International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ARMENIAN VERSIONS, OF THE BIBLE
ar-me'-ni-an vur'-shuns, bi'-bl.
I. ANCIENT ARMENIAN
1. Circumstances under Which Made
2. The Translators
4. Results of Circulation
5. Printed Editions
II. MODERN ARMENIAN VERSIONS
III. ARMENIAN LANGUAGE
I. Ancient Armenian.
1. Circumstances under Which Made:
Armenia was in large measure Christianized by Gregory Lousavorich ("the Illuminator": consecrated 302 A.D.; died 332), but, as Armenian had not been reduced to writing, the Scriptures used to be read in some places in Greek, in others in Syriac, and translated orally to the people. A knowledge of these tongues and the training of teachers were kept up by the schools which Gregory and King Tiridates had established at the capital Vagharshapat and elsewhere. As far as there was any Christianity in Armenia before Gregory's time, it had been almost exclusively under Syrian influence, from Edessa and Samosata. Gregory introduced Greek influence and culture, though maintaining bonds of union with Syria also.
When King Sapor of Persia became master of Armenia (378 A.D.), he not only persecuted the Christians most cruelly, but also, for political reasons, endeavored to prevent Armenia from all contact with the Byzantine world. Hence his viceroy, the renegade Armenian Merouzhan, closed the schools, proscribed Greek learning, and burnt all Greek books, especially the Scriptures. Syriac books were spared, just as in Persia itself; but in many cases the clergy were unable to interpret them to their people. Persecution had not crushed out Christianity, but there was danger lest it should perish through want of the Word of God. Hence several attempts were made to translate the Bible into Armenian. It is said that Chrysostom, during his exile at Cucusus (404-407 A.D.), invented an Armenian alphabet and translated the Psalter, but this is doubtful. But when Arcadius ceded almost all Armenia to Sapor about 396 A.D., something had to be done. Hence in 397 the celebrated Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac (Sachak) the Catholicos resolved to translate the Bible. Mesrob had been a court secretary, and as such was well acquainted with Pahlavi, Syriac and Greek, in which three languages the royal edicts were then published. Isaac had been born at Constantinople and educated there and at Caesarea. Hence he too was a good Greek scholar, besides being versed in Syriac and Pahlavi, which latter was then the court language in Armenia. But none of these three alphabets was suited to express the sounds of the Armenian tongue, and hence, an alphabet had to be devised for it.
2. The Translators:
A council of the nobility, bishops and leading clergy was held at Vagharshapat in 402, King Vramshapouch being present, and this council requested Isaac to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular. By 406, Mesrob had succeeded in inventing an alphabet-practically the one still in use-principally by modifying the Greek and the Pahlavi characters, though some think the Palmyrene alphabet had influence. He and two of his pupils at Samosata began by translating the Book of Proverbs, and then the New Testament, from the Greek Meanwhile, being unable to find a single Greek manuscript in the country, Isaac translated the church lessons from the Peshitta Syriac, and published this version in 411. He sent two of his pupils to Constantinople for copies of the Greek Bible. These men were present at the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D. Probably Theodoret (De Cura Graec. Affect., I, 5) learned from them what he says about the existence of the Bible in Armenian. Isaac's messengers brought him copies of the Greek Bible from the Imperial Library at Constantinople-doubtless some of those prepared by Eusebius at Constantine's command. Mesrob Mashtots and Isaac, with their assistants, finished and published the Armenian (ancient) version of the whole Bible in 436. La Croze is justified in styling it Queen of versions Unfortunately the Old Testament was rendered (as we have said) from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. But the Apocrypha was not translated, only "the 22 Books" of the Old Testament, as Moses of Khorene informs us. This was due to the influence of the Peshitta Old Testament.
Not till the 8th century was the Apocrypha rendered into Armenian: it was not read in Armenian churches until the 12th. Theodotion's version of Daniel was translated, instead of the very inaccurate Septuagint. The Alexandrine text was generally followed but not always.
In the 6th century the Armenian version is said to have been revised so as to agree with the Peshitta. Hence, probably in Matthew 28:18 the King James Version, the passage, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you," is inserted as in the Peshitta, though it occurs also in its proper place (John 20:21). It reads "Jesus Barabbas" in Matthew 27:16, 17 -a reading which Origen found "in very ancient manuscripts." It contains Luke 22:43, 44. As is well known, in the Etschmiadzin manuscript of 986 A.D., over Mark 16:9-20, are inserted the words, "of Ariston the presbyter"; but Nestle (Text. Criticism of the Greek New Testament, Plate IX, etc.) and others omit to notice that these words are by a different and a later hand, and are merely an unauthorized remark of no great value.
4. Results of Circulation:
Mesrob's version was soon widely circulated and became the one great national book. Lazarus Pharpetsi, a contemporary Armenian historian, says he is justified in describing the spiritual results by quoting Isaiah and saying that the whole land of Armenia was thereby "filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." But for it, both church and nation would have perished in the terrible persecutions which have now lasted, with intervals, for more than a millennium and a half.
5. Printed Editions:
This version was first printed somewhat late: the Psalter at Rome in 1565, the Bible by Bishop Oskan of Erivan at Amsterdam in 1666, from a very defective MS; other editions at Constantinople in 1705, Venice in 1733. Dr. Zohrab's edition of the New Testament in 1789 was far better. A critical edition was printed at Venice in 1805, another at Serampore in 1817. The Old Testament (with the readings of the Hebrew text at the foot of the page) appeared at Constantinople in 1892.
