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The Book of Judges, with Introduction and Notes. C. F. Burnet, 
D.Litt., Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture in the 
University of Oxford. Rivingtons. 1918. Pp. cxxviii, 528, with maps 
and phototype plates. 

Professor Burney's preface, after reminding us that Biblical science 
does not stand still, and that we should be daily widening the basis 
of our research, declares that " for himself, he can say with truth that 
such first-hand acquaintance with the Babylonian and Assyrian lan- 
guage and literature as he has been able to acquire during the past 
fourteen years or so, has revolutionized his outlook upon Old Testa- 
ment studies." It is with no little trepidation, therefore, that one 
takes up this bulky volume of 650 closely-printed pages. But ap- 
prehension soon gives way to a sense of relief; for, although the book 
contains a vast amount of material not hitherto found in works on 
the Book of Judges, it contains little that, even if universally accepted, 
would seriously affect the prevailing processes and opinions of Bibli- 
cal scholarship. 

The chief results of the author's occupation with Assyriological 
learning are to be found in his admittedly disproportionate disser- 
tations on questions which lie beyond or aside from the subject- 
matter of the Book of Judges. Thus there is a long section (64 
pages) of the Introduction devoted to " External information bearing 
on the period of Judges," which sets forth and discusses with great 
detail all that is known — and supposed — concerning the history 
of Palestine and Syria, as well as Mesopotamia and parts of Asia 
Minor, before ever the Israelites appeared upon the stage. Some of 
this is highly speculative, one " if " being piled upon another until the 
whole edifice leans dangerously, and a great deal of it would be more 
in place in technical Assyriological journals; but conservative Old 
Testament science has no positive quarrel with it. So also with the 
excursus on " Yah we or Yahu, originally an Amorite deity " (pp. 
243 ff .) . Old Testament scholars are well aware that the name Yahwe 
is not Hebrew, and must therefore have been derived by the Pales- 
tinian Israelites either from some foreign source or else from their 
own foreign ancestors. To be sure, the Amorites themselves, accord- 
ing to Professor Burney, spoke a language nearly identical with 
Hebrew, so that the question remains as to whence they in their turn 
acquired title to the god. But we are content to leave the matter 


there. Nor are we much shocked to find another " additional note " 
on the " Early identification of Yahwe with the Moon-god " (pp. 
249 ff.), a deity whose worship will have extended from Ur of the 
Chaldees in southern Babylonia to Haran in the north, and thence 
again to the wilderness of Sin on the borders of Egypt. For if He- 
brew Yahwe is the same as Yahu or Yatum or Ya of the Babylonian 
inscriptions, then, Sin being the moon-god of Babylonia, the Baby- 
lonian names Ya-ma-e-ra-ah, that is " Ya indeed is the moon," and 
Sin-ya-tum, that is " Sin is Yatum," and the Hebrew name Sinai, 
that is " Sin's mountain," combine to attest the fact that Yahwe was 
at one time identical with the moon-god Sin; a conclusion confirmed 
by the circumstance that a North Arabian tribe of Yahwe-worshipers 
was called Jerahmeel, which is (being interpreted as a species of 
Hebraeo-Babylonian jargon) " the moon indeed is god " ! Such may 
be the hole of the pit whence Yahwe was digged. It is only when we 
are told that the words of Exodus 24 9-n, " Then went up Moses, and 
Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and 
they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were 
a pavement of sapphire, and as the heaven itself for clearness. And 
upon the nobles of the children of Israel he put not forth his hand; 
and they beheld the deity, and did eat and drink " — that these 
words betray familiarity with Yahwe's lunar past, and suggest " the 
spectacle of the moon, riding at the full in the deep sapphire sky," 
that we are inclined to balk. One may, if one chooses, identify the 
bearer of the name Yahu in the Babylonian records with the Moon- 
god or anything else, in the absence of evidence to the contrary; but 
one must be careful not to let the Israelites of the historic period 
know that the talk is of their national deity. For they would hardly 
have allowed the prophet Elijah to travel forty days and forty nights 
beyond the southern confines of Canaan, to a cave on Mount Horeb, 
for an interview with the moon; or have dealt so savagely with a 
recognized fellow servant of the moon as they did with Sihon, king 
of the Amorites. And we may add — it is the author who raises 
the question — that Christians, at any rate, will probably continue 
to think " the alternative conception of a revelation in human form 
less unspiritual." 

More sane and to the point is the essay on " The use of writ- 
ing among the Israelites in the times of the Judges " (pp. 253 ff.), 
although this too is somewhat marred by a fantastic Assyriological 
note on the " Sumerio-Akkadian " origin of the Phoenician alphabet. 
The author's treatment of historical questions is naturally more suc- 
cessful where the field is less nebulous and the data more tangible. 


