teaching for mankind, being not 
only for the past, but for the present and the future, as God's 
Hoi}- Word to the human race, so that their value as historical 
documents becomes entirely subordinate to their value as a 
canon of Holy Scripture, the norm and rule of faith and life. 
Hence the synthetic method must predominate over the histori- 
cal, as the proper exegetical method, and induction rule in all 
departments of the work ; for it is the office of our discipline to 
gather from these sacred writings, as the storehouse of Divine 
Truth, the holy material, ip' order to arrange it by a process of 
induction and generalization into the generic forms that may 
best express the conceptions of the Sacred Scriptures themselves. 
From this point of view it is clear that the analytic method 
can have but a very subordinate place in our branch of theology. 
It may be necessary in separating the material in the work of 
gathering it, but this is only in order to the synthetic process 
to which it leads aud wliich must ever prevail. It is owing to 
the improper application of the analytic method to exegesis, 
that such sad mistakes have been made in interpreting the 
Word of God, making exegesis the slave of dogmatics and tra- 
dition, when she can only thrive as the free-born daughter of 
truth. Her word does not yield to dogmatics, and before her 
voice tradition must ever give way. For exegesis cannot go to 
the text with preconceived opinions and dogmatic views that 
will constrain the text to accord with them, but rather with a 
living faith in the perspicuity and power of the Word of God 
alone, of itself, to jiersuade and convince ; and with reverential 
fear of the voice of Him who speaks through it, which involves 
assurance of the truth, and submission and prompt obedience to 
His will. Thus, exegesis does not start from tlie unity to in- 
vestigate the variety, but from the variety to find the unity. It 
does not seek the author's view and the divine doctrine tlirough 
an analysis of the writing, the chapter, the verse, down to the 
word ; but, inverselj-, it starts with the word and the clause, 
pursuing its way through the verse, paragraph, section, chapter, 
writing, collection of writings, tiie entire Bible, until the whole 


Word of God is displayed before the mind from the summit 
that has been attained after a long and arduous climbing. 

Thus the Study of H0I3' Scripture is altogether scientific : 
its premises and materials are no less clear and tangible than 
those with which any other science has to do, and its results 
are vastly more important than those of all other sciences com- 
bined, for they concern our salvation and everlasting welfare. 
Furthermore, this material, with which we have to do, is the 
very Word of God to man, and we have a science that deals 
with immutable facts and infallible truths, so that our science 
takes its place in the circle of sciences, as the royal, yes, the 
divine science. But this position will be accorded it by the 
sciences only in so far as theology as a whole is true to the spirit 
and character of its fundamental discipline, and just so long as 
it is open-eyed for all truth, courts investigation and criticism 
of its own materials and methods, and does not assume a false 
position of dogmatism and traditional prejudice, or attempt to 
tyrannize over the other sciences or obstruct their earnest re- 
searches after the truth. 

The Stud}' of Holy Scripture being thus fundamental and im- 
jiortant, having such thoroughgoing scientific methods, it must 
have manifold divisions and subdivisions of its work. These, 
in their order and mutual relation, are determined by a proper 
iidjustment of its methods and the subordination of the histori- 
cal to the inductive process. Thus at the outset there are im- 
posed upon those who would enter ujaon the study of the Sacred 
Scriptures certain primary and fundamental questions respecting 
the holy writings, such as : Which are the sacred writings ? why 
do we call them sacred '? whence did they originate ? under what 
historical circumstances were they written? who were their 
authors ? to whom were they addressed ? what was their de- 
sign ? are the writings that have come down to us genuine ? is 
the text reliable ? These questions may be referred to the gen- 
eral department of Biblical Literature. Then the Scriptures are 
to be interpreted according to correct principles and methods, 
with all the light that the study of centuries throws upon them. 
This is Biblical Exegesis. Finallj-. the results of this exeget- 
ical process are to be gathered into organisms of Biblical His- 


tory and of Biblical Theology. These then are the four grand 
divisions into which our discipline naturally divides itself, each 
in turn having its appropriate subordinate departments. 

I. Biblical Literature 

Biblical Literature has as its work to determine all those 
introductory questions that maj^ arise respecting the sacred 
writings, preliminary to the work of exegesis. These questions 
are various, yet may be grouped in accordance with a general 
principle. But it is, first of all, necessary to limit the bounds 
of our department and exclude fro^ it all that does not properly 
come within its sphere. Thus Hagenbach ^ brings into consid- 
eration here certain questions which he assigns to the auxiliary 
disciplines of Sacred Philologj-, Sacred Archieology, and Sacred 
Canonics. But it is difficult to see whj", if these are in any 
essential relation to our department, they should not be logi- 
cally incorporated, while if they do not stand in such close 
relations why they should not be referred to their own proper 
departments of study. Thus Sacred Canonics clearly belongs 
to our discipline, as a necessary part of Biblical Literature.^ 
Sacred Archaeology belongs no less certainly to Biblical His- 
torj'.^ Sacred PhUology should not be classed with Theology 
at all ; for the languages of tiie Bible are not sacred from any 
inherent virtue in them, but only for the reason that they have 
been selected as the vehicle of divine revelation, and thus their 
connection with the Scriptures is providential rather than nec- 
essarj'. And still further, all departments of theolog)' are in 
mutual relation to one another, and in a higher scale all the 
departments of learning — such as theology, philosophj', phi- 
lology, and history — act and react upon one another. Hence, 
tliat one department of study is related to another does not 
imply that it should be made auxiliary thereto. Thus the lan- 
guages of Scripture are to be studied precisely as the other lan- 
guages, as a part of General Pliilologj'. The Hellenistic Greek 
is a dialect of the Greek language, which is itself a prominent 
member of the Indo-(iermanic family ; while the Hebrew and 
' Encyklopadie, 9te Aufl., .s. 40. > See p. 21. > See p. .37. 


Aramaic are sisters with the Assyrian and Syriac, the Arabic 
and Ethiopic, the Phtenician and Samaritan, of the Shemitic 
family. The study of these languages, as languages, properly 
belongs to the college or university course, and has no appro- 
priate place in the theological seminary. Valuable time is 
consumed in these preparatory- studies that is taken from our 
study itself and never fully compensated for. One might as 
truly study general history in the theological course as a prep- 
aration for Church History, and philosophy as a preparation 
for Dogmatic Theology, and rhetoric as a preparation for Prac- 
tical Theology. All these alike are preparatory disciplines, 
belonging to the college and not to the theological school. 

The Shemitic languages ai-e constantly rising into promi- 
nence, over against the Indo-Germanic family, and demand 
their appropriate place in the curriculum of a liberal education. 
Philologists and theologians should unitedly insist that a place 
should be found for them in the college course ; ^ and that this 
valuable department of knowledge, upon the pursuit of which 
so much depends for the history of the Orient, the origin of 
civilization and mankind, as well as for the whole subject of 
the three great religions of the world, should not be neglected 
in our institutions of learning. It should be made evident that 
philology, history, and philosophy are essential for those who 
are in their collegiate courses preparing for the Study of 
Theology. 2 

There can be no thorough mastery of the Hebrew tongue by 

1 German theology has a great advantage, in that the theological student is 
already prepared in the gymnasium for the university with a knowledge of 
Hebrew relatively equivalent to his Greek. The Presbyterians of Scotland 
require an elementary knowledge of Hebrew, in order to entrance upon the 
theological course. In the Roman theological training, the languages of the 
Bible belong to the introductory philosophical course, and are not included in 
the four years' course of theology proper. When my Biblical Study was issued, 
in 1883, no more than three or four American universities and colleges made 
provision for the study of the Hebrew: language in their courses. In recent 
years great progress has been made. Almost all the large colleges and universi- 
ties have introduced the Shemitic languages as elective. And several theologi- 
cal schools liave special classes for students who take entrance examinations in 
Hebrew. In Union Theological Seminary, New York, such cla.sses for advanced 
Btudents in Hebrew and Biblical Greek are in successful operation. 

■•' See my article, "The Scope of Theology and its Place in the University," 
The American Journal of Theology, January, 1897. See also Chap. III. 


clinging reverently to the traditional methods of Hebrew study 
or those in use among Jews who learn to speak and write 
modern Hebrew. AVe might as well expect to master the 
classic Latin from the language of the monks, or classic Greek 
from modern Greece. The cognate languages ai-e indispensa- 
ble. And it is just here that a rich treasure, prepared by 
Divine Providence for these times, is pouring into our laps. 
The Assyrian alone, as recently brought to light, and estab- 
lished in her position as one of the older sisters, is of inestima- 
ble value, not to speak of the Arabic and Syriac, the Ethiopic, 
Phoenician, Samaritan, and the lesser languages and dialects 
that the monuments are constantlj- revealing. Immense mate- 
rial is now at hand, and is suW being gathered from these 
sources, that has considerably modified our views of the He- 
brew language, and of the histor}- and religion of the Hebrews 
in relation to the other peoples of the Orient. We now know 
that the Hebrew language has such a thing as a syntax, and 
that it is a highly organized and wonderfully flexible and 
beautiful tongue, the result of centuries of development. As 
the bands of Rabbinical tradition are one after another falling 
off, the inner spirit and life of the language are disclosing 
themselves, the dry bones are clothing themselves with flesh, 
and rich, warm blood is animating the frame, giving to the 
features nobility and beauty.^ If the Church is to be renowned 
for its mastery of the Bible, if the symbols and the life of the 
Church are to harmonize. Christian theologians must advance 
and occupy this rich and fruitful field for the Lord, and not 

' It is exceedingly gratifying that our American students are eagerly entering 
upon these studies. The large classes in the cognate languages, in our semina- 
ries, promise great things for the future in this regard. Twenty-five years ago, 
when I began teaching in Union Theological Seminary, New York, little atten- 
tion was given to the cognate languages. I organized a graded course in 
Biblical Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic, to which Assyrian was soon added by 
Professor Francis Brown. Since then the study of the Shemitic languages has 
become common in most of our theological seminaries and universities. The 
leaders in this movement have been C. 11. Toy, of Harvard ; W. R. Harjier, 
formerly of Y'ale, now of Chicago ; J. V. Teters, formerly of Philadelphia ; and 
George Moore, of Andover. The classes in the Shemitic languages in our Ameri- 
can seminaries and universities average a larger number of students than those 
in the universities of Germany, and are greatly in excess of those in Great 


abandon it to those whose interests are purely philological or 

While, therefore, I exclude the study of the Hebrew and 
cognate languages from the proper range of the study of Holy 
Scripture, I magnify their importance, not only to the theologi- 
cal student, but also to the entire field of scholarship. Other 
scholars may do without them, but for the theologian tliese 
studies are indispensable, and he must at the very beginning 
strain all his energies to the mastery of the Hebrew tongue. 
If it has not been done before entering upon the study of the- 
ology, it must be done in the very beginnings of that study, 
or else he will be forever crippled. 

We now have to define more closelj' the proper field of Bibli- 
cal Literature. Biblical Literature has to do with all questions 
respecting the Sacred Scriptures that may be necessary to pre- 
pare the way for Biblical Exegesis. Looking at the Sacred 
Scriptures as the sources to be investigated, three fields of 
inquiry present themselves : the canon, the text, and the writ- 
ings. Three groups of questions arise : 1. As to the idea, 
extent, character, and authority of the canon, collected as the 
Sacred Scriptures of the Church. 2. As to the text of which the 
canon is composed, the manuscripts in which it is preserved, 
the translations of it, and the citations from it in ancient authors. 
3. As to the origin, authorship, time of composition, character, 
design, and destination of the writings that claim, or are 
claimed, to belong to the Sacred Scriptures. These subor- 
dinate branches of Biblical Literature may be called Biblical 
Canonics, the Lower or Textual Criticism, and the Higher 

1. Biblical Canonics considers the canon of Holy Scripture 
as to its idea, its historical formation, its extent, character, 
authority, and historical influence. These inquiries are to be 
made in accordance with historical and synthetic methods. 
We are not to start with preconceived dogmatic views as to 
the idea of the canon, but derive this idea by induction from 
the Sacred Writings themselves. In the same manner we have 
to decide all other questions that may rise. Thus the extent 
of the canon is not to be determined by the consensus of the 


Church,! or by the citation and reverent use of Scriptures in 
the Fathers, or by their recognition by the earliest standard 
authorities,^ for these historical evidences, so important in His- 
torical Theology, have no value in the Study of the Holy Scrip- 
ture. Canonicity is not rightly defined by the accord of a writ- 
ing with orthodoxy or the rule of faith,^ for such a test is too 
broad, in that other writings than sacred are orthodox, and 
again too narrow, in that the standard is the shifting one of 
subjective opinion, or external human authority, which, indeed, 
presupposes the canon itself as an object of criticism. Still 
less can we determine canouicity by apostolic or prophetic 
authorship. It is by no means cei^ain that all prophetic and 
apostolic writings would be canonical even if they had been 
preserved. And it is in fact impossible to prove prophetic 
and apostolic authorship for the majority of the canonical writ- 
ings unless we use these terms so broadly as to give them no 
definite reference to any known prophets and apostles. Such 
external reasons, historical or dogmatic, may have a provi- 
sional and temporary authority ; but the one only permanent 
and final decision of these questions comes from the internal 
marks and characteristics of the Scriptures, their recognition 
of one another, their harmony with the idea, cliaracter, and 
development of a divine revelation, as it is derived from the 
Scriptures themselves, as well as from their own well-tested and 
critically examined claims to inspiration and authority, and, 
above all, from the divine authority speaking by and with 
them to the Church and the Christian. These reasons, and 
these alone, gave them their historical position and authority 
as a canon ; and these alone perpetuate their authority to 
every successive generation of Christians. It is only on this 
basis that the historical and dogmatic questions may be prop- 

1 Inileed, there is no consensus with reference to the extent of the canon 
whether it includes the Apocryplial books or not, and, still further, the opinions 
of recosnizoil ancient autliorities differ in the matter of distinguishing within the 
canon, between writings of primary and of secondary autliority. 

- These, indeed, are not entirely agreed, and if they were, they could only 
give us a human and fallible authority. 

3 It was in accordance with this subjective standard that Luther rejected the 
epistle of .lames and the book of Esther. Comp. Domer, Gesch. der Protest, 
rheologie, 1868, s. 234 seq. 


eily considered, with refereuce to their recognition by Jew and 
Christian, and with regard to their authority in the Church. 
The writings having been determined in their limits as a 
canon of Holy Scripture, we are prepared for the second step, 
the examination of the text itself. 

2. Textual Criticism considers the text of the Sacred Scrip- 
tures both as a whole and as to the several writings in detail. 
The Sacred Writings have shared the fate of all human pro- 
ductions in their transmission from hand to hand, and in the 
multiplication of copies. Hence, through the mistakes of copy- 
ists, the intentional corruption of the heretic, the supposed 
improvement of the over-anxious orthodox, and the efforts of 
Christian scribes to explain and to apply the sacred truth to 
the readers, the manuscripts whicli have been preserved betray 
differences of readings. This department has a wide field 
of investigation. First of all, the peculiarities of the Bible 
languages must be studied, and the idiomatic individualities 
of the respective authors. Then the age of the various manu- 
scripts must be determined, their peculiarities and relative 
importance in genealogical descent. The ancient versions 
come into the field, especially the Septuagint, the Aramaic and 
Samaritan Targums, the Syriac Peshitto, and the Latin Vul- 
gate. Each of these in turn has to go through the same sift- 
ing as to the critical value of its own text. Here, especially 
in the Old Testament, we go back of any surviving manu- 
scripts and are brought face to face with differences that can 
be accounted for only on the supposition of originals, whose 
peculiarities have been lost. To these may be added the cita- 
tions of the original text in the Fathers and the Talmud and 
in the numerous writings of Hebrew and Christian scholars. 
Then we have the still more difficult comparison of parallel 
passages, in the Sacred Scriptures themselves where differences 
of text show differences reaching far back of any known manu- 
script or version.^ Textual criticism has to meet all these 

1 Comp. Ps. 14 with Ps. 53 ; Ps. 18 with 2 Sam. 22 ; and the books of Samuel 
and Kings, on the one hand, with the books of the Chronicler on the other, and, 
indeed, throughout. Compare also the canonical books of ECTa, Nehemiah, and 
Daniel with the Apocryphal addition.s and supplements in the Septuagint ver- 


difficulties, answer all the questions which emerge, aucl har- 
monize and adjust all the differences, in order that, so far as 
possible, the genuine, original, pui'e, and uncorrupted text of 
the Word of God may be gained, as it proceeded directly 
from the oi-iginal authors to the original readers. This dejiart- 
ment of study is all the more difficult iov the Old Testament, 
that the field is so immense, the writings so numerous, various, 
and ancient, the languages so little understood in their histori- 
cal peculiarities, and, still furthei-, in that we have to overcome 
the prejudices of the Massoretic system, which, while faithful 
and reliable so far as the knowled^ of the times of the jNIasso- 
retes went, yet, as resting simply on tradition, without critical 
or historical investigation, and without any proper conception 
of the general principles of Hebrew grammar and compara- 
tive Shemitic philology, cannot be accepted as final ; for the 
time has long since passed when the vowel points and accents 
of the Massoretic text can be deemed inspired. We have to 
go back of them, to the unpointed text, for all purposes of 
criticism. And the unpointed text itself needs correction in 
accordance with the rules of Textual Criticism. 

3. The Higher Criticism is distinguished from the Lower or 
Textual Criticism by presupposing the text and dealing with 
individual writings and groups of writings. The Higher is 
contrasted with the Lower in this usage as the second or higher 
stage of a work is contrasted with the first or lower stage, or 
more fundamental part of a work.^ The i^arts of writings 
should be first investigated, the individual writings before the 
collected ones. With reference to eacli writing, or, it niay be, 
part of a writing, we have to determine the liistorical origin 
and authorship, the original readers, the design and cliaracter 

sion, and finally the citation of earlier writings in the later ones, especially in 
the New Testament. An interesting and delicate work of criticism is to compare 
in the Gospels the different versions of the original Logia of .Jesus. 

1 borne ignorant people in recent discussions seemed to think that Higher 
meant a pretentious and arrogant claim that this criticism was higher than the 
older traditional opinion. The newer criticism is doubtless vastly higher, 
nobler, and better in every way than the uncritical traditional method of hand- 
ling Biblical Literature ; but the term was not used historically with any such 
meaning and it never has had any such meaning in the minds of biblical 


of the composition, and its relation to other writings of its 
group. These questions must be settled jjartly bj' external his- 
torical evidence, but chiefly by internal evidence, such as the 
language, style of composition, archseological and historical 
traces, the conceptions of the author respecting the various 
subjects of human thought, and the like. With reference to 
such questions as these, we have little help from traditional views 
or dogmatic opinions which originalh- were mere conjectures 
or hastily formed opinions without sufficient considei-ation of 
the laws of evidence or the matter of the evidence itself. Tlie 
antiquity of such conjectures does not enhance their value any 
more than it does other errors and mistakes. Whatever may 
have been the prevailing views in the Church with reference 
to the Pentateuch, the Psalter, or the Gospel of John, or any 
other book of Holy Scripture, these will not deter the conscien- 
tious exegete from accepting and teaching the results of a 
critical study of the Sacred Writings themselves. 

It is just here that Christian theologians have greatl}' injured 
the cause of the truth and the Bible by dogmatizing in a de- 
partment where it is least of all appropriate, and, indeed, to 
the highest degree improper ; as if our faith depended at all 
upon these traditional opinions respecting the Word of God. 
B}' their frequent and shameful defeats and routs tradition- 
alists bring disgrace not only upon themselves but upon the 
cause they misrepresent. They alarm weak but pious souls who 
have taken refuge in the fortress itself, and then prejudice the 
sincere inquirer against the Scriptures, as if these questions 
of the Higher Criticism were questions upon whose decision 
depended orthodoxy or piety, or allegiance to the Word of God 
or the symbols of the Church. The Westminster standards 
teach that " the Word of God is the only rule of faith and obedi- 
ence,"^ and that "the authority of the Holy Scripture for 
which it ought to be believed and obe3'ed, dependeth not upon 
the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God, the 
author thereof." ^ The other Protestant symbols are in accord 
with them. How unorthodox it is, therefore, to set up another 
rule of prevalent opinion as to questions of the Higher Criti- 

1 Larger Catechism, Quest, iii. 2 Confess, of Faith, Chap. I. 4. 


cisiu and make it an obstacle and a stumbling-block to those 
who would accept the authority of the Word of God alone. 
So long as the Word of God is honoured, and its decisions re- 
garded as final, what matters it if a certain book be detached 
from the name of one holj- man and ascribed to another, or 
classed among those with unknown authors? Are the laws 
of the Pentateuch any less divine, if it should be proved that 
they are the product of the experience of God's people from 
Moses to Josiah?! jg tj^g Psalter to be esteemed any the less 
precious that the Psalms should be regarded as the product of 
many poets singing through many centuries the sacred melo- 
dies of God-fearing souls, responding fi-om their hearts, as from 
a thousand-strmged lyre, to the touch of the Holy One of 
Israel ? Is the book of Job less majestic and sublime, as it 
stands before us in its solitariness, the noblest monument of 
sacred poetry, with unknown author, unlcnown birthplace, and 
from an unknown period of history ? Are the ethical teachings 
of the Proverbs, the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes, any 
the less solemn and weighty, that they may not be the product 
of Solomon's wisdom, but of the reflection of many holy wise 
men of diflierent epochs, gathered about Solomon as their head ? 
Is the epistle to the Hebrews any less valuable for its clear 
presentation of the fulfilment of the Old Testament priesthood 
and sacrifice in the work of Christ, that it must be detached 
from the name of Paul ? Let us not be so presumptuous, so 
irreverent to the Word of God, so unbelieving with reference 
to its inherent power of convincing and assuring the seekers 
for the truth, as to condemn any sincere and candid inquirer 
as a heretic or a rationalist, because he may differ from us on 
such questions as these ! The internal evidence must be 
decisive in aU questions of Biblical Criticism, and the truth, 
whatever it may be, will be most in accordance with God's 
Word and for the glory of God and the interest of the Church.^ 

1 British and Foreign Ecang. Review, July, 18G8, ArL " The Progreas of 
Old Testament Studies." 

- The whole of this paragraph was written and delivered before the outbreak 
of the Professor W. Kobertsou Smith controversy in Scotland and the discussions 
respecting the Iligher <"riticisiu in the United States. I see nn rea.son to change 
a single word of it. Those majorities of isnorant and bigoted men who rejected 


Thus Biblical Literature gives us all that can be learned 
respecting the canon of Holy Scripture, its text and the vari- 
ous writings ; and presents the Sacred Scriptures as the holy 
Word of God, all the errors and improvements of men having 
been eliminated, in a text, so far as possible, as it came from 
lioly men who " spake being moved by the Holy Spirit," ^ so 
that we are brought into the closest possible relations with the 
living God through His Word, having in our hands the very 
form tliat contains the verj' substance of divine revelation ; so 
that with reverence and submission to His will we may enter 
upon the work of interpretation, eontidently expecting to be 
assured of the truth in the work of Biblical Exegesis. 

II. Biblical Exegesis 

First of all we have to lay down certain general principles 
derived from the study of the Word of God, upon which this 
exegesis itself is to be conducted. These principles must be 
in accord with the proper methods of our discipline and the 
nature of the work to be done. The work of establishing 
these principles belongs to the introductory department of 
Biblical Hermeneutics. The Scriptures are human produc- 
tions, and yet truly divine. They must be interpreted as 
other human writings, and yet their peculiarities and differ- 
ences from other human writings must be recognized,^ especially 
the supreme determining difference of their inspiration by the 
Spirit of God. In accordance with this principle they require 
not only a sympathj' with the human element in the sound 
judgment and practical sense of the grammarian, the critical 
investigation of the historian, and the iesthetic taste of the man 
of letters ; but also a sympathy with the divine element, an 
inquiring, reverent spirit to be enlightened by the Spirit of 

the Higher Criticism in the Presbyterian General Assemblies of Scotland and 
America, have been already overwhelmingly condemned by the subsequent 
action of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland ; and they will 
speedily be put to shame by a General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church 
in the United States of America. These controversies emphasize the importance 
and the correctness of the principles then stated. We shall come upon them 
again in Chap. VII., which is devoted to the subject. 

1 2 Pet. 1^1. * Corap. Immer, Hermeneutik der N. T. s. 9. 


God, without which no exposition of the Scriptures as sacred, 
inspired writings is possible. It is this feature that distin- 
guishes the discipline from the other corresponding ones, as 
Sacred Hermeneutics. Thus we have to take into account the 
insj)iration of the Scriptures, their harmony, their unit}' in 
variety, their sweet simplicity, and their sublime myster}- ; 
and all this not to override the principles of grammar, logic, 
and rhetoric, but to supplement them ; j-es, rather, infuse into 
them a new life and vigour, making them sacred grammar, 
sacred logic, and sacred rhetoric. And just here it is highly 
important that the history of exegesis should come into the field 
of study in order to show us the abuses of false principles of 
interpretation as a warning ; and the advantages of correct 
principles as an encouragement.^ 

After this preliminary labour, the exegete is prepared for his 
work in detail. The immensity of these details is at once 
overpowering and discouraging. The extent, the richness, 
the variety of the Sacred Writings, poetry, history, and proph- 
ecy, extending through so many centuries, and from such a 
great number of authors, known and unknown, the inherent 
difficulty of interpreting the sacred mysteries, the things of 
God — who is sufficient for these things '! who would venture 
upon this holjr ground without a quick sense of his incapacity 
to grasp the divine ideas, and an absolute dependence upon the 
Holy Spirit to show them unto him?^ Trulj% here is a work 
for multitudes, for ages, for the most profound and devout 
study of all mankind ; inasmuch as here we have to do with 
the whole Word of God to man. The exegete is like the 
miner. He must free himself as far as possible from all 
traditionalism and dogmatic prejudice, must leave the haunts 
of human opinion, and bury himself in the Word of God. He 
must descend beneath the surface of the Word into its depths. 
The letter must be broken through to get at the precious 
idea. The dry rubbish of misconception must be thrown out, 
and a shaft forced tlirough every obstacle to get at the truth. 
And while faithful in the employment of all these powers of 

1 Comp. especially Diestel, Gesch. d. A. T. in der Chrixt. lurche. Jena, 1869. 
» John 16". 


the huiiuui intellect and will, the true exegete fears the Lord, 
and only thereby hopes for the revelation of wisdom through 
his intimacy with Him.^ 

1. The exegete begins his work with G-rammatical Exegesis. 
Here he has to do with the form, the dress of the revelation, 
which is not to be disregarded or undervalued, for it is the 
form in which God has chosen to convey His Truth, the dress 
in which alone we can approach her and know her. Hebrew 
grammar must therefore be mastered in its etymology and 
syntax, or grammatical exegesis will be impossible. Here 
patience, exactness, sound judgment, and keen discernment 
are required, for every word is to be examined by itself, ety- 
mologically and historically, not etymologically alone, for Greek 
and Hebrews roots have not infrequently been made to teach 
very false doctrines. It has been forgotten that a word is 
a living thing, and has, beside its root, the still more impor- 
tant stem, branches, and products — indeed, a history of mean- 
ings. The word is then to be considered in its syntactical 
x-elations in the clause, and thus step by step the grammatieal 
sense is to be ascertained, the false interpretations eliminated, 
and the various possible meanings correctly presented and 
classified. Without this patient study of words and clauses 
no accurate translation is possible, no trustworthy exposition 
can be made.^ It is true that grammatical exegesis leaves us in 
doubt between many possible constructions of the sense, but 
these doubts will be solved as the work of exegesis goes on. 
On the other hand, it eliminates many views as ungrammatical 
which have been hastily formed, and effectually prevents that 
jumping at conclusions to which the indolent and impetuous 
are alike inclined. 

2. The second step in exegesis is Logical and Rhetorical 
Exegesis. The words and clauses must be interpreted in 
accordance with the context, the development of the author's 

1 Job 2828 ; Ps. 25» ; Prov. 8" seq. 

' Yes, we may say that no translation can be thoroughly understood after the 
generation in which it was made, without this resort to the original text, which 
alone can determine in many cases the meaning of the translators themselves, 
when we come upon obsolete terms, or words whose meanings have become 
modified or lost. 


thought and purpose ; aud also iu accordance %vith the prin- 
ciples of rhetoric, discriminating plain language from figura- 
tive, poetry from prose, history from prophec}', and the various 
kinds of history, poetry, and prophecy from each other. This 
is to be done not after an arbitrary manner, but in accordance 
with the general laws of logic and rhetoric that apply to all 
writings. While the use of figurative language has led the 
mystic and the dogmatist to employ the most arbitrary and 
senseless exegesis, yet the laws of logic and rhetoric, correctly 
applied to the text, will clip the wings of the fanciful, and de- 
stroy the assumptions of the dogmatist, and, still further, will 
serve to determine many questions that grammar alone cannot 
decide, and hence more narrowly define the meaning of the 

3. The third step in exegesis is Historical Exegesis. The 
author must be interpreted in accordance with his historical 
surroundings. We must apply to the text the knowledge of 
the author's times, derived from archeology, geography, chro- 
nolog}> and general history. Thus only will we be able to 
enter upon the scenery of the text. It is not necessary to 
resort to the history of exegesis ; one's own observation is 
sufficient to show the absurdities and the outrageous errors 
into which a neglect of this principle leads many earnest but 
ignorant men. No one can present the Bible narrative in the 
dress of modern every-day life without making the story ridic- 
ulous. And it must be so from the very nature of the case. 
Historical circumstances are essential to the truthfulness and 
vividness of the narrative. Instead of our transporting Script- 
ure events to our scenery, we must transport ourselves to their 
scenery, if we would correctly understand them and realize 
them. If we wish to apply Scripture truth, we may, after hav- 
ing correctly apprehended it, eliminate it from its historical 
circumstances, and then giv£ it a new and appropriate form for 
practical jDurposes ; but we can never interpret Scripture with- 
out historical exegesis ; for it serves to more narrowly define 
the meaning of the text, and to eliminate the unhistorical ma- 
terials from the results thus far attained in the exegetical 


4. The fourth step in exegesis is Comparative Exer/esia. The 
results already gained with reference to anv particular pas- 
sage are to be compai'ed with the results attained in a like 
manner in other similar passages of the same author, or other 
authors of the period, and in some cases from other periods of 
divine revelation. Thus, by a comjjarisoji of scripture with 
scripture, additional light will be thrown upon the passage, 
the true conception will be distinguished from the false, and 
the results attained adequately supported. 

5. The fifth step in exegesis may be called Literary Exegesis. 
Great light is thrown upon the text by the study of the views 
of those who, through the centuries, in many lands, and from 
the various points of view have studied the Scriptures. Here 
on this battle-ground of interpretation we see almost everj- 
view assailed and defended. Multitudes of opinions have been 
overthrown, never to reappear ; others are weak and tottering 
— comparativelj' few still maintain the field. It is among 
these latter that we must in the main find the true interpre- 
tation. This is the furnace into which the results thus far 
attained by the exegete must be thrown, tliat its fires may 
separate the dross and leave the pure gold thoroughly refined. 
Cliristian divines, Jewish i-abbins, and even unbelieving writers 
have not studied the Word of God for so many centuries in 
vain. No true scholar can be so presumptuous as to neglect 
their labours. No interpreter can rightly claim originality or 
freshness of conception who has not familiarized himself with 
this mass of material that others have wrought out. On the 
other hand, it is the best check to presumption, to know that 
every view that is worth anything must pass through the fur- 
nace. Any exegete who would accomplish anything should 
know that he is to expose himself to the fire that centres 
upon any combatant that will enter upon this hotly contested 
field. From the study of the Scriptures he will come into 
contact with human views, traditional opinions, and dogmatic 
prejudices. On the one side these will severely criticise and 
overthrow many of his results ; on the other his faithful study 
of the Word of God will be a fresh test of the correctness of 
those human views that have hitherto prevailed. Thus, from 


the acting and reacting influences of tliis conflict, the truth of 
God will maintain itself, and it alone will i^revail. 

We have tlius far described these various steps of exegesis, 
in order that a clear and definite conception may be formed of 
its field of work — not that they are ever to be represented by 
themselves in any commentary, or even carried on indepen- 
dent!}' by the exegete himself, but they should be regarded as 
the component parts of any thorough exegetical process ; and 
although, as a rule, naught but the results are to be published, 
yet these results imjilj- that no part of the process has been 
neglected, but that all have harmonized in them. 

In advancing now to the higher processes of exegesis, we 
observe a marked difference from the previous ones, in that 
those have to do with tlie entire text, these with only select 
portions of it. In these processes while results are to be 
attained which will be most profitable to the great masses of 
mankind, yet those incur the severest condemnation who, with- 
out having gone througli these fundamental processes them- 
selves, either use the labours of the faithful exegete without 
acknowledgment, or else, accepting traditional views without 
examination, build on untested foundations. Tlie Christian 
world does not need theological castles in the air constructed 
by dogmatic traditionalists, or theories of Christian life erected 
by narrow-minded enthusiasts, but a solid structure of divine 
truth built by Christian scholars on the solid courses of biblical 
stud}- as the temple of Divine Wisdom, the home of the soul, 
and a sure stronghold for living and dying. 

6. The sixth step in exegesis is Doctrinal Exegesis, which 
considers the material thus far gathered in order to derive 
therefrom the ideas of the author respecting religion, faith, and 
morals. These ideas are then to be considered in their relation 
to each other in the section and cliapter of the Sacred Writing. 
Thus we get the doctrine that the author would teach, and are 
prepared for a comparison of it with the doctrines of other 
passages and authors. Here we have to contend with a false 
method of seiirching for the so-called spiritual sense, as if the 
doctrine could be independent of the form in which it is re- 
vealed, or, indeed, so loosely attached to it, that the grammar 


and logic should teach one thing, and the spiritual sense 
another. There can be no spiritual sense that does not accord 
with the results thus far attained in the exegetical process. 
The true spiritual sense conies before the inquiring soul as the 
j)roduct of the true exegetical metliods that have been de- 
scribed. As the differences of material become manifest in 
the liandling of it, the doctrine stands forth as divine and 
infallible in its own light. Any other si^iritual sense is false 
to the Word of God, whether it be the conceit of Jewish caba- 
lists or Christian mystics. 

7. The seventh and final effort of exegesis is Practical 
Exegesis, the application of the text to the faith and life of 
the jjresent. And here we must eliminate not only the tempo- 
ral bearings from the eternal, but also those elements that 
apply to other persons and circumstances than those in hand. 
Everything depends upon the character of the work, whether 
it be catechetical, homiletical, evangelistic, or pastoral. All 
Scripture may be said to be practical for some purpose, but not 
every Scripture for every purpose. Hence, practical exegesis 
must not only give the true meaning of the text, but also the 
true application of the text to the matter in hand. Here we 
have to deal with a false method of seeking edification and de- 
riving pious reflections from every passage of Holy Scripture 
without regard to the time, the place, or the persons to whom 
it was written. This method of constraining the text to mean- 
ings that it cannot bear, does violence to the Word of God, 
which is not only not to be added to or taken from as a whole, 
but also as to all its parts. This spirit of interpretation, while 
nominally most reverential, is really very irreverential. It 
originates from a lack of knowledge of the Scriptures, and the 
neglect to use the proper methods of exegesis. It is born of 
the presumption that the Holy Spirit will reveal the saci'ed 
mysteries of religion to the indolent, if only he is sufficiently 
l^ious. He may indeed hide the truth from the irreverent 
critic, but He will not reveal it except to those who not only 
have piety, but who also search for it as for hidden treasures. 
This indolence and presumptuous reliance ujion the Holy 
Spirit, which too often proves to be a dependence upon one^s 


own conceits, fancies, and self-will, has brought disgrace upon 
the Word of God, as if it could be manifold in sense, or were 
able to prove anything that might be asked of it. Nay, stUl 
worse, it leads the preacher to burden his discourse with mate- 
rial which, however good it may be in itself, not only has no 
connection with the text, but no practical application to the 
circumstances of the hour, or the needs of his people. Over 
against this abuse of the Scriptures, the exegete learns to use 
it projjerly, and while he cannot find everywhere what he needs, 
yet he ma}- find, by searching for it, far more and better than 
he needs ; yes, he learns, as he studies the Word of God, that 
it needs no forcing, but that it aptly and exactly satisfies with 
appropriate material every42liase of Christian experience, gently 
clears away every shadow of difficulty that may disturb the 
inquiring spirit, proving itself sufficient for each and every one, 
and ample for all mankind. 

We have endeavoured to consider the various processes of 
exegesis by which results are attained of essential importance 
to all the other departments of theolog}^ The work of the 
exegete is foundation work. It is the work of the study, and 
not of the pulpit, or the platform. It brings forth treasures 
new and old from the Word of God, to enrich the more promi- 
nent and public branches of theology. It finds the nugget of 
gold that they are to coin into the current conceptions of the 
times. It brings forth ore that they are to work into the ves- 
sels or ornaments, that may minister comfort to the household 
and adorn the home and the person. It gains the precious 
gems that are to be set by these jewellers, in order that their 
lustre and beauty may become manifest and admired of all. 
Some think it strange that the Word of God does not at once 
reveal a system of theolof/if^ or give xis a confes^sion of faith, or 
catechism, or liturgy. lUit Holy Scripture withheld these with 
beneficent purpose. ^ 

' " Since no one of the first promulgators of Christianity did tliat which tUey 
must, some of them at least, have been nntnralUj led to do, it follows that they 
must have been supernal umUy withheld from it. . . . Each Church, there- 
fore, was left through the wise foresight of llim who alone ' knew what is in 
man,' to provide for its own wants as they should arise; — to steer its ovni 
course by the chart and compass which His holy Word supplies, regulating for 


For experience shows us that no body of di\-inity can answer 
for more than its generation. Every catechism and confession 
of faith will in time become obsolete and powerless. Liturgies 
are more persistent, but even these are changed and adapted 
in the process of their use by successive generations. All these 
symbols of Christian Worship and Christian Truth remain as 
historical monuments and symbols, as the worn and tattei'ed 
banners that our veterans or honoured sires have carried victo- 
riously through the campaigns of the past ; but they are not 
suited entirely for their descendants. Each age has its own 
peculiar work and needs, and it is not too much to say, that 
not even the Bible could devote itself to the entire satisfaction 
of the wants of any particular age, without thereby sacrificing 
its value as the book of all ages. It is sufficient that the Bible 
gives us the material for all ages, and leaves to man the noble 
task of shaping that material so as to suit the wants of his own 
time. The Word of God is given to us in the Bible, as His 
truth is displayed in physical nature, in an immense and varied 
storehouse of material. We must search the Bible in order 
to find what we require for our soul's food, not expecting to 
employ the whole, but recognizing that as there is enough for 
us, so there is sufficieut for aU mankind and for all ages. Its 
diversities are appropriate to the various types of human char- 
acter, the various phases of human experience ; and no race, 
no generation, no man, woman, or child, need fail in finding in 
the Scriptures the true soul-food, for it has material of abound- 
ing wealth, surpassing all the powers of human thought and 
all the requirements of human life. 

III. Biblical History 

The work of the study of Holy Scripture does not end with 
the work of Biblical Exegesis, but advances to higher stages in 
Biblical HiUory and Biblical Theology. In the department of 
Biblical Exegesis our discipline produces the material to be 
used in the other departments of theology, but it also has as its 

itsplf the sails and rudder according to the winds and currents it may meet with." 
— See Whately, Essays on Some of the Peculiarities of the Christian Religion. 
Fifth edition, London, 1846. Essay vi. pp. 3-19, 355. 


own highest problem, to make a thorough arrangement of that 
material in accordance with its own sj'nthetic method in its 
own departments. As there is a histor}' in the Bible, an un- 
folding of divine revelation, a unity and a wonderful variety ; 
so our study of Holj' Scripture cannot stop until it has ari-anged 
the biblical material in accordance with its historical position, 
and its relative value in the one structure of divine revelation. 
And here, first, we have to consider the field of Biblical 

It has been the custom in many theological schools to treat 
Biblical History under the head of Church History. This cus- 
tom is based on a theory that the Christian Church embraces the 
whole historical life of the people of God, which ignores the dif- 
ferences between the Old Testmnent and the New Testament.^ 
Many theologians treat Biblical History as a section of Histori- 
cal Theolog}^ and exclude it from Exegetical Theology. ^ But 
the line separating Exegetical Theolog}- from Historical Theol- 
ogy is not a line that divides between Exegesis and History ; for 
Historical Theology cannot get on without an exegesis of the 
sources of Chui'ch History, and if Exegesis is to determine what 
is to belong to Exegetical Theology, then Clu-istiau Archa?ology, 
Patristics, Christian Epigraphy and Diplomatics should all go 
to Exegetical Theolog}^ as truly as Biblical History to Histori- 
cal Theology. But in fact the adjectives Exegetical and His- 

' The Church of Christ did not exist, in fact, before the day of rcntecost. 
The people of God during the Old Testament dispensation were in the kingdom 
of God as established at Mount Iloreb by the Old Covenant, and there was an 
' >ld Testament conareiiation, a Church of Yahweh ; but the Church of Christ 
came into beini; first with tlic establishment of the New Covenant and the gift 
of the Holy Spirit by tin; enthroned Messiah. .See Briggs, Messiah of the 
Apostles, pp. 21 seq. There is a continuity bet weiMi the Old Testament institu- 
tion and the New, but the differences of dispensations should not be ignoi-ed. 

■^ So Hagenbach {Eneyklopiidie, 11 Anil., 1884, ,«. 219 seq.). He regards Bib- 
lical History as the transition from Exegetical to Historical Theology. But he 
makes Biblical Archeology to include Biblical Geogiaphy and Natural History, 
and it under Exegetical Theology. This dislributiou of the material is 
without sufficient reason, and is inconsistent. Heinrici (Theologische Encyklo- 
p-'idie, 1893, s. 25 seq.) makes the Biblical Discipline and Ciuirch History the two 
l)arts of Historical Theology, and classifies Biblical History and Biblical Arche- 
ology with the Biblical Discipline. Cave (^Introdvetion to Theoloijy, 2d edition, 
1896) uses Biblical Tlieology as the general title for all biblical studies, and 
includes Biblical History and Biblical Archseologj- among them. 


torical do not adequately discriminate the departments. Hence 
the tendency among many scholars to use Historical Theology 
as the general term to cover both the Bible and the Church. 
There is at present no consensus among scholars as to the best 
terms to be used for the several departments ; but there is a 
general agreement among more recent students that Biblical 
History and all related subjects must be classed with the bibli- 
cal studies whatever term may be used as a general title of these 

Under the general head of Biblical Historj- we have first to 
consider Historical Criticism, the proper method of testing and 
verifying the material of Biblical History. We have next to 
study the auxiliary disciplines of Biblical History, namel}' : Bib- 
lical Archieology, Biblical Geograijhj-, Biblical Chronology, and 
the Natural History of the Bible. Jlost writers include all these, 
except Biblical Chronology, under the general head of Biblical 
Archteolog}% but without sufEcient reasons.^ 

The third section of Biblical Historj" will present the histoi-y 
of the people of God as contained in the Bible. And here we 
must distinguish Biblical Histor}' as a biblical discipline from 
the History of Israel as a section of universal history. The 
methods of dealing with the history contained in the Bible 
from those two different points of view is very great, and they 
cannot be confused without detriment to both departments. 
Biblical History limits itself strictly to the biblical material 
and uses the whole of that material from the biblical point of 
view. Whereas General History uses so much of the biblical 
material as suits its purpose, and organizes it, with all other 
material it can obtain, from the point of view of the general 
history of the world. It is also necessary to distinguish Bibli- 
cal History from the recent discipline entitled Contemporary 
History of the Bible. This discipline sets the biblical material 
in the light of material gathered from all other sources. Inas- 
much as it uses all the biblical material and gathers all other 
material in the interest of the study of the Bible, it should be 

' See m)- article in the American Journal of Theohigy, January, 1897. 
2 So Ha^renbach, I.e., Heinrici, I.e.. and especially Benzinger, Hebr. Archii- 
'•li.rjie, 1894. See Chap. XXII. pp. 683 seq. 


regarded as a section of Biblical History and the Stud}- of Holy 
Scripture. It may be questioned, however, whether this dis- 
cipline is more closely related to Biblical Archaeology or to 
Biblical History proper. That depends in great measure upon 
the method and scope of the treatment. The discipline has not 
yet been sufficiently matured to decide this question.^ 

Biblical History sums up the great events, institutions, and 
heroic leaders in their historical origin and development. The 
divine, vital, and immediate presence determines the course of 
that history, and theophanic manifestations mark its great 
epochs. The Old Testament history unfolds through the 
centuries until it culminates in the New Testament history in 
the advent of Jesus, the Messiah aud Saviour of mankind, and 
in His life, death, resurrection, and enthronement upon His 
heavenly throne as the sovereign Lord of His Church and of 
the world, and the founding of His Church through the apos- 
tles and prophets, commissioned by the Lord Himself. 

IV. Biblical Theology 

The Study of Holy Scripture culminates in Biblical Theol- 
ogy ; all its departments pour their treasures into this basin, 
where they flow together and become compacted into one 
organic whole. For Biblical Theology rises from the exegesis 
of verses, sections, aud chapters, to the higher exegesis of writ- 
ings, authors, periods, and of the Old and New Testaments as 
wholes, until the Bible is discerned as an organism, complete 
and symmetrical, one as God is one, and yet as various as man- 
kind is various, and thus only divino-human as the complete 
revelation of the God-man. 

In this respect Biblical Tlieology demands its place in theo- 
logical study as the highest attainment of exegesis. It is 
true tiiat it has been claimed that the history of Biblical Doc- 
trine, as a subordinate branch of Historical Theology, fully 
answers its purpose ; and again, that Biblical Dogmatics, as the 
fundamental part of Systematic Theology, covers its ground. 
These branches of the sister grand divisions of theology deal 
' See Chap. XXII. pp. 544 scq. 


with many of its questions and handle much of its material, 
for the reason that Biblical Theology is the highest point of 
exegesis where the most suitable transition is made to the 
other departments ; but it does not, it cannot belong to either 
of them. As Biblical Theology was not the product of His- 
torical or Sjstematic Theology, but was born in the throes 
of the exegetical process of the last century, so it is the child 
of exegesis, and can flourish only in its own home. The idea, 
methods, aims, and indeed, results, are entirely different from 
those of Church History or Dogmatic Theology. It does not 
give us a history of doctrine, although it uses the historical 
method in the unfolding of the doctrine. It does not seek the 
history of the doctrine, but the formation, the organization of 
the doctrine in history. It does not aim to present the system 
of Biblical Dogma, and arrange biblical doctrine in the form 
that Dogmatic Theology would have assumed even in Biblical 
Times ; but in accordance with its synthetic method of seeking 
the unity in the variety it endeavours to show the biblical order 
of doctrine, the form assumed by theology in the Bible itself, 
the organization of the doctrines of faith and morals in the 
'historical divine revelation. It thus considers the doctrine 
at its first historical appearance, examines its formation and 
its relation to others in the structure, then traces its unfolding 
in history, sees it evolving by its own inherent vitality, as well 
as receiving constant accretions, ever assuming fuller, richer, 
grander proportions, until in the revelation of the New Testa- 
ment the organization has become complete and finished so 
far as the Bible itself is concerned. It thus not only dis- 
tinguishes a theology of periods, but a theology of authors and 
writings, and shows how they harmonize in the one complete 
revelation of God.i Biblical Theology is not the ideal name 
for this discipline, but it is the name that has been historically 
associated with it, and it is improbable that it will ever be dis- 
placed. But Theology in Biblical Theology is used in an 
intermediate sense, — not so broadly as to cover the whole 

' See author's articles on Biblical Theology, in American Presbyterian Re- 
view, 1870, and in the Presbyterian Review, 1882, and Chap. XI. of Briggs, 
Biblical Study, and Chap. XXIII. of this volume. 


field of theolog}" in the Bible, for then it would be another 
name for Biblical Study itself ; and not so narrowly as to 
embrace only doctrines of faith, for it comprehends three great 
divisions : 1. Biblical Religion, dealing with the facts and insti- 
tutions of religion ; 2. Biblical Doctrines, which are the objects 
of faith ; and 3. Biblical Ethics, the principles and laws of 
biblical morals and their historical evolution in holy conduct. 
From this comprehensive and elevated jioint of view of Bibli- 
cal Theology many important questions may be settled, such 
as the Relation of the Old Testament to the New Testament 
— a fundamental question for all departments of theology. It 
is onl}- when we recognize that the New Testament is not onl}- 
the historical fulfilment of~the Old Testament, but also is its 
exegetical completion, that the unity and the harmou}-, all the 
grander for the variety and the diversitj' of the Scriptures, 
become ev-ident. It is only from this point of view that the 
apparently contradictory views, as, for instance, of Paul and 
James, in the article of justification, and of the synoptic 
gospels and the gospel of John in their conceptions of the 
teaching of Christ, may be reconciled in their difference of 
types. It is onl}^ here that a true doctrine of inspiration can 
be attained, properl}' distinguishing the divine and human 
elements, and yet recognizing them in their union. It is only 
thereby that the weight of authority of the Scripture can be 
fully felt, and the consistency of the infallible canon invincibly 
maintained. It is only in this culminating work that the 
preliminary processes of exegesis are delivered from all the 
imperfections and errors that still cling to the most faithful 
work of the exegete. It is only from the hands of Biblical 
Theology that Church History receives its true keys. Dogmatic 
Theology its indestructible pillars, and Practical Theology its 
all-conquering weapons. 

Thus the Study of Holy Scripture is a theological discipline, 
which, in its various department.s, presents an inexhaustible 
field of labour, where the most ambitious may work with a sure 
prospect of success, and wliere tlie faithful disciple of the Lord 
may rejoice in the most intimate fellowship with the Master, 


divine truths being received immediately from His lioly and 
loving hand, old truths being illuminated with fresh meaning, 
new truths filling the soul with indescribable delight. The 
Bible is not a field whose treasures have been exhausted, for 
they are inexhaustible. As in the past, holy men have found 
among these treasures jewels of priceless value ; as Athanasius, 
Augustine, Anselm, Luther, and Calvin, have derived there- 
from new doctrines that have given shape not only to the 
Church, but to the world ; so it is not too much to expect that 
even greater saints than these may yet go forth from their 
retirement, where they liave been alone in communion with 
God through His Word, holding ujd before the world some new 
doctrine, freshly derived from the ancient writings, which, 
although hitherto overlooked, will prove to be the necessary 
complement of all the previous knowledge of the Church, no 
less essential to its life, growth, and progress than the Athana- 
sian doctrine of the Trinity, the Augustinian doctrine of sin, 
and the Lutheran doctrine of justification through faith. A 
scientific biblical study under the guidance of the Holy Spirit 
will ere long remove the clouds of prejudice and bigotry which 
envelop the battle of the sects and enable all men to see the 
Truth, the entire Truth of God, in all its wondrous simplicity, 
beauty, grandeur, and glory. Biblical science in its warfare 
with error and bigotry uses smokeless powder, and all its aims 
and their results are in the clear light of heaven and open to 
the vision of the entire world. 



The languages of the Bible were prepared by Divine Provi- 
dence as the most suitable ones for declaring the divine revela- 
tion to mankind. Belonging, as they do, to the two great 
families of speech, the Shemltic and the Indo-Germanic, which 
have been the bearers of civilization, culture, and the noblest 
products of liuman thought and emotion, they are themselves 
the highest and most perfect developments of those families ; 
presenting, it is true, their contrasted features, but yet com- 
bining in a higher unity, in order to give us the complete divine 
revelation. Having accomplished this, their highest purpose, 
they soon afterward became stereotyped in form, oi", as they 
are commonly called, dead languages ; so that henceforth all 
successive generations, and indeed all the families of earth, 
might resort to them and find the common, divine revelation in 
the same fixed and unalterable forms. 

Language is the product of the human soul, as are thought 
and emotion, and therefore it depends upon the nature of that 
soul, the historical experiences of the family or race giving 
birth to it, and especially upon the stage of development in 
civilization, religion, and morals that may have been attained. 
The connection between langu.ige and thought is not loose, but 
is an essential connection. Language is not merely a dress that 
thought may put on or off at its pleasure ; it is the body of 
which thought is the soul ; it is the flesh and rounded form of 
which thouglit is the life and emotion the energy. Hence it is 
that language is moulded by thought and emotion, by experi- 
ence and culture ; it is, as it were, the speaking face of the race 
employing it, and it becomes the historical body in which the 


experience of that race is organized. In many nations which 
have perished, and whose early history is lost in primeval dark- 
ness, their language gives us the key to their history and expe- 
rience as truly as the Parthenon tells us of the Greek mind, and 
the Pj'ramids display Eg3'ptian culture. 

It is not a matter of indifference, therefore, as to the lan- 
guages that were to bear the divine revelation ; foi", although 
the divine revelation was designed for all races, and may be 
conveyed in all the languages of earth, j-et, inasmuch as it was 
delivered in advancing historical development, certain particular 
languages had to be emplo3-ed as most suitable for the purpose, 
and indeed those which could best become the streams for en- 
riching the various languages of the earth. There are no lan- 
guages, not even the English and the German, which have 
drunk deepest from the classic springs of the Hebrew and the 
Greek, — there are no languages which could so adequate^ 
convey the divine revelation in its simplicity, grandeur, fulness, 
variety, energy, and impressiveness as those selected by Divine 
Providence for the purpose. 

Hence it is that no translation can ever take the place of the 
original Scriptures ; for a translation is, at the best, the work 
of more or less learned men, who, though they may be holy and 
faithful, and may also be guided by the Spirit of God, are yet 
unable to do more than give us their own interpretation of the 
Sacred Writings. If they are to make the translation accurate 
and thorough and adequate to convey the original meaning, they 
must enter into the very spirit and atmosphere of the original 
text ; they must think and feel with the original authors ; their 
hearts must throb with the same emotion ; their minds must 
move in the same lines of thinking ; they must adapt them- 
selves to the numerous types of character coming from various 
and widely different periods of divine revelation, in order to 
correctly apprehend the thought and make it their own, and 
then reproduce it in a foreign tongue. A mere external, gram- 
matical, and lexicographical translation is inadequate for the 
purpose. Unless the spirit of the original has been not only 
apprehended, but conveyed, it is no real translation. All-sided 
men are necessary for this work, or at least a body of men 


representing the various types and phases of human experience 
and character. But even when such have been found and they 
have done their best, they have only partially fulfilled their task, 
for their translation only expresses their religious, ethical, and 
practical conceptions which at the utmost are those of the holi- 
est and most learned men of the particular age in which they 
live. But inasmuch as the divine revelation was given through 
holy men who spake not only from their own time and for their 
own time, but from and for the timeless Spirit, the eternal ideas 
for all time, the advancing generations will ever need to under- 
stand the Word of God better than their fathers, and must, if 
they are faithful, continually improve in their knowledge of 
the original Scriptures, in their power of apprehending them, 
of appropriating them, and of reproducing them in speech and 
life. "~ 

How important it is, therefore, if the Church is to maintain 
a living connection with the Sacred Scriptures, and enter ever 
deeper into their spirit and hidden life, that it should encour- 
age a considerable portion of its youth to pursue these funda- 
mental studies. At all events, the Church should ever insist 
that its ministry, who are to train God's people in the things 
of God, should have not merely a superficial knowledge of the 
Bible, such as any layman may readily attain, but sliould enjoy 
a deep and thorough acquaintance with the original perennial 
fountains of truth. History has already sufficiently shown that 
when this is neglected, the versions assume the place of the 
original Divine Word ; and the interpretations of a particular 
generation become the stereotyped dogmas of many genera- 
tions. When the life of a Christian people is cut off from its 
primary source of spiritual growth, a barren scholasticism, with 
its mechanical institutions, and perfunctory liturgies and cere- 
monies assume the place and importance of the Divine Word 
and living communion with God. 

The languages of the Bible being the only adequate means 
of conveying and perpetuating the divine revelation, it is im- 
portant that we should learn them not merely from the out- 
side, with grammar and lexicon, but also from the inside, with 
a proper conception of the genius and life of these tongues as 


emploj'ed by the ancient saints, and especiall}' of the historical 
genius of the languages as the sacred channels of the Spirit's 
thought and life. Language is a living thing, and has its 
birtli, its growth, its maturity, and often also its decline and 
its death. Language is born, not a*s a system of roots or 
detached words, that gradually come together by natural selec- 
tion into sentences. As plants may grow from roots after 
they hare been cut down, but do not have their birth in roots, 
but in the seed-germs which contain the plants in embryo ; so 
language, although it may be analyzed into roots, yet was not 
born in roots and never existed in roots, but came into being 
as sentences,^ as thought is ever a sentence, and not a word. 
Then as the mind develops, thought is developed with its body, 
language, and the language grows with the culture of a people. 
All languages that have literary documents may be traced in 
their historical development. Especially is this the case with 
the languages of the Bible; they have a long history back of 
them; centuries of literary development were required to pro- 
duce them. 

L The Shemitic B'amily of Languages 

The Hebrew language was long supposed to be the original 
language of mankind ; but this view can no longer be held by 
philologists, for the Hebrew language, as it appears to us in 
its earliest forms in the Sacred Scriptures, bears upon its face 
the traces of a long previous literary development. ^ This is 
confirmed by comparing it with the other languages of the 
same family. 

The Shemitic family may be divided into four groups : ^ 
(1) the Southern or Arabic, (2) the Eastern or A.ssyrian, (-3) tlie 
Western or Hebrew, (4) the Northern or Aramaic. 

> Sayce. Principles of Comp. Philology, pp. 136 seq., 2d ed., London, 1875. 

2 Ewa'd, Gesck. des Volkes Israel, 3te Ausg. ; Gbtt. 1864, s. 78 seq. ; Ewald. 
Ausf. Lehrb. des Heb. Sprarhe, 7le Ausg. ; Gott. 1863, s. 23. 

' Zimuiern (Vergleichende Grammatik, 1898) makes five groups by separat- 
ing the Ethiopic from the Arabic ; but he recognizes the propriety of classing 
these together as Southern Shemitic. and he does not give sufficient reasons for 
the exaltation of the Ethiopic into a special group. 


1. The Arabic grozip oi Shemitic languages presents us one 
of the most primitive families of human speech. The Arabic 
language itself is spoken by many millions of our race at the 
present time. It is the richest of the Shemitic tongues in 
etymology, syntax, and literature. It has absorbed valuable 
material from many other languages, but it has transformed 
these foreign elements by its own genius. It is a living tongue 
whose life is longer than that of any other known to history. 
It is the richest of languages in its vocabulary and one of the 
wealthiest in the variety and extent of its literature. It is as 
fresh and vigorous as ever, with its wonderful power of en- 
riching itself by new formations and adaptations from other 
tongues. It is to be ranked with the greatest languages such 
as the Greek and the German. The Koran, the holy book 
of the Mahometans, of th^ seventh century of our era, is the 
classic model which has kept the language to its historic mould. 
Modern Arabic lias approached very nearly the stage of lin- 
guistic development of the classic Hebrew of the Bible. Modern 
Arabic is nearer the classic Hebrew than is the Hebrew of 
the Mishna.^ The Ethiopic language is a southern Arabic 
spoken in ancient Abyssinia. The oldest forms of the Shemitic 
family are often found in it. Its verbal system is the most 
elaborate of all. The chief literature is Cliristian, including 
translations of the Scriptures, many ancient liturgies and 
pseudepigraphical writings, the most important of which are 
the Book of Enoch and the Ascension of Isaiah. A modern 
variety of the Ethiopic is found in the Amharic.'^ 

The Sabean or Himyaric is preserved only in inscriptions 
from the southern part of Arabia extending from the Persian 
Gulf to the Red Sea. It is often helpful in explaining archaic 
forms and by presenting intermediate stages and missing links 
in the development of Sliemitic forms of etymology and syntax.' 

' Caspar!, A Grnminar of the Arabic Language, translated and edited by 
Wm. Wright; 3d ed. by W. R. Smith and de Goeje, Cambridge, 1896: Socin, 
Arabische Orammatih; ."5 Aufl., Berlin, 1804 ; English 2d ed., New York, 1885: 
Lane, Arabic Lexicon, London, 18fi:'-188!). 

" Dillniaiin, (Iranvnalil- dor Ar-tliiitpischen Sprache, Leipzig, 1857 ; Cbresto- 
mathia AHhinpica, IHtSd; Lexicon Lingua ^thiopico", 18115; rnctorius, Aethi- 
opische Orammatik, Halle, 1886 ; Amharische Sprache, Halle, 1879. 

' Hommel, Siidarabische Chrestomathie, 1893. 


2. The Assyrian (jroup is next to the Arabic in its stage of 
linguistic development. It embraces the Babylonian and tlie 
Assyrian, the ancient hmguages of the Shemitic popuhition of 
the valleys of the Euphrates and of the Tigris. A vast number 
of inscriptions in these languages have been discovered and 
many libraries of clay tablets and bricks, which served in ancient 
times the purpose of rolls and books, have been unearthed. 
Great libraries of these ancient writings have been removed 
from the ruins of ancient cities and brought to the museums 
of Europe and America. A vast literature has been opened 
up, full of interest, and of immense value for the early history 
of mankind. It is said that this literature is so extensive that 
it will take all the Assyrian scholars of the world many years 
to decipher the whole of it. New discoveries increase the 
amount of literature more rapidly than it can be decijihered. 
This group of languages is intermediate between the Arabic 
and the Hebrew groups ; and accordingly it is of great impor- 
tance for showing the transition from Arabic types to Hebrew 
types. The Assyrian literature is nearer to the literature of 
the Old Testament than any other. For biblical scholars it 
is of inestimable value. A flood of light has been east upon 
the Bible by its revelations. We may expect still greater help 
in the f utui-e.^ 

3. The Hebrew group embraces the Phoenician and a number 
of dialects of the Hebrew. The Phoenician is preserved in a large 
number of inscriptions discovered in ancient Phrenicia, at Car- 
thage, and other Phoenician colonies in North Africa and on 
the coasts of France and Spain, together with a few lines in 
the Poenulus of Plautus.^ Gesenius made a large collection 
of these inscriptions. But a more complete collection is in 
course of publication at Paris. ^ The Phoenician is helpful in 

' See E. Sclirader, The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, trans. 
by O. Wliitchouse, 1885-1888 ; Brown, Assyriology, its Use and Abuse in. Old 
Testament Study, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1885; Delitzsch, Fried., Assyrische 
Grammatik, Berlin, 1889 ; Assyrisches Handworterbuch, Leipzig, 1894-1896. 

" V. 1-3. 

» Gesenius, Scriptures Lingnceque Phcenicite, Lipsiae, 18.37 ; Corpus In- 
scriptionum Semiticum, Pars I., Inscriptioties Phcenicix, Paris, 1881-1891 ; 
Schroeder, Phonizische Sprache, Halle, 1869 ; Levy, Phonizisches Worterbuch, 
Breslau, 1804 ; Bloch, Phoenisches Glossar, Berlin, 1890. 


the study of archaic Hebrew forms. It is intermediate between 
the Assyrian and the Hebrew in its stage of linguistic develop- 
ment. The inscriptions also throw a great light upon the 
religion of the inhabitants of ancient Canaan. 

The Hehretv language itself is more extensive than the 
Hebrew of the Bible. It was the language of the ancient 
inhabitants of Canaan. This dialect is preserved only in a 
few proper names, and in the glosses to the Tell-el-Amarna 

The Moabite dialect was unknown until 1868, when the so- 
called Moabite stone was discovered at Dibon, on the east of 
the Jordan. This stone is now in the Louvre at Paris. It 
dates from the ninth century B.C. It is also called the ilesha 
Stone from the contents of the inscription. It is valuable for 
the side light it casts upon biblical histor}', and also upon the 
modes of writing ancient Tlebrew.^ 

The biblical Hebrew has several stages of development, and 
also dialects.^ The archaic, classic, and post-classic forms ma)' 
be distinguished in the Bible. There was also an Ephraimitic 
dialect, tending to the Aramaic ; a trans-Jordanic, tending to 
the Arabic ; besides the Judaic, which became the classic type 
of Hebrew. 

The only ancient Hebrew apart from the Bible is the Siloam 
inscription discovered in 1880.* This is valuable for its ex- 
planation of ancient methods of writing words as well as for 
archaeological interests. 

An interesting and valuable specimen of Hebrew has recently 

1 H. Winckler, The TcU-H-Amarna Litters. Berlin and New York, 1896. 

" Clermont Ganneau, La Stc4e de Mesa Moi de Moab, Paris, 1870 ; Smend and 
Socin, Die Insclirift des Knttigs Mesa, Freib.. 1886. 

' Gesenius, Thesanrus philologicus criticus lingua: Hehrmm et Chaldwie 
V.T., 3 Tom. 1836-18'J.'!; Gesenius, Ilebriiisclies und Aramiiisches Haudworter- 
buch ilbcr das A. T. 12te Aufl. von F. Buhl, 1896 ; A Hebrew and English Lexi- 
con of the Old Testament based on the Lexicon of Gesenius as translated by 
Ed. liobinson, edited by Francis Brown, with the cooperation of S. R. Driver 
and C. A. Briggs, Parts I.-VII.. 1891-1899; Kouig, Historisch-kritisches Lehrge- 
bdude der Hebrdischen Spracke, 3 Theile, 1881-1897 ; Gesenius, Heb. Oram. 
umgearbeitet von E. ICautzsch, 26te Aufl., 1896, trans, by Collins and Cowley, 
Oxford, 1898. 

' Briggs, "Siloam Inscription," Presbyterian lievieio. 1882. See also Driver, 
Hooks of Samuel, 1890, pp. xv. seq. 


been discovered in part of the Hebrew text of the ;ipocryphal 
book of " Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Ben Sira." ' 

The post-biblical Hebrew is a later development of the lan- 
guage in the direction of the Aramaic. It appears in the 
second and third Christian centuries in the Mishna, and the 
Baraithoth of the Talmud, and in commentaries on the Penta- 
teuch. The new Hebrew is t)ie language of the schools, and 
is no more a living tongue than the Latin of the schools is a 
living Latin. ^ 

4. The Aramaic i/roup ma}' be divided into the eastern and 
western families. The eastern includes the primitive language 
of northeastern Sj'ria, the Syriac, the ]\Iandaic, and the language 
of the Babylonian Gemara. The western includes the Pales- 
tinian dialect of the Aramaic, the Samaritan language, the 
language of Palmyra, and the Nabatean. The eastern Aramaic 
presents the oldest and strongest forms. The chief member of 
the family is the Syriac, which has a very extensive Christian 
literature, embracing the most important early versions of the 
New Testament from the second Christian century, several 
other important versions of the Bible,^ a considerable number 
of early apocr3-phal and pseudepigraphical writings, the works 
of the great theologian Ephraem of the fourth century, and a 
large amount of literature extending deep into the Middle Ages. 
^Modern Syriac is spoken at present in Kurdistan and at Tur 
Abdin on the Tigris.* 

A branch of eastern Aramaic is the dialect of the Mandseans, 
or Sabians, or Christians of St. John, who still survive in the 
neighbourhood of Basra and Wasit in lower Babylonia.* 

' Cowley, Neubauer, and Driver. The Original Hebrew of a Portion of Eccle- 
sinsticHS (391M9"), Oxford, 1897. 

- Geiger, Lehrbuch znr Spracke der Mishna, Breslau, 184.5 ; Strack, H. L., 
Lehrbuch der Neuhebrdischen Sprache und Litteratur, Karlsruhe, 1884. See, 
also, pp. 232 seq. 3 gge p. 212. 

* See Noeltleke, Theo., Kurzgefasste Syrische Gramniatik, Leipzig, 1880 ; 
Nestle, Syriac Grammar with Bibliography, Chrestomathy, and Glossary, 1889 ; 
Duval, Traite de Gram. Syr.,Vax'\s, 1881 ; Brockelmann, Lex. Syr., Berlin and 
Edinburgh. 1895 ; Smith, R. Payne, Thesaurus Syriacus, Oxford, 1868-1897 ; 
Castell, Edm., Lexicon Syriacum, Gottingen, 1788. 

» Their chief writings are the Ginza or Sidra Uabba, called the Book of Adam, 
and Sidra d'Yahya, or Book of John. See Noeldeke, Manddische Grammntik, 
Halle. 1875 ; Petermann, Thesaurus sive Liber Magnus, 2 Bd., Berlin, 1867. 


The Babylonian Gemara and the Rabbinical literature founded 
thereon give another important dialect of the eastern Aramaic. ^ 

The western Aramaic presents the latest stage of the lan- 
guage in many resjjects. The earliest member of this family 
is the Samaritan, which is a strange mixture of Aramaic and 
Hebrew, using side by side the Aramaic and the Hebrew forms 
of the relative pronoun and the plural of nouns, the Aramaic 
emphatic state, and the Hebrew article. But the language is 
essentially Aramaic. It has reached a more advanced stage of 
decay than any other of the Shemitic stock. Its literature is 
important, embracing a Targum of the Pentateuch, which dates 
in its written form from the second Christian century, and a 
number of historical, liturgical, and theological writings.^ 

The ruins of Palmyra give inscriptions in another dialect of 
western Aramaic. The rocks of the peninsula of Sinai, of 
Petra, and the Huaran afford~Tnany inscriptions in a dialect 
that is called Nabatean.^ 

The Aramaic contained in the Old Testament,* the Aramaic 
specimens in the New Testament,* the dialect of the Palestinian 
Gemara,^ and the Rabbinical literature founded thereon are all 
in the western Aramaic language. 

The early Palestinian Christians seem to have used a dialect 
of the western Aramaic. Some specimens of this dialect have 
recently been discovered.' 

All these languages are more closely related to one another 

' Levy, .Tacob, ChaJddisches Worterbuch, 2 Bd., Leipzig, 1876; yeuhebrd- 
isches uud Chaldiiisches Worterbuch uher die Talmudim und Midrashim, 4 Bd., 
Leipziii, 187(5-1889 ; Dalman, Aramdisch NeuhebriiiscJies Worterbuch zu Tar- 
gum, Talmud und Midrasch. Tcil L, 1897. See, also, pp. 232, 283. 

* See Petermann, Brevis LingiiicB Samaritancc, Berlin, 1873 ; Brijrgs, article 
on " Samaritan.s " in Johnson's Cyclopcedia ; Nutt, Samaritan Sistory, Dogma, 
and Literature, London, 1874. 

» See Neuliauer in Studia Bihlica, Oxford, 1885, I. 3. 

* Luzzato, Grammar of the Biblical Chahlaic Lantjuage, New York, 1876 ; 
Brown, C K., Aramaic Method, New York, 1884 ; Kautzscli, Gram. d. Bibl. 
Aram., Leipzig, 1884 ; Strack, Gram. d. Bibl. Aram., Leipzij;, 1897. 

' Meyer, Jesu Muttersprache. D:is galiliiische Arauiaisch in seine Bedeutung 
fUr die Erklarung der Reden Jesu. Frei. 1896. See pp. 404, 406. 

" Dalman, Gram. d. j'iidi.'!ch-pald.itinische.n Aramiiisch, Leipzig, 1894 ; Ara- 
mSisehe Dialektpntben. Leipziir, 189(;. 

'Lewis. A Palp.itinian Ni/riac Lertionary, Cambridge, 1897; Schwally, 
Idinticnn des christlich-paiast. Aramiiisch, Giessen, 1893. 


tlian those of the Indo-Germanic family, the people speaking 
them having been confined to comparatively narrow limits, 
crowded on the north by the Indo-Germanic tongues, and on 
the south by the Turanian. These languages are grouped in 
sisterhoods. They all go back upon an original mother-tongue 
of which all traces have been lost. In general the Arabic or 
Southern group presents the older and fuller forms of etymology 
and syntax, the Aramaic or Northern group the later and sim- 
pler forms. The Hebrew and Assyrian groups lie in the midst 
of this linguistic development, where the Assyrian is nearer to 
the Southern group and the Hebrew to the Northern group. 
The differences in stage of linguistic growth from the common 
stock depend not so much ujDon the period or distance of sepa- 
ration as upon literary culture. The literary use of a lan- 
guage has the tendency to reduce the complex elements to 
order, and to simplify and wear away the superfluous and 
unnecessary forms of speech and syntactical cimstruction. 
These languages have, for the most part, given us a consider- 
able literature; they were spoken by the most cultivated 
nations of the ancient world, mediating between the great cen- 
tres of primitive culture — the Euphrates and the Nile. Everj^- 
thing seems to indicate that they all emigrated from a common 
centre in the desert on the south of Babylonia,^ the Arabic 
group separating first, next the Aramaic, then the Hebrew, 
while the Babylonian gained ultimately the mastery of the 
original population of Babjdonia, and the Assyrian founded the 
great empire on the Tigris. 

II. The Hebrew La^tgtjage 

We have already, in the previous section, considered the 
Hebrew group of languages in general ; we have now to study 
the Hebrew language more particularly, especially as it is pre- 
sented to us in the Sacred Scriptures. The book of Genesis ^ 
represents Abram as going forth from Ur in Babylonia, at first 
northward into Mesopotamia, and then emigrating to Canaan, 

' Schrader, Die Abstammuvg der Chaldder und die Vrsitze der Semiten^ 
Zeitschrift d. Deutsch. M. G., 1873. - Gen. ll^". 


just as we learn from other sources the Canaanites had done 
before him. The monuments of Ur reveal that about this 
time, 2000 B.C., it was the seat of a great literai-y develop- 
ment. ^ The father of the faithful, whose origin was in that 
primitive seat of culture, and who lived as a chieftain of mili- 
tary prowess,^ and exalted religious and moral character among 
the cultivated nations of Canaan ; and who was received at 
the court of Pharaoh,'^ that other great centre of primitive cul- 
ture, on friendly terms, to some extent at least made him- 
self acquainted with their literature and culture. Whether 
Abraham adopted the language of the Canaanites, or brought 
the Hebrew with him from the East, is luiimportant, for the 
ancient Assyrian and Babylonian are nearer to the Hebrew 
and Phoenician than they are to the other Shemitic families. 
If these languages, as now presented to us, differ less than the 
Romance languages. — the daughters of the Latin ; iu their 
earlier stages in the time of Abraham their difference could 
scarcel)^ have been more than dialectic. The ancient Phoeni- 
cian, the nearest akin to the Hebrew, was the language of com- 
merce and intercourse between the nations in primitive times, 
as the Aramaic after the fall of Tyre, and the Greek after the 
conquest of Alexander. Thus the Hebrew language, as a dia- 
lect of the Cauaanite and closely related to the Babylonian, had 
already a considerable literary development prior to the en- 
trance of Abraham into the Holy Land. The older scholars were 
naturally inclined to the opinion that Eg3-pt was the mother 
of Hebrew civilization and culture. This has been disproved ; 
for, though the Hebrews remained a long period in Egyptian 
bondage, they retained their Eastern civilization, culture, and 
language, so that at the Exodus they shook off at once the 
Egyptian culture as alien and antagonistic to their own. For 
the very peculiarities of the Hebrew language^ literature, and 
civilization are those of the Babylonian. The biblical tradi- 
tions of the Creation, of the Deluge, of the Tower of Babel, 
are those of the Assyrians and Babylonians. The sacred rest- 
day, with the signiiicance of the number seven, the months, 

> George Smith. The Chaldean Account uf Genesis, etc., pp. 29 seq. New 
York, 1876. 2 Gen. 14. « Gen. 12""«« 


seasons, and years, the weiglits and measures, coins, — all are 
of the same origin. Still further, that most striking feature of 
Hebrew poetry — the parallelism of members — is already in 
the oldest Babjdonian hj'mns.^ Yes, the very temptations of 
the Hebrews to the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth, of Chemosh 
and Moloch, are those that ruined the other branches of the 
Shemitic race.^ 

As Abraham went forth from the culture of Babylon to enter 
upon the pilgrim life in Canaan under the guidance of his cove- 
nant keeping God ; so Closes went forth from the culture of Egypt 
to organize a kingdom of priests, a sacred nation of Yahweh. 
As Abraham was the father of the faithful, the great religious 
ancestor of Israel, Moses became the great prophetic lawgiver, 
the father of the prophetic and legal development of the king- 
dom of God. It is possible that traces of the influence of 
Egyptian civilization may yet be found in the earliest strata 
of the laws and institutions of Israel ; but little if any such 
infiueuce has yet been disclosed. The Hebrews seem to have 
thrown off the culture of Egypt with its bondage. David 
founded the Hebrew monarchy and breathed a spirit of song 
into the national life, and Solomon became the father of 
Hebrew wisdom : but it is altogether probable that the in- 
fluence of Moses. David, and Solomon upon the literary mon- 
uments, which have been preserved to us in Hebrew Law, 
Psalmody, and Wisdom, was little, if any, more than that of 
Samuel upon the literary monuments of Hebrew prophecy. 

Although we have in the Old Testament little, if any, litera- 
ture which may in its present form be ascribed to these fathers 
of the old covenant religion, yet their influence upon the lan- 
guage and literature was certainly creative and formative. They 
gave the language and the literature their essential spirit and 
genius. They made the language a religious language, and the 
literature a religious literature. They were the fathers of the 
great types of Law, Psalmody, and Wisdom ; and it was inevi- 
table that they should give their names to the great collections 
of these types of literature for all time. 

1 See pp. .S79, 381. 

* Schrader, Semitismus und Babylonismus, Jahrb. v. Prot. Theol., 1875. 


Looking now at the language as religious according to its 
genius, and considering it in its fundamental types and their 
historical development, we observe the following as some of its 
most prominent characteristics : 

1. It is remarkably simple and natural. This is indeed a com- 
mon feature of the Shemitic languages. As compared with the 
Indo-Germanic, they represent an earlier stage in the develop- 
ment of mankind, the childhood of the race. Theirs is an age 
of perception, contemi^lation, and observation, not of conception, 
reflection, and reasoning. Things are apprehended according 
to their appeai'ance as phenomena, and not according to their 
internal character as noumena. The form, the features, the ex- 
pressions of things are seen and most nicely distinguished, but 
not their inward being : the effects are observed, but these are 
not traced through a series of causes, but only either to the im- 
mediate cause or else by a leajj to the ultimate cause. Hence 
the language that expresses such thought is simple and natural. 
We see this in its sounds, which are simple and manifold, dis- 
liking diphthongs and compound letters ; in its roots, uniformly 
of three consonants, generally accompanied by a vowel ; in its 
inflections, mainlj* by internal modifications ; in its simple ar- 
rangements of clauses in the sentence, with a limited number of 
conjunctions. Thus the conjunction tvaiv plays a more impor- 
tant part in the language than all conjunctions combined, dis- 
tinguished by a simple modification of vocalization, accentuation, 
or position, between clauses coordinate, circumstantial, and sub- 
ordinate, and in the latter between those indicating purpose 
and result. 1 This is the most remarkable feature of the lan- 
guage, without a parallel in any other tongue. And so the 
poetry is constructed on the simple principle of the parallel- 
ism of members, these being synthetic, antithetic, or pro- 
gressive ; and in the latter case advancing, like the waves of 
the sea, in the most beautiful and varied forms.^ Hence it is 
that the Hebrew language is the easiest to render into a foreign 
tongue, and that I lebrew poetry can readily be made the common 
property of mankind. 

1 See Driver, Hebrew Tenses, 3d ed., 1892. 

2 See Chap. XVI., Parallelisms of Hebrew Poetry. 


2. We observe a striking correspondence of the language to 
the thought. This rests upon a radical difference between the 
Sliemitic and Indo-Germanic family in their relative apprecia- 
tion of the material and the form of language. ^ The form, the 
artistic expression, is to the Hebrew a very small affair. The 
idea, the thought, and emotion flow forth freely and embody 
themselves without any external restraint in the speech. This 
is clear from the method of inflection, which is mostly by inter- 
nal changes in the root, expressing the passive by changing the 
clear vowel into the dull vowel,^ the intensive by doubling the 
second radical.^ the pure idea of the root by the extreme short- 
ness of the infinitive and the segholate,^ the causative and the 
reflexive by lengthening the stem from without,^ and, so far 
as cases and moods exist, expressing them harmoniously by the 
three radical short vowels.® 

How beautiful in form, as well as sense, is the abstract plural 
of intensitj' by which the fulness of the idea of God is conceived 
in such passages as these : 

"For Yahweh your God, He is the sovereign God'' of gods, and 
the sovereign Lord of lords, the great and the mighty and the awe- 
inspiring God." 

"An allknoiving^ God is Yahweh." 

" The knowledge of the All Holy ' is understanding." 

"For high one over high one is watching, 
The Most High '" over them." 

1 Grill, iiher d. Verhdltniss d. indogerm. ?(. d. semit. Sprar.hiourzeln in the 
Zeitschrift D. M. G., 1873. 

- The active of the simple form in Arabic is 3 m. s. Perf. qdtala, the passive 
qutila ; the active of the intensive form in Hebrew is 3 m. s. Perf. qittel, the 
passive quttdl. 

^ The simple form of the verb in Hebrew 3 m. s. Perf. is qatdl, the intensive 
qittel. The intensive nouns are in their ground form such as qattal, qittal, 
qnttal, qattil, qittil, qatlul, qattol, qittul. 

* The infinitive in Hebrew is q'tol ; the segholate normal forms are qatl, 
qitl, qutl. 

' The causative stems prefix Tia or sha ; the reflexive, hith and na. 

* In Arabic the moods of the imperfect are : indicative yaqtulu, subjunctive 
yaqtula. jussive yaqtxdi, energetic yaqtvlana ; preserved by the Hebrew in part 
in the indicative, jussive, and cohortative forms. In Arabic the cases are : 
nominative m, genitive i, accusative a; also preserved in part in Hebrew in the 
poetic endings in i and o, and in the local accusative in a. 

' D"n'?sn 'rh», B"n«n "jnK Dt. lO". » n-vTip Prov. 9i». 

e n'Un bin l Sam. 2\ i» D'HSJ Eco. 5'. 


The fulness of life, of youth and of happiness for man are 
similarly expressed.' 

We may mention also the dependence of the construct rela- 
tion, and the use of the suffixes.^ This feature is striking iu 
Hebrew poetry, where the absence of strictness of artistic form 
is more apparent. We see that, with a general harmony of 
lines and strophes, the proportion in length and number is not 
infrequently broken through, and thus indeed the artistic effect 
is heightened as in the Song of Deborah.^ And though the 
Hebrew poet uses the refrain, yet he likes to modify it, as in 
the lament of David over Jonathan,* and in the magnificent 
prophecy of the great projjhet of the exile. ^ Again, though 
the Hebrew poet uses the alphabet to give his lines or strophes 
a regularity in order, using it as so many stairs up which to 
climb in pi-aise, in pleading, in lamentation, and iu advancing 
instruction,® jet in the book~"of Lamentations each chapter 
varies in number of lines, and in use of alphabet. Free as the 
ocean is the poet's emotion, rising like the waves in majestic 
strivings, heaving as an agitated sea, ebbing and flowing like 
the tide in solemn and measured antitheses, sporting like the 
wavelets upon a sandy beach. 

3. The Hebrew language has a wonderful majesty and sub- 
limity. This arises partlj' from its original religious genius, but 
chiedy from the sublime materials of its thought. God, the 
only true God, Yahweh, the H0I3' Redeemer of His people, is 
the central theme of the Hebrew language and literature, a 
God not apart from nature, and not involved in nature, no 
Pantheistic God, no mere Deistic God, but a God who enters 
into sympathetic relations with His creatures, who is recog- 

^ E.g., the Hebrew language gives the two words : Wurd of God, in construct 
relation, and expresses tlie relation between them by an internal change in the 
vowel of one of them, rather than by the insertion of a preposition, or the use of 
a case : e.g. D'bhar ^Elohim. In late Hebrew this might be given as Dabhar It 
^Elohim. The possessive pronoun is attached to the noun as a suffix : e.g. d'bharo 
= his word. » Jd. 5. * 2 Sam. V^^. 

' Is. 40-66. See Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, pp. 3.S8 seq. 

'These are specimens of alphabetical poems. I'ss. 9-10, ,34, .37, 111, 112. 
119, 146; Lam. 1-4. 


nized and praised, as well as miiiistereil uuto by the material 
creation. Hence there is a realism in the Hebrew language 
that can nowhere else be found to the same extent. The 
Hebrew people were as realistic as the Greek were idealistic. 
Their God is not a God thought out, reasoned out as an ulti- 
mate cause, or chief of a Pantheon, but a personal God, known 
by them in His association with them by a proper name, Yahweh. 
Hence the so-called anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms 
of the Old Testament, so alien to the Indo-Germanic mind that 
an Occidental theology must explain them away, from an in- 
capacity to enter into that bold and sublime realism of the 
Hebrews. Thus, again, man is presented to us in all his naked 
reality, in his weakness and sins, in his depravity and wretched- 
ness, as well as in his bravery and beauty, his holiness and wis- 
dom. In the Hebrew hei'oes we see men of like passions with 
ourselves, and feel that their experience is the key to the joys 
and sorrows of our life. So also in their conception of nature. 
Nature is to the Hebrew poet all aglow with the glory of God, 
and intimately associated with man in las origin, history, and 
destiny. There is no such thing as science ; that was for the 
Indo-Germanic mind ; but they give us that which science never 
gives, that which science is from its nature unable to present 
us : namely, those concrete relations, those expressive features of 
nature that declare to man their Master's mind and character, 
and claim human sympathy and protection as they yearn with 
man for the Messianic future. Now the Hebrew language mani- 
fests this realism on its very face. Its richness in synonyms is 
remarkable. It is said that the Hebrew language has, relatively 
to the English, ten times as many roots and ten times fewer 
words ; ' and that while the Greek language has 1800 roots to 
100,000 words, the Hebrew has 2000 roots to 10,000 words.^ 
This wealth in synonyms is appalling to the Indo-Germanic 
scholar who comes to the Hebrew from the Latin and the Greek, 
where the synonyms are more or less accurately defined. But 
nothing of tiie kind has yet been done by any Shemitic scholar. 
It is exceedingly doubtful whether this richness of synonyms 

> Grill, in I.e. 

2 Bottclier, Ausf. LKhylmcli d. Heh. Sprache. I. p. 8. Leipzig, 1866. 


can be reduced to a system and the terms sharply and clearly 
defined ; the differences are like those of the peculiar gutturals 
of the Shemitic tongues, so delicate and subtle that they can 
hardly be mastered by the Western tongue or ear. 

This wealth of synonym is connected with a corresponding 
richness of expression in the synonymous clauses that play such 
an important part in Hebrew poetry, and indeed are the reason 
of its wonderful richness and majesty of thought.^ Thus the 
sacred poet or prophet plan's upon his theme as upon a man}"^- 
stringed instrument, bringing out a great variety of tone and 
melody, advancing in graceful steppings or stately marchings 
to the climax, or dwelling upon the theme with an inexhausti- 
ble variety of expression and colouring. The Hebrew language 
is like the rich and glorious verdure of Lebanon, or as the lovely 
face of the Shulamite, dark as the tents of Kedar, yet rich in 
colour as the curtains of Solomon, or her graceful form, which is 
so rapturously described as she discloses its beauties in the 
dance of the hosts. ^ It is true that Hebrew literature is not 
as extensive as the Greek ; it is confined to history, poetry, 
fiction, oratory, and ethical wisdom ; ^ but in these departments 
it presents the grandest pi'oductions of the human soul. Its 
history gives us the origin and destiny of our race, unfolds the 
story of redemption, dealing now with the individual, then with 
the family and nation, and at times widening so as to take into 
its field of representation the most distant nations of earth ; it 
is a history in which God is the great actor, in which sin and 
holiness are the chief factors. Its poetry stirs the heart of 
mankind with hymns and prayers, and sentences of wisdom ; 
and in the heroic struggles of a Job and the conquering virtue 
of a Shulamite, there is imparted strength to the soul and vigour 
to the character of man and woman transcemling the influence 
of the godlike Achilles or the chaste Lucretia. The great 
prophet of the exile ^ presents the sublimest aspirations of man. 
Where shall we find such images of beauty, such wealth of 
illustration, such grandeur of delineation, such majestic repre- 
sentations? It seems as if the prophet grasped in his tremen- 

» See pp. .366 se.q. a See Chap. XIII. and XVII. 

" Song of Songs, 1' ; 7". « Is. 40-66. 


dous soul the movements of the ages, and saw the very future 
mirrored in the mind of God. 

4. The Hebrew language is remarkable for its life and fervour. 
This is owing to the emotional and hearty character of the 
people. There is an artlessness, self-abandonment, and earnest- 
ness in the Hebrew tongue ; it is transparent as a glass, so that 
we see through it as into the very souls of the people. There 
is none of that reserve, that cool and calm deliberation, that 
self-consciousness that characterize the Greek. i The Hebrew 
language is distinguished by the strength of its consonants and 
the weakness of its vowels ; so that the consonants give the 
word a stability of form in which the vowels have the greatest 
freedom of movement. The vowels circulate in the speech as 
the blood of the language. Hence the freedom in the varying 
expressions of the same root and the fervour of its full-toned 
forms. And if we can trust the Alassoretic system of accentua- 
tion and vocalization, the inflection of the language depends 
upon the dislike of the recurrence of two vowelless consonants; ^ 
and on the power of the accent over the vocalization not only 
of the accented syllable, but also of the entire word.^ This 
gives the language a wonderful flexibility and elasticity. In 
the Hebrew tongue the emotions overpower the thoughts and 
carry them on in the rushing stream to the expression. Hence 
the literature has a power over the souls of mankind. The 
language is as expressive of emotion as the face of a modest 
and untutored child, and the literature is but the speaking face 
of the lieart of the Hebrew people. The Psalms touch a chord 
in every soul, and interpret the experience of all the world. 
The sentences of wisdom come to us as the home-truths, as the 
social and political maxims that sway our minds and direct our 
lives. The prophets present to us the objective omnipotent 
truth, which, according to the beautiful story of Zerubba- 

1 Ewald, in I.e., p. 3.3; Bottcher, in I.e., p. 9. Bertlieau, in Herzog, Beal 
Eneyklopddie, I. Aufl. Bd. v. p. 613. 

- Hence the remarkable use of the Shewas and the law of the half-open syl- 
lable. In the oldest language doubtless every consonant had a full vowel as in 

^ Hence the use of tlic pretonic Qdmetz. It is doubtful whether this belongs 
to the ancient language. The principle is, however, independent of this question. 


bel,^ is the mightiest of all, flashing conviction like the sun and 
cutting to the heart as by a sharp two-edged sword. ^ The his- 
tory presents us the simple facts of the lives of individuals and 
of nations in the light of the divine countenance, speaking to 
our hearts and photographing upon us pictures of real life. 

These are some of the most striking features of the Hebrew 
language, which have made it the most suitable of all languages 
to give to mankind the elementary religious truths and facts 
of divine revelation. The great body of the Bible, four-fifths 
of the sum total of God's Word, is in this tongue. It is no 
credit to the American people that the Hebrew language has no 
place at all in many of our colleges and universities ; that its 
study has been confined to so great an extent to theological 
seminaries and to the students for the ministry. It is not 
strange that the Old Testament has been neglected in the pul- 
pit, the Sabbath school, and the family, so that many, even of 
the ministry, have doubted whether it was any longer to be 
regarded as the Word of God. It is not strange that Christian 
scholars, prejudiced by their training in the languages and 
literatures of Greece and Rome, should be unable to enter into 
the spirit, and appreciate the peculiar features of the Hebrew 
language and literature, and so fail to understand the elements 
of a divine revelation. Separating the New Testament and the 
words and work of Jesus and His apostles from their founda- 
tion and their historical preparation, studeuts have not caught 
the true spirit of the Gospel, nor apprehended it in its unity 
and variety as the fulfilment of the law and the prophets.^ But 
this is not all, for we shall now attempt to show that the other 
languages of the Bible, the Ai'amaic and the Greek, have been 
moulded and transformed by the theological conceptions and 
moral ideas that had been developing in the Hebrew Scriptures, 
and which, having been ripened under the potent influence of 
the Divine Spirit, were about to burst forth into bloom and 
eternal fruitfulness in these tongues prepai-ed by Divine Provi- 

1 1. Esdras i^^K 2 Heb. 4'^. 

' It is becoming more evident now than ever tliat it is impossible rightly to 
interpret the New Testament without a thorough knowledge of the Hebrew and 
Aramaic languages, in whicli indeed tlie words of Jesus and the primary sources 
of the New Testament writings were given. See pp. 190, 244. 


dence for the purpose. The Hebrew language is, as we have 
seen, the hxuguage of religion, and moulded entirely by religious 
and moral ideas and emotions. The Greek and the Aramaic 
are of an entirely different character ; they were not, as the 
Hebrew, cradled and nursed, trained from infancy to childhood, 
armed and equipped in their heroic youth with divine revela- 
tion, but they were moulded outside of the realm of divine reve- 
lation, and only subsequently adapted for the declaration of 
sacred truth. And first this was the case with the Aramaic. 

HI. The Aramaic Language 

goes back in its history to the most primitive times. It is the 
farthest developed of the Shemitic family, showing a decline, 
a decrepitude, in its poverty of forms and vocalization, in its 
brevity and abruptness, in its pleonasm, and in its incorpora- 
tion of a multitude of foreign words. It was the language of 
those races of Syria and Mesopotamia that warred with the 
Egyptians and Assyrians, and possibly, as Gladstone suggests, 
took part in the Trojan War,i who were the agents through 
whom both the Hebrew and the Greek alphabets were con- 
vej'ed to those peoples. At all events the Aramaic became the 
language of commerce and intercourse between the nations 
during the Persian period,^ taking the place of the Phcenician, 
as it was in turn supplanted by the Greek. The children of 
Judah having been carried into captivity and violently sepa- 
rated from their sacred places and the scenes of their history, 
gradually acquired this commercial and common language of 
intercourse, so that ere long it became the language of the 
Hebrew people, the knowledge of the ancient Hebrew being 
confined to the learned and the higher ranks of society. Hence, 
even in the books of Ezra and Daniel, considerable portions 
were written in Aramaic.^ 

The Aramaic continued to be the language of the Jews 
during the Persian, Greek, and Roman periods, and was the 

1 Gladstone's Homeric Synchronism, New York, 1876, p. 173. 

2 It must also have been widely spoken in the Assyrian period, as we see from 
2 Kg. 18" ; see also Fried. Delitzsch, Wo Lag das Parodies. Leipzig, 1881, 
p. 2.58. 8 See pp. 172, 351. 


common speech of Palestine in the times of our Lord,i although 
it had long ceased to be the language of commerce and inter- 
course, the Greek having taken its place. And so the Greek 
gradually penetrated from the commercial and official circles 
even to the lowest ranks of society. Thus there was a min- 
gling of a Greek population with the Shemitic races, not only in 
the Greek colonies of the Decapolis and the cities of the sea- 
coast of Palestine, but also in the great centres of Tiberias, 
Samaria, and even in Jerusalem itself. Greek manners and 
customs were, under the influence of the Herodians and the 
Sadducees, pressing upon the older Aramaic and Hebrew, not 
without the stout resistance of the Pharisees. The language 
of our Saviour, however, in which He delivered His discourses 
and instructions, was undoubtedly the Aramaic. For not only 
do the Aramaic terms that He used, which are retained at times 
by the evangelists, and the proper names of His disciples, but 
also the very structure and style of His discourses, show the 
Aramaic characteristics. Our Saviour's methods of delivery 
and stvle of instruction were also essentially the same as those 
of the rabbins of His time. Hence we should not think it 
strange that from the Hebrew and Aramaic literature alone we 
can bring forward parallels to the wise sentences and moral 
maxims of the Sermon on the Mount, the rich and beautiful 
parables, by which He illustrated His discourses, and the fiery 
zeal of His denunciation of hypocrisy, together with the pro- 
found depths of His esoteric instruction. Our Saviour used 
the Aramaic language and methods, in order thereby to reach 
the people of His times, and place in the prepared Aramaic 
soil the precious seeds of heavenly truth. It is the providential 
signiticance of the Aramaic language that it thus prepared 
the body for the thought of cur Saviour. It is a language 
admirably adapted by its simplicity, perspicuity, precision, and 
definiteness, with all its awkwardness, for the associations of 
every-day life. It is the language for the lawyer and the 
scribe, the pedagogue and the pupil ; indeed, the English 
language of the Shemitic family. ^ Thus the earlier Aramaic 

1 Schurer, Neutestament. Zeitgesch., Leipzig, 1874, p. 372. See pp. 172 seq. 
3 Volck in Herzog'a Seal Encyklopadie, II. Aufl. 1, p. 603. 


of the Bible gives us only official documents, letters, and 
decrees, or else simple narrative. But the language was subse- 
quently moulded by the Jewish people after the return from 
exile, thi-ough the giving of the sense of the original Hebrew 
Scriptures.^ This resulted in the production of oral targums 
or popular versions of the ancient scriptures which were lianded 
down by oral transmission by those who officiated in the syna- 
gogues and were not committed to writing until after centuries 
of oral use. 2 The life of the Jewish people, subsequent to the 
exile, was largely devoted to this giving of the sense of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, both in the Halacha of the rabbinical 
schools, and in the Haggada of the synagogue and the social 
circle.^ It is true that the Halacha was developed in the rival 
schools of Shammai and Hillel into the most subtle questions 
of casuistry, and our Savioiu- often severely reproved the 
Pharisaic spirit for its subtlety and scholasticism ; yet not 
infrequentlj' He employed their methods to the discomfiture of 
His opponents,* although His own spirit was rather that of the 
old prophets than of the scribes. The Haggada was developed 
by the rabbins into a great variety of forms of ethical wisdom 
and legend. This we see already in the apocryphal books of 
Wisdom, in the stories of Zerubbabel, of Judith, of Susanna, 
and of Tobit.^ This latter method was the favoui-ite one of our 
Saviour, as suited for the instruction of the common people, 
and to it we may attribute the parables, which, though after 
the manner of the scribes,^ have yet a clearness and trans- 
parency as the atmosphere of the Holy Land itself, a richness 
and simplicity as the scarlet flower of the fields He loved so 
well, a calm majesty and profound mystery as the great deep ; 
for He was the expositor of the divine mind, heart, and being 
to mankind.^ 

1 Neh. 8«. 2 See pp. 210 seq. « See pp. 4:10 seq. 

* Mt. 22'^"'*. See Weizsacker, XJntersuchungen uber die ev. Gesckichte, 
Gotha, 1864, pp. .358 seq. 

' Zunz, Gottesdienxtlichen Vortrage der Juden, Berlin, 18.32, pp. 42, 100, 120 ; 
Etheridge, Introduction to Hebrew Literature, London, 18.50, pp. 102 seq. Those 
who are interested in this subject may find a large collection of this Ilaggadistic 
literature in the BibUothecn Rahhinica, Eine Sammhing Alter Midraschim ins 
Deutsche iibertragen von Aug. Wunsche, 20 Lief. Leipzig, 1880-84. 

« Uausrath, Die Zeit Jesus, Heidelberg, 1868, p. 90. ' John l'*. 


The richest collection of the words of Jesus is the sen- 
tences of Wisdom, uttered originally in Aramaic, but trans- 
lated by the apostle Matthew in his Logia ^ into Hebrew, and 
then finally in our synoptic Gospels into Greek. No one can 
fully understand them until he traces them back to their 
Sliemitic originals and sees them in the measured lines and 
well ordered strophes and varied parallelisms characteristic of 
Hebrew and Aramaic gnomic poetrj-.^ 

The office of the Aramaic language was to mediate between 
the old world and the new — the Hebrew and the Greek ; fur 
the Greek language was the one chosen to set forth the divine 
revelation in its fulness. 

IV. The Greek Language 

was born and grew to full maturity outside of the sphere of 
the divine revelation, and j'et was predestined "as the most 
beautiful, rich, and harmonious language ever spoken or 
written " " to form the pictures of silver in which the golden 
apple of the Gospel should be preserved for all generations.'"^ 
For, as Alexander the Great broke in pieces the Oriental 
world-monarchies that fettered the kingdom of God, and pre- 
pared a theatre for its world-wide expansion, so did the Greek 
language and literature, that his veterans carried with them, 
prove more potent weapons than their swords and spears for 
transft)rming the civilization of the East and j)rei:)aring a lan- 
guage for the universal Gospel. The Greek language is the 
beautiful flower, the elegant jewel, the most finislied ma.ster- 
piece of Indo-Germanic thought. In its early beginning we 
see a number of dialects spoken by a brave and warlike people, 
struggling with one another, as well as with external foes, 
maintaining themselves successfully against the Oriental and 
African civilizations, while at the same time they appropriated 

> See McGiftert, Eusebhts, pp. 162, 163, 173, and Briggs, Messiah of the Gos- 
pels., pp. 41 seq., 71 seq. 

2 See my articles on '• Tlip Wisdom of Jesus," in the Expository Times, June, 
July. August, and November, 1897. 

» Scliaff, Ilisl. of the Apostolic Churrh, p. ur,. New York, 1869. See also 
SchatT, JJistory of the Christian Church, 1. p. 78. New York, 1882. 


those elements of culture which they could incorporate into 
their own original thought and life ; a race of heroes such as 
the earth has nowhere else produced, fighting their way up- 
ward into light and culture until they attained the towering 
summits of an art, a literature, and a philosophy, that has ever 
been the admiration and wonder of mankind. As Pallas 
sprang forth in full heroic stature from the head of her father 
Zeus, so Greek literature sprang into historical existence in 
the matchless Iliad. Its classic period was constituted by the 
heroism and genius of the Athenian republic, which worked 
even more mightily in language, literature, and art, than in the 
fields of politics and wai-, producing the histories of a Thu- 
cydides and a Xenophon, the tragedies of an ^schylus and a 
Sophocles, the philosoph}- of a Socrates and a Plato, the oratory 
of a Demosthenes and an ^^Eschines. Looking at the Greek 
language before it became the world-language, and so the lan- 
guage of a divine revelation, we observe that its characteristic 
features are in strong contrast with those of the Hebrew 

1. The Greek language is complex and artistic. As the 
Hebrew mind perceives and contemplates, the Greek conceives 
and reflects. Hence the Greek etymology is elaborate in its 
development of forms from a few roots, in the declensions and 
cases of nouns, in the conjugations, tenses, and moods of the 
verb, giving the idea a great A'ariety of modifications. Hence 
the syntax is exceedingly complex in the varied use of the con- 
junctions and particles, the intricate arrangement of the sen- 
tences as they may be combined into grand periods, which 
require the closest attention of a practised mind to follow, in 
their nice discriminations and adjustments of the thought.^ 
Hence the complex and delicate rules of prosody, with the 
great variety of metres and rhythms. The Greek mind would 
wrestle with the external world, would search out and explore 
the reason of things, not being satisfied with the phenomena, but 
grasping for the noumena. Thus a rich and varied literature 
was developed, complex in character, for the epos, the drama, 

' Curtius, Griech. Gesch., Berlin, 1865, 2d Aufl., L pp. 19, 20; History 
of Greece, New York, 1875, Vol. I. pp. 30, .32. 


the philosophical treatise, and scientific discussion are purely 
Greek, and could have little place among the Hebrews, i 

2. The Greek language is characterized by its attention 
to the form or style of its speech, not to limit the freedom of 
the movement of thought and emotion, but to direct them in 
the channels of clear, definite, logical sentences, and beautiful, 
elegant, and artistic rhetorical figures. The Greek was a 
thorough artist ; and as the palaces of his princes, the temples 
of his gods, the images of his worship, his clothing and his 
armour, must be perfect in form and exquisite in finished deco- 
ration, so the language, as the palace, the dress of his thought, 
must be symmetrical and elegant. '■^ Hence there is no language 
that has such laws of eui^hony, involving changes in vocaliza- 
tion, and the transposition and mutation of letters ; for their 
words must be musical, their elates harmonious, their sen- 
tences and periods symmetrical. And so they are combined 
in the most exquisite taste in the dialogues of the philosopher, 
the measures of the poet, the stately periods of the historian 
and the orator. The sentences "are mtricate, complex, in- 
volved like an ivory cabinet, till the discovery of its nomina- 
tive gives you the key for unlocking the mechanism and 
admiring the ingenuity and beauty of its rhetoric." ^ 

3. The Greek language is thus beautiful and finished. The 
Greek mind was essentially ideal, not accepting the external 
world as its own, but transforming it to suit its genius and its 
taste. This was owing to its original humanizing genius and 
its central theme, man as the heroic, man as the ideally per- 
fect.* As the language and literature of the Hebrews were 
inspired to describe the righteous acts of Yahwelrs dominion 
in Israel and the victories of His holy arm.^ and thus were 
majestic and sublime ; so the language and literature of tlie 
Greeks were to sing the exploits of the godlike Achilles, the 

1 Donaldson, The New Cratylus, Sd ed. p. 153. 

2 Curtius, Gricch. Gesch. I. pp. 20, 21 ; History of Greece, New York, 1875, 
I. pp. 32-34. 

3 W. Adams. Charge on Occasion of the Indttction of Dr. Shedd as Professor 
of Itihlical IJtcrnture, New York, 1804, p. 10. 