II. Modern Armenian Versions.
There are two great literary dialects of modern Armenian, in which it was necessary to publish the Bible, since the ancient Armenian (called Grapar, or "written") is no longer generally understood. The American missionaries have taken the lead in translating Holy Scripture into both.
The first version of the New Testament into Ararat Armenian, by Dittrich, was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society at Moscow in 1835; the Psalter in 1844; the rest of the Old Testament much later. There is an excellent edition, published at Constantinople in 1896.
A version of the New Testament into Constantinopolitan Armenian, by Dr. Zohrab, was published at Paris in 1825 by the British and Foreign Bible Society. This version was made from the Ancient Armenian. A revised edition, by Adger, appeared at Smyrna in 1842. In 1846 the American missionaries there published a version of the Old Testament. The American Bible Society have since published revised editions of this version.
III. Armenian Language.
The Armenian language is now recognized by philologists to be, not a dialect or subdivision of ancient Persian or Iranian, but a distinct branch of the Aryan or Indo-European family, standing almost midway between the Iranian and the European groups. In some respects, especially in weakening and ultimately dropping "t" and "d" between vowels, it resembles the Keltic tongues (compare Gaelic A (th)air, Arm. Chair = Pater, Father). As early as the 5th century it had lost gender in nouns, though retaining inflections (compare Brugmann, Elements of Comp. Greek of Indo-German Languages).
Koriun; Agathangelos; Lazarus Pharpetsi; Moses Khorenatsi (= of Chorene); Faustus Byzantinus; Chhamchheants; Chaikakan Hin Dprouthian Patm; Chaikakan Thargmanouthiunk'h Nak'hneants; The Bible of Every Land; Tisdall, Conversion of Armenia; Nestle, Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament; Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes); N.Y. Cyclopaedia of Biblical. and Theol. Lit.; Hauck, Real-encyklopadie fur protest. Theol. und Kirche.
W. St. Clair Tisdall
BIBLE, THE, I-III INTRODUCTION
I. THE NAMES
2. Other Designations-Scriptures, etc.
3. Old Testament and New Testament
III. COMPASS AND DIVISIONS
1. The Jewish Bible
2. The Septuagint
3. The Vulgate (Old Testament)
4. The New Testament
(1) Acknowledged Books
(2) Disputed Books
IV. LITERARY GROWTH AND ORIGIN-CANONICITY
1. The Old Testament
(1) Indications of Old Testament Itself
(a) Patriarchal Age
(b) Mosaic Age
(e) Wisdom Literature-History
(aa) Assyrian Age
(bb) Chaldean Age
(g) Josiah's Reformation
(h) Exilian and Post-Exilian
(i) Daniel, etc.
(j) Pre-exilic Bible
(2) Critical Views
(a) The Pentateuch
(c) Psalms and Prophets
(3) Formation of Canon
(a) Critical Theory
(b) More Positive View
(c) Close of Canon
2. The New Testament
(1) Historical Books
(a) The Synoptics
(b) Fourth Gospel
(2) The Epistles
(b) Epistle to Hebrews
(c) Catholic Epistles
Book of Revelation
(4) New Testament Canon
V. UNITY AND SPIRITUAL PURPOSE-INSPIRATION
1. Scripture a Unity
2. The Purpose of Grace
4. Historical Influence
1. Chapters and Verses
2. The King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)
3. Helps to Study
This word designates the collection of the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament recognized and in use in the Christian churches. Different religions (such as the Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Mohammedan) have their collections of sacred writings, sometimes spoken of as their "Bibles." The Jews acknowledge only the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Christians add the writings contained in the New Testament. The present article deals with the origin, character, contents and purpose of the Christian Scriptures, regarded as the depository and authoritative record of God's revelations of Himself and of His will to the fathers by the prophets, and through His Son to the church of a later age (Hebrews 1:1, 2). Reference is made throughout to the articles in which the several topics are more fully treated.
I. The Names.
The word "Bible" is the equivalent of the Greek word biblia (diminutive from biblos, the inner bark of the papyrus), meaning originally "books." The phrase "the books" (ta biblia) occurs in Daniel 9:2 (Septuagint) for prophetic writings. In the Prologue to Sirach ("the rest of the books") it designates generally the Old Testament Scriptures; similarly in 1 Maccabees 12:9 ("the holy books"). The usage passed into the Christian church for Old Testament (2 Clem 14:2), and by and by (circa 5th century) was extended to the whole Scriptures. Jerome's name for the Bible (4th century) was "the Divine Library" (Bibliotheca Divina). Afterward came an important change from plural to singular meaning. "In process of time this name, with many others of Greek origin, passed into the vocabulary of the western church; and in the 13th century, by a happy solecism, the neuter plural came to be regarded as a feminine singular, and `The Books' became by common consent `The Book' (biblia, singular), in which form the word was passed into the languages of modern Europe" (Westcott, Bible in the Church, 5). Its earliest occurrences in English are in Piers Plowman, Chaucer and Wycliffe.