For example, the section of the Introduction on the chronology of 
the Book of Judges furnishes an excellent conspectus of that involved 
subject, and, except for the erroneous assumption of the trustworthi- 
ness of the genealogy in I Samuel 14 3 (a demonstrable scribal con- 
coction), leaves little to be desired. The first business, however, of 
a commentary on an ancient text is, not to discuss the historical 
problems which it suggests, but to determine, so far as possible, 
when and in what environment the writer of it wrote, just what he 
said, and what he meant. When this much has been achieved by the 
exegete, the historian may take up the task — preferably in a sepa- 
rate volume. 

With regard to the composition and date of the Book of Judges, 
the author adopts in the main the conventional critical view. Our 
present book is a post-exilic enlargement of an earlier work, the 
so-called Deuteronomistic Judges; which was in turn merely a hom- 
iletical edition, with introduction and notes, of certain narrative ex- 
tracts from a composite " prophetical " history book identical with 
the JE source of the Pentateuch and Joshua. Chapters 1 1-2 5, 9, 16, 
and 17-21 were not included in that edition, but were inserted, 
chiefly from the still extant JE source, by the post-exilic redactor 
R p ' Professor Burney departs from the current view, however, in 
denying emphatically that the earlier edition of Judges is properly 
characterized as Deuteronomistic, holding that, on the contrary, it 
antedated the Deuteronomic legislation and reform, to the develop- 
ment of which it very materially contributed. The principal argu- 
ment for this contention is linguistic: unlike Joshua and Kings, the 
Book of Judges contains few of the stock phrases of Deuteronomy, 
showing affinity rather with the language of Joshua 24 and I Samuel 
12, which are commonly assigned to the later stratum of the E docu- 
ment. He accordingly designates the earlier editor R E2 , " Redactor 
of the late Ephraimitic School," instead of R D . The linguistic argu- 
ment is by no means conclusive; for it is quite conceivable that, of 
two writers equally dominated by the Deuteronomic point of view 
and teaching, one should adhere more slavishly to the phraseology 
of Deuteronomy than the other; and the theological pragmatism of 
Judges, which after all is the important thing, is sufficiently akin 
to that of Kings. Nevertheless, it must be conceded that Professor 
Burney has furnished reason enough for a reconsideration of the 
critical position at this point, especially if, as has been plausibly 
maintained, the earlier Book of Judges embraced material now 
found in the first twelve chapters of the Book of Samuel. Unfortu- 
nately, he threatens to complicate the discussion with a theory of 


his own as to the North Israelitish origin of Deuteronomy, which he 
promises to set forth in a future publication. When he does so, 
he will doubtless not overlook the fact that the theory involves the 
defense of the Samaritan as against the Jewish interpretation of 
Deuteronomy 12. 

Only occasionally does the author hesitate to resolve the narra- 
tives themselves into their constituent elements, J, E, E 2 , and R J . 
He detects both J and E material in the stories of Ehud, Gideon, 
Abimelech, and Jephthah, as well as in chapters 17-21. The prose 
story of Deborah and Barak is mainly E, though contaminated with 
matter from another source; the Song of Deborah came in with E; 
the story of Samson is J. In the judgment of the present writer, it 
is by no means certain that two primary sources underlie so many 
of the narratives even of the Deuteronomistic Judges; while it is 
absolutely certain that no second source was ever employed in the 
stories of the Migration of the Danites and the Benjamite War, 
where Professor Burney's analytical tour de force reminds of nothing 
so much as of the late Professor Green's satirical " analysis " of the 
parable of the Prodigal Son. 1 The important fact, which our author 
has failed to perceive, is that the sections inserted in the Book of 
Judges by the post-exilic redactor, from the still extant extra-canonical 
ancient literature, had an entirely different history. It is an unwar- 
ranted, though too prevalent, assumption that all the pre-exilic nar- 
ratives contained in our books of Genesis to Samuel are descended 
in a single and direct line from the union, sometime in the seventh 
century, of the two documents which critics label J and E. For the 
rest, the characterization of the J and E national histories as " pro- 
phetical," although quite the fashion among a certain class of writers 
on the Old Testament, has little justification, and should be aban- 
doned, in the interest alike of accuracy and of more fruitful research. 
E is a somewhat uncertain quantity; in particular, matter designated 
E 2 is not easily distinguished from that which is assigned to R JE and 
subsequent redactions. But the J document, upon any entertainable 
theory of its date and compass, affords no justification whatever for 
the name " prophetical." 