* ^c\\?i.S, Apostolic CInirch. New York, p. 145; Zezschviitz, Profangracitiit 
und biblischer Sprachgebrauch, Leipzig, 1869, p. 13. ' Jd. 6" ; Ps. 98'. 


crafty Ulysses, and the all-couquering Hercules ; to paint 
the heroic struggles of the tribes at Thermopylie, Salamis, and 
Flatea, to conceive a model republic and an ideal human world, 
and thus were beautiful, stately, and charming. The gods are 
idealized virtues and vices and powers of nature, and con- 
ceived after the fashion of heroic men and women, arranged 
in a mythology which is a marvel of taste and genius. Nature 
is idealized, and every plant and tree and fountain becomes a 
living being. Indeed, everything that the Greek mind touched 
it clothed with its own ideals of beauty. Hence the drama is 
the most appropriate literature for such a people, and the dia- 
logue the proper method of its philosophy. ^ 

4. The Greek language has remarkable strength and vigour. 
Its stems have been compressed, vowel and consonant com- 
pacted together. Its words are complete in themselves, end- 
ing only in vowels and the consonants ru r, and s ; they have a 
singular independence, as the Greek citizen and warrioi-, and 
are protected from mutilation and change.^ It is true it has 
a limited number of roots, yet it is capable of developing there- 
from a great variety of words ;^ so that although it cannot 
approach the wealth of synonym of the Hebrew, yet its words 
are trained as the athlete, and capable of a great variety of 
movements and striking effects. Its syntax is organized on 
the most perfect system, all its parts compacted into a solid 
mass, in which the individual is not lost, but gives his strength 
to impart to the whole the weight and invincible push of the 
phalanx. Hence the Greek language is peculiarly the lan- 
guage of oratory that would sway the mind and conquer with 
invincible argument. It is the language of a Demosthenes, the 
model orator for the world. It wrestles with the mind, it 
parries and thrusts, it conquers as an armed host. 

Such was the language with which Alexander went forth to 
subdue the world, and which he made the common speech of 
the nations for many generations. It is true that the Greek 

' Curtius, Griech. Gesch. III. p. 508 ; History of Greece, New York, 1875, 
Vol. V. pp. 169, 170. 

'■^ Curtius, Griech. Oesch. I. p. 18 ; Hist, of Greece, New York, 1875, Vol. L 
p. 29. 

' Jelf, Greek Oram. 4th ed., Oxford, 1864, p. 330. 


was required to forfeit somewhat of its elegance and refinement 
in its collision with so many barbarous tongues, but it lost 
none of its essential characteristics when it was adopted by the 
Egyptian, the Syrian, and the Jew. The Jews were scattered 
widely in the earth, engaged in commercial pursuits that 
required them, above all others, to master the common sijeech 
of the nations. Hence those of Europe. Asia Minor, and 
Africa, easily adopted the Greek as their vernacular, and it 
gradually became more and more the language of Syria and 
Palestine. This was furthered bj- the translation of the 
Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek at Alexandria, the centi-e of 
the Greek culture of the times. This translation shows upon 
its face the difficulties of rendei-ing for the first time foreign 
conceptions into a strange tongue,^ but nevertheless it became 
of incalculable importance in prepaiTng the way for the New 
Testament writers. The original productions of the Jews of 
Alexandria and Palestine, some of which are preserved in the 
apocrj^phal books of the Old Testament and the Pseudepi- 
grapha combined to produce the same result. ^ Gradually the 
Jewish mind was modified by the Greek thought and culture, 
and the Greek language was, on the other hand, adapted to the 
expression of Hebrew and Aramaic conceptions. The apostles 
of our Lord, if they were to carry on a work and exert an 
influence, world-wide and enduring, were required, from the 
very circumstances of the times, to use the Greek ; for the 
Aramaic would have had but a narrow and ever-diminishing 
influence, even if their labours had been confined to the S3^na- 
gogues of the dispersed Jews in Palestine and Syria. Hence 
we are not surprised that, without au exception, so far as we 
know, our New Testament writers composed their works in 
Greek, yes, even gave us the Aramaic discourses of our Saviour 
in the Greek tongue. Nor was this without its providential 
purpose ; for though our Saviour delivered His discourses in 
Aramaic, yet they were not taken down by the apostles as they 

' Reuss, Sellenistisches Idiom, In Herzog, Beal EnnjktopSdie, I. Aufl. p. 709, 
II. Aufl. p. 745; Hatch, Esmys in Biblical Greek, Oxford. 1889, pp. 1 seq. 

" See Briggs, Messiah of the Gospels, pp. 4 seq. ; and Messiah of the Apostles, 
pp. 13 seq. 


heard them in that tongue, but were subsequently recalled to 
their minds 'by the Holy Spirit, who, in accordance with the 
promise of our Lord, brought all things to their remembrance.^ 
These then transmitted them to their disciples either in 
Aramaic, Hebrew, or Gi-eek, as they found it most convenient 
in their teaching and preaching in different lands and among 
many different nations. The original Logia of St. Matthew 
and the sources of the Gospel of the Infancy, and possibly the 
original Gospel of St. Jolm, were written in Hebrew. But in 
whatever way the disciples of the apostles received the teach- 
ing of Jesus, they gave it to the woi'ld in Greek, and it remains 
for the world in the Greek language alone. It is evident there- 
fore that Ave have the teaching of Jesus as it passed from the 
Aramaic, in part, at least, through the Hebraic conceptions of 
those who gave the primary oral and written sources, and the 
whole of it through the Hellenistic conceptions of the writers 
of our present Gospels. The words of Jesus have been coloured 
and paraphrased bj^ the minds and characters of those who were 
guided b)' the Divine Spirit to report them. 

This process of change may easily be traced in the use of the 
original Logia by the Gospels ; e.g. there can be little doubt that 
this is an original logion of Jesus : 

Whoso findeth his life shall lose it ; 
But whoso loseth his life shall find it. 

This is a simple antithetic couplet of the tetrameter movement,^ 
complete and perfect in itself. This was cited Mk. 8" as follows : 

Whosoever would save his life shall lose it ; 

And whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it. 

It is evident that Mark interprets in the use of " would save " and 
" shall save " for " find " in the two clauses ; and that it inserts 
" for my sake and the gospel's " in order to show that this loss of 
life must have a Christian motive. Furthermore, this addition 
destroys the measure of the line and transforms the couplet from 
poetry to prose. 

Matthew 16^ cites from Mark, the primary gospel, as usual ; 
but it omits " and the gospel's " and restores the original " shall 
find it " in the second clause instead of Mark's " shall save it." 

1 John 143«. "- See pp. 379, .385. 


Luke 9^* also cites from Mark, leaving out " and the gospel's," 
but inserting the demonstrative " the same shall save it." 

13ut ]\[atthew and Luke in other passages cite the logion directly 
from the Logia, and not mediately through Mark. Thus Mt. 10® 
cites it exactly from the Logia, and makes no change except by 
inserting " for my sake" in the second clause. Luke IT'', how- 
ever, paraphrases here so that the most of the language is new : 

Whosoever shall seek to gain his life shall lose it ; 
But whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 

It is noteworthy, however, that no additions are made to it. 
But the greatest change is found in the Gospel of John 12^ : 

He that loveth his life shall lose it ; 

And he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 

The first line is simply a paraphrase, but the second line makes 
a long insertion as well as a paraphrase, so that nothing of the 
original is left but the substance of theT:hought. Furthermore, 
the antitheses of love and hate, and of this world and the life 
eternal, are characteristic of the author of John's gospel, and 
show clearly how his mind has coloured and reconstructed the 
logion of Jesus. 

• It was evidently the design of God that the Saviour's words, 
as well as acts and His glorious person, should be presented to 
the world through those four typical evangelists, who appropri- 
ately represent the four chief phases of human character and 
experience, and that they should be stereotyped in the Greek 

The Xew Testament writers used the common Greek of their 
time, yet as men who liad been trained in the Hebrew Scrijit- 
ures and in the Rabbinical methods of exposition, but above all 
as holy men who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 
Hence, as the Greek language had now to perform a work for 
which it liad providentially been preparing, and yet one which 
it had never yet attempted, namel}-, to conve}- t)ie divine reve- 
lation to mankind, so it must be remoulded and shaped by the 
mind of the Spirit to express ideas that were new both to the 
Greek and the Jew, but which had been developing in the lan- 
guages and literatures of both nation.s, for each in its way pre- 

' Winer, New Test. Gram., Thayer's edit., Andover, 1872, p. 27; Bleek, 
Einleit. in d. N. T., 11. Autt., Berlin, 1866, p. 76 j Edin., 1869, pp. 72 seq. 


pared for the Gospel of Christ.^ Hence we are not surprised 
that the biblical Greek should be distinguished not only from 
the classic models, but also from the literary Greek of the time. 
Wheu compared with the Greek of the Septuagint and the 
Apocrypha, it approximates more to the literary Greek, being 
'• not the slavish idiom of a translation, but a free, language- 
creating idiom, without, however, denying its cradle.'"^ It is 
true that much of its elegance and artistic finish has been lost, 
and the nicely rounded sentences and elaborate periods, with 
their delicately shaded conceptions, have disappeared, yet its 
distinguishing characteristics, especially its strength and 
beauty, its perspicuity, and its logical and rhetorical power, 
have been preserved ; while to these have been added the sim- 
plicity and richness, the ardour and glow of the Shemitic style ; 
but over and above all the language has been emploj-ed 
by the Spirit of God, and transformed and transfigured, yes, 
glorified, with a light and sacreduess that the classic literature 
never possessed.^ 

It is true that the \vritings of the New Testament are not 
all on the same level of stj^le and language.* The gospels of 
Matthew and ^lark, and the Epistle of James, together with 
the Apocalypse, have stronger Hebraic or Aramaic coloui'ing,^ 
which disturbs the Greek lines of beauty, the Greek form 
being overpowered by the life and glow of the Shemitic emo- 
tion. In the writings of Lute and John, and especially of 
Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews, the strength and excel- 
lence of the Greek unite with the peculiarities of the Aramaic 
and the Hebrew in striving, under the potent influence of the 
Holy Spirit, to convey the new religion in the most adequate 
and appropriate language and style. 

1 Scliaff, ApostuUc Church, p. 1-tG ; also Schaff, History of the Christian 
Church. 1. pp. 76 seq. 

- Reuss. Heltenistischcs Idiom, in Herzog, I. Aufl., V. p. 710 ; II. Aufl., V. 
p. 747 ; Winer, Neto Test. Gram., p. 39. 

2 Hatch, Es.iays in Biblical Greek; Oxford, 1889 ; Kannedy, Sources of Neio 
Testament Greek, Ediii., 1895; Vincent, Student^ s New Testament Handbook, 
1893, pp. 4-10. 

* Immer. Hermeneutik des Xeuen Testaments, Witteraberg, 1873, pp. 106 seq., 
Amer. ed., Andover. 1877, p. 1.32 ; Reus.s, in I.e., p. 747. 

' This is due in large measure to their Hebraic and Aramaic sources. 


Here the humanizing and idealistic tendencies of the Greek 
coihbine with the theological and realistic tendencies of the 
Hebrew and the Aramaic ; for to these New Testament writers 
the person of Christ assumes the central and determining posi- 
tion and influence, as Yahweh the one God did to the Old 
Testament writers. Christ is Lord in the New Testament as 
Yahweh is Lord in the Old Testament. Christ became the 
emperor of the Scrijitures, to use Luther's expression, and His 
person irradiated its language and literature with His own 
light and glory. Thus when the mind now no longer strove 
to conceive the simple idea of the one God YaliM'eh, but the 
complex idea of the person of Christ as Messiah and Lord, and 
eventually as God, the Hebrew and Aramaic languages were 
entirely inadequate ; and the Greek, as-lhe most capable, must 
be strained and tried to the utmost to convey the idea of the logos, 
who was in the beginning, was with God, and was God, and yet 
became the incarnate Word, the God-man, tiie interj)reter in com- 
plete humanity of the fulness of the Deity. ^ Notwithstanding 
the historical preparation for this conception in the theophanies 
of the Hebrews, the nous of Plato, the logos of Philo. and the 
wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, it mms yet a new conception, 
which the world could not appropriate without the transform- 
ing and enlightening influence of the Spii'it of God.^ So in 
anthropology the apostle Paul combines the Hebrew and Greek 
conceptions in order to produce a new and perfect conception. 
Taking the ps3'chology of the Greek as a s^^stem, he gave the 
central place to the Hebrew ruaeh or spirit, finding, to use the 
words of Zezschwitz, its " undisturbed centralization in living 
union with the Spirit of God.""^ He uses the p.sychological 
conceptions of the Old Testament, but transforms them for the 
higlier purpose of setting fortli the strife of the flesh with the 
spirit, and the false position of tlie psvchical nature over against 
the spirit. So also for the first he gives to the world the true 
conception of the conscience as " the remnant of the spirit in 

' .John 1'-" ; see Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles, pp. 496 seg. 

^ Donier. Eiitwifhlungsgeschichte der Lehre von der Person CAmri, Stuttgart, 
1845, I. p. 64 ; Edin., T. & T. Clark, 1861, pp. 44, 45 ; Sch.iff, in Lange, Com. 
on John. N. Y.. p. 56. 

' Zezscliwitz. Profanr/rijcitat, etc., pp. 36 seq 


the psychical man," '' the divine voice," the consciousness of 
which Socrates felt as the " summit of the knowledge of the 
true wisdom by the Greek spirit." ' Hence the development 
of the doctrine of sin with its technical terms, and of holiness 
with its new ideas and language. How infinitely deeper and 
higher than the Greek are these conceptions of the New Testa- 
ment language, as the person of Christ, presented by the om- 
nipotent Spirit, convicts the world in respect of sin, and of 
righteousness, and of judgment. ^ The Word as tabernacled 
among us, \\-ith glory as of an only begotten from a Father, 
full of grace and faithfulness, ^ assumes the place not only of 
the heroic ideal man of the Greeks, but even of the unapproach- 
able holy Yahweh of the Hebrews. Hence the elevation of the 
graces of meekness, patience, long-suffering, self-sacrifice ; and 
their union with the Greek virtues of strength, beauty, braverj-, 
manhood, organize a new etliical ideal. And so in all depart- 
ments of Christian thought there was a corresponding eleva- 
tion and degradation of terms and conceptions. We need only 
mention regeneration, redemption, reconciliation, justification, 
sanctification, life and death, heaven and hell, the Church, the 
Kingdom of God, repentance, faith. Christian love, baptism, 
the Lord's supper, the Lord's da}', the advent, the judgment, 
the new Jerusalem, everlasting glory.* Truly a new world 
was disclosed by the Greek language, and the literature of the 
New Testament, as the Hebrew and the Aramaic and the 
Greek combined their energies and capacities in the grasp of 
the divine creating and shaping Spirit, who transformed the 
Greek language and created a new and holy Greek literature 
just as He makes the earth heave and subside into new forms 
and shapes under the energy of the great forces of its advan- 
cing epochs. 

The especial literarj' development of the New Testament is 
the sermon and the theological tract. We trace these from 
the first beginning on the day of Pentecost through the dis- 

1 Zezschwitz, in I.e.. pp. 55-57, Hatch, in I.e., pp. 94 seq. 

2 John 168. 3 John 1". 

* Bleek, Einleitiing, p. 71 ; Immer, Henneneutik, p. 105; Am. ed., Andover, 
1877, pp. 129-131 ; Cremer, Bih. Theul. MTiHerhuch der Xeu. Testament. 
GracUiit; and Trench, iVeio Testament iSyuonyms, under the respective words. 


courses of the book of Acts into the epistles. Looking at 
the sermons, we observe that they are no longer on the 
Aramaic anil Hebraic model, as are the discourses of our 
Lord, but we see the Greek orator in place of the Aramaic 
rabbin. So with the epistles, especially these of Saint Paul ; 
although he reminds us of the rabbinical schools in his use of 
the halacha and haggada methods, ^ yet he exhibits also the dia- 
lectic methods of the Greek philosopher. Thus the Greek 
orator and philosopher prepared the language and style of 
Saint Paul, the preacher and theologian, no less than the 
Hebrew prophet and wise man gave him the fundamental prin- 
ciples of his wisdom and experience. And although the Greek 
literature of the New Testament has no Demosthenes' On the 
Crown, or Plato's Republic, as it has no Iliad or Prome- 
theus, yet it lays the foundation of the sermon and the 
tract, which have been the literary means of a world-transform- 
ing power, as, from the pulpit and the chair, Christian minis- 
ters have stirred the hearts and minds of mankind, and lead 
the van of progress in the Christian world : for the sermon 
combines the prophetic message of the Hebrew with the orator- 
ical force of the Greek, as it fires the heart, strives in the 
council-chamber of the intellect, and pleads at the bar of the 
conscience ; while the epistle combines the sententious wisdom 
of the Hebrew with the dialectic philosophy of the Greek, in 
order to mould and fashion the souls of men and of nations, 
by the great vital and comprehensive principles which consti- 
tute the invincible forces of Christian history. 

I Gal. 4-^ seq. ; Rom. 3> seq., etc. See pp. 444 seq. 



Holy Scrlptcre is composed of a great variety of writings 
of holy men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in a long 
series extending through many centuries, preserved to us in 
three different original languages, the Hebrew, the Aramaic, 
and the Greek, besides numerous versions. These languages 
■were themselves the products of three different civilizations, 
which having accomplished their purpose passed away, the lan- 
guages no longer being used as living speech, but preserved 
only in written documents. They present to us a great variety 
of literature, as the various literary styles and the various liter- 
ary forms of these three languages have combined in this one 
sacred book of the Christian Church, making it as remarkable 
for its literary varietj' as for its religious unity. 

The Bible is the sacred canon of the Israel of God, the infal- 
lible authority m all matters of worship, faith, and conduct. 
From this point of view it has been studied for centuries by 
Jew and Christian. Pious men in all ages have faithfully 
endeavoured to learn from it the holy wUl of God and to apply 
it to their daily life. They have used all the resources at the 
disposal of man to gather the sacred material, and employ it 
in the construction of sacred institutions and the formation of 
systems of doctrine and morals. The inevitable tendency has 
been, not only to discern the divine authority in Holy Scripture 
and to recognize the divine teaching therein, but also so to 
exalt the divine element as to underrate or ignore the human 
element in the Bible. The Church in its official utterance has 
kept itself to the normal line of truth; but many of the theolo- 
gians have unduly extended their doctrine of inspiration so as 


to cuver the external letter, the literary form and stj-le. in the 
theory of verbal inspiration, and even to include the method 
of the deliver)- of the revelation to the sacred writers by the 
theories of divine dictation and the overpowering ecstatic con- 
trol of the Divine Spirit ; and they have so extended the infal- 
lible teachhig as to make it include the incidental words of 
weak, ignorant, and wicked men, and even of Satan himself. 

The fact has been too often overlooked, that it has not seemed 
best to God to create a holy language for the exclusive vehicle 
of His Word, or to constitute peculiar literar}- forms and stj-les 
for the expression of His revelation, or to commit the keeping 
of the text of this Word to infallible guardians. But on the 
other hand, as He employed men rather than angels as the 
channels of His revelation, so He used three human languages 
with all the varieties of literature that had been developed in 
the various nations using these languages, in order that He 
might approach mankind in a more familiar waj- in the human 
forms with which they were acquainted and Avhich they could 
readilj' understand; and He permitted the sacred text to de- 
pend for its accuracy upon the attention and care of the succes- 
sive generations of His people. Hence the necessity of Biblical 
Criticism to determine the true canon, the correct text, and the 
position and character of the various writings. 

Holy Scripture comes down to us through the centuries en- 
veloped in numberless traditional theories and interpretations 
which are too often confounded with Scripture itself. Some- 
times these traditions are expressed in the arrangement of the 
books, the titles given to them, the headings of chapters and 
sections, and other similar editorial work upon the writings 
themselves. But more frequently they envelop the writings 
like a mist of pious sentiment, or a cloud of traditional opinion, 
sometimes in current literature, but oftener in the language of 
the synagogue, the church, and the school ; which is transmitted 
from father to son, or from master to pupil as the genuine 
orthodox opinion. In all those centuries in v/hich religious 
opinion was chiefly traditional, depending on the teaching of 
the Fathers, it is a matter of congratulation that none of these 
traditional theories about the Bible ever received the official 


endorsement of any section of the Cliristiau C'liuicli. And the 
diversity of opinion in the several hijers of the Tahnud and 
among ancient Jewish rabbis shows that libert}- of opinion on 
these matters has ever been a heritage of Israel. 

At the revival of learning, when Christian scholars began to 
study the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament, under 
the guidance of the most learned Hebi'ew scholars of their age, 
it became inevitable that, in course of time, if the spirit of the 
Reformation was to endure, all the traditional theories about 
the Bible would eventually have to be tested. 

The free-born spirit of the Reformation was repressed in tlie 
age of Protestant scholasticism, which built up the S3'stems of 
Protestant dogmatics and ecclesiasticism over against Roman 
Catholic dogmatics and ecclesiasticism. But a terrible retribu- 
tion came upon unfaithful Protestantism in the outbreak of 
free thought in Deism, Atheism, and Rationalism, which laid 
violent hands upon everything that was deemed sacred in 
Christianity, and forced Protestantism from a dogmatic into an 
apologetic position. It was the serious conflicts in this age of 
apologetics which brought to birth the age of modern scientific 
criticism. Criticism sprang forth a youthful giant to solve the 
problems of the modern age of the world. 

All traditions must be tested. Certainty must in some way 
be attained. How can it be attained in the opinion of any 
man save by an intuition of God, or by an infalliljle decision 
of the Church, or by the most exact, jjainstaking, comprehen- 
sive, and thorough-going investigation ? We cannot look for 
an intuition from God in matters of traditional opinion. There 
is nothing to warrant it. To those who would rest upon the 
infallible authority of the Church, we may say, there has been 
no decision of the Church in matters of Biblical Criticism, and, 
in the divided condition of Christianity at the present time, 
what church can speak with sufficient authority to decide these 
questions? If the reformers would not submit to the decision 
of the Council of Trent in the all-important question of the 
Canon of Scripture, what council could now speak a decisive 
word as to matters of Biblical Criticism '! 

It is manifest, therefore, that the only pathway to certainty 


in these matters, is tlie laborious pathway of scieutitic criticism. 
And let us thank God for this. It removes our Bible from the 
custody of ecclesiastics and scribes, and puts it in the hands of 
the people of God of all nations. Here Hebrew and Christian 
may work in the same workshop and with the same tools. All 
the sects and divisions of Christianity and Judaism, yes, all the 
religions of the world, may come to the same Bible and search 
it with all the powers and resources of genuine scholarship and 
find out for themselves of a certaint}' whether it is the Book 
of God. 

One would have thought that all truth-seeking men would 
rejoice in an age of criticism. For what is criticism but the 
quest after truth, the test of its _certainty and the method of 
its verification ? All honest men should rejoice in every effort 
to make the truth more evident to themselves and more con- 
vincing to others. For the saying of that ancient Jew, Zerub- 
babel, is the watchword of knowledge : " Great is the truth and 
stronger than all things ... it endureth and is strong forever, 
and liveth and prevaileth forever and ever." ^ 

But, in fact, every department of criticism had to be con- 
quered from the ecclesiastics and scholastics, who held scholar- 
ship in subjection to their theories. 

I. What is Criticism? 

Biblical Criticism is one of the departments of Historical 
Criticism as Historical Criticism is one of the divisions of Gen- 
eral Criticism. Criticism is a method of knowledge, and, where- 
ever there is anything to be known, the critical metliod has its 
place. Knowledge is gained by the use of the faculties of the 
human mind, through sense-perception, the intuitions, and the 
reasoning powers. If these were infallible in their working, 
and their results were always reliable, there would be no need 
of criticism ; but, in fact, these faculties are used by fallible 
men who do not know how to use them, or employ them in 
various degrees of imperfection, so that human knowledge is 
ever a mixture uf the true and the false, the reliable and the 
1 1 Esilras 4^*^. 


luireliable ; and errors of individuals are perpetuated and en- 
hanced by ti'ansmission from man to man and from generation 
to generation. Criticism is the test of the certainty of knoivledge, 
the method of its verification. It examines the products of 
human thinking and working, and tests them by the laws of 
thought and the rules of evidence. It eliminates the false, 
the uncertain, and the unsubstantial from the true, the certain, 
and the substantial. 

The unthinking rely upon their own crude knowledge, which 
they have received from their fathers and friends, or acquired 
by their narrow experience, without reflecting upon the uncer- 
tainty necessarily attached to it. But the reflecting mind which 
has experienced the uncertainty of its own acquisitions and of 
those things that have been transmitted to it, cannot reh' upon 
anything as reaUy kno^\^l until it has been tested and found 
reliable by criticism. For criticism reviews the processes of 
thought and the arguments and evidences by wldch its results 
have been acquired. It studies these products in their genesis, 
examines them carefull}- in the order of their ijroduction, veri- 
fies and corrects them, improves upon them where improve- 
ment is possible, strengthens them where strength is needed, 
but also destroys them when they are found to be worthless, 
misleading, or false, as mere conceits, illusions, or fraudulent 

Criticism is thus on the one side destructive, for its office is 
to detect the false, eliminate it, and destroy it. This is not 
infrequently a painful process to the critic himself, and to those 
who have allowed themselves to be deceived, and who have 
been relying upon the unreliable ; but it is indispensable to 
the knowledge of the truth ; it is the path of safety for the 
intellect and good morals ; it removes the obstructions to prog- 
ress in knowledge. The destruction of an error opens up a 
vision of the truth, as a mote removed from the e3'e or frost 
brushed from the window. 

Criticism is also constructive. It tests and finds the truth. 
It rearranges truths and facts in their proper order and har- 
mony. In accordance with the strictness of its methods, and 
the thoroughness of their application, Avill be the certainty of 


the results. But criticism itself, as a human method of know- 
ledge, is also defective and needs self-criticism for its own recti- 
fication, security, and progress. It must again and again verify 
its methods and correct its processes. Eternal vigilance is the 
price of truth as well as of liberty. It improves its methods 
with the advancement of human learning. In the infancy or 
early growth of a nation, or of an individual, or of the world, 
we do not find criticism. It belongs to the manhood and 
maturity of a nation and the world's civilization. 

Criticism requires for its exercise careful training. Only 
those who have learned how to use its tools and have employeil 
them with the best masters, and have attained a mastery of the 
departments of knowledge to be critici^d, are prepared for the 
delicate and difficult work of criticism ; for knowledge must be 
attained ere it can be tested. Criticism refines the crude oil 
of knowledge. It cleanses and polishes the rough diamond of 
thought. It removes the dross from the gold of wisdom. 
Criticism searches all departments of knowledge, as a torch of 
lire, consuming the hay, straw, and stubble, that the truth of 
God may shine forth in its majesty and certainty as the imper- 
ishable and eternal. No one need fear criticism, save those 
who are uncertain in their knowledge ; for criticism leads to 
certitude. It dissipates doubt. Fiat Lux is its watchword. 

We are not surprised that criticism has thus far been largely 
destructive, for there were many errors that had grown up and 
become venerable with age, and were so interwoven and em- 
bedded in systems of philosoph}', of theology, of law, of medi- 
cine, and of science, as well as in the manners and customs of 
men, that a long conflict wiis necessary to destroy them. Men 
in general are more concerned with the maintenance of estab- 
lished positions and systems and of vested interests than they 
are interested in the truth of God and of nature. Scholars, 
wlien they see tlie venerable errors, hesitate to destroy them 
for fear of damaging their own interests or those of their 
friends, and sometimes out of anxiety, for the truth, with which 
the error is entangled. But in the providence of God, some 
great doubter like Voltaire, or Hume, or Strauss, or some great 
reformer like Luther ur Zwingli. arises to lay violent hands upon 


the systems in which truth and error are combined, raze them 
to the ground and trample them in the dust, that from the 
ruins the imperishable truth may be gathered np and arranged 
in its proper order and harmon}-. 

The modern world since the Reformation has become more 
and more critical, until the climax has been reached in our day. 
The destruction of error has been the chief duty of criticism, 
but its constructed work has not been neglected, and this will 
more and more rise into importance in the progress of know- 
ledge. It is not without significance that the age of the world 
most characterized by the spirit of ci-iticism has been the age 
of the most wonderful progress in all departments of human 

Criticism divides itself into various branches in accordance 
with the departments of knowledge : (1) Philosophical Criti- 
cism; (2) Historical Criticism; and (3) Scientific Criticism. 
Limiting ourselves to Historical Criticism, we distinguish it from 
other criticism, in that it has to do with the materials of tlie 
past, the sources of the history of mankind ; as Philosophical 
Criticism has to do with the facts of human consciousness, and 
Scientific Criticism with the facts of external nature. Histori- 
cal Criticism deals with tlie various sources of history : literary 
documents, monuments, laws, customs, institutions, traditions, 
legends, and m3'ths. Tlie great importance of the literary 
sources justifies their separation in the distinct branch of 
Literary Criticism. Biblical Criticism is one of the sections of 
Historical Criticism, as it has to do with Biblical History and 
with Biblical Literature. 

IL The Pkixciples of Criticism 

The principles and methods of Biblical Criticism will thus 
embrace those (1) of General Criticism, (2) of Historical Criti- 
cism, (3) of Literary Criticism, and (4) of Biblical Criticism. 
Biblical Criticism has thus the advantage of all this prelimi- 
iiai-y work in other fields to guide and illustrate its own 
peculiar work. 

1. From General Criticism it derives the fundamental laws 


of thought, which must not be violated, such as tlie laws of 
identity, of contradiction, of exclusion, and of sufficient reason.^ 

The four fuudameutal laws of thought are these : 

(1) The Law of Identity is usually expressed thus : a thing is 
what it is, A is A, or A = A. This is a uecessary law of self- 
consistent thought. Kaut makes it the f)rinciple of analytic 
judgment; Hamilton, the law of logical affirmation, or definition. 
There are two kinds of identity, absolute and relative. Errors in 
reasoning under this law are usually in using relative identity as 
if it were absolute. 

(2) The Law of Contradiction may be thus stated : a thing 
cannot be and not be at the same time ; or a thing must either be 
or not be ; or the same attribute cannot at the same time be af- 
firmed and denied of the same subject. This law is called by 
Hamilton the law of non-contradiction. 

(3) The Law of Excluded Middle is as follows : Everything is 
either A or not A ; everything is either a given thing or some- 
thing which is not a given thing. There is no mean between two 
contradictory propositions. If we think a judgment true, we 
must abandon its contradictory ; if false, the contradictory must be 
accepted. This law is a combination of the first and second laws. 

(4) The Law of Sufficient Reason is that : Every judgment we 
accept must rest upon a sufficient ground or reason. 

It also derives from General Criticism the laws of probation, 
which must be applied to all reasoning. There must be no 
begging of the question at issue, no reasoning backward and 
forward or in a circle, no jumping at conclusions, no setting out 
to prove one thing and then insensibly substituting another 
thing in its place. ^ These laws of probation are the sharp tools 
of the critic with wliicli he tests all tlie acquisitions of the 
human mind and all the reasonings of scholars in all depart- 
ments of knowledge. 

2. From Historical Criticism Biblical Criticism derives the 
principles of historic genesis. The evidences of history belong 
to the past. They are oral, written, or monumental. They 
passed through several stages before tlicy reached us. They 

' Sir Wm. Hamilton, Logic, Boston, 1800, pp. 57, 81 ; also McCosli. Tjaws 
of Discursive Thought, N.Y. 1871, pp. 195 seq. ; Thomson, Laws of Thought, 
IV. sect, 114; Ilyslop, Elements of Logic, N.Y. 180:!, pp. 291 seq. 

- Sir Wm. Hamilton, Logic, p. 369; MoCosh, Laws of Discursive Thought, 
pp. 18;J seq. 


must be traced back to their origin in order to determine 
whether thev are genuine ; or whether they have been invented 
as interesting stories for hours of idleness and recreation, 
or as forgeries with the intent to deceive ; or whether there 
is a mingling of these various elements that need to be sepa- 
rated and distinguished.^ 

An example may be found in the story familiar to Presbyterian 
pulpits that George Gillespie uttered the answer to the question 
of the Shorter Catechism, " What is God ? " in praj^er when the 
Westminster Assembly was in perplexity how to answer it. This 
story was fathered by Hetherington in his history of the West- 
minster Assembly. And yet this writer of history states in his 
preface that the records of the Westminster Assembly were said 
to be in the Williams Library- in London. He wrote a history of 
the Westminster Assembly without taking the trouble to journey 
from Scotland to London to examine the original records of that 
Assembly. What basis has that story in fact ? None whatever I 
(1) The official Records of the Westminster Assembly show that 
George Gillespie left the Assembly and returned to Scotland 
months before the Assembly began its work on the Shorter Cate- 
chism. He was not present at the time and therefore could not 
have made such a prayer. 

(2) Furthermore, the answer was not taken from any one's 
prayer. The records show that this answer of the Shorter Cate- 
chism was condensed from the answer of the Larger Catechism, 
and that the answer of the Larger Catechism was made on the 
basis of the Catechism of Herbert Palmer, the chairman of the 
Committee of the Westminster Assembly having this matter in 
charge, with sundry improvements from other well-known Cate- 
chisms of the time.- 

The order and processes of the development of the material 
must be considered in order to determine its integrit)^ or how 
far it has been modified bj^ external influences or the struggle 
of internal inconsistencies, and how far the earlier and the 
later elements may be distinguished and the excrescences 
removed from the original. 

I may use Gillespie again to illustrate the growth of a legend, 
in the heaping upon one man the honor due to several, and also of 

1 Gieseler, Text-Bni.k of Chnrrh History. X.Y. 1857, I. p. 23. 
^ Briggs, Vociimentdry History of the Westminster Assembly, Presbyterian 
Review, 1880, pp. 155 seq. 


substituting a subordinate in place of tlie principal hero of an 
occasion. I shall quote from the Presbyterian historian, Dr. 

'■ The question of the autonomy of the Church came up 6rst in 
the Westminster Assembly when its members were preparing the 
Propositions concerning Church-government, of which an account 
was given in nij- last lecture, and it was theu that that far-famed 
single combat between Selden and Gillespie took place round which 
later Scottish tradition has thrown stich a halo. The manuscript 
minutes coincide with Lightfoot's Journal in assigning Gillespie's 
speech not to the session of 20th, but to that of 21st February. 
In Gillespie's own notes it is introduced at the close of the ac- 
count of the former session with the words, ' I reply,' not ' I 
replied,' and may simply embody a brief outline of the reph- he 
was to make on the following day. The, reply made to Selden on 
the spur of the moment was that of Herle, who in 1646 succeeded 
Dr. Twisse as Prolocutor, and judging even from the fragmentary 
jottings preserved by Byfield, one cannot doubt that it was a very 
able reply. GUlespie and Young appear to have taken the evening 
to arrange their thoughts, and at next session made very telling 
replies, the former to the general line of argument, the latter to 
the citations from Rabbinical and patristic authorities."' ^ 

The eliaracter of the material must 1)6 studied in order to 
determine how far it is reliable aud trustworthy ; wliether it 
is ill accordance with the experience of mankind, and so nat- 
ural ; or contrary to that experience, and so unnatural or 
supernatural ; wliether it is in harmony with itself and consist- 
ent with its own conditions and circumstances ; whether there 
are disturbing influences that determine the material so as to 
warp or colour it and how far these influences extend. - 

The value of the materials of histoiy dei^ends upon such 
considerations as these ; also upon the nearness or remoteness 
of the material to the matters concerning which they render 
testimony ; upon the extent and variety of evidence, if that 
extent and variety are primitive and not derived from an origi- 
nal source upon which they all dejiend. The consistency and 
persistence of materials are also evidences of vitality an<l 
inherent strength of evidence. 

J A. F. Mitcliell. The Westminster Assemhlij, 1883, pp. 287. 288. 
^ See Droysen, GntwJhss tier Ilistorik: Leipzig, 1868, pp. 16, 17. 


The sources of histoiy that cannot bear tliis criticism are 
not reliable sources. The ajjplication of these simple tests 
removes from the pages of history numberless legends, fables, 
and myths, and determines the residuum of truth and fact that 
underlies them. It is distressing to part with the sweet stories 
which have been told us in our early life, and which have been 
handed down by the romancers from the childhood and youth 
of our race. We may still use them as stories, as products 
of the imagination, but we dare not build on them as historic 
verities. As men we must know the truth. We cannot afford 
to deceive ourselves or others. 

Many of these legends and traditions have strongly intrenched 
themselves and lie like solid rocks in the path of historic investi- 
gation. They must be exploded to get at the truth ; and this 
cannot be done without noise and confusion, and outcries of 
alarm from the weak and timid, and those who are interested 
in the maintenance of error and court popularity by an appeal 
to prejudices. Sometimes these traditions maj' be overcome 
by positive evidence obtained b}- careful research in ancient 
documents, and by parallel lines of evidence. But it is not 
always possible to obtain sufficient external positive evidence. 
Sometimes we have to rely upon a long-continued and unbroken 
silence, and sometimes we have to challenge the tradition and 
reject it from sheer lack of evidence and the suspicious circum- 
stances of its origin and growth. 

3. From Literary Criticism Biblical Criticism derives its 
chief principles and methods. As literature it must first be 
considered as text. The Principles of Textual Criticism have 
been worked out in the study of the texts of the literature of 
Greece and Rome, and of the ecclesiastical writers. Biblical 
Textual Criticism has to determine the correct text of Holy 
Scripture ; that is, the writings as composed of letters, words, 
sentences, chapters, books, and collections of books. It has 
nothing to do with their contents except so far as these may 
help in its more formal work. 

(a) Textual Criticism first collects all the original manu- 
scripts, endeavours to ascertain when they were written, in 
what country and by what school of scribes. Then it arranges 


them in families so as to determine their genealogies, and thus 
it gets at the parent manuscripts, those of primar}- authoritj\i 
These are carefully compared in order to determine where 
they agree and where they differ, their consensus and their 
disseusus ; and when they disagree, to determine which was 
the original reading. 

(6) Textual Criticism next examines the ancient transla- 
tions of the Scriptures ; for these give evidence as to the 
original readings which they translated. 

(e) The textual critic next betakes himself to the citations 
of the Bible in ancient writers. These are sometimes earlier 
than the Versions or even than the ]\Ianuscripts. They give 
important evidence as to the original^ from which these cita- 
tions were made in the different periods of the history of 
Christian literature and Rabbinical literature. 

(d) The citations of the Scriptures in the Scriptures them- 
selves are also of very great importance ; for although they 
are often loose and paraphrastic in their character, they 3'et 
not infrequently give evidence as to the original text which 
they cite. 

I shall venture to give, as an illustration, a legion of Jesus, 
which exhibits very clearly the several principles given above. 
The original logion in the Hebrew Logia of Saint Matthew was in 

all probability 

P1K3 tnc» ro'can 
new nc'K nn'rran 

He who putteth away bis wife committeth adultery : 
She who putteth away her husband committeth adultery. 

The couplet is a trimeter,- and the parallelism is complete word 
for word throughout. 

(a) This was cited in Mk. 10"-i=: 

Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, comniittetli adultery 
against her : 

And if she herself shall put away her husband, and marry another, she com- 
mitteth adultery. 

The Hebrew participle is, as not infrequently, translated into 
Greek as a relative clause. In both lines of the couplet "and 

' See Scrivener in I.e., pp. 404 seq. Wostcott and Hort deserve great credit 
for their elaboration of this principle in I.e., pp. 39 scq. ^ See pp. .376 seg. 


marry another" is inserted. This changes the emphasis of the 
prohibition from separation to remarriage. Besides, in the first 
line the adultery is made more specifically a sin against the wife. 
In addition the measure of the lines of gnomic poetrj- and the 
parallelism are disturbed. 

(6) Matthew 19^ cites from Mark only the first of these lines : 

Whosoever shall put awaj' his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry 
another, committeth adultery. 

It omits the specification "against her," but cites in other 
respects entirelj". Only it gives an additional clause " except 
for fornication," which limits the universal prohibition of separa- 
tion, of the original logion, and of remarriage, of Mark's exposi- 
tion, and gives an exceptional case when separation and remarriage 
would not be unlawful. 

(c) ^Matthew 5^ cites directly from the Logia : 

Every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, 
maketh her an adulteress. 

Here Matthew renders the Hebrew participle by the Greek 
participle. It makes the same insertion, " saving for the cause 
of fornication," as in its citation from Mark, except that it uses 
-TrapeKTo's \6yov for /ij) i-l. But it also changes the person in the 
last half of the line, so that the one who puts away his wife, 
instead of committing the act of adultery himself, causes his 
wife to commit adultery ; that is, by compelling her to seek refuge 
■with another man. It is noteworthy that ]\Iatthew here is nearer 
to the' logion by its omission of the remarriage. It should also 
be mentioned that in the two passages of Matthew a later hand 
has added the clause " and he that marrieth her when she is put 
away committeth adultery," which may be regarded as a late 
ecclesiastical addition due to the influence of Lk. 16'*. 

(d) Luke 16^^ also cites directly from the Hebrew logion : 

Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth 

adultery : 
And he that marrieth one that is put away from a husband committeth 


Luke thus gives the logion complete. He retains the participial 
form in the Greek, but he agrees with Mark in inserting remar- 
riage. He knows nothing of the exceptional " fornication," which 
is evidently peculiar to Matthew and due to it alone. The 
peculiarity of this passage is the change of person in the second 
line. This is possibly due to Luke's pointing the Hebrew original 
as a passive instead of as an active participle. 


(e) The apostle Saint Paul also cites this logion of the Lord 
in 1 Cor. 7'"-" : 

But unto the married I give charge, yea not I, but the Lord. That the loife 
depart not from her husband (but and if she depart, let her remain 
unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband) ; and that the httsband 
leave not his wife. 

Saint Paul is here citing from the original Hebrew logion in the 
italicized clauses, and agrees with it in laying the stress on sep- 
aration. He makes no reference to adultery, and inserts his ovnx 

Furthermore, Saint Paul, like our gospel of Matthew, gives an 
exception. The exception of Jlatthew is fornication ; the exception 
of Saint Paul is wilful desertion : " Y^t if the unbelieving depart- 
eth, let him depart ; the brother or the sister is not under bondage 
in such cases ; but God hath called us in peace" (ver.*^). 

There are also errors in translation which arise from lack 
of knowledge of the original, or inability to give adequate 
expression to the idea of the original, save by paraphrase, and 
in defective judgment as to the best way of rendering it. 
Errors in citation arise from slips of the memory and the 
desire to use a part and not the whole of the passage, or 
the adaptation of it to circumstances beyond the scope of 
the original. 

(e) When the biblical critic has exhausted all these external 
evidences, he still confronts man)- questions unsolved, many 
doubtful readings, ilust he halt here ? By no means. Textual 
Criticism is a science. There are laws which determine the 
transmission of all literature. It has been determined by care- 
ful induction in those investigations what are the sources of 
error, those mistakes which are natural to inexactness of vision, 
hearing, and penmanship : such as in words of similar sound, in 
letters of like form, in the repetition of words in passing from 
line to line, in the omission or insertion of chiuses by slips of 
the eye, and in the transfer of explanatory notes from the 
margin to the text. The experienced textual critic is keen to 
detect these errors, and to remove them even from the earliest 
manuscripts. He is aware of the tendency of scribes to uncon- 
sciously substitute the known for the unknown, the familiar 
for the unfamiliar, or by explanatory marginal notes to make 


conjectural corrections which in time exchange phiees with the 
original text, or crowd the original readings into forgetfulness. 
The trained critic well knows that pedantry, traditionalism, 
and literalism — common characteristics of scribes — misled 
them into errors of a different character, but no less serious 
than those which arose from rapid reading and copying by 
other scribes. The internal sense is often a safer guide than 
the external letter, especially in manuscripts which are defec- 
tive and difficult to read. There are also errors in the text 
due to the wear and tear of manuscripts in their use, and by 
exposure to the carelessness of men and the destructive forces 
of inclement nature. These render the manuscripts illegible, 
indistinct, or mutilated, and great caution and experience and 
often real genius are needed to restore them.^ 

(/) When Textual Criticism has exhausted all its processes 
and has contributed all the wealth of its experience to the 
solution of the difficulties of ancient readings, there still remain 
problems which it cannot solve by its own unaided resources. 
To the solution of these it looks up to its sisters, — the Higher 
Criticism, the Historical Criticism, and Biblical Theolog}-, 
which in their higher work often throw great light upon the 
dark problems of the Lower Criticism. 

The value of the manuscripts having been determined, we are 
prepared to examine the relative value of the readings. Tlie 
principles on which this is done are : (1) The reading which 
lies at the root of all the variations and best explains them 
is to be jjreferred. (2) The most difficult reading is more 
likel}- to be correct from the natural tendency of the scribe 
to make his text as easy and intelligible as possible, and the 
natural process of simplification in transmission. ^ (3) The 
reading most in accordance with the context, and especially 
with the style and usage of the author and his times, is to be 

' See Cappellus, Critica Sacra, 1650, Lib. I. ; Scrivener, Introduction to the 
Criticism nf the New Testament, 1874, pp. 7 seq. ; Isaac Taylor, History of the 
Transmission of Ancient Bonks to Modern Times, new edition, Liverpool, 
1879, p. 22 ; also Westcott and Ilort, Xcw Ti.slamenl in the Original Greek, 
Vol. II., Introduction, N.Y. 1882, pp. 5 seq. 

"■ These two principles are combined by Westcott and Hort in I.e., pp. 22 seq., 
under the term " transcriptional probability." 


preferred. This is on the pi-inciple of consistency and " intrin- 
sic probability." ^ 

These illustrations will suffice. 

1. There are three citations of a logion of Jesus in Mt. S'*^, 
18«', Mk. 9*^. 

(a) Matthew's gospel cites from the logion thus : 

And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it 

from thee : 
For it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish ; 
And not thy whole body be cast Into Gehenna. 
And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut if off and cast it 

from thee. 
For it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish ; 
And not thy whole body go into Gehenna. .^Mt. 5^*^. 

Here it is evident there are two strophes of a Hebrew logion, 
of three symmetrical lines each. But some of the lines are too 
long for the measure. 

(b) Mark cites from the same Logion : 

And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off : 

For it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, 

Rather than having thy two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable 

And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off : 
It is good for thee to enter into life halt, 
Rather than having thy two feet to be cast into Gehenna. 
And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out : 
It is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, 
Rather than having two eyes to be cast into Gehenna, where their worm 

dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. — Mk. 9**-**. 

It is evident that Mark gives three strophes instead of two, of 
the same number of lines. Sometimes the measures have been 
destroyed by added lines, but in the main the lines have better 
measures than INft. 5^"^. 

(c) The second passage in ]\Iatthew is, as the context shows, a 
citation from IMark : 

And if thy hand or thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off and cast it 

from thee : 
It is good for thee to enter into life maimed or halt. 
Rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. 
And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out and cast it from thee : 

1 See Westcott and Hort, in I.e., pp. 20 seq. Scrivener expands these princi- 
ples to seven in number in I.e.. pp. 4.')6 seq. ; Davidson, Treatise of Biblical Criti- 
cism, Boston, 1853, pp. .'iSli seq., gives principles of Textual Criticism for the Old 


It is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, 

Rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire. — Mt. 18*-'. 

It is evident that Matthew has liere condensed the first and 
second strophes of IMark and given the third. 

We have now to determine the original logion that lies back of 
these two stages of transmission. 

There can be no doubt that the original was three strophes of 
three lines each, and that a logion so symmetrical in lines and 
strophes was also symmetrical in measures of lines. 

It is easy to remove the explanatory additions. Mark adds to 
Gehenna, in the first triplet, the explanatory " into the unquench- 
able fire " ; and to the third, " where their worm dieth not, and 
the fire is not quenched." Matthew, in its second version, sub- 
stitutes " everlasting fire " for Gehenna, and in the third triplet 
enlarges Gehenna into "Gehenna of fire." It is evident that 
these changes were all made to explain the Hebrew Gehenna to 
Gentile readers. They come from the evangelists, and not from 
Jesus. There can be no doubt that in all these cases only Gehenna 
was used in the original logion. So in the antithesis Mark sub- 
stitutes for life, in the third triplet, the explanatory " kingdom of 
God." Furthermore, Matthew in its first version gives "right 
hand " for hand, and " right eye " for eye. It is now plain what 
the original logion was from which these three texts were derived : 

1. It thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off : 
It is better for thee maimed to enter into life. 
Than to have two hands and be cast into Gehenna. 

2. And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it ofi : 
It is better for thee halt to enter into life. 
Than to have two feet and be cast into Gehenna. 

3. And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out : 
It is better for thee with one eye to enter into life, 
Than to have two eyes and be cast into Gehenna. 

2. In the difference of reading of the Song of David, 2 Sam. 22", 
Ps. 18", we have in the Psalm ST1, and in Samuel XT'!. The 
former is a rare word ; the latter, a common one. It would be 
natural for a copyist to change XT'! to XT'!, but not the reverse. 
Moreover, the more difficult form gives the best sense: "And 
darted on the wings of the wind." The other rendering would be, 
" He appeared on the wings of the wind." Moreover, Deut. 28^' 
favors the Psalter. 

3. 2 Samuel 22= reads nStt^ia where Ps. 18= reads 'h^Tl. The 
former is right, as we see by the context. 


5. For breakers of death compasseil me, 
And the streams of Belial made me afraid. 

6. The cords of Sheol were round about me : 
The snares of death came upon me. 

In Psalm 18 the copj'ist has unconsciously repeated " cords " 
by slip of the eye from ver. 6. 

4. Having secured the best text of the writiiig.s, criticism 
devotes itself to the higher task of considering them as to 
integrity, authenticity, literary form, and reliability. This is 
appropriately called Higher Criticism. This branch of criti- 
cism has established its principles and methods of work.' 

It is named the Higher Criticism because it is higher in its 
order and in its work than the Lo^'er or Textual Criticism. 
This department of criticism has lived and worked under this 
name for more than a century. It is not likely that it will 
change its name to accommodate the prejudices of the ignorant, 
or to justify the misrepresentations of the anti-critics. 

The Higher Criticism devotes its attention to the literary 
features of the Bible. It has four great questions to answer. 

(1) As to the integrity of the writings. 

Is the writing the work of a single author, as Browning's 
Ring and the Book ; or is it a collection of writings of different 
authors, as the new Anglican Lux 3Iundi? Is it in its original 
condition, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism; or has it 
been edited and interpolated by later writers, as the Apostles' 
Creed and the Westminster Confession? May the parts be 
discriminated, the original form of the writing determined, and 
the different steps in interpolation and editing clearly traced ; 
as the successive layers of the Talmuds and the several official 
editions of the Book of Common Praj-er? Or is this a difficult 
and delicate process ; as in the recently discovered Teaching 
of the Apostles, or in that wonderful collection of Oriental 
tales. The Thousand and One Nights? All these varieties of 
literary work arc common in the world's literature, why not in 

1 Thus the learned Roman Catholic, Du Pin. in the introduction to his mag- 
nilicont work on ecclesiastical writers, gave an admirable statement of them 
with reference to those ecclesiastical writers before the Higher Criticism of the 
Scriptures had fairly begun. Xouvelle Bihiiotheque des Auteurs Ecclisiastiques, 
Paris, 1094 ; New History of Ecclesiastical Writers, London, 1696. 


the Biule? How can we know until we have examined the 
question whether the book of Isaiah is the work of a single 
author in the reign of Hezekiah, or whether it is a collection of 
writings of dift'erent prophets gathered about the prophecies of 
Isaiah as the most important nucleus? It is necessarj- for the 
critic to determine whether the Psalter is in its original condi- 
tion or whether we may not trace a series of minor psalters 
going through the hands of many different editors untU at 
length the present Psalter was produced as the crown of many 
centuries of prayer and praise in Israel. 

(2) As to the authenticity of the ivritings. 

Is the writing anonymous like most of the editorials in our 
newspapers and so much of the epistolary advice of oui* self- 
constituted friends and counsellors? Is it pseudonymous, 
where the author wishes to disguise his hand from fear of per- 
secution, as in the Martin 3Iarprelate tracts ; or to instruct as a 
prophet in the guise of antiquity, as in the Apocalypse of 
Baruch; or to gain an unbiassed hearing to unpalatable truths, 
as in the Letters of Junius ; or to speak slanderous words with- 
out the peril of detection, as in the pamphlet literature of poli- 
tical and ecclesiastical controversies; or to hide the blushes of 
modest beginners in literature ? 

Or does the writing bear the author's name ; and if so, is it 
genuine ? Did it come from the author himself ? Or is it the 
conjecture of a later editor, as in the assignment to Gersou of 
the Be Imitatione Christi? Is it a forgery, as the Epistles of 
Phalaris? Or does the writing bear a name which has been 
suggested by its contents ? ^lay not the proper name attached 
to the book be the name of the hero or the heroine of the stor}". 
or the name which the author has chosen to honor by the pro- 
duction of his pen ? All these methods of attaching names to 
writings are common in the world's literature. We must ask 
these questions of the writings contained in the Bible. How 
did the name of Moses become attached to the Pentateuch ? Is 
there any valid ground for it in the Pentateuch itself, or in any 
original title ; or has it come from a late, and unreliable con- 
jecture ? Is Malachi the name of the prophet, or a pseudonym, 
as Calvin supposed? Are the books of Daniel and Ecclesiastes 


pseudonymous, as modern critics suppose, or were these writings 
really written by Daniel and Solomon ? Did Ruth and Esther 
write these books, or are they simply the heroines of these 
stories? What is the meaning of the proper names in the titles 
of the Psalms? Such are the numerous questions which arise 
under the head of authenticity in the study of the Hebrew 

(3) As to literary features. 

What is the style of the author and his method of compo- 
sition ? Does he write in poetry or in prose ? What kind 
of poetry does he produce ; Ij'ric, gnomic, dramatic, or epic 
poetry? W^hat is the measuremei^t of his lines? How does he 
arrange his strophes? Or if he writes prose, is it history, ora- 
tory, the epistle, or the treatise ? Is he easy and graceful, or 
rapid and brilliant, or steady and forceful, or slow and dull, or 
stiff and pedantic ? What are the characteristics which distin- 
guish him from other authors ? These questions are familiar to 
students of the world's literature. Literary critics have to 
answer them. The biblical critic cannot escape them simply 
because the biblical writers are said to be JMoses and David, 
Solomon and Isaiah ; or because we believe that the Divine 
Spirit Himself speaks to us in these writings ; for they contain 
different varieties of prose and poetical style. The discovery 
of the principles of Hebrew poetry by Bishop Lowth made a 
revolution in our knowledge of the psalmists, the wise men, and 
the prophets. It makes an immense difference whether the 
early chapters of Genesis are poetry or prose. A comiiarison 
of the styles of the' chronicler and the prophetic historians 
enables us to form a far better judgment upon the value of 
their history and its lessons than we otherwise could. The 
whole interpretation of Job, Esther, Ruth, and Jonah depends 
upon whether we regard them as historical narratives, or as 
essentially works of the imagination. All of these literary 
questions will be asked of the biblical books whether we wish 
it or not. That man is not a biblical scholar who hesitates to 
ask them, out of fear lest his traditional ojjinions may be im- 
perilled. Such a man, though he may be studying the Bible, 
so far as it is possible through the coloured glasses set in the 


rigid frames he has imposed upon his eyes, is yet not a sincei-e 
biblical student, for he declines to open his eyes in the sunlight 
of divine truth. 

(4) As to the credibility of the tcritinr/s. 

We are obliged as biblical critics after we have determined 
all these preliminary questions of the Higher Criticism to face 
the most serious question of credibilitj-. Literary critics are 
compelled to ask these questions in their study of the world's 
literature. Is the writing reliable ? Do its statements accord 
with the truth, or are they coloured and warped b}^ prejudice, 
superstition, or reliance upon insufficient or unworthy testi- 
mony? What character does the author bear as to prudence, 
good judgment, fairness, integrity, and critical sagacity ? Bib- 
lical critics cannot shut their eyes to these questions of criti- 
cism. Whatever may be their reverence of Holy Scripture 
they must ask these questions of it. The reverent critics will 
ask these questions reverently. Rationalistic critics will ask 
them soberly and impartially. Critics whose aim it is to dis- 
pute the divme authority of Holy Scrij)ture will be irreverent 
and unfair. The spirit of the investigation is determined by 
the temper and character of the investigators, not by its princi- 
ples and methods, which are the same to all scientific students 
of the Bible. The investigation must go on. It matters little 
how many oppose it. Opposition ma}- delaj- the end ; it can- 
not prevent it. It may make the investigation a holy war and 
the establishment of its results a catastrophe to the faith and 
life of its opponents. But the normal development of the 
investigation is the calm, steady, invincible march of science. 

The Higher Criticism has its scientific princijales by which 
it determines all these questions.' 

(1) The writing must be in accordance icith its supposed his- 
toric position as to time and place and circumstances. 

A writing is the product of the experience of the author or 
editor. It could not be produced ■\\ithout that experience. 
The historic ^^Titings of the world are born, not made. They 

' A brief statement of these principles is presented in relation to Biblical 
Critioiam by Professor Henry 1'. Smith, in his article on the -'Critical Theories 
of Julius Wellhausen," Presbyterian Review, 1882, III. p. 370. 


could uot be born before the time. When born they show the 
marks of their parentage and the times of their birth. 

" Time is one of the most certain proofs ; for nothing more evi- 
dently shows that a book cannot belong to that time wherein 
it is pretended to have been written, than when we find in it 
some marks of a later date. These marks, in the first place, are 
false dates; for "tis an ordinary thing for impostors, that are 
generally ignorant, to date a book after the death of the author 
to whom they ascribe it, or of the person to whom it is dedicated, 
or written ; and even when they do fix the time right, j'et they often 
mistake the names of the consuls, or in some other circumstances : 
All which are invincible proofs that he that dated this book did not 
live at that time. Secondlj', impostors very often speak of men that 
lived long after the death of those p^'sons to whom they attribute 
those spurious discourses, or they relate the history of some pas- 
sages that happened afterwards, or they speak of cities and people 
that were unknown at the time, when those authors T\Tote." ' 

Dr. Henry M. Dexter has recently shown that the records pub- 
lished a few years ago in England as the records of the Baptist 
Church of Crowle, 1599-1620, were forgeries, by the heaping nj( 
of references in these records to men and events long subsequent 
to those times.'' 

But this principle may be used in a positive argument. A few 
years ago I discovered a letter in the Hunterian JIuseum, Gla.s- 
gow, giving the names of all the magistrates, churches, and min- 
isters of Xew England, when the letter was written. The letter 
was a copy and not the original. It was unsigned ; it had no 
address ; there was no external evidence except the fact that it 
had been in this collection of American books, tracts, and manu- 
scripts for a long time, and came from a reliable source, making 
its genuineness altogether probable. By a careful studj' of the 
names of persons and places, and of the events described in this 
letter, I was able to determine that the letter was written by John 
Eliot, the apostle to the American Indians, not earlier than May 
22)id, 1650, nor later than June 5th. 1650, that is within the narrow 
limits of two weeks. No one has ever questioned these results 
of my higher criticism of this document.' 

This principle when applied to the writings of Holy Script- 
ure leads to sure results. As surely as the diflferent geological 

1 Du Pin, JVeto History of Ecclesiastical }rriters. 3d edit . corrected, London, 
1606, pp. vii. seq. - John Smijthe, the Se Baptist, Boston, 1887. 

' Brings, .American Prcsbi/terianism, Appendix, xxix.-xxxvi, N.Y'., 1885. 


epochs leave their traces on the strata of the rocks, and the 
astronomical epochs are disclosed in tlie revolutions of the heav- 
enly bodies, so surely literature reflects the history of the times 
which gave it birth. A biblical Avriting could not be born 
before its time any more than any other writing. Holy Script- 
ure bears upon it the traces of its historic origin as truly as 
any other scripture. Higher Criticism may determine the his- 
toric origin and development of the writings of Holy Scrijiture 
by these traces as surel}' as in any other department of the 
world's literature. We may not always be able to detect the 
historic origin of the book, but to find it is like the dawn of 
the sun after a cloudy night. 

(2) Differences of style imply differences of experience and 
afie of the same author; or, u'hen sufficiently great, differences of 
author and of period of composition. 

" In short, stile is a sort of touch stone, that discovers the truth 
or falsehood of books ; because it is impossible to imitate the stile 
of any author so perfectly as that there will not be a great deal 
of difference. By the stile, we are not only to understand the 
bare words and terms, which are easily imitated; but also the 
turn of the discourse, the manner of writing, the elocution, 
the figures, and the method : All which particulars, it is a diffi- 
cult matter so to counterfeit as to prevent a discovery. There 
are, for instance, certain authors, whose stile is easily known, and 
which it is impossible to imitate : We ought not, however, always 
to reject a book upon a slight difference of stile, without any 
other proofs ; because it often happens that authors write differ- 
ently, in different times : Neither ought we immediately to re- 
ceive a book as genuine, upon the bare resemblance of stile, when 
there are other proofs of its being spurious ; because it may so 
happen, that an ingenious man may sometimes counterfeit the 
stile of an author, especially in discourses which are not very 
long. But the difference and resemblance of stile may be so 
remarkable sometimes, as to be a convincing proof, either of truth 
or falsehood." ' 

This principle has been so firmly established that no one can 

intelligently deny it. Style is the dress of thought, or rather 

the expressions of its face and the graceful movement of its 

form. Every human being has his individuality of face and 

' I.e., p. viii. 


form, his characteiistic movements and expression by which he 
is distinguished and known from others. Every wi-iter has his 
handwriting. Even the tj'pewriter does not destroy these dif- 
ferences. Every writer has his stock of words, his favourite ex- 
pressions, the phrases of his family, or his school, or his party, 
his attitude of mind, his pose of statement, his characteristic 
utterances ; and if in his quest of truth he has gained such an 
advancement as to be a writer of documents which live through 
the centuries, liis powers of speech and writing have expanded 
to the work required of them and they have expressed these 
advanced conceptions in language which would not be appro- 
priate if it were not in a true sense oi'iginal, and as peculiar to 
the man as his thinking and acting. It is quite true that the 
style of writers grows as they grow in knowledge and experi- 
ence, and the earlier writings of an author may be readily dis- 
tinguished from his later writings. But throughout his entire 
literarj' development there will be a unity and an identity of 
character in his style which will mark him off from all other 
writers as truly as his face and its expressions are different from 
every other face and ever remain cliaracteristic from infancy to 
old age. 

It is quite true that it is more difficult to detect difference of 
style than difference of face. Experience in criticism as well 
as accuracy and careful investigation are required for such 
criticism. Not every tyro is capable of it. And if an un- 
trained critic or an amateur fail in the necessary discrimina- 
tions, that is no test of their reality, or of their accuracy when 
seen by the experienced eye and traced by the expert hand. 
Mistakes are made in faces and forms even b}' detectives. Mis- 
takes are more likely to occur in the delicate traceries of lit- 
erature. But mistakes do not disprove the importance of a 
detective agency. Still less do they disprove the value of lit- 
erary criticism. They teach that those who enter upon such 
investigations should get the training that is necessary, acquire 
by experience the talents of experts, and use their delicate 
tools with refinement and taste, scientific accuracy, and thorough- 
ness, and with a confidence in tlie truth tliey are seeking to 


Any one familiar with literature knows how difficult it is for 
a well-known writer to tlisguise his hand. It will often be recog- 
nized through all disguises even by those who are not experts. 
This principle has been successfully applied in many genera- 
tions of criticism to all departments of the world's literp.ture. 
It has also been applied to the ^\Titings of Holy Scripture with 
the most fruitfid results. It needs no training to see that each 
one of the evangelists has a different style. It needs no ex- 
pert's knowledge to distinguish that the Chronicler writes dif- 
ferently from the prophetic historians. But it does need the 
professional critic to tell you what those differences are, to 
tabulate them and use them as evidences for the determination 
of questions of the integrity, authorship, style, and credibility 
of these writings. 

(8) Differences of opinion and conception hnph/ differences 
of autlior ivhen these are sufficientltj great, and also differences of 
period of composition. 

'• The opinions or things contained in a book, do likewise discover 
the forgery of it: (1) When we find some opinions there, that 
were not maintained till a long time after the author, whose name 
it bears. (2) When we find some terms made use of, to explain 
these doctrines, which were not customary till after his death. 
(3) When the author opposes errors, as extant in his own time, that 
did not spring up till afterwards. (4) When he describes cere- 
monies, rites, and customs that were not in use in his time. (5) 
When we find some opinions in these spurious discourses, that 
are contrary to those that are to be found in other books, which 
unquestionably belong to that author. (6) When he treats of 
matters that were never spoken of in the time when the real 
author was alive. (7) When he relates histories that are mani- 
festly fabulous." ' 

This is a principle of great simplicity and of far-reaching con- 
sequences. There is a gradual development of thought in this 
world of ours. Each age has its opinions, each writer his point 
of view. The views of the relation of Church and State which 
are embedded in the American official copy of the Westminster 
Confession could not have been written before the American 
Revolution. Even if the history of the revision of the Confes- 

' I.e., p. viii. 


siou had been lost aud long forgotten, the fact of the revision 
would lie in the language of the document itself. The Augs- 
burg Confession could not have been composed before the birth 
of the great Reformation. If the external history of its compo- 
sition had been lost, the internal evidence would be sufficient 
to show it. The Emancipation Proclamation was born of the 
crisis of the American Civil War. When else could it have 
been composed ? 

It is true that tradition is always at work fathering anonymous 
writings with ancient venerated names. An interesting example 
is found in the paradoxes of Herbert Palmer, which have been 
attributed to Lord Bacon and are -^ound in many editions of 
his printed works. The finding of several editions of a little 
book containing these paradoxes under the name of Herbert Palmer 
was suflBcient external evidence to enable Dr. Grossart to re- 
move them from Bacon's works. But the external evidence is not 
alwaj-s attainable. Take for example the famous sentence fathered 
so long on Augustine: "In necessary things ^inity, in unnecessary 
things liberty, in all things charity." A little reflection ought to 
have convinced any student of the history of opinion that Augus- 
tine could not in his age of the world either have expressed or 
understood such a sentence. Critical scholars long refused it to 
Augustine on that account. But it was not until recent times that 
the full evidence of the origin of this word of peace was foimd in 
a tract of Rupertus ileldenius in the earlj- days of the irenic 
movement in the first half of the seventeenth century. 

Having determined the characteristic doctrine of a period and 
the leading features of an author, it is not easy for an expert 
critic to mistake in his judgment as to any other writing of that 
author or period. This is a more difficult line of investigation 
at the present time because few scholars have worked at it in 
the Hebrew Scriptures, but it is the most con^-iucing when the 
facts have been tabulated and their lessons learned. 

(4) Citations show the dependence of the author iipoit the 
author or authors cited, where these are definite and the identity 
of the author cited can he clearly established. 

Sometimes these citations are clear and strong evidence aud 
so decide our question beyond reason of a doubt. At other 
times there is grave difficulty. 


An illustration of this principle and its difficulties maj' be given 
in the story of tracing the maxim of peace to Kupertus Meldenius. 
A distinguished German, Llicke,' found this word of peace in a 
tract of great rarity which bore the name of Kupertus Meldenius. 
He refers to its use by Richard Baxter, but affirms that Baxter no- 
where mentions the source from which he derived it. However, 
he traces it from Baxter backward to this early tract of the seven- 
teenth century and makes it probable that Kupertus Meldenius 
wrote it. But soon after another German scholar discovered an- 
other rare tract of the same period by George Franc, in which the 
same thought is expressed in similar terms,- and this somewhat 
weakens the argument for the origin of the phrase in Kupertus 
Meldenius. It was my good fortune to make this probable evi- 
dence certain by finding accidentallj'^ in a rare tract of Kiehard 
Baxter a passage which had been overlooked by all previous schol- 
ars, in which Baxter attributes the phrase to Kupertus Meldenius 
and in which he states that he derived it from a citation in a work 
of Conrad Berg. This work of Conrad Berg is so rare that only 
one copy of it is known to be in existence. But after some diffi- 
culty I foimd this copy in the Koyal Library at Berlin, saw the 
passage from which Baxter derived it, saw that it was part of a 
long citation from Kupertus Meldenius, compared the citation 
with the original tract, and so made the evidence complete.^ 

These four principles are embraced under the internal evi- 
dence. To them we must now add two principles of external 

(5) Positive testimony as to the writing in other writings of 
acknowledged authority ; 

(6) The silence of authorities as to the writing in question. 
These are combined by Du Pin : 

" The external proofs are, in the first place, taken from ancient 
manuscripts ; in which either we do not find the name of an 
author: or else we find that of another: The more ancient or 
correct they are, the more we ought to value them. Secondly, 
from the testimony or silence of ancient authors ; from their testi- 
mony, I say, when they formally reject a writing as spurious, or 

1 Ueher das Alter, den Verfasser, die ursprungliche Form und den wahren 
Sinn des Friedenspruches, 18.50. 

- Karl Bertheau, in Herzog, Ileal Encyklopddie, 1881, IX., s. !S3l. 

' Briggs, "Origin of the Phrase • in necessariis unitas,' etc.," Presbyterian 
Review, 1887, pp. 496 seq. ; also "Rupertus Meldenius and his Word of Peace," 
Presbyterian Beview, 1887, pp. 74:3 seq. 


\vhen they attribute it to some other author ; or from their silence 
when they do not speak of it, though they have occasion to men- 
tion it: This argument, which is commonly called a negative one, 
is oftentimes of very great weight. When, for example, we find, 
that several entire books which are attributed to one of the 
ancients, are unknown to all antiquity : When all those persons 
that have spoken of the works of an author, and besides, have 
made catalogues of them, never mention such a particular dis- 
course : When a book that would have been serviceable to the 
Catholics has never been cited by them, who both might and 
ought to have cited it, as having a fair occasion to do it, 'tis ex- 
treamly probable that it is supposititious. It is very certain that 
this is enough to make any book doubtful, if it was never cited 
by any of the ancients ; and in that ca^e it must have very authen- 
tik characters of antiquity, before it ought to be received without 
contradiction. And on the other hand, if there should be never 
so few conjectures of its not being genuine, yet these, together 
with the silence of the ancients, will be sufficient to oblige us to 
believe it to be a forgery." ' 

The argument from silence has risen to so much greater 
importance since the seventeenth century that we shall venture 
to define it more narrowly.^ 

(a) Silence is a lack of evidence when it is clear that the matter 
in question did not come within the scope of the author's plans and 

In the book of Esther, there is no mention of the Divine Name, 
and no conception of Divine Providence. This seems, at tlie first 
glance, very strange. The history of Esther would be as fitting to 
illustrate Divine Providence as the story of Joseph. We should 
expect that the Divine Xame would have been frequently in the 
mouths of the heroes of the story. And yet, on closer examina- 
tion, it appears that the book of Esther was written with a very 
different purpose from the story of Joseph. It was the work of 
a patriotic Jew who wished to enforce fidelity to Jewish national- 
ity. The author's scope was patriotic and ethical, rather tliau reli- 
gious or doctrinal. Hence, while the name of the Persian monarch 
appears IS" times, the name of God does not occur. Persian 
decrees, and the fidelity of Esther to her nation, and skill in over- 

> In I.e., p. viii. 

* For ail elaboration and explanation of these principles we must refer to the 
author's paper on the argument e silentin. read before the Society of Biblical 
Literature and Exege.sis in .lune, 1883, and published in their Journal for 1883. 


coming the intrigues of its enemies, take the place of the Divine 
Providence. The same is true in the Song of Songs. Its scope 
is essentially ethical, to show the victory of marital love over all 
the seductions that may be employed to constrain it toward others 
than the rightful object of it. The author had no occasion to use 
the Divine Name or to speak of religious themes. 

(b) Silence is an evidence that the matter in question had cer- 
tain characteristics which excluded it from the author s argument. 
This argument is on the well-knowu popular principle that 
silence gives consent. If there were evidence to the contrary, 
it would certainly have been produced. 

A fine example of this argument is given by Bishop Lightfoot 
in his review of the author of " Supernatural Religion " ' in treat- 
ing of the silence of Eusebius. He quotes from Eusebius, H. E., 
III. 3, to the effect that the design of Eusebius was to give (1) the 
references or testimonies in case of disputed writings of the 
Canon only; (2) the records of anecdotes in case of the acknow- 
ledged and disputed ^^Titings alike. If the Gospel of John had 
been a disputed writing, Eusebius would have given references 
and testimonies according to his first principle. He does not do 
this, therefore " the silence of Eusebius respecting early witnesses 
to the Fourth Gospel is an evidence in its favour. Its apostolic 
authorship had never been questioned by any church writer from 
the beginning so far as Eusebius was aware, and therefore it was 
superfluous to call witnesses." 

(c) The matter in question lies fairly within the author^ scope, 
and it was omitted for good and sufficient reasons which may he 

This phase of the argument from silence was used in the re- 
nowned argument of Warburton.^ He argues : If religion be neces- 
sarj' to civil government, and if religion cannot subsist under the 
common dispensation of Providence without a future state of re- 
wards and punishments, so consummate a lawgiver [Moses] would 
never have neglected to inculcate the belief of such a state, had 
he not been well assured that an extraordinary Providence was 
indeed to be administered over his people. This argument has 
been often disputed. Both premises have been called in question. 
There can be no doubt that the idea that " religion cannot subsist 
under the common dispensation of Providence, without a future 

' Contemporary Reviexo, XXV., pp. 183 seq. 

* Divine Legation of Moses Vindicated, London, 1837, Vol. II. pp. 531 seg. 


state of rewards and punishments," rests on too narrow an induc- 
tion of the religions of the world. There can be no doubt that 
Warburton is disposed to minimize the Old Testament statements 
as to the future life ; and yet it seems that he is certainly correct 
in his statement that the Peutateiichal codes are silent as to a 
future state of rewards and punishments, and that this silence 
was designed. Warbui-ton calls attention justly to Closes' famil- 
iarity with the Egj-ptian religion and its highly developed es- 
chatology. We have now abundant evidence to show that the 
Babylonian and other Shemitic religions, with which the patri- 
archal ancestors were first brought in contact, were full and 
elaborate on this subject. The Hebrews throughout their history 
were in communication with nations which had the most elabo- 
rate eschatologies. The silence of th^se codes was designed. We 
are not convinced that this silence is to be explained altogether 
on the principle that the Hebrew government was a theocracy of 
extraordinary Providence; yet we are sure that it was the design 
of the codes to emphasize the duties and the life in the Holy Land 
under the divine instruction, and of the blessings in store for 
such a life, and to ignore the future state of rewards and punish- 
ments on that account. The essential thing was the divine bless- 
ing in life, and the most dreaded thing was the divine curse in 
life. This was a healthy ethical position. Only an unhealth}' 
religion will depreciate the moral character of life in this world, 
in the interest of the future life. 

(d) The silence of the author as to that which ivas tvithin the 
scope of his argument zeas unconscious and therefore ignorance is 

Where there is silence in authors, we maj- assume ignorance 
as to the matter in question, and even find positive disproof of 
the story. An event or an opinion might not be known to a 
particular person, or might be known to but a few, and these 
might perish. But it is to be presumed that those to whom 
the event or knowledge was known, would make it known if 
it were within the scope of their argument. We prove the 
growth of knowledge from the silence of early writers and the 
statements of later writers. The statement of opinions gives 
us the basis for the history of opinions. Silence is an evidence 
of ignorance as to them. 

A tradition handed down from Fox. and apparently supported 
by the Colophon of Tyndale's first edition of his translation of 


Genesis, '• emprinted at Marlborow in the land of Hesse, by me 
Hans Luft, &c.,'' pretends that Tyndale was a student at Marburg, 
and that he went from thence to Hamburg by way of Antwerp, 
to meet Coverdale in 1529; Mombert' disproves this tradition by 
showing that (1) there is no record at ^larburg of Hans Luft ever 
having set up a printing press there, and (2) that the Album of 
the University does not contain Tyudale's name among the matric- 
ulates, as it would have done if he had matriculated, inasmuch 
as it gives Patrick Hamilton and others : and (3) there is an 
absence of historic evidence as to Coverdale's going to Hamburg. 

(e) When the silence extends over a variety of ivritings of 
different authors, of different classes of writings and different 
periods of composition, it implies either some strong and over- 
powering external restraint such as divine interposition, or eccle- 
siastical or civil poiver; or it implies a general and wide-spread 
public ignorance which presents a strong presumptive evidence 
regarding the reality and truthfidness of the matter in question. 

Many examples of this line of argument might be adduced. 
Aj-chbishop Whatel}^ proves from the silence of Scripture as to 
Confessions of Faith, Liturgies, Rubrics, and the like, that the 
authors were supernaturally withheld from giving them in 
order to give liberty to the Church.^ This is the phase of the 
argument from silence which is used with so much effect to 
prove that the Deuteronomic code originated in the time of 
Josiali and the priest-code in the exile. The history previous 
to these times presents an ignorance of these codes and unre- 
buked violation of them. The literatui-e previous to these 
times is unconscious of their existence.^ 

The argument from silence is therefore an argument of great 
importance, all the more convincing from its delicacy and the 
indirect and roundabout paths by which it reaches its end. 
Sometimes it shoots like a comet to a surprising result, but 
usually it traces its way in every variety of beautiful curves. 

The Higher Criticism of Holy Scripture is a study, which 

has its well-defined principles, its accurate methods, its clearly 

expressed questions ; and its results are as sure as those of any 

other science. 

' Handbook of the English Versions of the Bible. New York, 1883, pp. 107 seq. 
- Es.say.s. Kingdom of God. ^ See pp. .307, .32.3. 


The internal evidence must be used with great caution and 
sound judgment, for an able and learned forger might imitate 
so as to deceive the most expert, and the author of a pseud- 
epigraph might intentionall}' place his writing in an earlier age 
of the world and in circumstances best suited to carry out his 
idea. But sooner or later a faithful and persistent application 
of the critical tests will determine the forgeries and the pseud- 
epigraphs and assign tliem their real literarj' position. As to 
the relative value of the internal and external evidence we 
cannot do better than use the judicious words of Sir William 
Hamilton : " But if our criticism from the internal grounds 
alone be, on the one hand, impotent to establish, it is, on the 
other hand, omnipotent to disprove.'" ^ 

The importance of this higher criticism is well stated b)'^ 

" Criticism is a kind of torch, that lights and conducts us in the 
obscure tracts of antiquitj', by making us to distinguish truth from 
falsehood, history from fable, and antiquity from novelty. 'Tis 
by this means, that in our times we have disengaged ourselves 
from an infinite number of very common errors, into which our 
fathers fell for want of examining things by the rules of true 
criticism. For 'tis a surprising thing to consider how many 
spurious books we find in antiquity; nay, even in the first ages 
of the Church." - 

In order to illustrate these principles of the Higher Criticism 
we shall present a few additional specimens of their applica- 
tion from eminent divines. 

The first illustration that we sliall give is with reference to 
the question of integrity. The so-called Apostles' Creed is the 
most sacred writing exterior to the canon of Scripture. 

Till the middle of the seventeenth century it was the current 
belief of Roman Catholic and Protestant Christendom that the 
Apostles' Creed was " membratum articidatumque" composed by 
the apostles in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, or before their 
separation, to secure unity of teaching, each contributing an arti- 
cle (hence the somewhat arbitrary division into twelve articles"). 

The arguments adduced by Dr. Schaff to prove that this 
tradition is false, are : (1) The intrinsic improbability of such 
> Logic, p. 471. >" l.c., p. vii. 


a mechanical composition. (2) The silence of Scripture. 
(3) The silence of the apostolic fathers and of all the Ante- 
Nicene and Nicene fathers and synods. (4) The variety in 
form of the creed down to the eighth century. (5) The 
fact that the Apostles' Creed never had any currency in the 
East, where the Nicene Creed occupies its place. ^ 

Many scholars have studied the structure of the Creed more 
fully, and have shown the process of its formation and all the 
changes through which it passed, until it gradually, in 750 A.D., 
assumed its present stereotyped form.^ 

One of the best illustrations of the effective work of the Higher 
Criticism with reference to the question of authenticity, is afforded 
by Bentley in his celebrated work on the epistles of Phalaris.^ 
Bentley proves these epistles to be forgeries of a sophist : I. By 
internal evidence. (1) They do not accord with their presumed 
age, but with other ages. They mention (a) Aloesa, a city which 
was not built till 140 years after the latest year of Phalaris ; 
(6) Theridean cups, which were not known imtil 120 years after the 
death of Phalaris ; (c) Messana, as a diiferent city from Zaude, 
whereas it was a later name for the same city, which was not 
changed till 60 years after the death of Phalaris; (d) Tauro- 
minium, 140 years before it was ever thought of. 

(2) Differences of style : (a) the use of the Attic dialect instead 
of the Doric, the speech of Phalaris, and indeed not of the old 
Attic, but the new Attic that was not used till centuries after 
Phalaris' time. 

(3) Differences of thought : (a) reference to tragedy before 
ti'agedy came into existence ; (6) use of Attic and not Sicilian 
talents in speaking of money; (c) use of the word -irpovoia for 
Divine Providence, which was not used before Plato, and of koct/hos 
for the universe, which was not so used before Pythagoras ; 
(d) inconsistencies between the ideas and matter of the epistle, 
which are those of a sophist, and the historical character of Phala- 
ris as a politician and tyrant. 

(4) Relation to other writers. He uses Herodotus, Demosthenes, 

II. The external evidences are : (5) testimony. Atossa is said 

> Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, New York, 1877, I. p. 19. 

- Lumby, History of the Creeds, Cimbridse, 1873, pp. 169 seq. See more 
fully Kattenbush, Das apostolische Symbol, Leipzig, 1804. 

2 ,1 Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris, London, 1699, a new edition 
edited by Wilhelm Wagner, London, 1883. 


to have been the first inventor of epistles. Hence those that carry 
the name of Phalaris two generations earlier must be impostures. 
(6) Silence. There is a thousand years of silence as to these 
epistles. "For had our letter been used or transcribed during 
that thousand j'cars, somebody would have spoken of it, especially 
since so many of the ancients had occasion to do so ; so that their 
silence is a direct argument that they never had heard of them." ' 

We have dwelt at some length upon the principles and 
methods of the Higher Criticism, because of their great impor- 
tance in our day with reference to the Sacred Scriptures and 
the lack of information concerning them that still prevails to 
an astonishing degree among men who make some pretensions 
to scholarship. 

The Higher Criticism has vindicated its rights in the field 
of biblical study as well as in all other kmds of literature. It 
matters little who may oppose its course, what combinations may 
be made against it, it will advance steadily and irresistibl}- to its 
results ; it will flow on over every obstacle like a might}- river 
and bury every obstruction beneath its waves. In time it will 
give a final decision to all the literary problems of Holy Script- 
ure. No other voice can decide them. Men may for a time 
refuse to listen to its voice, they may try to deaden it by a chorus 
of outcries and shoutings of opposition. But Higher Criticism 
is in no haste, she can wait. She does not seek the favour of 
ecclesiastics, or the applause of the populace. She seeks the 
truth, and having won the trutli she is sure of the everlasting 

It is true that critics have made serious mistakes in the past. 
And it is quite probable that they are making mistakes at the 
present time. But what department of scholarly investigation 
is free from mistakes ? Holy Scripture is in the hands of every 
one, and almost ever}'^ one thinks he is a competent critic, and 
therefore it is more exposed to blunders than any other litera- 
ture. It is quite true that some able and honest men are 
opposed to the principles and methods of the Higher Criticism. 
But every one of these is opposed to criticism on dogmatic 
grounds, because it imperils the dogmas of his school and party. 

» New edition, 1883, p. 481. 


The same set of men have opposed eveiy advance of modern 
science and modern philosophy. Such men are not true bibli- 
cal scholars. What kind of a detective would he make, who 
should maintain that there was no sure way of detecting crimi- 
nals ? What sort of a chemist would he make, who spent his 
strength in opposing and ridiculing the principles and results 
of chemistry ? One sees what sort of scholars those are, who 
exhaust their energies in discrediting the principles of the 
Higher Criticism and in battling against its sure results. The 
Higher Criticism of the Hebrew Scriptures has an array of 
able scholars who would adorn any profession and grace any 
science, and they are in as close agreement in their results as 
any other body of scholars in any other science, or in any other 

III. The Criticism of Holy Scripture 

Thus far Biblical Criticism has derived from other branches 
of criticism the principles and methods of its work. Has it 
not, however, some peculiar features of its own, as it has to do 
with the sacred canon of the Christian Church? Does the 
fact that the canon of Sacred Scripture is holy, inspired, and 
of divine authority, lift it above criticism, or does it give 
additional features of criticism that enable us to test the genu- 
ineness of these claims respecting it ? The latter is the true 
and only safe position, and it is evident that our effort should 
be to determine these principles and methods. We reserve 
this question for our following chapter. 

In the meanwhile we have to meet on the threshold of our 
work a priori objections that would obstruct our progress in 
the application of the principles and methods of criticism to 
the Bible. 

Biblical Criticism is confronted by traditional views of the 
Bible that do not wish to be disturbed, and by dogmatic state- 
ments respecting the Bible which decline reinvestigation and 
revision. The claim is put forth that these traditional views 
and dogmatic statements are in accordance with the Scriptures 
and the symbols of the Church, and that the orthodox faith is 
put in peril by criticism. 


Such claims as these can only influence the adherents of the 
Church, and, at the utmost, debar them from the exercise of 
criticism. They cannot be more than amusing to the unbe- 
lieving and the sceptical, who care but little for the Church 
and still less for theologians and their orthodoxy. They will 
use the tests of criticism without restraint. We cannot pre- 
vent them. The question is whether Christian scholars iilso 
shall be entitled to use them in the study of the Scriptures, or 
whether Holj^ Scripture is to be intrusted solely to the hands 
of dogmatic theologians and scholastics who usually have little 
if any technical knowledge of Holy Scripture itself. And we 
are entitled to ask: Why should the Scriptures fear the most 
searching investigation ? If they are truly the Word of God 
they will maintain themselves^ and vindicate themselves in the 
battle of criticism. If we are sure of this, let us rejoice in the 
conflict that will lead to victory; if we are in doubt of it, it is 
best that our doubts should be removed as soon as possible. 
Then let the tests be applied, and let us know in whom we 
trust and what we believe.^ 

It is pretended that the Church doctrine of inspiration is in 
peril, and that the authority of the Scriptures is thereby under- 
mined. If there were one clearly defined orthodox doctrine of 
inspiration to which all Christians agreed, as supported by 
Holy Scripture and the creeds of the Church, our task would 
be easier. But, in fact, there are many various theories of in- 
spiration, and several ways of stating the doctrine of inspira- 
tion that are without support in Scripture or symbol. It is 
necessary, therefore, to discriminate, in order to determine ex- 
actly what is in peril, whether inspiration itself and the author- 
ity of the Sacred Scriptures, or some particular and false theory 
of inspiration and the authority of some theologian or school 
of theology. 

The doctrine of inspiration may be constructed (1) by a 
cai'eful, painstaking study of the Sacred Scriptures themselves, 
gathering together their testimony as to their own origin, 
character, design, value, and authority. This gives us the 
biblical doctrine of the Scrijitures and the doctrine of inspira- 
1 Robert Rainy, Bible and Criticism, London, 1878, p. 33. 


tion as a part of Biblical Theolocry- Any one who has at- 
tempted this task will admit that Holy Scripture is extremely 
modest in its claims and that the biblical doctrine of inspira- 
tion and scriptural autliority is much more simple and much 
less definite and exacting than any of the theories of the theo- 
logians. (2) The doctrine of inspiration may be constructed 
from a study of the symbolical books of the Church, which 
express the faith of the Church as attained in the great crises 
of its history, in the study of the Scriptures, in the experiences 
and life of men. This gives us the .symbolical, or orthodox, or 
Church doctrine of inspiration. The Church doctrine does not, 
in fact, obstruct the pathway of criticism. (3) The doctrine 
of inspiration may be constructed by a study of Scripture and 
symbol, and the logical unfolding of the results of a more 
extended study of the whole subject in accordance with the 
dominant philosophical and theological principles of the times. 
This gives us the dogmatic, or school, or traditional doctrine of 
inspiration as it has been established in particular Schools of 
theology, and has become traditional in the teaching of certain 
chairs and pulpits, in the various particular theories of inspira- 
tion that have been formulated. It is with these theories and 
with these alone that Biblical Criticism has to battle. 

As we rise in the doctrinal process from the simple biblical 
statements, unformulated as they lie in the sacred writings or 
formulated in Biblical Theology, to the more complex and 
abstract statements of the symbols expressing the formulated 
consensus of the leaders of the Church in the formative 
periods of history, and then to the more theoretical and scho- 
lastic statements of the doctrinal treatises of the theologians ; 
while the doctrine becomes more and more complex, massive, 
consistent, and imposing, and seems, therefore, to become more 
authoritative and binding ; in reality the authority diminishes 
in this relative advance in systematization, so that what is 
gained in extension is lost in intension : for the construction 
is a construction of sacred materials by human and fallible 
minds, with defective logic, failing sometimes to justify prem- 
ises, and leaping to conclusions that cannot always be defended, 
and in a line and direction determined by the temporary and 


provisional couditions and necessities of the times, neglecting 
modifying circumstances and conditions. The concrete that 
the Bible gives us is for all time, as it is the living and eternal 
substance ; though changeable, it reproduces and so perpetu- 
ates itself in a wonderful variety of forms of beauty, yet all 
blending and harmonizing as the colours of the clouds and skies 
under the painting of the sunbeams ; but the abstract is the 
formal and the perishable, as it is broken through and shat- 
tered by the pulsations and struggles of the living and devel- 
oping truth of God, ever striving for expression and adaptation 
to every different condition of mankind, in the different epodis 
and among the various races of the world. 

The course of religious, history has clearly established the 
principle that there is a constant tendency in all religions, and 
especially in the Christian religion, in the sj'stematic or dog- 
matic statement to constrain the symbol as well as the Script- 
ures into the requirements of the particular formative principle 
and the needs of the particular epoch. The dogmatic scheme is 
too often the mould into which the gold of the Scriptures and 
the silver of the creed are poured to coin a series of definitions, 
and fashion a system of theology which not only breaks up the 
concrete and harmonious whole of the Scriptures into frag- 
ments, stamping them with the imprint of the particular con- 
ception of the theologian in order to their reconstruction; but 
not infrequently the constructed S5'stem becomes an idol of 
the theologian and his pupils, as if it were the orthodox, the 
divine truth, while a mass of valuable scriptural and symbolical 
material is cast aside in the process, and lies neglected in the 
workshop. In course of time the s3-mbols as well as the Script- 
ures are overlaid with glosses and perplexing explanations, .so 
that the}' become either dai-k, obscure, and uncertain to the 
ordinary reader, or have their meanings deflected and per- 
verted, until the}' are once more grasped by a living, energet- 
ical faith in a revived state of the Church, and burst forth 
from their scholastic fetters, that Holy Scripture, the Churcli"s 
creed, and Christian life maj"^ once more correspond. While 
traditionalism and scholasticism have not prevailed in tiie 
Protestant churclies to the same extent as in tlie Greek and 


Roman churches ; for the right of private judgment and the 
universal priesthood of believers have maintained their ground 
with increasing vigour in Western Europe and America since 
the Reformation ; yet it is no less true that the principle of 
traditionalism is ever at work in the chairs of theology and in 
the pulpits of the Church : so that in seeking for truth and in 
estimating what is binding on faith and conscience, even Prot- 
estants must distinctly separate the three things : Bible, sym- 
bol, and tradition ; the Bible, the sole infallible norm ; the 
symbol, binding those who hold to the body of which it is the 
banner ; the tradition of any sect or school which demands at 
the most the respect, revei-ence, careful consideration, and the 
presumption in its favour on the part of the adherents of that 
sect or school. It is assumption for it to claim the same 
authority as Bible, Church, or Catholic tradition. It will be 
tested and tried, if worthy of consideration, and it must take 
its chances in the crucible. 

It is of vast importance that we should make these dis- 
tinctions on the threshold of the study of the critical theories ; 
for there is no field in which modern, local, and provincial 
tradition has been more hasty in its conclusions, more busy in 
their formation, more dogmatic and sensitive to criticism, more 
reluctant and stubborn to give wa}' to the truth, than in 
the sacred fields of the Divine Word. Thus criticism is con- 
fronted at the outset now as ever with two a priori objections. 

1st. There are those who maintain that their traditional 
views of the Sacred Scriptures are inseparably bound up with 
their doctrine of inspiration ; so that even if they should be in 
some respects doubtful or erroneous, they must be left alone 
for fear of the destruction of the doctrine of inspiration itself. 
This is true of those traditional theories of inspiration which 
in some quarters have expanded so as to cover a large part of 
the ground, and commit themselves to theories of text, and 
author, date, style, and integrity of writings, in accordance 
with a common, but, in our judgment, an injudicious method 
of discussing the whole Bible under the head of Bibliology in 
the prolegomena of the dogmatic system ; but this is not true 
of the symbolical doctrine of inspiration, still less of the script- 


ural doctrine. The most that this objection can require of the 
critics is, that they should be careful and cautious of giving 
offence, or of needlessly shocking prejudice ; that they should 
be respectful and reverent of the faith of the people and of 
revered theologians ; but it is not to be supposed that it 
will make them recreant to their trust of seeking earnestly, 
patiently, persistently, and prayerfully for the truth of God. 
In fact, these school doctrines of iuspiration have obtruded 
themselves in place of the symbolical and scriptural doctrine, 
and it is necessary to destroy these school doctrines in order to 
the safety of the biblical doctrine and the symbolical doctrine. 
However distressing this may be to certain dogmatic divines 
and their adherents, it affords gratilication to all sincere lovers 
of the truth of God. \ 

2d. There are those who claim that their traditional theory 
is the logical unfolding of the doctrine of the Symbols and the 
Scriptures. But this is begging the very question at issue, 
which will not be ^aelded. Why should dogmatic theologians 
claim exemption from criticism and the testing of the grounds 
of their systems ? Such an arbitrary claim for deductions and 
consequences is one that no true critic or liistorian ought to 
concede : for, by so doing, he abandons at once the right and 
ground of criticism, and the inductive methods of historical 
and scientific investigation ; and sacrifices his material to the 
dogmatist and scholastic, surrendering the concrete for the 
abstract. The very sensitiveness to criticism displa3-ed in 
some quarters justifies suspicion that the theories are weak 
and wiU not sustain investigation. 

Traditional theories cannot overcome critical theories with 
either of these a priori objections of apprehended peril to faith 
or pretended logical inconsistencies with dogma, but must sub- 
mit to the test of criticism. One of tlie most characteristic prin- 
ciples of Puritanism is that : 

" God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from 
the doctrines and commandments of men, wliich are in anything 
contrary to Mis Word or beside it in matters of faith and worship: 
so that, to believe snch doctrine, or to obey such commandments 
out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and tlie 


requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is 
to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also." ' 

Biblical Criticism bases its liistoric right on the principles of 
the Reformation and of Puritanism, and it finds no hindrance in 
the Catholic principle of the supremacy of Church tradition, for 
thtis far tliese present no obstacles to criticism. It is the un- 
churchly, undefined, and unlearned tradition which pi'esumes to 
obstruct the work of Biblical Criticism. 

Recent critical theories arise and work as did their prede- 
cessors, in the various departments of the study of Holy 
Scripture. Here is their strength, that they antagonize modern 
traditional dogma with the Bible itself, and appeal from pro- 
vincial school theology to Catholic credal theology. Unless 
traditional theories of inspiration can vindicate themselves on 
biblical grounds, meet the critics, and overcome them in fair 
conflict, in the sacred fields of the Divine Word, sooner or 
later traditional theories will be driven from the field. It will 
not do to antagonize critical theories of the Bible with tra- 
ditional theories of the Bible ; for the critic appeals to history 
against tradition, to an arraj^ of facts against so-called infer- 
ences, to the laws of probation against dogmatic assertion, to 
the Divine Spirit speaking in the Scriptures against external 
authority. Historj-, facts, truth, the laws of thought, are all 
divine products, and most consistent with the Divine Word, 
and they will surelj- prevail. 

The great majority of professional biblical scholars in the 
various universities and theological halls of the world, embra- 
cing those of the greatest learning, industry, and piety, demand 
a revision of traditional theories of the Bible, on account of 
a large induction of new facts from the Bible and history. 
These critics must be met with argument and candid reasoning 
as to these facts and their interpretation, and cannot be over- 
come by mere cries of alarm for the Church and the Bible, 
which, in their last analysis, ustially amount to nothing more 
than peril to certain favourite views. What peril can come 
to the Holj' Scriptures from a more profound critical study 

> Westminster Conf. of Faith, XX. 2 ; see also A. F. Mitchell, The West- 
minster Assembly : its History ami Standards, London, 1883, pp. 8 seq., 465. 


of them ? The sword of the Spirit alone will conquer in this 
warfare. Are Christian men afraid to put it to the test ? For 
this is a conflict after all between true criticism and false criti- 
cism ; between the criticism wliich is the product of the evan- 
gelical spirit of the Reformation, and critical principles that 
are the product of deism and rationalism. Biblical criticism 
has been marching from conquest to conquest, though far too 
often at a sad disadvantage, like a storming party who have 
sallied forth from their breastworks to attack the trenches of 
the enemies of the Bible, finding in the hot encounter that the 
severest fire and gravest peril are from the misdirected bat- 
teries of their own line. We do not deny the right of dog- 
matism and the a priori method, within their proper spheres ; 
but we maintain the greater right of criticism and the induc- 
tive method in the field or the study of Holj' Scripture and 
their far greater importance in the acquisition of true and 
reliable knowledge of Holy Scripture. If criticism and dog- 
matism are harnessed together, a span of twin steeds, the_y will 
draw the car of theology rapidly towards its highest ideal; 
but pulling in opposite directions the}' tear it to pieces. 



The first work of Biblical Criticism is to investigate the 
Canon of the Bible and to determine, so far as possible, the 
entire extent and the exact limits of Holy Scripture. This 
investigation is first of all an historical study. It is first neces- 
sary for us to know what writings have in fact been othcially 
recognized as canonical in the different epochs in the history 
of Israel and the Christian Church. When we have all the 
historical facts before us, then we may by induction establish 
principles and rules for the critical investigation of the Canon 
and apply those rules for its final testing and verification. 
The term Canon was first applied to Holy Scripture by the 
Greek Fathers of the fourth Christian century, i But the 
underlying conception of a sacred collection of literature, or 
books of divine authority, as the norm of religion, faith, and 
morals, is much more ancient. This conception is in some 
respects more fully expressed in the terras, " the Holy Script- 
ures,'^ 2 and " the Scriptures,'' ^ which, though most ancient, 
have continued to the present day as the most common and 
appropriate titles of the Bible. Still more ancient are the 
terms the Book or Books of the Law, the Latv of Vahiceh, the 
Law of God, the Laiv;* and the Book of the Covenant, the Cove- 

' Buhl, Kannn nnd Text des Alt. Test., Leipzig, 1891, s. 1 ; Holtzmann, 
EinUitunrj in d. Xeue Test., 2te Atifl., 1886, s. 162 seq. 

• ypa<t)a\ Siyiai. Rom. 1= ; (ra) lepa ypau/iaTa, 2 Tim. 3'^ . josephus, Antiq. Jud., 
Prooem ."3 ; Philo, Legat. ad Caium, § 29, II. 574 ; ai Upa] Bip\i>i, Josephus, Antiq. 
Jud., Prooem 4 ; 2i«, 202si, etc. ; Philo, De Vita Mos., lib. 3, t. 2, p. 163 ; ra 0i0Ma 
TO 07(0, 1 Mace. 12'. 

' al ypifa'i. Mt. 22=9 ; Jcilm 539 . Acts 172- " ; D"-.SCn, Dan. 92. 

• Ti BiSKia ToZ v6,uov. 1 ILicc. l-'* ; the Book of the Law, Neh. S^ ; 2 Chr. .34W ; 
the Law of Yahweh, Ezr. 7'' ; 1 Chr. 16" ; 2 Chr. Siy^^ ; the Law of God, Neh. 
102). a); i yi/j^o!, John lO^* ; 1 Cor. 14=1 ; mim, Neh. 10» ••'' ; cf. my article on 
TWr\ in Robinson's Gesenius Hebr. Lexicon, new edition, B.D.B. 



nant^ that is, the covenant between God and His people. The 
two ancient divisions of the Bible persist to the present time 
as the Old Covenant or Testament, and the New Covenant 
or Testament. 

I. The Formatiok of the Old Testament Canon 

It is necessary to go much further back in the history of 
the formation of the Canon than biblical scholars usually do. 
It is the common opinion that tlie formation of the Canon 
began with Ezra.^ Others think that it began with the official 
adoption of the Deuteronomic code.^ But if we are to go back 
to the adoption of the code of the Law by Ezra, or further 
back to the code of Deuteronomy, why should we not go still 
further back to the code of^ the Covenant and to the primary 
code of the Ten Words ? These earlier codes were something 
more than " preparations for a Canon " ; they were recognized 
as of divine authority, no less truly by the earlier generations, 
than were the Deuteronomic code in the reign of Josiah and 
the Priest code in the time of Ezra. 

1. Accordingly the formation of the Canon began witli the 
promulgation of the Ten Words as the fundamental divine Law 
to Israel. These Ten Words were given in their original form 
as brief, terse words or sentences. The specifications and 
reasons were added in the several different documents of the 
Hexateuch, and these were eventually compacted together in 
the two versions, Ex. 20 and Deut. 5.* These Ten Words were 
given by the theophanic voice of God to Israel on ]\Iount 
Horeb. They were taken up into all the original documents 
of the Hexateuch. They lie at the basis of the entire legisla- 
tion. Tliey have the authority of God, and public recognition 
and adoption. They were kept, on the two tables of stone, in 

> Pi&Kos Stae^KTis, Eccl. 24-» ; BiB\tov SmflijKns, 1 Mace. 1" ; cf. M rfi kva- 
yytifffi T^s na\aias Stadrittlis^ 2 Cor. 3**. 