2. Other Designations-Scriptures, etc.:
There is naturally no name in the New Testament for the complete body of Scripture; the only Scriptures then known being is those of the Old Testament. In 2 Peter 3:16, however, Paul's epistles seem brought under this category. The common designations for the Old Testament books by our Lord and His apostles were "the scriptures" (writings) (Matthew 21:42 Mark 14:49 Luke 24:32 John 5:39 Acts 18:24 Romans 15:4, etc.), "the holy, scriptures" (Romans 1:2); once "the sacred writings" (2 Timothy 3:15). The Jewish technical division (see below) into "the law," the "prophets," and the "(holy) writings" is recognized in the expression "in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44). More briefly the whole summed up under "the law and the prophets" (Matthew 5:17; Matthew 11:13 Acts 13:15). Occasionally even the term "law" is extended to include the other divisions (John 10:34; John 12:34; John 15:25 1 Corinthians 14:21). Paul uses the phrase "the oracles of God" as a name for the Old Testament Scriptures (Romans 3:2; compare Acts 7:38 Hebrews 5:12 1 Peter 4:11).
3. Old Testament and New Testament:
Special interest attaches to the names "Old" and "New Testament," now and since the close of the 2nd century in common use to distinguish the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures. "Testament" (literally "a will") is used in the New Testament (the King James Version) to represent the Greek word diatheke, in classical usage also "a will," but in the Septuagint and New Testament employed to translate the Hebrew word berith, "a covenant." In the Revised Version (British and American), accordingly, "testament" is, with two exceptions (Hebrews 9:16, 27), changed to "covenant" (Matthew 26:28 2 Corinthians 3:6 Galatians 3:15 Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 9:15, etc.). Applied to the Scriptures, therefore, "Old" and "New Testament" mean, strictly, "Old" and "New Covenant," though the older usage is now too firmly fixed to be altered. The name is a continuation of the Old Testament designation for the law, "the book of the covenant" (2 Kings 23:2). In this sense Paul applies it (2 Corinthians 3:14) to the Old Testament law; "the reading of the old testament" (the Revised Version (British and American) "Covenant"). When, after the middle of the 2nd century, a def inite collection began to be made of the Christian writings, these were named "the New Testament," and were placed as of equal authority alongside the "Old." The name Novum Testamentum (also Instrumentum) occurs first in Tertullian (190-220 A.D.), and soon came into general use. The idea of a Christian Bible may be then said to be complete.
The Old Testament, it is well known, is written mostly in Hebrew; the New Testament is written wholly in Greek, the parts of the Old Testament not in Hebrew, namely, Ezra 4:8-6:18; Ezra 7:12-26 Jeremiah 10:11 Daniel 2:4-7:28, are in Aramaic (the so-called Chaldee), a related dialect, which, after the Exile, gradually displaced Hebrew as the spoken language of the Jews (see ARAMAIC; LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT). The ancient Hebrew text was "unpointed," i.e. without the vowel-marks now in use. These are due to the labors of the Massoretic scholars (after 6th century A.D.).
The Greek of the New Testament, on which so much light has recently been thrown by the labors of Deissmann and others from the Egyptian papyri, showing it to be a form of the "common" (Hellenistic) speech of the time (see LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT), still remains, from its penetration by Hebrew ideas, the influence of the Septuagint, peculiarities of training and culture in the writers, above all, the vitalizing and transforming power of Christian conceptions in vocabulary and expression, a study by itself. "We speak," the apostle says, "not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth" (1 Corinthians 2:13). This is not always remembered in the search for parallels in the papyri. (For translations into other languages, see VERSIONS.)
III. Compass and Divisions.
The story of the origin, collection, and final stamping with canonical authority of the books which compose our present Bible involves many points still keenly in dispute. Before touching on these debatable matters, certain more external facts fall to be noticed relating to the general structure and compass of the Bible, and the main divisions of its contents.
1. Jewish Bible
A first step is to ascertain the character and contents of the Jewish Bible-the Bible in use by Christ and His apostles. Apart from references in the New Testament itself, an important aid is here afforded by a passage in Josephus (Apion, I, 8), which may be taken to represent the current belief of the Jews in the 1st century A.D. After speaking of the prophets as writing their histories "through the inspiration of God," Josephus says: "For we have not myriads of discordant and conflicting books, but 22 only, comprising the record of all time, and justly accredited as Divine. Of these, 5 are books of Moses, which embrace the laws and the traditions of mankind until his own death, a period of almost 3,000 years. From the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, the successor of Xerxes, king of Persia, the prophets who followed Moses narrated the events of their time in 13 books. The remaining 4 books consist of hymns to God, and maxims of conduct for men. From Artaxerxes to our own age, the history has been written in detail, but it is not esteemed worthy of the same credit, on account of the exact succession of the prophets having been no longer maintained." He goes on to declare that, in this long interval, "no one has dared either to add anything to (the writings), or to take anything from them, or to alter anything," and speaks of them as "the decrees (dogmata) of God," for which the Jews would willingly die. Philo (20 B.C.-circa 50 A.D.) uses similar strong language about the law of Moses (in Eusebius, Pr. Ev., VIII, 6).
In this enumeration of Josephus, it will be seen that the Jewish sacred books-39 in our Bible-are reckoned as 22 (after the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet), namely, 5 of the law, 13 of the prophets and 4 remaining books. These last are Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The middle class includes all the historical and prophetical books, likewise Job, and the reduction in the number from 30 to 13 is explained by Judges-Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Jeremiah-Lamentations and the 12 minor prophets, each being counted as one book. In his 22 books, therefore, Josephus includes all those in the present Hebrew canon, and none besides-not the books known as the APOCRYPHA, though he was acquainted with and used some of these.