Quite the least satisfactory part of the book is the section devoted 
to the elucidation of the Song of Deborah, which occupies no less than 
81 pages. Besides a voluminous running commentary on the text, 
there is a discussion of the art of Hebrew versification in general, 
a " detailed examination of the rhythm of the Song," a chapter on 

1 " Auch im Alten Testament kann die literarische Analyse zum Kinder spiel 
ausarten." Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien, p. 57. 


its " climactic parallelism," an English translation (printed twice 
in full) reproducing the supposed " rhythm " of the original, and a 
complete transliteration of the restored Hebrew text as it was pro- 
nounced in pre-Masoretic times (!) — with this result, by way of 

Awake, | awake, | Deborah! 

Awake, | awake, | sing paean! 

Rise | Barak, | and lead captive 

Thy captors, | O s6n | of Abino'am! 

Come, | ye commanders | of Israel! 
Ye that volunteered | among the people, |] bl6ss ye | Yahweh! 
Let the riders | on tawny || she-asses | review it, 
And 16t | the wayfarers || recall it | to mind! 
Hark | to the maidens || laughing at | the wells! 
There | they recount || the righteous acts| , of Yahweh, 

The righteous acts | of his arm | in Israel. 

This represents a " strophe " of the original (as restored by trans- 
position, emendation, and conjectural interpretation), showing five 
lines of three accents each, followed by five lines of four accents, 
and a final line of three accents. It must not be supposed, however, 
that the remaining " strophes " of the song exhibit the same scheme. 
On the contrary, each " strophe " is a law unto itself. So that one 
wonders how the poor Hebrews ever divined what rhythmization was 
expected of them without the aid of Professor Burney's space-rules to 
guide them. As to the transliteration and rhythmization of the 
original, if the author himself has succeeded in pronouncing hammith- 
naddabhim, baggabborim, umizZabhtd'dn, tubarrakhi, wattuyabbdbh, with 
but one accent as indicated, and as demanded by his " rhythm," 
he has performed a phonetic miracle, the wonder of which is not les- 
sened by the specimen of alliterative poetry from " Piers Plowman " 
misguidedly adduced in the addendum on page xiv. It will be 
noticed from the above example, moreover, that the ancient Hebrew 
poets actually practiced enjambement! For the rest, the statement 
that " the theory of Hebrew rhythm expounded by Sievers is now 
generally adapted [adopted ?] by scholars " (p. 100) could have been 
made only by a writer who had failed to grasp the essence of that 
theory, and was but superficially acquainted with the literature of 
the subject. So far from being now followed " very generally " by 
scholars, there is reason to doubt that the theory has been entertained 
by Sievers himself since the year 1908, when its very foundations were 

In general, the author's textual criticism and interpretation, while 
undeniably exhibiting abundant erudition and almost incalculable 


labor, fall far short of the rigidly scientific standards set by Professor 
Moore's publications of twenty-odd years ago. To mention just one 
point, it seems incredible that a scholar living in Oxford should 
have contented himself with the notoriously inadequate and unreli- 
able footnotes of Kittel's edition of the Hebrew Bible for the read- 
ings of a text so important for the Book of Judges as that of the 
Codex Lugdunensis. 

Such spellings as Joshua', Hosea', Gide'on, Cana'an, Cana'anite, 
are neither English nor transliterated Hebrew. 

William R. Abnold. 

Andovek Theological Seminary. 

The Present Conflict of Ideals. A Study of the Philosophical 
Background of the World War. Ralph Barton Perry. Longmans, 
Green, & Co. 1918. Pp. xiii, 549. 

Professor Perry has given his readers two books in one; the first 
an examination of the moral and religious aspects of contemporary 
philosophical tendencies, the second a study of the national char- 
acteristics and the political traditions of Germany, France, Great 
Britain, and the United States. The dozen chapters which make up 
the latter part of the volume belong essentially to the literature of 
the war, and have now lost some, though by no means all, of their 
pertinency and interest. But the conflict with which most of the 
book deals has its seat chiefly in men's minds, and its fighting lines 
are drawn without regard to national boundaries. It is not, in spite 
of the title, merely a conflict of " ideals " which Professor Perry de- 
scribes; it is more largely with rival conceptions of the general nature 
of things, of the implications of man's cognitive and moral experience, 
of the relation to human interests and ideals of the reality which en- 
velops them, that he is concerned. The book, in short, has even 
more to do with the philosophy of religion, in the broadest sense of 
the term, than with ethics; though no single label could easily do 
justice to the range of its themes. Few of the more significant 
tendencies of contemporary thought are left unconsidered. Nor 
does Professor Perry, in the present volume, limit his interest to the 
philosophy of the schools. Strindberg and Maeterlinck find their 
place along with the more technical moralists; neither " Billy " 
Sunday nor George Moore is altogether ignored, among the samples of 
the mind of the twentieth century, and Ian Hay jostles Hegel in the