3 Buhl. Kaiion und Text des Alt. Test., s. 8. 

» Rylt% Tlic Canon of the Old Testament, London, 1892, pp. 47 seq. See also 
Cornili, Einleilunrj, 1891, s. 277. 

* See " Genesis of the Ten Words," in my Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, 
new edition, New York, 1897, pp. 181 aeq. 


the holy ark in the most Holy Place of the tabernacle and the 
temple. If any document fulfils all the tests of canonieity the 
Tables of the Law certainly do. 

The promulgation of the Ten Words was soon followed by 
the giving of the Book of the Covenant. On the basis of this 
Book of the Covenant, the covenant of Horeb was established by 
a covenant sacrifice in which the people solemnly pledged them- 
selves to obedience, and the)' were sprinkled with the blood of 
the covenant in order to consecrate them in this covenant rela- 
tion. Their representatives then partook of the sacrificial feast 
of the covenant in the presence of the Theophany.^ 

This covenant is the one upon which the entire subsequent 
religion of Israel depends. It is the old covenant to which 
the new covenant established by Jesus, in connection with the 
institution of the sacramental feast of the Lord's Supper, is the 
antithesis. No book that ever was written fulfils so entirely 
the tests of canonieity as this fundamental Book of the Cove- 
nant upon which all subsequent Hebrew law is built. The 
Book of the Covenant appears in one form in the Judaic narra- 
tive,^ in another in the Epliraimitic narrative,^ and has also 
been taken up into the Deuteronomic code.* There can be 
little doubt that the original Book of the Covenant contained 
only the brief terse Words ; and that the other tj-pes of Hebrew 
law, such as statutes, judgments, and commands, contained in 
the Greater Book of the Covenant and in the Deuteronomic 
code, are later adtlitions from varied sources, in the development 
of Hebrew Law in the northern and southern kingdoms. 

2. There is no evidence of any canonical advance until the 
reign of Josiah, when the Deuteronomic code was brought to 
light and received canonical recognition.* 

^ Ex. 24'-". See Briggs, Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, new edition, 
1897. pp. 6 seq. 

- Ex. 34. See "The Decalogue of J and its Parallels in the other Codes," in 
my Uiyher Criticism of the Hexateuch, new edition, pp. 189 seq. 

' K.x. 20-^23. See "The Greater Book of the Covenant and its Parallels in 
the later Codes," I.e. pp. 211 seq. 

* See I.e.. pp. 243 seq. 

' 2 Kings 22-23 = 2 Chr. .34-35. See Ryle, Canon of the Old Testament, for 
an admirable exposition of this event. See also my Higher Criticism of the 
Hexateuch, pp. 15 seq., 81 seq. 


3. It is agreed among scholars that the first layer of the 
present Hebrew Canon, The Law (embracing the five books, 
Genesis to Deuteronomy), was constituted and officially adopted 
through the influence of Ezra and Nehemiah,i and the nation 
was solemnly engaged, by covenant and by oath, to obey it. 

4. It has been very commonl}- held among the Jews and the 
Christians that the entire Canon of the Old Testament was 
fixed in the time of Ezra. 

(a) But there is nothing in the story of Nehemiah to justify 
such an opinion. Nevertheless Nehemiah 8-10 has been inter- 
preted as referring to the entire Canon on the basis of a legend, 
in the Apocalypse of Ezra,^ a pseudepigraphical writing dating 
from the close of the first century of our ei-a. The story is 
that the whole Canon was recalled to the memory of Ezra by 
divine inspiration and recorded byx^im with the help of five of 
his disciples. 

(a) On the face of it the story is a legend, but it doubtless 
had an older tradition at its basis. It is probable that the 
whole legend is a gradual evolution of the story given in 

(;S) It is unknown to Josephus and Philo, and there are no 
traces of it in any previous writer, or any contemporary writer. 

(7) It is inconsistent with the fact that the Samaritan Canon 
is confined to the Pentateuch, which could not have been the 
case if the separation of the Samaritans from tlie Jews had 
taken place subsequent to the establishment of the entire Canon 
of the Old Testament. 

(8) It is also opposed by the fact that a considerable portion 
of the Prophets, and a large part of the other writings, were 
composed subsequent to Ezra. 

(e) Furthermore, the threefold division of the Hebrew 
Canon bears on its face the evidence that the Canon was 
formed in three successive layers.^ 

(6) Another legend is the story tliat the whole Canon of the 

J Neh. 8-10. 

"^ Chap. 14" stq. This is 2 Esdras of the Greek Apocrypha and 4 Ezra of the 
English Apocry))ha. Sie Hrigcs. ^leanah of the ApoKtles, pp. 11 scq., see p. 257. 

' See Ryle, Canon of the Old Testament, pp. 2;!9 .o./., for a thorough discus- 
sion of this passage of the Apocalypse of Ezra and its historical influence. 


Old Testament was fixed bj" the men of the Great Synagogue. 
There can be no doubt that modern Protestant opinion as to 
the Great Synagogue is based upon the statements of Elias 
Le^-ita ^ and Buxtorf ,^ But these statements are simply the use. 
■without critical examination, of Je\yish legends which unfolded 
dtu'ing the centuries of Rabbinical literature from a slender 
support in the Mishnaic tract Pirqe Abotii ^ and a Baraitha 
of the Talmud.* 

The Pirqe Aboth states that : " Moses received the Torah from 
Sinai and delivered it to Joshua, and Joshua to the elders, and 
the elders to the prophets, and the prophets to the men of the 
Great Synagogue. They said three things : Be deliberate in 
judgment, and raise up many disciples, and make a fence to the 
Torah. Simon the Just was of the remnants of the Great 
Synagogue." (Chap. I.) 

The Baraitha of the Baba Bathra says : " The men of the Great 
Synagogue wrote Ezekiel and the Twelve, Daniel and the Eoll of 
Esther, whose sign is J13p." 

These passages represent that the men of the Great Sjnia- 
gogue wrote, that is, collected and edited, Ezekiel, the twelve 
Minor Prophets, Daniel and Esther ; and that they received 
and transmitted the Torah. Nothing is said in either passage 
of their having anything to do with the organization of a Canon 
of Holj' Scripture, or of their addition of any writing to the 
Canon. The legend of the establishment of the Canon of the 
Old Testament by the men of the Great Synagogue is thus a 
later evolution of the story of the editing of certain Old Testa- 
ment writings bj^ them, and of their part in the transmission 
of the Torah. But even this primitive story of the Mishna 
and Baraitha is unhistorical, for the simple reason that it makes 
Simon the Just, of the time of Alexander the Great, a member 
of a sj'nagogue which the tradition elsewhere assigns to the 
age of Ezra and Nehemiah. In fact, this legend is more unsub- 
stantial than the other. 

' Massoreth Ha-Massoreth, edited by Ginsburg, 1867. pp. 112 seg. 
^ Tiberias sice. Commentarins Mai^orcthirus. 1620. 

' Strack, Die Spriiche der Vater. Karlsruhe, 1882 ; Taylor, Sayings of the 
Jewish Fathers, Cambridge, 1877. 
* See pp. 2.52 seq. 


(a) Back of these Rabbinical sayings of the second and third 
Christian centuries, there is no historical evidence whatever of 
the existence of any such body of men as the Great S^niagogue. 
The silence of all writings from the first century backwards is 
absolute. They could not have omitted to mention such a 
body as this if it ever had an existence, because it came within 
their scope to do so if so important a thing as the final deter- 
mination of the Canon of the Old Testament had been under- 
taken by such a body of men. The apocr3'phal literature in its 
wide and varied extent knows nothing of such a body. The 
numerous pseudepigraphical writings maintain unbroken silence. 
Philo and Josephus are unconscious of anything of the kind. 
The New Testament writers ignore it and write as if it never 

(/3) The legend of the determination of the Canon by Ezra 
and his disciples, already considered, is inconsistent with the 
fixing of the Canon by the men of the Great Synagogue, even 
if Ezra were at their head. The legend of Ezra's activity is 
much earlier than that of the activity of the men of tlie Great 
S3'nagogue. It is unlikely that it would have originated, if 
there had ever been any such legend of the work of the men 
of the Great Synagogue prior to it. 

(7) It is opposed by the fact that a considerable number of 
the writings of the Old Testament were composed subsequently 
to the supposed times of the Great Synagogue. 

(8) The well-known disputes as to the Canon among the 
Jews in the first Christian century could hardly have taken 
place, if such a venerable body as the men of the Great Syna- 
gogue had determined everything relating to the Canon. 

(e) It is improbable that the Greek version would have 
added anything to the Sacred "Writings, if thej' had been fixed 
so long before by the men of the Great Synagogue. 

This legend must be dismissed as nothing more than a pure 
invention made by the early rabbins to establish an unbroken 
continuity of sacred teachers of the Law, wlio might transmit 
it as so many links in the chain of authority.' 

' See Kuenen, Ueber die Manner der grnssen Sijnagoge, in Gesammelte Ah- 
handlungen, Freib. 1894, s. 125 seq. ; also Kyle, Canon of the Old Testajnent, 


(e) The Hebrew Scriptures have a second division which 
bears the name Prophets. In the earliest Hebrew list known 
to us, they are arranged as follows : Joshua, Judges, Samuel, 
Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve.' This repre- 
sents a second layer of canonical formation. It does not 
embrace the book of Daniel, and therefore must have been 
fixed before Daniel gained canonical recognition. It includes 
the prophecy Is. 24-26, Avhich probabh' belongs to the time of 
Alexander the Great. Therefore this Canon cannot be earlier 
than the Greek period subsequent to Alexander in the third 
century B. c. This is confirmed by the testimony of Jesus ben 
Sirach from the early part of the second century B.C. In 
Ecclesiasticus,^ in the praise of the fathers, he goes over the 
heroes of the books of the Law, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and 
Kings, and the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and 
the Twelve, especially mentioning the latter by the technical 
name of the Twelve.^ It is evident that the collection of the 
Twelve had then been closed, and all the Prophets were used 
as sacred books. That seems to carry with it the entire pro- 
phetic collection as we now have it. Furthei-more, Daniel cites 
Jeremiah as belonging to the books,* which implies a collection 
of prophetic books of recognized divine authority. 

In the prologue to Ecclesiasticus, written by the grandson of 
the author in the last half of the second century B.C., it is 
said that : '■ Many and great things have been delivered unto 
us by the Law and the Prophets, and by others that have fol- 
lowed their steps " ; and the author speaks of his grandfather, 
Jesus ben Sirach, as having " given himself to the reading of 
the Law and the Prophets and other books of our fathers." 
These passages clearly recognize the division of the Prophets 
as next in the Canon to the division of the Law. 

It is also probable that this second formation of the Canon, 
composed of the Law and the Prophets, is reflected in the 
phrase "• the Law and the Prophets " of New Testament times. ^ 

Excursus A. pp. 250 seq. Both of these are valuable discussions of the subject. 
They make it perfectly evident that no such body as the Great Synagogue ever 
existed. i See pp. 2,V2 set/. - Chapters 44-50. 

» Ecclus. 49">. c'S"2:n -rr n":» bji. 

* Dan. 9*. s jit. 5^ ■ Acts IS'S. 


The second Canon of the Old Testament seems to have been 
established in the high-priesthood of Simon, whose character 
and administration are so liiglily praised by Ben Sirach.' 

(5) The third layer of the Hebrew Canon is composed of the 
Writings. These in the oldest lists are, Ruth, Psalms, Job, 
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, 
Esther, Ezra, and Chronicles. 

(a) It is still held by some scholars tliat the testuuony of 
the grandson of Ben Sirach in his prologue to Ecclesiasticus is 
in favour of the opinion that the third division of the Canon had 
been fixed before his time. But the terms that are used do not 
make this evident. In the one passage he says : " by the Law 
and the Prophets, and by others that have followed their 
steps." In the other passage he saj's : " the reading of the 
Law and the Prophets and oth^ books of our fathers." The 
Law and the Prophets are technical terms, but the other 
expressions differ so greatly in the two passages from one 
another, and also from the later technical term, that they evi- 
dently are not technical terms. It is quite true that none of 
the writings contained in the third division of the Hebrew 
Canon were composed subsequently to the second half of the 
second century B.C., but that does not prove that they had 
been collected into a canon in the third century B.C., or 
included by this prologue in its reference to the other writers 
or other books. 

(J) It is improbable that the Greek Septuagint version 
would have added to this third division of the Canon and 
rearranged the books composing it, if it had been fixed before 
the translations were made. 

The Septuagint gives a much larger collection of writings. 
The story prevailed for many centiu'ies in the E<istern and 
Western churches that tUis translation was made b}' sevent)*- 
two accomplished scholars chosen from the twelve tribes of 
Israel, with the cooperation of Ptolemicus Philadelphus, 
king of Egypt, and the Jewish liigh-priest of Jerusalem, and 
that they were inspired to do their work by the Divine Spirit. 
This story has been traced to its simpler fmm in Josephus^ 
lEcclus. 60. ^Aiilio. XII. 2. 


and Philo.i and back of these to the original letter of Aristeas, 
and that has been proved to be a forgery ^ and its statements 
have been shown to be wide of the truth. An internal exami- 
nation of the Septuagint version shows it to have been made 
b}' different men on different principles and at different times. 

Frankel is followed by a large number of scholars in the 
opinion that the Septuagint was a Greek Targum which grew 
up gradually at first from the needs of the synagogue worship 
in Egypt and then from the desire of tlie Hellenistic Jews to 
collect together the religious literature of their nation, just as 
the Palestinian and Babylonian Targums were subsequently 
made for the Jews of Palestine and Syria who spoke Aramaic.^ 

Some of the sacred books, such as Daniel and Esther, have 
additional matter not found in the Hebrew Massoretic text. 
The apocrj-phal writings are mingled with those of the Hebi-ew 
Canon without discrimination.* As Deane ^ says : 

"If we judge from the MSS. that have come down to us, it 
would be impossible for any one, looking merely to the Septuagint 
version and its allied works, to distinguish any of the books in the 
collection as of less authority than others. There is nothing what- 
ever to mark off the canonical writings from what have been called 
the deuterocanonical. They are all presented as of equal standing 
and authority, and, if we must make distinctions between them, 
and place some on a higher platform than others, this separation 
must be made on grounds which are not afforded by the arrange- 
ment of the various documents themselves."' 

(e) Another evidence for the fixture of the Old Testament 
Canon has been found in a supposed writing of Pliilo of the first 
Christian century.® This work speaks of the Law, the Proph- 
ets, hymns, and other writings, making either three or four 
classes, but without specification of particular books. But this 
writing has recently been proved to have been written in the 

1 Vita Mosis, II. §§ 5-7. 

^ TIip oiisinal text of the letter is best given in Merx, Archivfur Wissen- 
srhriftliche Erforschunu des Alten Testaments, I. pp. 242 seq. Halle, 1870. See 
also pp. 188 seq. 

' Frankel, Vorstudien z. d. Septuaginta, Leipzig, 1841 ; Sclioltz, Alexand. 
Uebeisetz. d. litirh lesaias, 1880, pp. 7 seq. 

■• See p. 1.''.8 for the order of the books in the several codices of the Septuagint. 

* Book of Wisdom, Oxford, 1881, pp. 37 seq. " De Vita Contemp. S. lU. 


third century A.d.. and wrongly attributed to Philo.i The 
testimony of Philo is therefore reduced to the books that he 
quotes as of divine authority. He uses all of the Rabbinical 
Canon except Ruth, Esther, Ezekiel, Lamentations, Daniel, 
Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. ^ He uses Proverbs and 
Job. This we would expect from Philo's t}"pe of thought and 
the subject-matter of his writings. But his omission of Ecclesi- 
astes and the Song of Songs is surprising. These writings be- 
long to the same class of Wisdom Literature as Job and Proverbs. 
They would have given him the very best field for his peculiar 
method of allegor}-. Ezekiel and Daniel, the symbolical proph- 
ets, we would expect him to make use of. Under these cir- 
cumstances it is not valid to argue against the canonicity of 
the apocryphal books because Philo does not quote them as 
authoritative. The books of the| Palestinian Canon which he 
omitted came within his scope more than the apocryphal wi-it- 
ings. If silence is to be used against the Apocrypha, it is still 
more telling against those writings of the third Canon which he 

" It is abundantly clear that to Philo the Pentateuch was a bible 
within a bible, and that he only occasionally referred to other 
books whose sanctity he acknowledged, as opportunity chanced to 
present itself. There are two reasons which, whether considered 
separately or in conjunction, may be said in a measure to account 
for Philo's silence in respect of these four books. (1) In the 1st 
century a.d. some of the books of the Hagiographa were probably 
not yet accepted by all Jews as worthy to be ranked among the 
Holy Scriptures. (2) Some of the books of the Hebrew Script- 
ures were translated into Greek much later than others ; and the 
problems of the Greek text in, e.g. Daniel and Ksther, show that 
there was often a considerable difference between the text of rival 
Greek versions, which fact must be considered to be incompatible 
with the early recognition of their sacred authority among the 
Jews of the Dispersion. 

1 Lucius, Die Therapcutrn und ihre SteUung in der Aakese. Strassliurff, 1880 ; 
Strack. art. Kannn, in lleizo};. 2te Auti., vii. p. 425 ; A'i'hW/mh;;, 5te Aiifl., 1898, 
s. 174 ; Mas.sebipau, Le Traite de la I'ie Contemplative. I'aris. 1888, maintains 
its genuini'noss ; and Sanday, Inspiratinn, 1893. p. 9!'. says : " tlie tide of opinion 
seems to have turned in its favour." I cannot agree with him. 

3 Eichhorn, EinlfiCu)ig, 3te Aiisg. 1803, L p. 98. 


'• It must be remembered that the mere citation of a book is not 
the same as the recognition of its Divine Inspiration. In the case 
of the books of Judges and Job, Philo quotes from them, but it is 
not strictly accurate to say that he definitely acknowledges their 
position as inspired Scripture. The evidence does not permit us 
to go so far. At the same time it is practically impossible that a 
book like Judges, included as it was among the " Prophets " of 
the Hebrew Canon of Scripture, should have been rejected by 
Philo ; and exceedinglj- unlikel}' that Job, one of the most impor- 
tant of the poetical Hagiographa, should not have ranked in his 
estimation as Scripture. While we may feel convinced that these 
books were in Philo's Scripture, the evidence does not amount 
to actual demonstration. 

"The case is different with Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, 
and Daniel, which have been among the latest books to be received 
into the sacred (.'anon. It may indeed be said of any one of them, 
as might, perhaps, be said of the book of Ezekiel, that they did 
not furnish Philo with suitable material for quotation, or that 
Philo was, for some reason, not so close a student of these books. 

•' But another explanation is possible. In the case of all four of 
these books, there is good ground for supposing that their Canon- 
icity had not been fully recognized in Egypt in the lifetime of 
Philo. And while, in view of other e^'idence, we may claim that 
the Canonicity of Daniel was probably generally established in 
Palestine in the 1st century b.c, and possibly also that of Eccle- 
siastes, we have not the right to make the same plea for the 
recognition of Esther and the Song of Songs." ' 

((i) Josephus^ mentions 22 books as making up his Canon 
— five of the Law, thirteen of the Prophets, and four of the 
poems ami precepts. He uses all of the Talmudic Canon except 
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Job.^ The silence 
of Josephus as to these cannot be pressed, because thej- did not 
clearly come within his scope. Various efforts have been made 
to determine his books, but without conclusive results. If on 
the one hand the lists of Origen and Jerome favour the Talmudic 
Canon, the list of Junilius Africanus favours the exclusion of 
Chronicles, Ezra, Job, Song of Songs, and Esther.* Graetz ^ 
excludes the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes from the list of 

' Ryle. Philo and Holy Scripture, 1895, pp. xxxii, xxxiii. 
^ Contra Apion, I. 8. » Eichhnrn, in I.e., I. p. 123. 

* See Kibn, Theodore von Mopsuestia nnd Julius Africanus als Exegeten, 
Frtib. 1880. p. 86. ' Qesch. d. Juden, III. p. 501, Leipzig, 1863. 


Josephus. He falls, then, by his 22, just these two short of the 
Talmudic list of 24. This neglect of these two writings by 
Josephus would coincide witli their neglect by Philo and the 
New Testament, and with the strong opposition to them on the 
part of many Palestinian Jews in the first Christian century. 
It seems to me unwarranted to suppose that Josephus attached 
Ruth to Judges and Lamentations to Jeremiah without counting 
them. It is a conjecture without sufficient evidence to sustain 
it. We are left by Josephus in uncertainty as to certain Old 
Testament books. Moreover, the statements of Joseplius do 
not carry with them our confidence as to the %iews of the men 
of his time. Zunz is correct in his statement : " Neither Philo nor 
Josephus impart to us an authentic list of the sacred writings." ' 

(e ) We know that several books were in dispute among 
the Pharisees, such as Ezekiel, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and 
Esther. They were generally, but not unanimously, acknow- 
ledged. The Sadducees are said b}' some of the Fathers to have 
agreed with the Samaritans in rejecting all but the Pentateuch. 
This must be a mistake. But we can hardly believe that they 
accepted Ezekiel and Daniel in view of their denial of angels 
and the resurrection. The Essenes and the Zealots agreed in 
extending the Canon to esoteric writings. The Apocalj^pse of 
Ezra mentions 70 of these as given to Ezra to interpret the 24, 
and so of even greater authority. These parties difier from the 
Pharisees only in that they committed the esoteric wisdom to 
writing, whereas the Pharisees handed it doAvn as tradition, 
and proliibited the committing it to writing, until at last it 
found embodiment in the several laj'ers of the Talmuds. 

There is little doubt that the Canon of the Palestinian Jews 
received its latest addition by common consent not later than 
the time of Judas Maccabeus,^ and no books of later composi- 
tion were added afterward ; yet the schools of the Pharisees 
continued the debate with I'eference to some of these writings 
until the assembly of rabbins decided it at Jamnia. The Hel- 
lenistic Jews had a wider and freer conception of the Canon.* 

» OottesdienstUchen Ynrtrlifje der Juden, 1832. p. 18. 

2 Strack, in Herzog, Real-Enajk. 2te Aufl., vii. p. 42C : Ewald, Lehre d. BibH 
von OoU, I. p. 3(i3. » Ewald. in I.e., p. .104. 


The order of the formation of the third hiyer of the Canon 
may be conceived as follows. The first of the Writings to 
gain recognition was the book of Psalms. The earlier minor 
Psalters were collected in the Persian period ; but the composi- 
tion of psalms continued during the Greek period deep into 
tiie Maccabean age. The Psalter of Solomon, collected in the 
middle of the first century B.c.,i gives us the limit beyond 
which we cannot go. Its use in the temple worshijj, and above 
all in the synagogue, and at the great feasts, at festival meals, 
in pilgrimages, and in processions, gave it popular autliorit}- as 
Holy Scripture. It is probable that the phrase " the Law of 
Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms "^ represents the syna- 
gogue use of the term and the popular opinion. The earliest 
writing which quotes the Psalter as Scripture is the first book 
of Maccabees at the close of tlie second centur}.^ The gen- 
eral recognition of the Psalter must have preceded this date, 
and accordingly not be later than the middle of the second 
century B.C. 

The next writings to receive recognition were doubtless Job 
and Proverbs, the chief monuments of the Wisdom Literature. 
This Wisdom Literature exercised a great influence among the 
Jews in the first and second centuries B.C., as we learn from 
the Wisdom of Ben Sirach, which also gained in later times 
canonical recognition b}' not a few Hebrew rabbins ; and in 
the New Testament times, as we learn from the apocryphal 
Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Jesus of Nazareth as con- 
tained in the Logia of Matthew and cited in our Synoptic 
Gospels,* and in the Pirqe Aboth or Sayings of the Jewish 
Fathers. The books of Ruth and Lamentations received early 
recognition ; but were assigned different places in the Pales- 
tinian and Alexandrinian Canons. The book of Daniel also 
was early recognized as the parent of the later favourite apoca- 
lyptic literature, as represented especially in the Book of Enoch 
and the Apocalj'pse of Ezra, which also in their turn received 

' Ryle and James, Psalms of Solomon, 1801 ; Briggs, Messiah of the Gospels, 
1894, pp. 31 seq. 

2 Lk. 24". 3 1 Mace. T'", quotes from Ps. 792.3. 

* See my articles on the " Wisdom of Jesus the Messiah," in the Expository 
Times, June, July, August, and November, 1897. 


canonical recognition by many Jews and Christians. But 
the books of Ecclesiastes, Songs of Songs, Esther, Ezra, and 
Chronicles only gradually won their way, and did not finally 
gain their place in universal recognition until the assembly of 

The third layer of the Canon of the Old Testament was not 
definitely limited among the Jews until the close of the first 
Christian century. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 
70 A.D., the Jewish rabbins established themselves at Jamnia. 
Two assemblies seem to have been held there ; one about 90 
A.D., the other in 118 A.D. At these assemblies, under the 
presidency of Eleazar ben Azariah, the canonicity of the Song 
of Songs and Ecclesiastes was discussed. They were finally 
decided to be canonical, and so the third Canon of the Old 
Testament was closed i for the H&brews. 

" All the Holy Scriptures defile the hands : the Song of Solomon 
and Ecclesiastes defile the hands. E. Judah says, The Song of 
Solomon defiles the hands, but Ecclesiastes is disputed. R. Jose 
says, Ecclesiastes does not defile the hands, but the Song of Solo- 
mon is disputed. R. Simeon says, Ecclesiastes belongs to the 
light things of the school of Sliammai, and the heavy things of 
the school of Hillel. R. Simeon, son of Azai, says, I received it 
from the seventy-two elders on the day when they enthroned R. 
Eleazer, son of Azariah in the council, that the Song of Solomon 
and Ecclesiastes defile the hands. R. Akiba said, God forbid that 
a man of Israel should ever deny that the Song of Solomon defiles 
the hands. For no day in the history of the world is worth the 
day when the Song of Solomon was given to Israel. For all the 
writings are holy, but the Song of Solomon is holy of holies. 
And if there has been any dispute, it referred only to Ecclesiastes, 
R. Johanau, son of Joshua said, the companions of R. Akiba 
according to the son of Azar so they disputed, and so they 

" in the Talm. Babli. Meg. 7\ ' Rabbi Meir saith : The book 
Koheleth defileth not the hands, and with respect to the Song 
of. Songs there is difference of opinion. Rabbi Joshua saith : 

> Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 1863, ITT. pp. 496 scq. ; W. Robertson Smith, The 
Old Testament in the Jeicish Church. 2d ed., London, 18!)2. p. 185; Cheyne, 
Jol> and Solomon. London, 1887, pp. 280 seq. 

^ Mi.ihna, 'l>act Yadaim. iii. See Robertson Smith in The Old Testament 
in the Jeicish Church, p. 180, note. 


The Song of Songs defileth tlie hands, and with respect to 
Koheleth there is difference of opinion. Rabbi Simeon saith : 
Koheleth belongeth to the things which the school of Shanimai 
maketh easy and the school of Hillel maketh difficult ; but Euth, 
the Song of Songs, and Esther defile the hands. Eabbi Simeon 
ben Menasiah saith : Koheleth defileth not the hands, because 
it containeth the Wisdom of Solomon.' " ' 

II. The Caxon of Jesus and His Apostles 

The New Testament does not determine the extent and 
limits of the Canon of the Old Testament. Jesus gives His 
authority to the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms,^ which 
alone were used in the S3'nagogue in His times ; but the Psalms 
only of the Writings are mentioned. There are no sufficient 
reasons for concluding that by the Psalms Jesus meant all the 
other books besides Law and Prophets. If the term " Writ- 
ings " had become a technical term for the third division of the 
Canon, it is improbable that the Gospel of Luke would sub- 
stitute Psalms for it ; all the less that Psalms has a definite 
historical sense. 

The New Testament uses for the Old Testament the follow- 
ing general terms : (1) the term Scriptures for the whole ; ^ or 
Sacred Writings;* (2) Latv, referring to the Psalter ; ^ referring 
to several passages of the Prophets ; ® and to Isaiah ; •'' (3) 
Prophets;^ (1) Latv and Prophets;^ Moses and Prophets ; ^'^ 
Law of 3Ioses and the Prophets ;^^ (5) Laiv of Moses aiid 
Prophets and Psalms.^^ This fluctuation shows that in the 
minds of the writers of the New Testament there was no 
definite threefold division known as Law, Prophets, and 

Indeed the New Testament carefully abstains from using the 
writings disputed among the Jews. It does not quote at all 
Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah ; and 

1 See Ryle, Canon of the Old Testament. 1802. pp. 198 seq. 

2 Lk. 24". 8 Lk. 24^ ; Acts 13-^. 
» Acts 172- 11 ; 18«-!». 9 Mt. 5" ; Acts 13i5. 

* 2 Tim. .315. 10 Lk. \6^- 3i ; 242' ; Acts 26*!. 

' John 103* . i6«. 11 Acts 283». 

«Johu]2". "Lk. 24". 
' 1 Cor. 14^1. 


onl}" incidentalh" Ezekiel aud Cliroiiicles in the same way as 
apocryphal and pseudepigraphical books are used. Was this 
silence discretionary, in order to build only on books recog- 
nized by all, or does it rule from the Canon those books so 
ignored ? ' 

Thus the book of Jude cites the Apocalypse of Enoch and 
the Assumption of Moses,^ both belonging to the pseudepigra- 
pha, which did not receive recognition in the Hebrew Canon. 
So also the earliest Christian writing outside of the New Testa- 
ment, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, cites twice from 
the Old Testament ^ and thrice from the Apocrypha.^ 

We may not be able to answer this question positively. But 
these things are plain, (a) The New Testament gives its 
authority only to the books of the Old Testament which it 
cites as Scripture. (6) There >eems to be no good reason 
why the New Testament writers should not have cited these 
other books, and therefore we cannot certainly say that their 
silence is of no consequence. On the other hand, we cannot 
say that these Old Testament writings fairly came within the 
scope of the New Testament writings, and that therefore the 
omission of them condemns them. The most that we can say, 
is that the New Testament neither condemns them nor confirms 
them. It is evident that Charles Hodge is in serious error 
when he saj's, " Protestants answer it (the question as to can- 
onicit)') by sajnng, so far as the Old Testament is concerned, 
that those books, and those only, which Christ and His apostles 
recognized as the written Word of God, are entitled to be 
regarded as canonical." ^ In fact, Jesus and His apostles no- 
where undertake to define the Canon of the Old Testament, 
and their incidental use of the Old Testament, when summed 
up, leaves several books undefined as to their canonicity. 

" The controversies as to the date of the formation of the Jewish 
Canon seem really to turn upon the ambiguity in the meaning of 
the word 'canon' itself. If by 'canon' we mean the estimate of 

1 Eichhom, I.e., I. .t. in4. - Jude 9-14. 

' Lines 273 scij. from Mai. I"- " ; line-s 315 s?7. from Zee. 14^ 
' Line.s 91 scr/. from Ecclus. 4' ; lines 80 seq. from Ecclus. 4»' ; lines 7 seq. from 
Tobit 4'5. 

' Systematic Thtology, Vol. I. p. 152. 


certain books as sacred and inspired, then we have proof that the 
Canon of the Old Testament existed from the time of Hillel, 
Philo, and the New Testament, if not from the time of the books 
of Maccabees and Ecclesiasticus. But if by the Canon we mean 
that this estimate was formally and authoritatively recognized and 
that a list of books was drawn up to which the estimate applied, 
then we cannot say that the Canon of the Old Testament was 
formed before the transactions at Jamnia at the end of the first 
and beginning of the second centuries." ' 

This is quite true, as we shall see later on. We have to dis- 
tinguish between individual recognition, recognition by common 
consent, and official recognition. In fact, these are three dif- 
ferent stages in the historical formation of the Canon. 

III. The Formation of the Canon of the New 

The Canon of the New Testament began very much as the 
Canon of the Old Testament began, and it unfolded and enlarged 
itself gradually in the growth of the Christian Church. 

1. The earliest effort among the disciples of Jesus was to 
collect the words of the Lord. This was done by St. iMatthew 
in his Logia.2 This collection was used in our Gospels of 
Mark, Matthew, and Luke, as a primary authority, very much 
as the Book of the Covenant was used in the several docu- 
ments of the Hexateuch. The use that was made of such logia 
by Clement, Barnabas, Hernias, and especially Papias, makes 
it clear that the Christians of their time regarded all such 
logia of the Lord as of normal divine authority. ^ 

The story of Our Lord's life early received attention. Mark 
gives the most primitive conception of the life of Jesus. The 
gospel of Mark was used by our Matthew and Luke. Our 

1 Sanday. Inspiration, 1893, p. 123. 

2 Other collections were made, as is evident from the recently discovered 
fragment of a collection of Logia of Jesus. See facsimile, translation, and notes 
in Login Jesu, Sayinc/s of Our Lord, from an early Greek papyrus, discovered 
and edited, with translation and commentary, by B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. 
London, 1897 ; Two Lectures fin the Sayings of Jesus recently discovered at 
Oxyrhynchus, by Walter Lock and William Sanday, Oxford, 1897. 

» Holtzmann, Einleitung, 2te Aufl., Freib. 1886, s. 110 seq. 


gospel of John is probably based upon an original gospel of the 
apostle John, very much as our gospel of Matthew is based on 
the primitive Matthew. The four gospels constitute the first 
layer of the New Testament Canon. The four gospels gained 
the consensus of recognition in the Church by the middle of 
the second century, prior to Justin,^ who cites them as authori- 
tative, and represents that they were read in the churches 
alongside of the Old Testament prophets ; and to Tatian, who 
compacted them together in his Diatessaron to be the official 
gospel of the Syrian Church for several generations.^ 

2. The next layer of the Canon was the thirteen epistles of 
Paul (Romans, 1, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1, 2 Thessalonians, 
Philippians, Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians, 1, 2 Timothy, 
Titus) and Acts. To these the— epistle to the Hebrews was 
generally attached in the East but not in the West. This 
layer of the Canon had certainly gained universal recognition 
by the close of the second century. 

The first and the second layer of the Canon are alone 
recognized in the Doctrine of Addai, which gives us the primi- 
tive usage of the Church of Edessa.^ 

Zahn * says that " the two chief groups of which the New 
Testament of the Catholic Church consisted, the fourfold 
gospel and the thirteen Pauline epistles, were present as col- 
lections, and quite widely circulated, at the latest about 125. 
They must have originated, to use a round number, before the 
year 120." This is, however, an extreme position, not firmly 
supported by the evidence.^ 

3. A third layer of tlie Canon only gained gradual recog- 
nition. This layer eventually received the name of the Catho- 
lic Epistles. Of these, 1 Peter and 1 John were recognized 
by common consent in the second century ; but all the others, 
James, 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John, were disputed. The Reve- 

» Apnl. I. 6fi, 67 ; Dial. 49, 100. 

« jalicher, EinJeUuiitj, 1894, .«. 292 seq. 

• Dnct. Ad^ai, p. 46. See Zalin, Oesch. d. Ncutest. Kanon, I. s. 373 ; San- 
day, Stuilia Bihiira, III. p. 245. 

* Gesehichte des yeutest. Kanon^ I. s. 797. 

' Harnack, Das Neue Testament um das Jahr tOO, 1889 ; JUlicher, EinUitung, 
1894, s. 292 seq. 


lation was also doubted or denied. All of these except James 
were lacking in the earUest Syriac New Testament, and there 
is not a trace of any of them in Syriac Christian literature 
before 350 a.d.^ There was a large number of other writings 
besides, such as the Apocalypse of Peter, the Shepherd of 
Hermas, the Epistles of Clement, accepted by some as canoni- 
cal and by others rejected. 

The Muratorian fragment from the last years of the second 
centuiy, representing the common opinion of Rome at the time, 
includes in its list the Gospels, Acts, thh'teen epistles of Paul, 
1 and 2 John, Jude, and Revelations of John and Peter ; but 
it says that 2 John and Jude have as little right to their names 
as Wisdom to that of Solomon, and that the Revelations of 
John and Peter were not for public reading. It also states 
that the Shepherd of Hermas was only for private reading. 
Excluded from the list are Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and 
3 John. The Cheltenham list agrees with this position in 
part by omitting Hebrews, 2 Peter, James, and Jude. 

" Hebrews was saved by the value set upon it by the scholars 
of Alexandria ; the Apocalypse by the loyalty of the West ; and 
the Epistle of St. James by the attachment of certain churches in 
the East, especially as we may believe that of Jerusalem." - And 
again, " ^Vhat a number of works circulated among the churches 
of the second centuxj-, all enjoying a greater or less degree of 
• authority, only to lose it ! In the way of Gospels, those accord- 
ing to the Hebrews, according to the Egyptians, according to 
Peter ; in the way of Acts, the so-called ' Travels ' (irepioSoi.) of 
Apostles, ascribed by Photius to Leucius Charinus, the Preaching 
of Peter, the Acts of Paul and Thecla ; in the way of Epistles, 
1 and 2 Clement, Barnabas; an allegory like the Shepherd of 
Hermas; a manual like the Didache; an Appcalypse like that 
of Peter. Truly it may be said that here, too, the last was first 
and the first last. Several of these works had a circidation and 
popularity considerably in excess of that of some of the books 
now included in the Canon. It is certainly a wonderful feat on 
the part of the early Church to have by degrees sifted out this 
mass of literature; and still more wonderful that it should not 
have discarded, at least so far as the New Testament is concerned, 

' See .Julicher, Einleitung, s. 337 seq. 
^ Sanday, Inspiration, pp. 24, 25. 


one single work which after generations have found cause to look 
back upon with any regret. Most valuable, no doubt, many of 
them may be for enabling us to reconstruct the history of the 
times, but there is not one which at this moment we should say 
possessed a real claim to be invested with the authority of the 
Canon." ' 

The New Testament writings were critically examined by 
Origen early in the third century. He divided them into 
three classes : (1) those universally accepted, the four Gospels, 
Acts, the thirteen Pauline Epistles, Hebrews, 1 Peter, 1 John, 
and the Apocalypse (the first and second Canons) ; (2) those 
that were to be rejected ; (3) the doubtful writings, Jaines, 
Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John. 

Influenced by Origen, Eusebius in his Church History makes 
essentially the same classification. In the first class he includes 
all of Origen's list except Revelation, of which he saj's : " After 
them is to be placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse 
of John, concerning which we shall give the different opinions 
at the proper time." In the second class he mentions : Acts 
of Paul, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Barnabas, 
and the Teaching of the Apostles. He seems inclined to class 
here also the Revelation, with the Gospel to the Hebrews, for 
he says : " And besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it 
seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others 
class with the accepted books. And among these some have 
placed also the Gosjiel according to the Hebrews, with which 
those of the Hebrews that have accepted Christ are especially 
delighted." 2 

Thus there is the same fluctuation of opinion in the third 
layer of the Canon of the New Testament that we have seen 
in the third layer of the Canon of the Old 'J'estament, and 
outside of this layer, apociyphal and pseudejrigraphical New 
Testament writings coi-responding with the apocryphal and 
pseudepigraphical Old Testament writings. The many Jew- 
ish apocalypses and Sibylline oracles and Christian pseud- 
epigrapha which were written during the first and second 

> I.C., pp. 27, 28. 

2 III. 25. See edition of McGiffert, pp. 156 seq. 


centuries B.C. and in the first and second centuries a.d. were 
cited without discrimination, excepting by a few critics such 
as Origen and Jerome.^ 

IV. The Canon of the CnrKcn 

The Christian Church made no official determination of the 
Canon of Holy Scripture at any of the great oecumenical coun- 
cils. The only definitions of the Canon that were oftieially 
made were by a provincial council at Laodicea in the East ; 
and bj- provincial synods in the West, at Hippo and Carthage ; 
and then all confirmed by the Greek Trullan council in 692 a.d. 
Their definitions represent a difference of opinion in the Catho- 
lic Church of the fourth century which persisted until the 

The Council of Laodicea, composed of Bishops of Phrygia 
and Lydia in the middle of the foiu'th century (between 343 
and 381 a.d.), prohibited the public use of any other than 
canonical books of the Old and New Testaments. ^ 

There is a list of the canonical books in the Sixtieth Canon 
of this council, but this seems to have been a later addition.^ 

The list excludes the apocryphal books of the Old Testa- 
ment except Barucli and the Epistle of Jeremiah, and in other 
respects limits itself to the Canon of the Palestinian Jews. It 
gives all of the present Xew Testament Canon except the 
Apocal3^pse. This represents the critical tendencies of the 
Eastern Church. The Syrian Christians were still more criti- 
cal. The book of Chronicles is not in the ancient Syriac 
version, and is neglected by Ephraem in his commentaries. 
Theodore of Mopsuestia also excludes Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. 

1 Sanday, " Value of Patristic Writings for the Criticism and Exegesis of the 
Bible," Expositor. February, 1880; Davidson, Canon, pp. 101 seq. 

^ Mansi, Concill. nov. coll., II. 574, Canon 59, Sn oi) 5(2 idiwTiKois ^aX^oiis 
\iy€a6ai if rg ^icicXija-ijt, oi5S^ dKav6n<rTa /St^XIo, dXXi /iAxo rd xamviKa ttjs KaiiiTJs 
Kal TraXatas diaOTiKTjs. 

' Its authenticity is attacked by Spittler. Krit. Untersuchunri des 60 Laodic. 
Kanons, 1777 ; but defended by Bickell,iS£!((Z. und Krit. 1830, III. s. 591 seq. ; 
Hefele, Conciliengesch., I. s. 750 ; and others. Sanday, Inspiration, p. 60, says : 
'•It is generally agreed that the list appended as Can. LX. to the Council of 
Laodicea Ls not original." 


and Job. The Nestorian Canon excludes Chronicles, Ezra, 
Nehemiah, and Esther.^ The Apocalypse of John is ignored 
by Chrysostom, Theodoret, and many others. Jerome gives 
his sanction to the Palestinian Canon of the Old Testament and 
excludes the Apocrypha. He^ recognizes that the second 
Epistle of Peter and James were deemed by some to belong to 
those authors ; that Jude was rejected by some ; that 2 and 3 
John were ascribed to the Presbyter John by some. He also 
mentions doubts as to the five Catholic epistles, Hebrews, and 
the Apocalypse.^ The Synod of Hippo in 393 a.d. and of 
Carthage in 397 A.D., under the influence of Augustine, decided 
for the larger Canon, including the apocryphal books of the 
Old Testament and the full Canon of the New Testament. This 
opinion is sustained by the oldest Greek Uncials.* 

The Vatican Codex includes in the Old Testament the Greek 
Esdras, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Greek Esther, 
Judith, Tobit, Barucli, Letter of Jeremiah, and Theodotian's 
Daniel. The Siuaitic Codex has Tobit, Judith, 1 and 4 Macca- 
bees, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, the entire New 
Testament, and the Epistle of Barnabas. The Alexandrian 
Codex has Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Theodotian's Daniel, 
Greek Esther, Tobit, Judith, Greek Esdras, 1, 2, 3, 4 Maccabees, 
Prayer of Manasseh, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, 
and in addition to the New Testament three epistles of 

The Cheltenham list (359 a.d.?) mentions,^ besides the 
Palestinian Canon, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, and Judith. In 
the New Testament it omits Hebrews, 2 Peter, James, and 

The Ethiopia Version gives a still more extensive Canon of 
the Old Testament, including the ajjocalypses of Ezra and 
Enoch, the martyrdom of Isaiah, and the book of Jubilee. 

' Buhl, Kanon, s. 62. 

2 De Viris illnstribvs. 1, 2, 4, 9. 

' Epistola 129 ad Dardanum. 

* See Gregory, Prolr<jomena, pp. 346, 355 ; Swete, The Old Testament in 
Oreek according to the iScptnagint, I. pp. xvii, xx, xxii. See also pp. 196 seq. 

* See Sanday, " Cheltenham List of the Canonical Books," in Studio Siblica, 
III. 1891, pp. 217 seq:, where many valuable tables are given. 


The opinion of Augustine prevailed in the Western Church, 
and the limits of the Canon were by general consent the larger 
Augustinian Canon, including the Apocrypha with the Old 
Testament, and the full New Testament Canon. Jerome, how- 
ever, had influence upon a few scholars. Fewer entertained 
doubts as to such a book as Esther in the Old Testament, and 
the Apocalypse of John in the New Testament. 



We have traced the History of the Canon of the Old and 
New Testament Scriptures and have seen its gradual forma- 
tion, at first by the recognition of the writings one after 
another by individuals, then by common consent, and at last 
by official action in the Synagogue and in the Church. The 
limits of the Canon of the Old Testament were defined by the 
official action of the Synagogue at Jamnia ; but the limits of 
the Canon were never officialh' defined by the Church except 
in provincial sjTiods of limited influence and authority. This 
was the situation at the Protestant Reformation, when for the 
first time the limits of the Canon became a burning question 
in the Church. 

I. The Canon in the Reformation 

The Reformation was a great critical revival, due largely to 
the new birth of learning in Western Europe. The emigra- 
tion of the fugitive Greeks from Constantinople, after its capt- 
ure by the Turks, had planted a 3'oung Greek culture. A 
stream of thought burst forth, and poured like a quickening 
flood strong and deep over Europe. Cardinal Ximenes, with 
the aid of a number of Christian and Jewish scholars, such 
as Alphouso de Zamora, Demetrius Ducas, and Alphonso de 
Alcala, issued the world-renowned Complutensian Poh'glot, 
1513-17. The Greek New Testament was studied with avidity 
by a series of scholars, among whom Erasmus was preeminent. 
He published the first Greek Testament in 1516. Elias I.evita 
and Jacob ben Cliayim introduced Christians into a knowledge 
of the Hebrew Scriptures. Reuchlin laid the foundation for 


Hebrew scholarship among Christians, by publishing the first 
Hebrew grammar and lexicon combined in 1506. ^ This return 
to the original text of the Old and New Testaments aroused 
the suspicions of the scholastics and monks, and the new learn- 
ing was assailed with bitterness. Even Levita had to defend 
himself against the charge of heterodoxy for teaching Chris- 
tians the Hebrew language, the law of Moses, and the Talmud.^ 
But the Reformers took their stand as one man for the critical 
study of the Sacred Scriptures, and investigated the original 
texts under the lead of Erasmus, Elias Levita, and Reuchlin. 
This critical stud)- of Holy Scripture raised many questions 
which had been long sleeping or whose feeble voice had been 
easily suppressed by ecclesiastical authority. It soon became 
evident to all that many doctrines and practices resting 
upon traditional custom were imperilled ; and the authority of 
the Church, especially as expressed through the papal adminis- 
tration, began to be seriously que.stioned. Several of the 
apocryphal books seemed to sustain doctrines and practices 
Avhich some of the Reformers found to be opposed to the 
teachings of the New Testament. Esther, Ecclesiastes, and 
the Song of Songs were difficult to reconcile with Christianity. 
The book of James and the Apocalypse did not seem easily to 
reconcile with the epistles of Paul. And so the canonicity of 
the apocryphal books of the Old Testament and several of the 
writings of the stricter Canon of the Old Testament and even 
of the Canon of the New Testament were suspected, doubted, 
or denied. The Protestant Reformers appealed from the tradi- 
tions of the Church and its customs, and the authority of the 
prelates and the pope, to Christ and the Holy Scriptures. This 
raised necessarily the question, which are the Holy Scriptures? 
What writings are to be regarded as canonical? The hie- 
rarchj' maintained that it was the province of the Church to 
determine by its authority, as expressed through the papal ad- 
ministration, not only the interpretation of Holy Scripture, but 
also the limits of Holy Scripture, and so forced for the first 

' Gesenius, Gesch. d. hebr. Sprache, pp. 106 seq. 

2 See his Massoreth Ha-Massoreth, edited by Ginsburg, London, 1867, pp. 97 


time in Christian history an official determination of the extent 
and limits of the Canon by the authority of the Church. The 
Protestant Reformers declined to recognize the authority of 
the Church in these particulars. 

Luther in his controversy with Eck said, " The Church 
cannot give any more authority or power than it has of itself. 
A council cannot make that to be of Scripture which is not by 
nature of Scripture."' ^ Calvin says : 

" But there has very generally prevailed a most pernicious error 
that the Scriptures have only so much weight as is conceded to 
them by the suffrages of the Church, as though the eternal and 
inviolable truth of God depended on the arbitrary will of men." 
... " For, as God alone is a sufficient witness of Himself in His 
own Word, so also the Word will never gain credit in the hearts 
of men till it be confirmed by the internal testimony of the Spirit. 
It is necessary, therefore, that the same Spirit, who spake by the 
mouths of the prophets, should penetrate into our hearts, to con- 
vince us that they faithfully delivered the oracles which were 
divinely intrusted to them." ^ 

This principle is well expressed in the 2d Helvetic Confes- 
sion, the most honoured in the Reformed Church : 

" We believe and confess the canonical Scriptures of the holy 
prophets to be the very true Word of God and to have sufficient 
authority of themselves, not of men " (Chap. I.). " Therefore in 
controversies of religion or matters of faith we cannot admit any 
other judge than God Himself, pronouncing by the holy Scriptures 
what is true and what is false; what is to be followed, or what is 
to be avoided " (Chap. II.). 

The Galilean Confession gives a similar statement : 

" We know these books to be canonical, and the sure rule of 
our faith, not so much by the common accord and consent of the 
Church, as by the testimon}' and inward persuasion of the Holy 
Spirit, which enables us to distinguish them from other ecclesi- 
astical books " (IV. Art.).' 

Thus while other testimony is valuable and important, yet, 
the decisive test of the canonicity and interpretation of the 

' Disputatio excel. D. theolog. Joh. Eccii. et LiUheri, hist., HI. pp. 129 seq ; 
Berger, La Bible au Stiziime Steele, Paris, 1S79. p. 86. 

^ Institutes, I. 7. > See also the Belgian Confession, Art. V. 


Scriptures is God Himself speaking in and through them to 
His people. This alone gives the fides divina. This is the 
so-called formal principle of the Reformation, no less impor- 
tant than the so-called material principle of justification by 
faith. 1 

Tlie Reformers applied this critical test to the traditional 
theories of the Bible, and eliminated the apocr3'p]ial books from 
the Canon. They also revived the ancient doubts as to Esther, 
Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Epistle of*. James, 2 Peter, Jude, 
and the Apocalypse. The Reformed symbols elaborated the 
formal principle further than the Lutheran, and ordinarily 
specified the books that they regarded as canonical. In this 
they rejected the traditions of the early Christian Church. 

The Church of Rome, in accordance with its principle of 
church authority and tradition, determined the apocryphal 
books to be canonical at the Council of Trent, and defined 
officially the extent and limits of the Canon, and excluded all 
doubts and questionings on the Canon from the realm of ortho- 
doxy. The Protestant Reformers accepted the Canon of their 
symbols, excluding the apocryphal books, not because of the 
Jewish tradition, which they did not hesitate to dispute, as they 
did that of the Church itself, but for higher internal reasons. 
It is doubtless true ^ that the Reformers fell back on the author- 
ity of Jerome in their determination of the Canon, as they did 
largely upon Augustine for the doctrine of grace ; but this 
was in both cases for support against Rome in authority which 
Rome recognized, rather than as a basis on which to rest their 
faith and criticism. They went further back than Jerome to 
the more fundamental principle of the common consent of the 
believing children of God, which in course of time eliminated 
the sacred canonical books from those of a merely national and 
temporary character, because these books approved themselves 
to their souls as the very Word of God. As Dr. Charteris 
says : 

» Dorner, Oesch. Prot. Theo., pp. 234 seq., 379 seg. ; Julius Miiller, "Das 
Verhaltiiiss zwischen der Wirksamkeit des heiligen Geistes und dein Guaden- 
mittel des gottlichen Wortes," in his Dogmat. Abhandlungen, 1871, pp. 139 seq. ; 
Reuss, Histoire dn Canon, pp. 308 seq. 

» W. Robertaon Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church, 1881, p. 41. 


" The Council of Trent had formally thi-own down a challenge. 
It recognized the canon because of the traditions of the Church, 
and on the same ground of tradition accepted the unwritten ideas 
about Christ and His apostles, of which the Church had been made 
the custodian. The reformers believed Scripture to be higher than 
the Church. But on what could they rest their acceptance of the 
canon of Scripture ? How did they know these books to be Holy 
Scriptures, the only and ultimate divine revelation ? They an- 
swered that the divine authority of Scripture is self-evidencing, 
that the regenerate man needs no other evidence, and that only 
the regenerate can appreciate the evidence. It follows from this, 
if he do not feel the evidence of their contents, any man may 
reject books claiming to be Holy Scripture."' ' 

It is true this test did not solve all questions. It left in 
doubt several writings which had been regarded as doubtful 
for centuries. But uncertainty as to these does not weaken 
the authority of those that are recognized as divine ; it only 
affects the extent of the Canon, and not the authority of those 
writings regarded as canonical. 

" Suppose we were not able to give positive proof of the divine 
inspiration of everj' particular Book that is contained in the Sacred 
Records, it does not therefore follow that it was not inspired ; and 
yet much less does it follow that our religion is without founda- 
tion. Which I therefore add, because it is well known there are 
seme particular Books in our Bible that have at some times been 
doubted of in the Church, whether they were inspired or no. But 

1 cannot conceive that doubt concerning such Books, where persons 
have suspended their assent, without casting any imbecoming re- 
flections, have been a hindrance to their salvation, while what they 
have owned and acknowledged for truly divine, has had sanctifying 
effect upon their hearts and lives." ^ 

This is the Protestant position. Unless these books have 
given us their own testimony that they are divine and therefore 
canonical, we do not i-eceive them with our hearts ; we do not 
rest our faith and life upon them as the verj' AVord of God ; 
we give mere intellectual assent ; we receive them on authority, 
tacitly and without opposition, and possibly with the dogma- 

> "The New Testament Scriptures: their Claims. History, and Authority," 
Croall Lectures, 1882, 1S83, p. 20:?. 

2 Ed. Calauiy, Inspiration a/ the Holy Writings, London, 1710, p. 42. 


tisra wliicli not uiifrequently accompanies incipient doubt, but 
also without true interest in them, and true faith in their divine 
authority, and the certainty of their divine contents. The 
Canon of Holy Scripture as defined by the Reformed symbols 
may be successfully vindicated on Protestant principles. The 
Church has not been deceived with regard to it. Esther, 
Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, and the Apocalj'pse will verify 
themselves in the hearts of those who study them. But it is 
illegitimate to first attempt to prove their canonicity and then 
their inspiration, or to rely upon Jewish Rabbinical tradition 
any more than upon Roman Catholic tradition, or to anathe- 
matize all who doubt some of them, in the spirit of Rabbi Akiba 
and the Council of Trent. The only legitimate Protestant 
method is that of the Reformers : first prove their canonicity 
from their own internal divine testimony, and accept them as 
canonical because the Christian soul rests upon them as the 
veritable divine Word. " For he that believes what God saith, 
without evidence that God saith it; doth not believe God, wliile 
he believes the thing that is from God, et eadem ratione, si con- 
tigisset Aleorano Turcica credidisset.'" ^ 

The fault with the Reformers was not in their use of this 
sure test, but in their neglect to use it with sufficient thor- 
oughness. Unfortunately they allowed themselves to be influ- 
enced by other subjective tests and dogmatic considerations. 
Thus Luther, by his exaggeration of his interpretation of the 
Pauline doctrine of justification, was unable to understand the 
Epistle of James, and spoke of it as "an epistle of straw." 
There can be no doubt that the rejection of 2 Maccabees was 
due in great measure to its support of the Roman Catholic 
doctrine of sacrifices for the dead ; ^ and that the Wisdom of 
Sii-ach was rejected partly, at least, because of its supposed 
countenance of the Roman Catholic doctrine of salvation by 
works. Such dogmatic objections influenced greatly the Re- 
formers in their views as to the entire Apocrypha. They did 
not apply their principle in its simplicity and in its purity, but 
allowed themselves to confuse it with other less valid considera- 

• Whichcote, Eight Letters of Dr. A. Tuckney and Benj. ]mchcote, 1753, 
p. 111. ' 2 2 Mace. 1239-«. 


tions. This set a bad example to their successors, who were 
more subjective and dogmatic in their princijjles, and less 
evangelical and vital. 

Furthermore, the Protestant Reformers, in the matter of the 
Canon, were simply claiming a liberty of opinion with regard 
to the limits of the Canon which had been freely exercised by 
the early Christian Fathers, and which, indeed, had never been 
seriously questioned in the Christian Church. It was not 
necessary for them to battle against Catholic tradition, which 
indeed was undoubtedly on their side, if onlj- they traced the 
tradition far enough backwards in the historic development of 
the Catholic Church. 

In fact, the Roman Catholics, on the one side, were claiming 
the right of the Church to define the doctrine of the Canon of 
Holy Scripture, and they exercised that right for the first time 
in Christian history. The Church had the same right to define 
the Canon of Holy Scripture as to define other Christian doc- 
trines. Unfortunately the Council of Trent was not a truly 
oecumenical council. It represented only a portion of the 
Christian Church, and therefore its definitions are the defini- 
tions of the Roman Catholic partj"^ in the Church. They do 
not represent the Greek, Oriental, and Protestant conmiunions. 

On the other hand, the Protestant Reformers were not simply 
exercising the right of private opinion with reference to certain 
books, whether they belonged to the Canon or not ; but they 
set up a new test of canonicity, which, however true and reli- 
able it may be in itself, had not the consent of antiquity, and 
ought not to have been imposed upon Christians as a new 
dogma. When the Reformed symbols undertook to rule the 
apocrypha out from the Canon of Holy Scripture, they were 
officially limiting the Canon of Holy Scripture, no less truly 
than the Council of Trent, only they represented a much smaller 
constituency and a lesser section of the Church of Christ. 
The practical result was that the Council of Trent defined a 
larger Canon, the Reformed s3'nods a smaller Canon. 

So long as the controversy with Rome was active and ener- 
getic, and ere the counter-reformation set in, the Protestant 
principle maintained itself ; but as the internal conflicts of 


Protestant churches began to absorb more attention, and the 
polemic with Rome became less vigorous, the polemic against 
brethren more A'iolent, the Keformed S3'stem of faith was built 
up by a series of scholastics over against Lutheranism, and 
Calvinistic scholastics contended against Arminianism. The 
elaboration of the Protestant Reformed system by a priori 
deduction carried with it the pushing of the i)rinciples of Prot- 
estantism more and more into the background. The authority 
of the Reformed Faith and Tradition assumed the place of the 
Roman Faith and Tradition ; and the biblical scholarship of 
Protestant churches, cut off from the line of Roman Tradition, 
sought historical continuity and worked its way back along the 
line of Hieronymian Tradition to the earlier Jewish Rabbini- 
cal Tradition ; and so began to establish a Protestant tradi- 
tional orthodoxy in the Swiss schools under the influence of 
Buxtorf, Heidegger, and Francis Turretine ; and in the Dutch 
schools under the influence of Voetius. 

Lutheran theology had the same essential development 
through internal struggles. The irenical school of Calixtus 
at Helmstadt had struggled with the scholastic spirit, until the 
latter had sharpened itself into the most radical antagonism to 
the Reformed Church and the Melanchthon type of Lutheran 
theology. Carlov stated the doctrine of verbal inspiration in 
the same essential terms as the Swiss scholastics, and M'as 
followed therein b}- the Lutheran scholastics generally. 

" It treated Holy Scripture as the revelation itself, instead of as 
the memorial of the originally revealed, ideal, actual truth ; the 
consequence being that Holy Scripture was transformed into God's 
exclusive work, the human element was explained away, and the 
original living power thrust away behind the writing contained in 
letters. Faith ever draws its strength and decisive certainty from 
the original eternally living power to which Scripture is designed 
to lead. But when Scripture was regarded as the goal, and attes- 
tation was sought elsewhere than in the experience of faith through 
the presence of truth in the Spirit, then the Reformation stand- 
point was abandoned, its so-called material j)rinciple violated, and 
it became easy for Rationalism to expose the contradictions in 
which the inquirers had thus involved themselves." ' 

1 Domer. System of Christian Doctrine, Vol. II., p. 186. 


II. The Caxox of the Buitish Reformation 

The Church of England was, at the Reformation, composed 
of varied elements. The Reformation in England was horn of 
the native British stock of Christianity ; and yeU bwiug to the 
oft-repeated persecutions by Church and State, the English 
Reformers were banished to the continent, and when they 
returned, after the persecution had relaxed, they brought with 
them, — some, influences from Wittenburg ; others, influences 
from Strassburg, Basel, Zurich, and Geneva. The English 
Reformation was thus enriched by the mingling together of 
all the influences of the Reformation ; but it was also forced 
to confront the A^ery serious problem of Avelding together all 
these influences. That which could not be accomplished on 
the continent could hardly be accomplished under still greater 
difliculties in Great Britain. 

Three parties came into conflict in tlie British churches, — 
the more conservative Anglo-Catholic part}", the more radical 
Puritan party, and the mediating or comprehensive party. 
The mediating party expressed its views on the Canon of Holy 
Scripture in the Articles of Religion. They take an inter- 
mediate position between the Protestant Reformers and the 
Roman Catholics in their doctrine of the Canon : 

" In the name of the Holj' Scripture, we do understand those 
Canonical books of the Old and Xew Testament, of whose author- 
ity was never any doubt in the Church.'' The twenty-four books 
of the Hieronj'mian Canon of the Old Testament are then men- 
tioned. It then continues : " And the other books (as Hierome 
saitli) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of 
manners : but yet dotli it not ajiply them to establish any doctrine." 
It then names fourteen apocryphal books, and concludes : " All the 
books of the Xew Testament, as they are commonly received, we 
do receive and account them for Canonical."' (Art. VI.) 

The Articles thus base themselves on the Hieronymian tra- 
dition as the Roman Catholic Church did on the stronger 
Augustinian tradition ; but they do not claim the authority of 
the Church to define the Canon, and they do not set up any 
test of canonicitv. 


The Scotch Confession of 1560, however, maintains the 
position of the Protestant Reformers : 

" As we beleeve and eonfesse the Scriptures of God sufficient 
to instruct and make the man of God perfite, so do we aifirme and 
avow the anthoritie of the same to be of God, and nether to depend 
on men nor angelis. We affirme, therefore, that sik as allege the 
Scripture to have ua uther anthoritie hot that qnhilk it lies received 
from the Kirk, to be blasphemous against God, and injurious to 
the trew Kirk, quhilk alwaies heares and obeyis the voice of her 
awin spouse and Pastor ; bot takis not upon her to be maistres 
over the samin." (Art. XIX.) 

Thomas Cartwright. the chief of the English Puritans, 
takes the same \'iew: 

" Q. How may these bookes be discerned to bee the word of 

" A. By these considerations following : 

"First, they are perfectly holy in themselves, and by them- 
selves : whereas all other writings are prophane, further then 
they draw holinesse from these ; which yet is never such, but 
that their holinesse is imperfect and defective. 

" Secondly, they are perfectly profitable in themselves, to 
instruct to salvation, and all other are utterly unprofitable there- 
unto, any further then they draw from them. 

" Thirdly, there is a perfect concord and harmonic in all these 
Bookes, notwithstanding the diversity of persons by whom, places 
where, and time when, and matters whereof, they have been 

" Fourthly, there is an admirable force in them, to incline men's 
hearts from -t^ce to vertue. 

'•' Fifthly, in great plainenesse and easinesse of stile, there 
shineth a great ^lajesty and authority. 

" Sixthly, there is such a gracious simplicity in the writers of 
tliese Bookes, that they neither spare their friends, nor them- 
selves, but most freely, and impartially, set downe their owne 
faults and infirmities as well as others. 

'' Lastly, God's owne Spirit working in the harts of his children 
doth assure them, that these Scriptures are the word of God." ' 

III. The Ptjritax Canon 
The Westminster Confession gives expression to the mature 
Puritan faith respecting the Scriptures : 

I Thos. Cartwright, Treatise of the Christian Beligion, London, 1616. 


§ 2. " Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the word of God 
written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New 
Testament, which are these " (mentioning the 66 books commonly 
received). " All which are given by inspiration of God to be the 
rule of faith and life." 

§ 3. " The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of di- 
vine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture ; and 
therefore are of no authoritj- in the Church of God, nor to be any 
otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings." 

§ 4. " The Authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought 
to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of 
any man or church, but wholly upon God, (who is truth itself,) 
the author thereof ; and therefore it is to be received, because it 
is the word of God." 

§ 5. " We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the 
Church to an high and reverent esteem for the Holy Scripture ; 
and the heavenliness of the matter, the efBcacy of the doctrine, 
the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope 
of the whole, (which is to give all glory to God,) the full discovery 
it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other 
incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are 
arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the 
word of God ; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assur- 
ance of the infallible truth, and divine authoritj- thereof, is from 
the inward work of the Holy Siiirit, bearing witness by and with 
the word in our hearts." (I. § 2-5.) 

The Westminster Confession distinguishes in its statements 
(1) the external evidence, the testimony of the Church ; (2) 
the internal evidence of the Scriptures themselves ; (3) the 
fides divina. Here is an ascending series of evidences for the 
authority of the Scriptures. The fides humana belongs strictlj' 
only to the first class of evidences. This testimony of the 
Church is placed first in the Confession because it is weakest. 
The second class not only gives fides humana. but also divina, 
owing to the complex character of the Scriptures themselves ; 
but the third class, as the highest, gives purely fides divina. 
The Confession carefully discriminates tiie weight of these 
evidences. The authority of the Church only induces " an 
high and reverent esteem for the Holy Scripture." The 
internal evidence of the "excellencies and entire perfection 
thereof are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence 


itself to be the word of God "' ; but our " full persuasion and 
assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof "' 
come only from the liighest evidence, "the inward work of 
the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the word in our 
hearts." In accordance with this, "The authority of the Holy 
Scripture depeudeth wholly upon God." ^ On this principle, 
then, the Canon is determined. The books of the Canon are 
named,^ and then it is said, "All which are given by inspira- 
tion of God to be the rule of faith and life." The apocr3-phal 
books are no part of the Canon of Scripture, because they are 
not of divine inspiration.^ It is, therefore, the authority of 
God Himself, speaking through the Holy Spirit, by and with 
the Word to tlie heart, that determines that the writings are 
infallible as the inspired Word of God, and it is their inspira- 
tion that determines their canonicity. 

Thus the Westminster Confession stated the point of view 
of the Protestant Reformers. The members of this assembly 
of divines were not as a bodj' scholastics, though there were 
scholastics among them ; but were preachers, catechists, and 
expositors of the Scriptures, with a true evangelical spirit. 
They were called from the active work of the ministry, and 
from stubborn resistance to Prelatical authority, to the active 
work of reforming the Church of England into closer con- 
formity with the Reformed Churches of the continent. Among 
the doctrines to be reformed was the doctrine respecting the 
Holy Scripture. The Puritans were not content with the 
statement of the Articles as to the Canon. They were deter- 
mined to take an advanced Reformed position. Accordingly 
they state the three tests of canonicity and give each its 
proper place and order in the argument. In this respect they 
made an important dogmatic advance, but it was an advance 
only of a single party in the Church of England. The Pre- 
latical view is stated by Bishop Cosin : * 

" For though there be many IiUemal Testimonies belonging to 
the Holy Scriptures, whereby we may be sirfficiently assured, that 
they are the true and lively oracles of God, . . . yet for the par- 

' § 4. 2 § 2. 8 § 3. 

* Scholastic History of the Canon, London, 1657, pp. 4 seq. 


ticular and just nxnnher of such book^, whether thev be more or 
less, than either some private persons, or some one ^mrticular church 
of late, have been pleased to make them, -we have no better nor 
other external rule or testimony herein to guide us, than the con- 
stant voice of the catholic and universal Cliurch, as it hath been 
delivered to us upon record from one generation to another." 

This view not ouly antagonizes the views of the Puritans 
and continental Reformers, but it is a reaction from the mod- 
erate intermediate statement of the Articles towards the Roman 
Catholic position. 

The Puritans in the Westminster Assembly in revising 
Article VI. of the Articles of Religion erased the statements : 
"Of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church"; 
" And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth 
read for example of life and insti'uction of manners ; but yet 
doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine." And they 
changed the statement : " All the books of the New Testament, 
as they are commonly received, we do receive and account them 
for canonical " ; so as to read : " All which books, as they are 
commonly received, we do receive and acknowledge them to 
be given by the inspiration of God ; and in that regard, to be 
of the most certain credit, and highest authority." 

Charles Herle, the Prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly, 
states the Protestant position over against the Roman : 

" They (the Papists) being asked, why they believe the Scrij^ture 
to be the Word of God i Answer, because the Church says 'tis so; 
and being asked againe, why they beleeve the Church? They 
answer, because the Scripture saies it shall be guided into truth; 
and being asked againe, why they beleeve that very Scripture that 
says so? They answer, because the Church says 'tis Scripture, 
and so (with those in the Psalm xii. 8), they walk in a circle or 
on every side. They charge the like on us (but wrongfully) that 
we beleeve the Word, because it sayes it self that it is so; but we 
do not so resolve our Faith; we believe unto salvation, not the 
Word barely, because it witnesses to itself, but because the Spirit 
speaking in it to our consciences witnesses to them that it is the 
Word indeed ; we resolve not our Faith barely either into the 
Word, or Sjiirit as its single ultimate jirinciple, but into the testi- 
mony of the Sjiirit speaking to our consciences in the Word." ' 
1 Detiir Snpienti. London, 1665, pp. 152. 153. 


The Puritans were in radical opposition to Rome. They 
\vere maintaining the formal principle of Protestantism. If 
they had not taken this position, they would have been 
powerless. As Reuss says : 

" Xothing was more foreign to the spirit of Luther, of Calvin, and 
their illustrious fellow-laborers, nothing was more radically con- 
trary to their principles, than to base the authority of the Sacred 
Scriptures upon that of the Church and its tradition, to go in 
eifect, to mount guard over the fathers, and range their catalogues 
in line, cause their obscurities to disappear by forced interpretations 
and their contradictions by doing violence to them, as is the custom 
of our day. They very well knew that this would have been the 
highest inconsistency, indeed the ruin of their system, to attribute 
to the Church the right of making the Bible after they had con- 
tested that of making the doctrine ; for that which can do the 
greater can do the less."' ' 

There never had been a period in which the authority of 
Holy Scripture was more hotly discussed than in the times of 
the English Commonwealth. In 1647 the London ministers 
(many of whom were members of the Westminster Assembly) 
issued their testimony false views of Holy Scripture as 
well as of other matters. They mention as 

" Errors against the Divine. Authority of the Hohj Scrii)ture, That 
the Scripture, whether true Manuscript or no, whether Hebrew, 
Greek, or English, it is but human; so not able to discover a 
divine God. Then where is your command to make that your 
rule or discipline, that cannot reveal you God, nor give you power 
to walk with God ? Tliat, it is no foundation of Christian Religion, 
to believe that the English Scriptures, or that book, or rather vol- 
ume of books called the Bible, translated out of the originall 
Hebrew and Greek copies, into the English tongue are the Word 
of God. That, questionless no writing whatsoever, whether 
translations or originalls, are the foundation of Christian Re- 
ligion." ^ 

■ Reuss, Histoire du Canon, p. .313. 

^ A Testimony to the Truth of J /• sua Christ and to our Solemn League and 
Covenant. Subscribed by the ministers of Christ within the Province of London, 
Dec. 14, 1647. Ix)ndon, 1648. .Similar testimonies were signed in many of the 
English counties during the same year. In the McAlpin collection of the library 
of the Union Theological Seminary, N.Y., there are ten of them. 


William Lyford, an esteemed Puritan divine, wrote a com- 
mentary on this testimony of tlie London ministers.^ 

After controverting tlie "foure fold error : (1) of them that 
would place this authority (of Scripture) in the Church ; (2) of 
them who appeale from scripture to the spirit ; (3) of them 
that make reason the supreme Judge ; (4) of them that ex- 
pound scriptiu-e according to Providences," lie goes on to 
expound the position of tlie Puritans. 

" The authority and truth of God speaking in the Scripture, 
is that upon which oiu- faith is built, and doth finally stay itselfe : 
The ministry of the Church, the illumination of the Spirit, the 
right use of reason are the choicest helps, by which we believe, 
by which we see the law and will of God; but they are not the 
law itself ; the divine truth and authority of God's word, is that 
which doth secure our consciences. ... If you ask what it is 
that I believe ? I answer, I believe the blessed doctrines of salva- 
tion by Jesus Christ ; if you ask, why I believe all this, and wlij- 
I will venture my soul to all eternity on that doctrine ? I answer, 
because it is the revealed will of God concerning us. If you ask 
further, How I know that God hath revealed them '* I answer, by 
a two-fold certainty; one of faith, the other of experience; (1) I 
do infallibly bj' faith believe the Kevelation, not upon the credit of 
any other Revelation, but for itselfe, the Lord giving testimony 
thereunto, not only by the constant Testimony of the Church, which 
cannot universally deceive, nor only by miracles from heaven, bear- 
ing witness to the Apostle's doctrine, but chiefly bj' its own proper 
divine light, which shines therein. The truth contained in Script- 
ure is a light, and is discerned by the sons of light: It doth by 
its own light, persuade us, and in all cases, doubts, and questions, 
it doth clearly testifie with us or against us; which light is of 
that nature, that it giveth Testimony to itself, and receiveth 
authority from no other, as the Sun is not scene by any light but 
his own, and we discerne sweet from soure by its own taste. . . . 
(2) Whereimto add, that other certainty of experience, which is a 
certainty in respect of the Affections and of the spiritual man. 
This is the Spirit's seal set to God's truth (namely), the light of 
the word ; when it is thus shewen unto us, it doth work such 
strange and supernatural effects upon the soul ; ... It persuades 

1 The Plain Man's sense exercised to discern good and evil, or A Discorenj 
■of the Errors, Heresies, and Blasphemies of these Times, and the Toleration 
of them, as they are eoUeeted and testified against hy the ministers of London, 
in their Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ. London, 1(565. 


us of the truth and goodness of the will of God ; and of the things 
revealed ; and all this by way of spiritual taste and feeling, so 
that the things apprehended bj- us in divine knowledge, are more 
certainlj- discerned in the certainty of experience, than anything 
is discerned in the light of uaturall understandini^." 

" They that are thus taught, doe know assuredly that they have 
heard God himselfe : In the former way, the light of Divine Eea^ 
son causeth approbation of the things they believe. In the later, 
the Purity and power of Divine Knowledge, causeth a taste and 
feeling of the things they heare : And they that are thus estab- 
lished in the Faith, doe so plainly see God present with them in 
his Word, that if all the world should be turned into Miracles, it 
could not remove them from the certainty of their perswasion ; 
you cannot imperswade a Christian of the truth of his Eeligion, 
you cannot make him thinke meanly of Christ, nor the Doctrine 
of Kedemption, nor of duties of Sanetification, his heart is fixed 
trusting in the Lord. So then we conclude, that the true reason 
of our Faith, and ground, on which it finally stayeth itself, is the 
Authority of God himself, whom we doe most certainly discerne, 
and feele to speake in the word of faith, which is preached unto us." ' 

This is the true doctriue of the Puritans, in which they 
know no antagonism between the human reason, the religious 
feeling, and the Divine Spirit in the Word of God. It is a 
merciful Providence that they were guided to this position, 
for, if they had gone with the Swiss scholastics in basing 
themselves on Rabbinical tradition as to the Old Testament, 
they would have committed the British churches to errors that 
have long since been exploded by scholars. 

IV. Discussion of the Cason in the Seventeenth and 
Eighteenth Centukies 

British Chri.stianity had to struggle with the Friends (or 
Quakers), who exalted the authority of the inner light above 
the letter of Scripture, as well as with the Roman Catholics, 
who subjected the Canon to the authority of the Church. But 
there was also the contention between the Puritan doctrine as 
stated in the Westminster Confession and the doctrine as stated 
by Bishop Cosin. Few were willing to abide by the simple 
and indefinite statement of the English Articles of Religion. 
' I.e., pp. 39 seq. 


Bishop Cosin misled Anglicans, and even later Presbyterians, 
into a false position. How can we ascertain the voice of the 
Church as to the Canon, and how determine the genuine 
Christian traditions? There is no voice of the universal 
Church. As we have seen, prior to the Reformation, only 
provincial synods spoke, and these differed, — one following 
the Hebrew Canon and another the Greek Canon. — and thus 
exposed the differences which have always been in the Church. 

At the Reformation the Roman Catholic Council of Trent 
decided for one Canon, the Protestant synods for another Canon. 
We must wait for a reunited Christendom before the Church 
can give its authority to fix the Canon, even if it has in itself 
the divine authority to do so. The Protestant Confessions 
deny the right of the Church so to do. It remains to be seen 
whether Protestantism will ever consent to an ultimate defini- 
tion of the Canon even by the Reunited Church. 

It will hardl}- be claimed that we should submit the ques- 
tion of the Canon to a majority vote of the Fathers. Even 
if we were willing to do this, we could not secure the voice of 
the majority, because the writings of the majority have perished. 
It will hardly be claimed that we should follow the maximum 
of the writings regarded as canonical. If we should do this, 
we would have to enlarge the extent of the Canon beyond that 
of the Council of Trent. If we should follow the minimum, we 
would limit still more than the Protestant Canon. Shall we 
pursue the via media ? But who shall define the width of even 
the middle way ? There is no pathway to certainty in any of 
these directions. 

The conflicts of conformists and non-conformists, and the 
struggle between evangelical faith and deism in Great Britain, 
and of scholasticism witii pietism on the continent, caused the 
scholastics to antagonize the human element in the sacred 
Scriptures, and to assert the external authority of traditional 
opinions and of Protestant orthodoxy over the reason, the con- 
science, and the religious feeling ; while the apologists, follow- 
ing the deists into tiie field of the external arguments for and 
against the religion and doctrines of the Bible, built up a series 
of external evidences which were sufficiently strong to over- 


come the deists intellectually, and to di'ive them into atheism 
and pantheism. All this was at the expense of vital piety in 
the Church ; for the stronger internal evidence was neglected. 
The dogmatists forgot the caution of Calvin : " Those pei'sons 
betray great folly who wish it to be demonstrated to infidels, 
that the Scripture is the Word of God, which cannot be known 
without faith"! ^^^^ they exposed the Chui'ch to the severe 
criticism of Dodwell : 

"To give all men Liberty to judge for themselves and to expect 
at the sam^ time that they shall be of the preacher's mind, is such 
a scheme for unanimity as one would scarce imagine any one 
would be weak enough to devise in speculation, and much less 
that anj' could ever prove hardy enough to avow and propose to 
practice," - 

and led some to the conclusion that there was an " irreconcil- 
able repugnance in their natures betwixt reason and belief."^ 

The efforts of the more evangelical type of thought which 
passed over from the Puritans into the Cambridge school, and 
the Presbj^erians of the type of Baxter and Calam}', to construct 
an evangelical doctrine of the reason and the religious feeling 
in accordance with Protestant principles, failed for the time, 
and the movement died away, or passed over into the merely 
liberal and comprehensive scheme, or assmned an attitude of 
indifference between the contending parties. The Protestant 
rule of faith was sharpened more and more, especially among 
the Independents, and the separating Presbyterian churches of 
Scotland, after the fashion of John Owen, rather than of the 
Westminster divines ; whilst the apologists pressed more and 
more the dogmatic method of demonstration over against 

The Reformed faith and evangelical religion were about to 
be extinguished when, in the Providence of God, the Puritan 
vital and experimental religion was revived in Methodism, 
which devoted itself to Christian life, and so proved the saving 
element in modern British and American Christianity. 

The Churches of the continent of Europe were allowed, in 

' Institutes, VIII. 13. * Meligion not founded on Argument, pp. 90 seq. 

' lu I.e., p. 80. * Lechler, Gesch. d. Deismus, 1841, pp. 411 seq. ' 


the Providence of God, to meet the full force of Rationalism 
and pay the penalty of the sinful blunders of the scholastics 
of the previous century. The Canon Avas criticised by Sem- 
ler and his school, and canonicity became a purely historical 
question. Schleiermacher was raised up to be the father of 
modern evangelical German theology. He began to recover 
the lost ground and to build the structure of modern tlieology 
in the true mystic spirit on the religious feeling apprehending 
Jesus Glu-ist as Saviour. A series of intellectual giants have 
carried on his work, such as Neauder, Tholuck, Rothe, Midler, 
and Dorner. These led German Theology back to the position 
of the Protestant Reformers and the principle of the divine 

It is not safe to follow the German divines in all their 
methods and statements. These depend upon the centurj^ of 
conflict which lies back of them and through which we have 
not passed. British and American theolog}- has its own pecul- 
iar principles, methods, and work to perform. It is now in 
the crisis of its liistory, the same essentially that German 
theology had to meet at the close of the eighteenth centurj'. 
The tide of thought has ebbed and flowed between Great 
Britain and the continent several times since the Reformation. 
The tide has set strongly now in our direction. 

V. A Modern American Theory of Canonicity 

In recent times another method of determining canonicitj' 
has been proposed. It does not have the stamp of antiquity 
upon it, it has no ecclesiastical authority behind it, and yet it 
makes loud claims of orthodoxy for itself. It lias been taught 
by some modern Presbyterians that tlie Canon is fixed by the 
authority of the prophets who wrote the books. 

Dr. A. A. Hodge states: 

" We determine what books have a place in this Canon or divine 
rule by an examination of the evidences which show that each of 
them, severally, was written by the inspired propliet or apostle 
whose name it bears, or, as in the case of the Gospels of Mark 
and Luke, written under the superintendence and published by 


the authority of an apostle. This evidence in the case of the 
sacreil Scriptures is of tlie same kind of historical and critical 
proof as is relied upon by all literary ruen to establish the genu- 
ineness and authenticity of any other ancient writings, such as 
the odes of Horace or the works of Herodotus. In general this 
evidence is (a) Internal, — such as language, style, and the char- 
acter of the matter they contain; (h) External, — such as the 
testimony of contemporaneous writers, the universal consent of 
contemporary readers, and corroborating history drawn from 
independent credible sources." ' 

It is just this theory of the Canon taught by the Princeton 
school of theology and their numerous adherents, and also bj' 
Dr. Shedd and other theologians of other schools, that forced 
American Presbyterianism into such a serious and unreasona- 
ble war against the Higher Criticism. Dr. Shedd goes so far 
as to say: "If, as one asserts [referring to my words], 'the 
great mass of the Old Testament was written by authors 
whose names are lost in oblivion,' it was written hy iminsjnred 
vien. . . . This would be the inspiration of indefinite persons, 
like Tom, Dick, and Harry, whom nobody knows, and not of 
definite historical persons, like Moses and David, Matthew 
and John, chosen by God by name and known to men."^ 

This theory is shattered on the fact that the writings of the 
Canon do not, as a rule, give the names of their prophetic 
authors. The only reference to authors in connection with 
most of the writings of the Old Testament is in traditions 
which are not found in the earliest Hebrew manuscripts and 
authorities. Therefore, we cannot be sure of these authors. 
We cannot safely build the authority of the Canon of Holy 
Scriptures on such questionable authority as there may be in 
the names of authors whose only connection with the writings 
rests upon the uncertainties of tradition. We cannot build 
certaint}' on uncertainty. We cannot find divine authority 
in fluctuating human traditions. 

The five books of the Law, — the entire first Canon ; the 
four prophetic histories, — the entire first division of the sec- 
ond Canon ; are anonymous in the original Hebrew text. A 

1 Commentary on the Confession of Faith, pp. 51, 52. 
* See my Authority of Holy Scripture, pp. 93, 94. 


very considerable portion of the four latter prophets consists 
of anonymous prophecies -which have been attached to the 
prophecies which bear names. Thus all of the first Canon and 
the major part of the second Canon are anonymous. Of the 
third Canon the three former writings. Psalms, Proverbs, and 
Job, are anonymous ; of the five Rolls all are anonj^mous ; of 
the latter writings all three are anonymous. Thus of the entire 
Old Testament Canon the only writings which can be said to 
gain authority from the names of the authors are the four latter 
Prophets ; and with regard to these it is necessary to consider 
how little we know of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, and 
Zechariah apart from their own writings. And as for the 
minor prophets, what, apart from their writings, are Hosea, 
Amos, ]Micah, Xahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, to us? And as 
for Joel and Obadiah, we cannot tell, apart from a critical study 
of their writings, when they lived, and the results of that in- 
vestigation are uncertain. And the book of Jonah is a post- 
exilic work of the imagination using the name of Jonah as a 
convenient hero for the story. Consider for a moment, in the 
light of the Higher Criticism, the absurdity of this theory of 
building the authority of the Canon on the authorit}- of authors. 
How can they prove the canonicity of the Psalms, unless they 
build on the old traditional theory that David wrote them ? 
Some of the choicest Psalms are not fathered by any titles. 
Will they cut these out of the Psalter ? Even if all the names 
mentioned in the traditional psalms were the authors of the 
psalms which bear their names, they can only vouch for por- 
tions of the psalms as they were originally written. But who 
shall vouch for those psalms as edited and adapted to syna- 
gogue worship in our Psalter' To establish the authority of 
our Canon, it is of at least as much importance that the editor 
should be inspired as the original avithor. The final editor is 
responsible for our Psalter. Here is a case where an inerrant 
original autograph is of little value. The autograph of the 
final editor is needed, and no one proposes to name him. 

But some will sa)- Jesus and the apostles vouch for the divine 
authority of the Psalter. True ; but was there no sufficient 
evidence that the Psalter was canonical prior to the testimony 


of Jesus Christ ? Did the Old Testament wait for His au- 
thority to make it canonical ? The Hebrews did not think so 
when they put it in their third Canon. And Jesus did not 
think so, for He did not make it canonical ; He recognized it 
as already a part of the Canon. 

The scientific work of the Higher Criticism destroj-s this 
modern theory of the authority of the Canon and 'forces us 
back either upon the Roman Catholic doctrine of the authoritj' 
of the Church, or else the opinion of the Protestant Reformers, 
as elaboi-ated and improved and best stated in the Westminster 
Confession : 

"The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to 
be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any 
man or church, but wholly upon God, (who is truth itself,) the 
author thereof ; and, therefore, it is to be received, because it is 
the word of God." ' 

This principle of establishing the Canon lifts it above mere 
ecclesiastical authority, far above the speculations of dogma- 
ticians and fluctuating traditions, and builds it on the rock 
summit of the authority of God Himself. 

It was ever the internal divine evidence and the hoi}' char- 
acter of Holy Scriptures that persuaded the ancients of their 
canonicity, and these evidences have persuaded devout souls 
in all times. 

But some say : j"ou are giving every man the right to make 
his own Bible. Not so ; criticism takes from every denomina- 
tion of Christians and from tradition and from the theologians 
their spurious claims to determine the Canon of Holy Scripture 
for all men ; but it does not give that authority to am- indi- 
vidual man. It puts the authority to determine His H0I3' 
Word in God Himself. It teaches us to look for the divine 
evidence in the Holy Scriptures themselves. It tells us to 
open our minds and hearts and submit ourselves to the mes- 
sage of the Divine Spirit and accept the Bible God has made 
for us. But it does tell every man to make up his own mind 
as to the authoritj- of the writings which are said to belong to 
Holy Scripture. It endorses the right of private judgment in 


this matter as in all others. It makes the divine authority of 
the Canon, and of every writing in the Canon, a question 
between everj^ man and his God. 

Tlie Princeton school of theology has misled the Presbyterian 
Church into a false position, which is neither that of the Roman 
Catholic Church, nor that of the Protestant Reformers or 
British Puritans, nor the intermediate and cautious position 
of the Anglican divines. They have incautiously risked the 
Canon of Holy Scripture with the traditional theories of 
authorship and the results of the Higher Criticism. They 
have induced a recent Presbyterian General Assembly to de- 
cide against an orthodox opinion and in favour of heterodoxy. 

It is perilous to follow these blind guides of British and 
American scholasticism and fall into the ditch that lies in their 
path.^ It is wise to learn from the experience of those who 
have passed through the conflict and achieved the idctor)'. It 
is prudent to do all that is possible to prevent the ruin to 
American Christianity that is sure to come if ecclesiastical 
leaders continue to commit the old blunders over again. The 
revival of true vital religion, and the successful jirogi-ess of 
theology in the working out of the principles inherited from 
the Protestant Reformation, depend upon a speedy reaction 
from the scholastic theology of the Zurich Consensus and the 
exaggerated Puritanism of John Owen and the provincial 
types of theology, and a renewal of the life and unfettered 
thought of the Reformation and of British Christianity in the 
first half of the seventeenth century. 

It is the inevitable result of research into the Canon of Holy 
Scripture that the last word should be spoken by Holy Script- 
ure itself. It is the Divine Spirit alone who gave the divine 
evidence in the past and upon whom we must rest for our 
evidence in the present and the future. We cannot be certain 
that anything comes from God unless it bring us personally 
somethmg evidently divine. If the Divine Spirit has left some 
of the ancient writings in doubt in the minds of some of the 
ancients, and some with less internal and external evidence 
than others, this is not to question the divine voice, which gives 
' Mt. 15". 


certainty to those who are capable and willing to receive it. 
It should stir us up to a more thorough study of these Holy 
Scriptures, lest in some way we should not have discerned that 
divine evidence which has been graciously imparted to students 
who may have been more faithful or more devoted than oui'- 
selves. We should maintain our own freedom to question and 
to reject from the Canon such writings as do not justify them- 
selves in the arena of criticism ; and at the same time we 
should respect the opinion of those who thinlf that they have 
evidence that we have thus far been unable to receive, and 
above all we should be extremely reluctant to dissent from the 
historic consensus of the Ckristian Church in this matter, and 
especially the official deliverances of Holy Chuich. 

VI. The Deterjiination of the Canon 

It has become more and more evident, since Semler ' reopened 
the question of the Canon of Holy Scripture, that the only safe 
position is to build on the rock of the Reformation principle of 
the Sacred Scriptures. This principle has been enriched in 
two directions, — first, by the study of the unity and harmony 
of the Sacred Scriptures as an organic whole, and, second, by 
the apprehension of the relation of the faith of the individual 
to the consensus of the Church. 

The principles on which the Canon of Holy Scripture is to 
be determined are, therefore, these : 

(1) The testimony of the Church, going back bj' tradition 
and AATitten documents to primitive times, presents probable 
evidence to all men that the Scriptures, recognized as of divine 
authority and canonical by such general consent, are indeed 
what they are claimed to be. 

This testimony is quite unanimous as to the entire Protestant 
Canon. The Roman Catholic Church testifies to the apocry- 
phal Books of the Old Testament in addition. The testimony 
of the Church from the fourth until the sixteenth century is 
overwhelmingly in favour of the apocryphal books likewise. 
In the Canon of the Church tlie historic testimony of its 
' Abhandlung vonfreier Untersuchung des Kanon, 4 Bde. 1771-1775. 


formation is strongest as to the Law in the Old Testament and 
the Gospels in the Xew Testament, next strongest as to the 
Prophets in the Old Testament and the book of Acts and the 
Pauline epistles in the New Testament. In the third layer of 
the Canon of the Old Testament the Psalter, Proverbs^ Job, 
and Daniel, have the authority of the New Testament, and 
Ruth and Lamentations have never been doubted ; in the third 
layer of the Canon of the New Testament, 1 Peter and 1 John 
seem to have remained undoubted from the second century. 
As regards all of these books tlie historical evidence is so 
strong that it could hardly be stronger. As regards the books 
of Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 
Chronicles, these have all had to battle for recognition in the 
Canon from the most ancient times, and doubts and denials 
have arisen in modern times. The same may be said of James, 
2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation in the New Testa- 
ment. These may with propriety' be regarded as having a 
lower grade of evidence ; and men may be permitted to doubt 
their canonicity without censure now as they were in ancient 
times. The historical eA-idence for all of these is very strong. 
They have all won their way into the Canon after a stout and 
long-continued struggle, and they have all maintained their 
place and resisted every subsequent attack upon them. We 
may also be permitted to saj' that it is doubtful whether the 
ultra-Protestant hostilitj" can be maintained against all the 
apocryphal books. The Wisdom of Sirach and the Wisdom 
of Solomon are in the Roman Catholic Canon, and are used in 
the liturgy of the Church of England. They impress man}' 
minds more favourably than Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. 
1 Maccabees is also in the Roman Catholic Canon, and seems 
to be in itself an important if not an essential book in the 
development of Biblical History. There are man}- who derive 
more religious benefit fi'om it than from Esther. The Bene- 
dicite of the three children, inserted in the Greek Version of 
Daniel, has been used from the earliest times in Christian wor- 
ship, and has indeed exerted a more sacred influence than the 
Avhole of the Hebrew Daniel. The tendency among thoughtful 
Protestants is to restore these writings to tlie Canon. 


(2) The Scriptures themselves, in their pure and hol}'^ 
character, satisfying the conscience ; their beaut}', harmon}", 
and majesty, satisfying tlie sesthetic taste ; their simplicity and 
fidelity to truth, together with their exalted conceptions of 
man, of God, and of history, satisfying the reason and the 
intellect ; their piety and devotion to the one God, and their 
revelation of redemption, satisfying the religious feelings and 
deepest needs of mankind, — all conspire to convince that they 
are indeed sacred and divine books. 

This argiunent will appeal to different men in different 
ways. It will depend partly upon the Higher Criticism of the 
Scriptures, partly upon their interpretation, and upon Biblical 
History and Biblical Theology. The books of Jonah, Esther, 
and Daniel will appeal to some minds much more powerfully 
if they are seen to be historical fiction than if they appear to 
be historical books full of legends and mistakes. The Song 
of Songs viill commend itself as canonical to a man who dis- 
cerns it to be a drama of marital love, when he could not accept 
it if it were supposed to be merelj- an allegory of the love of 
Christ to His Church, or a collection of love songs. Ecclesi- 
astes might be rejected bj'' a man, if all its sayings were 
regarded as equally authoritative, but accepted if he were 
able to distinguish the God-fearing words from the sceptical 
words. It depends in great measure upon the kind of history, 
religion, and morals one finds in the biblical writings how far 
he will be convinced that they are divine books. Many men 
have been driven away from the Bible by the false science, 
gloomy religion, and immoral theology that Christian teachers 
have too often obtruded upon it. If the Bible is to exert the 
influence of its own character upon men, it must be stripped 
entirely free from all the false characteristics that have been 
attributed to it. If men are not won by the holy character 
of the biblical books, it must be because for some reason their 
eyes have been withheld from seeing it. 

(3) The Spirit of God bears witness by and with the par- 
ticular writing, or part of writing, in the heart of the believer, 
removing every doubt and assuring the soul of its possession 
of the truth of God, the rule and guide of the life. This argu- 


ment is of no value except to a believer, to a devout Christian. 
But to such an one it is the invincible divine argument. 

(4) The Spirit of God bears witness by and with the sev- 
eral writings in such a manner as to assure the believer in the 
study of them that they are the several parts of one complete 
divine revelation, each writing having its own appropriate and 
indispensable place and importance in the organism of the 

This is a cumulative argument. The certainty that one 
writing in the Bible is divine, makes it easier to recognize 
another writing. If the character of one canonical book has 
been discerned, it is easier to recognize another book having 
that same character. As the number of books increases about 
which there is certaint)-, the difficulties as regards the others 
decrease. Practically there is little if any doubt in the minds 
of Cliristians as regards the great majority of the biblical 
books. Only a few of them are doubted now by any Chris- 
tians. Only a few have ever been doubted. The path of 
certainty is from the known to the unknown. Furthermore, 
the structure of the Canon is of immense importance. We 
have seen its historic importance. It has also an inductive 
importance. The books of the Bible constitute an organic 
whole under the two Covenants. When the mind has studied 
them thus organically, the Divine Spirit guides in their organic 
study and so gives what may be regarded as organic certainty ; 
that is, the certainty that the books have tlieir essential place 
in the organism of the Divine Word. 

(5) The Spirit of God bears witness to the Church as an 
organized Ijody of such believers, through their free consent in 
various communities and countries and centuries, to this unity 
and variety of the Sacred Scriptures as the one complete and 
perfect Canon of the divine word to the Church. 

This argument is really the old historic argument fortified 
by the vital argument of the divine evidence. The testimony 
of the Church as an external human historical organization 
cannot give certainty. But when we come to know that the 
Church has l^een guided by the Divine Sjiirit in all the centuries, 
iirst in the formation of the Canon of Holy Scripture, and then 


in its recognition of the Canon in the three stages, — individual 
recognition, consensus, and official determination ; that the 
same Holy Spirit who gives certainty to-day has given cer- 
tainty to the Church in all the ages of the past, working in 
the individual and also in the entire organism, — then we may 
know that the testimony of the Church is the testimony of the 
Divine Spirit speaking in the Church and througli the Church. 
We recognize the same voice in the Bible and in the Church 
and in our own Reason. The argument is complete, because 
the Divine Spirit has spoken to us with the same voice and to 
the same effect through the three media in which alone He 
speaks to man. The official fixing of the Canon by the Church 
varies as to the apocryi^hal books alone. The tendency among 
Protestants is back to the Apocrypha. It is altogether proba- 
ble that if we coidd have a reunited Church, the Church would 
define a Canon with unanimous consent. 

The logical order of the testimony is this : the human testi- 
mony, the external evidence, attains its furthest possible limit 
as probable evidence, bringing the inquirer to the Scriptures 
with a high and reverent esteem of them. Then the internal 
evidence exerts its powerful influence upon his soul, and at 
length the divine testimony lays hold of his entire nature and 
convinces and assures him of the truth of God and causes him 
to share in the consensus of the Christian Church. 

"Thus the Canon explains and judges itself; it needs no foreign 
standard. Just so the Holy Spirit evokes in believers a judg- 
ment, or criticism, which is not subjective, but in which freedom 
and fidelity are combmed. The criticism and interpretation, which 
faith exercises, see its object not from without, as foreign, or as 
traditional, or as in bondage, but from withiu, and abiding in its 
native element becomes more and more at home while it ascribes 
to every product of apostolic men its place and proper canon- 
ical worth." " True faith sees in the letter of the documents of 
Revelation the religious content brought to an immutable objec- 
tivity which is able to attest itself as truth by the divine Spirit, 
which can at once warm and quicken the letter in order to place 
the living God-man before the ej'es of the believer." ' 

' Dorner, System tier Chrisllichen Glaubfiislehre, Berlin, 1879, I. pp. CC7 
seq. ; System of Christian Doctrine, Edinburgh, 1881, II. pp. 229 seq. 


The reason, the conscience, and the religious feeling, all of 
which have arisen during these discussions of the last century 
into a light and vigour unknown and unanticipated at the 
Reformation, should not be antagonized the one with the other, 
or with the Spirit of God, but should all be included in that 
act and habit of faith by which we apprehend the Word of God. 
These cannot be satisfied by the external authority of scholars 
or schools, of Church or State, of tradition or human testimony, 
however extensive, but only bj" a divine authority on which 
they can rest with certainty, ilen wiU recognize the canon- 
ical ^\Titings as their Holy Scripture, onlj- in so far as they 
may be able to rise through them as external media to the 
presence of their Divine Master, who reigns in and by the 
Word wMch is holy and divine, in so far and to that extent 
that it evidentlj' sets Him forth. 

As I have elsewhere said : " It is the testimony of human 
experience in all ages that God manifests Himself to men and 
gives certainty of His presence and authority. There are 
historically three great fountains of divine authority — the 
Bible, the Church, and the Reason.'" i 

Men will recognize the Divine Voice whenever and wherever 
it speaks to them. Some men are convinced as to the truth by 
the Divine Voice speaking through the Church alone, others 
by the Divine Spirit speaking through the Bible, and still 
others only through the witness in their own Reason. Blessed 
be he who knows the voice of the Spirit equally well in the 
three relations. 

1 See Briggs, Authority of Holy Scripture, An Inaugural Address, 9th edition, 
1896, pp. 25 seq. ; Briggs, The Bible, the Church, and the Season, 2d edition, 
1894, pp. 57 seq. 



Textual Criticism has to determine the Text of the Bible. 
It is necessary to study the history of the Text, and then apply 
the principles of Textual Criticism to manuscripts, versions, and 
citations, and so endeavour to ascertain the original text upon 
which they all depend. The Text of the Bible has passed 
through similar changes to those that are manifest in all other 
kinds of literature. The citations of the Bible have the same 
indefiniteness and the same variations from the original as cita- 
tions from other writings. The Versions have the same diffi- 
culties and departures from the original as other translations. 
The manuscripts have gone through the same experiences of 
wear and tear as other manuscripts. The same mistakes of 
copyists have been made, — by omission, insertion, transposition, 
haste, and indistinctness of vision or utterance. The same use 
of conjecture has been made by scribes to remove difficulties 
and errors. 

I. The Original Text of the Hebrew Bible 

The history of the Text of the Old Testament begins with 
the history of the Canon. The earliest Canon was written 
upon tables of stone, — the Ten Words upon two tables, the 
Words of the Book of the Covenant in pentades and decalogues 
upon several tables. ^ The Deuteronomic code of law was 
written on a roll, probably of skin. Jeremiah's collection of 
prophecies was written on a similar roll, and so were all the 

1 See Briggs' Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, new edition, 1897, pp. 6 
seq., 181 seq., 189 seq., 211 seq. Ci. Dt. 27="'; Jos. 882. 


sacred writings of the Old Testament from that time onward. 
It is probable that papyrus was used for private manuscripts ; 
but for public manuscripts it is improbable that anything else 
than skin was used.i In ancient times each sacred writing 
was written upon a separate roll. The first laj-er of the 
Hebrew Canon, the Law, was probably written on several 
skins, eventually on five, corresponding with the five books 
which gave their name to the Pentateuch. The second layer 
of the Canon was written on eight rolls. The twelve minor 
Prophets were written sometimes on separate rolls, as is 
evident from the differences of arrangement in the earliest 
Hebrew and Greek manuscripts ; but usually on the same roll, 
after their number was definitely fixed in the Canon. The 
third laj^er of the Canon was for a long time as indefinite in 
the number of rolls as in the number of writings which were 
supposed to constitute it.^ 

The first Canon was certainly written in the ancient Hebrew 
alphabet, which was a variety of the Phoenician script, such 
as that used on ancient Maccabean coins, in the Siloam in- 
scription, and on the Mesha Stone. ^ The Samaritan codex of 
the Pentateuch is still preserved in characters of the same 
essential type. That was the sacred alphabet of the Canon, 
when the Samaritans separated from the Jews of Jei'usalem.* 

According to the Talmud, on the authority of Mar Zutra of the 
fourth century, or Mar Ukba of the third centnr}', " The Law was 
at first given to Israel in Hebrew writing and in the sacred lan- 
guage ; but in the time of Ezra, the Law was given a second time 
in Assyrian writing and in the Aramaic language. Then they 
chose for Israel the Assyrian writing and the sacred language, 
and they left to the Idiots tlie Hebrew writing and the Aramaic 
language." There can be no doubt from the context that by "the 
Idiots " was meant the Samaritans, and that the Assyrian writing 
is that of the square Aramaic character.^ This statement con- 

1 Jer. 362»««- See Loisy, Hiatoire Critique du Texte et dfs Versions de la 
Sible, 1892, Tom. 1", pp. 95 seq. 

■' See pp. 124 seq. " See p. 48. * See pp. 121. 185. 