Other Lists and Divisions.
The statement of Josephus as to the 22 books acknowledged by the Jews is confirmed, with some variation of enumeration, by the lists preserved by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, vi.26) from Melito of Sardis (circa 172 A.D.) and Origen (186-254 A.D.), and by Jerome (Pref to Old Testament, circa 400)-all following Jewish authorities. Jerome knew also of a rabbinical of division into 24 books. The celebrated passage from the Talmud (Babha' Bathra', 14b: see CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; compare Westcott, Bible in Church, 35; Driver, LOT, vi) counts also 24. This number is obtained by separating Ruth from Judges and Lamentations from Jeremiah. The threefold division of the books, into Law, Prophets, and other sacred Writings (Hagiographa), is old. It is already implied in the Prologue to Sirach (circa 130 B.C.), "the law, the prophets, and the rest the books"; is glanced at in a work ascribed to Philo (De vita contempl., 3); is indicated, as formerly seen, in Luke 24:44. It really reflects stages in the formation of the Hebrew canon (see below). The rabbinical division, however, differed materially from that of Josephus in reckoning only 8 books of the prophets, and relegating 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther, Job and Daniel to the Hagiographa, thus enlarging that group to 9 (Westcott, op. cit., 28; DB, I, "Canon"). When Ruth and Lamentations were separated, they were added to the list, raising the number to 11. Some, however, take this to be the original arrangement. In printed Hebrew Bibles the books in all the divisions are separate. The Jewish schools further divided the "Prophets" into "the former prophets" (the historical books-Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings), and "the latter prophets" (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets as one book).
New Testament References.
It may be concluded that the above lists, excluding the Apocrypha, represent the Hebrew Bible as it existed in the time of our Lord (the opinion, held by some, that the Sadducees received only the 5 books of the law rests on no sufficient evidence). This result is borne out by the evidence of quotations in Josephus and Philo (compare Westcott, op. cit.). Still more is it confirmed by an examination of Old Testament quotations and references in the New Testament. It was seen above that the main divisions of the Old Testament are recognized in the New Testament, and that, under the name "Scriptures," a Divine authority is ascribed to them. It is therefore highly significant that, although the writers of the New Testament were familiar with the Septuagint, which contained the Apocrypha (see below), no quotation from any book of the Apocrypha occurs in their pages, One or two allusions, at most, suggest acquaintance with the Book of Wisdom (e.g. The Wisdom of Solomon 5:18-21 parallel Ephesians 6:13-17). On the other hand, "every book in the Hebrew Bible is distinctly quoted in the New Testament with the exception of Joshua, Judges, Chronicles, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Obadiah, Zephaniah and Nahum" (Westcott). Enumerations differ, but about 178 direct quotations may be reckoned in the Gospels, Acts and Epistles; if references are included, the number is raised to about 700 (see QUOTATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT). In four or five places (Luke 11:49-51 James 4:5 1 Corinthians 2:9 Ephesians 5:14 John 7:38) apparent references occur to sources other than the Old Testament; it is doubtful whether most of them are really so (compare Westcott, op. cit., 46-48; Ephesians 5:14 may be from a Christian hymn). An undeniable influence of Apocalyptic literature is seen in Jude, where Jude 1:14, 25 are a direct quotation from the Book of Enoch. It does not follow that Jude regarded this book as a proper part of Scripture.
2. The Septuagint:
Hitherto we have been dealing with the Hebrew Old Testament; marked changes are apparent when we turn to the Septuagint, or Greek version of the Septuagint current in the Greek-speaking world at the commencement of the Christian era. The importance of this version lies in the fact that it was practically the Old Testament of the early church. It was used by the apostles and their converts, and is freely quoted in the New Testament, sometimes even when its renderings vary considerably from the Hebrew. Its influence was necessarily, therefore, very great.
The special problems connected with origin, text and literary relations of the Septuagint are dealt with elsewhere (see SEPTUAGINT). The version took its rise, under one of the early Ptolemies, from the needs of the Jews in Egypt, before the middle of the 2nd century B.C.; was gradually executed, and completed hardly later than circa 100 B.C.; thereafter spread into all parts. Its renderings reveal frequent divergence in manuscripts from the present Massoretic Text, but show also that the translators permitted themselves considerable liberties in enlarging, abbreviating, transposing and otherwise modifying the texts they had, and in the insertion of materials borrowed from other sources.
The most noteworthy differences are in the departure from Jewish tradition in the arrangement of the books (this varies greatly; compare Swete, Introduction to Old Testament in Greek, II, chapter i), and in the inclusion in the list of the other books, unknown to the Hebrew canon, now grouped as the Apocrypha. These form an extensive addition. They include the whole of the existing Apocrypha, with the exception of 2 Esdras and Prayer of Manasseh. All are of late date, and are in Greek, though Sirach had a Hebrew original which has been partly recovered. They are not collected, but are interspersed among the Old Testament books in what are taken to be their appropriate places. The Greek fragments of Esther, e.g. are incorporated in that book; Susanna and Bel and the Dragon form part of Daniel; Baruch is joined with Jeremiah, etc. The most important books are Wisdom, Sirach and 1 Maccabees (circa 100 B.C.). The fact that Sirach, originally in Hebrew (circa 200 B.C.), and of high repute, was not included in the Hebrew canon, has a weighty bearing on the period of the closing of the latter.