' Taint. Bab. Sank., 22 a. See Driver, yntes on the Uebreio Text of the 
Books of Samuel, 1800, pp. ix. seq.; Neub;mer, Studia Bibliea, III., 1801, 
pp. 9 seq. ; and Ginsburg, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 1897, pp. 288 seq., 
— all of whom give the original and translation. 


firms what is plain from other sources of information : that the 
Samaritans had retained the Law in the old Hebrew writing, and 
that the Jews had adopted the Aramaic writing in its stead. In 
other respects this statement is either false or purely conjectural. 
It is not true that the Samaritans used the Aramaic language for 
the Law. The Samaritan codex is in the Hebrew language as 
well as the Hebrew writing. The Samaritans made a Targum, or 
popular translation of the Law, in the Samaritan language ; but 
the Jews did precisely the same, making an Aramaic Targum for 
Palestine and the East, and a Greek Targum for Egypt and the 
West. There is no historic evidence that the Jews abandoned the 
old Hebrew writing because of any influence from the Samaritans. 
There is no historic evidence for the opinion that Ezra introduced 
the Aramaic i\Titing. It is altogether improbable that he gave 
the Law in the Aramaic language, and that subsequently the 
scribes returned to the original Hebrew text of it. Neubauer 
defends the tradition so far as the writing is concerned,^ princi- 
pally on the ground that, if the Hebrew characters had once 
impressed their sanctity " on the mind of the nation through their 
use in transcribing Scripture," they would never have been aban- 
doned. He thinks, therefore, that the two kinds of writing 
existed side by side from the time of Ezra until the Maccabean 
age. But this argument, if soimd, is equally valid as regards the 
statement of these Sopherim that the Law was given by Ezra 
in the Aramaic language. If the Law had been given by Ezra in 
the Aramaic language and the Aramaic script, the writing would 
have sustained the language and the language the writing, and 
neither would have been abandoned. But the Samaritans would 
not have retained the Hebrew writing and the Hebrew language 
of the Law under these circumstances, especially as we now know 
that the law code of the present Pentateuch did not exist for the 
Jews until Ezra brought it to them.- The statement that Ezra 
gave the Law in the Aramaic language is not at present defended 
by any one. The opinion that Ezra gave the Law in Aramaic 
characters is in the same sentence of the Talmud. The discredit- 
ing of the one clause discredits likewise the other. It is not 
worthy of any more consideration in itself, and there is no 
historic evidence whatever to sustain it. 

We have at present no means of determining when the 
Aramaic characters were introduced for the canonical writings. 
It seems probable that this change took place at first among 

' ?.c., p. 13. ^ See pp. 322 seq. 


the Jews of Mesopotamia and Babylon, especiall}- in the private 
manuscripts, and then extended over the Aramaic-speaking 
world even into Egypt, where the Jews were under Aramaic 
influence until the Greek conquest under Alexander. The 
irresistible tendency was to use the Aramaic writing with the 
Aramaic language, and to transliterate the old Hebrew char- 
acters, which were constantlj^ growing unfamiliar even to 
scholars. The only restraining influence would be in Palestine, 
and especially at Jerusalem, the centre and capital of the Jews' 

During the earlier Maccabean wars most of the copies of 
the Law were destroyed by the Syrian oppressors. The pious 
Jews of Palestine had to resort to their Eastern or their Egyp- 
tian brethren for manuscripts. These manuscriiats were prob- 
ably written in Aramaic characters. Few manuscripts written 
in the old Hebrew characters were now left, and these were 
gradually crowded out of use.' It is probable, therefore, that 
it was first in the ^Maccabean age that the authoritative codices 
of the Law were written in the Aramaic characters. And it 
may be that the collection of sacred books made by Judas Mac- 
cabeus was in this writing.^ 

The second layer of the Canon, the Prophets, was not only 
originally written in the Hebrew writing, but it is also ex- 
tremely probable that the Prophets were collected into the 
Canon in Hebrew writing. They were all composed and col- 
lected before the Maccabean age. This is evident from the 
fact that there are many errors in transmission, which can be 
explained only from a confusion of letters which were dissimilar 
in the Aramaic alphabet, and only similar in the old Hel)re^^• 

The writings of the third Canon extend into the ^Maccabean 
age. It is probable that all those written before this time 
were written in the old Hebrew letters. But the book of 
Daniel gives us several chapters in the Aramaic language. 
This was doubtless \vi'itten in the Aramaic writing, and it is 

1 See Neubauer, Studia Bihlica. III. p. 14. ^ 2 Mace. 2'*. 

•'• Graetz (Krit. Onii. ,:■. d. I'Kalmeu, x. 130 seq.) and Ginsburg (Introductkiii, 
pp. 291-295) give examples from Judges, Samuel, Jeremiali, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. 


probable that the Hebrew which incorporated it was also writ- 
ten in Aramaic characters. It may well be that Esther and 
Ecclesiastes were originally written in Aramaic characters, as 
well as man)- of the Apocrj-pha. There can be little doubt 
that the Psalter,' Proverbs,'- Job, and Lamentations were origi- 
nally written with the ancient letters. It is also probable in 
the case of Ezra,^ Nehemiah, Chronicles, and Ruth. It is 
doubtful with the other writings. 

During this period of the formation of the official Canon, 
and of the substitution of the Aramaic characters for the 
Hebrew, there were certain changes in the text which have left 
their permanent traces. 

(_a) Emendations were made chiefly for religious reasons. 

The substitution of the word Lord, ""JIS, for the divine name 
Tahiceh, miT", was certainly prior to the earliest layer of the 
Septuagiut Version ; for Kupios is constantly substituted for it. 
There are traces of such substitution in the Hebrew text itself. 

The substitution of BoshetJi, riw'^, shame, for Baal, b>3, the god 
of the Canaanites, and also for Baal in proper names compoiuided 
with Baal, was made before the Septuagint translation of the 
Prophets, but was not thoroughly carried out in all the texts.* 
The change in proper names is usual in Samuel, where the 
Chronicler preserves the original form.' This seems to indicate 
that this change was made by the scribes chiefly in the time 
before the final admission of Chronicles into the Canon. The 

' Perles (Analekten, 189-5, pp. 50 seq.) gives examples of errors in the Psalter 
and .Job. which can only come from the ancient Hebrew letters. 

- Baumgartner {tUxide critique stir I'Jltat dit Texte ihi Lirre des Proverbes, 
Leipzig, 1890) makes it plain that, while the larger proportion of the errors of 
transliteration in the text of Proverbs is due to mistakes in the distinguishing 
of similar letters of the Egj'ptian Aramaic alphabet, and a smaller number to 
mistake.s in the older Aramaic alphabet, there is still a limited number that can 
be explained only by the ancient Hebrew alphabet. 

3 Giiisburg {Introduction, p. 29.3) gives Ezra 0* as an example of a mistake 
ol Aleph for Tav in the old Hebrew alphabet. But Baumgartner (I.e., s. 279) 
thinks that such mistakes might be as well explained from the ancient Aramaic 
alphabet also. 

* Cf. ii /3da\, Jer. 2^, 7', ll'S", 19^ ; Hos. 210, 13i ; Rom. 11* ; which implies 
the reading of oiVx'''") ^t |3do\. See Dillmann, Baal mit d. uieibl. Artikel. in 
the ilonntsberickte d. Konigl. Acad. d. Wiss. zu Berlin, 1881. 

' However, in 2 Sam. 11-' the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate versions all 
read 'rrs"", and in 2 Sam. 2.3* Lucian's text of the Septuagint preserves 'Uff/SdoX. 


same is true of the reading of Shame, Bosheth, n^3, for King, 
Mdekh, 'TjT'O, when applied to the god of the Aniinouites.' 

(h) The earlier scribes also acted as editors. They divided 
first the Law and then the Psalter into five books. These 
divisions are not logical divisions. The natural divisions in 
both cases would be into three books. The divisions are me- 
chanical, and they were doubtless made for liturgical reasons. 
Another ancient division for both the Law and the Psalter, 
into seven books, is mentioned in the Talmud.^ These divi- 
sions all may have reference to the use of the Law and the 
Psalter at the feasts of the Jews. 

(c) The scribes also divided the sacred books into sections. 
These sections do not correspond altogether with the later sec- 
tions of the Talmudic and Massoretic periods, but they were 
doubtless arranged for public reading in the sjTiagogues. Two 
such sections are mentioned in the New Testament.^ 

(<i) No verses are known so far as" prose writings are con- 
cerned ; but the ancient poems in the historical books, and the 
poetical books of Psalms, Lamentations, and the Wisdom 
Literature, were certainly written in distich, tristich, tetrastich, 
and the like. It is probable that the greater portion of the 
poetry in other books was written in this wa}^ also. This 
enabled Josephus and even Jerome to speak of trimeters, tetram- 
eters, and hexameters. But this method of writing poetry 
was subsequently lost, except for the ancient poems in tlie 
Pentateuch, because of the Massoretic system of accentuation 
for cantilatiou in the synagogue.* 

II. The Text of the Canon of the Sopherim 

There is no evidence of any attempt to establish an official 
Hebrew text until after the destruction of Jerusalem by the 

J Lev. 1821 (Sept. B Kpx""); 20" (Sept. dpxw); ' K- H" (Sept. /3o<riXn!s); 
2 K. 2.3>'' (Sept. MiXox) ; Jer. 9,2^ (Sept. MoXix /SairiXeiJsV 

2 Tahn. Shahboth, llS 6, llOn; Midmah Berexhith Rahba, LXIV. ioX.lld. 
Num. 10^ ; Vayyikra liabha, Lev. 9' ; Uaslii on I'rov. li'. 

» The section of tlie Bush iirl rod pirov Mk. 12*, referring to Ex. 3, and ^i- 
'H\t((i Roni. 11-, referring to tlie story of Elijah, 1 K. HI, are the only two known 
to the New Testament. 

* See Chap, XIV, pp. 362, 363. 


Romans in 70 A.D. There was indeed a codex of the Law in 
the temple, which was taken by Titus to Rome among the 
spoils.' But the ancient Greek Version, the ancient Syriac 
Version, the earliest Aramaic Targums, and the citations in the 
New Testament, the Book of Jubilees,^ and other writings of 
the first and second centuries B.C. and the first century a.d., 
make it evident that there was no official Hebrew text until the 
second century a.d. 

After the destruction of Jerusalem the scribes made a rally 
at Jamnia, where tliey established a school and held several 
assemblies.^ They determined the extent of the Canon and 
occupied themselves with fixing the text of the manuscripts 
which had been saved from the wreck of war. There can be 
no doubt that Rabbi Akiba and his associates at Jamnia not 
only fixed the Canon of the Old Testament, but also established 
the fii'st official Hebrew text of the Canon.* There is a fixture 
in the consonantal text of Hebrew manuscripts from the second 
centui-}- onwards, which can be accounted for only by the 
establishment at that time of such an official text.^ This text 
was established in troublous times, when it was impossible to 
give the time and painstaking required for such an undertak- 
ing. There was no leisure to correct even the plainest mis- 
takes.® It was made by the comparison of a few manuscripts. 
Tradition speaks of three, in cases of disagreement the majority 
of two always determining the correct reading. 

1 Josephus, B. J., VIL 5, § 5. This is said to have been given by the Em- 
peror Severus, about 220 a.d., to a synagogue built by him at Rome. Giusburg, 
(I.e., pp. 410 seq.) gives a list of thirty -two readings said to have been taken 
from this codex. 

* The Book of Jubilees, or Little Genesis, as it is sometimes called, testifies to 
a text somewhat different from that of the Sopherim. See Dillmann, Beiiriige 
aus. d. Bufh d. .TnhiJncn z. Kritik. d. Pentateurh-Textes, Sitzungsherichte 0.. 
Konig. Preus. Akad. der Wisseyischaften, 188.3. The same is true with reference 
to other pseudepigrapha. 

» See pp. i:50, 1.31. 

* See Bacher, Hebr. Sprachroissenschafl, 1892, )!. 2. 

* Olshausen. Psalmen, s. 18 ; L^arde, Anrn. z. (rriech. Uebersetsung d. Pro- 
verbien, 1803, s. 444 seg. ; Kuenen, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1804, s. 83 seq. 
This is denied by Hermann Strack, in Semitic Studies in Memory of A. Kohut, 
1897, p. 571, on the ground that he has found in ancient manuscripts a very 
great number of various readings vfhich are unknown to scholars. 

6 Comill, Ezechiel, 1880, s. 10. 


The Sopberiiu found in the court of the temple the codex "ilVfi, 
and the codex *t31D"*, and the codex SIH. In one they found 
written Sip 'Tl^H pVS2 (I)eut. 33^), and in two written ri3VJ3 
mp \lbS; and they accepted two. and rejected one. In one 
they found written SsTi" "32 '^'.'C": flS n'^'^T"! (Ex. 24"), and 
in two written han'C "22 "~l"3 flS fhv^); and they accepted 
two, and rejected one. In one they found written nine times XT! 
instead of XIH, and in two written eleven times S^H; and they 
accepted the two, and rejected the one.^ 

Some scholars think that all manuscripts var^'ing from the 
official text were ruthlessly destroyed. ^ Whether this was so 
or not, it is altogether probable that the destruction of manu- 
scripts during the Avar of Hadrian (132-135 A.D.) would so 
reduce the number of competing manuscripts, that the official 
manuscripts of the scribes would gain the supremacy. 

The official text of the Hebrew Bible in the second Christian 
century was composed of consonantal letters alone. Even the 
quiescent letters,^ which were used in ancient times, before the 
invention of vowel points, to indicate the vowel in difficult 
words, were not used with any precision : * and later sci'ibes 
were free to exercise their own judgment in the use of them. 
And so the Massoretic text perpetuates a great lack of uni- 
formity and even inaccuracy of usage. The text used by the 
translators of the Septuagint was without separation of words 
and without the final letters, and also with occasional abbrevia- 
tions ; but the Sopherim of the second and third centuries 
made the separation of words, introduced the five final letters, 
and removed all abbreviations. ^ The work of the Sopherim 
continued until the sixth century, when the Massorites began 
their labours. The work of the Sopherim, as described in the 
Talmud and early Rabbinical commentaries, was : 

(1) the fixing of the pronunciation of certain words; 

(2) the removal of certain superfluous particles from the text; 

• Jerusalem Taanifh, IV. 2 ; Sopherim, VI. 4. See Ginsburg, Introduction 
to Hehr. Bible, pp. 408, 40!), who gives text and translation. 

2 Niildeke, IlilgenftUrsZfiVsoAn/t, 1873, s. 444 seq. ; \V. R, Smith, Old Testa- 
ment in the Jewish Church, 2d ed., pp. 62 seq. 

3 sn". 

' Ginsburg, Introduction, pp. LS" sr-t/.; Perles, Analekten, s. 36. 
' Ginsburg, Introduction, pp. 297 seq. 


(o) the mention of words which, though not written, yet 
ought to be read, and the designation of words which, though 
written, ought not to be read. 

The Babjlonian Tahnud gives these three under the technical 
terms: (1) CnSID XnpJ2 ; (2) DnSID "TID^!,' ; (3) sSl P'lp 
P'riD, ]^^~ip vhl pTiDr As examples of the first are, pS 
when alone or preceded by the article, D"!2w". D''"llkJ2. The second 
gives five instances in which the conjunction ITou', and, is to be 
omitted (Gen. 18\ 24^; Xu. 31-; Pss." 36', 68"-«). The third men- 
tions that mS, Euphrates, is to be inserted (2 Sam. 8') ; ^'K, mnn 
■ (2 Sam. 16-'): D'S2, they are coming (J er. ol^^) ; rO, to her (Jei: 
oO»); nS (Ruth 2"); "hn, to me (Ruth 3=' '0; and the following 
words are not to be read : S2 (2 K. o'*) : nsi (Jer. 32" ) ; ^r\^11\ let 
him bend (Jer. 51') ; Z'tZn,Jive (Ezek.'iS'") ; and CS. (f (Ruth 3^=). 
Xedarim, 37 6-38 «. These are only specimens of a larger number 
of instances in these departments which are given in later times. 

(4) Extraordinary points were placed above letters or words 
to indicate that they were spurious. 

The Sij^hri, the earliest Midrash, or commentary on ]N'umbers. 
gives ten of these,— Nu. 9'"; Ge. 16;, 18', 19^, 33^"37^^'; Xu. 21-'\ 
3®, 29'' ; Deut. 29-\ — all in the Pentateuch. They were subse- 
quently increased to fifteen bv adding four from the Prophets, — 
2 Sam. 19=° ; Is. 44' ; Ezek. 4lH 46=^ , — and one from the Writings, 
Ps. 27'«.' 

(5) Letters were suspended in order to express doubt as to 
their proftriety. 

3, in Jud. 18*', changes Moses to 3fanasseh in order to remove 
reproach from the name of Moses. "J, in Ps. 80", indicates a 
doubtful reading, as between IS', the Nile, and "IV', forest ; and 
a preference for the latter with possiblj' a reference to Rome 
instead of the original reference to Egypt. The other two 
instances (Job 38 ''• ^) indicate a preference for D'SC"! over Q'w'^, 
in order not to offend the dignitj- of David and of Xehemiah.^ 

(6) The letter Nun was inverted before and after a clause, 
in order to indicate bracketed material, which was, in the 
opinion of the scribes, out of place. ^ 

' See Gin.sburs, I.e., pp. 310 seq., who gives the original, a translation, and 
comments on the fifteen example.?. - Sanhedrin, 10, 3 b. 

'Numbers \0^-^; Ps. 107=3. st 23. 26. 2:. a. jj ; so Siphri on Xu. 10»*, Tatm. Sab- 
bath, 115 h-UG a ; Sophnrim, VI. 1. 


(7) There are also certain corrections or emendations of the 

D'^EID ppn. A list of eleven of these is given in the Me- 
chiltha on Ex. 15' (of the second century) : Zee. 2^ ; Mai. 1'^ ; 1 Sam. 
3"; Job 7^; Hab. 1'=; Jer. 2"; Ps. 106» ; Nu. 11'^; 2 Sam. 20'; 
Ezek. 8''; Nu. 12'^. These were subsequently increased to eigh- 
teen bv seven additional ones: Ge. 18^'; 2 Sam. 16"^ ; 1 K. 12'^; 
2 Ch. iO'«; Hos. 4' ; Job 32'; Lam. 3^. 

Is u. 11'^ was changed from ^n^^D, T/iy evil, the evil sent by 
God upon Israel, to 'n>"13, my evil, in order to avoid the refer- 
ence to God and a possible imputation of moral evil to Him. ' 

Hab. 1^ was changed from T\V2T\ X*?, Tliou diest not, to vh 
m523, v:e sJiail not die, because it was supposed that the very 
thought of God as dj-ing was unworthy of Him. A full discus- 
sion of all these passages is given by Ginsburg.' 

(8) The scribes also strove to remove from the text indel- 
icate expressions, anthropomorphisms, and other statements 
unworthy of their religion. 

The Talmud^ gives the rule: In every passage where the text 
has an indelicate expression a euphemism is to be substituted for 
it, as for instance, for ^3'!'J^y^ ravish, violate, outrage (Deut. 28**; 
Is. 13"; Jer. 3*; Zech. 14-), n323ty\ to lie with, is* to be substi- 
tuted ; for n"'bS", posteriors (Deut. 28^ ; 1 Sam. 5", 6*) read 
ClinU, emo'ods; for D"'3V"in, dung, exci-ements, or C"JV '"IH, doves' 
dung (2 K. 6^), read ClVm, decayed leaves ; for Dn'SirT or CIT^n, 
excrement (2 K. IS-': Is. oG'-) substitute nsii£, deposit ; for DnTkT, 
urine (2 K. 18^; Is. 36*^), read nH'^'?:"! '!2!2, u-uter of their Jeet; for 
mtfiniob, middens, privies (2 K. lO-"^), substitute mS2£1fi'7, sewers, 
ret reals.' 

(9) They removed expressions wliich seemed blasphemous. 

Ginsburg^ gives as a specimen of this 2 Sam. 12", where it is 
said of David : " Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast greatly 
blasphemed Yahweh." The scribes have inserted " enemies," so 
as to make tliem, rather than David, guilty of the blasphemy. 
He also mentions Ps. 10', where *]^3, bless, has been inserted as a 
gloss to j"J<3. hlaspheme, and calls attention to other substitutions 

of in3 for bhp. 

• Introduction, pp. 347 seq. • See Ginsbun;. I.e., p. 346. 

2 Megilla, 26 6 /Jerusalem Megilla IV. * i.e., pp. 363 seq. 


(10) The Sopberira also made divisions in tlie sacred text. 
The earliest of these were the sections called Parashiyoth. In 
the first century there were similar divisions, but the present 
ones belong to the Sopherim.^ There are two kinds, the open 
and the closed, the one indicating a greater division than the 

The Sopherim also arranged the Pentateuch for liturgical 
purposes. The Palestinian Jews divided it into 154 sections, 
called Sedarim, for a triennial course of Sabbath readings. 
The Babylonian Jews had a di^dsion of fifty-four Sedarim for 
an annual course of Sabbath readings.^ Besides tliese there 
were verses called Pesukim, already mentioned in the Mishna.* 

The Prophets and the Writings have also Parashij-oth and 
Sedarim. Some of these come from the most ancient times, 
othei's from the Sopherim. But it is probable that the present 
Sedarim date from the Massoretic period. There are, however, 
selections for Sabbath reading called Haphtaroth, twenty-seven 
in the former Prophets, and fiftj^-two in the latter Prophets. 
Such selections were made in the first centur}', but the selection 
then seems to have been made by the reader at the time.^ But 
they were fixed by the Soj^herim, as they are referred to in the 

There were, moi-eover, differences of reading which came 
downi in the two great schools of the Sopherim, — the Palestinian 
and the Babjionian, — which are mentioned in the Talmud. 
These, and all other matters connected with the text, were 
more precisely indicated in the work of the Massorites. 

^ MegiXla, IH., 5; Shahh.. f. 103?;; Menach., f. .30/; Hupfeld, Stud, und 
Krit., \V31, s. 8:i7 Aura. 

2 There are 290 opeu Parashiyoth in the Pentateuch and 379 closed Parash- 
iyoth. Ill some manuscripts and in printed texts tliese are indicated by B and D 
in the spaces. 

» The numbers 54, 1-54, were for the extra month which was introduced every 
five or six years to make up for the inexactness of the ancient year. Accord- 
ing to Ginsburg ((.c, pp. 33 seq.) there are really 167 Sedarim in the Pentateuch. 

* Menilla. IV. 4. 
5Lk."4i';; Acts IZ"^'-^. 

* But the order of the Talmud does not agree with the order of the later manu- 
scripts, and there is a difference in usage between the German and the Spanish 


III. The ]\Iassoketic Text of the Old Testament 

The difference between the work of the Soplierim and of the 
Massorites is thus stated b}' Ginsburg : ^ 

" Henceforth the Massorites became the authoritative custodians 
of the traditionallj- transmitted text. Their functions were entirely 
different from those of their predecessors, the Sopherim. The 
Sopherim, as we have seen, were the authorised revisers and 
redactors of the text according to certain principles, the Jlasso- 
rites were precluded from developing the principles and altering 
the text in harmony with these Canons. Their province was to 
safeguard the text delivered to them by ' building a hedge around 
it,' to protect it against alterations, or the adoption of any readings 
which still survived in manuscripts or were exhibited in the ancient 
Versions. For this reason, they marked in the margin of every 
page in the Codices every unique form, every peculiarity in the 
orthography, every variation in ordinary phraseologies, every 
deviation in dittographs, etc." 

The principal work of the Massorites was iu fixing the tradi- 
tional pronunciation of the words and sentences of the Sacred 
Wi-itings and tlie traditional method of reading the sacred 
books in the synagogue. This was accomplished by the sys- 
tems of vowel points and accents which they added to the 
sacred unpointed text, and the diacritical signs which they 
established. The simplest, and j^robably the earliest, addition 
to the text was the point in the bosom of the letter,'^ which 
indicates sometimes that the letter is doubled ; ^ sometimes that 
it is unaspirated and hard ; * and sometimes that a quiescent 
letter has its full consonantal power ; * and the stroke above 
the letter indicating the soft or aspirated letter* and the qui- 
escence of the letter.' 

The Syriac language uses a point for the discrimination of 
the hard and soft letters, distinguishing by putting it above or 
below the letter. So also the point beneath a word indicates 
the simple form of noun or verb, the point above the less sim- 
ple form. The Syriac also uses two points to indicate the 

I I.e., p. 42L 5 Mappiq. n = ah, not a. 

» rn, a point. « ncn, soft. 2 = bh. 

' Dagesh forte, 2 = Kb. ' f\ = a. 
* DagCsh lene, Z = b. and not bh. 


plural number. The Arabic uses the point to discriminate a 
larger number of letters than the Hebrew ; but for a sign of 
doubling a different sign, called Teshdid, and also a different 
sign for the Mappiq, called Hemza. 

The Hebrew vowel points, as the}' now exist, have a long 
historical development back of them. The simplest system of 
vowel jjoints is the Arabic, which distinguishes only the three 
simple vowels a, i, u, and the absence of a vowel. 

The Syriac gives us a double system, the Greek and the 
Syrian proper, standing between the Arabic and the Hebrew. 
The Hebrew has also two systems, the ordinary sj'stem and the 
suiDerlinear system, the latter commonly but incorrectly named 
the Bab}'louian. These go back on an earlier, simpler sys- 
tem, somewhat like tlie Arabic, which has been lost.^ The 
origin of the system of pointing the Shemitic languages was 
probably in the Sp-ian school at Edessa,^ and from thence it 
passed over from Syriac texts at first to Arabic texts and 
afterward to Hebrew texts. The movement began with dia- 
critical signs, such as we find in the Syriac, to distinguish 
certain letters and forms. This gave place to a system of 
vowel points. Among the Hebrews there was a gradual evo- 
lution of the present elaborate system. It did not reach its 
present condition until the seventh century, at Babylon, and 
the middle of the eighth century of our era, in Palestine.^ 

The accents went through a similar course of development. 
They serve for a guide in the cantilation of the synagogues, 
the division of the sentences, and the determination of the 
tone. These also were modelled after the musical notation of 
the Syrian Church.* 

They were not written in Hebrew manuscripts until the 
close of the seventh century.^ The earliest effort to divide 

' Gesenius, ffebr. Gram., ed. Rodiger and Kautzscli, 2G Aufl. p. 31. Trans. 
Collins and Cowley, 1898, p. 3.3. 

* Bacher, Htbi: Sprach^oissenschaft, 1892, .«. 6 ; Harris, Jewish Quarterly Be- 
vieic, 1889, p. 235. This is denied by Gwilliam in Studia Biblica, III. p. 64. 
He thinks that the Syrian Massora was derived from the Hebrews. 

' Dillmann, Biheltext. A. T., in Herzog, Eitoj., II. pp. 394-396. 

* Wickes, Treatise on the Accentuation of the Three So-called Poetic Books 
of the Old Testament, Oxford, 1881 ; G. F. Moore, Proc. Am. Oriental Society, 
1888, p. jcxxvii. ■' Wickes, I.e., p. 8. 


the sentences was doubtless the double point at the close of 
the verse, and the single point in the middle. This ma)- have 
been made by the Sopherim. There must have been a long 
development before the present elaborate systems were devised. 
There are three systems of accents, the so-called Babylonian, 
the Palestinian jjrose system, and the Palestinian poetic system.^ 
The poetic system is used only in the Psalter, Proverbs, and 
Job. The IMassorites strove to distinguish between the ordi- 
nary cantilation of the Law and the Prophets, and a more melo- 
dious rendering for the three great poetical books, just as the 
Christian Church has one rhythmical form for the Gospels and 
Epistles, and another for the chanting of the Psalms. It is 
probable that the ilassorites were influenced by Christian 
usage to make the ser^-ice of the synagogue more ornate and 
worthy of their religion. 

The work of the Massorites was extended to the use of a 
number of signs to indicate peculiarities in the text. A little 
circle above the letter was used to indicate the extraordinary 
forms of letters,^ the extraordinary points.'^ the Readings.* A 
little star was used to indicate errors that they would not cor- 
rect.* On the margins and at the end of the manuscripts the 
Massorites noted the emendations of the scribes, the removal of 
the conjunction and, the differences of readings between the 
Babylonian and Palestinian authorities, and also between the 
principal Western autliorities. They numbered the sections, 
verses, words, and letters of the Sacred Writings, and even 
counted the number of times certain words were used. All of 
this work is of great value for the liistory of the Text. 

The Massorites did not hesitate to change the order of the 

1 'Wickes, Treatise on the Accentuation of the Ttrenty-one So-called Prose 
Soaks of the Old Testament. t)xford, 1887, pp. 142 seq.. sliows that the so- 
called Babylonian systems of vowel points and accents Ls Babylonian only in 
the sense that they are fcmnd in Babylonian manuscripts-; and he claims that 
these systems were later modifications of the earlier syst<>m, which is now, and 
has always been, the only oflicial one for the Babylonian as well as for the 
Palestinian Jews. 

' Final ^fem in middle of word. Is. fl* ; large Seth at the beginning of Gene- 
sis; larjre Waw in Lev. 11*^; little Aleph, Lev. 1' ; suspended letters, Jer. IS*, 
Ps. 80". > .See p. 177. * See p. 177. 

' Aleph with Daijesh, Gen. 43*; neglect of rules of pause, Geu. 11', 27*. 


sacred books. They have transmitted the Prophets in a dif- 
ferent order from that given in the Talmud. They arranged 
the five Rolls for use at the five great feasts of Judaism, and 
also rearranged the Writings. 

The work of the western Massorites reached its culmination 
in the tentli century, in the text of Ben Asher, and the work 
of the Orientals about the same time in the text of Ben 
Naphtali. The text of Ben Asher became the standard text 
upon which all subsequent manuscripts in the West and all 
printed editions have been based. ^ 

IV. Hebrew Manuscripts of the Old TssTAMEiifT 

The Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament are divided 
into three classes : the Palestinian, the Babylonian, and the 

1. The Palestinian Manuscripts 

The most of the manuscripts that have been preserved are of 
this class. Here we have to distinguish between synagogue 
rolls and private manuscripts. The former Avere prepared with 
so much care that mistakes became difiicidt. The INIishna^ 
prescribes the rules for their preparation with the greatest pre- 
cision. Hence it is that in manuscripts of the Law thus far 
collated, of both the Babylonian and the Palestinian groups, 
the differences in the consonantal text are few and unimpor- 
tant. The synagogue rolls, however, present only the Law, 
the pericopes of the Prophets,^ and the five Rolls ; * and these 
are without the Massoretic apparatus and are as a rule not 
ancient. They are written on rolls of parchment and of 
leather. The private manuscripts, written also on paper alone, 
contain the Massoretic apparatus. None of these reach back 
into the pre-Massoretic period. None of those collated by 
Kennicott and De Rossi reach back of the eleventh century.^ 

1 Bacher, Hehr. Sprarhtcissenschaft, s. 10. ^ Sopherim, VI. 4. 

» The Haptaroth, see p. 179. * Ruth, Lam., Esther, Eccl., Song of Songs. 

' Kennicott. Vet. Test. Hebr., 2 vols., Oxford, 1776, 1780, compares 615 
manuscript.s. .52 editions and Talmud; De Rossi, Vance lection. Vet. Testamcnti, 
4 vrls., Parma, 1784-1788, compares 731 manuscripts, 300 editions and the 
ancient versions. 


Several manuscripts at Aleppo, Cairo, in the British Museum, 
and in the library of the University of Cambridge, are in dis- 
pute. Some claim that they belong to the ninth century, but 
the general opinion is that they are not earlier than the eleventh 

There are a number of lost manuscripts of the Palestinian 
school tliat are renowned. 

(a) The Codex Mugar is often cited in the earliest exist- 
ing Hebrew manuscripts, and is regarded by Ginsburg as the 
oldest of those cited. ^ 

(6) The Codex Hillel, not earlier than the seventh century 
A.D., was consulted b}' Jacob ben Eleazar in the twelfth 

(e) The Codex Ben Asher is of the first half of the tenth 
century. The entire Massoretic text of the Occidental Jews 
rests upon this. This manuscript was at first at Jerusalem : 
afterwards it was removed to Egypt. 

((i) The Codex Sanbuki probably belonged to a Hungarian 
family of that name. It is of unknown date. It is cited 
occasionally on the margin of manuscripts. 

(e) The Massora also refers to a Jericho codex of the Law, 
and a Sinai codex of the Prophets.* 

' A codex ascribed to Aaron ben Asher, or Ben Asher the Younger, and pre- 
served in Aleppo, is thought by many to be very ancient. Its antiquity and 
genuineness is defended by Ginsburg {Introduction, pp. 242 seq.) as of the date 
earlier than 980, a copy of which, of about 1000 a.d., being now in the Imperial 
Public Library at St. Petersburg. So great an antiquity is denied by Wickes 
(I.e.. 1887, pp. vii-ix) and Lagarde (X C4. G. IT', 1890. 16). Strack {Semitic 
Studies in Memorij of A. Kohut, p. 503) withholds his decision until the manu- 
script can be more carefully examined. Schiller-Szinessy claims that a Hebrew 
manuscript numbered No. 12, at the University of Cambridge, England, was of 
the date of 8.56, but Neubauer {Academy, 1887, p. :?21, Studia Biblica, III. pp. 28 
seq.) has disproved it. Ginssburg {I.e.. pp. 241 seq.) claims that the codex of Ben 
Asher the Elder, in the synagogue of the Karaite Jews at Cairo, is genuine and of 
the date of 890-895. and that a copy of it was purchased in the year 1530 and is 
in the synagogue at Cracow. This is disputed by S. Baer, Wickes, and Neubauer 
(see Stud. Bibl.. III. pp. 25 seq.); but Herman Struck { Semitic Studies in Mem- 
ory of A. Kohut, s. 563) thinks that their reasons are insufficient. Ginsburg {I.e., 
pp. 409 seq.) de.scribes a manuscript 4445 of the British Museum Library, which 
he claims to be of the date of 820-860 a.d. 

2 See Ginsburg. I.e.. pp. 429 seq. 

> So David Kimchi testifies {Michlol, fol. 78 ^. col. 2). 

♦ Ginsburg, I.e., pp. 434 .<ieq. 


2. Tlie Babylonian Manuscripts 

The earliest known to scholars is the St. Petersburg codex 
of the Prophets,^ 916 a.d. The oldest of the entire Bible is 
a codex at St. Petersburg supposed to be of 1009 a.d.^ A 
lost manuscript of the Babylonian school is the Codex Ben 
Naphtali, which is referred to in the Massora as a standard 
authority, of the first half of the tenth centxu-y a.d. Many 
of its readings are also preserved by Kimchi in his grammar 
and lexicon. No copy of this manuscript is known to exist. 

3. The Samaritan Codex 

An ancient manuscript of this codex is preserved in the 
Samaritan synagogue at Nablous, in Samaria. It is claimed by 
the Samaritans that it has been handed down from Abisha, the 
great-grandson of Aaron, whose name is inscribed upon it. It 
is mentioned by Cyril of Alexandria, Eusebius, Jerome, and 
Procopius of Gaza among the Fathers, but was lost sight of 
subsequently until 1616 a.d., when Pietro della Valle pro- 
cured a copy of it at Damascus. It was published in the Paris 
Poh'glot of 1645 and in the London Polyglot of 1657. At 
once a hot dispute arose as to its value, which continued for 
two centuries, Morinus, Houbigant, and Hassencamp exalting 
it above the Massoretic text; Hottiuger, J. D. Michaelis, and 
Tychsen advocating the superiority of the latter. Gesenius^ 
was the first to thoroughly compare the texts. His view was 
that while the text was an independent one in its origin, it has 
yet been improved by the Samaritans in order to avoid ob- 
sciu-ities, and in the interests of their own religion, at times 
betraying ignorance of Hebrew grammar and syntax. It has 
many features of resemblance to the Septuagint Version. Ge- 
senius calculates them at more than one thousand. These facts 

' Published by Herman Strack in photo-lithograph, Prophetarum posterionim 
Codex Bab'jlonicus PHropoUtanvs, St. Petersburg, 1876. 

- Wickes gives reasons for the opinion that this manuscript is of much later 
date {Accents, IX.). But Harkavy and Strack, 263-274. Katalog. d. Hehr. 
Bihelhamlschriflen, in St. Petersburg, 1875, and Baer and Strack, Dikduke ha- 
teaiiiim. XXIV. seq., accept the date. Ginsburg also thinks that this codex does 
not really represent the Babylonian text, although it has the so-called Baby- 
lonian system of vowel points and accents (I.e., pp. 215 seq.). 

' De PentalKUCi Samaritani Origine, 1815. 


attracted the attention of scholars, so that on the one side 
Hottinger, Hassencamp, Eichhorn, and Kohn contended that 
the Septuagint was translated from the Samaritan text, and on 
the other side Grotiiis, Usher, and others urged that the Samar- 
itan was made from the Septuagint. Both these views have 
been shown to be impossible and have been abandoned by 
recent scholars, who give the text an independent authority. 
It was, then, either with the Septuagint derived from a com- 
mon older manuscript of Jerusalem, as Gesenius, Nutt, and 
others ; or, as the differences between them are quite numerous, 
they are based on independent original manuscripts, the origi- 
nal of the Samaritan text having been brought from Jerusalem 
by JNIanasseh when lie introduced the Samaritan schism. The 
text was published again by Blayney, Oxford, 1790, in square 
characters. The variations from the Massoretic text have been 
noted by Petermann.^ 

The influence of Gesenius led many of the older scholars to 
too unfavourable views of this text. Recent scholars show an 
increasing confidence in its readings. 

V. Printed Texts of the Hebrew Bible 

1. The earliest printed editions of the Hebrew text were the 
Psalter at Bologna, 1477, and the Law, 1482. The whole Bible 
was first printed at Soucino, Lombardy, in 1488 ; then at Naples, 
1491-1493. Another edition was printed at Brescia in 1494. 
This was used by Luther in making his version. The same 
text is used in Bomberg's first Rabbinical Bible, 1516-1517, 
edited by Felix Pratensis, and in his manual editions, 1517 seq. ; 
and also by Stephens, 1539 seq.^ and Sebastian jMunster. 

2. The second independent text was issued in the Complu- 
tensian Polyglot, 1514-1517, of Cardinal Ximenes, with vowel 
points but without accents. 

3. The third independent text was edited by Jacob ben 
Chayim in the second Rabbinical Bible of Bomberg, 1524-1525. 
This was carefully revised after the Massora. 

' Versuch einer hehrdinrhen Formenfehre nach ifcr Aussprache der hentigen 
Samaritaner, Leipzig, 18G8. 


All the printed texts from that time until recent times are 
mixtures of these three texts. 

(a) The Antwerp Polyglot, 1569-1572, under the manage- 
ment of Arias Montanus. 

(J) The manual editions of Hutter, 1587 seq. 

(tf) Buxtorf's Rabbinical Bible, 1618-1619, and his manual 

id) The Paris Polyglot, 1629-16^5. 

(«) The London Polyglot. 1654-1657. 

(/) A number of manual editions with mixed texts follow : 
Leusden. 1667 ; Jablonski, 1699 ; Baer, 1701 ; Michaelis. 1720 ; 
Van der Hooght, 1705 ; Opitius, 1709 ; Hahn, 1831 ; Theile, 

4. Baer and Delitzsch undertook a fourth independent text 
by the use of the entire Massoretic apparatus accessible. The 
several books of the Hebrew text were published apart, 1869- 
1895, when Baer and Delitzsch having both died, their work 
remained unfinished. 

5. A fifth independent text has just been published by Gins- 
burg, 1894, which will doubtless for some time be the standard 
edition of the Massoretic text. It is essentially "based upon 
the first edition of Jacob ben Chajim's Massoretic recension."^ 

1 Ginsburg, Introduction, Preface. 



The Jews in Egj-pt during tlie Persian supremacy doubtless 
used the Egyptian dialect of the Aramaic, which has been pre- 
served to us in certain inscriptions. But soon after the Greek 
conquest of Egj-pt, they changed their language to an Egyptian 
dialect of the Greek. The Jews flourished in Egypt, especially 
in the new city of Alexandria, and became rich and powerful 
so that they built many fine synagogues. They soon felt the 
need in their worship of a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures 
into the tongue of the people. This began, as in Palestine, by 
oral translations in the sj^nagogue, but it was not long before 
it became more important than in Palestine to commit these 
translations to writing. Accordingly a Greek translation of 
the Law was first made, then of the Prophets and the Psalms. 
The other Writings were not used in the synagogue, and there- 
fore they were only translated for jjrivate reading at a later 
date. The legend that the Greek Old Testament was trans- 
lated all at once by seventj- select men, who used a manu- 
script sent to them from Jerusalem, has no historic basis. ^ 

I. The Greek Sei'tuagint 

The Greek translation of the Pentateuch was probably made 
early in the third century B.C., the Projihets and the most of 
the Writings were translated before the middle, of the second 
century, but the whole of them and the Apocryplia not until 
the first century .2 It is quite possible that the Pentateuch 

' See pp. 124 seq. 

^ Gratz (Oesch. Juden., III. pp. 428 seq.) holds that the transhition was not 
made under Ptolemajus Philadelphus at the beginnhig of the third century b.c, 
but under Ptolemieus I'hilomoter, middle of the second century b.c, and that 


was translated by Palestinian Jews under royal sanction ^ ac- 
cording to the tradition : but the translators of the Prophets 
and the Writings must have been Egyptian Jews. The books 
of Samuel and Jeremiah differ in the Greek so very greatly 
from the Hebrew traditional text that we must conclude that 
thej^ were translated from manuscripts which were at an eaiiy 
date independent of Palestinian manuscripts ; especially as 
they are free from a considerable number of iNIidrashim, which 
must have made their way into the Hebrew text after the 
Egyptian manuscripts were written, and at a time when 
scribes felt at liberty to make such considerable additions to 
the text. Baumgartner has shown that the book of Proverbs 
was translated from a Hebrew text, written in the Egyptian 
Aramaic character, and that it shows traces also of having been 
written in older Aramaic characters after it had been translit- 
erated from the ancient Hebrew characters.'' HoUenberg 
makes the same statement for the book of Joshua ^ and Vollers 
for the twelve minor prophets.* Workman makes a similar 
statement as to Jeremiah, but does not give sufficient evidence 
of it. 5 

The book of Sirach was translated into Greek about 1-30 
B.C., and added to the sacred books of the Egyptian Canon ; 
and others of the apocryphal books and writings were added, 

the Jewish peripatetic Aristobuhis played the chief part in its accoiiiplishment ; 
but most scholars agree with Wellhaiiseii that the translation of the Pentateuch 
was made under Ptolemseus Philadelphus. That is all the letter of Aristeas 
really refers to. It was quite natural that later tradition should extend it to the 
whole Old Testament. Besides, the Prologue of the Greek Ecclesiasticus knows, 
about 130 B.C., of a Greek translation of the Law, the Prophets, and other books. 

1 Buhl {I.e., s. 124) calls attention to the fact that the three accounts of the 
translation of the Law in the letter of Aristeas, the addition to Esther, and the 
book of Sirach, all aixree in representing the translators as being Palestinian, 
and remarks that the Palestinian Jews really, in most cases, understood Greek 
better than the Egj-ptian Jews understood Hebrew, and that the translators 
would naturally be Palestinian Jews who had recently migrated to Egjpt. 

Freudenthal (Hellenistisclie Studien, 1875, s. 185) has shown that Samuel, 
Kings, Chronicles, Job, and probably Joshua, had been translated by the middle 
of the second century. Strack (I.e., s. lOS) agrees to it. 

' £tiule eritique snr Vetat du texte du livre des Proverbes, 1890, pp. 247 seq. 

' Der Charakter d. Alexand. Uebersetzung d. Buches Josna, 1876, s. 12. 

♦ Z. A. T. W., 188.3, s. 231. 

' The Text of Jeremiah, 1889, pp. 233 seq. 


until by the close of the first century B.C. the entire Greek Old 
Testament had been completed in the Greek language. This 
was the Bible of the early Christians, not only in Alexandria, 
but all over the Roman world. The writers of the epistles of 
the New Testament quote from it, and they are followed by 
all the sub-apostolic Fathers and Christian writers of the earlier 
Christian centuries. 

II. The Greek New Testament 

In the second Christian century the Greek New Testament 
was added to the Old Testament. The most of the New Tes- 
tament was originally written in Greek for Greek readers. 
The Logia of Matthew was written in Hebrew, in order that it 
might be added to the Holy Scripture for Jewish Christians. 
The earlier apocalypses of the book of Revelation were also 
written in Hebrew.^ The Epistle of James was probably 
written in Hebrew also, as well as the Canticles of the early 
chapters of Luke.^ But these were all translated into Greek, 
or taken up into larger Greek writings, and their Hebrew 
originals perished. Accordingly the New Testament became 
in fact a Greek New Testament. 

AH of the writings of the Canon of the New Testament were 
in circulation early in the second century ; but they were not 
collected into a Canon before the latter part of the second 
century. They were in private manuscripts, and for the most 
part at least written on papyrus.^ 

" No autograph of any book of the New Testament is known or 
believed to be still in existence. The originals must have been 
early lost, for they are mentioned by no ecclesiastical writer, 
although there were many motives for appealing to them, had 
they been forthcoming, in the second and third centuries." . . . 

" We know little about the external features of the MSS. of the 
ages of ])ersecution : but what little we do know suggests that 
they were usually small, containing only single books or groups of 
books, and not seldom, there is reason to suspect, of comparar 
tively coarse material." ■* 

' See Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles, p. 301. 

2 See Briggs, Messiah of the Go^'iycls. p. 42. ' See pp. 1.S3 teq. 

* Westcott. and Uort, New Testament in Greek, Introduction, pp. 4, 9-10. 


The separate writings were often copied before they were 
gathered into the groups which constitute the present Canon, 
aud scattered widely over the world. But in the times of per- 
secution large numbers of them were destroyed, especially dur- 
ing the persecution of Diocletian. 

The roll of papyrus was the book of the early Christians. 
For public reading in the churches, rolls of skin were probably 
used among the Chiistians, as among the Jews, Avhenever the 
community was able to bear the expense. But the entire 
library of Origen and Pamphilus at Casarea consisted of papy- 
rus rolls. 1 

The sacred books of the Old and New Testaments consti- 
tuted quite a librarj' of these rolls ; the rolls ordinarily con- 
tained onh* a single writing. Even the Gospels appear in 
several different orders on the monuments of the fourth and 
fifth centui-ies, showing that each was usually on a separate 
roll. No monumental evidence of the existence of a codex of 
parchment appears before the close of the third century ; no 
literary evidence before the middle of the third century. 
These codices were at first very expensive, and so the papyrus 
rolls continued in private use deep into the fifth century. ^ 

III. Other Greek Versions 

The use of the Greek version of the Old Testament by the 
Christians and its many differences from the Hebrew official 
text as established by the Sopherim of the school of Rabbi 
Akiba, excited the hostility of the Jewish scribes, and every 
effort was made to discredit it. In the first half of the second 
century a.d. a Greek version was made by Aquila, a pupil of 
Rabbi Akiba, on the basis of the official Hebrew text.^ It 
is extremely literal and endeavours conscientiously to follow 
the official text.* 

1 Birt, Das antike Buchwesen, 1882, s. 109. 

2 Schultze, JRolle. und Codex, in Greifswalder Sludien, 1895, s. 150 seq. 
« Megilla, I. 9 ; Qidduschin, I. 1. 

* The sign of the definite accusative HK is translated by (rvv, the local H by 5^, 
"iaK'7 by T(J \4yeiv. These are striking examples of an extreme literalism which 
goes so far as to impair the real meaning of the passage. This AquUa is men- 
tioned by Irenaeus, Adv. Bxres, III. 24 ; Ensebius, Hist, eccl., V. 8, 10 ; Jerome 


The greater part of this version has been lost, only frag- 
ments having been preserved. At the same time the influence 
of Aquila may be seen in the revision of the Septuagiut text 
of Ezekiel and Ecclesiastes, into which elements from Aquila 
have been taken up.^ Another Greek version was made about 
the same time by Theodotion. He revised the Septuagint to 
make it conform to the official text.^ His translation has only 
been preserved in fragments, apart from the book of Daniel, 
which supplanted the Septuagint Version of Daniel in the 
usage of the Church, and other elements which have been 
taken up into the Greek Bibles. Symmachus undertook about 
the same time^ to make a better Greek version of the Old Testa- 
ment from a Christian point of view* and in more elegant Greek. 
There are fragments of three other independent Greek ver- 
sions of the old Testament which have been jjreserved, known 
as Quinta, Sexta, and Septima, of unknown origin.^ These are 
chiefly of the poetical books. All these make it evident that 
there was a wide-spread dissatisfaction with the Septuagint 
at the close of the second and the beginning of the third cen- 
tury, not only on the jDart of the Jews but also of the Chris- 
tians. It is probable that the zealous polemic of the Jewish 
scribes on the basis of the official Hebrew text brought about 
this serious situation. 

IV. The Official Texts of the Greek Bible 

Origen during his abode at Csesarea (232-254 a.d.) made a 
gigantic effort to remove this dissatisfaction and establish a 

on Is. 8'*, Epist. 57 ad Pmnmachmm, c. 11 ; Origen, ad Afric (I. 14, Belarue). 
Cf. Schurer, Gesch. d. Jud., II. 311. Cornill {E.-fk., s. 04, 104) mentions Codex 
62 of Holmes, wliicli shows the influence of Aquila. The Septuagint of Kohe- 
letli and llie Song of Songs also .show his influence, not only in the Greek, but 
also in the Syriac translation. See Buhl, ;.c., s. 155. 

1 Cornill, Ezekiel, s. 104 seq. ; Oillmann. Uebcr d. Griech. Uebersetzimg der 
Knheletli, in Sitxuiigsberichte d. Koiiig. Preus. Akad. d. Wiss., 1S92. 

- Theodotion is mentioned by Irenoeus (Adr. HcerA as a jiro-selyte of Ephesus. 
.Jerome calls him an Ebionite (Comm., Ilab. 3"-'^ ("f. Prcef. Comm. in Dan.). 

•' He is usually assigned to the beginning of the third century. But Epipha- 
nius put.s him in the time of Marcus Aurelius. Mercati has recently come to the 
Kami' conclusion (ser Strack, I.e., s. 201). 

* Eusebius (H. E., VI. 17) and Jerome (i.e.) both call him an Ebionite. 

^ Eusebius. i.e.. VI. 10. 


reliable Greek text of the Old Testament. He gathered in his 
Hexapla the Hebrew text, the Hebrew text transliterated into 
Greek characters, the three versions of Aqiiila, Theodotion. and 
Symmachns, and a revised Septuagint text.' 

Whei-e the Septuagint was missing he used Theodotion with 
an asterisk. There can be little doubt that this revision of the 
text of the Old Testament was accompanied by a similar move- 
ment for the collection of the Xew Testament writings and a 
revision of their text. But there is no evidence that Origen 
had a hand in it.^ 

The text of the Septuagint fixed by Origen in the Hexapla 
was issued by Eusebius and Pamphilus at Ciesarea, and proba- 
bly also a revision of the Greek New Testament was made 
at about the same time under similar influences, and these 
became the official Greek Bible for the Church of Palestine. 
Soon afterwards, Hesychius revised the text of the entire Bible 
in Alexandria, and it became the official text of the Church of 
Eg^-pt. About the same time Lucian the Mart3"r (311 + ) 
made another independent revision of the entire Greek Bible 
at Antioch. Thus at the beginning of the fourth century there 
were three rival texts of the Greek Bible in use. 

Jerome refers to the work of Lucian and Hesychius in his 
Pi-(xf. in Paralip., thus, "Alexandria et ^Egyptus in Septuaginta 
suis Hesyehium laudat auctorem, Constautinopolis usque Antio- 
chiam Luciaui martjTis exemplaria probat.'" Cf. also his Epist. 
106, ad Sunniani et Fretelam, and Pra>f. in Evanrj., ''I pass over 
those manuscripts which are associated with the names of Lucian 
and Hesychius, and the authority of which is perversely main- 

1 The Greek fragments of the Hexapla were gathered by Field {Oriyenis 
Hexaplorum qnce supersunt. 2 vols.), Oxford, 1867-1875. A Syriac translation 
of the Septuagint text of the Hexapla was made by Paul of Telia in 61() a.d. 
A manuscript of this translation of the eighth century was discovered in the 
Ambrosian Library of Milan and issued by Ceriani in 1874. Still more recently 
a fragment of the entire Hexapla of a number of the Psalms has been discovered 
in the Ambrosian Librarj- by Giov. Mercati, who has given a brief account of it 
in 1896, and who will soon publish it. It embraces P.s. 45 and parts of 17, 27-31. 
34, Zb. 48, 88 (of the numbers of the Septuagint). Cf. Giov. Mercati, Un 
Palimpsesto Ambrosiano dei Salmi Esapli, Turin, 1898. 

- See Holtzmann. EinUitung. s. 47. who quotes from Origen : '• In exempla- 
ribus autem Xovl Testamenti hoc ipsum posse facere sine periculo non putavi " 
(in Mt. XV. 14). See, however, Jerome on Mt. 24^ and Gal. 3'. 


tained by a handful of disputatious persons. It is obvious that 
these writers could not amend anything in the Old Testament 
after the labours of the Seventy ; and it was useless to correct 
the New, for versions of Scripture which already exist in the 
languages of many nations show that their additions are false." ' 
Cf. with reference to Hesychius further Jerome's Comm. on 
Is. 58". Nestle, in Z. D. M. G., XXXII. s. 481 seq., quotes from 
a scholion of Jacob of Edessa, the statement that Lucian when 
he saw "'^HX in the text and KvpLoi on the margin he combined 
the two, 'ASmvai Kvpioi. A similar conflation is indeed found in 
the earliest Hebrew text of the Old Testament in the phrase 
mn"31S (see Cornill, Ezekiel, pp. 172 seg.). Nestle {MarginaJien, 
Tubingen, 1893, s. 45) suggested that Lucian had used the Peshitto 
version. This was confirmed by Stockmayer in his investigation 
of the books of Samuel, and is agreed to by Strack {I.e., s. 194). 
Field {Hexapla. LXXXVIII.) calls attention to the fact that the 
formula miT' "'ns, so common in Ezekiel, is given by Ed. Rom. 
Kvpio'i, in Com]}. Aid. Codd., III., XII., 26, 42, 49, etc., Kiipios Kvpun ; 
but in Codd., 22, 36, 48, etc., a8u>vaC Kupios. 

When Christianity ascended the throne of the Csesars great 
efforts were made for the transcribing and distribution of manu- 
scripts to supply the place of those that had been destroyed in 
the last persecution. Finally the Emperor Constantine, about 
332 A.D., ordered Eusebius to prepare "fifty copies of the 
Sacred Scriptures ... to be written on prepared p^irchment 
in a legible manner, and in a convenient, portable form, by 
professional transcribers thorouglily practised in their art." 
These were " magnificent and elaborately bound volumes of a 
threefold and fourfold form."^ None of these have been pre- 
served, but we may justly suppose that the}' were at least as 
large and stately as the Uncial codices of the fourth centurj'- 
from other cities, which have been preserved. These codices 
doubtless tended to establish official texts for a large pai't of the 
eastern Roman Empire, and it may be that the conflate Syriac 
text, which became the dominant text from the fourth century 
onwai'd, dates from these codices. 

Many ancient versions were made from the Cireek Bible. The 

1 Xircne and ront-yicoi}!- Fathn-.i. 2d series, Vol. VI., St. Jerome, p. 488. 
" Kusebitts, Vit. Cdiistdii., IV. ."(!-."" ; Ricliardson's edition, Nicene and Post- 
iV'icoie Fathers, 2d scrips, Vol. I., 1890, p. 549. 


early Latin versions of North Africa and North Italy ; the 
Egyptian versions, the Memphitic and Thebaic, were made 
in the second century; the Gothic in the fourth century; the 
Ethiopic in the fourth or fifth centuries, and the Armenian in 
the fifth century. These represent several stages in the de- 
velopment of the text of the Greek Bible. 

V. Maxusckipts of the Greek Bible 

The earlier manuscripts of the Greek Bible are called Uncials, 
or Majuscules, because they are written in capital letters with- 
out accents ; the later are called Minuscules, because they are 
written in a smaller hand. A careful study of the manu- 
scripts of the Greek Bible on the genealogical principle en- 
ables scholars to arrange them in the following groups : 

VI. The So-called Neutral Text 

The earliest uncial manuscript of the Greek Bible is the Vati- 
can codex, of the fourth Christian century, catalogued as B. 

"Written in an uncial hand of the fourth century on leaves of 
the finest vellum made up in quires of five ; the lines, which are 
of sixteen to eighteen letters, being arranged in three columns con- 
taining forty-two lines each, excepting tlie poetical books, where 
the lines being stichometrical, the columns are only two. There 
are no initial letters, although the first letter of a section occar 
sionally projects into the margin ; no breathings or accents occur 
prima manu, the punctuation if by the first hand is rare and sim- 
ple. Of the 759 leaves which compose the present quarto volume, 
617 belong to the Old Testament. The first twenty leaves of the 
original codex have been torn away, and there are kicunie also at 
f. 178 (part of a leaf) and at f. 348 (ten leaves of the original 
missing) ; these gaps involve the loss of Gen. 1'— iC^, 2 K. 2^'' "*"'', 
Vs. 10.5^-137" ; the missing passages in Genesis and Psalms have 
been supplied by a recent hand. The Prayer of Manasses and 
the Books of the Maccabees were never included in this codex. 
The other books are in the following order : Genesis to 2 Chron., 
Esdras 1, 2, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Job, Wis- 
dom of Solomon, Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, Esther, Judith, 
Tobit, Hosea, and the other Minor Prophets to Malachi, Isaiah, 


Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, and epistle of Jeremiah, Eze- 
kiel, Daniel (the version ascribed to Theodotion)." ' « 

It seems best to use Swete's descriptions so far as they go, for 
this and the other great codices, because they are concise, accurate, 
and technical ; and it is better for scholars to rest upon a common 
ground in such technical matters. He does not specify the New 
Testament part of the codices ; and these I must add. Codex B 
has all the New Testament except Heb. 9"-13", the Pastorals, 
Philemon, and the Apocalypse. 

The Codex Vaticanus represents a text earlier than any of 
the revisions of the third century, and it belongs to a family 
which was used by Origen when he made his Hexapla.^ It gives 
what Westcott and Hort term the Neutral Text, that is, a text 
which is free from the corruptions which came in in all the sub- 
sequent revisions, although it still has early corruptions of its 
own.3 This text is now accessible to scholars in the facsimile 
Roman edition, and also in a convenient and reliable form in 
Swete's edition of the Septuagiut, published by the University 
Press of Cambridge, England, which follows the Vatican codex, 
and onl)' uses the Alexandrian and Sinaitic where the Vatican 
text is missing. 

The next earliest manuscript is the Sinaitic, discovered by 
Constantinus Tischendorf in 1844—1859.* It also is an Uncial 
of the fourth century. 

" Written in an uncial hand, ascribed to the middle of the fourth 
century, and in lines which, when complete, contain from twelve 
to fourteen letters, and which are arranged in four columns on 
unusually large leaves of a very tine vellum, made from the skin 
of the ass or of the antelope. Tlie leaves are gathered into quires 
of four, excepting two which contain five. There are no breath- 
ings or accents ; a simple point is occasionally used. In the New 
Testament the MS. is complete ; of the Old Testament the follow- 
ing portions remain : fragments of Gen. 23, 24, and of Numbers 
5, 6, 7, 1 Chron. iF-19'', 2 Esdras 9, to end. Nehemiah, Esther, 
Tobit, Judith, 1 Mace, 4 Mace, Isaiah, Jeremiah', Lam. l'-2-'°, Joel, 
Obadiah, Jonah, Nalium, Habakkuk. Zeplianiah, Haggai, Zecha- 
riah, Malaehi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, 

1 Swete, Old Tfstament in Oreek, Vol. I. p. xvii. 

2 Strack, EinUitung. s. 194 ; Silberstein. Z. A. T. W.. iSQZ, s. U. 

' See Westcott and Hort, Neto Tr.ilament in &reck, Introduction, p. 150. 
* Gregory, Prolegomena, pp. 345 seq. 


Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of the Son of Siracli, Job." ' This 
codex not only contains the whole of the present Canon of the 
New Testament, but also the Epistle of Barnabas and fragments 
of the Shepherd of Hermas.'-' 

Tliis manuscript, usuallj^ known as S, but also by others as 
S, is the nearest in text to the Vatican Codex B; but it con- 
tains readings, especially in John, Luke, and the Apocalypse, 
of the two distinct types which are known as Western and 
Alexandrian readings.^ 

The differences between these two great Uncials of the 
fourth century are such as to imply several stages of trans- 
mission between them and the time when thej' departed from a 
common parent. German scholars, after Tischendorf, value S 
more highly than British scholars do. The parent manuscript 
is placed by Hort not later than the early part of the second 
Christian century.* This parent must have been therefore a 
collection of rolls, a little library of the different writings. 

VII. The Egyptian Text 

The third great Uncial manuscript is the Alexandrian A, 
of the British Museum, dating from the fifth century. 

" Written in an uncial hand of the middle of the fifth century, 
on vellum of fine texture originally arranged in quires of eight 
leaves, occasionally (but chiefly at the end of a Book) of less than 
eight ; three or four and twenty letters go to a line ; fifty or fifty- 
one lines usually compose a column, and there are two columns 
on a page. Large initial letters, standing in the margin, announce 
the commencement of a paragraph or section, excepting in Vol. 
III., which appears to be the work of another scribe. There are 
no breathings or accents added by the first hand ; the punctuation, 
more frequent than in B, is still confined to a single point. The 
three volumes, which contain the Old Testament, now consist of 
C30 leaves. Of these volumes only nine leaves are lost and five 
mutilated. The portions of the Septuagint, which are thus defi- 
cient in A, contained Gen. 14'*"", lo'-''''-'^ 16'^=; 1 K. 12'^'-14'; 

' Swete, Old Testament in Greek, p. xx. 

- For a full description of this codex and a history of its discovery by Tisch- 
endorf, see Gregory, Prolegomena, pp. 346 seq. 
' Gregory, I.e.. p. 346. 
* Xew Testament in Greek, Introduction, pp. 222 seq. 


Ps. 49i«-79"'. The codex opens (1, f. 3) with a table of the books 
written in uncial letters somewhat later than the body of the iMS. 
The fii'st volume contains the Octateuch with Kings and Chronicles 
(ofiov ISi/SXi-a V). The books of Chronicles are followed (Vol. II.) by 
the Prophets (wpo4>r)Ta.L is) Minor and Major, Jeremiah, including 
Baruch, Lamentations and the Epistle ; Daniel (Theodotion's ver- 
sion) is succeeded by Esther, Tobit, Judith, Esdras 1, 2, and the 
four books of jNIaccabees. The third volume contains the Psalter, 
with Ps. CLI., and the Canticles, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the 
Song of Solomon, the AVisdom of Solomon, and the "Wisdom of the 
Son of Sirach. The table shews that the Psalms of Solomon once 
occupied a place at the end of the fourth volume which contains 
the New Testament."' ' This codex contains all of the present 
Canon of the Xew Testament except Mt. 1^-25''; John 6" -8''; 
2 Cor. 4'^ -12'. It also has the two epistles of Clement except 

■]^58-63 213-20 2 

This manuscript was in the possessiou of the Patriarch of 
Alexandria for manj^ centuries before it was presented to 
Charles I. of England in 1628. Swete saj's : ^ 

" It seems probable that A, which, as far back as the furthest 
period to which we can trace its history, was preserved in Egypt, 
had been originally written there ; and, as ilr. E. M. Thompson 
has pointed out, the occurrence of Egyptian forms of the Greek 
letters in the superscriptions and colophons of the books proves 
that ' the !MS., if not absolutely written in Egypt, must have been 
immediately afterwards removed thither.' " 

To the same family belongs the Codex Ephraem C, also of 
the fifth century, now iu the National Library at Paris. It 
is a bundle of fragments, preserving tliree-fifths of the whole 
original manuscript in the uncial character. But it is a 
palimpsest ; that is, the original letters have faded or been 
washed oiit, and the nianuscriiit has been Mritten over by selec- 
tions from Ephraem the Sj-rian.* 

The Codex Vaticanus 452 of the Prophets,^ of the eleventh 
century, was also originally in the possession of the Patriarch 
of Alexandria, and presents a text of the same general char- 

1 Swete, I.e., p. xxii. * See Gregory, Prolegomena, pp. 366 seq. 

- See Gregory, rrnleijomena. p. 355. 

» I.e., p. xxui, note. ' H. & P., 91. 


acter as A.^ So also does the Codex Arabrosianus of the Law, 
assigned to the fifth century by Ceriani.^ 

To these may be added the Codex Bodleianus of Genesis of 
the eighth century. ^ These represent an Alexandrian official 
text, but probably later than the revision of Hes3'chius. 

E. Klostennann * thinks that the recension of Hesj'chiiis is 
represented by Codex Vaticanus, gr. 556.^ Ceriani claims the 
text of Codex Marchalianus for Hesychius.^ 

So far as the New Testament is concerned, Hort thinks that 
the text of A is mixed with both Syrian and Western readings. 
Silberstein has made a careful examination of the text of 3 
Kings (1 Kings of our Bible), and finds that of the 259 Hexa- 
pla additions as indicated by the asterisk, nine-tenths appear 
in A, and that there can be no doubt of the dependence of this 
text upon the recension of Origen." 

Similar detailed work on all the books of the Old and New 
Testaments is necessary before the exact relation of A to Origen 
and Hesychius and the earlier Alexandrian text can be fully 

" The text of A stands in broad contrast to those of either B 
or S, though the interval of years is probably small. The con- 
trast is greatest in the Gospels, where A has a fundamentally 
Syrian text, mixed occasionally with pre-Syrian readings, chiefly 
Western. In the other books the Syrian base disappears, though 
a Syrian occurs among the other elements. In the Acts and 
Epistles the Alexandrian outnumber the Western readings. All 
books except the Gospels, and especially the Apocalypse, have 
many pre-Syrian readings not belonging to either of the aberrant 
types ; in the Gospels these readings are of rare occurrence. By 
a curious and apparently unnoticed coincidence the text of A in 
several books agrees with the Latin Vulgate in so many peculiar 
readings devoid of Old Latin attestation as to leave little doubt 
that a Greek MS. largely employed by Jerome in this revision of 

1 Comill. Ezekiel. s. 71. 

^ Momimenta Sacra et Profana, III.. Mediol., 1864. See also Swete, i.e., 
p. xxri, for a full description. 

3 See Swete, ?.c., p. x,xvi. * Analecta, s. \Q. ^ H. & P., 26. 

^ Ceriani, de Codice Marchaliano. See Nestle in Urtext und Uebersetzunyen, 
s. 73. 

' Z. A. T. II'., 1893, s. 68, 09; 1894, s. 26. 


the Latiu version must have had to a great extent a common 
origiual with A." * 

Hort thinks that " Not a single Greek MS. of any age . . . 
has transmitted to us an Alexandrian text of anj- part of the 
New Testament free from large mixtm-e with other texts."' ^ 

VIII. The Text of the Hexapla 

The uncial manuscript Marchalianus of the Prophets, dating 
from the sixth or seventh century, represents the Gi-eek text 
of Origen's Hexapla on the margin.^ The chief authority 
for this text, however, is the Codex Sarravianus in Lej'den, 
containing the Heptateuch.* Codex Venetus, gr. 1, ma}' be 
added on the authority of Lagarde, Ceriani, and Giesebrecht.* 
Cornill adds also the cursives. Codex Chisianus of the Prophets,* 
the Codex Barberinus of the Prophets.'' The Codex Coislini- 
anus,^ containing the Octateuch, also has the text of the Hex- 
apla. The recently discovered Hexapla of a section of the 
Psalms gives us the exact copy of the work of Origen. The 
other manuscripts need careful comparison with this so soon as 
it may be published. 

There is no evidence that Origen or Eusebius or Pamphilus 
issued a revised text of the New Testament. 

IX. The So-called "Western Text 

The Codex Bezse, D,^ of the Gospels and Acts, from the sixth 
centui-y, contains "substantially a Western text of Cent. II., 
with occasional readings probably due to Cent. IV. . . . 
AVestern texts of the Pauline Epistles are preserved in two 

I Westcott and Hort, JVeio Testament in Greek, Introduction, 1882, p. 152. 

•^ I.e., p. 150. 

3 This is XII. of H. & P. See Cornill, EzeMel, s. 15 ; Nestle, I.e., s. T:). 

* H. & P., IV. and V. ; published in pliototype by Omont, Leyden, 1897. See 
Strack, I.e., s. 190 ; Nestle, UrUxt und Uebersetznng, s. 72. 

* H. & P., 23. E. Kloslermann, Annleeta, s. 9-10, 34, shows that it belongs 
with H. & P., XI., Vat. gr. 2106, malting up a complete Old Testament. 

o This manuscript alone gives the old Greek translation of Daniel; all others 
give Theodotion. 

' //. & P., 86, contains the Prophets except Daniel. 

« H. <£■ P., X. See Buhl. I.e.. s. 138 ; Nestle, I.e., s. 72. 

8 See Gregory, Prah^ijumena. pp. 369 seq. 


independent uncials, D^ and (tj."^ This Western text is tlius 
described by Hort: 

"The chief and most constant characteristic of the Western 
readings is a love of paraphrase. Words, clauses, and even whole 
sentences, were changed, omitted, and inserted with astonishing 
freedom, wherever it seemed that the meaning could be brought 
out with greater force and defiuiteness. They often exhibit a cer- 
tain rapid vigour and fluency which can hardly be called a rebellion 
against the calm and reticent strength of the apostolic speech, for 
it is deeplj- influenced by it, but which, not less than a tamer spirit 
of textual correction, is apt to ignore pregnancy and balance of 
sense, and especially those meanings which are conveyed by 
exceptional choice or collocation of words. . . . 

"Another equally important characteristic is a disposition to 
enrich the text at the cost of its purity by alterations or additions 
taken from traditional and perhaps from apocryphal or other non- 
biblical sources. . . . 

" Besides these two marked characteristics, the AVestern read- 
ings exhibit the ordinary tendencies of scribes whose changes are 
not limited to wholly or partially mechanical corruptions. . . . 

"As illustrations may be mentioned the insertion and multipli- 
cation of genitive pronouns, but occasionally their suppression 
where they appeared cumbrous ; the insertion of objects, genitive, 
dative, or accusative, after verbs used absolutely ; the insertion of 
conjunctions in sentences which had none, but occasionally their 
excision where their force was not perceived, and the form of the 
sentence or context seemed to commend abruptness ; free inter- 
change of conjunctions; free interchange of the formulae intro- 
ductory to spoken words ; free interchange of participle and finite 
verb with two finite verbs connected by a conjunction ; substitu- 
tion of compound verbs for simple as a rule, but conversely where 
the compound verb of the true text was difficult or unusual ; and 
substitution of aorists for imperfects as a rule, but with a few 
examples of the converse, in which either a misunderstanding of 
the context or an outbreak of untimely vigour has introduced the 
imperfect. A bolder form of correction is the insertion of a nega- 
tive particle, as in ilt. 21^- (oi being favoured, it is true, by the 
preceding tov), Lk. 11^^, and Rom. 4''-' ; or its omission, as in 
Rom. 5", Gal. 2% 5". 

" Another impulse of scribes abundantly exemplified in Western 
readings is the fondness for assimilation. In its most obvious 

' Westcott and Hort, I.e., pp. 148, 149. D- = Codex Claromontanus ; 
G' = Codex Bornerianus. 


form it is merely local, abolishing diversities of diction where the 
same subject-matter recurs as part of two or more neighbouring 
clauses or verses, or correcting apparent defects of symmetry. 
But its most dangerous work is ' harmonistic ' corruption ; that is, 
the partial or total obliteration of differences in passages other- 
wise more or less resembling each other. Sometimes the assimi- 
lation is between single sentences that happen to have some matter 
in common ; more usuallj', however, between parallel passages of 
greater length, such especially as have in some sense a common 
origin. To this head belong not ouly quotations from the Old 
Testament, but parts of Ephesians and Colossians, and again of 
Jude and 2 Peter, and, above all, the parallel records in the first 
three Gospels, and to a certain extent in all four." ' 

There are great differences of opiniou as to the value of this 
Western text, especially between British and German scholars. ^ 

Rendel Harris, in his recent study of this text, makes the 
following statements : 

" So extensively has the Greek text of Codex Bezae been modi- 
fied by the process of Latiniza.tion that we can no longer regard D 
as a distinct authority apart from it. In the first instance it may 
have been such ; or, on the other hand, it may have been the ori- 
ginal from which the first Latin translation was made. But it is 
probably safe to regard D -|- d as representing a single bilingual 
tradition. . . . 

" It is the Bezan Latin that is of prime importance, while the 
Greek has no certain value except where it differs from its oicn 
Latin, and must not any longer be regarded as an independent 
authority. . . . 

" The coincidences between D and Irenaeus take us again to a 
primitive translation that cannot be as late as the end of the 
second century. And finally, an examination of the relicts of 
Tatian's Harmony, and of the Syriac Versions shows reason for 

1 Westcott and Hort, I.e., pp. 123-125. 

2 " Eine ratselliafte Handschrift, uber deren 'Wert die Meinungen weit ausei- 
nander gehen. Wahrend die einen in ilu- das einzigartige Denkmal einer zwar 
verwilderten, aber sicherlich manches Urspriingliche enthaltenden Textesgestalt 
erblicken, wie sie vor der endlichen Konstituiernng des Kanons verbreitet 
gewesen, gilt sie anderen als der llauptreprasentant des durch willl<iirliche 
Aenderungen und Interpolationen entstellten sogen. Oocidentalisclien (west- 
ern) Textes, und dazwisclien stelien eine Anzalil Sonderanffassungen, welche 
ihrerseits der Eigenart der unter alien Umstanden liochbedeutsamen Urkunde 
Rechnungzutragensuchen." Von Gebhardt in Urtext und Uebersetzungen der 
Bibel, s. 31. 


believing that the bilingual at least as concerns the Gospels is 
oldei- than Tatian." ' 

Harris thinks that the Western text is Roman of the second 
centurj' and that Tatian, who studied and taught at Rome, used 
it in his Diatessaron.^ 

Still more recently Resch advanced the theorj^ that the 
differences in the great original Texts are due to independent 
translations of a Hebrew original.^ Chase endeavours to show 
a strong Syrian influence.* Blass has given strong reasons for 
the opinion that the Western text of Acts rests upon another 
edition of the original than that used by the other ancient 
family of manuscripts.^ Harris in consideration of these theo- 
ries adheres to his opinion, yet recognizes the force of Blass' 

X. The So-called Text of Lucian 

The Western text of the New Testament has apjparently 
nothing exactly to correspond with it in the Greek text of the 
Old Testament. This is due to the defects of the Greek manu- 
scripts of this text, in that they contain parts of the New Tes- 
tament alone. It cannot escape attention, however, that whilst 
this text is sustained by the most ancient Latin and Syriac 
texts of the New Testament, these same ancient Latin and 
Syriac texts in the Old Testament sustain the so-called text of 
Lucian. Driver and Mez^ both call attention to this and sum 
up the evidence. Mez calls attention to the facts that Ceriani" 
saw the agreement of the old Latin with Lucian in Lamenta- 
tions ; Vercellone ^ for the codex of Leon, WelUiausen for 
Samuel, Jacob for the book of Esther, Silbersteiu ^ for the first 
book of Kings. Driver says : ^^ 

1 Coikx Bezce in Texts and Sttidies, Cambridge, IL 1, pp. 114, 161, 192. 
2?.c.,p. 234. 

5 Resch, Agrapha, 1892, pp. 350, 351 ; Die Logia Jesu nach dem Griechischen 
und Hehriiischen Text loiederhergestelU, 1898. 

* Chase, The Old Syriac Element in the Text of Cod. Bezx, 1893. 

6, Studien und Krit., 1894, s. 86-120; Acta Apost., 1896 ; Evangelium 
secundtim Lucam secundum formam quae videtur Eomanam, 1897. 

^ Driver. Samuel, p. Ixxvii ; Mez. Die Bibel des Josephus. 1895, s. 81. 

' Ceriani, Mon. Sacr. et Profan., 1861, I. 1, p. xvi. (Addenda). 

' Vercellone, Varice Lectiones, II. 436. 

^ Z. A. T. W., 1893, s. 20. "' Samuel, 1890, pp. Ixxvii, Ixxviii. - 


" Tlie conclusion which the facts observed authorize is thus that 
the Old Latin is a version made, or revised, on the basis of MSS. 
agreeing closely with those which were followed by Lucian in 
framing his recension. The Old Latin must date from the second 
century a.d. ; hence it cannot be based upon the recension of 
Lucian as such : its peculiar interest lies in the fact that it affords 
independent evidence of the existence of ]MSS. containing Lu- 
ciau's characteristic readings (or renderings), considerably before 
the time of Lucian himself." 

]Mez carefully examines the citations from the Old Testament 
in Josephus, Antiq., Books V.-VII., and reaches the conclusion 
that the so-called text of Lucian is older than Josephus, and 
that Theodotion made a revision of it. 

The Codex Vaticanus 330 was recognized by Field and then 
by Lagarde as giving essentially the text of Lucian. This 
manuscript was the chief authoritj' for the text of the Com- 
plutensian Polyglot.' 

In the New Testament the recension of Lucian is not known 
to exist in any manuscript. This is just as striking as the 
absence of Western readings from manuscripts of the Old 

XI. The Later Syrian Text 

Westcott and Hort distinguish between an eai'lier and later 
Syriac revision, and are willing to ascribe the earlier to Lucian. 
But all the manuscrijjts except those of the families thus far 
specified, and consequently the vast majority of all existing 
manuscripts, belong to the later Sj'riac revision. Westcott and 
Hort do not distinguish the earlier S3'rian readings and make 
no effort to ascertain the text of Lucian. Here they are weak. 
This is their view of Sj-rian readings : 

"The fundamental text of late extant Greek MSS. generally 
is beyond all question identical with the dominant Antiochian 
or Graeco-Syrian text of the second half of the fourth century. 
The community of text implies on genealogical grounds a com- 
munity of parentage: the Antiochian Fathers and the bulk of 

1 Field. Origenis Ilexapl., I., Prol.. p. Ixxxviii; Cornill, Ezekiel. s. 65; Buhl, 
I.e., s. 140. Lagarde also used for Lucian, H. & P.. 19, 44, 82, 93, 108, 118, and 
Cornill, H. & P., 22, 23, 36, 48, 51, 231. 


extant IMSS. written from about three or four to ten or eleven 
centuries later must have had in the greater number of extant 
variations a common original either contemporary with or older 
than our oldest extant MSS., which thus lose at once whatever 
presumption of exceptional purity they might have derived from 
their exceptional antiqmty alone." ' 

This text presupposes the work of Lucian and other rival texts. 

" The guiding motives of their criticism are transparently dis- 
plaj-ed in its effects. It was probably initiated by the distracting 
and inconvenient currency of at least three conflicting texts in the 
same region. The alternate borrowing from all implies that no 
selection of one was made, — indeed it is difl&cult to see how under 
the circumstances it could have been made — as entitled to su- 
premacy by manifest superiority of pedigree. Each text may 
perhaps have found a patron in some leading personage or see, 
and thus have seemed to call for a conciliation of rival claims." * 

The general characteristics of these texts are as follows : 
" Both in matter and in diction the Syrian text is conspicuously 
a full text. It delights in pronouns, conjunctions, and exfiletives, 
and supplied links of all kinds, as well as in more considerable 
additions. As distinguished from the bold vigour of the ' "West- 
ern ' scribes, and the refined scholarship of the Alexandrians, the 
spirit of its own corrections is at once sensible and feeble. En- 
tirely blameless on either literary or religious grounds as regards 
vulgarised or luiworthy diction, yet shewing no marks of either 
critical or spiritual insight, it presents the Xew Testament in a 
form smooth and attractive, but appreciably impoverished in sense 
and force, more fitted for cursory perusal or recitation than for 
repeated and diligent study." ^ 

Great progress has been made in recent years in the classi- 
fication of the manuscripts ; but much still remains to be clone. 
It seems to be evident that B. X, and their group represent a text 
earlier than any of the revisions of the third century. We 
are in the way of determining the text of the Old Testament 
as re^asecl by Origen and Lucian. The general character and 
antiqiiitj" of the so-called Western text of the New Testament 
has been established, and the tendency is to an increasing esti- 
mate of its value as compared with B. The relation of that 

1 '.Yestcott and Hort. J.c, p. 92. ^ -Westcott and Hort, I.e., pp. 133. 134. 
8 Westcott and Hort, I.e., p. 135. 


text to the New Testament revision of Lucian and to the Old 
Testament Luciau has still to be determined. The school of 
Westcott and Hort halt in theii- study of the Syrian text. It 
is necessary to distinguish between the late Syrian and the 
earlier Syrian text. They seem altogether uncertain as regards 
the earlier Syrian text. It is probable that these questions of 
Textual Criticism will have to be determined b}- the special 
study of all the different writings of the Old Testament. 
Back of the codices of the third century lie libraries of roUs, 
and in tliese libraries each roll had a history of its own. The 
future work of the Textual Criticism of the Greek Bible is 
largely in the second century B.C. 

XII. Printed Texts of the Greek Bible 

1. The first printed text of the Greek Bible is in the Com- 
plutensian Polyglot, 1.514-1517.^ This text was revised in the 
Antwerp Polyglot, 1569-1572, and the Paris Polyglot, 1645. 

2. Erasmus published his Greek New Testament in five 
editions, 1516-1535. Luther translated from tlie second edition 
of 1519.2 

3. The Aldine edition ^ of the Old Testament was published 
at Venice, 1518. 

4. Robert Stephens issued four editions of the Greek New 
Testament, 1546-1551. He used in addition to Erasmus and 
The Complutensian, fifteen manuscripts,* and for the first time 
in 1551 divided the Greek text into verses. 

5. Theodore Beza issued four editions of the Greek New 
Testament, in folio, 1565-1598, and five octavo editions, 1565- 
1604. He knew of D of the Epistles, but seems to have made 
little use of it.^ 

1 This text was based on the Vatican codices .330, 346 (H. & P., 108, 248'). 
and a few manuscripts of minor importance in Madrid, such as Venet. V. (H. 
di P.,iiS). 

^ Erasmus used several manuscripts of Basle, Evv. 1, 2 ; Acts 2 ; Apoc. 1, 
and for the third edition Ev. 61. 

» It was based on H. & P., 29, 68, 121 ; Lagarde, Mitt. 2, 57 ; Sept. St. 1, 
'2 ; Nestle, in Urtext und Uebersetzungen, s. 65. 

* He used but slightly V> and L of the Gospels. 

6 Ezra Abbot, Critical Easayn, 1888, p. 210. 


6. In 1586 there was published at Rome the Sixtine edition 
of the Greek Okl Testament. This was based on B. but the 
parts hacking in B were supplied from other manuscripts, which 
were not indicated. This text was also given in the London 
Polyglot, 1657, with a critical apparatus and various readings.^ 

7. The Elzevirs of Leyden issued a series of editions of the 
Greek New Testament from 1624 onward. The second edition 
of the j'ear 1633 claimed to give the received text of the New 
Testament. But there was no intrinsic merit in these editions 
based on manuscript authority to justify this reputation. 

In the eighteenth century numerous efforts were made to 
give better texts. 

8. Mill issued his New Testament at Oxford in 1707, the 
text of Stephens of 1550 with a rich critical apparatus. 

9. The Codex Alexandrinus was published by Grabe, Lee, 
and Wigan at Oxford in 1707-1720 with prolegomena. 

10. Bengel issued his critical text of the New Testament in 
1734. He arranged the manuscripts in two families, the Afri- 
can and the Asiatic. 

11. Wetstein published his New Testament in 1751-1752 at 
Amsterdam, with prolegomena and critical apparatus from the 
manuscripts. He was the first to designate the manuscripts 
with letters and numbers. 

12. Sender and his pupil Griesbach in their New Testament 
Criticism di\-ided the manuscripts into three classes: the West- 
ern, the Alexandrian, and the Byzantine. Griesbach sums up 
the characteristics of the two older texts in the plu-ase " gram- 
maticum egit alexandrinus censor, interpretem occidentalis."^ 
His New Testament appeared in several editions from 1774- 
1806 ; see especially small edition of 1805. 

13. Holmes and Parsons issued their Greek Old Testament 
at Oxford 1798-1827, citing a mass of manuscripts which they 
arranged in families in accordance with the great historical 
editions of the third century, Lucian, Hesychius and Origen. 
They used 20 Uncials and 277 Minuscules.^ 

' These are from A, D ; also, according to Nestle. I.e., p. 66 ; H. & P., IV., 
XII., 60, 75, 86. 8 See Nestle, I.e., s. 66, 6". 

- Gregory, rrolegomena, pp. 187, 188 ; see 0. von Gebhardt, I.e., s. 44. 


1-1. Lachmann's New Testament appeared in two editions, 
1831 and 1850. He disregarded printed texts and limited his 
text so far as possible to the text^ of the Eastern famil}- of 

Schaff compiles a number of testimonies to Lachraaun. and 
endorses them as follows : 

Tregelles says (p. 99) : " Laclimann led the way in casting aside 
the so-called textus receptus, and boldly placing the New Testa- 
ment wholly and entirely on the basis of actual authority." Reuss 
calls him (Biblioth.. p. 239) " vir doctisshnus et KpLTiKWTa.To<;." The 
conservative Dr. Scrivener (p. 422 seq.) depreciates his merits, 
for he defends, as far as possible, the traditional text. But Dr. 
Hort (G')'. Test., II. 23) does full justice to his memorj' : "A new 
period began in 1831, when, for the first time, a text was construed 
directly from the ancient documents without the intervention of 
any printed edition, and when the first systematic attempt was 
made to substitute scientific method for arbitrary choice in the 
discrimination of various readings. In both respects the editor, 
Lachmann, rejoiced to declare that he was carrying out the prin- 
ciples and unfulfilled intentions of Bentley, as set forth in 1716 
and 1720." Atbot saj-s of Lachmann (in Schaff's Rellg. Encycl., 
I. 275) : " He was the first to found a text wholly on ancient evi- 
dence ; and his editions, to which his eminent reputation as a 
critic gave wide currency, especially in Germany, did much toward 
breaking down the superstitious reverence for the textus recejytus."^ 

15. Tischendorf laboured for thirty years on the text of the 
Greek Bible. His first edition of the New Testament apjjeared 
in 1810, of the Old Testament in 1850. His last edition of the 
Old Testament was issued in 1860, of the New Testament in 
1)^(34_1872. He died before completing the prolegomena. The 
prolegomena to the New Testament was prepared bj- Gregory 
after consulting about a thousand manu.scripts, and published 
in 1881-1891. Tischendorf discovered the Sinaitic codex and 
many other valuable manuscripts and has doiie more for the 
Greek Bible than any one since Origen. 

J He used manuscripts A, B, C. and P. Q, T. Z of the Gospels, and II of the 
Epistles. He called in the Western text of D, E, for Acts and G for Epistles, to 
decide when there was difference between the Orientals. See von Gebh.Trdt. 
^.c, 46. 

^ Schaff, Companion, to the Greek Testament, 1883, pp. 2S0, 267. 


16. Tregelles also devoted his life to the New Testament 
text and published his works from 1844-1879. 

17. The last and in some respects the most solid work on 
the text of the New Testament is the New Testament of West- 
cott and Hort, 1881, with an introduction which is the most 
valuable contribution to the Textual Criticism of the New 
Testament that has j'et appeared ; their text was prepared in 
accordance ^ith the genealogical principle and on the basis of 
the tlistinction of four families of manuscripts, the preference 
as to age belonging to the neutral text of B. 

18. The Cambridge school have also given us the best text of 
the Greek Old Testament in Swete's edition, 1887-1894, based 
on the correct text of B, which is the earliest and most im- 
portant authority, with various readings from the other chief 
authorities. This is preparatory to a much larger work in 
course of preparation for the Universitj' Press by Swete, 
Brooke, and McLean, with a complete critical apparatus. 

19. The plan of Lagarde to edit the chief ancient texts of 
the Old Testament was begun ^Tith his edition of the text of 
Lucian, but he died after completing the iirst volume, 1883. The 
more recent work in textual criticism has been in the detailed 
labour upon particular books, in which many scholars have 
done distinguished work. A most important work on the 
New Testament has been the editing of a number of the writ- 
ings of the New Testament by Weiss, and of the Acts and 
Luke by Blass. 



A NUMBER of earlj- versions were made from the Hebrew 
text of the Old Testament and the Greek text of the New 

I. The Aramaic Versions 

The Aramaic versions began in the spiagogues of Palestine, 
Syria, and the Orient, among the Aramaic-speaking Jews, as 
a necessity of worship in the synagogue, not later than the 
second century B.C. But the translations were oral, by scribes 
who had a competent knowledge of both the Hebrew and the 
Aramaic. Such Aramaic translations were in use in the times 
of Jesus and His apostles, and were doubtless used bj' Jesus 
and His apostles in their public ministry. The citations from 
the Old Testament in the primitive Gospels were from these 
Aramaic popular translations. 

It is the opinion of many modern critics ^ that the citations 
from the Old Testament in the New Testament were never 
made from the Hebrew text, but always from the Greek Tar- 
gum or the Aramaic Targum. These Targums were modified 
and improved by paraphrase and explanation from time to 
time before they were committed to writing. Tliose that have 

> Bohl. Forschungen naeh cine Volksbibel stir Zeit Jesti, Wien, 1873; 
Alttest. Citate in Xeuen Test., Wien, 1878 ; Toy, QuotaUnns in the Xew Test., 
1884 ; Neubauer, Sludia Biblica., I. 3. Turjiie, The Old Testament in the Xeic, 
1868, pp. 260 seq., classifies the 278 citations as follows: WJ agree witli both the 
Septuagint and the Massoretic text, 10 agree with the Massoretic text alone, 37 
agree with the Septuagint, 175 agree with neither, 3 have nothing to corre- 
spond with them in the Old Testament. Tliis is strongly in favotir of the use of 
an Aramaic Targum bj' the New Testament writers. 


been preserved are in the western dialect of the Aramaic, 
altliough they were modified in their subsequent use in the 
synagogues of tlie Orientals by the introduction of an eastern 
Aramaic colouring. These Targums do not in all respects 
conform to the official text of the Sopherim. They represent 
in some respects an earlier text. The earliest of these Tar- 
gums. called the Targum of Onkelos, is limited to the Law.i 
It is written in the Judaic dialect. It exhibits the character- 
istics of the Sopherim in its effort to avoid anthropomorphisms, 
obscene allusions, and everything unworthy of God in the Jew- 
ish religion. But it paraphrases and endeavours to explain the 
original.^ A later Targum on the Law not earlier than the 
seventh century, called the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan, by 
mistake for Yerushalmi, paraphrases still more largely. It is 
in a later dialect of Aramaic. Another Targum Yerushalmi 
has been preserved only in fragments. 

An early Targum on the Prophets, called the Targum 
of Jonathan ben Uzziel, written in the Judaic dialect has been 
preserved. The Talmud ^ alludes to him as a pupil of Hillel 
and as writing a paraphrase of the Prophets. This translation 
has been much changed by oral transmission. It is thought 
b}- Schiirer and Buhl that Joseph the Blind revised it ; but 
Dalman and Nestle deny it. Certainly it preserves much 
earlier material, which is not in accord with the Hebrew text 
of the Sopherim or their interpretation.* 

These Targums represent the oral translations of the Law 
and the Prophets, as used in the worship of the synagogue. 
The Targums on the other books are all much later and for 
private use. The Targums on Psalms and Job are in the 

1 It seems probable that the traditional Onkelos and Aquila are really the 
same persons, the pupil of Akiba. Bmt there is evidently a mistake of tradi- 
tional ascription. There is no similarity between the Greek version of Aquila 
and this Aramaic version. Its method and principles are wide apart. 

- It was first printed in 1482 at Bologna with Hebrew text and commentary 
of Rashi, and frequently in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The best 
edition is Berliner, Tarf/um Onkelos, 1884. It was translated with other Tar- 
gums by Etheridfje, 18fi2-186j. 

« Baba Bnthra. VIII. 134 a ; Mcgilla, f. 3 a. 

* The name of Jonathan is thoujlit by some to be a variation of Tlieodotion. 
This Targum is printed in the Rabbinical Bibles and great Polyglots, 


manner of Jonathan, and probably by the same author. The 
Targum of the Proverbs is nearer to the Hebre-sv text. 
The Targum on the five Rolls is ascribed to Joseph the Blind 
by tradition, but really is not earlier than the eleventh cen- 
tury. ^ There are two Targums on Esther,^ and a Targum on 
Daniel of the twelfth centm-y.^ A Targum on Chronicles 
of the ninth century * resembles closely the Syriac translation 
in the Syriac Old Testament and maj- have been made from it. 
All of the Writings have Targums except Ezra and Xehemiah ; 
but these Targums were private and not official.^ 

II. The Sykiac Bible 

The earliest translation of the Greek New Testament into 
Sj-riac, known to us, is the Diatessaron of Tatian. Next to 
this in antiquity is apparently the text recenth' discovered in 
1893 bj- ^Irs. Lewis, and published by Bensly, Harris, Burkill, 
and Mrs. Lewis herself, 189J— 1896. Still later is the Curetou- 
ian Syriac Gospels, discovered b}- Cureton in 1858.^ The Old 
Testament was translated from the Hebrew into the Syriac for 
the most part in the second Christian century, and the other 
books of the Xew Testament from the Greek so far as the 
Syrian Church recognized the Sacred AVritings as canonical. 
The official S3-riac Bible, called the Peshitto or Peshitta," was 
of gradual origin on the basis of these older translations. 

The S3'riac Bible was re\ised under the influence of Litciau 
and assimilated to his text of the Septuagint as well as the 
Greek Xew Testament. Another version was made in 508 by 
Philoxenis from the Greek, and this was re%dsed by Thomas of 
Haraklea in 616 a.d. 

^ These Tarcriims are in the Rabbinical Bibles and great Polyglots. 

2 The earliest of these is in Walton's Polyglot ; the other was printed by 
Francis Taylor, London, 1665. 

3 It is in manuscript in the National Library at Paris. 
* It was published by Beck, Augsburg, 1680-1683. 

^ Buhl, I.e., s. 183. 

" Cureton, Semains of a very Ancient Hecension of the Four Gospels in Syriac, 
London, 1858. 

" Peshitto is the western Syriac. Peshitta the eastern Syriac, pronunciation. 


III. The Latix Vulgate 

Jerome, the greatest biblical scholar of ancient times, devoted 
a large portion of his life to the revision of the Latin Bible. 
At first he made a revision of the Italian Latin version used 
in Rome. He revised the Psalter, and it was used in the 
Roman churches in Venice until recent times. It is still used 
in Milan as the Roman Psalter. He made a second revision, 
which has been used in the Church of France as the Galilean 
Psalter. He finally undertook to make a new translation from 
the Hebrew text under the help of Bar Anina, a learned Jew. 
The Greek versions, especially that of Symmachus, were kept 
in view. The Hebrew text used by him was the text of the 
Sopherim. The version was begun in 390 and completed in 
405 A.D. The version of Jerome supplanted the older Latin 
versions ; but not without mixture with them in the ecclesias- 
tical manuscripts which have come down to us in the uses of 
the Latin Church. He did not translate the Apocrypha. 
These came from the old versions. 

The earliest manuscript of the Vulgate is the Codex Amia- 
tinus, prepared shortly before 716 a.d.,^ in the Laurentian 
Library, Florence. The Codex Toletanus at Toledo is said to 
belong to the eighth century. The Codex Fuldensis of the 
New Testament, in the abbey of Fuldo, dates from 546.^ The 
Vulgate was first printed in 1450 at Mainz, and in many sub- 
sequent incunabula editions, said to be more than two hundred 
in number, before 1517 a.d. The first critical edition is in the 
Complutensian Polj-glot, 1517. Protestant editions were issued 
by Andreas Osiander in 1522, and b}^ Robert Stephens at Paris, 
1.523 seq.y and much improved in 1540. The Tridentine Coun- 
cil, in 1546, declared the Vulgate to be the official text of tlie 
Bible. Efforts were then made to prepare an official text. 
The Sixtine edition was issued in 1590, under the patronage 
of Pope Sixtus v., as the official edition. This was withdrawn 
after the death of the pope, and a new text undertaken under 
the advice of Bellarmin, and issued in 1592 as the Clementine 

1 See Studia Biblica, II. pp. 27.3, 324. 

2 SchaS, Companion to the Greek Testament, p. 151. 


text under Clement VIII., and again in 1593, and finally in a 
more correct form in 1598. 

A modern edition of the Vulgate was published in 1822 by 
Leander Van Ess, who devoted many years to a critical study 
of it.i 

IV. The Arabic Version 

The Arabic version was made in the tenth century from the 
Hebrew text of fhe Old Testament by Rabbi Saadia ha Gaon 
(912f). The author was a fine Hebrew and Arabic scholar, 
and his translation is excellent. At times it paraphrases after 
the manner of the Targums.^ 

V. A Persian Versiox 

A Persian version of the Law was made from the ]\Iassoretic 
Hebrew text in the first half of the sixteenth century by Rabbi 
Jacob Tawus. It is literal and follows closely the revisions of 
Aquila and Saadia. It is in the London Polj^glot. 

VI. English Versions 

The Anglo-Saxon versions and the early English versions of 
Wicklif and the Poor Friars were made from the Latin Vul- 
gate ; but during the period of the Reformation, the English 
Protestant Reformer, William Tyndale, translated from the 
Massoretic Hebrew text and the Greek New Testament. He 
translated the New Testament in 1524-1525. He then translated 
the Law, which was published in 1530, and the book of Joshua 
in 1531. He probably translated other portions of the Old 
Testament also before his death, but thej' were not published. 
Miles Coverdale translated the whole Bible from the Latin, 

1 Van Ess, Pvagni. Krit. Gesrii. d. Vulg., Tubingen, 182 J ; Kaulen, Gesch. 
der Vulrj., Mainz, 1868. 

- Another Arabic version was made in the eleventli centurj'. but it has been 
interpolated from the Syiiac by a Cliristian hand. It has been preserved only in 
the book of Joshua and 1 K. 12 to 2 K. 121^, and Neh. l-O-'. How much more 
of it there was we know not. There is also a translation of the Law by an Afri- 
can Jew of the thirteenth century, published by Erpenius in 1022. 


the German of Luther, and the Zurich Bible, under the au- 
thoi-ity of Cromwell, and it was published in 1535. 

Jolin Rogers (pseudo-Thomas Matthew) was the literary 
executor of Tyndale. He published a folio edition of the 
Bible in 1537. He used Tyndale for the Pentateuch, and 
Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and 1 Chronicles, and for the 
New Testament ; but the rest of the Bible was Coverdale's. 

Richard Taverner, under the advice of Cromwell, undertook 
to revise the English Bible, which he did in 1539. He retui-ns 
to the Vulgate in the Old Testament, but in the New Testa- 
ment he is more faithful to the original Greek. 

Coverdale, under the instruction of Cromwell, undertook an- 
other revision and produced what is known as the Great Bible, 
which was published in 1539. The second edition, 1540, had a 
preface b_v Cranmer. This became the authorized version and 
remained such for twentj'-eight j^ears. The larger part of the 
Scrijjtures in the Prayer Book of 1519-1552 are from this 

The English exiles at Geneva, William Wbittiugham, Thomas 
Sampson, Anthony Gilby, and others, made the so-called Geneva 
Version. The New Testament was translated from the original 
Greek by Whittingham in 1557. It is a revision of Tyndale 
under the influence of Beza. The Old Testament was trans- 
lated from the Hebrew by Sampson, Gilby, and others, and was 
published in 1560. This became the standard Bible for the 
Puritan ministers of England until the version of King James 
took its place. 

Archbishop Parker undertook a new revision, and the work 
was distributed among a number of bishops, deans, and 
scholars. It was at last finished and published in 1568. It 
was re%'ised again in 1572, and became known as the Bishops' 

The Roman Catholics undertook an English version based 
on the Vulgate but keeping the other versions in view. The 
New Testament appeared in 1582 at Rheims, the Old Testa- 
ment in 1609 at Douay. 

And so three great parties in England were represented by 
three English versions of the Bible. 


King James, in accordance with the petition of the Puritans 
at the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, authorized a new 
version. Fift3--four scliolars were appointed, divided into six 
companies, to do the work. BUson, Bishop of Winchester, and 
Dr. ]Miles Smith were the final revisers. It was published in 
1611, and eventually drove all the Protestant versions from 
the field. They used Beza's Greek Testament of 1589. It 
remains the common version of the English-speaking Protes- 
tants until the present time.^ 

An Anglo-American revision was made bj' a large company 
of scholars representing the different Protestant religious bodies 
of Great Britain and America. It was completed and published, 
the New Testament in 1881, the Old Testament in 1881. The 
New Testament revision was based on the use of all the re- 
sources of modern Textual Criticism. The Old Testament revi- 
sion was based on the currently used INIassoretic text, without 
any attempt to use the resources of the modern Textual Criti- 
cism of the Old Testament. It is satisfying neither to the 
people, who are attached to the common version and see no 
sufficient reason for abandoning it, nor to scholars, who are 
displeased with the excessive conservatism and pedantry which 
characterize it, especially in the Old Testament. It is very 
desirable that, when the next re\'ision takes place, Roman 
Catholics and Protestants may unite in it. 

VII. Otheu Vehsioxs 

(1) The German Bible. 

German Bibles were among the first books to appear from 
the press after the invention of printing. Fourteen editions of 
the High German Bible appeared between 1166 and 1518, be- 
sides four editions of the Low German Bible. These were all 
translations from the Latin Vulgate. Martin Luther made 
the Bible used by the German people since the Reformation. 
He issued the New Testament in 1522, the Pentateuch in 1523, 
and finally completed the Bible in 1534. Many subsequent edi- 
tions were revised by him, until the tenth, 1544-1545. Luther 
1 Schaff, Companion to the Greek Testament, pp. 312 seq. 


translated from the Hebrew Old Testament, using the text of 
Brescia, and from the Greek New Testament, using the edition 
of Erasmus of 1519.^ The Roman Catholics issued several 
rival German Bibles : Emser, in 1527 ; Eck, in 1537 ; and the 
Dominican, Dietenberger, in 1534. This edition was subse- 
quently revised by Ulenberg, in 1630, and at ^Mainz in 1662, 
and became the German Catholic Bible. In 1868, at Eisenach, 
the Evangelical Church Diet appointed a Commission for the 
revision of Luther's Bible. The New Testament appeared at 
Halle in 1867, the re'V'ised edition in 1870. The Prohebiiel 
was published in 1883, the revision was finished in 1892. The 
best German translation of the New Testament is that of 
Weizsiicker. Kautzsch has recently issued an excellent trans- 
lation of the Old Testament with critical notes, 2te Aufl., 1896. 

(2) French Versions. 

Lefevre d'Etaples made a French Protestant version of the 
Bible, which was published at Antwerp in 1530 ; but the ver- 
sion of Olivetan, published in 1535 at Neufchatel and corrected 
by Cah-in, obtained wider recognition. Under the influence of 
Calvin, the pastors of Geneva undertook a revision under the 
leadershij) of Beza, and in 1588 issued a version which main- 
tained its place until the present day. But it is well-nigh .sup- 
planted now by a new translation from the original Greek and 
Hebrew bv Dr. Louis Segond. The Old Testament was pub- 
lished in 1874, the New Testament in 1879. 

(3) Dutch Versions. 

A Dutch translation from Luther and the Cologne Bible was 
issued in 1526 by Jacob van Liesveldt. Van Uttenhove made 
a new translation from Luther's Bible with the help of Olive- 
tan's, and published it in 1556. The States-General of Holland 
authorized a new translation in 1624, which was completed and 
published in 1637. It was called the States Bible, and has held 
its place until the present time. The new translation author- 
ized by the General Synod in 1854, and published so far as the 
New Testament is concerned in 1867, has not displaced it. 

(4) Other Translations. 

The Bible was also translated into Italian, Danish, Swedish, 
" See pp. 180, 206. 


and other modern languages before the Reformation. In the 
era of the Reformation it was translated into all the European 
languages. In more recent years, tlu-ough the laboui-s of 
foreign missions, it has been translated into the greater part 
of the known languages of the world. But none of these trans- 
lations have any value for the purposes of the criticism of the 
text of Holy Scripture. 



We should not hesitate to recognize that a certain kind of 
Textual Criticism was used in the most ancient times by the 
Sopherim and Massorites, who have transmitted to us the tra- 
ditional Hebrew text of the Old Testament. The work of 
Origen, Lucian, Hesycliius, and Jerome, upon the Greek Bible 
was also Textual Criticism, so far as the}' earnestly and indus- 
triously sought to get the best text of Holj' Scripture. But all 
this work was carried on in a crude fashion, and without defi- 
nite principles of Textual Criticism. Biblical Textual Criti- 
cism began its work in the era of the Reformation. 

I. Textual Criticism at the Reformation 

Erasmus led the movement, so far as the Greek Bible is con- 
cerned. In 1505 he edited Valla's Annotations to the Netv Tes- 
tament, in the preface of which he urges a return to the original 
Greek text and its grammatical exposition. In 1516 he issued 
his Greek New Testament. This passed through many editions 
and became the basis for the study of the Greek New Tes- 
tament among Protestants. An impulse to sound criticism 
among Roman Catholics had also been given by the Compluten- 
sian Polyglot of Cardinal Ximenes. 

The Protestant Reformers had given their chief attention to 
the criticism of the Canon, the establishment of the sole au- 
thority of the Scripture, and to its proper interpretation, but 
they liad not altogether overlooked the criticism of the text. 
With reference to the Old Testament, thej^ had been chiefly 
influenced by two Jewish scholars, the one Elias Levita, who 
lived and died in the Jewish faith, the other Jacob ben Chayim, 


who became a Christian. Chaj'im edited the second edition of 
Bomberg's Rabbinical Bible and issued an elaborate introduc- 
tion to it. He also edited, for the first time, the 3Iassora. It 
^vas a common opinion among the Jews that the vowel points 
and accents of the Hebrew Scriptures came down from Ezra, 
and even Moses and Adam. Levita explodes these traditions 
by the following simple line of argument : 

" The vowel points and the accents did not exist either before 
Ezra or in the time of Ezra or after Ezra till the close of the 
Talmud. And I shall prove this with clear and conclusive evi- 
dence. (1) In all the writings of our Rabbins of blessed memory 
whether the Talmud, or the Hagadah, or the Midrash. there is 
not to be found any mention whatever of or any allusion to the 
vowel points or accents." (2) and (3) The Talmud in its use of 
the Bible discusses how the words should be read and how divided. 
This is inconsistent with an accented official text. (4) '• Almost 
all the names of both the vowel points and the accents are not 
Hebrew, but Aramean and Babylonian." ' 

The Reformers rejected the inspiration of the Massoretic 
traditional pointing and only accepted the unpointed text. 
Luther does not hesitate to speak of the points as new human 
inventions about which he does not trouble himself, and says, 
" I often utter words which strongly oppose these points," and 
"they are most assuredly not to be preferred to the simple, 
correct, and grammatical sense." '^ He goes to work with the 
best text he can find to give the Word of God to the people. 
So Calvin^ acknowledged that they were the result of great 
diligence and sound tradition, yet to be used Avith care and 
selection. Zwingli gave great value to the Greek and Latin 
versions and disputed the Massoretic signs.* 

It is astonishing how far post Reformation Swiss Protestant 
divines allowed themselves to drift away from this position, 
and how greatly they entangled themselves once more in the 
bonds of Rabbinical traditionalism. This was chiefly due to 

1 Levita. Maasoreth Ha-Massoreth, edited by Ginsburg. pp. 127 scq. London, 

2 Com. on Gen. 47" ; on Is. 9«. 

* Com. on. Zech. 11'. * Opera ed. Schult., V. pp. 556 seq. 


another Jewish scholar, Azzariah de Rossi,' who claims, to use 
the concise statement of Dr. Ginsburg : ^ 

" That as to the origin and development of the vowels their 
force and ^'irtue were invented by, or communicated to, Adam, in 
Paradise ; transmitted to and by ^Moses ; that they had been par- 
tially forgotten, and their pronimciation vitiated during the Baby- 
lonian captivity; that they had been restored by Ezra, but that 
they had been forgotten again in the wars and struggles during 
and after the destruction of the second temple ; and that the 
Massorites, after the close of the Talmud, revised the system, 
and permanenth' fixed the pronunciation by the contrivance of 
the present signs. This accounts for the fact that the present 
vowel points are not mentioned in the Talmud. The reason why 
!Moses did not punctuate the copy of the law which he wrote, is 
that its import should not be imderstood without oral tradition. 
Besides, as the law has seventy different meanings, the writing of 
it, without points, greatly aids to obtain these various interpreta- 
tions; whereas the affixing of the vowel signs would preclude all 
permutations and transiiositions, and greatlj" restrict the sense by 
fixing the pronunciation." 

His principal reliance was upon some passages of the book 
Zohar and other cabalistic writings, which he claimed to be 
older than the Mishna, but which have since been shown to be 
greatly interpolated and of questionable antiquity.^ 

Relying upon these, the elder Buxtorf, with his great author- 
ity, misled a large number of the most prominent of the Re- 
formed divines of the continent to maintain the opinion of the 
divine origin and authority of the jNIassoretic vowel points and 
accents.* In England, Fulke,* Broughton,^ and Lightfoot " 
adopted the same opinion. These Rabbinical scholars exerted, 
in this respect, a disastrous influence upon the study of the 
Old Testament. 

1 The Lifjht of the Eyes. Cri? -l"«a. 1574-1575, HI. 59. 

- Life of Elias Lei-ita. in connection with his edition of Levita's Massoreth 
Ha-Massoreth, London, 1867, p. 53. 

2 Ginsburg in I.e., p. 52 ; Wogue, Histoire de la Bible, Paris, 1881, p. 121. 
* Tiberius sive Commentarius Masorethicus, Basle, 1620. 

' A Defence of the Siticei-e and True Translations of the Holy Scriptures into 
the EnriU.ih Toni/ue, etc., 158.3 ; Parker Society edition, 1843. pp. 55, 578. 

^ Daniel.- his Chaldee Visions and his Hebrew, London, 1597, on Chap. 925. 

' Chorographical Century, c. 81 ; Works, Pitman's edition, 1823, VoL IX. 
pp. 150 seq. 


II. Textual Ckiticissi lx the Sevexteexth Cextury 

The critical principle reasserted itself mightily through Lud- 
\rig Cappellus, of the French school of Sauuiui-, where a freer 
type of theology had maintained itself. A new impulse to 
Hebrew scholarshiiJ had been given by Amira, Gabriel Sionita, 
and other Maronites, who brought a wealth of Oriental learning 
to the attention of Christian scholars. Pocock journeyed to 
the East, and returned with rich spoils of Arabic literature. 
France, Holland, and England vied with one another in their 
use of these literarj^ treasures, and urged them for the stud}' 
of the Hebrew Scriptures over against the Rabbinical tradition. 
Erpenius in Holland, the great Arabist, was the teacher of 
Cappellus, and first introduced his work to the public. Cap- 
pellus fell back on the %iews of Elias Levita, the teacher of the 
Protestant Reformers, and of these Reformers themselves ; and 
denied the inspiration of the Hebrew vowel points and accents, 
and the common Massoretic test ; and insisted upon its revision, 
through the comparison of ancient versions.' Cappellus was 
sustained by the French theologians generally, even by Rivetus, 
also bj' Cocceius, the father of the Federal school in Holland, 
who first gave the author's name to the public, and by the body 
of English critics.^ 

In this connection a series of great Polyglots appeared, 
beginning witli the Antwerp of the Jesuit, Arias Montanus, 
assisted by And. Masius, Fabricus Boderianus, and Franz 
Rapheleng;^ followed by the Paris Polyglot of Michael de 
Jay,* edited by Morinus and Gabriel Sionita ; and culminating 
in the London Polj'glot of Brian Walton, in which he was 
aided by Ed. Castle, Ed. Pocock, Thos. Ilvde, and others;* 
the greatest critical achievement of the seventeenth century, 
which remains as the classic basis for the comparative study of 
versions until the present daj-. 

1 His work was published anonymously in 1624 at Leyden under the title 
Arcanum punctuationis revelatnm. though completed in 1(521. 

2 Comp. Schnederuiann, Die Contruverse des Lud. Cappellus mit den Bux- 
torfen. I>eipzig. 187!i. 

' Bihlia liegia, 8 vols, folio, 1609-1572. * 1029-1645, 10 vols, folio. 

' 6 vols, folio, 1657. 


The work of Cappellus remained unanswered, and worked 
powerfully until 1G48. In the meantime the Roman Catholic 
Frenchman, Morinus, taking the same position as Cappellus, 
pressed it in order to show the need of Church authorit}' and 
tradition.! This greatly complicated the discussion by making 
the view a basis for an attack on the Protestant position. The 
j-ounger Buxtorf was stirred up to maintain the traditional 
Rabbinical position against Cappellus. ^ The three universities 
of Sedan, Geneva, and Leydeu were so aroused against Cap- 
pellus that they refused to allow the publication of his great 
work, Critiea Sacra, which, however, appeared in 1650, the 
first of a series of corresponding productions.^ Heidegger and 
Turretine rallied the universities of Zurich, Geneva, and Basle 
to the Zurich Consensus, which was adopted in 1675, against 
all the distinguishing doctrines of the school of Saumur, and 
the more liberal type of Calvinism, asserting for the first and 
only time in the S3'mbols of any Christian communion the doc- 
trine of verbal inspiration, together with the inspiration of 
accents and points. 

Thus the formal principle of Protestantism was straitened, 
and its vital power destroyed by the erection of dogmatic 
barriers against Biblical Criticism. " They forgot that they 
by this standpoint again made Christian faith entirely depend- 
ent on tradition; jes, with respect to the Old Testament, on 
the synagogue."'* 

The controversy between Brian Walton and John Owen is 
instructive just here. John Owen had prepared a tract ^ in 
which he takes this position: "Nor is it enough to satisfy us 
that the doctrines mentioned are preserved entire ; every tittle 
and iota in the Word of God must come under our considera- 
tion, as being as such from God.'" ^ 

Before the tract was issued he was confronted by the prol- 
egomena to Walton's Biblla Pohjglotta, which, he perceived, 

^ Exercitationes hihlicx, \Q&Z. 

2 Tract, depunct. vocal, et accent, in Uhr. V., T., heb. origine antiq., 1648. 
» See Tholuck, Akadem. Leben, II. p. .S32. 
* Dorner, Gesch. Prot. Theologie, p. 451. 

' TTie Divine Original, Authority, and Self-evidencing Light and Purity of 
the Scriptures. « Works, XVI. p. 303. 


undermined his theory of inspiration ; and he therefore added 
an appendix, in which he maintains that : 

" The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were immedi- 
ately and entirely given out by God himself, His mind being in 
them represented unto us without the least intervenieucv of such 
mediums and ways as were capable of giving change or alteration 
to the least iota or syllable." ^ 

Brian Walton replies to him : 

"For when at the beginning of the Reformation, divers ques- 
tions arose about the Scriptures and the Church ; the Romanists 
observing that the punctuation of the Hebrew text was an inven- 
tion of the ilasorites, they thereupon inferred that the text with- 
out the points might be taken in divers senses, and that none was 
tyed to the reading of the Rabbins, and therefore concluded that 
the Scripture is ambiguous and doubtful without the interpretation 
and testimony of the Church, so that all must flee to the authority 
of the Church and depend iipon her for the true sense and meaning 
of the Scriptures. On the other side, some Protestants, fearing 
that some advantage might be given to the Bomanists by this C07i- 
cession, and not considering how the certaintfi of the Scriptures 
might well be maintained though the Text were unpointed, instead 
of denying the consequence, which they might well have done, 
thought fit rather to deny the asfiumption, and to maintain that the 
points were of Divine original, whereby they involved themselves 
in extreme labyrinths, engaging themselves in defence of that 
which might be easily proved to be false, and thereby wronged 
the caiise which they seemed to defend. Others, therefore, of 
more learning a,nd judgment kno^vmgthaA, this position of the divine 
original of the }mints could not be made good ; and that the truth 
needed not the patronage of an untruth, would not engage them- 
selves therein, but granted it to be true, that the points were in- 
vented by the Jiahhins, yet denied the consequence, maintaining, 
notwithstanding, that the reading and sense of "the text might be 
certain vrMwnt punctuation, and that therefore the Scriptures did 
not at all depend upon the authority of the Church : and of this 
judgment were the chief Protestant Divines, and greatest linguists 
that then were, or have been since in the Christian World, such as 
I named before ; Luther, Zwinglius, Calvin, Beza, jMuscuIus, Bren- 
tius, Pellicane, Oecolampadius, Mercer, Piscator, P. Phagius, Dru- 

' Of the Intefirity and Purity nf the Hebrew Text of the ScriptureD, irith Con- 
siderations of the Prolegomena and Appendix to the Lute ^' liitdia Pobjyiotta," 
Oxford, 1050. 


sius, Schindler, Martinius, Scaliger, De Dieu, Casaubon, Erpenius, 
Sixt. Amana, Jac. aud Ludov. Capellus, Grotiiis, etc. — among our- 
selves, Archbishop Ussher, Bishop Prideaux, Mr. Mead, Mr. Seklen, 
and iunumerable others, \vhom I forbear to name, who couoeived 
it would nothing disadvantage the cause, to yield that proposition, 
for that they could still make it good, that the Scripture was in 
itself a svfflcieiit and certain rule for faith and life, not depending 
upon any human authority to support it." ^ 

We have quoted this extract at length for the light it casts 
upon the struggle of criticism at the time. John Owen, honoured 
as a pi-eacher aud dogmatic -writer, but certainly no exegete, 
had spun a theory of inspiration after the a priori scholastic 
method, and with it did battle against the great Polyglot. It 
was a Quixotic attempt, and resulted in ridiculous failure. His 
dogma is crushed as a shell in the grasp of a giant. The in- 
dignation of Walton burns hot against this -wanton and un- 
reasoning attack. But he consoled himself -^-ith the opening 
reflection that Origen's Hexapla, Jerome's Vulgate, the Com- 
plutensian Polyglot, Erasmus' Greek Testament, the Antwerp 
and Paris Pol3-glots, had all in turn been assailed b}' those 
whose theories and dogmas had been threatened or overturned 
bj- a scholarly induction of facts. 

The theory of the scholastics prevailed but for a brief period 
in S\vitzerland, -where it w"as overthrown by the reaction under 
the leadership of the younger Turretine. The theory of John 
Owen did not influence the divines who under the authority 
of the British Parliament constructed the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith : 

" In fact, it was not till several years after the Confession was 
completed, and the star of Owen was in the ascendant, that under 
the spell of a genius and learning only second to Calvin, English 
Puritanism so generally identified itself with what is termed his 
less liberal view." - 

Owen's tj'pe of theology -n^orked in the doctrine of inspira- 
tion, as well as in other dogmas, to the detriment of the simpler 
and more evangelical Westminster theology ; and in the latter 

' The Considerator Considered. London, 16.59, pp. 220 seq. 
* Mitchell, Miiiittes of Weslmi)ister Assembly, p. xx. 


part of the seventeenth century gave Puritan theology a scho- 
lastic type which it did not possess before. But it did not 
prevent such representative Presbyterians as Matthew Poole, 
Edmund Calamy, and the Cambridge men, with Baxter, from 
taking the more scholarly position. The critics of the Re- 
formed Church produced masterpieces of biblical learning, 
which have been the pride and boast of the Reformed Churches 
to the present. Like Cappellus, thej- delighted in the name 
critical, and were not afraid of it. John Pearson, Anton Scat- 
tergood, Henry Gouldman, and Richard Pearson,^ and above all 
Matthew Poole, published critical works of great and abiding 

III. Textual Criticism in the Eighteenth and 
Nineteenth Centuries 

Biblical Criticism continued in England till the midst 
of the eighteenth century. Mill issued his critical New Tes- 
tament in 1707, the fruit of great industry, and was assailed 
by unthinking men who preferred pious ignorance to a correct 
New Testament.^ But Richard Bentley espoused the cause 
of his friend with invincible arguments, and he himself spent 
many years in the collection of manuscripts. He died leaving 
his magnificent work incomplete, and his plans to be carried 
out by foreign scholars. 

For " now original research in the science of Biblical Criticism, 
so far as the New Testament is concerned, seems to have left the 
shores of England to return no more for upwards of a century; 
and we must look to Germany if we wish to trace the further 
progress of investigations which our countrymen had so auspi- 
ciously begun." * 

Bishop Lowth did for the Old Testament what Bentley did 
for the New. In his works ^ he called the attention of scholars 
to the necessity of emendation of the Massotetic text, and 

1 Crltici Sacri. 9 vols, folio, 1660. 

2 Synopsis Critlcorum, 5 vols, folio, 1669. 

> Scrivener, Introduction to the Criticism of the X. T., 2d cd. 1874, p. 400. 
* Scrivener in /,c., p. 402. 

' De Sacra Poesi Ihbra'ortim. 1753, and Isaiah: A JS'eio Translation, icith 
a Preliminary Dissertation and Xotes, 1778, 2d ed., 1779. 


encouraged Kennicott to collate the manuscripts of the Old 
Testament, -which he did, publishing the result in a monu- 
meutal work in 1770-1780.^ This was preceded by an intro- 
ductory work in 1753-1759. ^ 

Bishop Lowth, with his fine aesthetic sense and insight into 
the principles of Hebrew poetry, saw and stated the truth : 

" If it be asked, what then is the real condition of the present 
Hebrew Text; and of what sort, and in what number, are the 
mistakes which we must acknowledge to be found in it: it is 
answered, that the condition of the Hebrew Text is such, as from 
the nature of the thing, the antiquity of the writings themselves, 
the want of due care, or critical skill (in which latter at least the 
Jews have been exceedingly deficient), might in all reason have 
been expected, that the mistakes are frequent, and of various 
kinds; of letters, words, and sentences; by variation, omission, 
transposition: such as often injure tlie beauty and elegance, 
embarrass the construction, alter or obscure the sense, and some- 
times render it quite unintelligible. If it be objected that a 
concession so large as this is, tends to invalidate the authority 
of Scripture; that it gives up in effect the certainty and authen- 
ticity of the doctrines contained in it, and exposes our religion 
naked and defenceless to the assaults of its enemies: this, I think, 
is a vain and groundless apprehension. . . . Important and fun- 
damental doctrines do not wholly depend on single passages; and 
universal harmony runs through the Holy Scriptures; the parts 
mutually support each other, and supply one another's deficiencies 
and obscurities. Superficial damages and partial defects may 
greatly diminish the beauty of the edifice, without injuring its 
strength and bringing on utter ruin and destruction.^ 

After this splendid beginning, Old Testament criticism fol- 
lowed its New Testament sister to the continent of Europe and 
remained absent until our own day. 

On tlie continent the work of Mill was carried on by J. A. 
Hengel,* J. C. Wetstein,^ J. J. Griesbach,^ J. M. A. Scholz,' 

' Vettts Test. Heb. cum var. lectionihus, 2 Tom., Oxford. 
2 The. Slate of the Printed Hebrcio Text of the Old Testament considered, 
2 vols. 8vo, Oxford. 

' Lowth, Isaiah, 2d ed., London, 1779, pp. lix., Ix. 

* Prodromus, .V.T. Gr., 1725. Novum Test., 1734. 

° Xew Test. Gr. cum lectionihus variantibus Codicum, etc., Amst., 1751-1752. 

« Symbols Critics, 2 Tom., 178.5-179.3. 

' Bib. krit lieise Leipzig, 182.3; N.T. Greece, 2 Bd., Leipzig, 1830-1836. 


C. Laclimann,! culminating in Const. Tischendorf, wlio edited 
the chief uncial authorities, discovered and edited the Codex 
Sinaiticus? and issued numerous editions of the New Testa- 
ment, tlie earliest in 1841. He crowned his work with the 
eighth critical edition of the New Testament,* which he lived 
to complete, but had to leave the prolegomena to an American 
scholar, who succeeded him in his chair at Leipzig and com- 
pleted his Avork in 188-4-1894. 

In the Old Testament, De Rossi carried on the work of 
Kennicott.* Little has been done since his day until recent 
times, when Baer united with Delitzsch in issuing in parts a 
revised Massoretic text, 1869-1895 ; Hermann Strack exam- 
ined the recently discovered Oriental manuscripts, the chief 
of which is the St. Petersburg codex of the Prophets,^ and 
Frensdorf undertook the production of the Massora Magna.^ 
Within recent times Textual Criticism has taken strong hold 
again in England. S. P. Tregelles," F. H. Scrivener,® B. F. 
Westcott, and F. J. A. Hort'' have advanced the Textual 
Criticism of the New Testament beyond the mark reached 
bj^ continental scholars. The text of Westcott and Hort has 
become the standard text of the Greek Testament for Great 
Britain and America, and the principles of the Textual Criti- 
cism of the New Testament, as stated by them, are regarded 
as the basis for further advance by most English-speaking 
scholars. In Old Testament criticism England is advancing 
to the front rank. The work of Giusburg on the Massora ^^ is 

1 Xorum Test. Greece et Latine, 2 Bil., Berlin, 1842-1850. 

2 Bibliorum Codex Siniiiticits PetropoJUaiiiis, St. Petersburg, 1862 ; Die 
Sinaibibel, Ihre Entdeckumj, Herausynhe uiid £rwerbung, Leipzig, 1871. 

' Novum Testamentum Greece. Editio octava : Critica Major, Lipsiae, 

* VariCB lectiones Vet. Test., 4 Tom., Parm., 1784-1788. 

' Prophetarum Posteriorum Codex Babylonims PetropoUtamis, Petropoli, 

« Die Masaora Magna ; Erster Theil, Massoretisches Worterbucli, Hanover 
unci Leipzig, 1870. 

" The Greek Netc Testament edited from Ancient Authorities, etc., 4to, 18.J7- 
1872, pp. 1017. 

8 Plain Introduction to the Criticism of the .Veio Testament, 3d ed., 1883. 

» The JVcio Testament in the Original Greek, Vol. II. Introduction and 
Appendix. N.Y., 1882. 

" The Massorah compiled from Manuscripts Alphabetically and Lexically 


the greatest acliievemeiit since the unpublished work of Elias 
Levita. And his edition of the IMassoretic text of the Old 
Testament will probably ere long supplant all others. 

The Textual Criticism of the Old Testament lagged behind 
the New Testament.^ And the reason of it is, that scholars 
long hesitated to go back of the Massoretic text. 

Keil in Germany for a long time resisted the advance of Text- 
ual Criticism, and in his anxiety to maintain the present Mas- 
soretic text did not hesitate to charge the Septuagint version 
with the carelessness and caprice of transcriljers and an uncriti- 
cal and wanton passion for emendation. W. H. Green of 
Princeton and his school represent the same spirit of hostility 
to Textual Criticism in the United States of America. The 
English revisers of the Old Testament placed the results of 
Textual Criticism in the margin of their revision, but the 
American revisers, under the headship of W. H. Green, ob- 
jected to all Textual Criticism whatever, and remonstrated 
against any, even in the margin. More recently Old Testa- 
ment scholars have urged more strongly the application of 
Textual Criticism to the Old Testament. Griitz, the Jewish 
scholar, rightlj- says that we ought not to speak of a Masso- 
retic text that has been made sure to us, but rather of dif- 
ferent schools of Massorites, and follow their example and 
remove impossible readings from the text.^ 

There can be no doubt, as Robertson Smith states : " It has 
gradually become clear to the vast majority of conscientious 
students that the Septuagint is really of the greatest value as a 
witness to the earl}- state of the text." ^ Bishop Lowth already * 
calls the INIassoretic text 

"The Jews' interpretation of the Old Testament." "We do 
not deny the usefulness of this interpretation, nor would we be 
thought to detract from its merits by setting it in this light ; it is 

arranged. Vols. I. and II., Aleph-Tav, London, 1880-1883 ; Vol. III., supple- 
mentarj' 188-5; Vol. IV., promised soon. 

' Davidson, Treatise of Biblical Criticism, Boston, 1853, I. pp. 160 seq. 

2 Krit. Com. zu den Psalmen nebst Text und Uebersetzung, Breslau, I., 1882, 
pp. 118 seq. 

f Old Test, in Jeinish Church, p. 86. 

* In his Preliminary Dissert, to Isaiah, 2d ed., London, 1779, p. Iv. 


perhaps, upon the whole, preferable to any one of the ancient ver- 
sions ; it has probably the great advantage of having been formed 
upon a traditionary explanation of the text and of being generally 
agreeable to that sense of Scripture which passed current and was 
commonly received by the Jewish nation in ancient times : and it 
has certainly been of great service to the moderns in leading them 
into the knowledge of the Hebrew tongue. But they would have 
made a much better use of it, aud a greater progress in the expli- 
cation of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, had they consulted 
it, without absolutely submitting to its authority ; had they con- 
sidered it as an assistant, not as an infallible guide." 

Probably few scholars would go so far as this, yet there is a 
strong tendency in that direction. The fact that the New Tes- 
tament does not base its citations upon the original Hebrew 
text in literal quotation, but uses ordinarily the Septuagint 
and sometimes Aramaic Targums with the utmost freedom, 
has ever given trouble to the apologist. Richard Baxter meets 
it in this way : 

" But one instance I more doubt of myself, which is, when 
Christ and his apostles do oft use the Septuagint in their citations 
out of the Old Testament, whether it be alwaies their meaning to 
justifie each fraijshition and particle of sense, as the Word of God 
and rightly done ; or only to use that as tolerable and containing 
the main truth intended which was then in use among the Jews, 
aud therefore understood by them ; and so best to the auditors. 
And also whether every citation of number or genealogies from 
the Septuagint, intended an approbation of it in the very points it 
differeth from the Hebrew copies." ' 

The study of the text of the Old Testament has been ad- 
vanced in recent 3-ears by a great number of scliolars in Ger- 
many, France, Switzerland, Holland, Austria, Italy, Great 
Britain, and America ; scholars of all faiths, Jew and Chris- 
tian, Roman Catliolic and Protestant. The)' have vied with 
one another in this fundamental work of biblical stud)-. It 
has now become practically impossible for any scholarl)' work 
to be done on the Old Testament without the use of all the 
resources of Textual Criticism for a sure foundation. 

^ More Seasons, 1672, p. 49; see also p. 46. 


IV. The Application of Textual Criticism to Holy 

Biblical Textual Criticism derives from general Textual 
Criticism its principles and methods of work. These differ in 
their ajjplication to the Bible only as there are special circum- 
stances connected with the biblical writings that differ from 
those of other writings. As Hort says : 

" The leading principles of textual criticism are identical for all 
writings whatever. Differences in application arise only from 
differences in the amount, variety, and quality of evidence : no 
method is ever inapplicable e.Kcept through defectiveness of evi- 
dence." ' 

V. The Genealogical Principle 

The application of the genealogical principle to the text of 
the Bible results in the following outline of work, so far as 
the Hebrew Bible is concerned. 

1. The first effort must be to ascertain the text of Ben 
Asher of the tenth Christian century. All the Palestinian 
manuscripts known to us, and all the citation.s in Jewish writers 
since that date, guide to this result. The recent printed texts 
of Baer and Delitzsch and of Ginsburg, although rivals, agree 
in the main in giving this text in a reliable form. 

2. We next have to determine the official text of the 
Sopherim of the second Christian century. Starting with the 
text of Ben Asher, which is the main stock, we have to bring 
into consideration the three streams of Massoretic tradition, 
the Palestinian, the Babylonian, and the Karaite, and trace 
them all back to their common parent. We may thus classify 
the Rabbinical writings from the second to the tenth century 
and arrange them in families and by age, in order to use their 
citations. The most important works to be considered are the 
Talmuds and the Midrashim. 

The most important of the Rabbinical writings are the 
Talmuds, — the Babylonian and the Palestinian. These contain 

1 Westcott and Hort, jVew Testament in the Oriyinal Greek, Introduction, 
1882, p. 19. 


the traditional interpretation of the Pentateuch in several 

(a) The most important of these is the 3Iishna,^ codified by 
Rabbi Jehuda, but completed by his immediate disciples. It 
was handed down as a compact body of tradition from the 
close of the second century a.d. but was not committed to 
writing until the rest of the Talmud was completed, in the 
sixth century.'' 

(6) The next in importance are the Baraithoth.^ These are 
external ]\Iishnayoth other than those contained in the code of 
Rabbi Jehuda. These are of uncertain date ; some of them 
older than the Mishna of Rabl)i Jehuda, some of them contem- 
porary, some more recent, probably none later than the third 
century. These are cited in the Talmud by the formulas 
"Our Rabbins teach," "It is taught."* These Baraithoth come 
from private rabbins such as R. Yanai, R. Chij-a, Bar Kappara. 
The rabbins Hillel, Shammai, and Akiba made earlier coUec- 

i ri3B?0 = Seuripum, repetition of tlie T,aw. 

' This has been published apart in various editions ; e.g. 1 vol. folio, Naples, 
1402; Surenhusius, 6 vols, folio, Amsterdam, 1698-170.3; Jost, Q tlile, Berlin, 
1832-1834 ; SUtenfeld, 6 thle, Berlin, 1863, and others. It is composed of six 
omn, which are subdivided into 11 + 12 + 7 + 10 + 11 + 12 = 63 tracts. The 
most famous of these is the Pirqe Aboth, a collection of sentences or sayings 
of the Fathers from the second century b.c. to the second century a.d. 

' Sn'13, pi. rwna. To distinguish between the Mishna of Rabbi .Tehuda 
and all the other elements as Gemara, is incorrect and misleading unless we use 
these terms in a purely formal sense, and distinguish in the Gemara the MisUnaic 
elements from the commentary of the Gemara upon them. Thus Emanuel 
Ueiilsch, in his Literaiy Bemains (p. 40) : "Jehuda the ' Redactor ' had excluded 
all but the best authenticated traditions, as well as all discussion and exegesis, 
unless where particularly necessary. The vast mass of materials was now 
also collected as a sort of apocryphal oral code. We have, dating a few genera- 
tions after the Redaction of the official Mish/ia, a so-called external Misltna 
(Baraitha) ; further, the discussions and additions belonging by rights to the 
Mishna called Tosephta (Supplement) ; and finally, the exegesis and methodology 
of the Ualacha (Hifri, Sifra, Mechilta), much of which was afterwards intro- 
duced into the Talmud." So Levy in his i\'f» Ifebraisches und Chahtaisches 
Wfirterbtirh (I. 260) defines: " 8n""l3 as properly that which is outside of the 
Canon (we must supply Nn"na to Snn;) ; that is, every Mishna (-or Halacha, 
doctrine) which was not taken up into the collection of the Mishna by R. Jehuda 
Hana-si, and many of ^Yhich collected separately by his later contemporaries are 
contained in different conipendiums." See Gratz, GeschichCe der Juden, IV. 
232/ ; Wogue, Ilistoire de V Exegese niblique, 1881, p. 18r,. 

* One of the most valuable of is the Kn"12 with reference to the order 
of the books of the Old Testament. (See p. 252.) 


tious, but these passed over into the Mishna of Rabbi Jehuda 
and the Baraithoth. The Linguage of the ]\lishnaaiid Baraitha 
is late Hebrew. 

(c) The third in importance in the Talmuds is the Toseph- 
toth,^ or additions. There are fifty-two of these sections, whose 
redaction is also referred to the third century. The language 
of these is Hebrew, but more coloured with Aramaic. ^ 

(d) The Gemara^ is a commentary on the earlier elements 
of the Talmud.* There are two of these which make up the 
two Talmuds, the Babylonian and the Jerusalem. 

The Jerusalem Gemara is the product of the Rabbinical 
school of Tiberias and was codified about 350 a.d. It treats 
of thirty-nine only of the sixty-three tracts of the Mishna. 

The Babylonian Gemara is four times as large as the Jeru- 
salem. It extends over thirty-six and one-lialf tracts of the 
Mishna, of which eight and one-half are different from those 
treated in the Jerusalem Gemara. It comes from the Rabbini- 
cal school at Sura on the Euphrates, the founder of which was 
Rab (Abba Areka), a scholar of Rabbi Jehuda. Its compila- 
tion extended from the fifth to the eighth century. ^ 

The Gemaras are in Aramaic of the eastern and western 
dialects. Portions of the Babj'lonian is in Med. Hebrew. 

' mnBom. 

- Thirty-one of these are contained in Ugolino's Thesaurus, translated into 

* Chiarini, Le Talmud de Babylone, 18.31, p. 19, go so far as to say : " Les 
Mekiltoth, ies Tosaphoth et les Beraitoth ont aussi porte le litre de nvjca on de 
r.iT'lJ nvJiTO, parce qu'' elles jouissarent de la meme autorite que la Mischna de 
Jnda le Saint, et qtt''elles etaient plus reputees encore que cette derniere des 
cote de Vordre et de la clarte." But they are regarded as apocryplial Mishna- 
yoth by some. But this does not decide their intrinsic value. See also Pressel, 
in Herzog, Heal Ency., 1 Aufl., XV. p. 661 ; Gelbhaus, Habhi Jehuda Hanassi, 
Wien, 1876, p. 92 ; Schurer, Lehrb. d. N. T. Zeitfjeschichte, p. 42; Zuuz, Got- 
tesdienstlichen Vortrdge der Juden, Berlin, 1832, pp. 49 seq. 

' The Jerusalem Talmud was first printed by Bomberg at Venice, folio 
(1522-1523); the Babylonian by Bomberg at Venice, 12 vols, folio, in 1520. These 
are scarce and valuable, but are both in the library of the Union Theological 
Seminary, New York. Nineteen tracts of the Jerusalem Gemara and three tracts 
of the Babylonian are in Ugolino. Chiarini began to translate the Talmud into 
French in 1831, but did not get beyond the Berakoth. M. Schwab has trans- 
lated into French the Jenisalem Talmud, 11 vols., Paris, 1871-1890. A German 
translation of the Babylonian Talmud by L. Goldschmidt is now in progress. 


(e) The To&aphoth are additional glosses to the Talmud from 
the school of Rashi of the twelfth century. 

The Talmuds contain numerous citations from the Old Tes- 
tament Scriptures. Of earlier date than the ilassoretic text, 
they are of great service for purposes of criticism. But criti- 
cal editions of the Talmud are still a desideratum. 

The Midrashim^ are expository commentaries on Holy Script- 
ure. The earliest of these belong to the time of the Mishna, 
and are quoted in the Gemaras. They are in Hebrew. The 
later are in Aramaic of different centuries. 

These are : (1) the Mtkhilta,- upon a portion of Exodus ; (2) the 
Sifra,^ upon Leviticus; (3) the Sifri* upon Numbers and Deuter- 
onomy. Their language is Hebrew ; (4) the Babboth,' a large col- 
lection on the Pentateuch and Megilloth. 

(a) One on Genesis from the sixth century called Bereshith 
Rabba, also Wayehi Rabba of the twelfth century. 

(6) Shemotli Rabba, on Exodus, eleventh to twelfth centurj'. 

(c) Wayyiqra Rabba, on Leviticus, from middle of seventh cen- 

(d) Bemidbar Rabba, on Numbers, from the twelfth century. 

(e) Debarim Rabba, on Deuteronomy, 900 a.d. 

(/) Shir Baslishirim Rabba, on Song of Songs, late in the Middle 

(g) Midrash Euth, of the late ]\Iiddle Age. 

(/i) Midrash Echa, on Lamentations, of seventh century. 

(i) Midrash Koheleth, of the late Middle Age. 

\j) Midrash Esther, 940 a.d.« 

(5) The PesiktaJ 

(a) Pesikta of Rab Kahana. These are expositions of the lec- 
tionaries or readings for the synagogue year. They are not ear- 
lier than the latter part of the seventh century a.d.* 

(6) Pesikta Rabbathi, second half of the ninth century, 
(c) Pesikta Zntarta of R. Tobia, twelfth century. 

1 B^^ia : 2>"n, to sUuly, inquire. 

* Sn'r'ra. Published by J. H. Weiss, Vienna, 1865 ; best edition, Frietimann, 
Vienna, 1870. Latin translation in Ugolino, XIV. 

' K~EC. Published by Weiss, Vienna, 1862. Latin translation in Ugolino, 

* "lEC. Published by Friodmann, Vienna, 1864. Latin translation in Ugolino, 
XV. » ni"! c-inp. 

' These have been translated into German by Wiinsche in his Bibliotheca 
liabbinica. ' xnp'CB. « Edition by Solomon Buber, Lyck, 1868. 


(6) Pirke' R. Elieser," a haggadistic work in fifty-four chapters, 
of the eighth century, upon Peutateuchal history.^ 

(7) Tanchumu : * Midrash of the Pentateuch of the ninth cen- 

(6) Yulqut Shinioni : ' Midrash of the whole Bible of the first 
half of thirteenth century." 

Three early historical works are of some importance : 

(a) The Meyillath Taanith,'' or Roll of Fasts. It is mentioned 
in the Mishua,^ and belongs to the beginning of the second 
century. It is Aramaic in the language of text, but the later 
commentary is in Hebrew of eighth century. 

(6) Seder Olam Habba,^ explanation of biblical history from 
Adam to the rebellion of Bat Cochba. It is cited in the Tal- 
mud, and ascribed to R. Jose beu Chalafta of 160 a.d. It is 
full of later interpolations.'" 

(c) The Seder Olam Zittta,^^ is a genealogical work of the 
eighth century. 

In this body of ancient literature, much of which precedes 
the Alassoretic text, we have a mass of citations which are of 
value for the criticism of the old biblical text of the Sopherim. 

Besides these there were a large number of distinguished 
rabbins of the Middle Ages, such as Saadia of the tenth cen- 
tury in Egypt, and his pupil, Isaac Israeli, in North Africa; in 
the eleventh century Chasdai Ibn Shaprut and Samuel ha- 
Nagid, Menaheni ben Saruk and Dunash Ibn Labrat, in 
Spain ; in the twelfth century Moses Ibn Ezra, Juda ha-Levi, 
Abraham ben Meir, Ibn Ezra, and, chief of all, Maimonides, 
1135, the most distinguished Jew since Rabbi Jehuda. He 
wrote commentaries on the Mishna in Arabic.^- His influence 
extended throughout the JeMdsli and Christian world. 

' "P^S. 2 Baraitha derabbi Elieser. ' Edition, Warsaw, 1874. 

< so-n:n. ^ ti'pb'. 

^ An edition publislied at Wilna, 1876. The Midrash on Zechariah has re- 
cently been translated and published by King, Cambridge, 1882. 

' n'jrn rhm. s Taanith, II. 8. 9 N3T Db^u -nc. 

'" An early edition was published at Basel, 1580. The best edition is in 
Anecdcitn Oxoniensia, Semitic series. Vol. I. part VI., 189.5. " NCU obnJ "nC. 

^^ The Introductions have been published, namely, the Porta Mosis, trans, by 
Pocock, Oxford, 105.5; Moreh-Xehhiikhim, a treatise of theulogy and religious 
philosophy, by Buxtorf, Basel, 1629, trans, into English by Friedlander, Lon- 
don, 1885. 


In Germany was the celebrated Simeon Kara, the author of 
the Yalqut ; in France, Rashi, 104:0-1105, contemporar}- of God- 
frey of Bouillon, wrote a commentary on the Bible ; Samuel 
ben Meir, 1085 ; Joseph Kimchi, at the close of the twelfth 
century, and his most distinguished son, David Kimchi, about 
1200, who wrote commentaries on the Bible, a lexicon, gram- 
mar, etc. 

In the fifteenth century Jewish learning found expression in 
Abravanel, 1-437, born at Lisbon, who wrote commentaries on 
the Pentateuch, Proverbs, and Daniel ; Elias Levita, born in 
1471, in Bavaria ; Abraham ben jMeir, at Lucca, employed by 
Bomberg. The rabbins of the Middle Ages are important 
authorities for determining the Massoretic text. The com- 
mentaries of Rashi and Aben Ezra are printed in the Rabbin- 
ical Bibles on either side of the iMassoretic text and Targums. 

In these citations we have help, in the latest to determine 
the correct Massoretic text, and in the earlier to determine 
the correct Taanite text. These citations need a more careful 
examination and comparison than has yet been given to them. 
But the agreement of scholars thus far is to the effect that the 
consonantal text used in the Mishna is essentiallj' our conso- 
nantal text. It was fixed in its present form at the close of the 
second century A.D. 

The versions now come into line. The Arabic version of 
Saadia of the tenth century is valuable for the first step back of 
the text of Ben Asher. The Vulgate version of Jerome gives 
evidence of the text of the Sopherim of the second century. 

3. The next step backwards is to ascertain the Maccabean 
text. The main stock is the ofiicial text of the Sopherim of 
the second century. The Aramaic Targums of Onkelos on 
the Law and of Jonathan on the Prophets give evidence in part 
for the text of the first century of the Christian. era and possi- 
bl)' earlier. The Syriac version gives evidence of a Hebrew 
text of the first Cliristian century. The citations in the New 
Testament from the Aramaic Targums on the Old Testament 
carry us back into the early part of the first century of our 
era. The citations in the Apocrj-pha and Pseudepigrapha, so 
far as they cite from the Hebrew text or Aramaic Targums, 


give evidence to texts of the first century of our era, and of the 
first and second centuries B.C., according to their dates. The 
most valuable of these is the book of Jubilees, which gives im- 
portant independent evidence as to the Hebrew text of the 
first century B.C. The book of Jubilees has been studied with 
great care by Dillmann and Charles. The latter ^ gives twenty- 
five passages in the book of Genesis, where the Massoretic text 
should be corrected by the book of Jubilees, which in these 
instances is sustained by the Samaritan codex or the ancient 

There is a large Jewish literature from the first Christian 
century backwards, whose citations are important for the 
determination of the pre-Rabbinical and pre-Christian text. 

(rt) The writings of the Hellenists. Josephus was a volumi- 
nous wi"iter.2 He gives evidence of an early text of the Septu- 
agint, corresponding in the main with the so-called Lucian 
Kecension. This has been shown recently by Mez.^ 

Philo, born in 20 B.C., lived till the middle of the first cen- 
tury A.D., and wrote a large number of treatises.* Ryle has 
recently shown the critical value of his citations.^ 

(i) The apocryphal books. ^ 

Esdras (of the first century B.C.) ; Tobit, Judith, and Wis- 
dom of Solomon (of the second century B.C.) ; Ecclesiasticus 
(of the early second century) ; Baruch (of the first century 
a.d) ; Epistle of Jeremy (ancient). Song of the Three Chil- 
dren, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon ; the four books of Mac- 
cabees (the first from the middle of the first century B.C., 
the second from the early part of the first century a.d., the 

' Anecdota Oioniensia. The Ethiopic Versio7i of the JTebreio Book of 
Jubilees. 1895, p. xxiv. 

2 Jewish Antiquities (93-94 a.d.), containing Jewish history from the begin- 
ning; Jewish War ("0-80 ? a.d.); Axttobiography (100 a.d.); Contra Apionem. 
The best edition of Josephus is Niese, Berlin, 1887-1895, Whiston's translation 
of Antiquities, Traill's of Jeioish War. 

3 See p. 203. 

* Mangey, 2 vols, folio, London, 1742. Hand-edition by Richter, 8 vols. 
Leipzig, 18^8-1830, translated into English, Bohn's Library. New Greek edi- 
tion by Cohn. Berlin, 1896. 

* Ryle, Philo and Holy Scripture. 1895. 

« See Briggs, Messiah of the Gospels, pp. 4 seq. 


third from late in the first century A.D., the fourtli also from 
the first eentur\- a.d.). 

(c) The Pseudepigraphs are of a veiy large number : The 
Psalter of Solomon was originally written in Hebrew in the 
latter part of the first century B.C., but is preserved in Greek. 
The book of Enoch, originally written in Hebrew, is pre- 
served entire only in ^-Ethiopic. The Assumption of Moses is 
from the first Christian century. Fourth Ezra is from early in 
the second century a.d. The Apocalypse of Baruch, recently 
found in the Ambrosian Library at iNIilan by Ceriani, is from the 
early second century A.D. The Ascension of Isaiah is from 
the second half of the second century B.C. The Testament of 
the Twelve Patriarchs is from the early part of the second cen- 
tury. The book of Jubilees, or Little Genesis, is from the first 
century B.C. The Sibylline Oracles are in fourteen books, from 
the second century B.C. to the close of the first century A.D.^ 

4. The next step in Textual Criticism is to ascertam the 
original autographs of the Canon of the Law and the Prophets, 
when they were first collected and fixed. The Septuagint 
version of the Law and the Prophets, and possibly also of 
some of the Writings, takes us back of the Maccabean text. 
The Samaritan codex of the Law gives us on the whole the 
earliest independent witness to the original text of the Canon 
of the Law. 

5. We have as a final step to ascertain the original text, the 
autographs of the authors of the Sacred Writings. This we 
can ascertain on the basis of the texts thus far established, by 
bringing into consideration parallel passages, such as those of 
Samuel and Kings on the one side and Chronicles on the otlier ; 
parallel versions of the same poem, as Ps. 14 = 5.3; Ps. 18 = 
2 Sam. 22 ; citations of earlier writings in later ones ; and 
the rules of internal evidence. 

Tlio following examples of the appliration of the genealogical 
principles to pai'licular passages will suffice: 

Tlie English Authorized Version reads in Gen. 49'" "until 
Shiloh come." The Revised Version retains this in the text, 

' See Briggs, Messiah of the Gospels, pp. 9 seq. ; and Messiah of the Apostles, 

pp. 2 seq. 


but puts on the margin other renderings. The Massoretic text, 
nS'il' SI2' '3 T^, may be translated in this way. 

(a) But the first appearance of this translation known to us is 
by Sebastian Mimster in 1534. Through his influence it passed 
over into the Great Bible in 1539, and has been retained in all 
subsequent English versions. Mtinster seems to have been mis- 
led to this interpretation by the use of HTiT as a name of the 
Messiah in the Talmud.' But that does not justify the trans- 
lation '• until Shiloh come " anj- more than the use of Yinnon, 
Ps. 72'", Chaninah, Jer. 16", ^Menacliem, Lam. 1'", and the leprous 
one, Is. 53^, as names of the Jlessiah, would justif}' a translation 
of all these passages in accordance therewith. In fact there is no 
such translation of Gen. 49'" known to Jewish tradition. ri'!''»r is 
found in the Old Testament as the name of a place, but nowhere 
as the name of a person. 

(b) The Massoretic pointing liTtl' really represents the tradi- 
tional opinion that /"C was a noun with the archaic sufRx, mean- 
ing his son. This is the interpretation of the Targuni Yerushalmi 
and many Jewish scholars of the tenth century. It is true that 
there is no such word in Biblical Hebrew. But the Mishna uses 
the form ^"h'C with the meaning embryo, and it would seem that 
the ancient Jews interpreted TiT as a cognate stem with '7'7'C 
Calvin followed this opinion, but few others have adopted it since 
the Reformation. 

(c) The ' is of the nature of a Massoretic interpretation, as is so 
frequently the case with the quiescent letters in the Hebrew text. 
The original consonantal text read n'^C*. This is evident from 
the Arabic of Saadia of the tenth eenturj-, who did not follow the 
Massoretic pointing, but translated it as if it were pointed n?i^ ; 
that is, the relative "t^, the preposition 7, and the suffix li. 
Saadia is sustained by Aquila, who testifies to the official inter- 
pretation of the rabbins of the second Christian centur}'. Sj-m- 
machus and Theodotioii give the same witness. Jerome read 
nbiT or n7 w', but he interpreted it as n'^'w = one sent, qui mitten- 
dus est. 

(d) "We may now go back of the official text of the second 
Christian century to the Maccabean text. The Targum of 
Onkelos and the Syriac version testify to HvC, and translate : 
the Targum, "whose is the kingdom," the Syriac, "whose it is," 
which is explained by Aphraates and Ephraem as " whose is the 

(e) We may now go back to the text of Ezra. The ancient 

1 Sank., 98 6. See Driver, Journal of Philology, 1885, in an article on .iSt. 


Greek versiou aud the Samaritan codex both confirm H'^w", and 
the former renders tws av tA.^3 ra a-oKuixtva. a.vT<^. 

(/) We maj- also go a step still further backward under the 
guidance of an apparent citation in Ezek. 21^', where the phrase 
liSw'.-H "t^ TwS S2 Ti seems to be not only a reminiscence 
but an interpretation of Gen. 49'°, and confirms n?w' with tlie 
interpretation 1*7 "I'tS. 

Thus the genealogical principle establishes, beyond the, shadow 
of a doubt, that the original reading of the passage was H'^w', aud 
that the interpretation was either " that which belongs to him," 
or " whose it is." 

For another example we may use Ps. 22'° '", which is translated 
in our English Bible, " Thou didst make me trust (when I was) 
upon my mother's breasts." This is a correct translation of the 
]\[assoretic text 'ITtSSSi (Hipliil participle). But in the time of 
Jerome the unpointed text was TltO^ti, for he takes it as the noun 
TlUSJi, my trust. So do the Syriac aud ancient Greek versions, 
leading us back to the JIaccabean Psalter. But we may go fur- 
ther back still, for Ps. 22'" is quoted in paraphrase in the later 
Ps. 71', where we have Tltsntt, the noun. 

The genealogy of the Greek Bible is traced back in a similar 
waj-. Lagarde represented that in the case of the Septuagint 
it was necessary to ascertain the three great official texts of the 
tliird centur3\ Liician, Hesychiiis, and Eusebius. All the man- 
uscripts should be classified so far as possible to show their de- 
scent from these. On the basis of these three one may work 
back to the common parent. Westcott and Hort have shown 
that we have two groups of texts that are older than these re- 
censions ; namely (1) the Western text, represented by D, the 
old Latin, the old Syrian, and sundry citations ; and (2) the 
neutral text of B, S, going back to a common parent in the second 
century. The translations all come into evidence in showing 
the texts from which they were translated, and the Christian 
Fathers of the different centuries in the use of the versions and 
manuscripts from which the}' cited.' 

An interesting example of the use of the genealogical principle 
in the New Testament is in 1 Peter 3 ". The Authorized Version 

' I think it unnecessary to give a classification of the Fathers for the purpose 
of showing the de.scent of citations. Tliese are accessible easily to all students. 
I have given the JewLsli Literature because it is not so accessible. 


reads: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." But this 
reading is found only in the uncials of the ninth century, K, L, 1', 
and in no earlier writers than Theophylact and (Ecumenius. The 
great uncials, B, S and A, C, the Syriac, Sahidic, Coptic, and Armen- 
ian versions, — all give Xpioror, Christ, in place of 6i6y, God. The 
genealogical principle therefore determines, without doubt, the 
original reading, and so the Revised Version renders, " But sanc- 
tify in your hearts Christ as Lord." This evidence might be 
fortified by the usage of the New Testament. But no further 
evidence is needed. 

The genealogical method does not always determine the origi- 
nal reading ; then we have to fall back on the internal evidence. 
As an example of the faiku-e of the genealogical method I may 
cite the case of Acts 20^. I shall quote from myself : 

'• There is a great difference of opinion as to the reading here. 
The external authority of INISS., versions, and citations is not de- 
cisive. Tischendorf, De Wette, Meyer, and the mass of German 
• critics read ' Church of the Lord ' ; Scrivener, Westcott, and 
Hort, and the leading British scholars read ' Church of God.' If 
any unprejudiced man will compare the great mass of authorities 
cited on both sides, he will be convinced that there is amjjle room 
for difference of opinion. The context favors ' Church of the 
Lord.' This reading is also favored by the fact that it is a unique 
reading, and therefore difficult. Nowhere else in the New Testa- 
ment do we find the phrase ' Church of the Lord.' The scribe in 
doubt would follow the usual phrase. That the more difficult 
reading has survived is a proof of its originalitj'. The reading 
' Church of God ' gives by implication ' blood of God.' This is 
found in Ignatius and other early writers, possibly on the basis of 
this passage, but it involves a conception which is alien to the 
New Testament. It is extremely im^jrobable that Luke would 
put into the mouth of Paul such an unexampled and extraordinary 
expression under the circumstances. It involved a doctrine of 
startling consequences. Such a doctrine would not come into the 
language of Holy Scripture in such an incidental way. The 
American Eevision, therefore, is to be followed in its reading 
' Church of the Lord ' rather than the A. Y. or the British Eevision 
' Church of God.' " > 

'Briggs, The Messiah of the Apostles, 1895, p. 81. See Ezra Abbot, Critical 
Essays, pp. 294 seq. 


VI. Conflation and other Corruptions 

It is characteristic of the late S3'rian texts, and in a large 
measure also of Lucian's text of the Old Testament, that they 
indulge in a considerable amoimt of conflation. Underlying 
conflation is the feeling that, as far as possible, all of the original 
text should be preserved ; and that, in cases of doubt, it is 
better to preserve all than to run the risk of losing anytliing. 
Conflation is indeed found in the earliest texts both of the Old 
Testament and the New Testament, and must have taken place 
to a considerable extent back of any versions known to us. 
Conflation arises partly from the comparison of earlier authori- 
ties, and partly from the insertion of ancient marginal explana- 
tions, or glosses. A very good example of conflation is given 
in Westcott and Hort. 

" :\[k. 9'^ 

" (a) 7r5s >ip TTvpl iXiae^(TtTai (s) B LA 1 — 118-209 61 81 435 aP 
me. codd. the arm. codd. 

" (yS) TTao-a yap Ova-La dXl aXKrOijcreraL D CU" («) b Cjf'-i (k) tol holm 
gig (a c tol holm gig omit oAt : a omits yap : k has words appar- 
ently implj-ing the Greek original xao-a 8c (or yap) oio-ia ava\w6y- 
acTai, o being read for 0. and \N\AU for \Al\XlC). 

'■ (S) Tas yap Trvpl dXiadijcreTai, Kal Tracra Ovdia aXt a\i.(jdij<Ji.Tai, 

ACNXEFGHKMSUVrTT cu. omn. exc. 15 fq vg syr. vg hi me. 
codd letli arm. codd go Vict (cu'" vg. codd. opt omit aXi; X adds 
it after irvpi). 

'•A reminisceoce of Lev. vii. 13 (xai vSy Suipov Suo-ias vp-wv aXi 
oAio-^vo-cTai) has created /? out of a, TTYPIWIC0 being read as 
0YCI \^A(KAlC0 with a natural reduplication, lost again in some 
Latin copies. The change would be aided by the words that 
follow here, KoXof to k.t.X. In S the two incongruous alterna- 
tives are simply added together, yap being replaced bj' Kai. Besides 
AC NX, S has at least the Vulgate Syriac, and tlie Italian and Vul- 
gate Latin, as well as later versions." ' 

Here w^e see the original in the neutral text, a variation by a 
mistake in the Western text, and then a full conflation in the 
Syrian texts. 

An interesting example of corruption of an original text is pre- 
sented in Fs. 25. This Psalm is an alphabetical hexameter. All 

1 Westcott and Ilort'."! Xeto TcstaJiieiit in Greek; 1882, pp. 101, 102. 


the letters of the Hebrew alphabet from S to n are reiiresented 
except 2, 1, and p. But it is quite easy to restore these. The line 
with 3 is restored by making the preceding verse close •vrith T^bii. 
The measure requires this change also. The line beginning with 
1 is restored by transposing ^H'-'T'I to the second clause before 
"^ms. A prosaic copyist has combined two lines of poetry into a 
single prose sentence. The line with p has been lost by a slip of 
the ej'e causing a repetition of HSI of the next line. Change 
HS"1 to mp, and the line is restored. 

Examples of dittography are Ps. 67* and IIS'-''''^''. 

In Ps. 67*', Cn'^S 132^3' is a mere repetition of the first two 
words of the preceding line. The Psalm is composed of three 
trimeter pentastichs. This dittography destroys the measure of 
the last line by just these two words. 

There are two examples in Ps. 118 : verse 12 b repeated from the 
preceding line, and verse 15 6 by a slip of the eye to the following 
line. In both cases they destroy the measures of the lines. They 
are but half lines, and, if counted, would destroy the symmetrj' of 
the strophes of the Psalm, which are composed uniformly of seven 

Examples of the wrong separation of words are : 

(a) Ps. 68'' : npn '/D C3 should be Z'lp^ 'rDti SO. It is 
a citation from Deut. 33- : S3 'I'DtD nilT. 

(6) Ps. 11' : -ns:: D3in should be ms:: IM in as Sept., Aq., 
Jer.. Syr., Targ. 

The letter V has been overlooked by an ancient scribe of the 
Massoretic text of Ps. 140", and so we have Hti?^ iustead of 
the correct l^^w" of the Sept. 

The particle "3 has been omitted in the IMassoretic text of Ps. 
143', and so the assonance with vss. 8*', 10" has been lost. The 
'S is preserved in on of Sept. The final D of ^!;>' in Ps. 144^ has 
been overlooked; lience the pointing's": but D^^^ is sustained 
by Aq., Jer., Sept. Targ., as well as by the original from which 
the citation was made, Ps. 18** = 2 Sam. 22*'. 

Ps. 31- presents an interesting example of a tetrastich, rhyming 
in ''3_, which has been obscured in the Massoretic text but can 
easily be restored. It is cited in the later Psalm, 71'-^. In both 
Psalms there has been a transposition of "^npnUD, which begins 
the second verse of Ps. 71, but which with the following 'JttSs 
closes the second verse of Ps. 31. It should begin the second 
verse, and the first verse should close with ""Jtsbs. Ps. 71 has 
changed the imperative to a jussive, and substituted ""JTlCn, and 
then bv conflation added ';t2'!'2m. The second line of Ps. 31 


proper closes with -jS"':*:! mnj2. In Ps. 71 '':3:''i:nm has taken 
its place by a slip of the eye to the close of the following line, 
and so ■'i'^'Un mn!2 has been left out. In the third line Ps. 31 
is entirely correct. But Ps. 71 in the Massoretic text has misread 
rmiCDn3'!'1>!2 as ni2kn!2ri27iVJ2 in the ancient unpointed con- 
tinuous text. Apart from the quiescent letters the onlj^ difference 
is a mistake of 1 for 3 and a transposition of 2k and "I. But Sept, 
Sym., Targ., and some Hebrew manuscripts read n"!2 here, although 
Jerome aud the Syriac follow the present text. So Sept. reads as 
TOTTov oxvpov here, but Sj'm., Jerome, Syr., and Targum agree with 
the Massoretic text. It is altogether probable, therefore, that in 
the Maccabean Hebrew text Ps. 71 agreed with the original Ps. 
31. The corruption of the text was later. In the fourth line 
Ps. 31 is correct, except that a final 'i'?Xni has been added by 
conflation, 7n3 being a variation of HTO. The second half of the 
line is not given in Ps. 71. 

The original words of Jesus in the Logia may be discerned from 
the use of Textual Criticism of the several citations in the Gospels 
and elsewhere. Jesus said : " A prophet is not without honour, 
save in his o\vn country, aud among his own kin, and in his own 
house." (Mk. 6*.) This is given in Mt. 13^": "A prophet is not 
without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." 
Lk. 4 ^" has : " Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable. Phy- 
sician, heal thyself; whatsoever we have heard done at Caper- 
naum, do also here in thine own country." John 4** gives it in the 
form, " Jesus himself testified that a prophet hath no honour in 
his own country." A study of these citations makes it plain that 
the original saying of Jesus did not include '• and among his own 
kin, and in his own house." That is an enlargement of the ori- 
ginal words " in his own countrj-," given in Luke and John. This 
is confirmed by the recently discovered Logia of Jesus, from an 
early Greek papyrus. The fifth of these has oik iarn' Sexros jrpo(/»/r?;s 
iv Ttj naTpL&i. avTov, which is Very close to Luke's ovStU tt/joc^jJtt/s Scktos 
OTTiv fv Ttj TTarpiSi avTov. 

This line has an additional line in parallelism with it in this 

fifth logion, namely : oi&i mrpos ttouI ©tparci'as €15 Tovi yii'uxTKOVTav 

airrov. This makes with the other a couplet. In all probability, 
this presents the original couplet of Jesus, which is preserved 
only in the single line of the Gospels, for it is contrary to the 
usages of Hebrew Wisdom to use single lines, or a form of poetry 
of less than a couplet. Single lines of Wisdom do not exist except 
as fragments of groups of lines. Furthermore, this second line is 
suggested by the context of Luke. The original couplet is : 


A prophet is not acceptable in his own country ; 

Neither doth a physician work cures upon them that know him. 

By a careful, accurate, and thorough-going use of the scien- 
tific methods and principles of Textual Criticism, the traditional 
texts upon which the earlier scholars relied have been jDurified, 
and we may, with considerable confidence, determine, to a great 
extent, very ancient forms of the text quite near to the original 
autographs of the final editors of the biblical writings, and in 
not a few cases we may determine with reasonable accuracy 
the autographs of the authors themselves. We may be encour- 
aged by the advance in the science of Textual Criticism to look 
for greater productivity and fruitfulness in the future. 



We have seen in previous chapters that there was a great 
critical re\dval at the Reformation ; that the Biblical Criticism 
of the Protestant Reformers was based on the formal principle 
of Protestantism, the divine authority of Holj' Scripture over 
against tradition ; that the voice of God Himself, speaking 
to His people through His Word, was the great test ; that 
the Protestant Reformers tested the traditional theory of the 
Canon and eliminated the apocryphal books therefrom ; that 
they rejected the Septuagint and Vulgate versions as the ulti- 
mate appeal, and resorted to the original Greek and Hebrew 
texts ; that they tested the ^lassoretic traditional pointing of 
the Hebrew Scriptures, and, rejecting it as merely traditional, 
resorted to the original unpointed text ; that they tested the 
traditional manifold sense and allegorical method of interpre- 
tation, and, rejecting these, followed the plain grammatical 
sense, interpreting difficult and obscure passages by the mind 
of the Spirit in passages that are plain and undisputed. 

We have also studied the second critical revival under the 
lead of Cappellus and Walton, and their conflict Avith the 
Protestant scholastics who had reacted from the critical princi- 
ples of the Reformation into a reliance upon Rabbinical tra- 
dition. We have seen that the Puritan divines still held the 
position of the Protestant Reformers, and were not in accord 
with the scholastics. We have now to trace- a third critical 
revival, which began toward the close of the eighteentli century 
in the investigations of the poetic and literary features of the 
Old Testament by Bishop Lowth in England and the poet 
Herder in Germany, and of the structure of Genesis by the 
physician Astruc in France. The first critical revival had 



been mainly devoted to the Canon of Scripture, its authority 
and interpretation. The second critical revival had studied 
the original texts and versions. The third critical revival gave 
attention to the Sacred Scriptures as literature. 

I. The Higher Criticism in the Sixteenth and Seven- 
teenth Centuries. 
Little attention had been given to the literary features of 
the Bible in the sixteenth century. We may infer how the 
Reformers would have met these questions from their freedom 
with regard to traditional views in the few cases in which they 
expressed themselves. Luther denied the Apocal3'pse to John 
and Ecclesiastes to Solomon. He maintained that the Epistle 
of James was not an apostolic writing. He regarded Jude as 
an extract from 2 Peter, and said, What matters it if Moses 
should not himself have written the Pentateuch ? ^ He thought 
the Epistle to the Hebrews was written by a disciple of the 
apostle Paul, who was a learned man, and made the epistle as 
a sort of a composite piece in which there are some things hard 
to be reconciled with the Gosjjel. Calvin denied the Pauline 
authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews and doubted the 
Petrine authorship of 2 Peter. He taught that Ezra or some 
one else edited the Psalter and made the first Psalm an intro- 
duction to the collection, not hesitating to oppose the tra- 
ditional view that David was the author or editor of the entire 
Psalter. He also regarded Ezra as the author of the prophecy 
of Malachi — Malachi being his surname. He furthermore 
constructed, after the model of a harmony of the Gospels, a 
harmony of the pentateuchal legislation about the Ten Com- 
mandments as a centre, holding that all the rest of the com- 
mandments were mere " appendages, which add not the smallest 
completeness to the Law." ^ 

■ See Diestel, Oesch. des Alien Test, in tier christlichen Kirche, 1869, pp. 250 
seq. ; and Vorreden in Walch edit, of Luther's Werken, XIV. pp. 35, 140-153 ; 
Tischreden, I. p. 28. 

^ "Therefore, God protests that He never enjoined anything with respect to 
sacrifices ; and He pronounces all external rites but vain and trifling if the very 
least value be assigned to them apart from the Ten Commandments. Whence 
we more certainly arrive at the conclusion to which I have adverted, viz. that 


Zwingli, CEcolampadius, and other Reformers took similar 
positions. These questions of authorship and date troubled 
the Reformers but little ; they had to battle against the Vul- 
gate for the original text and popular versions, and for a 
simple grammatical exegesis over against traditional authority 
and the manifold sense. Hence it is that on these literary 
questions the Apologies, Articles of Religion, and Confessions 
of Faith in the time of the Reformation take no position what- 
ever, except to lay stress upon the sublimity of the style, the 
unity and the harmony of Scripture, and the internal evidence 
of its inspiration and authority. Calvin sets the example for 
the Reformed Churches in this particular in his Institutes, and 
is followed by Thomas Cartwright, Archbishop Usher, and 
other eminent Calvinists. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is in entire accord 
with the otlier Reformed confessions, and with the well- 
established principles of the Reformation. It expresses a de- 
vout admiration and profound reverence for the holy majestic 
character and style of the Divine Word, but does not define 
the human authors and the dates of the various writings. As 
A. F. Mitchell says : 

" Any one who will take the trouble to compare their list of the 
canonical books with that given in the Belgian Confession or the 
Irish articles, may satisfy himself that they held with Dr. Jameson 
that the authority of these books does not depend on the fact 
whether this prophet or that wrote a particular book or parts of a 
book, whether a certain portion was derived from the Elohist or 
the Jehovist, whether Moses wrote the close of Deuteronomy, 
Solomon was the author of Ecclesiastes, or Paid of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, but the fact that a prophet, an inspired man, wrote 
them, and that they bear tlie stamp and impress of a divine 
origin." ' 

they are not, to speak correctly, of the substance of the Law. nor avail of them- 
selves in the worship of God, nor are required by the I.awsiver himself as neces- 
sary, or even as useful, unless they sink into this inferior position. In fine, they 
are appendages which add not the smallest completeness to the Law, but whose 
object is to retain the pious in the spiritual worship of God, which consists of 
Faith and Repentance, of whereby their gratitude is proclaimed, and 
even of the endurance of the cross." — Preface to Harmony of the Fom Last 
Books of the Pentatfuch. 

^ Minutes of the Sessions of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, November, 


And Matthew Poole, the great Presbyterian critic of the 
seventeenth century-, quotes with approval the following from 
the Roman Catholic, ]\Ielchior Canus : 

" It is not much material to the Catholick Faith that any book 
was written by this or that author, so long as the Spirit of God is 
believed to be the author of it ; which Gregory delivers and 
explains : For it matters not with what pen the King writes his 
letter, if it be true that he writ it." ' 

Andrew Rivetus, one of the chief Reformed divines of the 
continent,^ after discussing the various views of the authorsliip 
of the Psalms, says : 

" This only is to he held as certain, whether David or Moses or 
any other composed the psalms, they themselves were as pens, 
but the Holy Spirit wrote through them : But it is not necessary 
to trouble ourselves about the pen when the true author is 

In his Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures,^ he enters into 
no discussion of the literary questions. This omission makes it 
clear that these questions did not concern the men of his times. 
Until toward the close of the seventeenth century, those who, 
in the brief preliminary words to their commentaries on the 
different books of Scripture, took the trouble to mention the 
authors and dates of writings, either followed the traditional 
views without criticism or deviated from them in entire uncon- 
sciousness of giving offence to the orthodox faith. This faith 
was firml}- fixed on the divine author of Scripture, and they 
felt little concern for the human authors employed. One looks 
in vain in the commentaries of this period for a critical dis- 
cussion of literary questions.* 

1644 to March, 1649, edited by A. F. Mitchell and J. Struthers, Edin., 1874, 
p. xlix. 

1 BJoio at the Boot, 4th ed., 1671, p. 228. 

^ In his Prolog, to his Com. on the Psalms. 

' Isngoge sen Introductio generaUs ad scripturam sacram, 1627. 

♦ As specimens the following from the Assembhfs Annotations may suffice. 
(1) Francis Taylor on Job: ''Though most excellent and glorious things be 
contained in it, yet they seem to partake the same portion with their subject ; 
being (as his prosperity was) clouded often with much darkness and obscurity, 
and that not only in those things which are of lesse moment and edification 


The literary questions opened by Lowtli, Herder, and Astruc 
were essentially new questions. The revived attention to clas- 
sical and Oriental history and literature carried with it a fresh 
studj" of Hebrew history and literature. The battle of the 
books waged between Bentle}' and Boyle, which was decided 
in the interests of literary criticism by the masterpiece of 
Bentlej',^ was the prelude of a struggle over all the literary 
monuments of antiquity, in which the spurious was to be sepa- 
rated from the genuine. It was indispensable that the Greek 
and Latin and Hebrew literature should pass through the fires 
of this literary and historical criticism, which soon received the 
name of Higher Criticism. As Eichhorn says : 

(viz. the Time and Place and Penman, etc.), but in points of higher doctrine 
and concernment. The Book is observed to be a sort of holy poem, but yet not 
a Fable ; and, though we cannot expressly conclude when or by whom it was 
written, though our maps cannot show us what Uz was, or where situate, yet 
cannot this Scripture of Job be rejected until Atheisme grow as desperate as 
his wife was, and resolve with her to curee God and dye." The traditional 
view that Moses wrote Job is simply abandoned and the authorship left unknown. 
(2) Casaubon, Preface to the Psalms: "The author of this book (the immedi- 
ate and secondary, we mean, besides the original and general of all true Script- 
ure, the Holy Ghost . . .), though named in some other places of Scripture 
David, as Lk. 20*'-, and elsewhere, is not here in the title of the book expressed. 
Tlie truth is, they are not all David's Psalms, some having been made before 
and some long after him, as shall be shown in due place." The traditional view 
as to the Davidic authorship of the Psalter is abandoned without hesitation or 
apology. (3) Francis Taylor, Preface to the Proferbs : "That Solomon is the 
author of this book of Proverbs in general is generally acknowledged ; but the 
author, as David of the P.salms, not because all made by him, but because either 
the maker of a good part, or collector and approver of the rest. It is not to be 
doubted but that many of these Proverbs and sentences were known and used 
long before Solomon. ... Of them that were collected by others as Solomon's, 
but long suice his death, from Chapters 25-^30, and then of those that bear 
Agur's name, .30, and Lemuel's, .31. ... If not all Solomon's, then, but partly 
his and partly collected by him and partlj' by others at several times, uo wonder 
if diverse things, with little or no alteration, be often repeated." 

Joseph Mede ( iror/i-s, II. pp. 'JOS, 1022, London, 10(U), Henry Hammond 
(^Paraphrase and Annotations upon the Xew Testamejit, London, 1871, p. 136), 
Kidder (Demonstration of the Messias, London, 1726, IL p. 76), and others 
denied tlie integrity of Zechariah. and. on the ground of Mt. 27', ascribed the 
last six chapters to Jeremiah. The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch was 
questioned by Carlstadt {De Script. Canon, 1521, § 85). who left the author 
undetermined. The Roman Catholic scholar, Masius (Com. in Josh., 1674, 
Praf, p. 2, and Chapters 10'3, W ; Critica Sacr., II. p. 1892, London, 1660), 
and the British philosopher, Hobbes (Leviathan. 1651, III, o. 33) distin- 
guished between Mosaic originals and our present Pentateuch. 

1 Spisllcs of Phalaris and FaUles of yEsop, 16S)',> ; see Chap. IV. p. 107. 


" Already long ago scholars have sought to determine the age of 
anonymous Greek and Roman writings now from their contents, 
and then since these are often insufficient for an investigation 
of this kind, from their language. They have also by the same 
means separated from ancient works pieces of later origin, which, 
by accidental circumstances, have become mingled with the ancient 
pieces. And not until the writings of the Old Testament have been 
subjected to the same test can any one assert with couhdence that 
the sections of a book all belong in reality to the author whose name 
is prefixed." ^ 

The traditional \ae\vs of the Old Testament literature, as 
fixed in the Talmud and stated in the Christian Fathers, came 
down as a body of lore to be investigated and tested by the 
principles of this Higher Criticism. There were four ways of 
meeting the issue : (1) By attacking the traditional theories 
with the weapons of the Higher Criticism and testing them at 
all points, dealing with the Scriptures as with all other writings 
of antiquity. (2) By defending the traditional theories as the 
established faith of the Church on the ground of the authority 
of tradition, as Buxtorf and Owen had defended the inspira- 
tion of the Hebrew vowel points against Cappellus and Walton. 
(3) B}' ignoring these questions as matters of scholarship and 
not of faith, and resting on the divine authority of the writings 
themselves. In point of fact, these three methods were pur- 
sued, and three parties ranged themselves in line to meet the 
issues, — the deistic or rationalistic, the traditional or scholastic, 
the pietistic or m3'stical, — and the battle of the ages between 
these tendencies was renewed on this line. There was a fourth 
and better way which few pursued : (1) inquii'e what the 
Scriptures teach about themselves, and separate this divine 
authority from all other authority ; (2) appl)' the principles of 
the Higher Criticism to decide questions not decided by divine 
authority ; (3) let tradition have its A-oice so far as possible in 
questions not settled by the previous methods. 

1 Einleit. III. p. 67. 


II. The Rabbixical Theories 

The most ancient Rabbinical theory of the Old Testament 
literature known to us is contained in the tract Baha Bathra of 
the Talmud. In this passage we have to distingiiish the Bar- 
aitha from the G-emara.^ 

Babaitha. — The rabbins have taught that the order of the 
Prophets is, Joshua and Judges, Samuel and Kings, Jeremiah 
and Ezekiel, Isaiah and the Twelve (minor prophets). 

Gemara. — (Question) : How is it ? Hosea is first because it is 
written, "In the beginning the Lord spake to Hosea." But how 
did he speak in the beginning with Hosea ? Have there not been 
so man}- prophets from Closes unto Hosea ? Kabbi Jochanan said 
that he was the first of the four prophets who prophesied in the 
same period, and these are : Hosea, Isaiah, Amos, and Micali. 
Shoidd then Hosea be placed before at the head ? {Re}>l>/) : No, 
since his prophecies had been written alongside of Haggai, Zecha- 
riah, and Jlalachi, and Haggai, Zechariah, and ]Malachi were the 
last of the prophets, it was counted with them. (Question): Ought 
it to have been written apart and ought it to have been placed 
before ? (Reply) : Ko ; since it was little and might be easily lost. 
(Question) : How is it ? Isaiah was before Jeremiah and Ezekiel. 
Ought Isaiah to be placed before at the head? (Re2'>l>j): Since the 
book of Kings ends in ruin and Jeremiah is, all of it, ruin, and 
Ezekiel has its beginning ruin and its end comfort, and Isaiah is 
all of it comfort; we join ruin to ruin and comfort to comfort. 

Baraith.\. — The order of the Writings is, Euth and the book 
of Psalms, and Job, and Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and 
Lamentations, Daniel and the roll of Esther, Ezra and Chronicles. 

Gemara. — (Question) : But according to the Tanaite who said 
Job was in the daj-s of Moses, ought Job to be placed before at 
the head? (Repli/): We begin not with afflictions. (Question): 
Euth has also afflictions ? (Repli/) : But afflictions which have an 
end. As Eabbi Jochanan says, Why was her name called Ruth ? 
Because David went fortli from her who refreshed the Holy One, 
blessed be He ! with songs and praises. 

Baraitha. — And who wrote them ? IMoses wrote his book, 
the section of Balaam and Job ; Joshua wrote his book and the 

' liaba Bathra, folio 14 6. See pp. 232, 23.3. I follow the editio princeps, 
12 vols, folio, Venitia. Romberg, 1520, but have also consulted the edition pub- 
lished at Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Oder by Jablonsky, 1736, which follows 
the Basle edition in expurgating the anti-Christian passages. Both of these are 
in the library of the Union Theological Seminary, X.Y. 


eight verses of the law ; Samuel wrote his book and Judges and 
Kuth ; David wrote the book of Psalms with the aid of the ten 
ancients, with the aid of Adam the first, Melchizedek, Abraham, 
Moses, Hemaii, Jeduthun, Asapli, the three sons of Korah ; Jere- 
miah wrote his book, the books of Kings and Lamentations ; 
Hezekiah and his company wrote Isaiah, Proverbs, Song of Songs, 
and Ecclesiastes, whose sign is pC J2^ ; ' the men of the great syna- 
gogue wrote Ezekiel and the Twelve (minor prophets), Daniel and 
the roll of Esther, whose sign is iXp ; Ezra wrote his book and 
the genealogy of Chronicles unto himself. 

Gemaea. — This will support Eab, for Eabbi Jehuda told that 
Eab said : Ezra went not up from Babylon until he had registered 
his own genealogj', then he went up. (Question) : And who finished 
it (his book) ? (Repbj) ; Xehemiah, son of Hachaliah. The 
author (of the Baraitha) said Joshua wrote his book and the eight 
verses of the law ; this is taught according to him who says of the 
eight verses of the law, Joshua wrote them. For it is taught: 
And Moses the servant of the Lord died there. How is it possible 
that iloses died and wrote : and Closes died there ? It is only 
unto this passage [Moses wrote, afterwards Joshua wrote the 
rest. These are the words of Eabbi Jehuda, others say of Eabbi 
Kehemiah, but Eabbi Simeon said to him : Is it possible that the 
book of the Law could lack one letter, since it is written : Take 
this book of the Law ? It is only unto this the Holy One, blessed 
be He ! said, and Moses said and wrote. From this place and 
onwards the Holy One, blessed be He, said and Moses wrote with 
weeping. . . . 

(Question) : Joshua wrote his book ? But it is written there : 
And Joshua died. (Rephj): Eleazar finished it. (Question): But 
yet it is written there: And Eleazar the son of Aaron died. 
(Reply) : Phineas finished it. (Question) : Samuel wrote his book ? 
But it is written there : And Samuel died, and they buried him in 
Eama. (Rej'ly) : Gad the seer and Xathau the Prophet finished it. 

We have to distinguisli the view of the Tanaini in the 
Baraitha and the view of the Amoraira in the Gemara.^ The 
Tanaim do not go beyond the scope of giving (1) the order 
of the Sacred Writings, (2) their editors. 

(1) In the order of the writings we observe several singular 

1 These are the first letters of the Hebrew names of these books. 

' The Tanaim are the authors of the Mishiiayoth, the Amoraim are the 
expounders of the Mi/<hnayoth and autliors of the Gemara (see Mielziiier, Intro- 
duction to the Talmud, 1894, pp. 22 seq.). 


features, Avliich lead us to ask whether the order is topical, 
chronological, liturgical, or accidental. The Amoraim ex- 
plain the order generally as topical, although other explana- 
tions are given, but their reasons are inconsistent and 
unsatisfactory. Is there a chronological reason at the bottom? 
Tliis is clear in the order of three classes, — Law, Prophets, and 
other Writings. But will it apply to the order of the books 
in the classes ? There seems to be a general observance of the 
chronological order, if we consider the subject-matter as the 
determining factor, and not the time of composition. In 
the order of the Prophets, Jeremiah precedes Ezekiel properh'. 
But why does Isaiah follow ? Is it out of a consciousness that 
Isaiah was a collection of several writings besides those of the 
great Isaiah,^ or from the feeling that Isaiah's prophecies had 
more to do with the restoration than the exile, and so naturally 
followed Ezekiel? The Miuor Prophets are arranged in three 
groups, and these gi'oups are chronological in order. Hosea 
was placed first out of a mistaken interpretation of his intro- 
ductory words. INIalachi appropriately comes last. But this 
order of the Prophets in the Baraitha is abandoned by the 
Massorites, who arrange Isaiali, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. In the 
other writings there is a sort of chronological order if we con- 
sider the subject-matter, but the Massoretic text differs from 
the Baraitha entirely, and indeed the Spanish and German 
manuscripts from one another. We cannot escape the convic- 
tion that there was a liturgical reason at the " basis of the 
arrangement, which has not yet been determined. At all 
events, its authority has little weight for purposes of Higher 

(2) ^s to their editorship. The verb " wrote," ^ cannot 
imply composition in the sense of authorship in several cases 
of its use, but must be used in the sense of editorship or re- 
daction. Thus it is said that the men of the Great Synagogue 
wrote Ezekiel, the Minor Prophets, Daniel, and the roll of 
Esther. This cannot mean that they were the original authors, 
but that they Avere editors of these books. It is not stated 
whether they edited them by copy from originals or from oral 
1 Slrack in Ilerzog, Heal Encij., VII. p. 43. = Zn. 


tradition. Kashi takes the latter alternative, and thinks that 
holy hooks could not be written outside of Palestine. i An 
insuperable objection to this editing of Daniel and Esther 
at the same time as Ezekiel and the Twelve, is their exclusion 
from the order of the Prophets, where they would have naturally 
gone if introduced into the Canon at that time ; Esther with 
the prophetic histories, and Daniel with Isaiah, Ezekiel, and 
Jeremiah. 2 

Again, when it is said Hezekiah and his company wrote 
Isaiah, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes, this can 
only mean editorship, and not authorship. The TosapJioth on 
the Baraitha says : " Hezekiah and his college wrote Isaiah ; 
because Hezekiah caused them to busy themselves Avith the 
law, the matter was called after his name. But he (Hezekiah) 
did not write it himself, because he died before Isaiah, since 
]Manasseh, his successor, killed Isaiah." The redaction of 
Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes by Hezekiah's 
company, is probably a conjecture based upon Proverbs 25. ^ 
But the whole story is incredible. It carries with it a Canon 
of Hezekiah, and would be inconsistent with the subsequent 
positions of these books in the Canon. ^ 

David is represented as editing the Psalter with the aid of 
ten ancients ; that is, he used the Psalms of the ten worthies 
and united them with his owti in the collection. Moses is 
represented as writing his book, the section of Balaam and 
Job. The section of Balaam is distinguished probably as 
edited and not composed by iloses. In view of the usage 
of the rest of this Baraitha, we cannot be sure whether it 
means that Moses edited the Law and Job, or whether here 
" wrote " means authorship. The same uncertaint}^ hangs over 
the references to Joshua, Samuel, Jeremiah, and Ezra. 

The statements of the Baraitha, therefore, seem rather to 
concern official editorship than authorship, and it distinguishes 
no less than eight stages of redaction of the Old Testament 
Scriptures : (1) By Moses, (2) Joshua. (3) Samuel, C4) David, 

' Strack in Herzog, Real Ency., VII. p. 418; Wright, Kohdeth, pp. 454 seq. ; 
Wogue, Histoire de la Bible, pp. 19 seq. 

- See pp. 123 seq. ' See pp. 124 seq. 


(5) Hezekiali and his college, (6) Jeremiah, (7) the men of 
the Great S3'nagogue, (8) Ezra. 

The G-emara in its commentary upon this passage enlarges 
this work of redaction so as to give a number of additional 
prophets a hand in it. Joshua completes the work of Moses, 
Eleazar the work of Joshua, and Phineas his work ; Gad and 
Nathan finish the work of Samuel, then come David, Hezekiah, 
Jeremiah, the men of the Great Synagogue ; and Nehemiah 
finishes the work of Ezra. 

III. Hellenistic and Christian Theories 

Having considered the Rabbinical tradition, we are noAV 
prepared to examine that of the Jewish historian, Josephus. 
His general statement is : 

" We have not myriads of books among us disagreeing and con- 
tradicting one another, but only twenty-two, comprising the his- 
tory of all past time, justly worthy of belief. And live of them 
are those of ]\Ioses, which comprise the Law and the tradition of 
the generation of mankind until his death. This time extends 
to a little less than three thousand years. From the death of 
Moses imtil Artaxerxes, the king of the Persians after Xerxes, 
the prophets after Jloses composed that which transpired in their 
times in thirteen books. The other four books present hymns to 
God and rules of life for men." ' 

"And now David, being freed from wars and dangers, and 
enjoying a profound peace, composed songs and hymns to God 
of several sorts of metre: some of those which he made were trim- 
eters, and some were pentameters." - 

Josephus' views as to Hebrew literature varj' somewhat from 
the Talmud. He strives to exalt the Hebrew Scriptures in 
evei'y way as to style, antiquity, and variety above the classic 
literature of Greece. He represents iNIoses as the author of 
the Pentateuch, even of the last eight verses describing his 
own death. ^ Scholars do not hesitate to reject his views of the 
number and arrangement of the books in the Canon, or his 
statements as to the metres of Hebrew poetry ; we certainty 
cannot accept his authority witliont criticism, in questions of 

> Contra Apion. I. § 8 ^ ^i,,,,-^., vil. 12. ' Antiq.. IV. 8, 48. 


authorship. Philo agrees with Josephus in raaking Moses bv 
prophetic inspiration the author of the narrative of his own 
death,! jj^t i^^s little to say about matters that concern the 
Higher Criticism. 

A still more ancient authority than the Talmud, and an au- 
thority historically to Christians higher than Josephus, is the 
Apocalypse of Ezra, from the first Christian century, printed 
among the apocryphal books in the Englisli Bible, and pre- 
served in five versions, and used not infrequently by the 
Fathers as if it were inspired Scripture. This tradition repre- 
sents that the Law and all the holy books were burned at the 
destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and lost ; that 
Ezra under divine inspiration restored them all, and also com- 
posed seventy others to be delivered to the wise as the esoteric 
wisdom for the interpretation of the twenty-four.^ 

This view of the restoration of the Old Testament writings 
by Ezra was advocated bj* some of the Fathers. Clement of 
Alexandria ^ says : 

" Since the Scriptures perished in the captivity of Xebuchad- 
nezzar, Esdras the Levite, the priest, in the time of Artaxerxes, 
king of the Persians having become inspired, in the exercise of 
prophecy restored again the whole of the ancient Scriptures." 

So, also, TertuUian,* Chrysostom,^ an ancient wTiting attrib- 
uted to Augustine,® the heretical Clementine homilies." Another 
common opinion of the Fathers is represented by Irenseus : ^ 

1 Life, of Moses, III. 39. 

- Ezra saitli : -'For thy law Is burnt, therefore no man knoweth the things 
that are done of thee, or the works that shall begin. But if I have found grace 
before thee, send the Holy Ghost into me, and I shall write all that hath been 
done in the world since the beginning, which were written in thy law, that men 
may find thy path," etc. "Come hither (saitli God), and I shall light a 
candle of understanding in thine heart which shall not be put out, till the things 
be performed which thou shalt begin to write. And when thou hast done, some 
things shalt thou publish, and some things shalt thou show secretly to the wise. 
. . . The first that thou hast written publish openly, that the worthy and the 
unworthy may read it ; but keep the seventy last, that thou mayest deliver them 
only to such as be wise among the people ; for in them is the spring of under- 
standing, the fountain of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge" (U-'-"). 

' Slromata, I. 22. ' De cuUu faminarum. c. 3. 

5 Horn. vni. in Epist. Hebrceos, Jligne's edition, XVII. p. 74. 

^ De mirabilibus sacrx scripturcB, II. 33, printed with Augustine's works, 
but not genuine. ' Horn. III. c. 47. ' Adv. Hcereses, III. 21, 2. 


" During the captivity of the people under Nebuchadnezzar, the 
Scriptures had been corrupted, and when, after seventy years, the 
Jews had returned to their own land, then in the time of Artax- 
erxes King of the Persians, [God] inspired Esdras the priest, of 
the tribe of Levi, to recast all the words of former prophets, and 
to reestablish with the people the Mosaic legislation." 

So, also, Theodoret ^ and Basil. ^ Jerome ^ says with reference 
to this tradition : " Whether j'ou wish to say that Jloses is the 
author of the Pentateuch, or that Ezra restored it, is indiffer- 
ent to me." Bellarmin * is of the opinion that the books of the 
Jews were not entirely lost, but that Ezra corrected those that 
had become corrupted, and improved the copies he restored. 

Jerome, in the fourth ceutuiy, relied largely upon Jewish 
Rabbinical authority, and gave his great influence toward bring- 
ing the fluctuating traditions in the Church into more accord- 
ance with the Rabbinical traditions, but he could not entirely 
succeed. He held that the orphan Psalms belonged as a rule 
to the preceding ones, and in general followed the rabbins in 
associating the sacred writings with the familiar names, — 
Moses, Da^-id, Solomon, Jeremiah, Ezra, and so on. There is, 
however, no consensus of the Fathers on these topics. 

Junilius, in the midst of the sixth centur}-, author of the first 
extant Introduction.^ a reproduction of a lost work of his in- 
structor, Paul of Xisibis, of the Antiochian school of Exegesis, 
presents a view which may be regarded as representing very 
largely the Oriental and Western churches. He di^'ides the 
Scriptures of the Old and Kew Testaments into seventeen his- 
tories, seventeen prophecies, two proverbial and seventeen doc- 
trinal writings. Under authorship, he makes the discrimination 
between those having their authors indicated in their titles and 
introductions, and those whose authorship rests purely on tra- 
dition, including among the latter tlie Pentateuch and Joshua.® 

' Prwf. in Psahnos. 

2 Epist. ad Cliilonem, Migne's edition, IV. p. 358. See Simon, Hist. Crit. de 
Vietix Test., Anisterd., 1685, and Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraph., Hamburg, 
1722, pp. 1156 seq. ^ Adv. Helvidium. * JDe verba J)rL, lib. 2. 

' Institutio lietjularis DiviiKe Legis. 

" " Script <ires diviiionim libroruni qua ratione cognoscimus ? Tribus modis : 
aut ex titulis et proemiis ut proplieticos libros et .^pnstoli epistolas, aut ox titulis 
tantum ut evangelistas. aut ex traditione veterum ut Jloyses traditur scripsisse 


This work of Junilius held its own as an authority in the West- 
ern Church until the Reformation. It would be dithcult to define 
a consensus of the first Christian century or of the Fathers in 
regard to the authorship of the historical books of the Old Tes- 
tament or other questions of the Higher Criticism. The variant 
traditions, unfixed and fluctuating, came down to the men of the 
eighteenth century to be tested by the Scriptures, and by the 
principles of the Higher Criticism, and they found no consensus 
patrum and no orthodox, doctrines in their way. 

IV. The New Testament View of Old Testamext 

It is claimed, however, that Jesus and His apostles have de- 
termined these questions for us, and that their divine authority 
relieves us of anj' obligation to investigate further, as their 
testimony is final. This does not seem to have been the view 
of Junilius or the Fathers. So far as we can ascertain, this 
argument was first urged by Maresius,i in opposition to Pej're- 
rius and pressed by Heidegger, the Swiss scholastic, who sided 
with Buxtorf and Owen against Cappellus and Walton. But 
the argument having been advanced by these divines, and 
fortified by the Lutheran scholastic, Carpzov, and maintained 
by Hengstenberg, Keil, and Home, and by many recent 
writers wlio lean on these authorities, it is necessary for us to 
test it. Clericus went too far when he said that Jesus Christ 
and His apostles did not come into the world to preach criti- 
cism to the Jews.^ The response of Hermann Witsius, that 

quinque primes libros historire, cum non dicat hoe titnlus neo ipse ref erat ' dixit 
dominus ad me,' sed quasi de alio ' dixit dominus ad Moysen.' Similiter et Jesu 
Xave liber ab eo quo nuiicupatur traditur scriptus, et primum regxim librum 
Samuel scripsisse perhibetur. Sciendum prseterea quod quorundam libronim 
penitiLs ignorantur auctores ut Judicum et Ruth et Regura iii. ultimi et cetera 
similia, quod ideo credendum est divinitus dispensatum, ut alii quoque divini 
libri non auctorum merito, sed sancti spiritus gratia tantum culmen auctoritatis 
obtinuisse nnscantur" (§viii. 2; see Kihn, Theodnr von lUopsiiestia iindJunilins 
Africnnus als Excf/eten, pp. .319-330). 

1 Maresius, licfiitatio Fahulat Preadamitre, ICofi ; Heidegger, Exercit. Bih- 
Ucce, 1700 ; nissert. IX. pp. 250 seq. 

■^ In Scntimeus de quelques Theologiens de Holland sur VHistoire Critique, 
p. 126, Amst., 1G85, Clericus says: "Jesus Christ et ses Apotres n'etant pas 
venus au monde, pour ens^gner la Critique au Juifs, il ne faut pas s'^tonner, 
s'ils parlent selon I'opinion commune." 


Jesus came to teach the truth, and could not be imposed upon 
by common ignorance, or be induced to favour vulgar errors, is 

And yet we cannot altogether deny the principle of accom- 
modation in the life and teachings of Jesus. The principle of 
accommodation is a part of the wonderful condescension of the 
divine grace to human weakness, ignorance, and sinfulness. 
Jesus teaches that Moses, because of the hardness of their 
hearts, suffered ancient Israel to divorce their wives for reasons 
which the higher dispensation will not admit as valid. ^ The 
divine revelation is a training-school for the disciple, ever 
reserving from him what he is unable to bear, and holding 
forth the promise of greater light to those using the light 
they have. 

" It is not required in a religious or inspired teacher, nor indeed 
would it be prudent or right, to shock the prejudices of his imiu- 
formed hearers, by inculcating truths which they are unprepared 
to receive. If he woidd reap a harvest, he must prepare the 
ground before he attempts to sow the seed. Neither is it re- 
quired of such an one to persist in inculcating religious instruc- 
tion after such evidence of its rejection as is sufficient to prove 
incurable obstinacy. Now it must be granted that in most of 
these cases there is accommodation. The teacher omits, either 
altogether or in part, certain religious truths, and, perhaps, truths 
of great importance, in accommodation to the incompetency and 
weakness of those whom he has to instruct. ... It appears, 
then, that accommodation may be allowed in matters which have 
no connection with religion, and in these, too, so far as regards 
the degree and the form of instruction. But positive accommoda- 
tion to religious error is not to be found in Scripture, neither is it 
justifiable in moral principle." ^ 

^"Enim vero non fuere Christus et Apostoli Critices doctores, quales se 
haberi postulant, qui hodie sibi regnura litteraruin in quavi.s vindicant scientia ; 
fuerunt lainen doctores veritatis, neque passi sunt sibi per eoinnmneni ignoran- 
tiam aut procerum astnm iniponi. Non oerte in munduin venere ut vulgares 
errores foverunt, suaque auctoritate munirent, nee per Jndseos solum sed et 
populos unice, a se pendentcs longe lateque spargerent." — Misc. Sacra, I. 
p. 117. 

- Mt. 19». 

' Ur. S. H. Turner, in his edition of Planck's TntroiJuclioH to Sacred Philol- 
ogy, Edin., 1834, pp.. 275-277. New York, 1834, pp. 280 seq. 


Jesus withlield from the twelve apostles many things of vast 
importance, which they could not know then, but should know 
hereafter. 1 Jesus did not enter into any further conflict with 
the errors of His time tlian was necessary for His purposes of 
grace in the Gospel. He exercised a wise prudence and a 
majestic reserve in matters of indifference and minor impor- 
tance, and was never premature in declaring Himself and the 
principles of His Gospel. There were no sufficient reasons 
why He should correct the prevailing views as to the Old 
Testament books, and by His authority determine these liter- 
ary questions. He could not teach error, but He could and 
did constantly forbear with reference to errors. Polygamj- and 
slavery have been defended from the New Testament because 
Jesus and His apostles did not declare against them. If all 
the views of the men of the time of Christ are to be pronounced 
valid which He did not pronounce against, we shall be involved 
in a labyrinth of difficulties. 

The authority of Jesus Clirist, to all who know Him to be 
their divine Saviour, outweighs all other authority whatever. 
A Christian man must follow His teachings in all things as the 
guide into all truth. Tlie authority of Jesus Christ is involved 
in that of the apostles. What, then, do Jesus and His apostles 
teach as to the questions of Higher Criticism ? If they used the 
language of the day in speaking of the Old Testament books, 
it does not follow that thej' adopted any of the various views 
of authorship and editorship that went with these terms in the 
Talmud, or in Josephus, or in the Apocal3'pse of Ezra ; for we 
are not to interpret their words on this or on any other subject 
by Josephus, or the Mishna, or the Apocalypse of Ezra, or any 
such external authorities, but by the plain grammatical and 
contextual sense of their words themselves. From the various 
New Testament passages we present the following summary of 
what is taught on these subjects : 

I. Of the Writings the only ones used in the New Testa- 
ment in connection with names of persons are the Psalter and 
Daniel. With reference to Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Prov- 
erbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Lamentations, 
1 John 13'. 


and Ruth, the New Testament gives no evidence whatever in 
questions of the Higher Criticism.' 

1. The PBalter. 

Saint Peter cites Ps. 69", 109* as " which the Holy Spirit spake 
before by the mouth of David,'" and " For it is written in the 
book of Psalms.""^ The assembled Christians cite Ps. 2*"' as 
"by the Holy Spirit by the mouth of our father David. "^ 
Saint Peter cites Pss. 16»-", 110' as "David saith."* Saint 
Paul cites Ps. 69^"^ as " David saith " ; ^ and Ps. 32'-- as " David 
also pronouncetli blessing."® Jesus cites Ps. 110' as "David 
himself said in the Holj' Spirit."^ 

The maximum of evidence here is as to the Davidic 
authorship of Pss. 2, 16, 32, 69, 109, and 110, in all, six 
Psalms out of the 150 contained in the Psalter. As to 
the rest, there is no use of them in connection with a name. 
There is, however, a passage upon which the Davidic author- 
ship of the entire Psalter has been based,^ where a citation 

^ For a fuller discussion of this subject, we would refer to the exhaustive 
paper of Prof. Francis Brown, " The New Testament Witness to the Authorship 
of Old Testament Books," in the Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature 
and Exegesis, 1882, pp. 95 seq. 

2 Acts, l"^-'o. 3Acts4»^. 4Acts2^»«. ' Rom. liwo. 6 Rom. 4<«. 

' Mk. 12^*^. Mt. 22»3-*' cites here from Mark, and condenses into " How then 
doth David in the Spirit call him," and Lk. 20"-" also cites from Mark, and 
varies " For David himself saith in the Book of Psalms." 

8 Thus, William Gouge, one of the most honoui-ed Puritan divines, in his 
Commentary on Hebreics, in discussing this passage, says : 

" From the mention of David in reference to the Psalm, we may probably 
conclude that David was the penman of the whole Book of Psalms, especially 
from this phrase, 'David hiuiself saith in the Book of Psalms' (Lk. 20''''). 
Some exceptions are made against this conclusion, but such as may readily be 

" Objection 1. — Sundry psalms have not the title of David prefixed before 
them ; they have no title at all, as the first, second, and others. .,4w*-. — li they 
have no title, why should they not be ascribed to David, rather than to any 
otlier, considering that tlie Book of Psalms is indefinitely attributed to him (as 
we heard out of the forementioned place, Lk. 20*-), which is the title prefixed 
before all the Psalms, as comprising them all under it ? Besides, such testimo- 
nies as are taken out of Psalms that have no title are applied to David, as 
Acts 4^, and this testimony that is here taken out of Ps. 95'. 

" Objection 2. — Some titles are ascribed to other authors ; as Ps. 72, 127, to 
Solomon. Ans. — The Hebrew servile lamed is variously taken and translated ; 
as sometimes, of, Ps. 3', 'A Psalm of David.' Then it signifieth the author: 


from Ps. 95''^ is given "in David, iv AavelB." ^ This means 
that David was the name of the Psalter and that this title 
■was used interchangeably with "the book of Psalms," or 

Accordingly, " David " in all the examples given above, may 
be nothing more than a name for the entire Psalter, and may 
have no personal reference to David whatever ; for it matters 
little whether a citation is made "in David," "by David," or 
" as Da\'id saitb " ; these all mean essentially the same thing ; 
and if David is a name for the Psalter in one case, it may be in 
all cases. An exception may be made in the citation of Ps. 
110 by Jesus. The argument of Jesus seems to depend upon 
the fact that David himself said the words, " The Lord said 
unto my Lord." But this would be sufficiently considered, if 
we should suppose that the author of the Psalm, in composing 
it, let David appear as the speaker here. 

Thus it is used in most titles, especially when they are applied to David. Other 
time this is translated for, as Ps. 72', 127'. In these it implieth that the Psalm 
■was penned /or Solomon's use or for his instruction. It may also be thus trans- 
lated, concerning Solomon. That the 72d Psalm was penned by David is evi- 
dent by the close thereof, in these words : ' The prayers of David the son of 
Jesse are ended.' 

" Objection 3. — Some titles ascribe the Psalm to this or that Levite, as Ps. 88 
to Heman and 83 to Ethan ; yea, twelve Psalms to Asaph and eleven to the 
sons of Korah. Ans. — All these were very skillful, not only in singing, but 
also in setting tunes to Psalms. They were musick masters. Therefore, David, 
having penned the Psalms, committed them to the foresaid Levites to be fitly 
tuned. ... It will not follow that any of them were enditers of any of the 
Psalms, because their name is set in the title of some of them. 

" Objection 4. — The 90th Psalm carried this title : ' A Prayer of Moses the 
Man of God.' Ans. — It is said to be the prayer of Moses in regard of the 
substance and general matter of it ; but, as a Psalm, it was penned by David. 
He brought it into that form. David, as a prophet, knew that Moses had 
uttered such a prayer in the substance of it ; therefore, he preflxeth that title 
before it. 

" Objection 5. — The 1.37th Psalm doth set down the disposition and carriage 
of the Israelites in the Babylonish Captivity, which was six hundred fourty 
years after David's time, and the 120th Psalm sets out their return from that 
Captivity. Ans.— To grant these to be so, yet might David pen those Psalms ; 
for, by a prophetical spirit, he might foresee what would fall out and answerably 
pen Psalms fit thereunto. Moses did the like (Dt. 292-, etc., and Sl^i.a^^ etc.). 
A man of God expressly set down distinct acts of Josiah 330 years before they 
fell out (1 K. 132). Isaiah did the like of Cyrus (Is. 4428; 45i), which was 
about two hundred years beforehand." 

> Heb. 4'. 