It is, as already remarked, singular that, notwithstanding this extensive enlargement of the canon by the Septuagint, the books just named obtained no Scriptural recognition from the writers of the New Testament. The more scholarly of the Fathers, likewise (Melito, Origen, Athanasius, Cyprian, Jerome, etc.), adhere to the Hebrew list, and most draw a sharp distinction between the canonical books, and the Greek additions, the reading of which is, however, admitted for edification (compare Westcott, op. cit., 135-36, 168, 180, 182-83). Where slight divergencies occur (e.g. Esther is omitted by Melito and placed by Athanasius among the Apocrypha; Origen and Athanasius add Baruch to Jeremiah), these are readily explained by doubts as to canonicity or by imperfect knowledge. On the other hand, familiarity with the Septuagint in writers ignorant of Hebrew could not but tend to break down the limits of the Jewish canon, and to lend a Scriptural sanction to the additions to that canon. This was aided in the West by the fact that the Old Latin versions (2nd century) based on the Septuagint, included these additions (the Syriac Peshitta followed the Hebrew). In many quarters, therefore, the distinction is found broken down, and ecclesiastical writers (Clement, Barnabas, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Basil, etc.) quote freely from books like Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, Tobit, 2 Esdras, as from parts of the Old Testament.
3. The Vulgate (Old Testament):
An important landmark is reached in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) or Latin version of Jerome. Jerome, on grounds explained in his Preface, recognized only the Hebrew Scriptures as canonical; under pressure he executed later a hasty translation of Tobit and Judith. Feeling ran strong, however, in favor of the other books, and ere long these were added to Jerome's version from the Old Latin (see VULGATE). It is this enlarged Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) which received official recognition, under anathema, at the Council of Trent (1543), and, with revision, from Clement VIII (1592), though, earlier, leading Romish scholars (Ximenes, Erasmus, Cajetan) had made plain the true state of the facts. The Greek church vacillated in its decisions, sometimes approving the limited, sometimes the extended, canon (compare Westcott, op. cit., 217-29). The churches of the Reformation (Lutheran, Swiss), as was to be expected, went back to the Hebrew canon, giving only a qualified sanction to the reading and ecclesiastical use of the Apocrypha. The early English versions (Tyndale, Coverdale, etc.) include, but separate, the apocryphal books (see ENGLISH VERSIONS). The Anglican Articles express the general estimate of these books: "And the other books (as Jerome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine" (Art. VIII). Modern Protestant Bibles usually exclude the Apocrypha altogether.
4. The New Testament:
From this survey of the course of opinion on the compass of the Old Testament, we come to the New Testament. This admits of being more briefly treated. It has been seen that a Christian New Testament did not, in the strict sense, arise till after the middle of the 2nd century. Gospels and Epistles had long existed, collections had begun to be made, the Gospels, at least, were weekly read in the assemblies of the Christians (Justin, 1 Apol., 67), before the attempt was made to bring together, and take formal account of, all the books which enjoyed apostolic authority (see CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT). The needs of the church, however, and very specially controversy with Gnostic opponents, made it necessary that this work should be done; collections also had to be formed for purposes of translation into other tongues. Genuine gospels had to be distinguished from spurious; apostolic writings from those of later date, or falsely bearing apostolic names. When this task was undertaken, a distinction soon revealed itself between two classes of books, setting aside those recognized on all hands as spurious: (1) books universally acknowledged-those named afterward by Eusebius the homologoumena; and (2) books only partially acknowledged, or on which some doubt rested-the Eusebian antilegomena (Historia Ecclesiastica, iii.25). It is on this distinction that differences as to the precise extent of the New Testament turned.
(1) Acknowledged Books.
The "acknowledged" books present little difficulty. They are enumerated by Eusebius, whose statements are confirmed by early lists (e.g. that of Muratori, circa 170 A.D.), quotations, versions and patristic use. At the head stand the Four Gospels and the Acts, then come the 13 epistles of Paul, then 1 Peter and 1 John. These, Westcott says, toward the close of the 2nd century, "were universally received in every church, without doubt or limitation, as part of the written rule of Christian faith, equal in authority with the Old Scriptures, and ratified (as it seemed) by a tradition reaching back to the date of their composition" (op. cit., 133). With them may almost be placed Revelation (as by Eusebius) and He, the doubts regarding the latter relating more to Pauline authority than to genuineness (e.g. Origen).
(2) Disputed Books.
The "disputed" books were the epistles of James, Jude, 2 John and 3 John and 2 Peter. These, however, do not all stand in the same rank as regards authentication. A chief difficulty is the silence of the western Fathers regarding James, 2 Peter and 3 John. On the other hand, James is known to Origen and is included in the Syriac Peshitta; the Muratorian Fragment attests Jude and 2 John as "held in the Catholic church" (Jude also in Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen); none of the books are treated as spurious. The weakest in attestation is 2 Pet, which is not distinctly traceable before the 3rd century (SeeCANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; articles under the word) It is to be added that, in a few instances, as in the case of the Old Testament Apocrypha, early Fathers cite as Scripture books not generally accepted as canonical (e.g. Barnabas, Hermas, Apocrypha of Peter).
The complete acceptance of all the books in our present New Testament canon may be dated from the Councils of Laodicea (circa 363 A.D.) and of Carthage (397 A.D.), confirming the lists of Cyril of Jerusalem, Jerome and Augustine.