Dr. Plunimer may be cited for an explanation of this citation by 
Jesus : 

" The last word has not yet been spoken as to the authorship of 
Ps. 110 ; but it is a mistake to maintain that Jesus has decided the 
question. There is nothing antecedently incredible in the hj'poth- 
esis that in such matters, as in other details of human informa- 
tion, He condescended not to know more than His coutemporaries, 
and tliat He therefore believed what He had been taught in the 
school and in the synagogue. Xor ought we summarily to dismiss 
the suggestion that, although He knew that the Psalm was not 
written by David, He yet abstained from challenging beliefs re- 
specting matters of fact, because the premature and violent cor- 
rection of such beliefs would have been more harmful to His work 
than their undisturbed continuance would be. In this, as in many 
things, the correction of erroneous opinion might well be left to 
time. But this suggestion is less satisfactory than the other 
hypothesis. It should be noticed that, while Jesus afiirms both 
the inspiration (Mt., Mk.) and the Messianic character (Mt., ^tk., 
Lk.) of Ps. 110, yet the argumentative question with which He 
concludes, need not be understood as asserting that David is the 
author of it, although it seems to implj- this. It may mean no 
more than that the scribes have not fairly faced what their own 
principles involve. Here is a problem with whicli they ought to 
be quite familiar, and of which they ought to be able to give a solu- 
tion. It is their position, and not His, that is open to criticism." • 

This explanation is a valid one, although it is not the one which 
I prefer. 

The modefn Higher Criticism does not, in fact, assign a 
single one of these Psalms to David. In the Hebrew text, 
Pss. 16, 32, 69, 109, 110, have David in their titles, but Ps. 2 
is an orphan Psalm without title. David in the titles of these 
Psalms did not originally mean authorship ; it meant tliat these 
Psalms were taken by the editor of the Psalter from a collec- 
tion of Psalms, which bore the name of David, in that thej^ had 
been gathered under his name as a sort of lionorary title. The 
earliest minor Psalter was called David, just as eventually the 
ultimate Psalter was called David. 

The question of integrity is raised by the citation of our 
Ps. 2 as Ps. 1, according to the best manuscripts. ^ Were 

1 Plummer, Commentary on Luke, 1896, pp. 472, 473. 

' Acts IS". So Tischendorf, Critica Major, Editio Octara. Westcott and 


these two Psalms combined in one at the time, or was the first 
Psalm regarded as introductory and not counted ? Both views 
are supported by manuscripts and citations. 

2. Daniel ll'*' = 12" is used under the formula, " which was 
spoken through Daniel the prophet." ^ With reference to 
this, I will simply quote the judicious words of Francis 
Brown : 

"It will be remembered that the passage cited in Mt. 24" 
is from the second division of the book, a division which, with the 
exception of certain brief introductory notes, contains prophecies 
exclusively, and that this division is distinctly marked off from 
the preceding by the nature of its contents, and by the brief intro- 
duction, Dan. 7*. Now, suppose evidence were to be presented 
from other quarters to show that while the book as a whole was 
not written by Daniel, the last six chapters contained prophecies 
of Daniel, which the later author had incorporated in his book. 
On that supposition, the words of Jesus taken in their most rigid, 
literal meaning would be perfectly satisfied. We may go yet 
further. If other evidence should be adduced tending to show 
that ' Daniel, the prophet,' was a pseudonym, still there would be 
nothing in Jesus' use of the expression to commit Him to any other 
view. For the words were certainly written, and written in the 
form of a prophecy, and were a prophecy, and the book containing 
them was an inspired, canonical, and authoritative book ; the cita- 
tion was, therefore, suitable and forcible for Jesus' purposes, who- 
ever the author may have been, and the use of a current pseudonym 
to designate the author no more committed Jesus to a declaration 
that that was the author's real name, than our use of the expres- 
sion ' Junius says ' would commit us to a declaration that the 
Letters of Junius were composed by a person of that name; or 
than, on the supposition already discussed, that 'Enoch' was 
regarded as a pseudonym, Jude 14 would indicate the belief of 
the author that Enoch himself actually uttered the words which 
he quotes." ' 

II. The Prophets. 1. The only one of the former prophets 
or the prophetic historical books mentioned in connection wdth 

Hort say that "Transcriptional Probability, which prima facie supports vpiirif, 
is in reality favourable or unfavourable to both readings alike" (^.c. Appendix, 
p. 95). 

1 Mt. 2415. But this is evidently an addition by our Matthew, and it was 
not spoken by Jesus, for it is not in ilk. 13'^ or Lk. 21^. 

2 In Z.c, pp. 106, 107. 


a name is Samuel : ^ " All the prophets from Samuel and them 
that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of 
these days." The reference here is to the book of Samuel, for 
the reason that there is no Messianic prophecy ascribed to 
Samuel in the Old Testament. The context forces us to think 
of a Messianic prophecy. We find it in the prophecy of Nathan 
in the book of Samuel. These historical books then bore the 
name of Samuel, and their contents are referred to as Samuel's. 

Samuel caimot be regarded as the author of this book that 
bears his name. Indeed, Samuel's death is described in the 
twenty-fifth chapter of 1 Samuel, that is, about the middle of 
the books. The book of Samuel shows the hands of three dif- 
ferent writers, not one of them so early as Samuel. Samuel 
is used as an appropriate honorary title of the book, just as 
David was of the Psalter ; and he is represented as saying 
whatever is in the book, even the words of Nathan, just as 
David speaks all that the psalmists speak in the Psalms. 

As to Joshua, Judges, and Kings we have no use of them in 
such a way as to raise questions of Higher Criticism. 

2. Of the latter prophets the New Testament refers only to 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Joel in connection with names. 
Ezekiel and nine of the minor prophets are not used in such a 
way as to raise questions of Higher Criticism. Jonah ^^ is re- 
ferred to as a prophet in connection with his preaching to the 
Ninevites and his abode in the belly of the great fish, but no 
such reference is made to the book that bears his name as to 
imply his authorship of it. The question whether Jonah is his- 
tory or fiction is not decided by Jesus' use of it ; for as a para- 
ble it answered His purpose no less than if it were history. 

3. Hosea 1^", 2^ are quoted^ as "in Hosea." This is 
probably nothing more than the name of the writing used. 
Joel 2^"'- is quoted:* "This is that which hath been spoken 
through the prophet Joel." No questions need to be raised as 
to these passages. 

4. Jeremiah is citcd,^ under the formula, " that which was 
spoken througli Jeremiah tlie propliet, saying." The former 
citation is from Jeremiah 31 '^ the latter from Zechariah 11'-'". 

'Acts 3". 2 Mt. 12™-<i. 8Roin. 9«. < Acts 2i«. ^ Mt. 2", 27». 


This raises the question of the integrity of Zechariah. On the 
basis of this passage Chapters 9-11 of Zechariah were ascribed 
to Jeremiah by jMede, Hammond, and Kidder.^ But it is now 
generally conceded that the evangelist has made a mistake. 
This raises the question how far errors of this character affect 
the credibility of a writing. 

5. Isaiah is frequently cited in the New Testament in the 
formula, '• through Isaiah the prophet, saying." Thus the evan- 
gelist Matthew cites ^ Is. 9^"^; 40^, 42i-*, 53* : and the author 
of the book of Acts^ Is. 6^'^: The formula "Isaiah said" is 
used in the citation of Is. G^'"'; -40*, in the Gospel of John ; * the 
citation of Is. ll^^, 5S\ 65^"^; in the Epistle to the Romans.* 
The formula, " the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah," 
is used by Luke^ in citing Is. 40^"^, 61^"^. Is. 53* is cited as 
the "word of Isaiah the prophet" ;" Is. 53^"* as "reading the 
prophet Isaiah" ;^ Is. 10^"'«- as "Isaiah cries out" :^ Is. 1^ as 
" Isaiah foretold" ; *" Is. 6*"*" as " prophecy of Isaiah " ; ^ Is. 29*2 
as "Isaiah prophesied."^ Besides these there is a passage of 
more difficulty,*^ where, with the formula, " written in Isaiah 
the prophet," are cited Mai. 3* and Is. 40^. This seems to be 
a clear case in which the evangelist has overlooked the fact 
that one of his citations is from Malachi. This raises the 
question how far such a slip is consistent with credibility. 
The various formulas of citation seem on the surface to imply 
the authorship of our book of Isaiah by the prophet Isaiah, 
and also its essential integrity, inasmuch as the citations are 
from aU parts of the book. But we have foiuid that Samuel 
is represented as prophesying, when the prophecy is by Nathan 
in the book that bore the name of Samuel, and that David 
speaks in all the Psalms. How can we be sure that this is 
not the case with Isaiah, likewise, in the phrases, " through 
Isaiah the prophet, saying," " Isaiah said," " words of Isaiah 
the prophet," " Isaiah cries out," " Isaiah foretold," " Isaiah 
prophesied " ? The jDhrases, " book of the prophet Isaiah," 

> See p. .310. » Jit. 4", 3', 12'', 8i'. » Acts 282s. * John 12'»-», l^s. 
& Rom. 16", IQW. 2»-!i. 6 Lk. 3*, 4". ■ John 12'8 

• Acts S**. »Rom. ifi'. 10 Rom. 9^ 

" Mt. 13". " Mk. 7« = Mt. 15'. »3 Mk. l^. 


"reading the prophet Isaiah," "prophecy of Isaiah," certainly 
imply nothing more than naming the book. 

They may be interpreted in several ways: either that Isaiah 
wrote all the book of Isaiah, or that he wrote the earlier por- 
tions of it, and that the prophecies appended by the later edi- 
tors of the book did not change its name ; or that it came down 
by tradition associated with the name of Isaiah, having been 
edited under his name when the second Canon was established. 
These terms no more imply authorship than the names Ruth, 
Esther, Samuel, David. In fact, ten of the citations in the 
New Testament given above are from Is. 40-66. which, as all 
modern critics agree, was not written by Isaiah, or in the time 
of Isaiah, but in the time of the exile, by a great prophet un- 
named and unknown. The remaining citations would be com- 
monly regarded as genuine prophecies of Isaiah. 

III. The Law. 1. Jesus speaks of " the Law of Moses" ^ and 
"the book of Moses." ^ The evangelist uses "Moses " for the 
Law.^ So the apostles refer to " the Law of Moses," * and use 
" Moses " for the Law.^ These are all cases of naming books 
cited. They have as their parallel David as the name of the 
Psalter ; Samuel, also, of the book of Samuel.^ It is certainly 
reasonable to interpret Moses in these passages in the same 
way, as the name of the work containing his legislation, and 
the history in which he is the central figure. 

2. (a) Jesus cites from the fifth commandment, Ex. 20'^, 
and from a statute of the code of the Covenant, Ex. 21^", ac- 
cording to Mark as " Moses said," corrected by Matthew into 
" God said." ^ The former of these was uttered by God to the 
people, and was written upon one of the tables as the fifth of 
the Ten Words. The other was a statute, not in the original 
Book of the Covenant, but taken up into it from a pentade 
of statutes, coming originally from the most ancient lawgivers 
of Israel.^ 

(6) Jesus said to the leper, " Go thy way, shew thyself to 
the priest, and offer for thy cleansing the things which Moses 

1 John 7". 2 Mk. 12». » Lk. 24". ♦ Acts 28«>. 

' Acts 1521, 2 Cor. .3". « Heb. 4', Acts 3". See p. 323. ' Mk. Tif = Mt. 16«. 
* Briggs, Higher Critieisnt of the Bexateuch. New edition, 1897, p. 219. 


commanded, for a testimoii}' unto them."^ This refers to the 
law for cleansing the leper in Lev. 14. It belongs to the Priest 
code, the last codification of Hebrew law in the time of the 

(e) In discussing the question of divorce with the Pharisees, 
Jesus said, " What did Moses command you ? And they said, 
Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her 
away. But Jesus said unto them. For your hardness of heart 
he wrote you this commandment." ^ This law of divorce is in 
Deut. 2-1^"*. It is one of the judgments from the courts of the 
elders belonging to the earlier strata of the Deuteronomic code.^ 

(<i) Jesus said, " Did not Moses give you the law, and 3-et 
none of you doeth the law ? . . . Moses hath given you cir- 
cumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers) ; and on 
the Sabbath ye circumcise a man. If a man receiveth cii'cum- 
cision on the Sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be 
broken ; are ye wroth with me, because I made a man every 
whit whole on the Sabbath ? " * Here Jesus ascribes the whole 
Law to Moses, and specifically the law of circumcision. This 
latter is corrected by the editor of the original John, who here, 
as so often, inserts a qualifying or explanatory statement. The 
editor calls attention to the fact that circumcision was not 
exactly of Moses, but of the Fathers. He remembers that it 
was given to Abraham by God, and not first to Moses. Indeed, 
there is surprisingly little in the Law codes with reference to 
circumcision. In the Priest code, in connection with the law 
for purification of women after childbirth, the circumcision of 
the boy comes in incidentally." There is then a reference to 
the circumcision of the son of Moses,^ and a law for the cir- 
cumcision of strangers." There can be little doubt that the 
original John represents .Jesus as stating that Moses gave the 
law of circumcision, which was really given by God to Abra- 
ham. He does it because of the usage of his day. Moses and 
Law were identical terms, and whatever was written in the five 
books of the Law could be ascribed to Moses, just the same as 
whatever was written in the Psalter was ascribed to David, 

1 Mk. 1" = Mt. 8* = Lk. 5". ^ jjt. iQS-i. Mt. 19'-8. » Briggs, I.e., p. 253. 
* John 7i»-2«. '- Lev. 128. « Ex. 4». ' Ex. 12«<-«8. 


and whatever was spoken in the book of Samuel was ascribed 
to Samuel. In fact, Jesus in these several passages ascribes to 
Moses, in this larger sense, the fifth commandment, spoken 
by God to Israel, the law of circumcision given by God to 
Abraham, the statute of the Covenant code derived from the 
primitive courts of Israel, the judgment of the Deuteronomic 
code derived from the courts of the elders, and the law of the 
Priest code derived from the priestly courts. They can, with 
propriety, be attributed to Moses, using Moses as the name for 
the books of the Law and all the legislation contained therein. 
But, in fact, none of these specific laws were given to Moses 
or were derived from Moses. They were eitlier earlier or later 
than Moses, except the fifth command, which was given by 
God directly to all the people. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews represents Moses as giving the 
law of priesthood, and as a lawgiver whose law could not be 
disobeyed with impunity. ^ These passages represent Moses 
to be the lawgiver that he appears to be in the narratives of 
the Pentateuch ; but do not, by any means, imply the author- 
ship of the narratives that contain these laws, any more than 
the reference ^ to the command of Christ in Lk. 10", and to the 
institution of the Lord's Supper by Jesus,^ imply that Jesus was 
the author of the gospels containing His words. 

3. Moses is frequently referred to as a prophet who wrote of 
Jesus as the Messianic prophet.* All these references are 
doubtless to the prediction of Deut. IS^^'i^. There is no suffi- 
cient reason for doubting that Moses uttered such a prophecy, 
although its present form shows the hand of the Deuteronomic 
redactor.* But the references here might still all be explained 
of Moses as standing for the whole Law. and so as uttering all 
the prophecies contained in the Law, just as Siunuel uttered 
the prophecy of Nathan. There is certainly nothing in these 
statements to imply that Moses wrote the book of Deuter- 
onomy, or the Deuteronomic code, or the entire Law. 

4. Certain historical events narrated in the Pentateuch in 

» Heb. 7", W^. 2 1 Cor. 9". » 1 Cor. 11m«« 

« .lobn 1«, 6'«*"; Acts 322-2«, T^", 20*'. 

' Briggs, ilcssianic Prophecy, Tlh ed., 1898, pp. 112 seq. 


which Moses takes the lead are mentioned,^ but these simply 
refer to the historical character of the transactions ; tliey do 
not imply exclusive Mosaic authorship of the writings contain- 
ing these historical incidents. 

5. In the passage, "Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the 
Lord God raise up unto you, etc. . . . Yea, and all the 
prophets from Samuel, and them that followed after, as many 
as have spoken, they also told of these days," ^ it is necessary 
to interpret " Samuel " of the book of Samuel, and think of the 
prophecy of Nathan ; and if this be so, is it not most natural 
to interpret "Moses" here as also referring to the book of 
Deuteronomy rather than the person of Moses? If that be 
true in this case, it may also be true of other cases classed 
under (2) and (-3). Samuel cannot, it is admitted, be regarded 
as the author of the book that bears his name ; why, then, 
should any one suppose that we are forced to conclude from 
these passages that jNIoses is the author of the books that bear 
his name ? 

It has been objected that this method of determining what 
the words of Jesus and His apostles may mean in detail does 
not show what they must mean when taken together. It has, 
however, been forgotten by the objectors that the proper exe- 
getical method is inductive, and that the path of exegesis is to 
rise from the particulars to the general. The dogmatic method 
is in the habit of saying a passage must mean thus and so from 
dogmatic presuppositions. The exegete prefers the may until 
he is forced to the must. He has learned to place little confi- 
dence in the " must mean " of tradition and dogmatism ; for 
he has so often been obliged to see it transform into must not, 
impossible, from exegetical considerations. Who, then, is to say 
must in the interpretation of the New Testament, exterior to 
itself ? Is the Talmud to say must to the words of oui- Lord 
Jesus ? Is the traitor Josephus, or the pseudepigraph of Ezra, 
to say must in an interpretation of the apostles ? Nay. We 
let them speak for themselves, and if we are to choose between 
a variety of possible interpretations of their words we prefer 
to let Higher Criticism decide. For Higher Criticism is exact 
1 Heb. 85, 9'», 1221, etc. = Acts ^'^'». 


and thorougli in its methods, and prefers the internal evidence 
of the Old Testament books themselves to any external evi- 
dence. This may bring Jesus into conflict with Josephus and 
tlie rabbins and mth traditional theories ; but it is more likely 
to bring Him into harmony with Moses and the Prophets. 
Professor B. Weiss has well said in another connection: 

" However certainly, therefore, the religious ideas of later 
Judaism, as well as the doctrines of Jewish Theology, had an 
influence upon the forming of the religious consciousness as it is 
exhibited in the writings of the Xew Testament, our knowledge 
of the extent in which these ideas and doctrines lay within the 
field of vision of the writers of the New Testament is far from 
being precise enough to permit us to start from them in ascertain- 
ing that religious consciousness. It is only in the rarest cases 
that biblical theology will be able to make use of them with cer- 
tainty for the purpose of elucidation." ' 

No one could emphasize the importance of historical exegesis 
more than we are disposed to do ; but we cannot allow tradi- 
tionalists — who are the last to use this method except when, 
for the time being, it serves their purposes — by the improper 
use of it to force upon criticism interpretations that are possible 
but not necessary, and which are excluded by other and higher 
considerations presented bj' the Word of God as contained in 
tlie Scriptures of the Old Testament. 

It has been a common literary usage for centuries to repre- 
sent a book as speaking by the name bj' which it is known, 
whether that be a pseudonym, or indicate the subject-matter 
or the author. To insist tliat it must always in the New Testa- 
ment indicate authorship is to go in the face of tlie literary 
usage of the world, and against the usage of the New Testament 
itself, certainly in the cases of Samuel and David and, therefore, 
probably in other cases also, such as Moses and Isaiah. 

We have shown that the questions of Higlior Criticism have 
not been determined by the ecclesiastical autliority of creeds or 
the consensus of tradition. And it is a merciful Providence 

^Bibtical Theology of the New Testament, T. & T. Clark's edition. Ediii., 
1882, I. p. 14. 


that this has not been the case. For it would have committed 
the Church and Chi-istians to man}- errors which have been ex- 
posed by a century of progress in the Higher Criticism. Those 
who still insist upon opposing Higher Criticism -with traditional 
views, and with the supposed authority of Jesus Christ and His 
apostles, do not realize the perils of the situation. They seem 
to be so infatuated with inherited opinions tliat they ai-e ready 
to risk the divinity of Christ, the authority of the Bible, and 
the existence of the Church, upon their interpretation of the 
words of Jesus and His apostles. The}- apparently do not see 
that they throw uj) a wall to prevent any critic who is an un- 
l)eliever from ever becoming a believer in Christ and the Bible. 
They would force evangelical critics to choose between truth 
and scholarly research on the one side, and Christ and tradition 
on the other. But there are many far better scholars who are 
Christian critics, and they will not be deterred from criticism 
themselves, or allow others to be deterred, by these reactionary 
alarmists. The issue is plain, the result is not doubtful: the 
obstructionists will give way in this matter, as they have already 
in so many other matters.^ Holy Scripture wUl %Tindicate itself 
against those who, like the friends of Job, have not spoken 
right concerning God ^ in presuming to defend Him. 

V. The Rise of the Higher Criticism. 

The current critical theories are the resultants of forces at 
work in the Church since the Reformation. These forces have 
advanced steadily and constantly. In each successive epoch 
scholars have investigated afresh the sacred records and brought 
forth treasures new as well as old. Various theories have been 
proposed from time to time to account for the new facts that 
have been brought to light. Biblical science has shared the 
fortune of the entire circle of the sciences. The theories have 
been modified or discarded under the influence of additional in- 
vestigations and the discovery of new facts for which they could 
not account. The facts have remained in every case as a per- 
manent acquisition of Biblical Criticism, and these facts have 
1 See pp. 9 seq., 223 seq. " Job 42 '. 


gradually accumulated in mass and importance, until they now 
command the services of a large body of enthusiastic investiga- 
tors. They have gained the ear of the literary -world, and they 
enlist the interest of all intelligent persons. The questions of 
Higher Criticism have risen to a position among the great 
issues of our time, and no one can any longer ignore them. 

All great movements of human thought liave their prelimi- 
nary and initial stages, and are preceded by spasmodic efforts. 
Even the enemies of the true Faith not infrequentlj^ become 
the providential agents for calling the Church to a fresh iaves- 
tigation of the sacred oracles. Thus Spinoza, the pantheistic 
philosopher, applied Historical Criticism to the Old Testament 
books,! and concluded that Moses could not have written the 
Pentateuch, and that the historical books from Genesis through 
the books of Kings constitute one great historical work, a con- 
glomeration of many different originals by one editor, probably 
Ezra, who does not succeed in a reconciliation of differences, 
and a complete and harmonious arrangement. The books of 
Chronicles he places in the Maccabean period. The Psalms 
were collected and divided into five books in the time of the 
second temple. The book of Proverbs was collected at the 
earliest in the time of Josiah. The prophetical books are col- 
lections of different fragments without regard to their original 
order. Daniel, Ezra, Esther, and Nehemiah are from the same 
author, who would continue the great historical work of Israel 
from the captivity onwards, written in the Maccabean period. 
Job was probably, as Aben Ezra conjectured, translated into 
Hebrew from a foreign tongue. ^ This criticism was shrewd, but 
chiefly conjectural. It paved the way for future systematic 

Soon after Spinoza, Richard Simon,^ a Roman Catholic, began 
to apply Historical Criticism in a systematic manner to the study 
of the books of the Old Testament. He represented the his- 
torical books as made up of the ancient writings of the prophets, 
who were public scribes, and Avrute down tlie history in official 

1 Tract. Thco. Polit., 1670, c. 8. 

2 See Siegfried, Spinoza ah Kritiker und Ausleger <les Alten Testament, 
Berlin, 1867. * Histoire Critique du Vieux Testament, 1678. 


documents on the spot, from the time of Moses onward, so that 
the Pentateuch in its present shape is not by Moses. Simon 
distinguished in the Pentateuch between that which was written 
by Moses, e.g., the commands and ordinances, and that written 
by the prophetical scribes, the greater part of the history. As 
the books of Kings and Chronicles were made up by abridg- 
ments and summaries of the ancient acts preserved in the 
archives of the nation, so was the Pentateuch. The later 
prophets edited the works of the earlier prophets, and added 
explanatory statements. Simon presents as evidences that 
Moses did not write the Pentateuch : (1) The double account 
of the deluge. (2) The lack of order in the arrangement of 
the narratives and laws. (3) The diversity of the stjie. The 
Roman Catholic scholar goes deeper into the subject than the 
pantheist Spinoza has gone. He presents anotlier class of 
evidences. These three lines were not suihciently worked by 
Simon. He fell into the temptation of expending his strength 
on the elaboration and justification of his theory. The facts he 
discovered have proved of permanent value, and have been 
worked as a rich mine by later scholars, but his theory was 
at once attacked and destroyed. The Arminian, Clericus, in 
an anonymous work,' assailed Simon for his abuse of Protestant 
writers, but really went to greater lengths than Simon. He 
distinguishes in the Pentateuch three classes of facts, — those 
before Sloses, those during his time, and those subsequent to 
his death, — and represents the Pentateuch in its present form 
as composed by the priest sent from Babylon to instruct the 
inhabitants of Samaria in the religion of the land.^ Afterward 
he gave up this wild theory and took the more tenable ground ^ 
of interpolations by a later editor. Anton Van Dale* dis- 
tinguishes between the Mosaic code and the Pentateuch, which 
latter Ezra composed from other writings, historical and pro- 

' Sentimens de quelqiies theologiens de Holland sur VHistoire Critique, 
Amst., 1685. 

» 2 K. 17. In I.e., pp. 107, 129. 

» Com. on Genesis, introd. de Seriptore Pent., § 11. Simon replied to 
Clericus in Reponse au Livre intitule Sentimens, etc. Par Le Prieur de BoUe- 
viUe, Rotterdam. 1686. 

* De origine etprogressu idol., 1696, p. 71, and Epist. ad Morin., p. 686. 


phetical, inserting the Mosaic code as a -nhole in his work. 
This is also essentially the view of Semler.^ 

These various writers brought to light a most valuable col- 
lection of facts that demanded the attention of biblical scholars 
of all creeds and phases of thought. They all made the mis- 
take of proposing untenable theories of various kinds to account 
for the facts, instead of working upon the facts and rising from 
them by induction and generalization to perriianent results. 
Some of them, like Spinoza, were animated by a spirit more 
or less hostile to the evangelical faith. Others, like Clericus, 
were heterodox in other matters. The most important investi- 
gations were those of the Roman Catholics. 

Over against these critical attacks on the traditional theo- 
ries, we note the scholastic defence of them by Huet, a Jesuit,^ 
Heidegger,^ a Calvinistic scholastic, and Carpzov,^ a Lutheran 
scholastic. These divines, instead of seeking to account for 
the facts brought to light by the critics, proceeded to defend 
traditional views, and strove in every way to explain .away the 
facts and so to commit the Christian Church in all its branches 
against the scientific study of Holy Scripture. 

There were, however, other divines who looked the facts in 
the face and took a better way. Thus Du Pin,^ Witsius,* 
Spanheim,' Prideaux,® Vitringa,^ and Calmet,'" sought to ex- 
plain the passages objected to, either as improperly interpreted 
or as interpolations, recognizing the use of several documents 
and a later editorship by Ezra and others. Tliey laid the 
foundations for evangelical criticism, which was about to begin 
and run a long and successful course." 

It is instructive just here to pause by Du Pin, who lays 

' Apparatus ad Uberalem Vet. Test. Interp., 1773, p. 67. 

' In his Demonstratio Eeangelica, 1670, IV. cap. xiv. 

' Exercitiones Bibliccc, 1700, Dissert. IX. 7. 

* Introduction ad Libros Canoniais Bib. Vet. Test. 2 ed., Lipsise, 1731. 

'Dessert, prelim. Bib. des auteurs eccl., l'ari.s. 1688. A Xew History of 
Ecclesiastical ]\'>-iters, 3d edition, London, 1606, pp. 1 seq. 

« Misc. Sacra, 1692, p. 103. ' Historia ecclesiast. V. T., I. p. 260. 

' Old and New Testaments connected, 1716-1718, I. 6 (3). 

» Observa. Sacra., 1722, IV. 2. '» Co»»i. litterale, 1722, I. p. xiii. 

" See Briggs, Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, new edition, 1897, pp. 
36 seq. 


down such admirable rules of literary criticisui ^ with refer- 
euce to ecclesiastical books. When Simon raises the question 
why he does not apply these rules to the Pentateuch, he replies 
by saying : 

'• A man may say, that all these rules which I have laid down, 
are conviucing and probable in different degrees, but that the 
sovereign and principal rule is the judgment of equity and pru- 
dence, which instructs us to balance the reasons of this and t'other 
side, in distiuctl}- considering the conjectures that are made of 
both sides. Now this is the general rule of Kational Criticism, 
and we abuse all the rest if we don't chiefly make use of this." ^ 

In this way the difference between Simon and himself was 
easily reduced to that between good sense and nonsense. This 
method of settling difficult questions certainly stops debate 
between the parties for the moment, but is far from conviucing. 

Before passing over to the Higher Criticism of the Holy 
Scriptures we shall present the views of this master of the 
literary criticism of ecclesiastical writers in his time, respect- 
ing the biblical books : 

" Moses was the author of the first five books of the Pentateuch 
(except sundry interpolations). . . . We can't so certainly tell 
who are the authors of the other books of the Bible : some of 'em 
we onlj- know by conjecture, and others there are of which we have 
no manner of knowledge. . . . The time wherein Job lived, is 
yet more diSicult to discover ; and the author of the book, who 
has compiled his history, is no less unknown. . . . Though the 
Psalms are commonl}- called the Psalms of David, or rather the 
Book of the Psalms of David, yet 'tis certain, as St. Jerom has ob- 
served in many places, that they are not all of 'em his, and that 
there are some of them written long after his death. 'Tis therefore 
a collection of songs that was made by Ezrah. . . . The Proverbs 
or Parables belong to Solomon, whose name is written in the be- 
ginning of that book. . . . We ought therefore to conclude, . . . 
that the first twenty-four chapters are Solomon's originally, that 
the five following ones are extracts or collections of his proverbs, 
and that the two last chapters were added afterwards. . . . The 
book of Ecclesiastes is ascribed to Solomon by all antiquity : And 
yet the Talmudists have made Hezekiah the author of the book, 
and Grotius, upon some slight conjectures, pretends it was com- 

1 See pp. 96seg. 2 ;.(._^ p jg. 


posed by Zerubbabel. It begins with tliese words, The Words of the 
Preacher, the Son of David, lung of Jerusalem ; which may be ap- 
plied to Hezekiah as well as to Solomon : ... we ought rather to 
understand it of Solomon. . . . The Song of Songs ... is al- 
lowed to be Solomon's by the consent of the synagogue and the 
church. The Talmudists attribute it to Ezrah, but without 
groimds. The books of the Prophets carry the names of their 
authors undisputed." ^ 

About the same time sevei-al Roman Catholic divines, as well 
as Vitringa, took ground independently in favour of the theory 
of the use of written documents by Moses in the composition 
of Genesis. So Abbe Fleury,^ and Abbe Laurent Francois ; ^ 
but it was chiefly Astruc, a physician, who in 1753* made it 
evident that Genesis was composed of several documents. He 
presented to the learned world, with some hesitation and timid- 
it)^ his discovery that the use of the divine names, Elohim and 
Jehovah, divided the book of Genesis into two great memoirs 
and nine lesser ones. 

This was a real discovery, which, after a hundred years of 
debate, has at last won the consent of the vast majority of 
biblical scholars. His analysis is in some respects too mechani- 
cal, and, in not a few instances, is defective and needed rectifi- 
cation, but as a whole it has been maintained. He relies also 
too much upon the different use of the divine names, and too 
little upon variations in stjde, language, and narrative.* The 
attention of German scholars was called to this discovery by 
Jerusalem.® Eichhorn was independently led to the same con- 
clusion.^ But still more important than the work of Astruc 
was that of Bishop Lowth,* who unfolded the principles of par- 

1 I.e., pp. 1-5. 

2 Mamrs des Israelites, Bruxelleg, 1701, p. 6. This was translated into Eng- 
lish and enlarficd by Adam Clarke. 3d edition, 1800. 

5 Prunes de la Reliyion de Jesus Christ, contra les Spinosistes et les Deistes, 
1751, I. 2, c. 3, art. 7. 

* In his Conjectures sur les Memoires originaux dont il paroit que Moyse s'est 
aervipour le livre de la Oenese. 

' See Brings, Hiyher Critieism of the Hexateueh. new edition, 18S17, pp. 46 seq. 

'"' Inliis liriefe i'ther d. Mosaischcn Schriften, 1702. 3te Aufl., 1783, pp. 104.163. 

■ Urgeschichte in the Sepertorium, T. iv., 1779, especially T. v., 1779. 

' In De Sacra Poeni Ilchrccorum, 1753, and, 1779, in Prelim. Diss., and Trans- 
lation of the Prophecies of Isaiah. 


allelism in Hebrew poetry, and made it possible to study the 
Old Testament as literature, discriminating poetry from prose, 
and shovNing that the greater part of prophecy is poetical. His 
work on Hebrew poetr}- was issued in Germany by Micliaelis, 
and his translation of Isaiah by Koppe, who took the position 
that this prophetical book was made up of a number of docu- 
ments loosely put together from different authors and different 
periods.^ Lowth himself did not realize the importance of this 
discovery for the literary criticism of the Scriptures, but thought 
that it would prove of great service to Textual Criticism in the 
suggesting of emendations of the text in accordance with the 
parallelism of members. 

The poet Herder ^ tirst caught the Oriental spirit and life 
and brought to the attention of the learned the varied literary 
beauties of the Bible,^ and "reconquered, so to say, the Old 
Testament for German literature."* 

But these writings were all preparatory to the work of J. G. 
Eichhorn, in 1780." Eichhorn combined in one the results of 
Simon and Astruc, Lowth and Herder, embracing the various 
elements in an organic method which he called the Higher Criti- 
cism. In the preface to his second edition, 1787. he says: 

' Koppe. Bohert Loii-lWs Jesaias neu ubersetzt nebst einer Einleitung . . . 
mit Zusatze unci Anmerkungeii, 4 Bd., Leipzig, 1779-1780. 

- In 1780 he published his Briefe uber das Studium der Theologie, and in 
1782 his Geist der Heb. Poesie. 

' Herder in his first Brief says : " Richard Simon is the Father of the Criticism 
of the Old and New Testaments in recent times." " A Critical Introduction to 
the Old Testament, as it ought to be, we have not yet." 1780. In 2d Auf., 
1785. It is said on the margin, " We have it now in Eichhorn's valuable Ein- 
leit. ins AH. Test., 1780-1783." 

* Dorner in Johnson^s Encyclopcedia, II. p. 528. 

^ Einleit. ins AH. Test. As Bertheau remarks in Herzog's Beal Ency., I. 
Aufl., IV. 115: "In Eichhorn's writings the apologetic interest is ever}' where 
manifest, to explain, as he expresses it, the Bible according to the ideas and 
methods of thought of the ancient world, and to defend it against the scorn of the 
enemies of the Bible. He recognized the exact problem of bis times clearer than 
most of his contemporaries ; he worked with unwearied diligence over the whole 
field of Biblical literature with his own independent powers ; he paved the way 
to difficult investigations ; he undertook many enterprises with good success, and 
conducted not a few of them to sate results. With Herder in common he has 
the credit of having awakened in wide circles love to the Bible, and especially 
the Old Testament writings, and excited enthusiasm carefully to investigate 


'• I am obliged to give the most pains to a liitlierto entirely un- 
worked field, the investigation of the internal condition of the 
particular writings of the Old Testament by help of the Higher 
Criticism (a new name to no Humanist). Let any one think what 
they will of these efforts, my own consciousness tells me that they 
are the result of very careful investigation, although no one can 
be less wrapt up in them than 1 their author. The powers of one 
man hardly suffice to complete such investigations so entirely at 
once. They demand a healthful and ever-cheerful spirit, and how 
long can any one maintain it in such toilsome investigations? 
Thej- demand the keenest insight into the internal condition of 
every book ; and who will not be dulled after a whOe ? " 

He begins his investigation of tlie books of Closes with the 
wise statement: 

'• Whether early or late ? That can be learned only from the 
■m-itings themselves. And if they are not by their own contents 
or other internal characteristic traces put down into a later cen- 
tury than they ascribe to themselves or Tradition assigns them, 
then a critical investigator must not presume to doubt their own 
testimony — else he is a contemptible raisonneur, a doubter in the 
camp, and no longer an historical investigator. According to this 
plan I shall test the most ancient Hebrew writings, not troubling 
myself what the result of this investigation maj- be. And if 
therewith learning, shrewdness, and other qualifications which I 
desire for this work should fail me, yet, certainly no one will find 
lacking love of the truth and strict investigation." 

These are the principles and methods of a tru^ and manly 
scholar, the father of the Higher Criticism. It is a sad reflec- 
tion that they have been so great!}" and generally ignored on 
the scholastic and rationalistic sides. Eichhorn separated the 
Elohistic and Jehovistic documents in Genesis with great pains, 
and with such success that his .analysis has been the basis of all 
critical investigation since his day. Its great advantages are 
admirably stated: 

"For this di.scovery of the internal condition of the first books 
of Moses, part}' spirit will perhaps for a pair of decennials snort 
at the Higher Criticism instead of rewarding it ^vith the full 
thanks that are due it, for (1) the credibility of the book gains by 
such a use of more ancient documents. (2) The harmony of the 
two narratives at the same time with their slight deviations proves 


their independence and mutual reliability. (3) Interpreters will 
be relieved of difficulty by this Higher Criticism which separates 
documeut from dociuneut. (4) Finally the gain of Criticism is 
also great. If the Higher Criticism has now for the tirst distin- 
guished author from author, and in general characterized each 
according to his own ways, diction, favorite expressions, and other 
peculiarities, then her lower sister who busies herself only with 
words, and spies out false readings, has rules and principles by 
which she must test particular readings." ' 

Eichhorn carried his methods of Higher Criticism into the 
entire Old Testament ^\dth the hand of a master, and laid 
the foundation of views that have l^een maintained ever since 
with increasing determination. He did not alwaj^s grasp the 
truth. He sometimes chased shadows, and framed visionary 
theories both in relation to the Old and New Testaments, like 
others who have preceded him and followed him. He could 
nx)t transcend the limits of his age, and adapt himself to future 
discoveries. The labours of a large number of scholars, and the 
work of a century and more, were still needed, as Eichhorn 
modestly anticipated. 

These discussions produced little impression upon Great 
Britain. The conflict with deism had forced the majority of 
her divines into a false position. If they had maintained the 
fides divina and the critical position of the Protestant Reformers 
and Westminster divines, they would not have hesitated to 
look the facts in the face, and strive to account for them ; they 
would not have committed the grave mistakes by which bib- 
lical learning was almost paralyzed in Great Britain for half 
a century. 2 Eager for the defence of traditional views, they, 

' In I.e., II. p. ,S29 ; see also Urriescliichte in Repertorinm, 1770, V. p. 187. 
We cannot help calling attention to tlie fine literary sense of Eichhorn as 
manifest in the following extract: " Head it (Genesis) as two historical works 
of antiquity, and breathe thereby the atmosphere of its age and country. 
Forget then the century in which thou livest and the knowledge it affords thee ; 
and if thou canst not do this, dream not that thou wilt be able to enjoy the 
book in the spirit of its origin." 

2 Mozley in his lieminiscences, 1882. Am. edit., Vol. II. p. 41, .says: "There 
was hardly such a thing as Biblical Criticism in this country at the beginning 
of this century. Poole's Synopsis contained all that an ordinary clergyman 
could wish to know. Arnold is described as in all his glory at Kugby, with 
Poole's .Synopsis on one side, and Facciolali on the other." 


for the most part, fell back again on Jewish Rabbinical authority 
and external evidence, contending with painful anxiet)- for 
authors and dates ; and so antagonized Higher Criticism itself 
as deistic criticism and rationalistic criticism, not discrimi- 
nating between those who were attackiug the Scriptures in 
order to destroy them, and those who were searching the 
Scriptures in order to defend them. It is true that the 
humanist and the purely literary interest prevailed in Eich- 
horn and his school ; they failed to apply the fides divina of 
the Protestant Reformers ; but this was lacking to the scho- 
lastics also, and so unhappil}' traditional dogmatism and ration- 
alistic criticism combined to crush evangelical criticism. 

VI. The Higher Criticism of the Nixeteexth Centuky 

There is a notable exception to the absence of the critical 
spirit in Great Britain, and that excejition proves the rule. In 
1792 Dr. Alexander Geddes, a Roman Catholic divine, pro- 
posed what has been called the fragmentary hjpothesis to 
account for the structure of the Pentateuch and Joshua.^ 
But this radical theory found no hosjjitalit}- in Great Britain. 
It passed over into Germany through Vater,- and there entered 
into conflict with the documentary hypothesis of the school of 
Eichliorn. Koppe had proposed the fragmentary hyiiothesis 
to account for the literary features of the book of Isaiah, and 
now it was extended to other books of the Bible. Eichhorn 
had applied the documentary hypothesis to the Gospels, Isaiah, 
and other parts of Scripture. The first stadium of the Higher 
Criticism is characterized by the conflict of the documentary 
and fragmentary hypotheses along the wliole line. The result 
of this discussion was that the great variety of the elements 
tliat constitute our Bible became more and more manifest, and 
the problem was forced upon the critics to account for their 

1 The Holy Bible ; or, the Books accounted Sacred by Jeios and Chrittians, 
etc. London, I. pp. xviii. seq. 

' Commentar iibcr den Pi'nt^tfurh mil Einleitiinrien zu den eimelnen Ab- 
srhnitten der einge-trhiltrlm von Dr. Alex. Geddes' merkwilrdigeren kritisehen 
viid exegetischen Anmerktingen, etc. Halle. 1805. 


De Wette^ introduced the second stadium of the Higher 
Criticism by calling the attention of the critics to the genesis 
of the documents.^ Gesenius supported him,^ and sharply- 
opposed the fragmentary hj^pothesis of Koppe, and strove to 
account for the genesis of the documents of Isaiah and their 
combination. Other critics in great numbers worked in the 
same direction, such as Bleek, Ewald, Knobel, Hupfeld, and 
produced a great mass of historical and critical work upon all 
parts of the Old Testament. The same problems were dis- 
cussed in the New Testament, especially with reference to the 
Gospels, the order of their i^roduction, and their inter-relation.* 
A great number of different theories were advanced to account 
for the genesis of the different books of the Bible. The result 
of the conflict has been the conviction on the part of most 
critics that the unity of the writings in the midst of the 
variety of documents has been accomplished by careful and 
skilful editing at different periods of biblical history. 

It became more and more evident that the problems were 
assuming larger dimensions, and that they could not be solved 
until the several edited writings were comiDared with one 
another and considered in their relation to the development 
of the Biblical Religion. The Higher Criticism thus entered 
upon a third stadium of its history. This stadium opened 
for the New Testament by the Tiibingen school, and for the 
Old Testament by the school of Reuss. These entered into 
conflict with the older views, and soon showed their insuffi- 
ciency to account for the larger problems. They reconstructed 
the biblical writings upon purely natui-alistic principles, so 
emphasizing differences as to make them irreconcilable, and 
explaining the development in biblical history and religion 
and literature by the theory of antagonistic forces struggling 
for the mastery. These critics were successfully opposed by 

> Kritik der israeJUischen Geschichte, Halle, 1807 ; Beitrdge zur Einleit., 
1806-1807 ; Lekrb. d. hist. krit. Einleit. in d. Bibel Alien und Neuen Testaments, 
Berlin, 1817-1826. 

- See author's article, " A Critical Study of the History of the Higher Criti- 
cism, with Special Reference to the Pentateuch," Presbyterian Review, IV. pp. 
94 seq. 

' Com. ii. d. Jesaia, Leipzig, 1821. * See Weiss, Leben Jesu, I. pp. 30 seq. 


the schools of Neander, Hoffmann, and Ewald, and have been 
overcome in the New Testament by the principle of diversity 
of views combining in a liigher unity. The same principle will 
overcome them in the Old Testament likewise.* 

The Higher Criticism during the first and second stadia of 
its development in Germany made little impression upon Great 
Britain and America. In 1818, T. Hartwell Home issued his 
Introduction to the Critical Studi/ and Knowledge of the Holy 
Scriptures,^ which has been highly esteemed for its many excel- 
lent qualities by several generations of students. His state- 
ment in the preface to the second edition of his work shows 
how far Great Britain was behind the continent at that time : 

" It (the work) originated in the author's own wants many years 
since . . . when he stood in need of a guide to the reading of the 
Holy Scriptures. ... At this time the author had no friend to 
assist his studies, — or remove his doubts, — nor any means of 
procuring critical works. At length a list of the more eminent 
foreign Biblical critics fell into his hands, and directed him to 
some of the sources of information which he was seeking ; he 
then resolved to procure such of them as his limited means would 
permit, with the design in the first instance of satisfying his own 
mind on those topics which had perplexed him, and ultimately of 
laying before the Public the results of his inquiries, should no 
treatise ap^sear tliat might supersede such a publication." 

This dependence of Great Britain and America on the 
biblical scholarship of the continent continued until the second 
half of our century. Most students of the Bible contented 
themselves with more or less modified forms of traditional 
theories. Some few scholars made occasional and cautious use 
of German criticism. Moses Stuart, Edward Robinson, S. H. 
Turner, Addison Alexander, Samuel Davidson, and others 
depended chiefly upon German works which they translated 
or rejiroduced. At last the Anglo-Saxon world was roused 
from its uncritical condition by the attacks of Bishop Colenso, 
on the historical character of the Pentateuch and the book of 

1 See author's article, "Critical Study of the Higher Criticism." etc.. Pi-efhii- 
terian Review, IV. p. 106 seq. ; also pp. 58(5 seq. of tliis book. 
^ It passed through many editions, 4th, 1823 ; lOlh, 1856. 


Joshua ; and by a number of scholars representing free thought 
in the Essai/s and Revieivs.^ These writers fell back on the 
older deistic objections to the Pentateuch as history and as con- 
taining a supernatural religion, and mingled therewith a repro- 
duction of German thought, chiefly through Bunsen. They 
magnified the discrepancies in the narratives and legislation, 
and attacked the supernatural element, but added little to 
the sober Higher Criticism of the Scriptures. So far as they 
took position on this subject they fell into line with the more 
radical element of the school of De AVette. They called the 
attention of British and American scholars away from the 
literary study of the Bible and the true work of the Higher 
Criticism, to a defence of the supernatural, and the inspiration 
of the Bible. They were attacked by several divines in Great 
Britain and America from this point of view ; but their con- 
tributions to the Higher Criticism of the Bible were either 
slurred over or ignored.^ The work of Colenso had little sup- 
port in Great Britain or America at the time, but it made a 
great impression upon the Dutch scholar, Kuenen, through 
whose influence it again came into notice. ^ 

It is only within recent ^-ears that an}* general interest in the 
matters of Higher Criticism has been shown in Great Britain 
and America. This interest has been due chiefly to the labours 
of a few pioneers, who have suffered in the interest of biblical 
science. In Great Britain, Samuel Davidson, Professor of Bib- 
lical Literature in the Lancashire Independent College at ^lan- 
chester from 1842 to 18.57, in the latter year was compelled to 
resign his position in consequence of his views with respect to the 

1 The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua crilknUtj examined. Parts I.-VII.. 
18G2-1879 ; Recent Inquiries in Theoloyy by Eminent English Churchmen, being 
Essays and Eevieics, 4th American edition from 2d London, 1862. 

- Among these may be mentioned the authors of Aids to Faith, being a reply 
to Essays and Reviews, American edition, 1862 ; W. H. Green, The Pentateuch 
vindicated from ttie Aspersions of Bishop Colenso, New York, 1863. 

' Godsdienst ran Israel, 1869-1870. the English edition. Religion of Israel, 
1874 : De riif Boeken van Mozes. 1872 ; De Profeten en de profetie on der Israel, 
1875, translated into English. The Prophets and Prophecy in Israel, 1877; and 
numerous articles in Theologisch. Tijdschrift since that time, and, last of all, 
H'bbert Lectures, Xational Religions and Universal Religions. 1882. Kuenen's 
views are presented in a pojnilar form in the Bible for Learners, 3 vols., 1880. 


questions of the Higher Criticism, expressed in the second vol- 
ume of the tenth edition of Home's Introductmi to the Scripture, 
1856.* This sta3'ed the progress of criticism in Great Britain 
for some years. But in the ninth edition of the Encyclopcedia 
Britannica, there appeared articles on "Angels," the "Bible," 
" Canticles," " Chronicles," and other topics by Prof. W. 
Robertson Smith, which advocated essentially the development 
hj'pothesis of the school of Reuss, and especially in the direc- 
tion of Wellhausen. W. R. Smith was Professor of Hebrew 
in the Free Church College of Aberdeen, Scotland, wliere he 
began to teach in 1870. These articles excited the attention 
of the College Committee of the Free Church of Scotland, and 
brought on a trial for heresy in that church. The case of Pro- 
fessor Smith reached its end in 1881, when he was removed 
from his chair in order to the peace and harmony of the Church, 
but acquitted of heresy in the matters in question. Although 
Professor Smith was dealt with in a very illegal and unjust 
manner, this contest gained liberty of oijinion in Great Britain. 
His teacher, A. B. Davidson, of Edinburgh, who held essen- 
tially the same views, was undisturbed, and the General As- 
sembly of the same Free Church, in May, 1892, chose Dr. 
George Adam Smith, with full knowledge of the fact that he 
held similar views, to be the successor of Principal Douglas, of 
Glasgow, who had been one of the chief opponents of W. Rob- 
ertson Smith. 

The lirst to suffer for the Higher Criticism in the United 
States was C. H. Toy, who was Professor of Old Testament 
Interpretation in the Baptist Tlieological School, at Greenville, 
S.C., from 1869 to 1879. In the latter year lie was forced to 
resign because of his views as to Biblical Criticism. In 1880, 
however, he was called to be Professor of Hebrew at Harvard 
University, where he has remained until the present. Tlie 
discussion of the Higher Criticism in the United States began 
for the Presbyterian body, in the plea for freedom of criticism 
in my inaugural address as Professor of Hebrew in the Union 

'2d edition, 1869; Inlrodurtinn to the. Old Testament. 18G2-1863; Introd^ic- 
tion to the JVeto Testament, 1868 ; 2d edition, 1882 ; The Canon of the Bible, 
1876; 3d edition, 1880. 


Theological Seminary, X. V.. in ISTG.^ This was received with 
a mild o^iposition. The subject first excited public attention 
through my article on the "• Right, Dutj% and Limits of Biblical 
Criticism,"' published in the Presbyterian Review in 1881. This 
was followed by a series of articles on both sides of the ques- 
tion. I was sustained by Henry P. Smith. AV. Henry Green 
defended the traditional theories, and was sustained chiefly by 
A. A. Hodge and F. L. Patton ; S. Ives Curtiss and Willis J. 
Beecher took a middle position. The discussion was closed in 
1883, by articles by F. L. Patton and mjself.^ After the dis- 
cussion was completed, the traditional side was chiefly advo- 
cated by Bissel and Osgood, the side of the Higher Criticism 
by Francis Brown, George F. Moore, J. P. Peters, and F. A. 
Gast. W. R. Harper undertook a discussion in the Hehraica 
with W. Henry Green. In this discussion Harper, instead of 
setting forth his own critical views frankly and determinedly, 
preferred to set up a man of straw, which he styled the views 
of the critics, for W. H. Green to attack. The development 
of this discussion was unfortunate, for it seemed to identify 
Higher Criticism with the more radical views, and it caused 
W. H. Green and his friends to combat them with an intense 
earnestness, and a zeal for orthodoxy, which disclosed a change 
from their attitude in the discussion-in the Preshyterian Review. 
The intense hostility in the Presbyterian body to Higher 
Criticism was due in considerable measure to this discussion in 
the Hehraica. On Nov. 11, 1890, I was transferred, by the 
unanimous choice of the Board of Directors of the Union Tlieo- 
logical Seminary, to a new chair of Biblical Theology, endowed 
by the President of the Directors, Charles Butler. In the in- 
augural address delivered Jan. 20, 1891, on the "Authority of 
the Holy Scripture," the subject of Higher Criticism was pre- 
sented as follows : 

" It may be regarded as the certain result of the science of the 
Higher Criticism that Moses did not write the Pentateuch or Job; 
Ezra did not write the Chronicles, Ezra, or Nehemiah ; Jeremiah 

' See pp. 26 seq. 

^ The Dogmatic Aspect of Pentateuchal Criticism, by F. L. Patton. Critical 
Study of the History of the Higher Criticism, by C. A. Briggs. 


did uot write the Kings or Lamentations ; David did not write 
the Psalter, but only a few of the Psalms ; Solomon did not write 
the Song of Songs or Ecclesiastes, and only a portion of the 
Proverbs ; Isaiah did not write half of the book that bears his 
name. The great mass of the Old Testament was written by 
authors whose names or connection with their writings are lost in 
oblivion. If this is destroying the Bible, the Bible is destroyed 
already. But who tells us that these traditional names were the 
authors of the Bible ? The Bible itself ? The creeds of the 
Church ? Any reliable historical testimony ? None of these I 
Pure, conjectural tradition ! Nothing more ! We are uot pre- 
pared to build our faith for time and eternity upon such uncer- 
tainties as these. We desire to know whether the Bible came 
from God, and it is not of any great importance that we should 
know the names of those worthies chosen by God to mediate His 
revelation. It is possible that there is a providential purpose in 
the withholding of these names, in order that men might have no 
excuse for building on human authority, and so shovdd be forced 
to resort to divine authoritj-. It will ere long become clear to 
the Christian people that the Higher Criticism has rendered an 
inestimable service to this generation and to generations to come. 
What has been destroyed has been the fallacies and conceits of 
theologians ; the obstructions that have barred the way of literary 
men from the Bible. Higher Criticism has forced its way into 
the Bible itself and brought us face to face with the holy con- 
tents, so that we may see and know whether they are divine or 
not. Higher Criticism has not contravened any decision of any 
Christian council, or any creed of any Church, or any statement 
of Scripture itself." ' 

After the General Assembly liad tried in vain to deprive me 
of my chair, thi-ougli a stretcli of avithority wliicli the Directors 
of Union Seminary could not either legally or moi'ally recog- 
nize, charges were brought against me before the Presbytery 
of New York. Two of these charges were on the question of 
Higher Criticism, namely : "with teaching that Moses is not 
the author of the Pentateucli," and "with teaching that Isaiali 
is not the author of half of the hook that hears his name." 

The Presbytery of New York accjuitted me of these charges, 
not on the ground that I did not hold tlu'se opinions, for I dis- 
tinctly asserted these opinions. an<l gave ample proof of them 

' The Inanrivral Addriss. Antlioritij of the Ilvhj Scripture, 1891, pp. .3,3, 34. 


in inv Defence} but on the ground that these opinions did not 
conflict with Holy Scripture or tlie Westminster Confession of 
Faith. But the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church 
of the United States of America found me guilty of heresy in 
these two particulars, as well as in others,^ in which I held 
either catholic or scientific truth against traditional and modern 
error ; and they suspended me from the ministry until " such 
time as he shall give satisfactory evidence of repentance to the 
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United 
States of America." 

In the same panic Prof. Henr}' Preserved Smith was tried on 
similar grounds. One of the specifications in the charges 
against him, which was sustained, was, " He teaches that the 
last twenty-seven chapters of the book of Isaiah are not cor- 
rectly ascribed to him." He was also suspended from the 
ministry in the same year by the Presbj-terj- of Cincinnati, 
which action was sustained next year by General Assembly. 

Thus the Presbj'terian denomination in the United States of 
America, under the guidance of Prof. William Henry Green, 
the American Hengstenbei-g, and others like minded, has, for 
the first time in history, made a determination of questions of 
Higher Criticism, and has decided that it is heresy to say that 
'• Moses did not write the Pentateuch," and that " Isaiah did 
not write linlf of the book that bears his name " ; the sure 
results of the Higher Criticism accej^ted by all genuine critics 
the world ovei-, whether the}- be Roman Catholic or Protestant, 
Jew or Christian. The General Assembly went no further. 
There are other scholars who agi-ee with Henry P. Smith and 
mvself. and who remain unchallenged. The General Assembly 
could not prevent Professor Smith or myself from pursuing our 
researches, nor have they stayed the hands of other scholars. 
They have simply committed the Presbyterian body to a false 

The more recent work of the Higher Criticism has been in 
the detailed work of analysis of the different writings. In the 

' The Defence nf Prnfessor Briggs, 189.3, pp. 115 seq. ; The Case against 
Professor Briggs, Part III. pp. 205 seq. 
- See pp. 615 seq. 


Old Testament, the effort is to find the sources of the Judaic, 
Ephraimitic, Deuteronomic, and Priestly authors in earlier doc- 
uments of the same type, J'*^, E'-^ D^'^ P'"^, and, in this way, 
push back to primitive times ; and to trace out the documents 
of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and to ascertain how far they 
resemble or are the same as the documents of the Hexateuch. It 
seems to be evident that there wei"e groups of earlier Ephraim- 
itic and Judaic writers, and that these were followed by groups 
of Deuteronomic and Priestly writers, and that the composition 
of the historical books of the Old Testament was a much more 
elaborate affair than the earlier critics supposed. The same is 
true of the Gospels. The use of the primitive Gospel of iSIark 
and the Logia of Matthew by our Matthew is now well assured. 
The use of other sources is also under investigation. The work 
of Luke, in his use of various sources in the Gospel and the 
book of Acts, is a burning question of New Testament criti- 
cism, especially in view of the recent theory of Blass, that the 
Western text represents an original, independent edition of the 
work of Luke.^ 

I have myself, in recent years, endeavoured to show five dif- 
ferent archteological sources of Hebrew Law, in the Words, 
Statutes, Judgments, Commands, and Laws.^ I have also 
endeavoui-ed to use the references in the Gospels to the words of 
Jesus, and recover the original gnomic poetry in which he 
uttered his wisdom.^ 

The Old Testament prophets have been analyzed in detail, 
especially the former prophets, by Wellhausen, Driver, Moore, 
and H. P. Smith, and the later jirophets by Cheyne, Cornill, 
and Duhm, to an extent that seems like a return to the frag- 
mentary hypothesis, liut they have made it evident that all 
the books of the Old Testament have passed through the hands 
of editors who did not hesitate to make the most radical changes 
in the original, in tlie adaptation of them to later uses. Tiie 
Writings have also been searched, especially by Toy and Cheyne, 

> See pp. 203 seg. 

- Higher Criticism of the Htxatcuch. new edition, jiji. 2)2 seq. See .ilso pp. 
560 seq. of tliis volume. 

3 " Wisdom of .Tisu.s," articles in the Expositury TinKS, 1807. See also pp. 
69, 90, 244. 306, of this volume. 


with the result of pushing the whole bod}' of them, in their 
present form, down into the period of the Restoration, and the 
disclosure of editorial changes by successive hands to an extent 
which seems unsettling to those unfamiliar with the details of 
the investigation. The Apocal^-pse of the New Testament has 
been analyzed with as much attention to detail as the Pseu- 
depigrapha.i The epistles of the New Testament are also being 
searched by criticism, and it is becoming evident that we must 
recognize the hands of editors even in some of them. The 
great questions of criticism have been settled bj' the consensus 
of all real critics. It now remains, out of the confusion caused 
by the more detailed investigations of a mass of workers, in all 
religious bodies, and in all nations, to organize the results into 
the final system. This much may be said in general, that the 
tendency of all this criticism in detail is to work backwards to 
closer contact with the original authors and the original read- 
ings. When all the work of editors has been removed from 
the discussions, the original stands out in its historical environ- 
ment, with graphic realism and an illuminating authority. 

The literarj' study of Holy Scripture is appropriately called 
Higher Criticism to distinguish it from the Lower Criticism, 
which devotes itself to the study of original texts and versions. 
There are few who have the patience, the persistence, the life- 
long industry in the examination of the minute details that 
make up the field of the Lower or Textual Criticism. But the 
Higher Criticism is more attractive. It has to do with literary 
forms and styles and models. It appeals to the imagination 
and the aesthetic taste as well as to the logical faculty. It 
kindles the enthusiasm of the young. It will more and more 
enlist the attention of men of culture and the general public. 
It is the most inviting and fruitful field of biblical stud}?^ in 
our day. ^lany who are engaged in it are rationalistic and 
unbelieving, and they are using it with disastrous effect upon 
the Sacred Scriptures and the orthodox Faith. There is also a 
prejudice in some quarters against these studies and an appre- 
hension as to the results. This prejudice is unreasonable. 
This apprehension is to be deprecated. It is impossible to pre- 
' Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles, pp. 284 seq. 


vent discussion. The Divine Word will vindicate itself in all 
its parts. These are not the times for negligent Elis or timor- 
ous and jjresumptuous Uzzahs. Brave Samuels and ardent 
Davids, who fear not to emplo}- new methods and engage in 
new enterprises and adapt themselves to altered situations, will 
overcome the Philistines. The Higher Criticism has rent the 
crust with which Eabbinical tradition and Christian scholasti- 
cism have eircased the Old Testament, overlaying the poetic 
and prophetic elements with the legal and the ritual. Younger 
biblical scholars have caught glimpses of the beauty and glor}' 
of Biblical Literature. The Old Testament is studied as never 
before in the Christian Church. It is beginning to exert its 
charming influence upon ministers and people. Christian The- 
ology and Christian life will ere long be enriched b}- it. God's 
blessing is in it to those who have the Christian wisdom to 
recognize and the grace to receive and employ it. 



The Sacred Scriptures are composed of a great variety of 
literary pi-oducts, the results of the thinking, feeling, and act- 
ing of God's people in many generations. Though guided by 
the Divine Spiint so as to give one divine revelation in contin- 
uous historical development, they yet, as literary productions, 
assume various literary styles in accordance with the culture, 
taste, and capacity of their authors in the different periods of 
their composition. Especially is this true of the Old Testa- 
ment, which contains the sacred literature of the Hebrews 
through a long period of literary development. For their 
proper interpretation, therefore, we need not only the religious 
spirit that can enter into sympathetic relations with the authors, 
and through vital union with the Divine Spirit interpret them 
from their inmost soul ; we need not only training in grammar 
and logic to understand the true contents of their language and 
the drift of their discourse ; we need not only a knowledge of 
the archaeology, geography, and history of the people, that we 
may enter into the atmosphere and scenery of their life and its 
expression ; we need not only a knowledge of the laws, doc- 
trines, and institutions in which the authors were reared, and 
which constituted the necessary grooves of their religious cult- 
ure, but in addition to all these we need also a literary train- 
ing, an ffisthetic cidture, in order that by a true literary sense, 
and a sensitive and refined aesthetic taste, we may discriminate 
poetry from prose, histor}- from fiction, the bare truth from its 
artistic dress and decoration, the fruit of reasoning from the 
products of the imagination and fancy. 


Ever}- race and nation has its peculiarities of literary culture 
and style, so that while the study of the best literary models 
of the Greeks and Romans, and of modern European languages, 
may be necessarj- to develop) the best literary taste, yet in 
entering upon the study of Biblical Literatui-e we come into 
a field that was not influenced at all by an}^ of these, — to the 
literature of a race radically different from all the families of 
the Indo-Germanic race, — one which declines to be judged by 
the standards of strangers and foreigners, but which requires 
an independent study in connection with the literature of its 
own sisters, especially the Arabic, Syriac, and Assj-rian. A 
special training in these literatures is, therefore, necessarj- in 
order to the proper estimation of the Hebrew literature ; and 
criticism from the point of view of our ordinary classic literary 
culture alone is unfair and misleading. And it is safe to say 
that no one can thoroughly understand the Greek New Testa- 
ment who has not made himself familiar with the Old Testament 
literature, upon which it is based. The student must enter 
into sympathetic relations with the spirit and life of the Orient 
that pervade it. 

The literar}' study of the Bible is essentially the Higher 
Criticism of the Bible. A reader may enjoy the literary feat- 
ures of Shakespeare, Milton, and Homer, without himself taking 
part in critical work, but consciously or unconsciously he is 
dependent upon the literary criticism of experts, who have 
given him the results of their labours upon these autliors. So 
is it with the Holy Scripture : the ordinary reader may enjoy 
it as literature without being a critic, but the labours of critics 
are necessary in order that the Scriptures may be presented to 
him in their proper literary character and forms. Biblical 
Literature has the same problems to solve, and the same 
m-ethods and principles for their solution, as have been em- 
ployed in other departments of the world's literature. ^ 

We shall first show how the great lines of evidence used b)' 
the Higher Criticism should be applied to Holy Scripture, and 
then present the result of that evidence with reference to the 
great prol)lems of Higher Criticism. ^ 

' See pp. 92 seq. ' See pp. 96 seq. 


I. The Historical Evidence 

The Higher Criticism first applies to Holy Scripture the 
historical test. The writings must be in accordance with their 
supposed historical position as to time, place, and circumstances. 

(a) The Book of Comfort, Is. 40-66, cannot belong to the time 
of Hezekiah, but to the time of the exile, as Driver shows. 

'• It alludes repeatedly to Jerusalem as ruined and deserted {e.g. 
44=", oS"^; Ql\ C3", 64'") ; to the sufferings which the Jews have 
experienced, or are experiencing, at the hands of the Chaldaeans 
(42^=», 43^ [E. V. marg.], 47^ "52^); to the prospect of return, 
which, as the prophet speaks, is imminent (40'', 46'^, 48™, etc.). 
Those whom the prophet addresses, and, moreover, addresses 
in person, arguing with them, appealing to them, stri\dng to win 
their assent by his warm and impassioned rhetoric (40^' ^•^, 43'°, 
48*, oO'"'-, ol*''-', 58^*, etc.), are not the men of Jerusalem, con- 
temporaries of Ahaz and Hezekiah, or even of Manasseh ; they 
are the exiles in Babylonia. Judged by the analogy of i^rophecy, 
this constitutes the strongest possible presumption that the author 
actually Jived in the period which he thus describes, and is not 
merely (as has been supposed) Isaiah immersed in spirit in the 
future, and holding converse, as it were, with the generations yet 
unborn. Such an immersion in the future would be not only with- 
out parallel in the Old Testament, it would be contrary to the 
nature of prophecy. The prophet speaks always, in the first 
instance, to his own contemporaries ; the message which he brings 
is intimately related with the circumstances of his time ; his 
promises and predictions, however far they reach into the future, 
nevertheless rest upon the basis of the history of his own age, 
and correspond to the needs which are then felt. The prophet 
never abandons his own historical position, but speaks from it. 
So Jeremiah and Ezekiel, for instance, predict first the exile, then 
the restoration ; both are contemplated by them as still future ; 
both are viewed from the period in which they themselves live. 
In the present prophecy there is no prediction of exUe. The exile 
is not announced as something still future ; it is presupposed, and 
only the release from it is predicted. By analogy, therefore, the 
author will have lived in the situation which he thus presupposes, 
and to which he continually alludes." ' 

(6) An example of a plausible historical clue to date, is given 

1 Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, Gth ed., 1897, 
pp. 2.37 seq. 


in the Apocalypse of the Bowls,' which, La its original form, seems 
to have been written soon after the death of Nero. The passage is : 

•• The seven heads are seven mountains. 
On which the woman sitteth : 

" (And they are seven kings ; the five are fallen, the one is, the 
other is not yet come ; and when he cometh, he must continue a 
little while.) (And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also 
an eighth, and is of the seven ; and he goeth into Apoleia.) " 

The seven heads of the beast are described by a later editor, 
probably the one who combined the three apocalypses of the 
Sevens, as a series of seven emperors. Five have fallen — 
Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Xero. One reigns. Some 
tliink of one of the rivals, — Galba, Otho, Vitellius ; others of Ves- 
pasian, the three really being regarded as usurpers. The seventh 
is not yet come, but when he comes he will reign for a little while. 
The seventh completes the number of seven heads. It is proba- 
ble, therefore, that Harnack is correct in thinking that a later 
editor interprets by inserting the reference to the eighth as the 
beast of the scene, and so finds the beast in Domitiau.' We would 
thus have three different interpretations of the seven heads, — the 
original referring to the seven hills of Rome, written soon after 
the death of Xero ; the editor of the second edition in the time of 
Vespasian referring the seventh to a risen Xero ; the editor of the 
third edition thinking of the eighth emperor as Domitian.' 

II. The Evidence of Style 

Differences of style imply differences of experience and age 
of the same author, or. when sufficiently great, difference of 
author and of period of composition. Differences in stj'le are 
linguistic and literary. 

1. Linguistic differences vxay be etj^mological, s3-ntactical, or 

(a) Etymological differences are of great importance in dis- 
tinguishing biblical authors. Word lists are given in all the 
chief writings which deal with the Higher Criticism of the 
Holy Scriptures. Thus Driver gives a list of 41 characteristic 

1 Rev. 17. 

2 Nachwort to Vischer. Die Offenbarung Johannes eine jiidische Apokalypse, 
1886, s. 135. 

3 Briggs. The Messiah of the Apostles, 1895, pp. 427 seq. 


phrases of D, 50 phrases of P, and 20 of H. Holziiiger dis- 
cusses 125 characteristic phrases of J and 108 of E.^ 

The follo-ndng two specimens of linguistic usage may suffice for 
the Old Testament : 

(1) The first person of the pronoun 'J3S is used in Deuteron- 
omy 56 times. The only real exception is 12*\ ^3S"DJ, where the 
reason for the abbreviation is evidently its use with D^ The 
other apparent exceptions in Deuteronomy are due to different 
original documents which have been incorporated with Deuteron- 
omy, e.(/. 32*'" ■^-, part of the priestly document; the Song, 32'""'*"; 
and 29* (D-), where there is a mixed text. This usage of Deuter- 
onomy is found elsewhere only in the song of Deborah, Jd. 5 ; the 
prophet Amos, 10 times (except 4^ ''3S"D3) ; the Deuteronomic 
redactor of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, save in little pieces; 
Pss. 22, 46, 50, 91, 104, 141 ; and the prophecy Is. 21i-'°, wliere the 
examples are too few to give us firm ground for usage. The 
shorter form 'jS is used in H and P about 120 times. The only 
exception is Gen. 23^, which is probably due to the use of an 
ancient phrase (cf. Ps. 39'^). This corresponds with the usage 
of exilic writings, as Ezekiel, which uses it 138 times (the only 
exception 36^ in a phrase); Lamentations, 4 times; and of post- 
exilic prophets, Haggai, 4 times ; Zechariah 1-8, 10 times ; Jlala- 
chi, 7 times (except 3^) ; Joel. 4 times ; also the Chronicler, 47 
times (except 1 C. 17', derived from 2 Sam. 7^; and Neh. 1") ; Prov- 
erbs 1-8, 5 times ; Canticles, 12 times ; Daniel, 23 times (except 
10*); Esther, 6 times ; Ecclesiastes, 29 times. Xo pre-exilic writ- 
ing uses ^3S exclusively except Zephaniah twice and the Song of 
Habakkuk once (regarded by many critics as a post-exilic psalm) ; ^ 
but these few examples cannot determine usage. The usage of E 
and J differs both from D and P. In J of the Hexateuch ''D3S is 
used 51 times to 32 of ''JX ; in E, ■'30X 32 times to 25 of '3X. With 
this correspond the original documents of Judges, which use '23S 
15 times to 11 of "S, and the Ephraimitic documents of Samuel, 
whicli use ''33i< 19 times to 10 of ''3S. All these show a prepon- 
derance of usage in favour of ''33S. Hosea uses each 11 times, 
and the earlier Isaiah each 3 times. Other writers show an in- 
creasing tendency to use ''3S. The Judaic documents of Samuel 

1 Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, 6th ed., 1897 ; 
Holzinser. Einleitung in den Hexateuch, 1803. See atso Brigg.'s, Hir/her Criti- 
cism of the Hexateuch. new edition, pp. 69 seq. J) stand.s for the Deuteronomic 
writers of the Hexateuch, P the Priestly writers, E the Ephraimitic writers, and 
J the Judaic writers. See pp. 278 seq. 

2 See r>. .314. 


and Kings use 'JX 52 times to 30 of ''23S ; the Ephi-aimitic docu- 
ment of Kings. ^iX 22 times to 2 of ■'23S ; Jeremiah, "'iS 52 times 
to 37 of ■r;S : Is. 40-66, 70 times ':s to 21 "aiS : Job, 28 times 
'iS to 14 ''3iS. It is evident that three layers of the Hexateuch 
are distinctly characterized by their use of this pronoun, and they 
agree with other groups of literature in their usage.' 

(2) The shorter form 37 is always used in the documents J and 
P; the longer form DD*? is alwa3-s used in the law codes of D 
and H. There is a difference of usage in E and the frame of 
D. E uses 2S, Gen. 31^, 42=*^, 45-'«, 50^'; Ex. 4=', 7^ (Driver's J, 
Kautzsch's JE), 10-'^; Nu. 24"; but 32^, Gen. 20^' ". SV;, Ex. 14^ 
(Driver's J, Kautzsch's JE), Jos. 24-'. This use of 2,Z'^ might 
be redactional, but it is not evident. The frame of D uses 33'? 
constantly, except Dt. 4" (Sam. codex 33S), 28^, 29^- '' (phrase 
from Jeremiah) ; Jos. 11™ (phrase of E and P), 14' (elsewhere in 
this phrase 33^7). It is evident that this difference in the docu- 
ments of the Hexateuch is not accidental, but is characteristic of 
literary preference and of periods of composition, for it corre- 
sponds with the usage of the literature elsewhere, (a) The form 
37 is used in the earliest poetical literature, Ex. 15 ; Judges 5 ; 
1 Sam. 2; the earliest prophets, Amos, Hosea, Is. 15, Zech. 9-11, 
and the Judaic and Ephraimitic sources of the jjrophetic histories. 
This corresponds with the usage of J. (b) The form 337 is 
used in the earlier Is. 11 times (3*7 ouly 6'", 29", possibly scribal 
errors) ; in Zeph. 1^, 2" (3*5 3", scribal error) ; and the Deuter- 
onomic redaction of the prophetic histories. This corresponds 
with the usage of D. (c) Kahum uses 337 2*. 3*7 2", but Jere- 
miah, Ezekiel, the second Isaiah, and Job prefer 3*7, but occa^ 
sionally use 33*?. This corresponds with the usage of E. (rf) Is. 
13-14=3; jer. 50-51; Haggai; Zech. 1-8 (except 7'-); Jonah; Joel; 
Ps. 78, 90, 104, use 33'!'- This corresponds with the usage of 
H. (e) Lamentations (except 3") ; Is. 24-27, 34-35 ; Malachi ; 
Obad. ; Zech. 12-14; ]Memori,als of Ezra and Xehemiah, use 3*7. 
This corresponds with P. So do Proverbs (except 4=', 6^) ; the 
Psalter, with few exceptions ; Euth, Esther. Ecclesiastes (except 
9^), and Canticles. (/) The Chronicler and Daniel use 33*?. but 
there are a few examples of 3*?, chiefly in set phrases. When 
one considers how easy it was for an editor or scribe to exchange 
3*? and 337, it is remarkable that the difference in usage has 
been so well preserved.^ (See my article 37, 337, in the new 
Hebrew Lexicon.) 

' Bripgs, Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, new edition, 189", pp. 70, 71. 
" Briggs, I.e., pp. 250, 267. 


In the New Testament each writer has also his stock of words. 
These are given by Vincent.' For example, take the words 
•• father '' and '' church.'' 

(3) Apart from the Prologue, the Gospel of John uses Father, 
of God as the Father of the Messianic Son from heaven ; and 
only in a single passage, of God as the Father of men. In this 
latter passage, 20'', Jesus says to the woman, " I ascend unto My 
Father and your Father." Westcott= claims 4-''^, 5*^- '"=•'«, lO-'^-''^, 
12^, U^'% lo'«, U^-^-^ for the Fatherhood of men. But there is 
nothing in the context of any of these passages to constrain us to 
think of the Fatherhood of men. In several of them the refer- 
ence to the Son, in the context, suggests the prevailing usage. 
In others, while it is possible to think of the Fatherhood of men, 
that mere possibility cannot resist the overwhelming usage of 
this gospel. 6 Trar^p is used 79 times of God ; 6 Trarr^p /xov, 25 
times ; TraTep, 9 times ; 6 nar-qp 0-ov, 8'' ; 6 ^dv TTaT-qp, is" ; Trarrjp I'Stos, 
5.^ In the Synoptic Gospels God's Fatherhood of men seems to 
come from the Logia. In Mark it is found only in 11^ = Mt. 
6"'", where the jshrase is evidently a logion, and the nse of 
6 iv ToTs oipai'ots suggests an assimilation of this passage to IMat- 
thew. It is found in Luke, apart from passages jiarallel with 
Matthew, only 12^-, which is also probably from the Logia. But 
God's Fatherhood of the Messiah is in all the Gospels : Mk. 8^ — 
Mt. lG-^ = Lk. 9=^ Mk. IS^^ = Mt. 2-4^"; Mt. 26^ = Lk. 22^=; Mt. 
ir-5-2^ = Lk. 10='' ~; besides in Lk. 3^ 22», 29«, and in Matthew 
with 6 ovpavios 15'*, 18'''; with o iv (rois) oupavoTs 7 times and 
without 7 times. It is evident that the nse of " heavenly " and 
"who (is) in heaven" comes from Matthew, and not from Jesus 
Himself; just as Matthew uses kingdom of heaven for the original 
kingdom of God.' 

(4) Church is used in the Gospels only Mt. 16", where it is 
probably not original,* and twice Mt. 18^', where it probably re- 
ferred to the brethren or brotherhood, or possibly to the local 
assembly after the usage of the Septuagiut. It is not used in the 
epistles of Peter, of Jude, or in the first or second epistles of 
John. It is used in the Epistle of Jas. 5", of the local assembly 
with its elders, which is virtually the same as synagogue. It is 
used in the Eevelation in the prologue and in the epistles to the 
seven churches in Asia, V-3^^, 19 times, elsewhere only in the 
epilogue 22'", always of local assemblies. It is used in the third 
Epistle of John thrice of the local church. It is used in the 

1 Word Studies. 1887-1890. ' Briggs, JFessiah of the Gospels, p. 274. 

* Epistles of John, p. 31. ■* Briggs, Messiah of the Gospels, p. 190. 


epistles of Paul : Romans, 5 times ; Corinthians, 31 times ; Galar 
tians, 3 times ; Ephesians, 9 times ; Philippians, 2 times ; Colossians, 
4 times ; Thessalouiaus, 4 times ; ' Timothy, 3 times ; Philemon, 
once; in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 2 times; in the historical 
sections of the book of Acts, 22 times, three of which refer to a 
Greek assembly. The Church of the Lord is used Acts 20** 
onlj', but the Church of God is used by Paul six times in the 
earlier epistles. In the epistles of the imprisonment Church is 
used alone, without qualification. But in the Pastoral Epistles 
the Church of the living God is used, 1 Tim. 3", and the Church 
of God, 1 Tim. 3'. 

(6) Syntactical differences. The Hebrew language is strict 
in its use of the Waiv consecutive, in the earlier period of the 
language. In the book of Ezekiel, the Waiv consecutive of the 
imperfect is often neglected, and the simple Waw with the per- 
fect is used instead. In the exilic projDliecy Isaiah, 40-66, the 
Waw consecutive of the perfect is neglected, and the simple 
Waiv with the imperfect is used instead. In the book of Eccle- 
siastes the Waw consecutive has well-nigh passed out of use. 
This shows three stages of sj-ntactical development of the He- 
brew language, and enables us to arrange the different writings 
in accordance therewith. 

(c) There are dialectic differences in the Old Testament. 
There were doubtless three dialects in the Biblical Hebrew, — 
the Ephraimitic, the Judaic, and the Pereau. An example of 
the Perean may be found in the main stock of the book of Job, 
which tends towards Arabisms. The Ephraimitic dialect was 
from the earliest times tending in an Aramaic direction. It is 
represented in the Ephraimitic sections of the Hexateuch and 
the prophetic histories. 

2. Differences of style are evident in all of the four Gospels, 
and are carefullj- defined by writers on the Higher Criticism of 
the New Testament, and by the commentaries. Similar differ- 
ences are noted in the Old Testament between the Chronicler 
and the prophetic histories. It is agreed among critics that 
the Ephraimitic writer is brief, terse, and archaic in style ; the 
Judaic writer is poetic and descriptive, — as Wellhausen says, 
"the best narrator in the Bible." His imagination and fancy 
' Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles, pp. 81, 82. 


are ever active. The priestly writer is amialistic and diffuse, 
fond of names and dates. He aims at precision and complete- 
ness. The logical faculty prevails. There is little colouring. 
The Deuteronomic writer is rhetorical and hortatory, practical 
and earnest. His aim is instruction and guidance.^ 

(a) A good specimen of the argument from style is given by 
A. B. Davidson in his study of the book of Job. 

" The objections that have been made to the long passage, chap- 
ters 40'^-41''', describing Behemoth and Leviathan, are briefly such 
as these : that the description of these animals woidd have been 
in place in the first divine speech beside the other animal pictures, 
but is out of harmony with the idea of the second speech ; that 
the description swells the second speech to a length unsuitable to 
its object, which is fvdly expressed in chapter 40""" ; and that the 
minuteness and heaviness of the representation betray a very dif- 
ferent hand from that which drew the powerful sketches in chajj- 
ters 38, 39. 

" The last-mentioned point is not without force. The rapid light 
and expressive lines of the former pictiu-es make them without 
parallel for beauty and power in literature ; the two latter belong 
to an entirely different class. They are typical specimens of Ori- 
ental poems, as any one who has read an Arab poet's description 
of his camel or horse will feel. These poets do not paint a picture 
of the object for the eye, they schedule an inventory of its juarts 
and properties." - 

(6) A fine use of the argiunent from style is given by Bishop 
Westcott in reference to the Epistle to the Hebrews : " The style 
is even more characteristic of a practised scholar than the vocabu- 
lary. It would be difiicult to find anywhere passages more exact 
and pregnant in expression than 1^"*, 2'*-'*, 7^^, 12'*"^. The lan- 
guage, the order, the rhythm, the parenthetical involutions, all 
contribute to the total effect. The writing shews everywhere 
traces of effort and care. In many respects it is not unlike that 
of the Book of "Wisdom, but it is nowhere marred by the restless 
striving after effect which not unfrequently injures the beauty of 
that masterpiece of Alexandrine Greek. The calculated force of 
the periods is sharply distinguished from the impetuous eloquence 
of Saint Paul. The author is never carried away by his thoughts. 
He has seen and measured all that he desires to convey to his 

I Briggs, Higher Criticism of the Hexateuch, new edition, pp. 74, 75. 
- Tne Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Davidson, The Book of Job, 
p. liv. 


readers before he begins to write. In writing lie has, like an ar- 
tist, simply to give life to the model which he has already com- 
pletely fashioned. This is true even of the noblest rhetorical 
passages, such as chapter 11. Each element, which seems at first 
sight to offer itself spontaneously, will be found to have been 
carefully adjusted to its place, and to offer in subtle details re- 
sults of deep thought, so expressed as to leave the simplicity and 
freshness of the whole perfectly unimpaired. For this reason there 
is perhaps uo Book of Scripture in which the student may hope 
more confidently to enter into the mind of the author if he yields 
himself with absolute trust to his words. No Book represents with 
equal clearness the mature conclusions of human reflection. . . . 
Some differences in style between the Epistle and the writings of 
Saint Paul have been already noticed. A more detailed inquiry 
shews that these cannot be adequately explained by differences 
of subject or of circumstances. They characterize two men, and 
not only two moods or two discussions. The student will feel the 
subtle force of the contrast if he compares the Epistle to the 
Hebrews with the Epistle to the Ephesians, to which it has 
the closest affinity. But it is as difficult to represent the contrast 
by an enumeration of details as it is to analyse an effect. It must 
be felt for a right appreciation of its force." ^ 

III. The Evidence of Opinion 

The third great test of the Higher Criticism is the e^'i- 
dence from doctrine, opinion, and point of view. Differences 
of opinion and conception imply difference of author, when 
these are sufficiently great, and also difference of period of 

(a) There is a different conception of theophanies in the docu- 
ments of the Hexateuch. 

E narrates frequent appearances of the theophanic angel of 
Elohim. J reports appearances of the theophanic angel of Yalnceh. 
These theophanic appearances are mentioned in the Ephraimitic 
and Judaic documents of the prophetic histories. ■ But neither D 
nor P knows of such a theophanic angel. When God reveals 
Himself, in the Ephraimitic documents. He speaks to Moses face 
to face, and Moses sees the form of God in the pillar of God 
standing at the door of his tent. In the great theophanj- granted 
to Moses in the Judaic document Ex. 23**"'", Moses is permitted 

1 The Epistle to the Hebrews, 1889, pp. xlvi, xlvii, Ixxvii. 


only to see the departing form of God, and it is represented that 
it would be death to see God's face. In Deuteronomy it is said 
that the voice of God was heard, but His form was not seen. In 
the priestly document it is the light and lire of the glory of God 
which always constitutes the theophany. How was it possible 
for the same author to give four such diiierent accoimts of the 
methods of God's appearance to Moses and the people ? ' 

(6) There is a difference in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit 
between Isaiah and the great prophet of the exile. 

The doctrine of the Divine Spirit in Isaiah is still the ancient 
doctrine, which conceives of it as an energy of God coming espe- 
ciall}' on heroic leaders of the people. It was to be poured upon 
the Messianic King to endow him with the sevenfold endowment 
for his reign of peace. Is. 11" ; and without guidance b}' the Divine 
Spirit apostate children add sin to sin, 30' ; but in the Great Un- 
known the doctrine reaches a height which has no parallel except 
in the late 139th Psalm. The Divine Spirit endows the Messianic 
Servant in 42', 61', and will revive the nation, 44' ; it accompanies 
the ministry of the prophets, 48'". But in Cha^Jter 63'" the Spirit 
is named the Holy Spirit, an epithet used elsewhere in the Old 
Testament only in Ps. oV\ It is personified beyond any other 
passage in the Old Testament. It is represented that He was 
grieved by the rebellion of the Israelites in the wilderness, that 
He led them in their journeys to the Holy Land, and that He was 
in the midst of them. Thus the Holy Spirit is assigned the work 
of the theophanic angel of the historical narrative of JE, and 
especially as bearing with Him the Divine face or presence as 
in the document J. The Holy Spirit is associated with the 
theophanic angel here, just as in the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs, 
first chapter, the Divine Spirit and the Divine Wisdom are asso- 
ciated. This conception of the Divine Spirit shows a marked 
advance, not only_beyond Isaiah, but also beyond Ezekiel." 

(c) In the book of Eevelation there are different and distinct 
conceptions of the Messiah in the several apocalj-pses. The ear- 
liest of the apocalypses seems to me to be the Apocalypse of the 
Beasts, which presents the conception of the Messiah of Ps. 110, 
and which seems to have been composed in the reign of Caligula. 
The second of the apocalj-pses was the Apocalypse of the Dragon, 
which cannot be much later in time. It presents the Messiah of 
Ps. 2. These apocalypses were possibly combined before they 

1 Briggs. Hirjher Ci-itifisyn of thf Hexatencli, new edition, 1807, pp. 146, 147. 
- The Defence of Professor Briggs, before the Fresh, of New York, 189.3, 
p. 1.39. 


were incorporated with the apocalypses of the Sevens. But I 
cannot see any decided evidence of it. The earliest of the apocar 
lypses of the Sevens seems to be that of the Trumpets, whose 
Messiah is the Son of Man on the clouds of the apocalj'pses of 
Daniel and Enoch. I do not see any clear evidence of date. The 
next of these was the Apocalypse of the Seals. The Messiah of 
this Vision is the Lion of Judah, and the Lamb who purchased 
men by his blood. The Apocalypse of the Bowls presupposes 
both the Apocalypse of the Trumpets and the Apocalypse of the 
Seals, and must be somewhat later. Its ^Messiah is the Lamb, but 
especially as the husband of the Holj^ City, his bride. In its 
original form it seems to date from the reign of Galba.' 

IV. The Evidence from Citations 

Citations show the dependence of the author upon the 
author or authors cited. A few examples will suffice : 

(o) In the Psalter Pss. 35^^^, 40'^'*, 70 are essentially the same. 
The problem is to arrange these Psalms in their order of depend- 
ence by citation. Psalm 35 has in its title simply '' belonging to 
David " ; " that is, it was in the original Minor Davidic Psalter. 
Psalm 40 besides "belonging to David" is classed as a Mizmor,^ and 
was in the Director's Major Psalter. Psalm 70 has " belonging to 
David," was in the Director's Psalter, and besides has a liturgical 
assignment.* From these circumstances the probabilities are in 
favour of the order 35, 40, 70. Psalm 35 is composed of seven 
strophes of five pentameter lines each. Verses '^^ constitute the 
last of these strophes. Psalm 40'^'* has an additional line at the 
beginning and two concluding lines, making thus the last seven 
lines of a strophe of ten pentameter lines. PS;dm 70 is equivalent 
to Ps. 40'^'*. There can be no doubt that Ps. 70 is a liturgical 
extract from Ps. 40. It is possible to think that Ps. 35^°' might 
be a liturgical addition. But its originality is favoured by the 
fact that the language, style, and spirit of this strophe are similar 
to those of the opening strophe of the Psalm. There is, however, 
an awkward break, and the transition is not easy between Ps. 40" 
and 40'*. These considerations favour the order 35, 40, 70. 

(b) Ruth 2'- cites in the midst of the prose narrative a bit of 
poetry : 

' Briggs. The Messiah of the Apostles, 1895, p. 304. 


May Tahweli recompense thy doing ; 
And may thy reward be ample from Yahweh, 
The God of Israel to whom thou art come, 
To take refuge under His wings. 

The last liue of this extract is from Fs. 91* : 

And under His wings shall thou take refuge. 

The exact words ' are fouud nowhere else in the Old Testament, 
although the idea of seeking refuge under the wings of Yahweh 
is a favourite idea of post>exilic psalmists. This extract from a 
post-exilic Psalm shows that the book of Ruth is post-exilic also. 

(f) Jonah 2-"' contains a Psalm. This Psalm has two coiuplete 
strophes concluding each with a refrain. These are followed by 
a half strophe without a refrain. This shows that the praj-er is 
onlj^ part of a longer Psalm that was complete and symmetrical. 
The prayer is also a mosaic from several older Psalms.- It is 
evident, therefore, that the Psalm of Jonah ijresupposes all these 
earlier Psalms, and that the Psalm is also presupposed by the 
book of Jonah, which uses only jjart of it. The only ciuestion 
which remains is whether the Psalm was originallj- used by 
the author or was a subsequent insertion. If it was used by the 
author, the book must have been written some time after the 

{d) We have in the Gospels a large number of parallel passages. 
It is now agreed that both ^Matthew and Luke cite from the ori- 
ginal Mark. The words of Jesus respecting His kindred may be 
taken as an example. The original narrative is Mk. 3^'"*'. 

" And there came his mother and his brethren, and, standing 
without, they sent unto him, calling him. And a multitude was 
sitting about him; and they say unto him, Behold, thy mother 
and thy brethren (and thy sisters, well sustained A D E F H, etc., 
Tisch., W. H., margin) without seek for thee." 

Matthew 12**^' gives substantially the same, but varies the order 
of the sentences, and the construction, and condenses. " While 
he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his 
brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. [And one said 
unto him. Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, 
seeking to speak to thee.] " This clause, bracketed by Tisch., 
thrown into the margin by W. H., doubtless is a later insertion in 
the text, ilatthew interprets the object of the seeking as to 
" speak to him." 

1 ^"E32 pnn ncn. 

2 Pss. 18*-', .3123, 429, 692 . pt. 322'. 


Luke 8'*"^ also condenses : 

" And there came to him his mother and brethren, and they 
could not come at him for the crowd. And it was told him, Thy 
mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee." 
Luke interprets the object of the desire as "to see thee," and he 
interprets the multitude sitting about him as " the crowd." Both 
Matthew and Luke omit the reference to the sisters, which prob- 
ably, through their influence, disappeared from the common text 
of Mark also. 

Mark 3^*^ continues thus : 

'' And he answereth them, and saith. Who is my mother and my 
brethren ? And looking round on them which sat round about 
him, he saith : 

" Behold my mother and my brethren I 
For whosoever shall do the will of God, 
The same is my brother and sister and mother." 

This is given by Mt. 12**-": 

" But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my 
mother, and who are my bretluen ? And he stretched forth his 
hand towards his disciples and said : 

" Behold my mother and my brethren I 
For whosoever shall do the will of my father which is in heaven, 
He is my brother and sister and mother." 

This is then given by Lk. 8-' in a condensed form : 
'' But he answered and said unto them, My mother and my 
brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it." 

Matthew interprets those " round about him " as his " disciples," 
and substitutes for the "looking round on them" of Mark, "he 
stretched forth his hand towards " them. The logion is the 
same, except that Matthew substitutes here, as usual, " my Father 
which is in Heaven" for "God." Ltike verifies the original as 
" God." Luke condenses the logion into a prose sentence, but en- 
larges " do the will of God " into " hear the word of God and do 
it," which is characteristic of Luke, but certainly was not ori- 
ginal. Li all respects the originality of Mark is assured. 

V. The Evidence of Testimony 

The argument from testimony is so evident, that illustrations 
seem to be unnecessary. In direct testimony it may suffice to 
refer to Jer. 26'^. " Micaiali the Moraslitite prophesied in the 


days of Hezekiah, King of Juclah, and he spake to all the people 
of Judah, saying. Thus saith Yahweh Sabaoth : 

" Zion shall be plowed as a field, 
And Jerusalem shall become heaps, 
And the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest." 

This is a direct testimony to the authorship and date and 
historical circumstances of ili. 3^^. It is seldom that we have 
such direct testimony. Usually when there is any testimony, 
it is indirect, as in 2 Pet. 3^''. where there is an equivocal refer- 
ence to the epistles of ISaint Paul. 

VI. The ARGtrsiENT feom Silence 

The argument from silence is of great importance in the 
Higher Criticism of Holy Scripture. The first thing to de- 
termine in reference to this argument, is whether the matter 
in question came fairly within the scope of the author's argu- 
ment. ^ 

1. Sometimes the matter did not come tidtliin the author's 
scope at all. He had no occasion to refer to it, and therefore 
no evidence can be gained from his silence. The author of the 
Praise of Wisdom, Prov. 1-9, does not refer to the institutions 
of the priest code. He had no occasion to do so. His purpose 
was purely ethical, although he lived in a period when the en- 
tire system of the priest code was in full operation. 

2. IJhe matter did not come within the author^s scope^ because 
there were good reasons u'hy it should not. There is an absolute 
silence in all the Ephraimitic and Judaic writers and prophets 
prior to Jeremiah as to any wrong in the worshipping of 
Yahweh on many high places. They constantly mention this 
worship, never censure it, but aUude to it as the proper wor- 
ship, not only of the people but of the prophets and heroes 
of the nation. This kind of worship must have had something 
about it which prevented them from censuring it. It must 
have been right and proper, and they knew of no legislation 
against it. 

I See pp. 102 seq. 


3. The matter in question came fairly tvitliin the scope of the 
writer, and there must be good reasons u<hy it ivas not mentioned. 

(o) The simplest of these reasons is, that the omission was inten- 
tional. Thus in the introduction to the book of Job,' the author 
represents Job as offering up whole burnt offerings for the sup- 
posed sins of his sous. ^Vhy were the sin offerings of the priest 
code not offered ? If we could suppose, with many of the older 
scholars, that Job was written b}- Closes before the Law was 
given, the omission would be explained as due to the fact that he 
knew nothing of the law of the sin offering. The same might be 
true if we thought the book of Job written before the priest code 
came into operation after the exile. But if we hold that the book 
of Job is post-exilic, then the omission of the reference to the sin 
offering was intentional, namely, because he wished to put his hero 
in the patriarchal state of society, entirely apart from the institu- 
tions of Israel. There is indeed an apparent incongruity between 
the highly developed ethical sense of one who feared lest his sons 
sinned in their viinds, and the offering for their sins the j^'lmitive 
whole burnt offerings. 

(b) The omission of reference to the sin offering in Ps. ~>1, which 
is a penitential Psalm, and which mentions the sacrifices of whole 
liurnt offerings and peace offerings, can hardly be regarded as in- 
tentional. The Psalm gives a real experience of the time of the 
author, and it is improbable that he woidd omit the sin offering, 
if it were then used in connection with the confession of sin in 
order to its removal. It seems altogether likely, therefore, that 
Ps. 51 was written before the sin offering of the priest code was 
enforced in the ritual of worship. 

4. Where a matter is absent from an entire range of litera- 
ture prior to a certain period, it is evident that the matter did 
not constitute a part of public knowledge, and, if known at all, 
must have been known to but few. A careful study of all the 
ethical passages of the Old Testament convinces me tliat there 
is an entire absence of censure of the sin of. falsehood until 
after the exile. The sin of false-witnessing is condemned in 
the Tables ; and also the sin of falsehood, so far as it is con- 
nected with rol)bery and murder, is frequently and severely 
scourged in the Prophets. But they seem to know nothing 
of the sin of speaking lies as such. Wliat is the evidence from 

1 Job 1^ 


their silence? They were altogether unconscious of its sinful- 
ness. The holiest men did not hesitate to lie whenever thej- 
had a good object in view, and they showed no conscious- 
ness of sin in it. And the writers who tell of their lies are 
as innocent as they. The evidence from this silence is that 
the Hebrews did not, in their ethical development, reach the 
understanding of the sin of l3"ing until after the return from 
exile, and then largelj' under the influence of Persian ethics, 
which from the earliest times made truth-speaking essential to 
good morals. 

These are examples of the method b}- which the evidences of 
the Higher Criticism may be applied to Holy Scrij)ture. They 
are constantly applied by scholars all over the world, in all the 
ranges of Biblical Literature. If carefully applied, tested, and 
verified, they lead to sure results. 

We have next to present the results of this evidence with 
reference to the great problems of the Higher Criticism. 

VII. The Ixtegeity of the ScRrpTXXRES 

The first questions ■^•itli reference to a writing are : (1) Is 
it the product of one mind as an organic Avhole ; or (2) com- 
posed of several pieces of the same author ; or (3) is it a col- 
lection of writings by different authors ? (4) Has it retained 
its original integrity, or has it been interpolated ? May the 
interpolations be discriminated from the original ? 

1. There are but few biblical writings which can be regarded 
as the product of one mind, as an organic whole. And few 
of these have remained without interpolations which maj' be 
easil}' detected. None of the histoi'ical books of the Old and 
New Testaments can be assigned here. The only prophetic 
writings which are certainl}' the jiroducts of one author at one 
time are Joel, Jonah, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Malachi. Some 
miglit add Nahum ; but it seems evident that the fii'st part of 
the prophecy is an alphabetical poem, which had been greatly 
changed before it was prefixed to Nahum. The only one of 
the writings that can be brought under tliis class is the Song 


of Songs, and yet many recent scholars claim that it is com- 
posed of a number of separate love songs. In the New Testa- 
ment all the epistles, excepting Romans ' and 1 Timothy,- may 
be regarded as having few if any interpolations that can be 
certainly detected, although not a few critics find interpola- 
tions in some of them. There are a number of other writings 
in which interpolations of greater or less importance may easily 
be detected, such as Ruth, Esther, Job, Ecclesiastes, Habakkuk, 
the Ei^istle to the Romans, and the Gospel of Maxk.^ 

2. There are several collections of writings by the same 
author. Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, Micah, and Lamentations* 
have escaped all but minor interpolations. Jeremiah has 
passed through a series of editings, and has many important 
interpolations. Jeremiah and Ezekiel each give a collection of 
judgments against the enemies of the kingdom of God and 
prophecies of restoration and Messianic felicity. Ezekiel's 
name covers only his own predictions. To Jeremiah have 
been appended two anonj'mous chapters, and a considerable 
amount of historical material has been inserted bj' the several 
editors. There are also not a few interpolations in the Hebi'cw 
text that are unknown to the Greek version. 

3. The twelve Minor Prophets are regarded as one book in 
most of the ancient Jewish and Christian catalogues. The 
JBaba Bathra represents them as edited by the men of the Great 
Synagogue after the exile. ^ Tliis is a conjectui-e without his- 
torical evidence. These pi'ophets, in modern times, have ordi- 
narily been treated separatel}*, and their original combination 
has been to a great extent forgotten. Each one of them may 
be tested as to its integrity. The only one about which there 
has been any general questioning is Zechariah. The eai'lier 
doubts were based upon Mt. 27', which ascribes Zech. 12-13 
to Jeremiah.'' If that passage be free from error, the section 
of Zechariah in which the citation is contained must be sepa- 
rated from that prophet and attached to the prophecies of Jere- 

' McGiffert, Apostolic Age, pp. 275 seq. See also pp. 315 seq. of this volume. 
2 McGiffert, Apostolic Age, pp. 405 seq. 
'See pp. 314, 317. 

' Some scholars regard Lamentations as a collection of dirges by different 
authors. ' See pp. 262 seq. « Sec p. 250. 


miah. It is now generally conceded that this cannot be done, 
and that the evangelist has made a slip of memory in citation. 
The integrity of Zechariah has been disputed in recent times 
from literary grounds. Many scholars of the present day attrib- 
ute the second half to one or more different prophets. Others, 
as Wright 1 and Delitzsch,- still maintain the integrity of the 
book. The twelve represent different periods in prophetic 

Amos is the simple yet grand herald of all the prophets. 
Hosea, the great prophet of the northern kingdom, is the sweet- 
est and tenderest, the most humane of all. Mieah was the con- 
temporary and co-worker with Isaiah. These three represent 
the earlier prophets. Next comes Nahum, who prophesied 
against Nineveh. The associates of Jeremiah in the age of 
Josiah, were the lesser prophets, Zephaniah and Habakkuk, the 
great theme of the one being the advent of Yahweh in judg- 
ment, of the other, His glorious march of \dctory. Obadiah 
probably belongs to the exile. The prophets of the returned 
exiles were Haggai and Zechariah, the latter the chief prophet 
of the restoration. But there have been appended to Zechariah, 
by the editors of the Prophetic Canon, two other predictions, — 
one of the time of Hezekiah,* the other of a much later time 
than Zechariah. The date of Malachi, as indeed his name, is 
quite uncertain, but he was not earlier than Nehemiah and may 
have been later, in the Persian period. There remain to be con- 
sidered two of the prophets, which are in some respects most 
difficult of all. Joel used to be regarded as the earliest of the 
prophets ; he is now commonly considered one of the latest. 
We have no knowledge of the prophet apart from his writings, 
and the contents of these seem, on the whole, to favour a date 
subsequent to Zechariah. Jonah differs from aU the INIinor 
Prophets, in being narrative rather than teaching. Jonah is 
among the prophets because of the prophetic lesson which the 

■ Zechariah and his Prophecies, considered in Relation to Modern Criticism, 
Bampton Lectures, 1878, London, 1879, p. sxx^'. 

2 Messianic Prophecies, translated bv S. I. Curtiss, Edin., 1881. 

'Some scholars think this also is post-exilic, and others that pre-exilic 
material has been worked over by a very late prophet. 