BIBLE, THE, IV CANONICITY
IV. Literary Growth and Origin-Canonicity.
Thus far the books of the Old Testament and New Testament have been taken simply as given, and no attempt has been made to inquire how or when they were written or compiled, or how they came to acquire the dignity and authority implied in their reception into a sacred canon. The field here entered is one bristling with controversy, and it is necessary to choose one's steps with caution to find a safe way through it. Details in the survey are left, as before, to the special articles.
1. The Old Testament:
Attention here is naturally directed, first, to the Old Testament. This, it is obvious, and is on all sides admitted, has a long literary history prior to its final settlement in a canon. As to the course of that history traditional and modern critical views very widely differ. It may possibly turn out that the truth lies somewhere midway between them.
(1) Indications of Old Testament Itself.
If the indications furnished by the Old Testament itself be accepted, the results are something like the following:
(a) Patriarchal Age:
No mention is made of writing in the patriarchal age, though it is now known that a high literary culture then prevailed in Babylonia, Egypt and Palestine, and it is not improbable, indeed seems likely, that records in some form came down from that age, and are, in parts, incorporated in the early history of the Bible.
(b) Mosaic Age:
In Mosaic times writing was in use, and Moses himself was trained in the learning of the Egyptians (Exodus 2:10 Acts 7:22). In no place is the composition of the whole Pentateuch (as traditionally believed) ascribed to Moses, but no inconsiderable amount of written matter is directly attributed to him, creating the presumption that there was more, even when the fact is not stated. Moses wrote "all the words of Yahweh" in the "book of the covenant" (Exodus 21, 22, 23; Exodus 24:4, 7). He wrote "the words of this law" of Deuteronomy at Moab, "in a book, until they were finished" (Deuteronomy 31:9, 24, 26). This was given to the priests to be put by the side of the ark for preservation (Deuteronomy 31:25, 26). Other notices occur of the writing of Moses (Exodus 17:14 Numbers 33:2 Deuteronomy 31:19, 22; compare Numbers 11:26). The song of Miriam, and the snatches of song in Numbers 21, the first (perhaps all) quoted from the "book of the Wars of Yahweh" (Numbers 21:14), plainly belong to Mosaic times. In this connection it should be noticed that the discourses and law of Deuteronomy imply the history and legislation of the critical JE histories (see below). The priestly laws (Leviticus, Numbers) bear so entirely the stamp of the wilderness that they can hardly have originated anywhere else, and were probably then, or soon after, written down. Joshua, too, is presumed to be familiar with writing (Joshua 8:30-35; compare Deuteronomy 27:8), and is stated to have written his farewell address "in the book of the law of God" (Joshua 24:26; compare Joshua 1:7, 8). These statements already imply the beginning of a sacred literature.
The song of Deborah (Judges 5) is an indubitably authentic monument of the age of the Judges, and the older parts of Judges, at least, must have been nearly contemporary with the events which they record. A knowledge of writing among the common people seems implied in Judges 8:14 (American Revised Version, margin). Samuel, like Joshua, wrote "in a book" (1 Samuel 10:25), and laid it up, evidently among other writings, "before Yahweh."
The age of David and Solomon was one of high development in poetical and historical composition: witness the elegies of David (2 Samuel 1:17; 2 Samuel 3:33, 34), and the finely-finished narrative of David's reign (2 Samuel 9-20), the so-called "Jerusalem-Source," admitted to date "from a period very little later than that of the events related" (Driver, LOT, 183). There were court scribes and chroniclers. David and the Monarchy: David, as befits his piety and poetical and musical gifts (compare on this POT, 440), is credited with laying the foundations of a sacred psalmody (2 Samuel 23:1; see PSALMS), and a whole collection of psalms (Pss 1-72, with exclusion of the distinct collection, (Psalm 42-50)), once forming a separate book (compare Psalm 72:20), are, with others, ascribed to him by their titles (Psalms 1, 2, 10 are untitled). It is hardly credible that a tradition like this can be wholly wrong, and a Davidic basis of the Psalter may safely be Assumed. Numerous psalms, by their mention of the "king" (as Psalms 2; 18; 20; 21; 28; 33; 45; 61; 63; 72; 101; 110), are naturally referred to the period of the monarchy (some, as Psalm 18 certainly, Davidic). Other groups of psalms are referred to the temple guilds (Sons of Korah, Asaph).
(e) Wisdom Literature-History:
Solomon is renowned as founder of the Wisdom literature and the author of Proverbs (1 Kings 4:32 Proverbs 1:1; Proverbs 10:1 Ecclesiastes 12:9; Ec itself appears to be late), and of the So (Songs 1:1). The "men of Hezekiah" are said to have copied put a collection of his proverbs (Proverbs 25:1; see PROVERBS). Here also may be placed the Book of Job. Hezekiah's reign appears to have been one of literary activity: to it, probably, are to be referred certain of the Psalms (e.g. Psalms 46, 48; compare Perowne, Delitzsch). In history, during the monarchy, the prophets would seem to have acted as the "sacred historiographers" of the nation. From their memoirs of the successive reigns, as the later books testify (1 Chronicles 29:29 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15, etc.), are compiled most of the narratives in our canonical writings (hence the name "former prophets"). The latest date in 2 Kings is 562 B.C., and the body of the book is probably earlier.
(i) Assyrian Age:
With the rise of written prophecy a new form of literature enters, called forth by, and vividly mirroring, the religious and political conditions of the closing periods of the monarchy in Israel and Judah (see PROPHECY). On the older view, Obadiah and Joel stood at the head of the series in the pre-Assyrian period (9th century), and this seems the preferable view still. On the newer view, these prophets are late, and written prophecy begins in the Assyrian period with Amos (Jeroboam II, circa 750 B.C.) and Hosea (circa 745-735). When the latter prophet wrote, Samaria was tottering to its fall (721 B.C.). A little later, in Judah, come Isaiah (circa 740-690) and Micah (circa 720-708). Isaiah, in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, is the greatest of the prophets in the Assyrian age, and his ministry reaches its climax in the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib (2 Kings 18; 2 Kings 19 Isaiah 36 Isaiah 37). It is a question whether some oracles of an Isaianic school are not mingled with the prophet's ow n writings, and most scholars now regard the 2nd part of the book (Isaiah 40-66) as exilian or (in part) post-exilian in date. The standpoint of much in these chapters is certainly in the Exile; whether the composition of the whole can be placed there is extremely doubtful (see ISAIAH). Nahum, who prophesies against Nineveh, belongs to the very close of this period (circa 660).
(ii) Chaldean Age:
The prophets Zephaniah (under Josiah, circa 630 B.C.) and Habakkuk (circa 606) may be regarded as forming the transition to the next-the Chaldean-period. The Chaldeans (unnamed in Zephaniah) are advancing but are not yet come (Habakkuk 1:6). The great prophetic figure here, however, is Jeremiah, whose sorrowful ministry, beginning in the 13th year of Josiah (626 B.C.), extended through the succeeding reigns till after the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.). The prophet elected to remain with the remnant in the land, and shortly after, troubles having arisen, was forcibly carried into Egypt (Jeremiah 43). Here also he prophesied (Jeremiah 43 Jeremiah 44). From the reign of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah consistently declared the success of the Chaldean arms, and foretold the 70 years' captivity (Jeremiah 25:12-14). Baruch acted as his secretary in writing out and editing his prophecies (Jeremiah 36 Jeremiah 45).
(g) Josiah's Reformation:
A highly important event in this period was Josiah's reformation in his 18th year (621 B.C.), and the discovery, during repairs of the temple, of "the book of the law," called also "the book of the covenant" and "the law of Moses" (2 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 23:2, 24, 25). The finding of this book, identified by most authorities with the Book of Deuteronomy, produced an extraordinary sensation. On no side was there the least question that it was a genuine ancient work. Jeremiah, strangely, makes no allusion to this discovery, but his prophecies are deeply saturated with the ideas and style of Deuteronomy.
(h) Exilian and Post-Exilian:
The bulk of Isaiah 40-66 belongs, at least in spirit, to the Exile, but the one prophet of the Exile known to us by name is the priestly Ezekiel. Carried captive under Jehoiachin (597 B.C.), Ezekiel labored among his fellow-exiles for at least 22 years (Ezekiel 1:2; Ezekiel 29:17). A man of the strongest moral courage, his symbolic visions on the banks of the Chebar alternated with the most direct expostulation, exhortation, warning and promise. In the description of an ideal temple and its worship with which his book closes (chapters 40-48), critics think they discern the suggestion of the Levitical code.
(i) Daniel, etc.:
After Ezekiel the voice of prophecy is silent till it revives in Daniel, in Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. Deported in 605 B.C., Daniel rose to power, and "continued" until the 1st year of Cyrus (536 B.C.; Daniel 1:21). Criticism will have it that his prophecies are product of the Maccabean age, but powerful considerations on the other side are ignored (see DANIEL). Jonah may have been written about this time, though the prophet's mission itself was pre-Assyrian (9th century). The rebuilding of the temple after the return, under Zerubbabel, furnished the occasion for the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah (520 B.C.). Scholars are disposed to regard only Zechariah 1-8 as belonging to this period-the remainder being placed earlier or later. Malachi, nearly century after (circa 430), brings up the rear of prophecy, rebuking unfaithfulness, and predicting the advent of the "messenger of the covenant" (Malachi 3:1, 2). To this period, or later, belong, besides post-exilian psalms (e.g. Psalms 124; 126), the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronciles, Esther and apparently Ecclesiastes.
(j) Preexilic Bible:
If, in this rapid sketch, the facts are correctly represented, it will be apparent that, in opposition to prevalent views, large body of sacred literature existed (laws, histories, psalms, wisdom-books, prophecies), and was recognized long before the Exile. God's ancient people had "Scriptures"-had a Bible-if not yet in collected form. This is strikingly borne out by the numerous Old Testament passages referring to what appears to be a code of sacred writings in the hands of the pious in Israel. Such are the references to, and praises of, the "law" and "word" of God in many of the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 1; 19; 119; 12:06; 17:04; 18:21, 22), with the references to God's known "words," "ways," "commandments," "statutes," in other books of the Old Testament (Job 8:8 Hosea 8:12 Daniel 9:2). In brief, Scriptures, which must have contained records of God's dealings with His people, a knowledge of which is constantly presupposed, "laws" of God for the regulation of the heart and conduct, "statutes," "ordinances," "words" of God, are postulate of a great part of the Old Testament.
(2) Critical views.