Story unfolds. The stun" is as ideal as any of the symbols in 
the other prophetic writings. ^ 

The book of Proverbs is represented by the Baha Bathra^ as 
edited by the college of Hezekiah. This is based upon a con- 
jecture founded on Proverbs 25. It has also been held that 
it was edited by Solomon himself, and indeed that Solomon 
was the author of the whole. It is now generally agreed that 
the book is made up of several collections, and that it has 
passed through the hands of a number of editors at different 
times. ^ 

There are two great collections of sentences of wisdom, rep- 
resenting different pei-iods of time and different conceptions 
of wisdom, the earlier gi%-ing 37G couplets, with 2 ajDpeudices 
containing 13 pieces of varj-ing length from 2 to 10 lines 
each ; the latter gi\'ing 115 couplets and 12 pieces of varying 
length, not exceeding 10 lines.* There is an introductory 
Praise of Wisdom, in the first 9 chapters, wliich is a great 
poem of wisdom. There are two concluding chapters in 
which the pieces are of a later and more miscellaneous char- 
acter. There are ascribed to Agur, 2 pieces of 10 lines and 
one of 15. Under Aluqah is a collection of 8 pieces, 4 of 
which are riddles.^ Under Lemuel® is given a temperance 
poem of 18 lines. The book concludes with an alphabetical 
poem in praise of a talented wife, which is well named by 
Doderleiu, the golden A B C of women. ' 

The Psalter is composed of 150 Psalms in five books. The 
Baha Bathra^ makes David the editor, and states that he used 
with his own Psalms those of ten ancient worthies. It has been 
held by some that David wrote all the Psalms.® Calvin, Du 
Pin, and others, make Ezra the editor. ^^ It is now generally 
agreed that the Psalm-book is made up of a number of collec- 
tions, and, like the book of Proverbs, has passed through a 

' See pp. .345 seq. - Sec p. 2o2. 

« Delitzsch, Bih. Com. on the Proverbs, T. & T. Clark, Edin., 1874 ; Zockler 
in Lange, Bibleioork. Com. on the Proverbs, N.Y., 18T0. 
4 See p. .388. » See p. 417. 

• See p. 418. ' See p. 383. 

» See p. 252. » See p. 262. 

>» See pp. 247. 277. 


number of editings. Some have thought it to be the Psahu- 
book of the first temple. Others, and indeed most moderns, 
tliink that it was edited in its present form for the second 
temple. 1 Griitz thinks that the Psalter was finally edited for 
the worship of the sj-nagogue.^ 

Isaiah is represented by the Baha Bathra as edited by the 
college of Hezekiah.2 Its integrity was disputed by Koppe,* 
who maintained that it was a collection of pieces of various 
prophets loosely associated. It is generally held that the first 
half of Isaiah is composed of groups of prophecies gathered about 
those of Isaiah as a nucleus, and tliat the second half, 40-613, 
is by an unknown prophet of the exile. ^ 

More recent investigation makes it evident that Isaiah was 
enlarged to be about the same size as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 
Twelve, by appending a number of anonymous prophecies. 
Tlie chief of these is the great Book of Comfort, Is. 40-66, 
which reflects for the most part the situation of the exile. It 
itself appeared in three successive editions, with different 
themes and different measiu-es of poetry, and did not assume 
its final form until after the restoration, and even then did 
not escape subsequent interpolation.* This Book of Comfort is 
separated from the earlier collections of prophecies by an his- 
torical section, 86-39, which has been taken from the book of 
Kings and attached to the earlier collection. The earlier col- 
lection is also composite. The great apocalypse, 24-27, be- 
longs to the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great. 
There are not a few other exilic and post-exilic anonymous 
prophecies, such as 12, 13^-1423, 32-35. There are earlier proph- 
ecies used, such as in 22"^, 15-10^2, and there are numerous 
interpolations by the successive editors even in the genuine 
original prophecies of Isaiah." 

1 Perowne, Book of Psalms, 2d ed., London. 1870, p. 78 ; 3d ed., Andover, 
187(5, p. 03 ; Murray, Lectures on the Oriyin and Growth of the Psalms, N.Y., 
1880. - Com. zu. d. Psalmen, I. pp. 62 seq. See p. 321. 

> See p. 252. * See p. 279. 

6 Ewald, Die Propheten, Gottlngen, 1868, 2te Ausg., III. pp. 20 seq.; De- 
litzsch, Messianic Prophecies, 1881, p. 84 ; Cheyne, Prophecies of Isaiah, 1881, 
II. pp. 201 seq. ; Cross, Introductory Hints to English Headers of the Old Testa- 
ment, London, 1882, p. 238. « Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, pp. 337 seq. 

' Cheyne, Introduction to the Book nf Isaiah, 1895. 


It is evident, also, that the genealogical section, Ruth •41''"^, 
was appended to the story of Ruth. There is nothing in the 
story as such that looks for such an ending. The story natu- 
rally comes to an end with the birth and naming of Obed, 4i"°-'. 

The Psalm Hab. 3 is commonly regarded bj" modern critics 
as a later insertion. It has a title, like man}' of the Psalms, 
"Prayer of Habakkuk, the Prophet, upon Stringed Instru- 
ments," 1 and a subscription ascribing it to the director.^ It 
also has the selah^ characteristic of the Psalter. It is evident, 
therefore, that this Psalm was originally in the Director's ]Major 
Psalter before it was attached to tlie prophet Habakkuk, and 
while in that Psalter received the musical assignment, and also 
the ascription to Habakkuk. It was because of that tradi- 
tional ascription that it came at last to be appended to the 
jjrophecy of Habakkuk. The Psalm in its present form implies 
earlier Psalms. The last verses, 17-19, seem to have been 
added to the original Psalm for purely liturgical reasons. The 
original Psalm in verses 10 seq. resembles so greatly Ps. 77^'"^^ 
that we must infer a use of one by the other. There can be 
no doubt that Ps. 77 uses the Psalm of Habakkuk, for it is 
itself a mosaic of three original separate Psabus or parts of 

4. There are interpolations in the Septuagint version in con- 
nection with Jeremiah, Daniel, and Esther. They are also 
found in the New Testament by the general consent of scholars, 
— in Mk. 16*-*^', 5 in the Gospel of John T»3-8ii,6 iu the famous 
passage of the heavenl)^ witnesses, the First Epistle of John 5', 
and elsewhere. We have seen that many scholars of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries found such interpolations in 
the Pentateuch." They are found by scholars in other books of 
the Bible. 

1 n'i'JP hv of Hebrew text is doubtless an error for r""33.'?IJ of the Sept. 
So the subscription "nj'MS is a mistake for m;":3 of the Sept. 

2 ns:D'r. 8 ver. 3^ 9. 13. 

* "T^-* is a seven-lineil trimeter ; 77"-i<' has two twelve-lined trimeters ; and 
7717-21 i3 a fourteen-lined trimeter. This last piece is in itself incomplete. It 
was partly taken from the Psalm of Habakkuk. and condensed and otherwise 

^ See the marginal note of the revisers in the Revised Version of 1881. 

6 Bracketed in the Revised Version of 1881. ' See p. 276. 


In the New Testament, in addition to the passages already 
cited, one more may suliice. Dr. McGiffert explains the addi- 
tions to the Epistle to the Romans thus : 

"The brief note of introduction referred to throws more light 
than any of the other sources upon the life of the Ephesian 
church. It is found in Rom. 1()'"^. That that passage did not 
constitute originally a part of the Epistle to the Romans seems 
plain enough. It is inconceivable that Paul, who had never been 
in Rome when he wrote his epistle, should not only know per- 
sonally so many members of the Roman church, but should also 
be intimately acquainted with their situation and surroundings. 
There is far less of the personal element in the remainder of the 
epistle than in most of Paul's letters, and yet in this single six- 
teenth chapter more persons are greeted by name than in all his 
other epistles combined, and the way in which he refers to them 
shows a remarkable familiarity with local conditions in the church 
to which he is writing. The Epistle to the Romans comes to a 
fitting close at the end of chapter fifteen, and the disordered state 
of the text in the latter part of the epistle, and the repetitions and 
displacements of the doxologies in some of the most ancient manu- 
scripts, suggests that one or more additions have been made to the 
original letter. On the other hand, while the chapter in question 
seems entirely out of place in a letter addressed to the church of 
Rome, it contains just such greetings, and just such a wealth of 
personal allusions, as might be expected in an epistle sent to Ephe- 
sus, where Paul labored so long and zealously. There are to be 
found in it, moreover, certain specific references that point to 
Ephesus as the place of its destination. Among those to whom 
Paul sends salutations are Epsenetus, the "first fruits of Asia," 
and Aquila and Priscilla, whom he calls his fellow-workers, and 
who, as we know, labored with him in Ephesus diu-ing at least 
the greater part of his stay in the city. He refers to the church 
in their house both in this chapter and in his First Epistle to the 
Corinthians, which was written at Ephesus. Among those who 
join Paul in sending greetings are Timothy and Erastus, both of 
whom were with him in Ephesus. It is clear also from 1 Cor. 1"^ 
and 16""'- that the intercourse between the Christians of Ephesus 
and of Corinth was close and constant, and it is therefore not sur- 
prising that there should be others in the latter city at the time 
Paul wrote who were personally known to the Ephesian disciples. 
Finally, it should be observed that Raid's references to the fact 
that Aquila and Priscilla had laid down their necks in his behalf, 
and that Andronicus and Junias had been his fellow-prisoners, — 


references which seem to recall events well known to the Chris- 
tians to whom he was writing, — point to dangers and suiferings 
similar to those we know he was called upon to face in Ephesus. 
In the light of such facts as these it is altogether probable that 
we have in the sixteenth chapter of Romans a letter addressed to 
the Ephesian church. It is possible that it is only part of a 
larger epistle now lost, but it is more likely that we have it prac- 
tically complete and in its original form. Just as it stands it 
constitutes an appropriate note of introduction and commendation, 
and there is no sign that it is merelj' a fragment. That it should 
have been attached to the Epistle to the Romans is not particu- 
larly surprising. It was evidently written from Corinth, as the 
Epistle to the Romans was, and at about the same time with that 
epistle. It may have been transcribed also by the same hand, 
and in that case nothing would be more natural than that the 
smaller should become attached to the larger in copies of the two 
taken in Corinth at the time they were written." ' 

Bishop Perowne gives this testimony as regards the Psalter: 
"It is plain that these ancient Hebrew songs and hymns must 
have suffered a variety of changes in the course of time, similar 
to those which maj' be traced in the older religious poetry of the 
Christian Church, where this has been adapted by any means to 
the object of some later compiler. Thus, hymns once intended for 
private use became adapted to public. "Words and expressions 
applicable to the original circumstances of the writer, but not ap- 
plicable to the new purpose to which the hymn was to be put, were 
omitted or altered. It is onh- in a critical age that any anxiety 
is manifested to ascertain the original form in which a poem ap- 
peared. The practical use of hymns in the Christian Church, and 
of the Psalms in the Jewish, far outweighed all considerations of 
a critical kind, or rather these last never occurred. Hence it has 
become a more difficult task than it otherwise would have been 
to ascertain the historical circumstances under which certain 
Psalms were written. Some traces we find leading us to one period 
of Jewish histor}- ; others which lead to another. Often there is 
a want of cohesion between the parts of a Psalm ; often an abrupt^ 
ness of transition which we can hardly account for, except on the 
hypothesis that we no longer read the Psalm in its original form." - 

All these questions are to be determined b}^ the principles of 
the Higher Criticism. The authority of the Bible does not 
depend upon the integrity of particular writings. If the edit- 
1 McGiffert, The Apostolic Age, 1897, pp. 276-277. » In I.e., p. 82. 


ing and interpolating were done under the influence of the 
Divine Spirit, this carries with it the same authority as the 
original document. If the interpolations are of a different 
character, such as are found to be the case in some at least of 
the apocryphal additions to Daniel and Esther, they should be 
removed from the Bible. If the authority of the Bible depended 
upon our first finding who wrote these interpolations and who 
edited the books, and whether these interpolators and editors 
were inspired men, we could never reach conviction as to many 
of them. But inasmuch as the authority of the Bible depends 
not upon this literary question of integrity of writing, but upon 
the Word of God recognized in the writing ; and we prove the 
inspiration of the authors from the authority of the writings 
rather than the authority of the writings from the inspiration 
of the authors, — the authority of the Bible is not disturbed by 
any changes in traditional opinion as to these writings. The 
only question of integrity with which inspiration has to do is 
the integrity' of the Canon, whether the interpolations, the sepa- 
rate parts, the writings as a whole, are real and necessary parts 
of the system of divine revelation — whether they contain the 
Divine Word. This can never be determined by the Higher 
Criticism, which has to do only with literary integrity and not 
with canonical integrity. AVe doubt not the canonicity of Mk. 
16""^, although it seems necessary to separate it from the origi- 
nal Gospel of Mark. 

VIII. The Authenticity of the Scripttjres 

Several questions arise under this head. (1) Is the author's 
name given in connection with the writing ? (2) Is it anony- 
mous ? (3) Can it be pseudonj-mous '! (4r) Is it a compilation ? 
All these are ordinary features of the world's literature. Is there 
any sound reason why they should not all be found in Holy 
Scripture ? There has ever been a tendency in the Synagogue 
and the Church to ascribe the biblical books to certain well- 
known holy men and prophets. Tradition has been busy here. 
There is no book of the Bible that has not one or more tradi- 
tional authors. And so in all departments of literature, there 


is scarcely a great name which has not been compelled to father 
■writings that do not belong to it. The genuine writings of 
Athanasius, Jerome, Augustine, and Ambrose have to be sepa- 
rated by careful criticism from the spurious ; for example : 

" Of the thirty to a hundred so-called Ambrosian hymns, how- 
ever, only twelve in the view of the Benedictine editor of his 
works are genuine, the rest being more or less successful imitations 
by unknown authors. Xeale reduces the number of the genuine 
Ambrosian hymns to ten." ^ 

It is well known that Shakespeare's genuine plays have to be 
discriminated from the large number of others that have been 
attributed to him. Shakespearian criticism is of so great im- 
portance as to constitute a literature of its own.^ Sometimes 
the writings of a well-known author have been, in the process 
of time, attributed to another. We have an example of this in 
the Paradoxes of Herbert Palmer, which have been regarded 
as Lord Bacon's.^ 

To question the traditional opinion as to authorshij) of a 
writing is not to contest the authenticity of the writing. Au- 
thenticity lias propei'ly to do only with the claims of the writing 
itself, and not with the claims of traditional theories. The 
Baba Bathra does not discrimiuate between editorship and 
authorship.* It is evident that to the scribes of the second 
century the principal thing was official committing to writing 
and not the original writing of the writing. The Talmudic 
statements as to authorship are many of them absurd conject- 
ures. Josephus and Philo, when they make Moses the author 
of the narrative of his own death, go beyond the Baha Bathra 
and indidge in folly. 

The titles found in connection with the biblical books cannot 
always be relied upon, for the reason that we have first to deter- 
mine whether they came from the original authors, or have been 
appended by insj^ired editors, or have been attached in the Rab- 
binical or Christian schools. Thus the difference in the titles 

1 Scliaff, History of the Christian Church, III., 1868, p. 691. 
■^ Knight's Shakeapeare, Supplemental Volume. 

^ See Grosart, Lord Vacon not the Author of the " Christian Paradoxes.'" 
Printed for private circulation, 1865. * See p. 253. 


of the several Psalms between the Sejituagint version and the 
Massoretic text are so great as to force the conclusion that 
many of the titles are of late and uncertain origin, and that 
most, if not all, are of doubtful authorit}'.! 

In considering the question of authenticity, we have first to 
examine the writing itself. If the writing claims to be b}- a 
certain author, to doubt it is to doubt the credibility and author- 
ity of the writing. If these claims are found to be unreliable, 
tlie credibility of the writing is gone, and its inspiration is in- 
volved. But if the credibility of the writing is not impeached, 
its inspiration has nothing to do with the question of its human 

The Higher Criticism has been compelled by Deism and 
Rationalism to meet this question of forgery of Biblical Writ- 
ings. This phase of the subject has now been settled so far 
that no reputable critics venture to write of any of our canoni- 
cal writings as forgeries. 

IX. Anonymous Holy Sckeptuues 

There are large numbers of the biblical books that are 
anonymous : e.g. the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, 
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Jonah, Ruth, many of 
the Psalms, Lamentations, and the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

Tradition has assigned authors for all of these. It is also 
maintained that the internal statements of some of these books 
point to their authorship by certain persons. 

We have seen the traditional theories of Holy Scripture 
embedded in the Talmud.^ Christian tradition modified these 
in some respects, but the tradition was essentially this : the Pen- 
tateuch and Job were written b}' Moses ; Joshua by Joshua ; 

' Murray, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of the Psalms, 1880, pp. 79 seq. ; 
Perowne in I.e., pp. 94 seq. 

- It may be .said that the pseudonym claims to be by the author, whose name 
is given. But iu fact the pseudonym itself makes no such claim. It uses the 
name as a fiction, and usually as a transparent fiction. If any one is deceived 
it is his own fault or the fault of his teacher. He may be deceived in a similar 
way by any kind of fiction. The pseudonym has never been regarded as forgery. 
See pp. 32.3 seq. 

8 See p. 2.32. 


Judges and Samuel by Samuel ; Kings, Jeremiah, and Lamen- 
tations by Jeremiah ; the Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, by Ezra ; 
Esther by Mordecai ; the Psalms by David ; Proverbs, Song of 
Songs, and Ecclesiastes by Solomon ; the Prophets b\' those 
whose names are attached to the books. Each %vriting was 
fathered upon a well-known biblical character in whose inspi- 
ration it was supposed we might have confidence. 

The traditional theory ascribes all the Law to jSIoses, all the 
Psalms to David, all the Wisdom to Solomon. One is impelled 
sometimes to ask why all the Prophecy was not attributed to 
Isaiah or to Jeremiah, according as the name of the one or the 
other preceded the list of prophetic writings. How narrow an 
escape has been made from attributing the whole of Prophecj' to 
Jeremiah, may be estimated when attention is called to the fact 
that one of the ways by which the anti-critics try to avoid a 
miss-citation in the Gospels,^ where a prophecy is attributed to 
Jeremiah which was really anonymous, though united with 
Zechariah,2 is by the theory that the name of Jeremiah was 
given as a general title to the whole of the prophetic books, his 
prophecy beginning them in the list of the Baraitha, the earliest 
classification of books in the Talmud. ^ From the point of view 
of the modern scientific Higher Criticism, it is no more absurd 
to attribute all the Prophecy to Jeremiah, than all the Law to 
Moses, all the Wisdom to Solomon, and all the Psalms to David. 
In none of these cases has there ever been any solid ground on 
which such theories could rest. 

Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes of the Wisdom Liter- 
ature are attributed by tradition to Solomon. The only reason 
Job escaped this traditional parentage was probably because it 
was not regarded b}" the ancients as belonging to the Wisdom 
Literature ; and its patriarchal scenery made it most natural 
for them to think of a patriarchal age, and then easily of Moses, 
who stood on the borders of that age, and belonged to it while 
in the land of Midian Ix'fore he took the leadership of Israel. 
But among the apocryplial books tliere is a Wisdom of Solo- 

1 Mt. 27«. = See p. 310. 

' Sef A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield, Art. " Inspiration," Preshyterian Re- 
view, 1881, p. 259. 


mon, and, among the pseudepigrapha, a Psalter of Solomon, 
which are cited as canonical by some of the ancient Fathers. 
But the Higher Criticism has sho^yn that the Psalter of Solo- 
mon belongs to the times of Pompey, the first centurj" B.C., and 
that the Wisdom of Solomon belongs to the early jjart of the 
first Christian centurj-. We are thus prepared to question the 
traditional parentage of the sapiential literature of the Hebrew 
Canon. Ecclesiastes is the latest writing in the Old Testa- 
ment, as shown by its language, style, and theologj'. As De- 
litzsch says, if Ecclesiastes could be Solomonic, there would be 
no such thing as a histor}- of the Hebrew language.^ The Song 
of Songs is an operetta in five acts, describing the victory of a 
pure shepherd girl over all the seductions and temptations that 
were put forth by Solomon and his court to induce her to aban- 
don her affianced shepherd. Solomon is not even the hero of 
the drama, but is the tempter of the Shulamite. 

The Proverbs represent a collection of wisdom, the result of 
many centuries and oft-repeated editings. It was gathered 
under the name of Solomon as the traditional king of the mse 

Thus the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament and of 
the Apocrypha is resolved into a number of writings of dif- 
ferent authors and of different collections extending through 
many centuries until the time of Christ, and preparing the way 
for the jewelled sentences of wisdom of Jesus of Nazareth, the 
wisest of meu.^ 

The Psalter is ascribed bj- tradition to David, partly as author 
and partly as editor. But the testimony of the titles coming 
from the early editors, and the evidence of the Psalms them- 
selves, make it evident that the Psalter contains the psalmody 
of Israel in all the centuries of his development in sacred lyrics 
of prayer and praise. There were several minor psalters repre- 
senting different periods of literary activity; there were several 
layers of psalms representing different periods of Iji-ic develop- 
ment. The present Psalter is not earlier than the Maccabean 
period ; but while chiefly representing the Persian, Greek, and 
Maccabean periods in the history of Israel, yet it also contains 

1 HokesUed und Kokehth, :875, s. 197. = See pp. 392, 396, 401. 


Psalms wliicli go back to the times of the prophets and the 
kings, and which sprang from tlie fountain-head of psalmody 
in the tender, tuneful heart of King David himself. No name 
so worthy as David's under which to gather the psalmody of 
the nation which he had started by his impulses in its centuries 
of prayer and praise to God, even if he wrote few, if any, of the 
present Psalms. The Psalter is a synagogue book more than 
a temple book, and therefore it has been found appropriate for 
the Christian worship of the congregation in all times. 

The Psalter of Solomon is a collection of beautiful Psalms 
which was made after the final editing of our Psalter ; other- 
wise, they, like the Psalm appended to the Septuagint text, 
might have found their way into the Psalter itself. 

The tradition that INIoses wrote the Pentateuch has been so 
evidently disproved that it is altogether unscholarly for any one 
to hold to this opinion. The Pentateuch has been shown, after 
a century of critical work, to be composed of four great docu- 
ments, which were written in different periods in the history 
of Israel. These four documents have each its own narrative 
and code of law. These narratives and law codes bear traces 
of earlier narratives and law codes, which they have taken up 
into themselves. These earlier narratives contain original 
sources in the form of ancient poetry, legends, genealogies, 
and other historical or traditional monuments. The law codes 
contain various types of law, indicating their source in the 
session of the elders, the court of the judges, the Levites and 
the Priests, or in the prophetic word and divine command. 
Criticism is carefully tracing these back through all their 
varied development in the documents to their fountain-heads 
in their archtfological forms. The gain of this position is 
immense. Instead of the old tradition that the Law and aU 
the institutions, civil, religious, and domestic, were given in the 
wilderness of the wandering to a nation who had had an expe- 
rience of several centuries of slavery, and had not yet had any 
experience whatever as a free nation settled in a land of their 
own, these laws and institutions are now seen to be the devel- 
opment of the experience of Israel during the centuries of his 
residence in the Holv Land itself. No one could think of 


ascribing the Constitution of the United States and all the 
elaborate system of Common and Statute law in Great Britain 
and America, to the Anglo-Saxon tribes who invaded England 
and established the basis for Anglo-Saxon civilization. It 
would be no more absurd than to ascribe the elaborate Penta- 
teuchal codes to Israel of the Exodus. 

The Hebrew Law is Mosaic in that its essential fundamental 
laws were derived from Moses, in that he shaped the legal policy 
of Israel for all times : the institutions are Mosaic because Moses 
established their essential nucleus. All that was subsequent in 
the Law and the institutions was but an unfolding of the germs 
given by Moses. But that development went on in the enlarge- 
ment of the law, in the expanding of the institutions, in the 
luifolding of the precepts, m the experience and history of the 
people, until the cope-stone of Mosaism was laid by Ezra, 
the second Moses, in rebuilt Jerusalem and restored Israel. 

We have in Hebrew literature an unfolding through the cen- 
turies of four distinct types: the legal type, beginning with 
Moses, and continuing through all the ages of priestly legisla- 
tion until Ezra crowned the work with the completed Law ; the 
prophetic type, beginning with Samuel and continuing through 
all the centuries until the Maccabean Daniel ; the type of 
psalmody, beginning with David and unfolding until our Psalter 
was finally edited, late in the age of the Maccabees; and finally, 
the type of wisdom, beginning with Solomon and extending to 
Ecclesiastes of the Hebrew Canon, and the Wisdom of Sirach 
and Wisdom of Solomon of the Greek and Latin Canons. 


Are there pseudonymous books in the Bible ? This is a well- 
known and universally recognized literary style which no one 
should think of identifying vfith forr/ery or deceit of any kind. 
Ancient and modern literature is full of pseudonymes as well 
as anonymes. One need only look over the bibliographical 
works devoted to this subject,^ or have a little familiarity with 

' Barbier, Dictiimnaire des Ouvrar/es anonymes et pseudonymes, 4 torn. , Paris, 
1872-1878 ; Halkett and Lang, Dktioimry of the Anonymous and Pseudonymous 
literature of Great Britain, 4 vols., 1882, seq. 


the liistory of literature, or examine any public library, to settle 
this question. There is great variety in the use of the pseu- 
donyme. Sometimes the author uses a surname rather than his 
own proper name, either to conceal himself by it from the pub- 
lic or to inti-oduce himself by a title of honour. Thus Calvin 
follows the opinion of some of the ancients that the prophecy 
of Malachi was written by Ezra, who assumed the surname 
Malachi in connection with it. Then again some descriptive 
term is used, as by the authors of the celebrated [Martin Mar- 
prelate tracts. Then a fictitious name is constructed, as in the 
title of the famous tracts vindicating Presbj-teriauism against 
Episcopacy ; the authors, Stephen Marshall. Edmund Calamy, 
Thomas Young, Matthew NeMxommen, and William Spurstow, 
coined the name Smectymnuils from the initial letters of their 
names. Among the ancients it was more common to assume 
the names of ancient worthies. There is an enormous number 
of these pseudonymes in the Puritan literature of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. The descendants of the Pui-itans 
are the last ones who should think of any dishonesty or impro- 
priety connected with their use. 

Why should the pseudonyme be banished from the Bible? 
Among the Greeks and Romans they existed in great numbers. 
Among the Jews we have a long list in extra-canonical books, 
covering several kinds of literature, e.g. the apocalypses of 
Enoch, Baruch, Ezra, Assumption of Moses, Ascension of 
Isaiah, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Psalter 
of Solomon. Why should there not be some of these in the 
Old Testament ? It is now conceded by scholars that Ecclesi- 
astes is such a pseudonyme, using Solomon's name.^ It is 
claimed by some that Daniel- and Deuteronomy ^ are also pseu- 
donymes. If no a priori objection can be taken to the pseudo- 

" This is invincibly established by Wright. Book of Koheleth. London. 1883, 
pp. 79 seq. : " Solomon is introduced as the speaker throughout the work in the 
same way as Cicero in his treatise on ' Old Age.' and on ' Friendship.' selects 
Cato the elder as the exponent of his views, or as Plato in his Dialogues brings 
forward Socrates." 

^ See Strack in I.e.. pp. 164 seq., and pp. .351 seq. of this vol. 

'So Riehni, Gesetzgehung Mosis im Lande ^f^)a^>. 18.'>4. p. 112. represents the 
Deuteronomic code as a literarj- fiction. The author let.s Moses ajipear as a pro- 
phetic popular orator, and as the first priestly reader of the Law. It is a literary 


nyme as inconsistent M'ith divine revelation, — if one pseudo- 
nyme, Ecclesiastes, be admitted in the Bible, — then the question 
whether Daniel and Deuteronomy are pseudonymes must be 
determined by the Higher Criticism, and it does not touch the 
question of their inspiration or authority as a part of the Script- 
ures. All would admit that no forger or forgery could be in- 
spired. But that every one who wi-ites a pseudonyme is a 
deceiver or forger is absui'd. The usage of literature, ancient 
and modern, has established its propriety. If it claims to be by 
a particular author, and is said by a critic to be a pseudonyme, 
then its credibility is attacked, and the question of its inspira- 
tion is raised. In the New Testament the Gospel of John was 
thought by some to be a pseudonyme of the second Christian 
century, but this has been entirely disproved. Weiss tells us : 

" There was certainly in antiquity a pseudonymous literature, 
which cannot be criticized from the standpoint of the literary cus- 
toms of our day, or judged as forgery. For it is just the naiveti 
with which the author strives to find a higher authority for his 
words by laying them in the mouth of one of the celebrated men 
of the past, in whose spirit he desires to speak, which justifies 
this literary form. Quite otherwise is it in this case ; the author 
mentions no name ; he only gives it to be understood that it is 
the unnamed disciple so repeatedly introduced who is writing here 
from his ovra personal knowledge ; he leaves it to be inferred from 
the comparison of one passage with another that this eye-witness 
cannot be any one but John. It was Renan who, in the face of 
modern criticism, said that it was not a case of pseudonymous 
authorship such as was known to antiquity, it was either truth or 
refined forgery — plain deception."' 

fiction, as Ecclesiastes is a literary fiction. The latter uses the person of Solo- 
mon as the master of wisdom to set forth the lessons of wisdom. The former 
uses Moses as the great lawgiver, to promulgate divine laws. This is also the 
view of Noldeke, AUtest. Literatiir, 1868. p. 30; and W. Robertson Smith, The 
Old Testament in the Jewish Church. N.Y., 1881, pp. 384 seq., who the 
terra "legal " fiction as a variety of literary fiction. We cannot go with those who 
regard this as an absurdity, or as involving literary dishonesty. Drs. Riehm 
and Smith, and others who hold this view, repudiate such a thought with abhor- 
rence. The style of literary fiction was a familiar and favourite one of the later 
Jews. And there can be no a priori reason why they should not have used it in 
Bible times. 

» Weiss, Life of Jesus, T. & T. Clark, Edin., 1883, I. p. 94. 


The authenticity of the Pauline epistles of the imprisonment 
and the pastoral epistles has been contested in a similar way. 
The Pauline epistles represent three stages of growth in the 
experiences and doctrinal teaching of the apostle Paul himself. 
It is not necessary to think of his disciples as their authors, or 
to descend into the second centurj'.^ The Apocalypse has been 
disputed from ancient times. It has been assigned by some of 
the ancients to a presbyter, John. Recent criticism is more 
and more against placing it with the pseudonymous apoca- 
lypses of Peter and Paul. 

XI. Compilation in Holy ScEiPTirEE 

The historical books of Kings and Chronicles^ and the 
Gospel of Luke^ represent themselves as compilations. They 
use older documents, which are sometimes mentioned by name. 
The question then is, how far this compilation has extended ; 
and whether it has been once for all, or has passed through a 
number of stages. Thus the books of Kings refer to books 
of Chronicles which are not our books of Chronicles, and our 
books of Chronicles refer to books of Kings wliich are not 
our books of Kings. Both of these historical writers seem to 
depend upon an ancient book of Chronicles, — only our book 
of Chronicles has used it in its citation in another book of 
Kings than the one presented to us in the Canon, for it gives 
material not found therein.* The prophetic histories — Judges, 
Samuel, and Kings — represent a number of wi-iters, earlier and 
later, who have worked over the story of Israel in the land of 
Palestine till the exile. Some of these are Ephraimitic writers, 
some Judaic. The final authors were Deuteronomic. The last 
touch to this prophetic history was given by a Deuteronomic 
editor, who reedited them all in a series, early in the exile, 
under the influence of the prophet Jeremiah. 

1 See Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 1882. pp. 784 seq.; Weiss, 
Biblical Theology of the Neio Testament, Edinburgh. 1882, I. p. 285. 

2 1 K. 11", U""®, 166 . 2 K. 118, 8-28, 20^» ; 1 Ch. 29-'> ; 2 Ch. O*', 12'', 13»», 
16", 242", 26*2, etc., 33i8 '», 3')-' ; Neh. iy^\ « li-". 

< Xoldcke, Alltest. LUeratiir, Leipzig, 1868, pp. 67 seq. 


The narratives of the Chronicler, in Chronicles, Ezra, and 
Nehemiah, which constituted one book, represent the view of 
the histories taken by a priest centuries later, at the close of 
the Persian or the beginning of the Greek period. His work 
is the ecclesiastical chronicle of Jerusalem, rather than a his- 
tory of the kings or the people. He seems to have used a 
Jlidrash of the books of Samuel and Kings, which has been 
lost, intermediate between the present prophetic histories and 
the Chronicles. The question arises whether the otlier his- 
torical books are not also compilations. In the New Testament 
the chief disputes have been as to ^latthew and Mark.^ 

The Gospel of jMatthew is a compilation, using the Gospel of 
Mark and the Logia of Matthew as the chief sources. The 
Gospel of Luke is a compilation, using the same Gospel of Mark 
and the Logia of ilatthew, and also other Hebraic sources for 
its gospel of the infancy, and, possibly also, another source for 
the Perean ministry. The book of Acts is a compilation, using 
a Hebraic narrative of the early Jerusalem Church, and the 
" We " narrative of a co-traveller with Paul, and probably 
other sources. The Gospel of John is also partly a compila- 
tion, using an earlier Gospel of John in the Hebrew language, 
and the Hj-mn to the Logos in the Prologue. 

The Apocalypse is a compilation of a number of apocalypses 
of different dates. ^ The book of Daniel is a compilation in 
two parts, — the one giving stories relating to Daniel, the other, 
visions and dreams of Daniel.^ It is written in two different 
languages, — the Hebrew and the Aramaic. 

The two remaining problems of the Higher Criticism cover 
so much ground that it will be necessary to consider them in 
several chapters. The literary forms will be considered in the 
next chapter, on the Biblical Prose Literature, and the four chap- 
ters that follow on Biblical Poetical Literature. The question of 
credibility will be discussed in the chapter on the Credibility 
of Holy Scripture. 

J Weiss, Leben Jesu, I., 1882, pp. 24 seq., gives the best statement of this dis- 
cussion and its results. 

* Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles, pp. 284 seq. 
' See pp. 351 seq. 



There has been a great neglect of the study of Holy 
Scripture as literature, in the Synagogue and in the Church. 
Few scholars have ever given their attention to this subject. 
The scholars of the Jewish and Christian world were interested 
and absorbed in the study of Holy Scripture for religious, dog- 
matic, and ethical purposes. Even in the development of the 
discipline of the Higher Criticism, the literary forms were the 
last things to receive attention. 

The literary forms have not shared to any great extent in the 
revival of biblical studies. And yet these are exactly the things 
that most need consideration in our day, when the literature of 
Holy Scripture is compared with the literatures of the other 
religions of the ancient world, and the question is so often 
raised why we should recognize the Christian Bible as the 
inspired word of God rather than the sacred books of other 

Bishop Lowth in England, and the poet Herder in Germany, 
toward the close of the last century, called the attention of the 
learned world to this neglected field, and invited to the study 
of the Sacred Scriptures as sacred literature. Little advance 
has been made, however, owing, doubtless, to the fact that the 
conflict has been raging about the history, the religion, and the 
doctrines of the Bible ; and, on the field of the Higher Criticism, 
in questions of authenticity, integrity, and credibility of writ- 
ings. The finer literary features have not entered into the field 
of discussion, to any extent, until quite recent times. De Wette, 
Ewald, and especially Reuss, made valuable contributions to 
this subject, but even tiiese masters have given their strength 
to other toi^ics. 



The most obvious divisions of literature are poetry and prose. 
These are distinguished to the eye by different modes of writ- 
ing, and to the ear by different modes of reading ; but under- 
neath all this is a difference of rhythmical movement. It is 
difficult to draw the line scientifically between poetry and prose 
even here, for " Prose has its rhythms, its tunes, and its tone- 
colors, like verse ; and, while the extreme forms of prose and 
verse are sufficiently unlike each other, there are such near grades 
of intermediate forms, that they may be said to run into each 
other, and any line claiming to be distinctive must necessarily 
be more or less arbitrary."^ Hence rhetorical prose and 
v/orks of the imagination in all languages approximate closely 
to poetry. The poetry of the Bible is written in the manu- 
scripts, and is printed in the Hebrew and Greek texts, as well 
as in the versions, with few exceptions, exactly as if it were 
prose ; and the Hebrew scribes, who divided the Old Testa- 
ment Scrii^tures and pointed them with vowels and accents, 
dealt with the poetry as if it were prose, and even obscured the 
poetic form by their divisions of verse and section, so that in 
many cases it can be restored only by a careful study of the 
unpointed text and a neglect of the Massoretic sections. 

The subject of Biblical Poetry is reserved for the following 
chapters. In this chapter the Prose Literature of the Bible 
will be considered. This is found in rich variety. 

I. Historical Prose 

Hhtory constitutes a very large portion of the Old and New 
Testaments. In the Old Testament there are different kinds 
of history : the priestly and the prophetic. The priestly is 
represented by Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and extends 
backwards into the priestly sections of the Pentateuch. It is 
characterized by the annalistic style, using older sources, such 
as genealogical tables, letters, official documents, and entering 
into the minute details of the Levitical system and the organi- 
zation of the State, but destitute of imagination and of the 

1 Lanier, Science of English Verse, N.Y., 1880, p. 57. 


artistic sense. The prophetic is represented by three diiferent 
strata of the books of Samuel and Kings, Joshua and Judges, and 
the Pentateuch. The earliest of these, the Ephraimitic. is char- 
acterized bj' a graphic realistic style, using ancient stories, 
traditions, poetic extracts, and entire poems. The Judaic writ- 
ing is more artistic, giving fcAver earlier documents but working 
over the material into an organic whole. It uses the imagina- 
tion freel}", and with fine esthetic taste and tact.^ The Deu- 
teronomic writers use the history merely for the great prophetic 
lessons they find wrapt up in it. 

In the New Testament we have four biographical sketches of 
the noblest and most exalted person who has ever appeared in 
histor}-, Jesus Christ, in their variety giving us memoirs in four 
distinct types. ^ 

The Gospel of Mark is graphic, plastic, and realistic, based 
on the reports of the eye-witnesses, and is nearest to the person 
and life of our Lord. It uses no other written source than the 
original Logia of Matthew, which it cites rarely for special say- 
ings of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew uses the Logia and Mark, 
and also oral tradition, in order to set forth Jesus as the Mes- 
siah of the Jews. The Gospel of Luke uses the Logia and 
Mark, and other written as well as oral sources to represent 
Jesus as the Saviour of sinners. The Gospel of John uses an 
original memoir of the apostle Jolin, and sets the person and 
life of Jesus, as therein described by an intimate friend, in the 
additional light of the total experience of the apostolic Church, 
and sees Jesus iu the halo of religious, philosophic reflection 
from the point of view of the Messiah, the enthroned Son of 
the Father. 

The book of Acts presents the history of the planting and 
training of the Christian Church, using especially a Hebraic 
source for the story of Peter and the Church of Jerusalem, and 
the story of a companion of Paid iu his missionary journeys, 
organizing the material into the second part of a work which 
began with the life of Jesus, and was possiblj' designed to be 

1 Billinann. Genesia. 4tc. Aufl., Leipzict, 1882, pp. xi seq.; NSldeke, Alttest. 
Literatur. Leipzig, 1S08, pp. 15. «<'(/. 

2 Weiss, Leben Jesu, Berlin, 1882, I. p. 103. 


followed by a third work giving the story of the Church in 
Rome, which the author did not live to write.^ 

All these forms of history and biography use the same va- 
riety of sources as histories in other ancient literature. Their 
historical material was not revealed to the authors by the 
Divine Spirit, but was gathered by their own industry as his- 
torians from existing material and sources of information. 
The most that we can claim for them is that they were in- 
spired by God in their work, so that they were guided into 
truth and preserved from error as to all matters of religion, 
faith, and morals ; but to what extent further in the details 
and external matters of their composition has to be determined 
by historical criticism. It is necessary also to consider to what 
extent their use of sources was limited by inspiration, or, in 
other words, what kinds of sources were unworthy of the use 
of inspired historians. There are those who would exclude 
the legend and the myth, which are found in all other ancient 
history. If the legend in itself imjilies what is false, it would 
certainly be unworthy of divine inspiration to use it ; but if it 
is the poetical embellishment of bare facts, one does not readily 
see why it shoidd be excluded from the sacred historians' 
sources any more than snatches of poetry, bare genealogical 
tables, and records often fragmentary and incomplete, such as 
are certainly found in the historical books. If the myth neces- 
sarily implies in itself polytheism or pantheism, or any of the 
elements of false religions, it would be unworthy of divine 
inspiration. It is true that the classic myths which lie at the 
basis of the history of Greece and Rome, with which all stu- 
dents are familiar, are essentially polytheistic ; but not more 
so than the religions of these peoples and all their literature. 
It is also true that the mj'ths of Assyria and Babylon as re- 
corded on their monuments are essentially polytheistic. Many 
scholars have found such myths in the Pentateuch. But over 
against this there is the striking fact that stands out in the 
comparison of the biblical narratives of the creation and the 
flood with the Assyrian and Babylonian ; namely, that the bib- 
lical are monotheistic, the Assyrian polytheistic. But is there 
' See Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, 3d edit., 1898, pp. 27, 28. , 


not a monotheistic myth as well as a polytheistic? In other 
words, may not the literary form of the myth be appropriate 
to monotheistic, as well as to polytheistic, conceptions? Maj* 
it not be an appropriate literary form for the true biblical 
religion as well as for the other ancient religions of the world ?^ 
These questions cannot be answered a priori. They are 
questions of fact. The term " myth " has become so associated 
with polytheism in usage and in the common mind that it is 
difficult to use it in connection vnth. the pure monotheism and 
supernatural revelation of the Bible M-ithout misconception. 
No one should use it unless he carefully makes the necessary 
discriminations. For the discrimination of the religion of the 
Bible from the other religions must ever be more important 
than their comparison and features of resemblance. There can 
be little objection to the term " legend," ^ which in its earliest 
and still jjrevalent use has a religious sense, and can cover 
without difficulty most if not all those elements in the biblical 
history which we are now considering. There is certainly a 
resemblance to the myth of other nations in the close and 
familiar association of the one God with the ancestors of our 
race and the patriarchs of Israel, however we may explain it. 
Whatever names we may give to these beautiful and sacred 
traditions which were transmitted in the families of God's 
people from generation to generation, and finally used by the 
sacred historians in their hoi)- books ; whatever names we may 
give them in distinction from the legends and myths of other 
nations, — none can fail to see that poetic embellishment, natural 
and exquisitely beautiful, artless and yet most artistic, which 
comes from the imagination of the common people of the most 
intelligent nations, in these sources that were used by divine 
inspiration in giving us ancient history in its most attractive 
form. Indeed, the imagination is in greater use in Hebrew 
history than in any other histor}', with all the Oriental wealth 
of colour in the prophetic historians. 

1 Lenormant, Beginnings of History, N.Y., 1882, p. 187. 

2 George P. Marsh, article " Legend," in Johnson's Xew Universal Cyclopcedia, 
1876, II. p. 1714, and the Letjemhi Anrea, or Historia Lombardica, of Jacobus 
de Voragine of the thirteenth century. 


II. The Historical Use of the Myth 

Scholars differ veiy greatly in their views as to the mythi- 
cal element in Holy Scripture. There is a general tendency 
on the part of most critics to avoid the term. But, in fact, the 
term '• myth " means nothing more than a primitive religious 
story as to the origin of the nation or race, or the association 
of its ancestors with the deity. There is nothing essen- 
tially polytheistic in the term. If, therefore, we distinguish 
between polytheistic mythology and monotheistic myths, there 
is no valid objection to the use of the term " myth " in connection 
with those stories of the origin of Israel, and the communion of 
tlie ancient heroes with the heavenly world, which are so primi- 
tive that they are beyond the reach of external history and 

Take, for example, the story of the intermaniage of the 
daughters of men with the angels, in Gen. G'"^. If this story 
were found in uny other sacred book but the Bible, no one 
would hesitate to regard it as a myth. Vain efforts have been 
made in recent times to explain away the angels in various 
ways, but no respectable commentator would countenance such 
a thing in our daj's. There can be no doubt whatever that the 
passage refers to angels. Why, then, should we hesitate to 
regard it as a myth ? A m3^th is not necessarily untrue to fact ; 
it is rather a popular, imaginative colouring of a conception of 
fact, or of a real fact. It is not necessary to deny that there 
was such a real union of angels with mankind, even if one 
hints that the form of the story is mythical. 

It may be of value to listen to the words of several eminent 
scholars on this question. Dr. Moore discusses the question with 
reference to the story of Samson. 

"The similarity, in several particulars, between the story of 
Samson and that of Herakles was early noticed. . . . Many modern 
writers have made the same comparison, and inferred that Sam- 
son is the Hebrew counterpart of the PlicEniciau Melqart, the 
Greek Herakles; and that the story of his deeds was either ori- 
ginally a cognate myth, or has taken up numerous mythical ele- 
ments. . . . The older writers contented themselves with drawing 


out the parallels to the Herakles myth ; each begins his career of 
adventure by strangling a lion ; each perishes at last through the 
machinations of a woman ; each chooses his oato death. Samson's 
fox-catching is compared with the capture of the Erymanthian 
boar, the Cretan bull, the hind of Artemis ; the spring which is 
opened at Lehi to quench his thirst, with the warm baths which 
Sicilian nymphs open to refresh the weary Herakles ; the carrying 
off of the gates of Gaza reminds some of the settmg up of the 
Pillars of Hercules, others of Herakles' descent to the nether- 
world. !Meier and Ewald even discover that Samson has exactly 
twelve labours, like Herakles (in late systems). Steinthal not 
only identifies Samson with IMelqart-Herakles, but attempts to 
explain the whole story as a solar myth, by a thorough-going ap- 
plication of the method which ^Max Miiller and his school intro- 
duced in Aryan mythology. He is followed in the main by 
Goldziher, Seinecke, and Jul. Braun. . . . Wietzke identifies 
Samson with the ' Egyptian Herakles,' Homs-Ra. The Philistine 
women all represent ' Sheol-Tafeuet ' ; the Philistines, with whom 
he is in perpetual strife, are the children of Sef>Typhon. The tale 
of Samson follows the Sun-god through the year : Spring (chap- 
ter 14). Summer (15'"*"), Autumn, and Winter (15-'^''*) ; chapter 16 
is his descent to the world below ; he breaks the gates of Hades 
(16'"^) ; bound by Delilah, he loses his eyes and his strength, but 
his might returns and he triumphs as a god over his foes (16*^- 
The name jVi'ttD is derived from w OsT ' sun.' ... A legend whose 
hero bore such a name would attract and absorb elements of an 
originally mythical character, such as the foxes in the corn-fields, 
perhaps, represent; but if this be true, all consciousness of the 
origin and significance of the tale had been lost, and the mythical 
traits commingle freelj' with those which belong to folk-story. 
This explanation is at least as natural as the alternative, that an 
original solar myth has been transformed into heroic legend, \vith 
the admixture of a large non-mythical element. The historical 
character of the adventures of Samson may be given up without 
denying the possibility, or even probability, that the legend, which 
is very old, has its roots in the earth, not in the sky." ' 

A more cautious view is presented by Dr. Robertson. 

" Any traces of mythology to be found in the Old Testament 
are far less elaborate. They ma}' be said to be mere traces, either 
remains of an extinct system or nuliments that were never devel- 
oped. — such as the references to the 'sons of God and the d.iugh- 
ters of men,' Rahab, Leviathan, Tannin, and such like. These, it 

1 Moore, The International Critical Commentary, Judges, 1896, pp. 364, 365. 


should be observed, as they lie before us in the books, are handled 
with perfect candour and simplicity, as if to the writers they had 
become divested of all dangerous or misleading associations, or 
were even nothing more than figures of speech."^ 

III. Historical Use of the Legend 

There is veiy much less opposition to the use of legend for 
the sources of biblical historj-. There are few real critics at 
the present day who would deny the legends which lie at the 
basis of the historical books of the Old Testament. These are 
simply highly coloured and richly ornamented stories of actual 
events which happened in the primitive times. They were 
handed down from father to son in many generations of popu- 
lar narrative, jjassing through many minds and over mam- 
tongues, receiving in this way colouring, increment, condensa- 
tion, changes of many kinds, which do not, however, destroy 
the essential truth or fact. 

Eyle gives an excellent statement with reference to the early 
chapters of Genesis. 

" The literature of Jloly Scripture differs not widely in its out- 
ward /orn; from other literature. In its prehistoric traditions, the 
Israelite literature shares many of the characteristic features of the 
earliest legends which the literature of other nations has preserved. 

" 'What though the contents of these chapters are conveyed in 
the form of unhistorical tradition ! The infirmity of their origin 
and structure only enhances, by contrast, the majesty of their 
sacred mission. In a dispensation where every stage of Hebrew 
thought and literature ministers to the unfolding of the purpose 
of the IMost High, not even that earliest stage was omitted, which 
to human judgment seems most full of weakness. Saint and seer 
shaped the recollections which they had inherited from a forgot- 
ten past, until legend, too, as well as chronicle and prophecy and 
psalm, became the channel for the communication of eternal truths. 

" The poetry of primitive tradition enfolds the message of the 
Divine Spirit. Criticism can analyze its literary structure ; science 
can lay bare the defectiveness of its knowledge. But neither in 
the recognition of the composite character of its writing, nor in 
the discernment of the childish standard of its science, is there 
any reproach conveyed. For, as always is the case, the instriunent 

1 Robertson, The Early Eellgion of Israel, 1889, p. 50a. 


of Divine Revelation partakes of limitations inalienable from the 
age in which it is granted. The more closely we are enabled to 
scan the human framework, the more reverently shall we acknow- 
ledge the presence of the Spirit that pervades it." ' 

Dr. Driver gives us his opinion as to one of the legends in the 
life of David. 

" The narrative 17'-18'', precisely as it stands, it appears 
impossible to harmonize with 16'''"^. The two narratives are 
in fact two parallel and, taken strictly, incompatible accounts 
of David's introduction to the history. In 16'*"^ David is of 
mature age and a ' man of war,' on account of his skill with the 
harp, brought into Saul's service at the time of the king's mental 
distress, and quickly appointed his armour-bearer (vv. 18, 21). In 
17'-18* he is a shepherd lad, inexperienced in warfare, who first 
attracts the king's attention by his act of heroism against Goliath ; 
and the inquiry 17^^'^^ comes strangely from one who in 16'*"^ had 
not merely been told who his father was, but had manifested a 
marked aifection for David, and had been repeatedly waited on 
by him (vv. 21, 23). The inconsistency arises not, of course, out 
of the double character or office ascribed to David (which is 
perfectly compatible with historical probability), but out of the 
different representation of his Jirst introduction to Saul. In LXX. 
(cod. B) 1712-31. «.»'. M_i85 are not recognised. By the omission of 
these verses the elements which conflict with 16'*"^ are greatly 
reduced {e.g. David is no longer represented as unknown to Saul) ; 
but they are not removed altogether (comp. 1733. ssir. ^-i^j^ igis.2ii)-j 
It is doubtful, therefore, whether the text of LXX. is here to be 
preferred to MT. ; both We. (in Bleek's Einleitung, 1878, p. 216), 
and Kuenen (Onderzoek, 1887, p. 392) agree that the translators 
— or, more probably, perhaps, the scribe of the Hebrew MS. 
used by them — omitted the verses in question from harmonistic 
motives, without, however, entirely securing the end desired. 
The entire section 17-18^ was, however, no doubt derived by the 
compiler of the book from a different source from 16'*"^ (notice 
how David is introduced, 17'"*^^, as though his name had not been 
mentioned before), and embodies a different tradition as to the 
manner in which Saul first became ac(juainted with David." ^ 

There are many examples of the use of legends in their 
poetic form. Several of these are given elsewhere in this 
volume.^ It will be sufficient to cite one of them here. 

» Ryle, The Early yarrntives of Genesis, 1892, pp. 136, 137. 

3 Driver, Notes on the Hebrcir Text of the Book of Samuel, 1890, pp. 116, 117. 

» See pp. 390. 391, 393. 


Joshua 10'-"" gives an account of a theophany at Beth-horon, 
which decides the battle in favour of Joshua aud Israel. The 
poetic extract is from an ancient ode, describing the battle, which 
has been lost. It is a fragment of a strophe, taken from the book 
of Yashar, as stated in the context : 

" Sun. staml thou still upon Gibeon ; 
And thou, Moon, in the valley of Ayalon. 
And the Sun stood still, 
And the Moon stayed, 
Until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies." 

But the previous context, Jos. 10", gives another entirely dif- 
ferent prose legend of the theophanj' : 

" And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, while 
they were in the going down of Beth-horon, that Yahweh cast 
down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they 
died : they were more which died with the hailstones than they 
whom the children of Israel slew with the sword." 

These two legends, the one poetic, the other prose, came from 
two different original documents, and were based ujjon two en- 
tirely different versions of the battle. 

The dialogues and discourses of the ancient worthies are 
simple, natural, and profouud. They are not to be regarded 
a.s exact productions of the words originally spoken, whether 
preserved in the memory of the people and transmitted in 
stereotj'ped form, or electrot}'ped on the mind of the historian or 
in his writing by divine inspiration ; the}' are rather reproduc- 
tions of the situation in a graphic and rhetorical manner, dif- 
fering from the like usage in Livy and Thucydides, Herodotus 
and Xenophon. only in that the latter used their reflection and 
imagination merely ; the former used the same faculties guided 
by divine inspiration into the truth, and restrained from error 
in all matters in which they were called to give religious in- 

In the historical writings of Holj' Scripture, there is a wealth 
of beauty and religious instruction for those students who ap- 
proach it, not only as a work of divine revelation from which 
the maximum of dogma, or of examples and maxims of practi- 
cal ethics, are to be derived ; but with the higher appreciation 
and insight of those who are trained to the historian's art of 
representation, and who learn from the art of history, and the 


styles and methods of history, the true interpretation of histori- 
cal books, wliere the soul enters into the enjoyment of the con- 
crete, and is unwilling to break up the ideal of beauty, or de- 
stroy the living reality, for the sake of the analytic process, 
and the abstract resultant, however important these may be in 
other respects, and under other circumstances. 

IV. Prophetic Discourse 

The Bible is as rich in oratory, as in its history and poet^3^ 
Indeed, the tlrree run insensibly into one another in Hebrew 
prophec}'. Rare models of eloquence are found in the histori- 
cal books, such as the plea of Judah ; i the charge of Joshua ; ^ 
the indignant outburst of Jotham ; ^ the sentence pronounced 
upon Saul by Samuel;* the challenge of Elijah.^ The three 
great discourses of Moses in Deuteronomy are elaborate ora- 
tions, combining a great variety of motives and rhetorical forms, 
especially in the last discourse, to impress upon Israel the doc- 
trines of God, and the blessings and curses, the life and death, 
involved therein. 

The prophetical books present us collections of inspired elo- 
quence, which for unction, fervour, impressiveness, grandeur, 
sublimity, and power, surpass all the eloquence of the world, as 
they grasp the historical past and the ideal future, and entwine 
them with the living present, for the comfort and warning, the 
guidance and the restraint, of God's people. Nowhere else do 
we find such depths of passion, such heights of ecstasy, such 
dreadful imprecations, such solemn warnings, such impressive 
exhortations, and such sublime promises. 

Each proi)het has his own peculiarities and excellences. 
"Joel's discourse is like a rapid, sjirightly stream, flowing into 
a delightful plain. Hosea's is like a waterfall ^jlunging down 
over rocks and ridges ; Isaiah as a mass of water rolling 
heavily along."® Micah lias no superior in simplicity and 
originality of tliought, spirituality and sublimity of conception, 

> Gen. 44'W<. = Jos. 24. » .Id. 9. ■• I Sam. 15. » 1 K. 18. 

' Wiinsche, Weissagungen des Propheten Joel, Leipzig, 1872, p. 38. 


clearness and precision of prophetic vision. " Isaiah is not tlie 
especially lyrical prophet, or the especially elegiacal prophet, or 
the especially oratorical or hortatory prophet, as we would 
describe a Joel, a Hosea, or a Micah, with whom there is a 
greater prevalence of some particular colours ; but just as the 
subject requires, he has readily at command every different 
kind of style, and every different change of delineation ; and it 
is precisely this, that, in point of language, establishes his 
greatness, as well as, in general, forms one of his most tower- 
ing points of excellence. His only fundamental iDeculiarity is 
the lofty, majestic calmness of his style, proceeding out of the 
perfect command which he feels that he has over his matter." ^ 
Jeremiah Ls the prophet of sorrow, and his style is heavy and 
monotonous, as the same story of woe must be repeated again 
and again in varied strains. Ezekiel was, as Hengstenberg 
represents, of a gigantic appearance, well adapted to struggle 
effectively with the spirit of the times of the Babylonian cap- 
tivity, — a si^iritual Samson, who, with powerful hand, grasped 
the pillars of the temple of idolatry and dashed it to the earth ; 
standing alone, yet worth a hundred prophetic schools, and, 
during his entire appearance, a powerful proof that the Lord 
was still among His people, although His visible temple was 
ground to powder.^ 

In the New Testament the discourses of Jesus and His para- 
bolic teaching present us oratorj* of the Aramaic type ; simple, 
quiet, transparent, yet reaching to unfathomable depths, and as 
the very blue of heaven, — every word a diamond, ever}- sen- 
tence altogether spirit and life, illuminating with their pure, 
searching light, quickening with their warm, pulsating, throb- 
bing love.^ 

The discourse of Saint Peter at Pentecost will vie with that of 
Cicero against CatDine in its conviction of the rulers of Israel, 
and in its piercing the hearts of the people. The discourses of 
Saint Paul on Mars HiU, and before the Jews in Jerusalem, and 

1 Ewald, Die Propheten, Gottingen, 18(57, I. p. 279. 

2 Hengstenberg, Christology, T. & T. Clark, Edin., 1864, Vol. II. p. .3. 

' See A. B. Bruce, Parabolic Tearhinr/ of Clirist, London, 1882, for a fine 
appreciation of the literary forms of the parables. 


the magnates of Rome at C<esarea, are not surpassed bj- De- 
mosthenes on the Crown. AVe see the philosophers of Athens 
confounded, some mocking, and others convinced unto salvation. 
We see the Jewish mob at first silenced, and then bursting forth 
into a frantic yell for his blood. We see the Roman governor 
trembling before his prisoner's reasonings of justice and judg- 
ment to come. We do not compare the orations of Peter and 
Paul with those of Cicero and Demosthenes for completeness, 
symmetrj', and artistic finish ; this would be impossible, for the 
sermons of Peter and Paul are only preserved to us in outline ; 
but, taking them as outlines, we maintain that for skilful use 
of circumstance, for adaptation to the occasion, for rhetorical 
organization of the theme, for rapid displa}^ of argument, in 
their grand march to the climax, and above all in the effects 
that they produced, the orations of Saint Peter and Saint Paul 
are preeminent. 

Nowhere else save in the Bible have the oratorical types of 
three distinct languages and civilizations combined for unity 
and varietj- of effect. These biblical models ought to enrich 
and fortify the sermon of our day. If we should study them 
as literar}- forms, as much as we study Cicero and Demosthenes, 
or as models of sacred eloquence, the pulpit would rise to new 
grandeur and sublimer heights and to more tremendous power 
over the masses of mankind. 

V. The Epistle 

The Epistle may be regarded as the third form of prose litera- 
ture. This is the contribution of the Aramaic language to the 
Old Testament in the letters contained in the books of Ezra 
and Nehemiah. But it is in the New Testament that the epistle 
receives its magnificent development in the letters of Saint James, 
Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Jude, and Saint John, — some 
familiar, some dogmatic, some ecclesiastical, some pastoral, some 
speculative and predictive, and in the Epistle to the Hebrews 
we have an elaborate essay. 

How charming the letters of Cicero to his several familiar 
friends! What a loss to the world to be deprived of them! 


But who among us would exchange for tlieni the epistles of the 
apostles? And yet it is to be feared that we have studied them 
not too much as doctrinal treatises, perhaps, but too little as 
familiar letters to friends and to beloved churches, and still less 
as literary models for the letter and the essay. It might refresh 
and exalt our theological and ethical treatises, if their authors 
would stud}' awhile Saint Paul's style and method. They 
might form a juster conception of his doctrines and principles. 
They certainly would undei'stand better how to use liis doc- 
trines, and how to apply his principles. 

VI. Pkose Wokks of the Ijiaginatiok 

There has been a great reluctance on the part of Christian 
people to recognize such forms of literature in Holy Scripture. 
But an increasing number of scholars find several such works 
of the imagination among the Old Testament writings. We 
shall approach the question by working back to it in the lines 
of the history of Hebrew literature. Works of the imagina- 
tion play a very impoi-tant part in Hebrew literature outside 
the Old Testament. The Haggadistic literature of the Jews, 
used chiefly for the instruction of the people in the synagogues 
and in the schools, was largely composed of such writings. 
Jewish rabbins used parables, stories, and legends of every 
variety of form and content with the utmost freedom, in order 
to teach doctrine and morals, and even to illustrate and enforce 
the legal precepts of the Jewish religion. Our Saviour in His 
teaching used the same method. His numerous parables have 
never been equalled for their simplicity, beauty, and power. 
No human imagination has ever equalled the imagination of 
the Lord Jesus in story-telling. The Prodigal Son, Dives and 
Lazarus, the Good Samaritan, the Wise and Foolish Virgins, 
the Talents, are masterpieces of art. No historic incident, no 
individual experience, could ever have such power over the 
souls of men as these pictures of the imagination of our Lord. 

The apocryphal literature has many such stories, — stories 
which have been the favourite themes of Christian art in all 


ages. Juclith and Holofernes,^ Zerubbabel aud the King of 
Persia.^ the INIaccabee mother and her seven sons,^ Bel and the 
Dragon.^ Tobit.^ and Susanna,* are sufficient to remind us of 
them. These are all regarded as canonical in the Roman Catho- 
lic Church. Luther says of Tobit : " Is it history ? then is it 
holy liistory. Is it fiction ? then is it a truly beautiful, whole- 
some, and profitable fiction, the performance of a gifted poet." 

Who can doubt at the present time that these are all stories 
invented by the imagination of the authors, written in order to 
teach important religious lessons ? 

There are no a priori reasons therefore why we should not 
find such prose works of the imagination in the Old Testament. 
We should not stumble at such literature even if the idea be 
new to us or repugnant to us. If we have poetic works of the 
imagination in Job, the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes, why 
not prose works of the imagination ? If Jesus used such imag- 
inary scenes and incidents as we see in his parables, why may 
not inspired men in the times of the Old Testament revelation 
have used them also ? 

A careful study of the literature of the Old Testament shows 
that we have four prose works of the imagination in the Old 
Testament, all ^v^itten in the times of the restoration. These 
are Ruth, Jonah, Esther, and Daniel. 

VII. The Book of Ruth ax Idyll 

The book of Ruth is written in prose with two little snatches 
of poetry. It has appended to it a genealogical table which 
did not belong to the original document. The story is a sim- 
ple and graceful domestic story. It is a charming idyll. The 
scene is laid in the times of the Judges, but there is nothing to 
remind us of that time except certain antique customs which 
the author thinks it necessary to explain to his readers. Debo- 
rah, Jael, and Jephthah's daughter were the appropriate heroines 
of that period. They are the striking figures of a rude and 

1 The book of Judith. * Greek addition to Daniel. 

2 1 Esdras 4. ' Book of Tobit. 

' 4 Mace. ' Greek addition to Daniel. 


warlike age. But Ruth seems altogether out of place in such 
rough times. No historian would ever think of writing such a 
domestic stor}- as Ruth, as au episode iu the history of such a 
period. 1 

The scenery of the story is the time of Judges, so far as the 
author's antiquarian knowledge goes ; but it is an ideal picture 
of primitive simplicity and agricultural life in Bethlehem, sep- 
arated from all that was gross and rude and rough in the real 
life of those times. The author invents the scenery for his 
actors, and leaves out of it all that would mar its simplicity 
and detract from its main interest. The lesson of this idyll 
is given in the words of Ruth and the words of Boaz. Ruth 
says to Naomi : ^ 

" Thy people shall be my people, 
And thy God my God." 

Boaz says to Ruth : ^ 

" May Yah web recompense thy doing, 
And may thy reward be ample from Yahweh (God of Israel), 
Under whose wings thou art come to take refuge." 

The Moabitess has left her native laud and her father's 
house, as did Abraham of old ; and she has sought refuge 
under the wings of Yahweh, the God of Israel, and she has 
received her reward. 

This story of Ruth and Boaz is all the more striking that it 
comes into conflict with a law of Deuteronomy, and its enforce- 
ment by Nehemiah. Deuteronomy gives this law : " An Am- 
monite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of 
Yahweh ; even to the tenth generation shall none belonging 
to them enter into the assembly of Yahweh for ever."* 

This certainly excludes Ruth, a Moabitess of the first genera- 
tion. Nehemiah enforced this law against women. He tells 
us : 

" In those days also saw I that the Jews had married women of 

Ashdod, of Ammon, of Moab ; and their children spake half in the 

1 Some have sought a reason in the fact that she was an ancestress of David. 

But there is nothing in the character of the monarchs of the Davidic dynasty 

that would lead us to suppose that they would encourage a writer to trace their 

descent from a poor and homeless Moabitess, however excellent her character. 

2 lie. 3 212. 4 Deut. 23'. 


speech of Aslidod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but 
according to the language of each people. And I contended with 
them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked 
off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not 
give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters for 
your sons, or for yourselves." ' 

Now how shall we reconcile the story of Ruth and Boaz with 
the law of Deuteronomy and the history of Nehemiah ? We 
are reminded of another law of Deuteronomy,^ that the eunuch 
shall not enter into an assembly of Yahweh. And yet the 
prophet of the exile says : " For thus saith Yahweh of the 
eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that 
please me, and hold fast by my covenant : Unto them will I 
give in mine house, and within my walls a memorial and a 
name better than of sons and of daughters. I will give them 
an everlasting name that shall not be cut off." ^ 

The book of Ruth and the great prophet of the exile take 
essentially the same position. They see that the grace of God 
to eunuchs and Moabites overrides legal precepts, and their 
zealous enforcement by painstaking magistrates. This seems 
to give a hint as to the time and purpose of the book of Ruth. 
It was written probably soon after the return from exile under 
Joshua and Zerubbabel, in the spirit of the great prophet of 
the exile, to encourage Israelites to take advantage of the 
imperial decree, and return to the Holy Land ; and with the 
special purpose of encouraging those who had married foreign 
wives, and also the foreign widows of Israelites, to return with 
their children, and seek refuge under the wings of Yahweh, in 
rebuilt Jerusalem. 

Although the book of Ruth is a woi-k of the imagination, it 
is not necessary to deny that Ruth and Boaz were historical 
characters. The historic persons, Ruth and Boaz, and the 
events of their courtsliip and marriage, were embellished by 
the imagination in order to set forth the great lessons the 
author would teach. Just as Zerubbabel was used iu the 
apocryphal literature to set forth the lesson that truth is 
mightier than wine, women, and kings, so Ruth is used to 

> Neh. 13»-25, 2 Deut. 23>. « Is. 56<^ 


teach us that the grace of God pushes beyond the race of 
Abraham and redeems even the Moabitess, for whom no pro- 
vision was made in the law code of Deuteronomy or in the dis- 
cipline of Nehemiah. 

VIII. The Story of Joxah 

The book of Jonah is inserted in both the Hellenistic and 
Rabbinical Canons among the Minor Prophets, and jet the book 
does not contain discourses of prophecy as do the other Minor 
Prophets. If the book of Jonah were history, its place ought 
to have been among the historical books. It is among the 
prophetical writings with proprietj- only so far as the story 
which is contained in it was pointed with prophetic lessons. 
For this prophetic purpose it is immaterial whether the story 
is real history or an ideal of the imagination, or whether it is 
historj' idealized and embellished by the imagination. 

1. It was not the aim of the writer to write history. The 
story is given only so far as it is important to set forth the 
prophetic lessons of the book. There are two scenes, — the one 
on the sea, the other at Nineveh. The story begins abruptlj- ; 
it closes abruptly after giving the lessons. The transitions in 
the story are the rapid flight of the imagination, and not the 
steady flow of historical narrative. 

2. The prophet Jonah is mentioned in the history of the 
book of Kings,^ and a prediction of minor importance is men- 
tioned as given by him. It seems very remarkable, on the one 
hand, that the book of Jonah should omit this ministry in the 
land of Israel ; on the other hand, that the author of the book 
of Kings should mention such comparative!)^ unimportant min- 
istry, and yet pass over such important proplietic ministry as 
that given in the book of Jonah. 

3. The two miracles reported in Jonah are marvels rather 
than miracles. Tliere is nothing at all resembling them in the 
miracle-working of the Old Testament or the New Testament. 
They are more like the wonders of the Arabian Nights than 
the miracles of Moses, of Elijah, of Elisha, or of Jesus or His 

' 2 K. 14-». 


apostles. It is true that there are great sharks in the Mediter- 
rauean Sea which are said to have swallowed men and horses 
and afterwards to have cast them up. But this being so, the 
chief difficulty remains. How can we explain the suspended 
digestion of the fish, and the self-consciousness of Jonah as 
indicated by his prayer ? And even if we could overcome this 
difficulty by an unflinching confidence in the power of God to 
work any and every kind of miracle, the most serious objection 
would still confront us. It is not so much the supernatural 
power in the miracle that troubles us as the character of the 
miracle. There is in it, whatever way we interpret it, an ele- 
ment of the extravagant and the grotesque. The divine sim- 
plicity, the holy sublimit}*, and the overpowering grace which 
characterize the miracles of biblical history are conspicuously 
absent. We feel that there is no sufficient reason for such a 
miracle, and we instinctively shrink from it, not because of 
a lack of faith in the di\-ine power of working miracles, but 
because we have such a faith in His grace, and holiness, and 
majesty that we find it difficult to believe that God could work 
such a grotesque and extravagant miracle as that described in 
the story of the great fish. So the story of the wonderful 
growth and withering of the tree is more like the magic of 
the Oriental tales than any of the biblical miracles. It seems 
to be brought into the scene as an embellishment rather than 
for any real purpose of grace. A careful study of all the 
miracles of Holy Scripture excludes this magic tree from their 
categories, and, to say the least, puts it in a category by itself. 
4. The repentance of Nineveh, from the king on his throne 
to the humblest citizen, the extent of it, the sincerity of it, the 
depth of it, is still more marvellous. Nineveh was at that 
time the capital of the greatest empire of the world. It was a 
proud and conquering nation, least likely of all to repent. 
The history of the times is quite well known, and this history 
seems to make such an event incredible. Some have endeav- 
oured to minimize the repentance as a mere official one, such 
as were ordered by monarchs during the Middle Ages. But 
these apologists of traditional theory forget that according to 
the story God recognizes the sincerity and the extraordinary 


character of the repentance. God granted His mercy, and 
recalled His decree of destruction on that account. This 
repentance is a marvellous event. Nothing like it meets us in 
the history of Israel or in the history of the Church. It is an 
ideal of the imagination. Our Savioui" uses the story of the 
repentance of Nineveh to shame the unrepenting cities of His 
time. There was no historical repentance so well suited to 
His purpose. 

5. The prayer given in the book is not suited to it if the 
story be historical, but it is entirel}* appropriate if it be 
regarded as ideal and symbolic. 

This prayer is the prayer of thanksgiving of a man who, 
either in fact or in figure, has been drowned in the sea. He has 
gone down to the bottom, the seaweed is wrapt about his head; 
he has then, in his departed spirit, gone down to the roots of 
the mountains, has entered into Sheol, the abode of the dead, 
and has been shut up in its cavern by the bars of the earth. 
His deliverance has been a resurrection from the dead. Such 
figures of speech to represent great sufferings of an individual 
or of a nation are found in the Psalms and the Prophets.^ 

If the descent into the belly of the fish, the abode therein 
three days, and the casting up again are simply a poetic symbol, 
a devouring of Israel by the great sea-monster, Babylon,^ it 
is entirely appropriate for the author to use in the song the 
sjrmbol of death, Sheol, and resurrection, as a parallel symbol 
to that of the narrative, the swallowing by the fish, abiding 
three days in the fish, and casting forth by the fish. 

6. The whole style of the piece is such as we find in the 
Jewish Hagijada, of which this may be one of the earliest 

1 Hosea (13") uses the same figure of speech for the exile and the restoration. 
" I will ransom them from thepower of Sheol ; I will redeem them from Death.'" 
Isaiah and Ezekiel also represent the restoration as a resurrection from Sheol, 
tlie abode of the dead, and as the rising up of the dry bones from the battle-field 
of the slain. 

- Tlie author probably had in mind the words of Jeremiah: "Nebuchad- 
nezzar . . . hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his maw with my 
delicates; he hath cast me out" {i>\^). And he may have been thinking of 
Uosea's words: '-After two days will he revive us; on the third day he will 
raise us up, and we shall live before him " (6^). 


It is objected that our Lord in His use of Jouah, gives His sanc- 
tion to the historicity of the story ; but this objection has little 
weight, for our Lord's method of instruction was in the use of 
stories of his own composition. We ought not to be surprised, 
therefore, that he should use such stories from the Old Testament 
likewise. It is urged that our Saviour makes such a realistic use 
of it, that it compels us to think that he regarded it as real ; but, 
in fact, he does not make a more realistic use of Jonah than he 
does of the story of Dives and Lazarus. Just such a realistic use 
of the story of Jannes and Jambres withstanding ]Moses is made 
in the Second Epistle to Timothy, and the author compares them 
with the foes of Christ in his time, 2 Tim. 3*. And Jude (v. 9) 
makes just as realistic a use of the storj^ of Michael, the arch- 
angel, contending with the devil, aud disputing about the body of 
Moses, and compares this dispute with the railers of his time. 
These stories are from the Jewish Haggada, and not from the Old 
Testament. No scholar regards them as historic events. If epis- 
tles could use the stories of the Jewish Haggada in this way, why 
should not our Lord use stories from the Old Testament? Our 
Saviour uses the story of Jonah just as the author of the book 
used it, to point important religious instruction to the men of bis 
time. Indeed, our Lord's use of it rather favours his interpreta- 
tion of it as symbolic. For it is just this symbolism that the fish 
represents, — Sheol, the swallowing up, — death ; aud the casting 
forth, — resurrection, — that we have seen in the story of Jonah 
interpreted by the prayer, which makes the story appropriate to 
symbolize the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

For these reasons, the story of Jonah is commonly regarded 
by modern scholars as an ideal story, a work of the imagination. 
There are two great lessons taught in the book of Jonah, one 
in each scene of the story. The first' lesson is similar to that 
taught by Amos and a later psalmist.^ 

God has power to bring up from the depths of the sea, from 
the womb of Sheol, from the belly of the fish, those who turn 
unto Him, to His hoi}- temple. Israel's calling as the prophet 
of the nations cannot be escaped. He may be overwhelmed in 
the depths of affliction ; he may descend into Sheol, the abode of 
the dead ; he may be swallowed by the great monsters who 
subdue the nations, — but God will raise him up, restore him to 
life and to his prophetic ministry. Jonah — Pharisaic Israel 

» Amos 95- 3 • Ps. 139'-i». 


— may renounce his high calling and perish ; but a second 
Jonah, a revived and converted preacher, will surely fulfil it. 

But the greatest lesson of the story is in the repentance of 
Nineveh, and the attitude of Jonah toward that great event. 
Jonah again represents historic Israel, preaching with sufficient 
readiness the doom of the nations, and watching for the Dies 
Irce when that doom would be fulfilled. Jonah goes out of the 
citj' and selects a good place from whence he can see the grand 
sight. — the overthrow of the capital of that nation which was 
the greatest foe of his people. But Jonah does not represent 
tlie ideal Israel. God has other views than Jonah. He does 
not look with complacency upon the death of 120,000 babes, 
who knew not enough to do right or wrong. He does not 
delight in the death of men, but rather in the repentance of 
men. A million or more human beings gathered in Nineveh, 
that great capital of the ancient world, cannot perish without 
giving sorrow to the heart of God. Jonah ma}' delight in such 
a scene ; God cannot. The repentance of Nineveh is sufficient 
to change all. In an instant the decree of its destruction is 
annulled, and divine love triumphs over the sentence of judg- 
ment. This author caught such a wonderful glimpse of the 
love of God to the heathen world, that it makes the book of 
Jonah a marvel in the doctrine of the Old Testament. 

IX. The Story of Esther 

The book of Esther is one of the Writings of the Rabbinical 
Canon. In the Hellenistic Canon, it is placed after the 
apocryphal pieces of fiction, called Tobit, and Judith, as if 
recognized to be of the same type. The style of Esther is 
di-amatic and rapid in its development of incident. Scene after 
scene springs into place, until the climax of difficulty is reached, 
and the knot is tied so that it seems impossible to escape. 
Then it is untied with wondrous dexterity. All this is the art 
of the story-teller, and not the method of the historian. The 
things which interest the historian are not in the book. Esther 
is a didactic story, like Ruth and Jonah, Judith and Tobit, 
and raises more historical difficulties than can easily be re- 


moved. The monarch seems to be Xerxes, the voluptuous and 
absolute ruler of the Persian Empire. The story is one of coui-t 
intrigue, in which Esther, the favourite wife, and her uncle, 
Mordecai, prevail over Haman, the prime minister. The book 
is connected with the Purim festival, and is supposed to give 
the historical account of its origin. This is denied by many 
modern scholars. It is held that Esther is a piece of historical 
fiction, designed to set forth the importance of the Purim fes- 
tival, as a national feast, and to teach the great lesson of patri- 
otism. It does not by any means follow from the connection 
of the book with the feast, that the book is historical. Indeed 
Esther does not explain the Purim feast. i It does not give any 
adequate reason why the Jews of Palestine and Egypt and of 
the rest of the world should celebrate a feast which, according 
to Esther, was connected with the deliverance of the Jews re- 
maining in exile in the Persian Empire, an event less worthy 
of commemoration than a hundred others. But it is not neces- 
sary to determine its exact origin. Many a Christian feast 
rests upon uuliistoric legends. We need but mention the feast 
of the Ascension of Mary, the feast of Saint Veronica, the 
feast of the Finding of the Cross, and the feast of the Sleepers. 
The sole redeeming feature of the book is its patriotism. 
Esther and Mordecai are heroes of patriotic attachment to the 
interests of the Jews. For this they risk their honour and 
their Kves. The same spirit we find in Judith, and, in a meas- 
ure, in Neheraiah and Daniel. If patriotism is a virtue, and 
belongs to good morals in the Jewish and Christian systems, 
then the book has its place in the Bible, as teaching this virtue, 
even if everything else be absent. No book is so patriotic as 
the book of Esther. Esther is the lieroine of patriotic devo- 
tion. She is the incarnation of Jewish nationality, and thus is 
the appropriate theme of the great national festival of the Jews. 
And in all the Christian centuries Esther has been an inspii-a- 
tion to heroic women and an incentive to deeds of daring for 
heroic men. And if, as many signs seem to indicate, woman 
in the next century is to use her great endowments in a large 

» See C. H. Toy, "Esther as Babylonian Goddess" in TTte New World, 
March, 1898. pp. 130 seq. 


measure for the advancement of the kingdom of God, Esther 
will exert a vaster influence in inspiring her to holy courage 
and unflinching devotion and service. For, granting that 
patriotism in its narrower sense may be a form of selfishness, 
yet when patriotism has been transformed into an enthusiasm 
for humanit}- and a passionate devotion to the Saviour of man, 
it then calls forth those wondrous energies of self-sacrifice with 
which woman seems to be more richly endowed than man. 

X. The Stories of Daniel 

The book of Daniel also belongs to the group of prose litera- 
ture which may be called historical fiction. In the Hebrew 
Canon Daniel is not classed with the Prophets, but with the 
Writings. The Baraitha ascribes it to the men of the Great 
Synagogue ; ^ later tradition to Daniel himself. But both these 
theories are against the evidence. The language is of a later 
type. As Driver says : " The verdict of the language of 
Daniel is thus clear. The Persian words presuppose a period 
after the Persian Empire had been well established ; the Greek 
words demand, the Hebrew support, and the Aramaic permit a 
date after the conquest of Palestine hy Alexander the Great 
(B.C. 332)." 2 

The Hebrew book of Daniel encloses an Aramaic section, 
24b_y_ This section is in the western Aramaic dialect, and 
could not have been written in Babylon, where the eastern 
Aramaic was used. It seems probable that this Aramaic sec- 
tion is older than the enclosing Hebrew parts. ^ The book is 
divided into two equal parts, Chapters 1-6, a series of stories, 
and Chapters 7-12, a series of visions, both in chronological 
order. This di\-ision does not correspond with the difference 
in language, and comes from the final author. The stories are 
all in the older Aramaic section, in which Daniel is always 
spoken of in the third person. They are not historical or bio- 
graphical, but are episodes with prophetic lessons. They are 
grouped about the legendary Daniel of Ezek. 14^^20^ 28^, and 

> See p. 252. - Introduction, 6th ed., p. 508. 

» Strack, EinleUung, ote Aufl., p. 150. 


are of the same type of historical fiction as the later stories 
of Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, which were added to 
Daniel in the ancient Greek Septuagint version. 
This is the ojjinion of SaAce : ^ 

"'Darius the Mede' is, in fact, a reflection into the past of 
Darius, the son of Hj-staspes, just as the siege and capture of 
Babylon by Cyrus is a reflection into the past of its siege and 
capture by the same prince. The name of Darius and the story 
of the slaughter of the Chaldtean king go together. They are 
alike derived from that unwritten history, which in the East of 
to-day is still made by the peoide, and which blends together in a 
single picture the manifold events and personages of the past. It 
is a history which has no perspective, though it is based on actual 
facts ; the accurate calculations of the chronologer have no mean- 
ing for it, and the events of a centur}' are crowded into a few 
years. This is the kind of history which the Jewish mind in the 
time of the Talmud loved to adapt to moral and religious pur- 
poses. This kind of history thus becomes, as it were, a parable, 
and under the name of Haggadah serves to illustrate the teaching 
of the Law." 

The Aramaic vision of Cliapter 7 is entirel}- parallel with the 
vision of Chapter 2. If the story of Chapter 2 is fiction, the 
prediction must be fiction likewise. These two ^-isions are, 
therefore, pseudepigraphic. The visions of Chapters 8-12 in 
the Hebrew language are of a still later date than Chapters 2- 
7, and are pseudepigraphic like^vise. The book of Daniel is 
unknown to Ben Sirach, who mentions Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 
and the Twelve ; ^ and all Hebrew literature is silent with ref- 
erence to it until the earliest Sibylline oracle. III. 388 ff., circa 
140 B.C., and 1 ^Nlacc. 2*^, circa 100 B.C.. both referring to the 
Aramaic section. Daniel is frequently used in the subsequent 
pseudepigrapha and the New Testament. The writer is evi- 
dently familiar with the Greek period of history, but un- 
familiarity with Babylonian and Persian periods leads him into 
crrave historical blunders. The Hebrew sections seem to imply 
the troublous times of Antiochus Ejnphaues. The augelologv, 
eschatology, and Messianic ideas of the book are nearer to those 

' Sayce, The Higher Criticism and the Moiniments, 1894, pp. 528, 629. 
2 See pp. 123 seq. 


of the book of Enoch and the New Testament than they are to 
those of other writings of the Okl Testament. The religious 
ideas are nearer those of the late Greek period. The evidence 
from all these sources leads us to the opinion that the book of 
Daniel was written as historic fiction in 1G8-165 B.C., with the 
use of various earlier documents, as an encouragement to heroic 
courage and fidelity to the national religion. 
The words of Bevan may be cited here : 

"The narratives are evidently intended to be consecutive in 
point of time, but they are very loosely connected with each 
other. Their most marked feature is the didactic pur^jose which 
appears throughout. In every one of these stories we see the 
righteous rewarded, or the wicked signally punished, as the case 
may be. On the one hand Daniel and his three friends, the ser- 
vants of the True God, though apparently helpless in the midst 
of the heathen, triumph over all opposition, wliile on the other 
hand the mightiest Gentile potentates are confounded and humbled 
to the dust. This would in itself suffice to indicate that the book 
was intended for the encouragement of the Jews at a time when 
they were being persecuted bj' pagan rulers. And when we pass 
from the narratives to the visions, we find that this ^-iew is con- 
firmed. For in the visions the final victorj^ of the ' Saints ' over 
the Gentile powers is repeatedly insisted upon. Further exami- 
nation shews that this victory of the saints is to take place in 
the days of a Gentile king who will surpass all his predecessors 
in wickedness. ... 

"It is, however, necessary to guard against a possible mis- 
conception. Though the author of Daniel has everywhere the 
circumstances of his own time in view, we cannot regard Nebu- 
chadnezzar and Belshazzar, still less Darius the Mede, simply as 
portraits of Antiochus Epiphanes. The author is contending, not 
against Antiochus personally, but against the heathenism of which 
Antiochus was the champion. He justly considers the struggle 
between Antiochus and the faithful Jews as a struggle between 
opposing principles, and his object is to shew that under all 
circumstances the power of God must prevail over the powers of 
this world. 

"That the author does not address his contemporaries in his 
o^\-n name, after the manner of the ancient prophets, but clothes 
his teaching in the form of narratives and visions, is perfectly in 
accordance with the spirit of later Judaism. The belief that no 
more prophets were to be found among the people of God seems 


gradually to have established itself during those ages of Gentile 
oppression (Ps. 74'). Loathing the present, the pious Jews natu- 
rally idealized the past." ' 

These are then the most general forms of prose literature 
contained in the Sacred Scriptures. They vie with the literary 
models of the best nations of ancient and modern times. They 
ought to receive the study of all Christian men and women. 
They present the greatest variety of form, the noblest themes, 
and the very best models. Nowhere else can we find more 
admirable sesthetic as well as moral and religious culture. 
Christian people should urge that our schools and colleges 
attend to this literature, and not neglect it for the sake of the 
Greek and Roman literatures, which with all their rare forms 
and extraordinary grace and beauty, yet lack the Oriental 
wealth of colour, depths of passion, heights of rapture, holy 
aspirations, transcendent hopes, and transforming moral power. 

I Bevau, The Book of Daniel, 1892, pp. 22, 23, 24. 



The Hebrews were from the most ancient times a remark- 
abl}' literary and poetic people. Poetry pervaded and in- 
fluenced their entire life and history. The Bible has pi-eserved 
to us a large amount of this poetrj-, but it is almost exclusively 
religious poetry. The most ancient poetry of Assj-ria, Babj^- 
lonia. and Egypt is likewise religious. There is, however, evi- 
dence from the poetic lines and strophes quoted in the 
historical books, as well as from statements with regard to 
other poetry not included in the collections known to us, 
sufficient to show that a large proportion of the poetic litera- 
tui-e of the Hebrews has been lost. This poetrj' had to do 
with the every-day life of the people, and with those national, 
social, and historical phases of experience that were not strictly 
religious. For reference is made to the Book of the Wars of 
Yahiveh ^ and the Book of Ya%har? anthologies of poetry earlier 
than any of the poetic collections in the Hebrew Scriptures ; 
and also to a great number of songs and poems of Solomon 
with reference to flowers, plants, trees, and animals.^ The 
mention of Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of 
Mahol, in connection with the wisdom and poems of Solomon, 
opens a ^vide field of conjecture with regard to the great 
amount of their poetry.* And if such a masterpiece as the 
book of Job is the product of a sacred poet whose name, or at 
least connection with the poem, has been lost, how many more 
such great poems and lesser ones may have disappeared from 
the memory of the Hebrew people during their exile and pro- 
longed afBictions under foreign yokes. For we cannot believe 

> Ku. 21". 2 Jo. IQis ; 2 Sam. 119. s i r. 432-3». * 1 K. 4»i. 



that the few odes ^ preserved from the early times could exist 
alone. These masterpieces of lyric poetn- must liave been the 
flower and fruit of a long and vaiued poetical development. 
Indeed there are fragments of other odes^ which are doubtless 
but specimens of many that have disappeared. 

Reuss admirallly states the breadth of Hebrew poetry : 

'■ All that moved the souls of the multitude was expressed in 
song ; it was indispensable to the sports of peace, it was a necessity 
for the rest from the battle, it cheered the feast and the marriage 
(Is. 5^ ; Amos 6^ ; Jd. 14), it lamented in the hopeless dirge for 
the dead (2 Sam. 3**), it united the masses, it blessed the individ- 
ual, and was everywhere the lever of culture. Young men and 
maidens vied with one another in learning beautiful songs, and 
cheered with them the festival gatherings of the villages, and the 
still higher assemblies at the sanctuary of the tribes. The maid- 
ens at Shilo went yearlj- with songs and dances into the vinej'ards 
(Jd. 21''), and those of Gilead repeated the sad story of Jephthah's 
daughter (Jd. 11*") ; the boys learned David's lament over Jona- 
than (2 Sam. 1"*) ; shepherds and himters at their evening rests 
by the springs of the wilderness sang songs to the accompani- 
ment of the flute (Jd. 5"). The discovery of a fountain was the 
occasion of joy and song (Ku. 21''). The smith boasted defiantly 
of the products of his labour (Gen. 4^). Riddles and wittj- say- 
ings enlivened the social meal (Jd. 14'- ; 1 K. 10). Even into the 
lowest spheres the spirit of poetry wandered and ministered to the 
most ignoble pursuits (Is. 23 " "*).^ 

I. The Features of Hebrew Poetry 

In the Hebrew poetry preserved to us in the Sacred Script- 
ures we observe the following characteristics : 

1. It is religious poetry. Indeed it was most suitable that 
Hebrew poetry should have this as its fundamental characteris- 
tic ; for the Hebrews had been selected by God from all 
tlie nations to be His own choice possession,- His first-born 
among the nations of the earth ; * and therefore it was their dis- 
tinctive inheritance that they should be a religious people above 

1 Ex. 15 ; Nu. 21 ; Jd. 5. See pp. 369. 379, 41:5. 

2 Jo.s. 10 >2- '■■' ; 1 Chr. 12". See pp. 337, 393. 

» Art. " Heb. Poesie,"' Herzog, Encyklopadte, II. Aufl. V. pp. 672 seq. 
♦ Ex. 4«', 19S. 


all things else. And it is of the very nature of religion that 
it should express itself in song ; for religion la3's hold of the 
dee^jest emotions of the human soul, and causes the heartstrings 
to vibrate with the most varied and powerful feelings of which 
man is capable. These find expression through the voice and pen 
in tliose forms of human language which alone by their rhyth- 
mic movement are capable of uttering them. From this point 
of view Hebrew poetry has unfolded a rich and manifold lit- 
erature that uot only equals in this regard the noblest prod- 
ucts of the most cultivated Indo-Germanic races, the Greek, 
the Roman, and the Hindu ; but also lies at the root of the 
religious poetry of the Jewish Synagogue and the Church 
of Christ, as their fruitful source, their perennial well-spring of 
life and growth. No poetry has such power over the souls of 
men as Hebrew poetry. David's Psalms, Solomon's sentences, 
Isaiah's predictions, the plaints of Job, are as fresh and potent 
in their influence as when first uttered b}' their masterly 
authors. They are world-wide in their sway ; they are ever- 
lasting in their sweep. The songs of Moses and the Lamb are 
sung by heavenly choirs.^ 

2. It is simple and natural. Ewald states that " Hebrew 
poetrj"^ has a simplicity and transparency that can scarcely be 
found anywhere else — a natural sublimity that knows but little 
of fixed forms of art, and even when art comes into play, it ever 
remains unconscious and careless of it. Compared with the 
poetry of other ancient peoples, it appears as of a more simple 
and childlike age of mankind, overflowing with an internal 
fulness and grace that troubles itself but little with external 
ornament and nice artistic law."- Hence it is that the distinc- 
tion between poetr}- and rhetorical i^rose is so slight in Hebrew 
literature. The Hebrew orator, especially if a prophet, insjjired 
with tlie potent influences of the prophetic spirit, and stirred 
to the depths of his soul with the divine impulse, speaks 
naturally in an elevated poetic style, and accordingly the greater 
part of prophecy is poetic. And when the priest or king stands 
before the people to bless them, or lead them in their de- 
votions, their benedictions and prayers assume the poetic 
' Rev. 16». ^ Die Dichter, I. p. 15. 


movement. Thus there is the closest correspondence between 
the emotion and its expression, as the emotion gives natural 
movement and harmonious undulation to the expression by its 
own pulsations and vibrations. The pulsations are expressed 
by the beat of the accent, which, falling as a rule on the ulti- 
mate in Hebrew words, strikes with peculiar power ; and the 
vibrations are expressed in accordance with the great variety 
of movement of which they are capable in the parallelism of 
members. AsW. Robertson Smith correct!}^ says : "Among the 
HebrcAvs all thought stands in immediate contact with living 
impressions and feelings, and so if incapable of rising to the ab- 
stract is prevented from sinking to the unreal." ^ This faithful 
mirroring of the concrete in the poetic expression is the secret 
of its power over the masses of mankind, who are sensible of its 
immediate influence upon them, although they may be incapable 
of giving a logical analysis of it. 

3. It is essentially subjective. The poet sings or writes from 
the vibrating chords of his own soul's emotions, presenting 
the varied phases of his own experience, in sorrow and joy, in 
faith and hope, in love and adoration, in conflict, agony, and 
despair, in ecstasy and transport, in vindication of himself 
and imprecation upon his enemies. Even when the external 
world is attentively regarded, it is not for itself alone, but on 
account of its relation to the poet's own soul as he is brought 
into contact and sympathy with it. Tliis characteristic of 
Hebrew poetry is so marked in the Psalter, Proverbs, and book 
of Job, as to give their entire theology an anthropological and 
indeed an ethical character. Man's inmost soul, and all the 
vast variety of human experience, are presented in Hebrew 
poetry in the common experience of humanity of all ages and 
of all lands. 

4. It is sente7itious. The Hebrew poet expresses his ethical 
and religious emotions in brief, terse, pregnant sentences loosely 
related one witli another, and often witliout anj- essential con- 
nection, except through the common unity of tlie central theme. 
They are uttered as intuitions, that wliieli is immediately seen 
and felt, rather than as products of logical reflection, or careful 

1 British Quarterly, January, 1877, p. 36. 


elaborations of a constructive imagination. The parts of the 
poem, greater and lesser, are distinct parts, the distinction often 
being so sharp and abrupt that it is difficult to distinguish and 
separate the various sections of the poem, owing to the very 
fact of the great variety of possibility of division, in which it 
is a question simply of more or less. The author's soul vibrates 
with the beatings of the central theme, so that the movement 
of the poem is sometimes from the same base to a more ad- 
vanced thought, then from a corresponding base or from a 
contrasted one ; and at times, indeed, step by step, in marching 
or climbing measures. As Aglen says, " Hebrew eloquence is 
a lively succession of vigorous and incisive sentences, produc- 
ing in literature the same effect which the style called arabesque 
produces in architecture. Hebrew wisdom finds its complete 
utterance in the short, pithy proverb. Hebrew poetrj^ wants 
no further art than a rhythmical adaptation of the same sen- 
tentious style." ^ Hence the complexit}- and confusion of He- 
brew poetry to minds which would find strict logical relations 
between the various members of the poem, and constrain them 
after occidental methods. Hence the extravagance of Hebrew 
figures of speech, which transgress all classic rules of style, 
heaping up and mixing metaphors, presenting the theme in 
such a variety of images, and with such exceeding richness of 
colouring, that the Western critic is perplexed, confused, and be- 
wildered in striving to harmonize them into a consistent whole. 
Hebrew poetry appeals through numberless concrete images to 
the emotional and religious nature, and can only be appre- 
hended by entering into sympathetic relations with it by 
following the guidance of its members to their central theme, 
to which they are all in subjection as to a prince, wdiile in com- 
parative independence of one another. 

5. It is realistic. Shairp says : " Whenever the soul comes 
into living contact with fact and truth, whenever it realizes 
these with more than common viviilness, there arises a thrill 
of joy, a glow of emotion. And the exjoression of that thrill, 
that glow, is poetry. The nobler the objects, the nobler will 
be the poetry they awaken when they fall on the heart of a true 
> Bible Educator, Vol. II. p. 340. 


poet."^ The Hebrew poets entered into deep and intimate 
fellowship with external nature, the world of animal, vegetable, 
and material forces ; and by regarding them as in immediate 
connection with God and man, dealt only with the noblest 
themes. To the Hebrew poet all nature was animate with the 
influence of the Divine Spirit, who was the agent in the crea- 
tion, brooding over the chaos, and conducts the whole universe 
in its development toward the exaltation of the creature to 
closer communion with God, so that it maj- attain its glory in 
the divine glory. Hence all nature is aglow with the glorj' 
of God, declaring Him in His being and attributes, praising 
Him for His wisdom and goodness, His minister to do His 
pleasure, rejoicing at His advent and taking part in His 
theophanies. And so it is the representation of Hebrew poetry 
that all nature shares in the destiny of man. In its origin it 
led by insensible gradations to man, its crown and head, the 
masterpiece of the divine workman. In his fall it shared with 
him in the curse ; and to his redemption it ever looks forward, 
with longing hope and throes of expectation, as the redemption 
of the entire creation. And so there is no poetry so sj^mpa- 
thetic with nature, so realistic, so sensuous and glowing in its 
representations of nature, as Hebrew poetr}-. This feature of 
the sacred writings, which has exposed them to the attacks of 
the physical sciences, presenting a wide and varied field of criti- 
cism, is really one of their most striking features of excellence, 
commending them to the simple-minded lovers of nature ; for 
■whUe the Hebrew Scriptures do not teach truths and facts of 
science in scientific forms, yet they alone, of ancient poetry, laid 
hold of the eternal principles, the most essential facts and forms 
of objects of nature, with a sense of truth and beauty that none 
but sacred poets, enlightened by the Sjurit of God, have been 
enabled to do. Hence it is that not even the sensuous romantic 
poetry of modern times, enriched with the vast stores of re- 
search of modern science, can equal the poetry of the Bible in 
its faithfulness to nature, its vividness and graphic power, its 
true and intense admiration of the beauties of nature and rever- 
ence of its sublimities. 

' I'oetic Interpretation of Nature, p. 15. 


II. Ancient Theories of Hebrew Poetry 

The leading characteristics of Hebrew poetry determine its 
forms of expression ; its internal spirit swa3-s and controls the 
form with absolute, yea, even with capricious, power. The 
Hebrew poets seem acquainted with those various forms of 
artistic expression used by the poets of other nations to adorn 
their poetrj-, yet they do not employ them as rules or prin- 
ciples of their art, constraining their thought and emotion 
into conformity with them, but rather use them freely for 
jjarticular purposes and momentary effects. Indeed Hebrew 
poetry attained its richest development at a period when these 
various external beauties of form had not been elaborated into 
a system, as was the case at a subsequent time in other nations 
of the same family of languages. 

There are various ways emploj-ed in the poetry of the sister 
languages of measuring and adorning the verses. Thus rhyme 
is of exceeding importance in Arabic poetr}^ having its fixed 
rules ^ carefully elaborated. But no such rules can be found in 
Hebrew poetry. Rhj-me exists, and is used at times with great 
effect to give force to the variations in the play of the emotion 
by bringing the variations to harmonious conclusions ; but this 
seldom extends be3-ond a group of verses or a strophe.^ So also 
the Hebrew poet delights in the play of words, using their 
varied and contrasted meanings, changing the sense by the 
slight change of a letter, or contrasting the sense all the more 
forcibly in the use of words of similar form and vocalization, 
and sometimes of two or three such in the parallel verses.^ Al- 
literation and assonance are also freely employed. All this is in 
order that the form may correspond as closely as possible to the 
thought and emotion in their variations, as synonj-mous, anti- 
thetical, and progressive ; and that the colouring of the exjires- 
sion may heighten its effect. The principle of rhj^me, however, 
remains entirel}- free. It is not developed into a system and 
artistic rules. 

Tlie measurement of the verses, or the principle of metres, is 

» Wright, Arahic Grammar, 2d ed., II. pp. 377-381. 
- See pp. 373 seq. » See pp. 375, 376. 


thoroughly developed in Arabic poetry, where they are ordi- 
narily reckoned as sixteen in number. ^ Repeated efforts have 
been made to find a system of metres in Hebrew poetry. Thus 
Josephus^ represents that the songs Ex. 15 and Deut. 32 were 
written in hexameters, and that the Psalms were written in 
several metres, such as trimeters and pentameters. Eusebius^ 
says that Deut. 32 and Ps. 18 are in heroic metre of sixteen 
syllables, and that trimeters and other metres were em^Dloyed by 
the Hebrews. Jerome * compares Hebrew poetry with the Greek 
poetry of Pindar, Alcasus, and Sappho, and represents the book 
of Job as composed mainly of hexameters with the movement 
of dactyls and spondees ; and ^ he finds in the Psalter iambic 
trimeters and tetrameters. But these writers seem to have 
been misled by their desire to assimilate Hebrew poetry to the 
great productions of the classic nations Avith which the}' were 

And yet there is a solid basis of fact underl3'ing these state- 
ments. It is true that the Massoretic system of vowel i^oints 
does not admit of any such arrangement of measured feet as 
is known in Greek and Latin poetry. The fragments of the 
transliterated Hebrew of Origen's Hexapla show us that the 
■Massoretic system is extremely artificial ; the pointing of 
Origen's time does not yield the measui'ed feet, or the equal 
number of syllables in lines, according to the statement of 
Eusebius, who must have either built upon the Hebrew pro- 
nunciation as given by Origen, or else upon information from 
Hebrew sources or upon tradition. Jerome must have known 
the Hebrew pronunciation of his day and the measures of 
poetry as known to the Hebrew of his day. But it seems al- 
together likelj" that the accurate pronunciation of the ancient 
Hebrew had already been lost, and tiiat the knowledge of the 
measures of biblical poetrj' had perished likewise. 

There is no evidence in Jerome's version that he under- 
stood the measures of biblical poetry. There is certainly no 
heroic metre of sixteen syllables in Ps. 18 or Deut. 32. The 

1 Wright, Arabic Orammar, 2d ed., II. p. .S87. ' He Prccp. Evang., XI. 5. 

2 AiUiquilies, II. 16, IV. 8. VII. 12. •• Preface to the Book of Job. 

^ Epist. ad Paulam. 


number of syllables varies, if we count the two separated lines 
of the Hebrew arrangement as one, usually from twelve to 
sixteen syllables, seldom more and seldom less. There are 
certainly no dactyls in the book of Job. It is quite possible 
to arrange the book of Job like Ps. 18 and Deut. 32 ; for the 
book of Job has the same measure as these ancient poems, and 
so presents the appearance of hexameters to those who think 
these other poems hexameters. The truth that underlies the 
statement of these ancient authors, which they received from 
Hebrew tradition, is that there are trimeters, tetrameters, 
pentameters, and hexameters in Hebrew poetry. The measure- 
ment, however, is not of feet or of syllables, but of words or 
word accents, just as in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian 
poetry. 1 If the hexameter is regarded as six measures, He- 
brew poetry has six measures, that is, six words or word groups, 
just as truly as Greek and Latin poetry has six measures con- 
sisting of so many feet of varied arrangement as to quantity. 

III. MoDEKX Theories of Hebrew Poetry 

More recent attempts have been made to explain and meas- 
ure Hebrew verses after the methods of the Arabic and Syriac. 
Thus William Jones ^ endeavoured to apply the rules of Arabic 
metre to Hebrew poetry. But this involves the revolutionarj' 
proceeding of doing away with the ilassoretic system entirely, 
and in its results is far from satisfactory. The Arabic poetry 
may be profitably compared Avith the Hebrew as to spirit, char- 
acteristics, figures of speech, and emotional language, as "Wen- 
rich has so weU done,^ but not as regards metres ; for these, as 
the best Arabic scholars state, are comparatively late and were 
probably preceded by an earlier and freer poetic style. 

Saalchiitz* endeavoured to construct a system of Hebrew 
metres, retaining the Massoretic vocalization, but contending 
that the accents do not determine the accented syllable, and 

1 See p. 378. ' Com. Poet. Asiat. curav.. Eichhorn, 1777, pp. 61 seq. 

' De Poeseos Heb. atque Arabic, orig. indole mutuoque curisensu atqne dis- 
crimine, Lipsis, 1843. 

• Von der Form der Sebraischen Poesie, 1825. 


SO pronouncing the words in accordance with the Aramaic, and 
the custom of Polish and (xerman Jews, with the accent on the 
penult instead of the ultimate. 

Bickell^ strives to explain Hebrew poetry after the analogy 
of Syriac poetry. His theory is that Hebrew poetry is essen- 
tially the same as S}-riac, not measuring syllables, but counting 
them in regular order. There is a constant alternation of ac- 
cented and unaccented syllables, a continued rise and fall, so 
that only iambic and trochaic feet are possible. The Masso- 
retic accentuation and vocalization are rejected, and the Ara- 
maic put in its place. The grammatical and rhj'thmical accents 
coincide. The accent is, like the Syriac, generally on the 
penult. The parallelism of verses and thought is strictly 
carried out. Bickell has worked out his theoiy with a degree 
of moderation and thoroughness which must command admira- 
tion and respect. Not distinguishing between long and short 
syllables, and discarding the terminolog)"^ of classic metres, he 
gives us specimens of metres of 5, 7, 12, 6, 8, 10 syllables, and 
a few of varying syllables. He has applied his theory to the 
whole of Hebrew poetrj-,^ and arranged the entire Psalter, 
Proverbs, Job, Lamentations, Song of Songs, most of the 
poems of the historical books, and much of the prophetic poetry 
in accordance with these principles. He has also reproduced 
the effect in a translation into German, with the same number 
of syllables and strophical an-angement.^ The theory is attrac- 
tive and deserves better consideration than it has thus far 
received from scholars ; yet it must be rejected on the ground 
(1) that it does away with the difference between the Hebrew 
and the Aramaic families of the Sheraitic languages, and 
would yirtually reduce the Hebrew to a mei'e dialect of the 
Aramaic. (2) It overthrows the traditional accentuation upon 
which Hebrew vocalization and the explanation of Hebrew 
grammatical forms largely depend. 

Doubtless the Massoretic system is artificial and designed 

' Metrices Bihlicm, 1879 ; Carmina Vcteris Tf.itameiiti Metricc, 1882. 
2 Zeitschrift d. D. M. G., 1880, p. 56" ; Carmiita i'cteris Testatnetiti Metrice, 

' Dichtunr/en der Jlebraer, 1882. 


more for rhetorical rendering than for speech ; yet it must 
have a real basis in ancient usage. I cannot think that the 
accent on the ultimate was the invention of the Massorites or 
tlie Sopherim. There seems rather to be just this original 
difference between the great groups of the Shemitic family, that 
the Hebrew accents on the ultimate, the Aramaic on the penult, 
and the Arabic on the antepenult. The change of the accent 
to the penult among the more ignorant Jews was more natural 
tluui an artificial change from the penult to the ultimate. 

(^3) Furthermore, Bickell is forced to make many arbitrary 
changes in the text to carry out his theory. He makes many 
wise suggestions, however, and it is somewhat remarkable how 
constantl}- his arrangements of the poetry in lines and strophes 
correspond with those which I have made on the simpler prin- 
ciple of measurement by word instead of measurement by 

Hebrew poetrj% as Ewald has shown, may, on the ]\Iassoretic 
system of accentuation and vocalization, be regarded as gener- 
ally composed of lines of seven or eight sj^llables, with some- 
times a few more or a few less, for reasons that may be assigned. ^ 
Tills is especially true of the ancient hj-mns, which are chiefly 
trimeters, and of the major part of the Psalms, which are either 
trimeters or double trimeters, and so hexameters. Yet even 
here we must regard Hebrew poetry as at an earlier stage of 
poetic development than the Syriac. The poet is not bound 
to a certain number of syllables. While in general making the 
syllabic length of the lines correspond with the parallelism of 
the thought and emotion, he does not constrain himself to uni- 
formity as a principle or law of his art ; but increases or dimin- 
ishes the length of his lines in perfect freedom in accordance 
with the rhythmical movements of the thought and emotion 
tliemselves. The external form is entirely subordinated to the 
internal emotion, which moves on with the utmost freedom, and 
assumes a poetic form merely as a thin veil, which does not so 
much clothe and adorn, as shade and colour the native beauties 
of the idea. This movement of emotion gives rise to a general 
harmony of expression in the parallelism of structure in lines 
1 Dichter, I. pp. 108 seq. 


and strophes — a parallelism which affords a great variety and 
beauty of form. Sometimes the movement is like the wavelets 
of a river flowing steadilj* and smoothly on, then like the ebb- 
ing and flowing of the tide in majestic antitheses, and again, like 
the madly tossed ocean in a storm, all uniformity and symme- 
try disappearing under the passionate heaving of the deepest 
emotions of the soul. 

IV. Lowth's Doctklnt; of Parallelism 

The first to clearly state and unfold the essential principle of 
parallelism in Hebrew verse was Bishop Lowth,^ although older 
writers, such as Kabbi Asarias, and especially Schottgen,^ called 
attention to various forms of parallelism. Lowth distinguishes 
thi'ee kinds : 

1. Synontpnous. 

O Jehovah, in Thy strength the king shall rejoice ; 
And in Thy salvation how greatly shall he exult I 
The desire of his heart Thou hast granted unto him, 
And the request of his lips Thou hast not denied.' 

2. Antithetical. 

A wise son rejoiceth his father ; 

But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.* 

3. Synthetic. 

Praise ye Jehovah, ye of the earth ; 
Ye sea monsters, and all deeps : 
Fire and hail, snow and vapour. 
Stormy wind, executing His command.* 

Bishop Lowth also saw that there was some kind of metre in 
Hebrew poetry. He said : ^ 

" Thus much, then, I think, we may be allowed to infer from 
the alphabetical poems; namely, that the Hebrew poems are writ- 
ten in verse, properly so called ; the harmony of the verses 
does not arise from rhyme, that is, from similar corresponding 
sounds terminating the verses, but from some sort of rliythm, 
probably from some sort of metre, the laws of which are now 
altogether unknown, and wholly indiscoverable." 

' De Sacra Poest Bebr. XIX., 1753 ; also Preliminary Dissertation to his work 
on Isaiah, 1778. 

^ Bora: Beb., Diss. VI., De Exergasia Sacra. ' Ps. 21' -. 

* Prov. 10'. ' i's. 148"-*. " Isaiah. Prelimin.ary Dissertation, p. vii. 


Bishop Lowth's views have been generally accepted, although 
they are open to various objections ; for the majority of the 
verses are synthetic, and these in such a great variety that it 
seems more important in many eases to classify and distinguish 
them than to make the discriminations proposed by Bishoj) 
Lowth. There is a general mingling of the three kinds of 
parallelism in Hebrew poeti-y, so that seldom do the S3'nony- 
mous and antithetical extend beyond a couplet, triplet, or 
quartette of verses. The poet is as free in his use of the 
various kinds of parallelism as in the use of rhyme or metre, 
and is only bound by the principle of parallelism itself. 

4. Bishop Jebb^ added a fourth kind, which he called the 
introverted parallelism, where the first line corresponds with 
the fourth, and the second with the third, thus : 

My son, if thine heart be wise, 

My heart also shall rejoice ; 

Yea, my reins shall rejoice, 
When thy lips speak right things." 

This is a difference in the structure of the strophe and in the 
arrangement of the parallelism, rather than in the parallelism 
itself. "We may add two other kinds of parallelism, — the 
emblematic and the stairlike. 

5. The emblematic parallelism is quite frequent in Hebrew 

poetry : 

For lack of wood the fire goeth out : 

And where there is no whisperer, contention ceaseth. 

Coal for hot embers, and wood for fire ; 
And a contentious man to intiame strife.' 

Take away the dross from silver, 

And there cometh forth a vessel for the finer. 

Take away the wicked from before the king, 

And his throne shall be established in righteousness.'' 

6. An unusual but graphic kind of pai'allelism is the stair- 
like movement, especially characteristic of the Pilgrim Psalms :^ 

I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains — from whence cometh my help : 
My help is from Yahweh — Maker of heaven and earth. 

1 Sacred Literature, § iv., 1820. - Prov. 2.315 16. 

» Prov. 26»>-2'. * Prov. 25*^. ' Ps. 120-134. 


Jlay He not suffer thy foot to be moved ; — may He not slumber, thy Keeper. 

Behold He slumbers not and sleeps not, — the keeper of Israel. 

Yahweh is thy keeper^ — is thy shade on thy right side ; 

By day the sun will not smite thee, — nor the moon by night. 

Yahweh will keep thee from every evil — he will keep thee, thyself. 

Hei will keep thy going out and thy coming in — from now on even for ever.* 

The last word of the first line becomes the first word of the 
second. The last two words of the third line are taken up in the 
fourth. The fifth, seventh, and eighth lines repeat the keeper of 
the fourth line. 

An example may be given from the Song of Deborah : ^ 

Curse ye Meroz, saith the angel of Yahweh, 

Curse ye for ever — the inhabitants thereof ; 

Because they came not — to the help of Yahweh, 

To the help of Yahweh against the mighty. 

Blessed above tcives be .Tael, 

The xcife of Heber the Kenite, 

Above loives in the tent be she blessed. 

Water he asked — milk she gave ; 

In the lordly dish — she brought liim curds; 

Her hand to the tent pin she put forth, 

And her right hand to the workman's hammer; 

And she hammered Sisera — she smote through his head, 

And she pierced, and she struck through his temples. 

At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay ; 

At her feet he boiced, he fell ; 

Where he boiced, there he fell slain. 

This parallelism of members was until recently thought to be 
a peculiarity of Hebrew poetry, as a determining principle of 
poetic art, although it is u.sed among other nations for certain 
momentary effects in their poetiy ; but recent discoveries have 
proved that the ancient Assj'rian, Babylonian, and Akkadian 
hymns have the same dominant feature in their jioetry, so that 
the conjecture of Schrader,* that the Hebrews brought it with 
them in their emigration from the vicinity of Babylon, is highly 
probable. Indeed, it is but natural that we should go back of 
the more modern Syriac and Arabic poetry to the more ancient 
Assyrian and Babylonian poetry for explanation of the poetry 
of the Hebrews, which was historically brought into connection 
with the latter and not with the former. Taking these ancient 

1 m.T has been inserted without rea.sou in the JIassoretic text of these two 

2 Ps. 121. »Jd. 5^-'^. * J.'hr'i. f. Prot. Theo..l.VJ:-2. 


fcjheinitic poetries together, we observe that they have unfolded 
the principle of parallelism into a most elaborate and ornate 
artistic system. Among other nations it has been known and 
used, but it has remained comparatively undevelojjed. Other 
nations have developed the principles of rhyme and metre, 
which were known and used, but remained undeveloped b}^ 
the Hebrews, Assyrians, and Babylonians. 

V. Ley's Theory of Measures 

In addition to the principle of parallelism, others have sought 
a principle of measurement of the verses of Hebrew poetry by 
the accent. Thus Lautwein,i Ernst Meier,^ and more recently 
Julias Ley.^ The latter has elaborated quite a thorough system, 
with a large number of examples. He does not interfere with 
the Massoretic system, except in changes of the maqqeph and 
metJieff, and in his theory of a circumflex accentuation in mono- 
syllables at the end of a verse. He arranges Hebrew poetry 
into pentameters, hexameters, octameters, and decameters, with 
a great variety of breaks or caesuras, as, for instance, in the 
octameter, which may be composed of 4 + 4 tones, or 2 + 6, 3 + 5, 
or 5 + 3. His theory gives longer verses than seem suited to 
the principle of parallelism and the spirit of Hebrew poetry. 
His octameters are, in my opinion, chiefly tetrameters, and his 
decameters pentameters, and many of his pentameters trimeters. 
At the same time his views are in the. main correct. He has 
done more to establish correct views of Hebrew poetry than any 
other since Lowth. The accent has great power in Hebrew 
verse. The thought is measured by the throbbings of the soul 
in its emotion, and this is naturally expressed by the beat of the 
accent. The accent has no unimj)ortant part to i^lay in English 
verse, but in Hebrew, as the poetic accent always corresjionds 
with tiie logical accent, and that is as a rule on the ultimate, it 
falls with peculiar power. Even in prose the accent controls 
the vocalization of the entire word, and in pause has double 

1 Versuth einer riehtigen Theorie von d. hihUschen Verskunst, 1775. 
^ Die Form der Hebr. Poesie, 1853. 

' Grundziige d. lihythmus des Vers- tind Strophenbaues in d. Hebr. Poesie, 
1875 ; Leitfaden der Metrik der Hebr. Poesie, 1887. 


strength. How much more is this the case in poetr}', where 
the emotion expressed by homogeneous sounds causes it to beat 
with exceeding power and wonderful delicacj' of movement. 
This can hardly be reproduced or felt to any great extent by 
those who approach the Hebrew as a dead language. We can 
only approximate to it by frequent practice in the utterance of 
its verses. 

In 1881 I published my views of Hebrew poetry, which in 
the main correspond with those of Ley. I could not accept 
his long measures, or the views of substitution and compensa- 
tion, which he has since abandoned. But I have held, with 
increasing firmness in my teaching and writing, that the Hebrew 
poet measured his line by the word accent or word groiip.^ 
The Hebrew poet had the liberty of uliiting, in a word group, 
two or more short words. The many monosyllables, particles, 
segholates, infinitives, etc., might be used in this way, or might 
be treated as independent words. Tlie particles often assume 
an archaic ending for this purpose, or a conjunction is pre- 
fixed. - 

There are, however, long words where the secondary accent 
must be counted in the measure. Such long words are not 
common in Hebrew, but they have to be considered when they 
occur.^ It should also be said that the Hebrew poet changes 
his measure at times just as the poets of other literatures, in 
order to give variety and force to his style. Tiiis is most 
frequent at the beginning or the end of strophes.* 

There has been a strange reluctance on the part of Hebrew 
scholars to recognize the measures of Hebrew poetry, but 
within a few years great advance lias been made in this respect 
in all parts of the world. 

1 ffomiletical Quarterly, London, 1881, pp. 398 seq., C55 seq. ; Biblical 
Study, 1st ed., 1883, pp. 262 seq.; Hehrdica, five articles on Hebrew poetry, 

2 The prefix prepositions ftt, h, 3, 3 might be used as separate words by giving 
them the ancient form of '30, lD'7,ia3, 183. So also the monosyllables bx, h'2, 
^^, "?!?, if they are to be accented as separate words, assume the archaic form 
'bx, 'h'Z, "11?, "hTl. So >ih would be usually if not always toneless ; but R^l, 
xba, sb'^D may receive the accent. (See Ley, Leitfaden, s. 4 seq.) 

' For specimens, see Ley, Leitfaden, s. 4, and notes, pp. 382, 383. 
* See for illustrations pp. 383, 384. 


Upon these two princij>les of the parallelism of members and 
the play of the accent the form of Hebrew verse depends. The 
ancient verse divisions have been obscured and lost, even if 
they were ever distincth- marked. We can recover them only 
by entering into the spirit of the poetry, and allowing ourselves 
to be carried on in the flow of emotion, marking its beats and 
varied parallelism. These features of Hebrew poetry make it 
a universal poetr}% for the parallelism can be reproduced in 
the main in most languages into which Hebrew poetry may be 
translated, and even the same number of accents may be to a 
great extent preserved ; only that the colouring of the words, 
and the varied rhj-thm of their utterance, and the strong beat- 
ing of the accent, can only be experienced bj- a Hebrew scholar 
in the careful and practised reading of the Hebrew text. 

VI. The Poetic Language 

As in all other languages, so in the Hebrew the poetic style 
is elevated, artistic, and cultivated, and hence above the ever}-- 
day talk of the houses and streets. For this purpose it selects 
not the language of the schools, which becomes technical, pe- 
dantic, and artificial, but the older language, which, with its 
simplicity and strong vital energy, is in accord with the poetic 

Thus in the forms of the language there is (a) an occasional 
use of the fuller sounding forms, as athah for ah, of the fem. 
noun ; (J) the older endings of prepositions in b''li for bal, 
minni for min, 'e?e for 'eZ, 'die for 'al, 'dclhe iov'adh; (<?) the 
older case endings of nouns, as chai/'tJio for cJiayi/ath, and d'lii 
for ben; ((i) the older suffix forms in 7710 and emo for dm; (e) 
the fuller forms of the inseparable prepositions I'mo for I", b''m6 
for b' ; (/) the nun paragogic or archaic ending of 3 pf. of 
verbs, Hn for u. 

The st3'le is more primitive, using many archaic expressions 
that have been lost to the classic language. The monuments 
of Assyria and Babylon show us that the earlier Hebrew lan- 
guage was historically in contact with the languages of Syria 
and the Euphrates. The Assyrian and Babylonian shed great 


light on these poetic archaisms. A later connection of Hebrew 
with Aramaic is indicated in the later historical writings of the 
Bible. The poetic language is also remarkably rich in syno- 
nyms, exceedingly flexible and musical in structure, and thus 
the older forms are retained in these synonyms for yariety of 
representation, when they have long passed from use in the 
prose literature. 



Hebrew poetry is measured iu part by rhj-me and assonance, 
but chiefly by the beats of the accents. 


Many specimens of word painting ma}- be found in Hebrew 
poetry. The following examples may suffice : 

Psalm 105 is composed of six hexameter strophes of seven 
lines each. Two of these strophes (I. and V.) have rhyme in 
the form of identical suffixes of the noun and verb. This may 
be sufficiently represented in English by the italicized personal 
pronouns. Each line of the first strojohe closes with the suffix 
aiv; each line before the caesura has the suffix 6 or mo ; each 
line of the fifth strophe closes with the suffix am. 

Strophe I 

give thanks,! proclaim nis - Dame — make ^ known among the peoples His * 

Sing to Him, make melody to Him ■ — muse on all His wonders. 
Glory in His holy name — let the heart of them be glad that seek Him.^ 
Resort to Yahweh and His strength — seek continually His face. 

1 mn'b has been inserted to make the ascription more definite ; but it makes 
the line too long, and was unnecessary in the original. 

2 The hrst half of the line throughout ends in the sutfix i, 3d pers. sing. 
masc. suifix to singular noun, His, except where the infinitive construct is used, 
line 5, and the 3d plural (in ID), line 7. See note on p. 370. 

3 The hexameter always has a casura. See p. 38:.'. This is indicated by the 
mark — . 

■* The line always closes with V, 3d pers. sing, ni.isc. suffix to plural noun. His. 
5 ,Tn" 'U'psa for the original Ttt'p^a. The insertion of m.T makes the line 
too long. , 



Eemember the wonders of His^ doing — the judgments of His mouth and His 

marvels ; - 
Y'e seed of Abraham His servant — ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones. 
He is Yahweh their ^ God — in all the earth are His acts of judgment.* 

Stkophz V 

Their land swarmed with frogs — in the chambers of their ' king. 

He said it, and the swarm came — lice in all their border. 

He gave their rains to be hail — flaming fire in their laud. 

And He smote their vine and their fig tree — and brake in pieces the tree of 

their border. 
He said it, and the locust came — and the yovmg locust, countless their* 

And did eat up every herb of their land — and did eat up the fruit of thfir 

And he smote all the firslbom in their land — and the firstfruits of all their 


The 6th Psalm is an example of the use of the suffix of the 
first person singular, i, at the close of each line except the last 
t^vo of the first strophe, where the change to two lines with kd 
= Thee is effective. 

1. Yahweh. do not in thine anger rebuke me. 
Yahweh, s do not in thy heat chasten me. 
Since' I am withered i' be gracious to me; 
Since ' my bones are vexed "> heal me ; 
Yea sorely vexed is ' my soul, 
And it is come," Yahweh, unto my death. 

1 Read ^riTl' n"K'?e5 for Hebrew ."TCT "CK '"H's'ts:, which is prosaic. 

- There has been a transposition ; ""riCO goes to the end of the line. The 
scribe has transformed this hexameter line with cresura into a prose line. 

' Read "O'n'jS for 'J"n'7S. This keeps the rhyme in o, although iO is 3d plural 
suffix. •• I's." lOJi-'. 

' Hebrew C."T27a is evidently a mistake for ar'?B. There is only one king of 
Egypt to whom this passage can refer. 

* The suffix was unnecessary here, and it was omitted by a scribe who had no 
intf ie=t in the rhyme. We should read DISCO for ^SCO. To give the force in 
English, it is necesssary to paraphrase. ' Ps. 105**-*. 

* The parallelism requires the iuserliou of i'ahweh. 

* Transpose the clauses. 

>" Omit Yahiceh in these instances. It makes the lines too long, and is 

" This line iscornipt. Instead of "na""!? .T.T nxi read •PtTlV ,T."T rwf]. 

The omission of " in the first word has occa-sioned the incorrect traditional 
pointing, which yields no good sense. Besides the Massoretic "> over r. , while 
it suggests the nriK of the second singular, really implies a traditional doubt as 
to the form. 


return,' deliver my soul : 

For the sake of thy kindness," save me. 

For in death there is no remembrance of thee : 

In Sheol, who will give thanks to thee f 

2. I am weary with my groaning ; 
All night make I to swim my bed ; 

1 water with my tears - my couch. 
Because of grief wasteth away mine eye ; 
It waxeth old because of »i(«e adversary.' 
All ye workers of iniquity, depart* from me; 
For Yahweh hath heard the voice of my weeping ; 
Yahweh hath heard my supplication ; 

Yahwt-h receivcth * my prayer. 

They will be ashamed and will be sore vexed all mine^ enemies. 

There is a fine example of assonance in the first pentameter 

strophe of Ps. 110. 

Utterance of Yahweh to my lord — Sit at my right hand, 
Until I put thine enemies — the stool for thy feet. 
With the rod of thy strength^ — I'ule in the midst of thine enemies. 
Thy people will be volunteers — in the day of thy liost, on the holy mountains.' 
From the womb of the morning there will he for thee, — the dew of thy young 

A fine example of Avord-painting is found in Jd. 5^ : 
cr "zpr :a'?n is 
VTsx nnm m-ima 
The movement of the words in utterance is like the wild 
running of horses. 

The most elaborate example of word play is in the great 
apocal3-pse, Is. 24-27. It is indeed cliaracteristic of this mar- 
vellous hexameter. The force of the original Hebrew can 
hardly be represented in English: 

rrn I'sm f'-,Kn prn pian 24' 

Sibboq tibboq hd'dretz w'hibboz tibboz. 

biV: rhz:i nbbax jnsn nbr: n'?:K 24* 
^Ahh'la nabh'ld hd'dretz, 'itml'ld ndhh'ld tebhel. 

1 Omit Tahweh in this instance. It makes the line too long, and is unneces- 
sary. 2 Transpose the clauses. 

3 Point singular '^^is for Massoretic "^"TH- * Transpose words. 

' The change to plural is probably designed at the close of the strophe. The 
last clause of the psalm is a later addition. 

* " May Yahweh send it forth from Zion," is a gloss of prayer. It breaks 
t'je movement of the poetry by an abrupt cliange of subject. 

' Tin , mountains, instead of '"nn , attire: frequent mistake of 1 for 1. 


"h "IS "b 'n 'b 'nittKi 2416 

R'o'omor rnsl ?! rdzi U 'oia fi 

Bogh'dhim, wubheghedh hogh'dh'un baghddhu. 

a'-av nrsa c';a-i" -nra 25« 
c"pp:a n"-iar cnsa a'lac' 

Mishte sh'mdtum, mishte sh'mdrlm 
Sh'mdmm m'muchdylm sh'mdj'lm m'zuqqdqlm. 

jnn I'jnn ;nn= as* 'nzn -nra nrarn 27' 
•'As the smiting of those that smote him liath he smitten him ? or as the slaying 
of them that were slain by him is he slain ? " 

Sometimes great force is produced iu a poem by the change 
of a single letter of a word in word play. 

At the brooks of Reuben were great decrees of mind. 
Why tlidst thou dwell among the sheepfolds, 
Listening to the bleathigs of the flocks? 
At the brooks of Reuben were great scarchings of mind. 

This tetrastich begins and closes with the same identical line, 
except that for the word 'ppPI, decrees, we have '"IpH, searchings. 
There is a single letter changed, p to 1, to emphasize the trans- 
formation of the bold mental decrees into the timid, hesitating 
searchings of the mind.' 

II. The jNIeasuees by Word or Accent 

The Hebrew poet measured his lines by the beats of the 
accent, or by word, or word-groups, as did ancient Babylonian 
and Egyptian poets. Accordingly three beats of the accent 
give us trimeters, four tetrameters, five pentameters, and six 
hexameters. All these measures appear in Hebrew poetry, as 
they do in Babylonian and Egyptian poetry. There are no 
dimeter lines, except occasional!)' in connection with trimeters 
and tetrameters to vary the measure. 

1. The Trimeter 

The trimeter is the most frequent measure, especially in the 
more ancient historical poetry, and in the Psalter, and in 
the Wisdom Literature. The alphabetical poems enable us to 

1 Jd. 5i5''i. Geo. Moore in his Commentary on Judge!! thinks the .second line 
a mistaken repetition of the first, and that it gives the true, original text. I 
cannot agree with him. 



study the trimeters, as tlie lines are limited by the letters 
of tlie alphabet in their progress. The first example will be 
taken from the alphabetical Ps. 9, where there is a double 
Ihnitation by the letter Alej^h and by the rhyme in the 
suffix Ka. 

^b 2 'ih-biz 1 nT« 

is nibi'Ki nnarx 
■far f'bv * nnais 

Each line begins with the first person of the cohortative imper- 
fect of the verb and with the letter Aleph ; each line closes with 
the suffix of the second singular noun. Here, then, the lines are 
distinctly marked at the beginning and at the end by words in 
assonance. One word only remains in each line between the two. 
These lines are measured by three words or three word accents. 
Psalm 111 is a fine example of an alphabetical psalm : 









"iri'8 8 













"fen 6 













































1 "Yahweh" has been inserted in the Massoretic text, as usual in such 
circumstances. In use in worship the reference to Yahweh was plain enough. 
For private reading it seemed necessary to the scribe to insert it. 

^ "^b has been omitted by the Massoretic text. It is implied by the Greek aoL 

' The long word "^pr'SpB? has two accents, therefore b- is to be attached to 
it by MSqqeph. 

■• There has been a transposition of 'C'b^ and IKiC by a scribe who did not 
tmderstand the rhyme and who followed the prose order of words. 

* The Greek version has troi, which implies either an interpretation, or "7 in 
the text. .T.T has been inserted as usual, but it makes the line a tetrameter. 
It is possible that the poet has increased his measure here, for sometimes trim- 
eters begin with tetrameters, but it is not probable. 

* The Greek version has ee\ri)iaTa. avrou = VSSn, which is more probable than 
the Hebrew Drrssn. ' urh has been inserted for preciseness of statement. 

g VT 'rra makes the line a tetrameter. It is improbable ; read I'Efua. 

* .T.T rKl", in the Hebrew stands for an original irKI". 


The lines are distinctly separated by the fact that each one 
begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and they continue 
in the order of the alphabet until the psalm is complete in 
twenty-two lines. Each line has three accented words.^ 

Psalm 112 is also an alphabetical psalm of exactly the same 
structure as Ps. 111. 

In the Hebrew manuscripts there is a separation of lines in 
Dent. 32, 33; 2 Sam. 22; Ps. 18, which indicates that these 
are all trimeters. The poems ascribed to Balaam ^ are also 
trimeters, although there is nothing in the text itself to show it. 

A fine example of tlie trimeter may be given from the Egyp- 
tian poem called tlie Hymn to the Nile : 

Adoration to the Nile ! 

Hail to thee, O Nile ! 

Who maiiifesteth thyself over this land, 

And comest to give life to Egypt ! 

Mysterious is thy issuing forth from the darkness, 

On this day whereon it is celebrated ! 

Watering the orchards created by Ra, 

To cause all the cattle to live. 

Thou givest the earth to drink, inexhaustible one ! 

Path that descendcst from the sky. 

Loving the bread of Seb and the firstfruits of Nepera, 

Thou causest the workshops of Pthah to prosper.' 

A French scholar sa3's of this poem : 

" The text of the Hymn is divided into fourteen verses, intro- 
duced by red letters, and each, with two exceptions, containing 
the same number of complete phrases, separated from one another 
by red points. Unfortunately we are still ignorant of the rules 
of Egyptian poetry, but as the variant readings show that the 
number of syllables in one and the same sentence is not the same 
in the different texts, it is probable that the tonic accent played a 
chief part in it." * 

Erman,® the distinguished Eg3-ptologist of Berlin, also sa^-s 
that Egyptian poetrj' is measured by the tonic accent, and that 
there is a vast amount of i^oetry in Eg3'ptian literature. 

1 No emendation is necessary in the Hebrew text. The use of the MSqqeph 
ia sufficient in lines 1, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21. But it is probable that in some of 
these lines there has been a slight corruption of the original text, as I have 
indicated in the notes. 

2 Nu. 1Z'"i- 1*-2<. 8 liercnh ''/the Past, new edition, III. 48. 
* Paul Guieysse, Becords of the Past, III. p. 47. 

' Life in Ancient Egypt, 1804, p. .'SOB. 


2. The Tetrameter 

The tetrameter is composed of four beats of the accent or 
word-groups. It is usually divided by a c;esura in the middle. 
The following specimen of an ancient Babylonian hymn may 
suitablj- introduce the subject : ^ 

In heaven who is great ? — Thou alone art great. 

On earth -nho is great ? — Thou alone art great. 

Where Thy voice resounds in heaven — the gods fall prostrate. 

Where Thy voice resounds on earth — the genii kiss the dust. 

This resembles in some respects the ode of the Red Sea.'^ The 
latter has a refrain which does not appear at the close of the 
strophes, but is given apart from them. It should be placed at 
the close of the strophes. The strophes increase, the second 
strophe being twice the length of the first, and the third strophe 
three times its length. The movement is clearly tetrameter, 
with the caesura in tiie midst of each line. 

Strophe I 

Tts^^srh "^■'.Ti-.T'-rnaTi "lu 

injaia-is" •2!<-'nbK-im:Ki ■btrrv 

ler .Tn"-nan'?aT:"K r^'.:v 

cr nT-ib'm ni-ns-nssna 

<ps-ia2 n'?'i:a:3-:a"D3' rann 

ns: nsr-r-m.-r"? m-rs-i „ , . 
or I ^^^''*"^' 

n-a nan -133-11 
Strophe II 

TTBJ "asSan-b'^ff \hnx 

"T iar—:r - -a-n p-,x 

c" "ac3--;-"^3 nsr: 

, _„ .»„, _._ > Refrain. 

u a I la 1 — aa 1 1 c c > 

n33 'msj-niT ira' 

a"is |"mn-m,T ^rB' 

7ap c-inn--[:"s: aiai 

rpa ^a'ras"--j;-in n'?c'n 

c"a ianr:-"i"2s* nnai 

n'b:; n: "aa ias3 

B' aba-nann issp 

1 Transactions Soc. Bib. Arch., II. p. 62. 2 Ej, 15, 

• m' is a prosaic insertion. 

* The cssura is striking in each of these lines. The arrangement agrees with 
the usual division of the lines, except in the second line, which is divided in the 
Massoretic text into two lines, spoiling the movement. 

' There is no departure from the tetrameter movement in this long strophe. 
In most of the lines the csesura is plain. In the Massoretic text, lines 5, 6, 7 
are changed into trimeters by the misuse of the liaqqeph. 


Strophe III 

fc:2 "str bz 'x: 

nnsi nne-s-cn-'r:" bzr\ 

jrto •aT--;r"iT •?-;:= 

rrrr ~fiv--'zv nt? 

rr:p •rci'--.2r- nr 

-jn"?™ nnn-'aiTi-" lasrn 

nirr ri'?:"2--nzrS jira 

21"T ■;:•:- n:,T rnpa 

D'3 na-i-i33m c:nJ 

»np= --K;-n:a= 'a 

ps •ai''r=r-ira' n"^; 

n'rx; Tcr-ircns rrn: 

-]np .T:-'7s--]rj3 rhn 

a"ji i'.;;-:— a'au irac 

ens "eibs-ibnr: tk 

Psalm 13 gives an example of a tetrameter, where the begin- 
ning of the lines in the first strophe is marked by an identical 
phrase, and the lines conclude with rhyme : 

How long, Yahweh, — forever' wilt thou forget me f 

How long wilt thou hide thy face from me f 

How long shall I take counsel in my soul ? 

How long' shall I have sorrow — by day ' in my heart? 

How long shall he be exalted — over me ' be mine enemy ? 

There are not so many examples of the tetrameter in Hebrew 
poetry as of the other measures. There are few in the Psalter. 
Fine specimens, however, are the Song of Deborah,^ the Lament 
of David over Jonathan,® and Pss. 1, 4, 7, 12, 16, -45, 46, 58. 

3. The Pentameter 

The pentameter has five beats of the accent, or five word- 
groups. There is alwa3's a csesura, usually after the third beat, 
but sometimes for variety after the second beat. 

The epic of the Descent of Istar to Sheol is a fine example 

1 It is improbable that this line only should be trimeter. Insert C"1J In accord- 
ance with parallelism. 

2 We now have a supplementary line which seems not to have belonged to 
ihe original poem. It is just such a liturgical supplement as we often find in 
tlie I'salter. The Massoretic text reduces a few of the lines to triinetors by an 
improper use of the MSqqeph. In the la-st line nirT is to be preferred lo "IK. 

' These three cases are transpositions made by the scribe, who did not discern 
tlie rhyme, and so followed tlie prose order of words. The restoration of the 
original order restores tlie Citsuras also. 

* n:S"nL* is restored in this line. The Massoretic text omits it. It is improb- 
able that the original lacked it. '• Jd. 5. '2 Sam. I'*-''. 


of the pentameter in Babylnniau poetry.^ The following ex- 
tract may sufiice : 

To the land without return — the region of darkness, 

Istar, daughter of Sin — her face did set ; 

Yea, the daughter of Sin — did set her face 

To the house of darkness — the abode of Irkalla, 

To the house whose entering — knows no going out again, 

To the path whose way — has no returning, 

To the house which cuts off — him entering it from light, 

Wliere dust is their nourishment — their food is slime. 

Light is never beheld — in darkness they dwell : 

They are clothed like the bials — their garments are wings. 

On the door and its bolt — is lying the dust. 

The pentameter is the most frequent measure in Hebrew 
poetry, next to the trimeter. This is the measure which is 
called by Budde the Kina measure, because apparently he first 
noticed it in the book of Lamentations. But, in fact, there is 
no propriet}' in this name. The earliest Hebrew dirge, the 
Lament of David over Jonathan, is not in this measure, but in 
the tetrameter ; and on the other side this measure is not espe- 
cially adapted to the dirge. All kinds of poetry appear in this 
measure. It seems especially adapted to didactic poems, such 
as Ps. 119. 

The pentameter line is often treated as if it were composed of 
two lines in parallelism. But the second half of the pentameter 
line is not in such marked parallelism with the first as the 
second line of a trimeter poem. It is rather supplementary to 
the first half, even when parallelism appears. 

A fine specimen of the pentameter is the alphabetical dirge 
contained in Lam. -3. The dirge has twenty-two strophes, in 
which the initial letter of the strophe is a letter in the order of 
the Hebrew alphabet. But the alphabetical structure is not 
confined to the initial letters of the strophes. Each strophe 
contains three lines, and each line begins with the characteris- 
tic letter of the strophe. Four of these strophes will suffice as 
specimens of the twenty-two. Bickell makes these lines of 
twelve syllables in accordance with his theory of the structure 
of Hebrew verse. In general, his lines of twelve syllables 
correspond with our pentameter. 

' F. Brown, " Religious Poetry of Babylona " in Presbyterian Review, 1888, p. 69. 



ml? 'nirnj-n'taa 'f-n -in: 
yfh xnuBS ■:rr'.-int:"p -j-in^ 

nrn-bs it --[En' ac" "£-jk 

The great alphabetical poem iu praise of tlie Divine Word, 
Ps. 119, has twenty-two strophes, and each strophe is com- 
posed of eight lines, and each line of the strophe begins with 
the characteristic letter of the strophe. The pentameter move- 
ment is clear, and the lines are distinctly marked off by the 
letters of the alphabet. Bickell regards the lines of tliis poem 
also as comi^osed of twelve sj'llables. 

Tib-is -lor'^-in-isTix -irrnsr naa 
■Tni::aa3 ■;ii:'n"':'K-Tnc'-n ■£b"'r:a 

ypn 'jTa'r-nTn' nns* yn^ 

■fs "'asra''rf3-inieD 'nsra 

jirrba hm - "nrc "rnnr -[Tia 

rnma* a"£'?nn-Ti'i~'a"an nrs 
i.TC'iT £'?-'7:2-rrniJ nsj 'nrx 

nsa nau'b-7nps nn"j: nnK 

Tpn lar'r-'fm ur "fnx 

I'msa '?f-'?K "£-an3-r-rs sf-rx 

ipni' 'csra -naba - ar':— u-a -'tx 
nxa~i!J 'jaTyn-'?x3-na'rx Ti5nTix 

4. 2Vie Hexameter 

The Hebrew hexameter is a double trimeter. The caesura 
ordinarily divides the line in the middle. Hence it is not 
alwaj-s easy to decide whether the line is a hexameter or two 
trimeters. But there are several helps to the decision of this 
question : (a) The hexameter line is occasionally divided by 
the caesura into 4 + 2 or 2 + 4. (6) There will also be exam- 

1 This word has two accents, on account of the number of long vowels. 

2 The only changes in the Massoretic text are insertion of Maqqephs in lines 
1, 3, 7, 8, 10, all of which are in accordance with good usage. The lines have 
the caesuras after the third beat of the accent, except lines 5 and 12. 

' These are all long words with two accents, both of which are counted in the 
measure. ^ , ^ ^ 

■• The Hebrew language prefers TlT'a'Bn to TiT "a"an. It is improbable 
that the line is hexameter. Read therefore mina instead of rn.T minS. The 
divine name is unnecessary. 

^ The Miqqephs are changed in lines 3, 6, of the X strophe, and in lines 3, 5, S, 
of the a strophe. These need no justification. 


pies of two caisuras dividing the line into 2 + 2 + 2. (c) Pen- 
tameter lines will be found to vary the movement. As the 
poet will sometimes shorten his trimeter into a dimeter, his 
tetrameter into a trimeter, and his pentameter into a tetrame- 
ter, so there are occasional pentameter lines in hexameter 
poems. (tZ) The second half of the line will be complement- 
ary to the first half, and the parallelism will be between the hex- 
ameter lines. I shall use as an illustration "the golden ABC 
of women.*' ^ 

nnra c-i";2a pni'-xi!:" '£ 'r-rrnrx 

rrh "a" "rb-r-rKbi rS 'nnSaj 

.TB3 j'Erb rL"n"-a"nr5i nsi ncm 

nan"? s'in prnaa— nn"c rriaz nrrn 

rrfnoh prh-nn-s'? 'pS'rn' -rb'^-'.'vz apni 

mf-rr; .Tsr ■n^a-innpni m'r naai 

.Tni'n!- fa«n: - rT';ra rrz nTjn 

~^£ "ran n"£:i--'."C":a nn"?-*:' rrr 

ivSsb nn'^ff ,TTi--;L"'r nr-.e nss 

n':© »£*? r.ri-z'bzs-:bia nr\-zb ti-rri-ab 

rri'zb lans^ rr-nfnrrr cnsna 

ps-rprar » ircrr-n'rra s-^sisz utij 

'iyj:"? r;;r3 Trm-ir'am nrrr po 

p-iriX c'S pnrn"-,-!r-a'? -i-i-n no 

nrrb-b'r ncn rTr."-nar-a nnna rrs 

bf ».-,*«'? iTibiT Dnb'!— nr"a rrrbTi rre's 

n'p'^.Ti nbrr -ab-'-.TTrs" .-■:1: "ap 

nz'rV'rr n-'rr'^'rriirr .-T;a nia-i 

b'^nrn K'n-rrn-rsT rrfx-'avi-'^rri'' irfi~ipip 

srrrra cncrs .T'p'rm-.TT "isa n^nin 

There are also alphabetical psalms in the hexameter move- 
ment. Psalm 145 has twenty -two alphabetical hexameter lines. 
Psalm 37 has twenty-two alphabetical hexameter couplets. 

1 Prov. 31 1'*-^!. 2 These long words have two accents. 

* 'S has come into the Massoretic text by dittography. 

* The Wain consec implies a verb, and the measure is just this much too 
short. 1 have ventured to insert ICV as parallel with lap. 

' This beautiful alphabetical poem might be taken as composed of alphabetical 
trimeter distichs so far as most of the poem is concerned, for the caesura is in the 
middle of the liue in all cases except three lines. But lines ". and !7 have two 
csesuras, and liue Z has a csesura after the fourth beat. 


There are man}- other hexameter psalms. It is a favourite 
measure of later prophec}'. Thus the beautiful hymn, Is. 60, 
and the magnificent apocalypse. Is. 24-27, are in this measure.^ 

5. Varying Measures 

There are a few cases in which the measure varies in the 
several strophes. The simplest and finest example of these is 
Ps. 23, which in the first strophe is trimeter, in the second 
tetrameter, and in the third pentameter. 

1. Yahweh Is-my-shepherd : I-cannot-want. 
In-pastares of-green-grass He-causeth-me-to-lie-down ; 
Unto-waters of-refreshment He-leadeth-me ; 
Jle-myself He-restoreth.- 

2. He-guideth-me in-paths of-righteousness for-his-name's-sake. 
Also when-I-walk iu-the-valley of-dense-darkness 
I-fear-not evil, for-Thou-art with-me : 

Thy-rod and-Thy-stafi they comfort-me. 

3. He-prepareth before-me a-table in-the-presence-of my-adversaries ; 
Has-He-anointed with-oil my-head ; my-cup is-abundance. 
Surely-goodness and-mercy pursue-ine all-the-days of-my-life, 
And-I-shall-return » (to-dweU)-in-the-house-of Yahweh for-length of-days.* 

We have seen that Hebrew poetry has its measures as clearly 
and accurately marked as other poetry. Great light is thrown 
upon the meaning of a multitude of passages by arranging the 
poetrj' in accordance with its true measures. And it is a sure 
guide to glosses inserted by later editors in the text. We are 
yet in the infancy of this study. Great fruit may be antici- 
pated from the prosecution of it in the future. 

I See Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, 7th ed., pp. 296 seq., 394 seq., where these 
hexameters are arranged in measures and strophes. 

- A broken line ; a dimeter. 

3 A pregnant terra implying the verb "dwell," which has been inserted. 

* 1 have here indicated the number of accents by combining in English the 
woixis combined in Hebrew. 



The great formative principle of Hebrew poetry is the par- 
allelism of members. These members vary from the couplet 
to the strophe of fourteen lines. Seldom does the strophe 
extend bej'ond this number of lines. However numerous the 
lines may be, cand however the strophes and larger divisions of 
a poem may be arranged, the principle of parallelism determines 
the whole. 

I. The Couplet 

The simplest form of the parallelism of members is seen in 
the couplet, or distich, where two lines balance one another in 
thought and its formal expression. The couplet is seldom used 
except in brief, terse, gnomic utterances. 

1. The simplest form of the couplet is the synonymous 

The following specimens of the synonymous couplets may 

The liberal soul shall be made fat : 

And he that watereth shall be watered also himself.' 

The evil bow before the good ; 

And the wicked at the gates of the righteous." 

A man hath joy in the answer of his mouth : 
And a word in due season, how good it is ! ^ 

A merchant shall hardly keep himself from doing wrong ; 
And an huckster shall not be freed from sin.* 

Saul smote his thousands, 
And David his myriads.^ 

1 Prov. 1125. 2 Prov. 14". ^ prov. \S^. * Ecclus. 262^. 

5 1 Sam. 18". 
2 c 385 


2. Antithetical coujilets are numerous and varied : 

A wise son raaketh glad his father ; 

But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. 

Treasures of wickedness profit not ; 

But righteousness delivereth from death. 

Yahweh wiU not let the desire of the righteous famish ; 

But the craving of the wicked He disappointeth. 

He becometh poor that worketh with an idle hand ; 

But the hand of the diligent maketh rich. 

He that gathereth in fruit harvest is a wise son ; 

But he that lies in deep sleep in grain harvest is a base son.l 

In the second of these couplets the antithesis is throughout: 
" Righteousness " to " treasures of wickedness," and " delivereth 
from death" to "profit not." Usually, however, there are one or 
more synonymous terms to make the antithesis more emphatic. 
In the fourth couplet " hand " is a common term, and the contrast 
is of " idle " and " diligent," " becometh poor " and " maketh rich." 
In the third couplet " Yahweh" is a common term with " He," and 
" desire " synonymous with " craving," in order to the antithesis 
of " righteous " with " wicked," and of " will not let famish " with 
"disappointeth." In the first couplet " son " is a common term; 
" father " and " mother " are synonymous, in order to the antithesis 
of "-wise" and "foolish," "maketh glad" and "grief." In the 
fifth couplet " son " is a common term, " fruit harvest " is synony- 
mous vnth. " grain harvest," whereas " wise " has as its antithesis 
"base," and "gathereth" "lies in deep sleep." 

Sometimes the antithesis is limited to a single term : 

JIan"s heart deviseth his waj' ; 
But Yahweh directeth his steps.^ 

Here the contrast is between "man's heart" and "Yahweh"; the 
remaining terms are synonymous. 

The antithesis sometimes becomes more striking in the anti- 
thetical position of the terms themselves : 

He that spareth his rod, hateth his son ; 

But he that loveth him seeketh him chastisement.' 

The common terms are "father" and "son," the antithetical, 
" spareth his rod " with " seeketh him chastisement," and " hateth " 
with " loveth " ; but that which closes the first line begins the 
secoTid, and that which begins the first closes the second. 

The following additional specimens from the Wisdom of Jesus 
may be studied. 


Whosoever exalteth himself shall be hambled ; 
But whosoever humbleth himself shall be exalted.' 

Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance ; 
But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 2 

Think not that I came to destroy the law ; 
I came not to destroy, but to fulfil.^ 

•3. Parallelism is ordinarily progressive in that great variety 
of form which such a rich and powerful language as the Hebrew 
renders possible. 

The blessing of Eebekah by her brothers* is a progressive dis- 

O thou our sister, become thousands of myriads, 

And may thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate them. 

The second line sums up the " thousands of myriads " of the 
first, in order to give the climax of the wish, in the inheritance of 
the gate of their enemies. 

The words of Moses when the ark of the covenant set forward 
and Avhen it rested are couplets.^ 

Arise, Yahweh, and let Thine enemies be scattered ; 
And let those who hate Thee flee from before Thee. 

Return, Yahweh. 

To the myriads of thousands of Israel. 

The first of these couplets is synonymous throughout; the 
second is an example of an unfinished line ; the pause in the poet- 
ical movement is to give more emphasis to the second line when 
its advanced idea is expressed. 

The following additional specimens will illustrate the variations 
possible in the synthesis. 

The fear of Yahweh is a fountain of life, 
To depart from the snares of death.^ 

The eyes of Yahweh are in every place. 
Keeping watch upon the evil and the good.' 

Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation : 
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.* 

Till heaven and earth pass away, 

Not one yodh shall pass away from the law.' 

1 Mt. 2.3>2 = Lk. 14", 18'*. 2 Mt. 25»=Mk. 4=^ ; Lk. S's, IQ^s. 

' lit. 0". •• Prophets " in the first line is a later addition to the text which 
has nothing to justify it in the context. * Gen. 24^. 

6 Num. 10«* *5. 6 prov. 14-*^. • Prov. 15^. » Mk. 14S8 = Mt. 26«. 

'•' Mt. 5" = Lk. 16'". The ^ ^I'a Kcpeo of Matthew is not in Luke, and is not 
original. It makes the line too long. 

388 STUDY oy holy scripture 

•4. There are many emblematic couplets : 

A word fitly spoken, 

Is like apples of gold in baskets of silver. 

As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, 
So is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.i 

As cold virater to a thirsty soul, 

So is good nevifs from a far country. ^ 

They that are vrhole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick : 
I came not to call the righteous, but on the contrary, sinners.' 

The book of Proverbs in its first great collection contains 
376 couplets, of every variety.* The second great collec- 
tion is also composed chiefly of couplets, although specimens 
of other forms occur.* The Wisdom of Jesus has a large num- 
ber also.^ 

II. The Triplet 

The tristich, or triplet, of three lines is not common in He- 
brew poetry. There are only eight in the entire book of 

1. The synonymous triplet is most frequent. 

The priests' blessing is a fine specimen of a synonymous tris- 

Yahweh bless thee and keep thee ; 

Yahweh let His face shine upon thee and be gracious to thee ; 

Yahweh lift up His face upon thee and give thee peace.' 

The oldest of tlie sayings of the Jewish Fathers is of this form : 

Be deliberate in judgment, 
And raise up many disciples, 
And make a fence to the Law.' 

Jesus uses this form also. 

Ask and it shall be given unto you ; . 

Seek, and ye shall find ; 

Knock, and it shall bo opened unto you. 

1 Prov. 25" 12. 6 prov. 25-29. 

2 Prov. 25". « See pp. 09, 80. 

« Mk. 2" = Mt. 9" = Lk. S"- »'^. ' Prov. 22^, 25»- »• «<■, 2-w- ^% 28w, .30«>. 
* Prov. 10-22'". * Num. (!-'--". 

» Pirqe Abotli V. 


This is followed by another triplet, progressive to it. 

For every one that asketh, receiveth, 

And he that seeketh, findeth, 

And to him that knocketh it shall be opened, i 

2. The antithetical triplet takes the form of one antithetical 
line to two other lines. Sometimes the antithesis appears in 
one line, sometimes in another. 

These examples will suffice : 

Seest thou a man diligent in his business ? 

He shall stand before kings ; 

He shall not stand before mean men.- 

Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not ; 

But go not to thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity : 

Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.' 

The foxes have holes. 

And the birds of the heaven nests ; 

But the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.* 

3. Progressive triplets are more frequent, but the progres- 
sion is seldom thorough-going. 

These specimens show the variety of method : 

Go not forth hastily to strive, 

Lest in the end, therefore, what wilt thou do, 

When thy neighbour hath put thee to shame ? * 

Be ye of the disciples of Aaron : 
Loving peace and pursuing peace. 
Loving mankind and bringing them nigh.* 

4. The emblematic tristich may be illustrated by the fol- 
lowing specimens : 

As the cold of snow ui the time of harvest, 

So is a faithful messenger to them that send him ; 

For he refresheth the soul of his masters.' 

As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, 

And as vinegar upon nitre ; 

So is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.' 

1 Mt. V-». ' Prov. 27W. ' Prov. 25'. ' Prov. 25i«. 

* Prov. 22». « Mt. 8i» = Lk. 9^. « Pirqe Aboth l". s pjoy. 263". 


III. The Tetrastich 

The tetrastich is formed from the distich, and consists gen- 
erally of pairs balanced over against one another, but some- 
times of three lines against one ; rarely there is a steady march 
of thought to the end. 

The oracle respecting Jacob and Esau' is an example of bal- 
anced pairs : 

Two nations are in thy womb, 

And two peoples will separate themselves from thy bowels ; 

And people wUl prevail over people, 

And the elder will serve the younger. 

The pairs are synonymous within themselves, but progressive with 
reference to one another. 

The blessing of Ephraim by Jacob is an example of antithetical 


He also will become a people, 

And he also will grow great ; 

But yet the younger will become greater, 

And his seed abundance of nations.^ 

The soug of the well is an interesting and beautiful example of 
a more involved kind of parallelism, where the second and third 
lines constitute a synonymous pair ; while at the same time, as a 
pair, they are progressive to the first line, and are followed by a 
fourth line progressive to themselves : 

Spring up well ! Sing to it ! 
Well that princes have dug ; 
The nobles of the people have bored, 
With sceptre, with their staves.' 

The dirge of David over Abner presents a similar specimen, 
where, however, the first and fourth lines are synonymous with 
one another, as well as the second and third lines : 

Was Abner to die as a fool dieth ? 
Thy hands were not bound. 
And thy feet were not put in fetters : 
As one falling before the children of wickedness, thou didst fall.* 

A fine example of a tetrastich, progressive throughout, is found 

1 Gen. 252«. 

2 Gen. 48". The measures of the last two lines are spoiled by the lator pro- 
saic insertion of TnS, "212, and riTI', none of which are needed for the sense. 

8Nu. 21"'8. *2Sam. 33S3<. 


in the extract from an ancient ode describing the Gadites who 
joined David's band : 

Heroes of valour, men, a host, 

For battle, wielders of shield and spear ; 

And their faces were faces of a lion. 

And like roes upon the mountains for swiftness.! 

The blessing of Abram by Melchizedek is composed of two pro- 
gressive couplets : 

Blessed be Abram of God Most High, 

Founder of heaven and earth ; 

And blessed be God Most High, 

Who hath delivered thine adversaries into thine hand." 

The tetrastich is quite frequent in Proverbs. The little sup- 
plementary collection of the Words of the Wise ^ has no fewer 
than fourteen of them.* The second great collection of the 
proverbs of Solomon ° has four examples,^ the words of Agur 
onej and the collection of Aluqa one.^ 

These may suffice as specimens : 

The eye that mocketh at his father, 
And despiseth to obey his mother, 
The ravens of the valley shall pick it out, 
And the young eagles shall eat it.^ 

The second couplet gives the punishment for the sin of violation 
of the parental law, which violation is stated in the first couplet. 

The following tetrameter is a fine specimen of two couplets, in 
which the first gives the comparison, the second the explanation : 

Take away the dross from the silver, 

And there cometh forth a vessel for the finer. 

Take away the wicked from before the king, 

And his throne shall be established in righteousness.' 

A third specimen is also of two couplets : 

If thine enemy be hungn-, give him bread to eat ; 
And if he be thirsty, give him water to drink : 
For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, 
And Yahweh shall reward thee.'" 

The second couplet gives the reasons for the conduct recom- 
mended in the first. 

1 1 Chr. 12». = Gen. 14i9. s Prov. 22"-24. 

4 Prov. 22^^^ 24-25. 2fi-27 2.3"'-"- '^-n- li-iii I'-is 24'-2- *-*• ** i*-'^ ''-'*■ '^^- 21-22. 
6 Prov. 25-29. ' Prov. .30^. ^ Prov. 25^^. 

« Prov. 26*-'-9-i''- 21-22, 26". 8 prov. 30^". w Proy. 25^1-22. 


Jesus gives many sentences of this type : 

No household servant ' can have two masters : 
For either lie will hate the one and love the other ; 
Or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. 
Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.- 

This is a fine specimen of introverted parallelism. The foUowing 
have two progressive couplets : 

Every idle word that men speak, 

They shall give account thereof in ' the judgment ; 

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, 

And by thy words thou shalt be condenmed.* 

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, 
Neither cast your pearls before the swine, 
Lest haply »liey trample them under their feet, 
And turn and rend you.^ 

An interesting specimen of the tetrastich is : ° 

If " ye forgive men their trespasses, 
Your Father * will also forgive you your trespasses ; ' 
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, 
Neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

This is composed of two antithetical couplets. It is inserted by 
Matthew immediately after the Lord's Prayer. But it is not 
given by Luke in that context. 

IV. The Pextastich 

The pentasticli is usually a combination of the distich and 
tristich. A beautiful specimen is given in a strophe of an ode 
of victory over the Canaanites at Bethhoron, which has been 

1 Matthew omits oiV^tt;! of Luke, probably in order to generalize, as usual in 
his collection of the Wisdom of Jesus (Mt. 5-7). * Mt. 6" = Lk. 16i'. 

' It is common in Matthew to insert day before judgment in order to make 
the reference more distinct to the ultimate day of doom. See my Messiah of 
the Gospels, p. 240. 

* Mt. 12»«'. 5 Mt. 7«. 6 Mt. ^*-" = Mk. U^'^'. 
' The connective yip has been inserted in order to attach the legion to its 

context in the Gospel. 

* The evangelist inserts "heavenly " before Father in the first couplet, but 
not in the second. This is in accord with the peculiar usage of our Matthew. 
See my Messiah of the Gospels, p. "9. 

" Matthew omius " " in the second line, but the measure requires 
it, as well as the antithetical statement in the fourth line. 
"J Jos. 10'-'-''. See p. o^l. wliere it is cited. 


The oracle ' with which Amasai joined David's band is an exam- 
ple of the same kind, save that the fifth line is progressive to the 
previous four lines : 

Thine are we, David, 
And with thee, son of Jesse. 
I'eace, peace to tliee, 
And peace to thy helpers ; 
For thy God doth help thee. 

The song of Sarah gives a couple*- and triplet : 

Laughter hath God made for me. 
Whosoever heareth will laugh with me. 
Who could have said to Abraham : 
Sarah doth suckle children ? 
For I have borne a son for liis old age.^ 

The pentastich is rare in the book of Proverbs. I have noted 
four specimens.^ The last is a good one : 

Put not thyself forward in the presence of the king, 

And stand not in the place of great men ; 

For better is it that it be said unto thee, Come up hither ; 

Than that thou shouldst be put lower in the presence of the prince 

Whom thine eyes have seen. 

Here the triplet gives the reason for the recommendation in the 
couplet, which begins the quintet. 

There are several specimens in the Sayings of the Jewish 
Fathers. I shall give two : 

Be not as slaves that minister unto the Lord, 
With a view to receive recompense ; 
But be a.s slaves that minister to the Lord 
Without a view to receive recompense ; 
And let the fear of heaven be upon you.* 

This tetrameter is a finer specimen than we have found in Prov- 
erbs. It is composed of two antithetical couplets, and a conclud- 
ing line of exhortation synthetic to both. 

Here is a still finer specimen of the tetrameter pentastich — 
an antithetical pair : 

1. More flesh, more worms ; 
More treasures, more care ; 
More maid-ser\ants, more lewdness ; 
More men-servants, more thefts ; 
More women, more witchcrafts. 

1 1 Chr. 12". " Prov. 23*-5, 24ia-». ^^, 25»-'. 

2 Gen. 21»"'. « Pirqe Aboth l^. 


2. More law. more life ; 

More wisdom, more scholars : 
More righteousness, more peace ; 

He who has gotten a name, hath jiotten a good thing for himself ; 
He who has gotten words of law, hath gotten for himself the life of 
the world to come.' 

The following is the best specimen of introverted - parallelism 
that can be found in the entire range of Wisdom Literature : 

All men cannot receive this saying, but they to whom it is given ; 

For there are eunuchs which were so born from their mother's womb. 

And there are eunuchs which were made eunuchs by men. 

And there are eunuchs which made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the 

kingdom of God : 
He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.^ 

V. The Hexastich 

The hexastich may consist of three couplets, two triplets, 
and other various combinations. A few specimens will suffice, 
as others will be given in connection with the study of the 

The blessing of the sons of Joseph by Jacob is a fine hexa- 
stich : 

The God before whom my fathers walked — Abraham and Isaac, 

The God who acted as my shepherd — from the first even to this day, 

The Malakh who redeemed me from every evil — bless the lads: 

And let my name be named in them, 

And the name of my fathers, — Abraham and Isaac ; 

And let them increase to a great multitude — in the midst of the land.* 

The first tristich is in its three lines synonymous so far as the 
first half of the lines, but in the second half there is a steady march 
to the climax. The second tristich is synonymous in its first 
and second lines, where the leading idea of the name is varied 
from Jacob himself to Abraham and Isaac, but the third line is 
an advance in thought. 

Isaac's bles.sing of Esau is also a hexastich : 

Lo, far from the fatne-ss of the earth will thy dwelling-place be, 

And fur from the dew of heaven above, 

And by thy sword wilt thou live ; 

And thy brother wilt thou serve. 

And it will come to pass when thou wilt rove about. 

Thou wilt break off his yoke from upon thy neck.' 

' Pirqe Aboth 28. ^ See p. 367. ' Mt. 19"-". 

* Gen. 481^16. ' Oen. 27»»-«'>. 


There are ten liexastichs in the book of Proverbs.' I shall 
give one specimen : 

Deliver them that are carried a^vay unto death, 

And those that are ready to be slain see that thou hold back. 

If thou sayest, Behold. \Ye knew not this, 

Doth not He that weigheth the hearts consider it ? 

And He that keepeth thy soul, doth He not know it : 

And shall not He render to every one according to his work?^ 

In Ben Sirach we find the following : 

Any plague but the plague of the heart ; 

Any wickedness but the wickedness of a woman ; 

Any affliction but the aifliction from them that hate me ; 

Any revenge but the revenge of enemies ; 

There is no poison greater than the poison of a serpent ; 

There is no wrath greater than the wrath of an enemy.' 

The Sayings of the Fathers gives the following choice 
specimens : 

There are four characters in those who sit under the wise : 

A sponge, a funnel, a strainer, and a sieve. 

A sponge, which sucks up all ; 

A funnel, which lets in here and lets out there ; 

A strainer, which lets out the wine and keeps back the dregs ; 

A bolt-sieve, which lets out the dust and keeps back the fine flour.* 

We add this specimen because it is similar to one of Jesus' 
soon to follow : 

Whosesoever wisdom is in excess of his works — to what is he like ? 

To a tree whose branches are abundant and its roots scanty ; 

And the wind comes and uproots it and overturns it. 

And whosesoever works are in excess of his wisdom ■ — to what is he like ? 

To a tree whose branches are scanty and its roots abundant ; 

Though all the winds come upon it they stir it not from its place.* 

This has two antithetical pentameter triplets. 

VI. The Heptastich 

The heptastich is capable of a great variety of arrangements. 

The blessing of ]^oah is a heptastich. It is comprised of two 
distichs and a tristich. 

Cursed be Canaan ; — • 

A servant of servants shall he be to his brethren. 

' Prov. 2.3'-^ ^'-^- 2^2" 2411-12 26^*-^, 30i^i^ i^i'- ^-^ '*-^i- '2-^. 

» Prov. 2411-12. 8 Ecclus. 2515-15. i Pirqe Aboth 5M. 

« Pirqe Aboth 32'. See p. 404. 


Blessed be Yahweh, God of Shem, 
And let Canaan be their servant. 
May God spread out Japheth. 
And may He dwell in the tents of Shem, 
And let Canaan be their servant.' 

In the first distich we have an example of an unfinished line, a 
dimeter with the second line progressive to it. In the second dis- 
tich we have a simple progression in the thought. In the final 
tristich the progression runs on through the three lines. It is 
also worthy of note that the last line is in the three examples of 
the nature of a refrain. 

The heptastich is not common in Hebrew Wisdom. There are 
two examples in Proverbs. The first of these is the picture of the 
sluggard.^ The other is the following : 

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, 

Neither desire thou his dainties : 

For as he reckoneth within himself, so is he. 

Eat and drink, saith he to thee ; 

But his heart is not with thee. 

The mor.sel which thou hast eaten shall thou vomit up. 

And lose thy sweet words.' 

A fine example of this type is found in the Sayings of the Jew- 
ish Fathers, a pentameter : 

Consider three things, and thou wilt not come into the hands of transgressors. 

Know whence thou comest and whither thou art going. 

And before whom thou art to give account and reckoning. 

Know whence thou comest : from a fetid drop ; 

And whither thou art going : to worm and maggot ; 

And before Whom thou art about to give account and reckoning, 

Before the King of the king of kings. Blessed be He.* 

A still more beautifid specimen is given by Jesus : 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth. 

Where moth and rust doth consume. 

And where tliieves break through and steal : 

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. 

Where neither moth nor rust doth consume, 

And where thieves do not break through and steal : 

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'' 

This heptastich is composed of two antithetical triplets of ex- 
hortation, with a concluding line giving the reason for the exhor- 

1 Gen. 926-27. See Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, p. 30. 

" Vtov. 24«>-»2. See p. 418. •• Pirqe Aboth, 3>. 

» Prov. 239-«. ' Mt. 6i»-". 


The triplets are antithetical, line for line, in a most impressive 
correspondence of language and tliouglit. 

VII. The Octastich 

The octastich of eight lines is used thrice iu Proverbs. ^ 

A favourite everywhere is the one of Agur : . 

Two things have I asked of Thee, 

Deny me them not before I die : 

Remove far from me vanity and lies : 

Give me neither poverty nor riches ; 

Feed me with the food that is needful for me. 

Lest I be full and deny, and say. Who is Yahweh ? 

Or lest 1 be poor and steal. 

Or use profanely the name of my God.* 

A fine specimen is in Ecclesiastes : 

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it ; 

And whoso brcakelh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him. 

Whoso heweth out stones shall be hurt therewith ; 

And he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby. 

If iron be blunt, and one hath not whet the edge. 

He must put forth strength : and wisdom is profitable to direct. 

If the serpent bite before it is charmed. 

Then there is no profit in the charmer.^ 

Ben Sirach also has some fine specimens. The following may 
be cited, because of its similarity to some sentences of Jesus : 

And stretch thine hand unto the poor. 

That thy blessing may be perfected. 

A gift hath grace in the sight of every man living, 

And from the dead detain it not. 

Fail not to be with them that weep. 

And mourn with them that mourn. 

Be not slow to visit the sick : 

For that shall make thee to be beloved.* 

VIII. The Decastich 

The decastich, a piece of ten lines, is used in Proverbs in the 
pentameter temperance poem ; ^ in the beautiful piece of recom- 
mendation of husbandry;® also in a word of Agur, which is 
regarded as an early specimen of the sceptical tendencies which 
are so strong in Ecclesiastes," in the riddle of the four little 

» Prov. 2.322-*5, 30"-9, "-W. * Ecclus. T^^-ss. 6 prov. 272*-". 

» Prov. 30'-9. 5 Prov. 232>^ ; see p. 418. ' Prov. 302-». 

•Eccles. 108-11. 


wise creatures,^ and in the ten-lined strophes of the Praise of 
Wisdom. 2 

A fine specimen is given in Tobit, as follows : 

Give alms of thy substance ; 

And when thou givest alms let not thine eye be grudging ; 

Neither turn thy face from any poor, 

And the face of God shall not be turned away from thee. 

If thou hast abundance, give alms iiccordingly ; 

If thou hast little, be not afraid to give according to the little : 

For thou layest up a good treasure for thyself against the day of necessity. 

Because alms delivereth from death ; 

And suffereth not to come into darkness : 

For alms is an offering for all that give it in the sight of the Most High.' 

When we go bej'ond the decastich to the pieces of twelve 
lines or fourteen lines, we gain nothing additional to illustrate 
the principles of parallelism. 

IX. The Strophe 

The strophe is to the poem what the lines or verses are in 
relation to one another in the sj'stem of parallelism. Strophes 
are comiDOsed of a greater or lesser number of lines, sometimes 
equal, and sometimes unequal. Where there is a uniform flow 
of the emotion the strophes will be composed of the same num- 
ber of lines, and will be as regular in relation to one another as 
the lines of which they are composed ; but where the emotion is 
agitated by passion, or broken by figures of speech, or abrupt 
in transitions, they will be irregular and uneven. The strophes 
are subject to the same principles of parallelism as the lines 
themselves, and are thus either synonymous to one another, 
antithetical, or progressive, in those se^'eral varieties of pai'al- 
lelism already mentioned. A favourite arrangement is the bal- 
ancing of one strophe with another on the principle of the 
distich, then again of two with one as a tristich. Thus the 
song* of Moses has three parts, with four strophes in each part, 
arranged in double pairs of strophe and antistrophe, according 
to the scheme of 3 x 2 x 2. The song of Deboraii * is composed 

1 Prov. 302^28. See p. 418. a Prov. 1-9. » Tobit 4'-". 

* Deut. 32. 6 .Id. 5. 


of three parts, with three strophes in each part, according to the 
scheme of 3x3. These divisions are determined by the prin- 
ciples of parallelism, not being indicated by any signs or marks 
in the Hebrew text. 

D. H. Miilleri has recently called attention to the fact that 
there is what he names responsion, concatenation, and inclu- 
sion, in Hebrew as well as in Babylonian and Arabic strophical 
organization. He gives ample illustrations, for which he de- 
serves more credit than most scholars have been disposed to give 
him. He is entirely right in this matter, although there is 
nothing new in his theory but the terminology and some of the 
illustrations.'^ Responsion is simply the antithetical parallelism 
of strophes, concatenation is the stairlike parallelism of lines 
used in strophical relations, and inclusion is the introverted 
parallelism of strophes. 

Babylonian and Egyptian j^oetry have clearly marked strojjh- 
ical organization. The hymn to Amen Ra, said to be of the 
fourteenth century B.C., in the golden age of Egyptian history 
and literature, is a fine specimen. The beginning of each verse 
is indicated by a red letter ; and each verse is also divided into 
short pauses by small red points.^ 

This is the eighth strophe : 

Deliverer of the timid man from the violent ; 

Judging the poor, the poor and the oppressed ; 

Lord of Wisdom, whose precepts are wise ; 

At whose pleasure the Nile overflows ; 

Lord of Mercy, most loving ; 

At whose coming men live ; 

Opener of every eye ; 

Proceeding from the firmament ; 

Causer of pleasure and light ; 

At whose goodness the gods rejoice ; 

Their hearts revive when they see him. 

This hymn has twentv strophes, the number of lines in each 
being as follows : 12, 14, 8, 7, 13, 8, 9, 11, 9. 15, 14, 9, 10, 5. 11, 
13, 10, 5, 10, 18. 

^ Die Propheten in ihren urspriinglicken Form. Die Grundgesetze iJer ur- 
semitiscken Poesie. 2 Bde., Wien, 1896. 

^ T have taught all these to my classes for years, and references to them will 
be found in my earlier writings. 

' Records of the Past, II. pp. 129 seq. 


The Hymn to the Nile is remarkably regular, and it resem- 
bles in length, and in the number of its strophes and the lines 
that compose them, the song of Moses. ^ The HjTnn to the Nile 
has the following fourteen strophes : 11, 8, 8, 10, 10, 8, 10, 11, 
12,10, 9, 8, 14, 8.2 

The development of the strophical system in ancient Egyp- 
tian poetry doubtless influenced Hebrew poetr}-. The Egyptian 
culture, combined with the inlierited Shemitic culture, enabled 
the Hebrew poets to appropriate the artistic forms belonging 
to the poeti-y of the two great nations of the old world, and 
reproduce them under the influence of the Divine Spirit for 
the training of Israel in the holy religion. 

There is no intrinsic reason wh}- the strophes of Hebrew 
poetry should be more regular than those of Egyptian poetry, 
but in fact the strophes of Hebrew poetry are ordinarily regu- 
lar in the number of the lines. 

1. Stj-ophes of Two Lines 

Strophes of two lines are not common. Psalm 34 is an ex- 
ample of alphabetical trimeter couplets. 

Two of these will suffice as examples : 

S. I will bless Yahweh at every time, 

Continually His praise shall be in my mouth. 

Z. In Yahweh my soul will make hev boast ; 
The meek will hear and they will be glad. 

An example of an alphabetical hexameter couplet is found in 
Ps. 37. I shall take the strophes with ^ and X3 as illustrations, 
because these give examples where the ciesxu'a does not come in 
the middle of the line : 

b. The wicked borroweth and payeth not — but the righteous dealeth gra- 
ciously and giveth. 
For they that be blessed of Him inherit the land — but they that be cursed 
of Him shall be cut off. 
a. Of Yahweh are a man"s goings established — but He delighteth in His way : 
Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down — for Yaliweh upholdeth 
with Ilis hand. 5 

1 Deul. 32. ' Secords of the Past, New Series, III. pp. 4C seg. 

» Ps. ST^i-s*. 


2. Strophes of Three Lines 

The triplet is more frequeutly used in strophes. 

An example has been given in the alphabetical dirge of Lam. 3.' 
Another specimen may be found in the Wisdom of Jesus already 
given.- This additional one will suffice. 

Be not ye called Rabbi : 
For One is your Rabbi ; 
And all ye are brethren. 

Call ye no one Father : ' 
For One is your Father, 
He which is in heaven. 

Be not ye called Master ; 

For One is your JLister ; ' 

The greatest among you is your servant. — ♦ 

This beautiful piece of AYisdom is of great artistic beauty. In 
the Hebrew original ' each line was a trimeter measured by three 
beats of the accent. The lines are organized in three strophes of 
three lines each. The number three determines its artistic struct- 
ure, and it is, accordinglj-, the cube of three ; three strophes of 
three lines of three accents. 

-3. Strophes of Four Lines 

The tetrastich as a double couplet is very frequent in 

Psahn 3 is a good specimen of the quartette trimeter. 

1. Yahweh, how are mine adversaries increased ! 
Many are rising up against me ; 

Many are saying of my soul, 

There is no salvation for him in God. 

2. But Thou ' art a shield about me ; 

My glorj' and the lifter up of mine head. 
With my voice unto Yahweh I wa.s crying, 
And He answered me from His holy hill. 

3. As for me I laid me down and slept ; 

I awaked ; for Yahweh was sustaining me. 

» See p. 382. 2 See pp. 388. 389. 

' " On the earth " and " Messiah" are explanatory additions, which destroy 
the measure. * Mt. 2.3*-'^. 

' In translating into an unknown original, we cannot be sure of the exact 
words that were used, but we may come sufficiently near for our present 
purpose. * m.T makes line too long. 



I will not be afraid of myriads of the people, 
That have set themselves against me round about. 

4. O Arise,^ Save me, my God ! 

For Thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone ; 
Thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked • 
Salvation belongs to Yahweh.^ 

4. Strophes of Five Lines 

The author of the book of Samuel gives us ^ a little piece of 
poetry of the didactic type that he calls : " The Last Words of 
David." This h'ric is composed of four strophes of five trim- 
eter lines each.* 

1. Utterance of the man whom the Most High raised up ; 
The spirit of Y^ahvfeh speaks in me, 

And his word is upon my tongue ; 
The God of Israel doth say to me, 
The Rock of Israel doth speak. 

2. A ruler over men — righteous ; 
A ruler in the fear of God. 

Yea, he is like the morning light when the sun rises, 

A morning without clouds. 

From shining, from rain, tender grass sprouts from the earth. 

3. Is not thus my house with God ? 

For an everlasting covenant hath He made with me. 
Arranged in all things, and secured ; 
Yea, all my salvation and every delight 
AVill He not cause it to sprout ? 

4. But the worthless, like thorns all of them are thrust away, 
For they cannot be taken with the hand. 

The man touching them. 

Must be armed with iron, and the spear's staff ; 

And with fire they will be utterly consumed. 

Psalm 67 has three trimeter pentastichs. 

1. May God be gracious to us and bless us ; 
Let His face shine toward us, 

1 " Yahvreh " is inserted in the Hebrew text without need. 

2 The last clause, which I have omitted, is a liturgical addition. 

3 2 Sam. 231-'. 

» The lyric is inti'oduced with these words : " David, the son of Jesse, saith." 
Two explanatory statements are inserted : "The anointed of the God of Jacob " 
and "Sweet in the songs of Israel" ; which call attention to the fact that the 
supposed author was king of Israel by divine appointment and that he was a 
sweet singer, renowned for lyric composition. Tliese statements have no place 
in the poem as such. 


And give to us peace ; ^ 

That Thy way may be known in the earth ; 

Among all nations Thy salvation. 

2. Let the people praise Thee, O God ; 
Let the people praise Thee, all of them ; 
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy ; 
For Thou wilt judge the peoples with equity. 
And the nations Thou wilt lead in the eaxth. 

3. Let the people praise Thee, O God, 
Let the people praise Thee, all of them ; 
The land hath given her increase ; 
And Yahweh, our God, will bless us,^ 
And all the ends of the earth will fear him. 

5. Strophes of Six Lines 

The six-lined strophe may be illustrated by the tetrameter, 
Ps. 46, which also has a refrain. 

1. God is ours, a refuge and strength, 

A help in troubles ready to be found ; 

Therefore we shall not fear though the earth change, 

And though mountains be moved into the heart of the seas ; 

Its waters roar, — be troubled. 

Mountains shake with the swelling thereof. 

Tahiceh Sabaoth is icrtft us ; ' 

The God of Jacob is our refuge. 

2. A river (there is) whose streams make glad the city of God, 
The holy place of the tabernacles of Elyon. 

God is In her midst ; she cannot be moved ; 
God will help her at the turn of the morn. 
Nations raged — kingdoms were moved ; 
Has He uttered His voice, the earth melteth. 
Yahweh Sabaoth is toith us ; 
The God of Jacob is our refuge. 

3. Come, behold the doings of Yahweh, 
What wonders He hath done in the earth. 

He is causing wars to cease unto the ends of the earth ; 
The bow He breaketh, and cutteth the .spear in sunder.* 

1 It is improbable that the high-priest's blessing (Xu. 6-*-^) would be mu- 
tilated, especially as the third line is needed to make up the five lines of the 
strophe. I do not hesitate, therefore, to restore it. 

- The words CHtK ";2~Z" are repeated in the Hebrew text by dittography. 
They destroy the measure. I have therefore elided them. The original Yahweh 
I have used instead of the later Elohim. 

' The refrain at the close of this strophe has been omitted as occasionally 
elsewhere in Hebrew poetry, and it should be restored. 

* The destruction of the iustruments of war is as in Hos. 2*', Is. 9*. We 
regard the clause r»<3 I'^V TvhiV as a later marginal addition that has crept 


Be still and know that I am God : 

I shall be exalted among tlie nations, I shall be exalted in the earth. 

Yahv:eh Sabaoth is irith us ; 

The God of Jacob is our refuge. 

Jesus gives us two fine specimens of this type. The first has ' 
two antithetical hexastichs in the tetrameter movement, in which 
each line of the second strophe is in parallelism with its fellow 
in the first strophe : 

1. Every one which heareth - these words of mine and doeth them, 
Shall be likened unto a wise man. 

Which built his house upon the rock : 
And the rain descended, and the floods came, 
And the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; 
And it fell not : for it was founded upon the rock. 

2. But every one which heareth these words of mine and doeth them not. 
Shall be likened unto a foolish man. 

Which built his house upon the sand ; 
And the rain descended, and the floods came, 
And the winds blew, and smote upon that house ; 
And it fell : and great was the fall thereof. 

This certainly is finer than any specimen of the hesastich in the 
whole range of the literature of Wisdom. The gospel of 3Iat- 
thew has preserved this piece in its original form, but Luke ^ has 
condensed it and made it into a prose parable. 

We shall now consider a longer piece, where the gospel has 
condensed the concluding strophe, and at times, also, by minor 
changes, mars the beauty of the other strophes. But the piece is 
so symmetrical that it is quite easy to see its original structure. 
This splendid piece of the Wisdom of Jesus describes His ro^-al 
judgment.* It is unsurpassed for simplicity, grandeur, pathos, 
antithesis, and graphic realism. It is composed of five pentameter 
strophes of six lines each. The first strophe is introductory, 
describing the King taking His seat on His judgment throne, sur- 
rounded by angels, the assembly of all nations before Him, and 
His separating them as a shepherd divides his sheep from his 
goats. The judgment itself is presented in four strophes, a pair 
for the righteous and a pair for the wicked, each pair composed 
of a strophe and an antistrophe, and the second pair being in 
such thorough-going antithetical parallelism to the first pair that 

Into the text. It is trimeter in the midst of tetrameters, and makes the strophe 
one line too long. ' Mt. I"*-^. 

5 iras SvTit dkoi/ei (v. 24) and tos o iKoiuv (v. 26) go back to the same 
original, CBCt ?3. oBi- is a connective that was inserted by the evangelist to 
adapt this sentence of Wisdom to its context. 

' Lk. 6«'-«». * .Mt. :;5"-". 


every line in the one is in antithesis to every line of the other. 
The whole concludes with a couplet summing up the everlasting 
penalty : 

1. AVTieu the Son of Man shall corae in His glory, and all the angels with Him, 
Then shall He sit on the throne of His glory : 

And before Him will be gathered all the nations : 

And he shall separate them one from another, 

As the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats : 

And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 

2. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom,' 
■Which was prepared for you from the foundation of the world : 

For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave 

Me drink : 
I was a stranger, and ye took Me In : naked, and ye clothed Me : 
I was sick, and ye visited Me : I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. 

3. Then shall the righteous answer him,- Lord, 

When saw we Thee an hungered and fed Thee, or athirst and gave Thee 

drink ? 
When '^ saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in ? or naked, and clothed 

When ■' saw we Thee sick, and visited Thee ? * or in prison, and came unto 

Thee ? 
And the King shall answer and say unto them. Verily I say unto you. 
Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these least of My brethren, ye did it unto 


4. Then shall the King' say also unto them on the left hand. 
Depart from Me, ye cursed, into Gehenna,^ 

Which is prepared for the devil and his angels : 

For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave 

me no drink : 
I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in : naked, and ye clothed Me not ; 

1 was sick, and ye visited Me not : I was in prison, and ye came not unto 


' The Greek combines lines 2 and 3 into one prose sentence, tt;^ iiT0ifj.a<Tti4i>rii> 
ifuy /SaffiXeiax, but the Hebrew, as Delitzsoh gives it, is Osb njaion nisbon, so 
that the third line begins with the participial clause (cf. strophe 4, line 3). 

2 Xifovra is a prosaic insertion. Hebrew poets usually omit ^as'7, leaving it 
to be understood (cf. Ps. 2-). ^ Si is an insertion of the Greek translation. 

* This clause is verified by the parallel in 2, line ; it was left out in the 
prose translation. 

s The parallelism of 2, line 1, requires " King." The Greek has reduced it 
to the mere subject implied in ipet. 

'■ There is a tendency in the Gospels to explain the Hebrew Gehenna to Gen- 
tile readers. I think that Gehenna was in the original in antithesis with 
"kingdom," and that "eternal fire" is an explanatory substitution (see The 
Erpository Times, June, 1807, p. 397). See also Chap. IV. p. 90. 

' This line has been reduced as strophe 3, line 4. There the verb " visited 
thee '' was left out, here the verb " came unto me." 


5. Then shall the -wicked ' answer him, Lord, 

When saw we Thee an hungered (and did not give Thee meat 2), or athirst 

(and gave Thee not to drink) ; 
(When saw we Thee) a stranger (and took Thee not in), or naked (and 

clothed Thee not) ; 
(When saw we Thee) sick (and did not visit Thee), or in prison (and did not 

come unto Thee). 
Then shall He answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not unto 


The following couplet was probably added by the evangelist : 

And these shall go away into eternal punishment ; 
But the righteous into eternal life. 

6. Strophes of Seven Lines 

The seven-lined strophe may be illustrated by the four pen- 
tameter strophes of Ps. 118. 

1. Give thanks to Yahweh ; for He is good — for His mercy is for ever; 
Let Israel now say — that His mercy is for ever ; 

Let the house of Aaron now say — that His mercy is for ever ; 
Let them now that fear Yahweh say — that His mercy is for ever. 
Out of my distress I called upon Yah — He answered me in a large place. 
Yahweh is mine ; I will not fear : — what can man do unto me ? 
Yahweh is mine, as among them that help me — I wiE see my desire in my 

2. Better to seek refuge in Yahweh — than to trust in man. 
Better to seek refuge in Yahweh — than to trust in nobles. 

All nations do compass me about — it is in the name of Yahweh that I will 

destroy them. 
They do compass me about ; yea, they do compass me all about — it is in the 

name of Yahweh that I will destroy them : 
They do compass me about as bees — they will surely be quenched as the fire 

of thorns.^ 
They did thrust sore at me that I might fall — but Yahweh helped me ; 
My help and my song is Yah — and He is become mine for victory. 

3. The voice of rejoicing and victory — is in the tents of the righteous : * 

The right liand of Yahweh is exalted — the right hand of Yahweh is doing 

1 The antithesis requires the "wicked" over against the " righteouB," and 
not simply the subject of the verb. The measure of the line also demands it. 

2 In this strophe the clauses were all condensed in the Greek prose transla- 
tion by omission of all the verbs, and the summing of them up in "minister 
unto thee." They should all be restored. 

'The third "It is in the name of Yahweh that I will destroy them," is 
dittography. I elide it tlierefore. 

* "The right hand of Yahweh is doing valiantly," is a dittograph from the 
line below. I elide it therefore. 


I shall not die but I shall live — and I will declare the works of Yah. 

Yah hath chastened me sore — but to death he did not give me. 

Open for me the gates of righteousness — that I may enter into them to give 

thanks to Yah. 
Yonder gate is Yahweh's — the righteous may enter therein. 
I will give thanks to Thee, for Thou hast answered me — and art become mine 

for victory. 

4. The stone the builders rejected — is become the head of the comer. 
From Yahweh is this — it is marvellous in our eyes. 
This very day Yahweh hath made — let us rejoice and let us be glad in it. 

now Yahweh give victory — O now Yahweh send prosperity. 

Blessed be he that cometh in the name of Yahweh — ^we bless yon from the 

house of Yahweh. 
Yahweh is God and He hath let shine His face for us i even unto the horns 

of the altar. 
My God art Thou, and I wUl give thanks unto Thee — my God I will exalt 


A choice pentameter of seven-lined strophes is the prophecy 
(Is. 14). The following strophes will be sufficient to illustrate : 

1. How art thou fallen from heaven — O day star, son of the morning ! 
How art thou cut down to earth — thou who didst lay low the nations 1 
Thou, indeed, who saidst in thine heart — I wiU ascend unto heaven, 
Above the stars of God — I will lift up my throne. 

And wiU sit in the mount of congiegation — ou the remote parts of the 
north : 

1 will ascend above the heights of cloud — I wiU be like to 'Elyon. 
Yet unto Sheol thou art brought down — to the sides of the pit. 

2. They that look upon thee, narrowly look upon thee — upon thee consider ; 
Is this the man that made the earth tremble — shook kingdoms ; 

Made the habitable world as a wilderness — and its cities overthrew ; 
His prisoners did not loose to their homes — all (of them) kings of nations ? 
All of them lay down in honour — each in his own house : 
But thou art cast forth as an abhorred vulture ^ — clothed with the slain. 
Among those pierced with the sword, descending to the stones of the Pit * — 
thou art like a carcass trodden under foot.^ 

7. Strophes of JSi^/ht Lines 

The strophe of eight lines is more frequent. 
Psalm 8 is a beautiful example of a hymn in two strophes of 
eight lines each, with a refrain, having the peculiarity that the 

1 The clause omitted is a gloss from the margin. It was a liturgical direction 
with regard to the thank offering accompanying this Te. Deiim for victory. 

2 The psalm closes with a final liturgical line : " Give thanks to Yahweh ; for 
He is good — for His mercy is for ever." 

' Read "VSl, vulture, for "12£:, branch, and strike out T^-pB as a gloss. 
* This, according to usage, is the Pit of Sheol. ^ Is. 14i*-i3. 


refrain begins the first strophe and closes the second, thus 
ending the psahn : 

1. Yahweb, our Lord, 

How excellent is Thy name in all the earth ! 
Thou whose glory doth extend over the heavens, 
Out of the mouth of little children and sucklings 
Thou dost establish strength because of Thine adversaries, 
To silence enemy and avenger. 
When I see Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers. 
Moon and stars which Thou hast prepared ; 
What is frail man, that Thou shouldst be mindful of him ? 
Or the son of man, that Thou visitest him ? 

2. When thou didst make him a little lower than divine beings, 
With glory and honour crowning him. 

Thou mad'st him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands ; 

All things Thou didst put under his feet : 

Sheep and oxen, all of them ; 

And also beasts of the field ; 

Birds of heaven, and fishes of the sea ; 

Those that pass through the paths of the sea. 

Yahweh, our Lord, 

How excellent is Thy name in all the earth ! 

Jesus gives a strikingly beautiful specimen of the octastich * in 
three tetrameter strophes, with an introductory couplet. These 
strophes are in synonymous parallelism, line for line, throughout 
the eight lines of the three strophes. There are a few places 
where the gospel has marred the original line by the Greek trans- 
lation, by words of explanation, or by condensation. But the 
piece is so symmetrical that it is difi&cult to miss the original. 

Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men,^ 
Else ye have no reward with your Father. ^ 

This is the introductory couplet. Three kinds of righteousness 
are now taken up : almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. Between the 
prayer and the fasting, Matthew, as often in the Sermon on the 
Mount, has inserted other material relating to prayer; namely, 
the Lord's Prayer, which is given by Luke in a more appropriate 
historical place, and a tetrastich as to forgiveness.* The three 
strophes are as follows : 

I Mt. 6>-6 i»-w. 

^ The Greek adds the explanatory npbs t4 eeaOrjvai auroit, which makes the 
line too long, and is tautological. 

' Matthew as usual adds rij! ir tois ovpavoU. 

* See The Expository Times, July, 18!t7, p. 453. 


1. When • thou doest alms, thou shall not be as the hypocrites : - 

For they sound a trumpet before them in the synagogues and in the streets, 

That they may have glory of men. 

Verily I say unto you. They have received their reward. 

But thou,^ when thou doest alms, 

Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth : 

That thine alms may be in secret ; 

And thy Father which seeth in secret shall recompense thee. 

2. When< thou prayest,^ thou shalt not be as the hypocrites : 
For they love to stand ^ in the synagogues and on ' the streets, 
That they may be seen of men to pray. 

Verily I say unto you. They have received their reward. 

But thou, when thou prayest. 

Enter into thine inner chamber and close ^ the door : 

And pray to thy Father which is in secret ; 

And thy Father which seeth in secret shall recompense thee. 

3. When thou fastest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites: 

They ' are of sad countenance, because they disfigure their faces, 

That they may be seen of men to fast. 

Verily 1 say unto you. They have received their reward. 

But thou, when thou fastest. 

Anoint thy head and wash thy face : ''' 

That thou mayest be seen of thy Father which is in secret ; 

And thy Father which seeth in .secret shall recompense thee. 

The threefold reiteration in these parallel lines as to the three 
classes of righteous conduct is exceedingly powerful. 

' o5» has been inserted_ as a connective. 

- Comparison with the other strophes makes it evident that there has been 
a transposition here, which ha.s destroyed the measure of the two lines, and 
made them into one prose sentence. It is easy to restore the original. 

' "Thou" should be inserted, as in the other two strophes. 

* (ta! is a Greek insertion. 

' There is a variation in the Greek between the second singular and second 
plural, which is due to the inexactness of the translator. I do not hesitate to 
restore the second singular, which was evidently original throughout. 

' "Pray'" has been transposed in Greek from the next line. The parallel 
lines and other strophes show that it belongs there. 

' " Corners '" has been inserted to make it more specific. 

* The Greek connects this with the following sentence because of its 
idiomatic use of the participle for the Hebrew verb. 

'The Greek attaches (rKvepuwol to the "hypocrites," but the parallel lines 
show that there should be a statement respecting them at the beginning of the 
second line. 

" nn ToU aydpiiwois — iWi. are in.sertions to make the statement more em- 
phatic, but they destroy the measure of the line and the parallelism with the 
other strophes. 


8. Strophes of Nettie Lines 

Psalms 42, 43, give strophes of nine lines with refrains : 

1. As a hart which crieth out after the water brooks, 
So my soul crieth out for Thee, O God ! 

My soul doth thirst for God, for the God of life ; 

How long ere I shall come to appear before the face of God ? 

My teare have been to me food day and night ; 

While they say unto me all day, Wliere is thy God ? 

These things would I remember, and would pour out my soul within me : 

How I used to pass along in the throng, used to lead them up to the house of 

With the sound of rejoicing and praise, a multitude keeping festival. 

Why art thou bowed down, my soul? and why art thou moaning 
within me ? 

Wait on God : for yet shall I praise Kim. 

The deliverance of my face, and my God. 

2. Therefore would I remember Thee from the land of Jordan, and the Hermons, 

from the mount Mizar. 
Deep unto deep is calling to the sound of Thy cataracts; 
All Thy breakei-s and Thy billows do pass over me : 
By day Yahweh will appoint His mercy, 

And by night His song will be with me, prayer to the God of my life. 
I must say to the God of my rock, Why dost Thou forget me ? 
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of an enemy ? 
As a breaking in my bones my adverearies do reproach me ; 
While they say unto me all day, Where is thy God ? 

Why art thou bowed down, my soul ? and_ why art thou moaning 
within me ? 

Wait on God : for yet shall I praise Him, 

The deliverance of my face, and my God. 

3. Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an unmerciful nation ; 
Against a man of deceit and wickedness, deliver me. 

O Thou God. my fortress, why dost Thou cast me oS ? 

Why must I go about mourning because of the oppression of an enemy ? 

Send Thy light and Tliy truth : let thera lead me ; 

Let them bring me unto Thy holy mount, even to Thy dwellings : 

That I may come to the altar of God, 

To the God of the joy of my rejoicing, 

That I may praise Tliee with harp, O God, my God. 

Why art thou bowed down, my soul ? and why art thou moaning 
within me ? 

Wait on God : for yet shall I praise Him, 

The deliverance of my face, and my God. 

The strophes have each nine lines, the refrain three lines. I 

am well aware that other arrangements of the lines are usual, and 
that objection may be taken to my elimination of v. 7 a: but it 
seems clearly established that a copyist's mistake has caused the 


refrain of the first strophe to be deprived of its closing word, 
which begins this verse ; and the other three words are easiest to 
explain as copyist's mistakes, also repeated from the refrain. 

9. Strophes of Ten Lines 

Strophes of ten lines are frequent. Tlie Psalm of Creation^ 
has eight trimeter strophes of ten lines each. 

Two strophes will suffice to illustrate : 

1. Bless, O my soul, Yaliweh. 
My God - Thou art very great ; 

With grandeur and glory Thou art clothed ; 
Covering Thyself with light as a garment, 
Stretching out heaven as a curtain ; 
He who layeth in the waters His chambers, 
He who maketh the clouds His chariot. 
He who walketh on the wings of the wind ; 
Making winds His messengers, 
His ministers flaming fire. 

2. He laid the earth on its foundations : 
It cannot be moved for ever and ever. 

With the deep a-s a vesture Thou didst cover it. 

Above the mountains waters were standing ; 

At Thy rebuke they flee, 

At the sound of Thy thunder they haste away ; 

They flow over the mountains, they descend into the valleys. 

Unto the place that Thou didst lay for them. 

The bound Thou didst set that they might not pass over : 

They may not return to cover the earth. 

10. Strophes of Twelve Lines 

The strophe of twelve lines may be illustrated by the beauti- 
ful piece of Wisdom (Prov. 9) : 

1. Wisdom hath builded her house. 
She hath hewn out her seven pillars : 
She hath killed her beasts ; she hath mingled her wine ; 
She hath furnished her table. 
She hath sent forth her maidens to ci^y 
Upon the high places of the city : 
Whoso is simple, let liim turn in hither ; 
As for him that is void of understanding, she saith to him : 
Come, eat of my bread, 

1 Ps. 104. 

2 The Jlassoretic mn'' has been inserted from dittography. It makes the 
trimeter into a tetrameter without reason. 


And drink of the wine wliich I have mingled. 
Leave off, ye simple ones, and live ; 
And vpalk in the way of understanding. 

2. The woman Folly is clamorous ; 
Simplicity, — she knoweth nothing. 
And she sitteth at the door of her house, 
On a seat in the high places of the city. 
To call to them that p;iss by, 
Who go right on their way : 
Whoso is simple, let liim turn in hither ; 
And as for him that is void of understanding, she saith to him. 
Stolen waters are sweet. 
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 
But he knoweth not that the Shades are there, 
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol. 

11. Strophes of Fourteen Lines 

The strophe of fourteen lines is frequent in Hebrew poetry. 
Psalm 18 = 2 Sara. 22 is a good example. 
Two strophes will suffice to show it : 

1. I love Thee, Yahweh, my strength. 

My ' rock and my fortress and my deliverer ; 

My God, my .strong rock in whom I seek refuge ; 

My shield, and horn of my salvation, my high tower, 

(I said) I will call upon Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised : 

So shall I be saved from mine enemies. 

The breakers - of death compassed me. 

And the floods of Belial terrified me, 

The cords of Sheol compassed me. 

The snares of Death came upon me ; 

In my distress I call upon Yahweh, 

And cry unto my God ; 

He hears my voice out of His temple, 

And my cry * comes unto His ears. 

2. Then the earth shook and trembled. 

And the foundations of tlie mountains moved, 
And were shaken, because He was wroth. 
There went up a smoke in His no.strils. 
And fire out of His mouth devoured : 
Coals were kindled by it. 
And He bowed (he heavens and came down. 
Thick darkness under His feet, 

1 rvrv of Hebrew text sliould be elided. It is an assimilation to 2 Sam. 22, 
which omits previous line. 

2 "hzn of Hebrew text is dittography from next line. The reading of 
2 Sam. 22 is correct. See p. 91. 

« I'sab is not in 2 Sam. 22. It makes the line too long, and should be elided. 


And rode upon the cherub and flew : 

Yea, flew swiftly upon the wings of the wind. 

He made darkness i round about Him His pavilion, 

Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies, 

From the brightness before Him,^ they passed, 

Hailstones and coals of fire. 

12. Unequal Strophes 

The strophes are not always of an equal number of lines. 
Often there is an intentional variation of their number. One 
of the earliest odes^ is composed of three strophes, gradually 
diminishing, in accordance with its dirgelike character, in 
6x5x4 lines. The ode is abrupt in style, rapid in transitions, 
full of rare forms and expressions, with frequent alliterations, 
and of real beauty : 

Come to Heshbon ! 

Built, yea established be the city of Sihon ; 

For fire went forth from Heshbon, 

Flame from the city of Sihon. 

It consumed Ar of Moab, 

The lords of the high places of Arnon. 

Woe to thee, Moab ! 
Thou art lost, people of Chemosh ! 
He hath given over his sons unto flight, 
And his daughters unto captivity. 
Unto the king of the Amorites, Sihon ! 

Then we shot at them — He was lost — 
Heshbon unto Dibon — 
And we wasted them even unto Nophah, 
With fire unto Medeba. 

The refrain is frequently used in Hebrew poetry. We have 
had a number of exartiples where it begins or closes strophes of 
equal length.* But the refrain does not alwaj's divide the 
poem into equal strophes. Thus the dirge of Saul* is com- 
posed of three parts, which melt away according to the scheme 
of 18, 5, 1. The refrain itself does not always correspond 
throughout. Thus in Ps. 80 it increases itself for emphasis in 
the heaping up of the divine names in the successive strophes ; 

' npD of Hebrew text is an explanatory insertion. 

2 V2r of Hebrew text is from dittography. 

« Nu. 21"-®'. * See pp. 403, 406, 410. " ^ 2 Sam. I'^-s'. 


the tliird and fourth strophes constitute a double strophe, giv- 
ing the allegory of the vine with a double refrain at the close, 
massing together a series of imperatives. Psalm 45 gives a 
varying refrain and three gradually increasing parts. The 
refrain is also used for the division of larger pieces of poetry, 
as in the Song of Songs, -where it divides the poem into five 
acts ; and in the great Book of Comfort of the second Isaiah, 
where the two earlier editions, as well as the final division, are 
all marked by refrains.^ In all these cases the strophes and 
the divisions of the poems are of unequal lengths. The strophes 
of the book of Job and of the Prophets are also usuall}- unequal.^ 

1 See Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, 7th ed., pp. 141 seq., 229 seq., 3.38 seq. 

2 See pp. 422-425. 



Hebrew poetry may be divided into three general classes, 

— Lyric, Gnomic, and Composite. 

I. Lyric Poetry 

Lyric poetry is the earliest development of literature. We 
find it scattered through the various historical and prophetical 
books, and also in the great collection of Hebrew Ij-ric poetry, 
the Psalter. The three pieces ascribed by tradition to Moses - 
subdivide lyric poetry into the hj-mn, the prayer, and the song. 
The hymn is found in rich variety, — the evening hymn, the 
morning hymn, the hymn in a storm, hymns of victory or odes, 
the thanksgi\ang hymn. The Korahite Psalter is composed 
chiefly of hymns ; so also the most of the fourth and fifth books 
of the Psalter, including the greater and lesser hallels, the hal- 
lelujahs, and doxologies. The prayers are in great abundance, 

— evening and morning prayers, a litany before a battle, prayers 
for personal and national deliverance, psalms of lamentation, 
penitence, religious meditation, of faith and assurance, — in all 
the rich variety of devotion. These are most numerous in the 
psalms ascribed to David, and may be regarded as esjiecially 
the type of the Davidic Psalter, the earliest prayer-book of 
Israel. A special form of this class is the dirge, represented 
in the laments of David over Saul and Jonathan, and over 
Abner, and in the very elaborate and artistic book of Lamenta- 
tions, and not infrequently in the Prophets. The songs are 
abundant, and in every variety of historical description, pict- 
ures of nature, didactic exhortation and advice, social and 
other poems. In the Psalter there are songs of exhortation, 

» Ex. 15 ; Ps. 90 ; Deut. .32. 


warning, encouragement, historical recollection, prophetic an- 
ticipation, and the love song. The psalms of Asaph are chiefly 
of this class of poems. 

II. Gnomic Poetry 

Gnomic poetry has but few specimens in the historical books. 
There has been preserved a riddle of the ancient hero Samson : 

From the eater came forth food, 

And from the strong came forth sweetness. 

This is followed by a satire : 

If you had not plovighed with my heifer, 
You would not have found out my riddle. * 

Another witty saying of this hero is preserved : 

With the jawbone of an ass a heap two heaps ; 

With the jawbone of an ass have I smitten a thousand men.' 

The fable of Jotham^ is the finest specimen of this gnomic 
poetry to be found in Hebrew apart from the Wisdom Litera- 

The trees went forth on a time 

To anoint a king over them. 

1. And they said unto the olive tree : 
Come thou, ^nd reign over us. 
But tlie olive tree said unto them : 
Shall I leave my fatness, 
Wherewith they honour God and men, 
And go to sway over the trees '! 

•2. And the trees said to the fig tree : 
Come thou, and reign over us. 
But the tig tree .said unto them : 
Shall I leave my sweetness, 
And also ray good fruit. 
And go to sway over the ti-ees ? 

.3. And the trees said unto the vine : 
Come tliou, and reigu over us. 
And the vine said unto them : 
Shall I leave my wine. 
Which choereth God and man, 
And go to sway over the trees ? 

4. And * the trees said unto the bramble : 
Come thou, and reign over us. 

iJd. 14"". 2.1d. 16'«. 'Jd. 9«-i'. 

* The Hebrew b2 = all seems an mmecessary insertion. 


But the bramble said unto the trees : i 
Come, seek refuge in my shadow : 
' And fire will come out of the bramble, 
To devour the cedars of Lebanon. 

The Hebrews were fond of this species of poetry, but we 
could hardly expect to fiud much of it in the Bible. ^ Its re- 
ligious and ethical forms are preserved in a rich collection in 
the Proverbs, consisting of fables, parables, proverbs, riddles, 
moral and political maxims, satires, philoso^jhical and specula- 
tive sentences. There are several hundred distinct couplets, 
— synonymous, antithetical, parabolical, comparative, emble- 
matical, — besides Aft}' larger pieces of three, four, five, six, 
seven, and eight lines, with a few poems, such as the temper- 
ance poem,^ the pastoral,* the pieces ascribed to the poets 
Aluqah, Agur, and Lemuel, the alphabetical praise of the tal- 
ented wife,^ and the great admonition of Wisdom in fifteen 
advancing discourses.^ 

A few specimens of this kind of poetry will suffice to illus- 
trate it. 

There are several riddles ascribed to Aluqah." 

(1) The riddle of the insatiable things : ' 

Two daughters (cry) : give ! give