The account of the origin and growth of the Old Testament above presented is in marked contrast with that given in the textbooks of the newer critical schools. The main features of these critical views are sketched in the article CRITICISM (which see); here a brief indication will suffice. Generally, the books of the Old Testament are brought down to late dates; are regarded as highly composite; the earlier books, from their distance from the events recorded, are deprived of historical worth. Neither histories nor laws in the Pentateuch belong to the Mosaic age: Joshua is a "romance"; Judges may embody ancient fragments, but in bulk is unhistorical. The earliest fragments of Israelite literature are lyric pieces like those preserved in Genesis 4:23, 24; Genesis 9:25-27 Numbers 21; the So of Deborah (Judges 5) is probably genuine. Historical writing begins about the age of David or soon thereafter. The folklore of the Hebrews and traditions of the Mosaic age began to be reduced to writing about the 9th century B.C.
(a) The Pentateuch:
Our present Pentateuch (enlarged to a "Hexateuch," including Joshua) consists of 4 main strands (themselves composite), the oldest of which (called Jahwist (Jahwist), from its use of the name Yahweh) goes back to about 850 B.C. This was Judean. A parallel history book (called E, from its use of the name Elohim, God) was produced in the Northern kingdom about a century later (circa 750). Later still these two were united (JE). These histories, "prophetic" in spirit, were originally attributed to individual authors, distinguished by minute criteria of style: the more recent fashion is to regard them as the work of "schools." Hitherto the only laws known were those of the (post-Mosaic) Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23). Later, in Josiah's reign, the desire for centralization of worship led to the composition of the Book of Deuteronomy. This, secreted in the temple, was found by Hilkiah (2 Kings 22), and brought about the reformation of Josiah formerly mentioned. Deuteronomy (D), thus produced, is the third stra nd in the Pentateuchal compilation. With the destruction of the city and temple, under the impulse of Ezekiel, began a new period of law-construction, now priestly in spirit. Old laws and usages were codified; new laws were invented; the history of institutions was recast; finally, the extensive complex of Levitical legislation was brought into being, clothed with a wilderness dress, and ascribed to Moses. This elaborate Priestly Code (PC), with its accompanying history, was brought from Babylon by Ezra, and, united with the already existing JE and D, was given forth by him to the restored community at Jerusalem (444 B.C.; Ne 8) as "the law of Moses." Their acceptance of it was the inauguration of "Judaism."
In its theory of the Pentateuch the newer criticism lays down the determinative positions for its criticism of all the remaining books of the Old Testament. The historical books show but a continuation of the processes of literary construction exemplified in the books ascribed to Moses. The Deuteronomic element, e.g. in Joshua, Judges, 1, 2 Sam, 1, 2 Ki, proves them, in these parts, to be later than Josiah, and historically untrustworthy. The Levitical element in 1, 2 Chronicles demonstrates its pictures of David and his successors to be distorted and false. The same canon applies to the prophets. Joel, e.g. must be post-exilian, because it presupposes the priestly law. The patriarchal and Mosaic histories being subverted, it is not permitted to assume any high religious ideas in early Israel. David, therefore, could not have written the Psalms. Most, if not practically all, of these are post-exilian.
(c) Psalms and Prophets:
Monotheism came in-at least first obtained recognition-through Amos and Hosea. The prophets could not have the foresight and far-reaching hopes seen in their writings: these passages, therefore, must be removed. Generally the tendency is to put dates as low as possible and very many books, regarded before as preexilian, are carried down in whole or part, to exilian, post-exilian, and even late Greek times (Priestly Code, Psalter, Job, Proverbs, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Second Isaiah, Joel, Lamentations). Daniel is Maccabean and unhistorical (circa 168-167 B.C.).
It is not proposed here to discuss this theory, which is not accepted in the present article, and is considered elsewhere (see CRITICISM; PENTATEUCH). The few points calling for remark relate to canonical acceptance.
(3) Formation of the Canon.
The general lines of the completed Jewish canon have already been sketched, and some light has now been thrown on the process by which the several books obtained a sacred authority. As to the actual stages in the formation of the canon opinions again widely diverge (see CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT).
(a) Critical Theory:
On theory at present in favor, no collections of sacred books were made prior to the return from Babylon. The only books that had authority before the Exile were, perhaps, the old Book of the Covenant, and, from Josiah's time, the Book of Deuteronomy. Both, after the return, were, on this theory, embodied, with the JE histories, and the Priestly Code, in Ezra's completed Book of the Law (with Joshua(?)), in which, accordingly, the foundation of a canon was laid. The fivefold division of the law was later. Subsequently, answering to the 2nd division of the Jewish canon, a collection was made of the prophetic writings. As this includes books which, on the critical view, go down to Greek times (Jonah; Zechariah 9-14), its completion cannot be earlier than well down in the 3rd century B.C. Latest of all came the collection of the "Hagiographa"-a division of the canon, on theory, kept open to receive additions certainly till the 2nd century, some think after. Into it were received such late writings as Ecclesiastes, the Maccabean Psalms, Daniel. Even then one or two books (Ecclesiastes, Esther) remained subjects of dispute.
(b) More Positive View:
It will appear from the foregoing that this theory is not here accepted without considerable modification. If the question be asked, What constituted a right to a place in the canon? the answer can hardly be other than that suggested by Josephus in the passage formerly quoted-a real or supposed inspiration in the author of the book. Books were received if men had the prophetic spirit (in higher or lower degree: that, e.g. of wisdom); they ceased to be received when the succession of prophets was thought to fail (after Malachi). In any case the writings of truly inspired men (Moses, the prophets, psalmists) were accepted as of authority. It was sought, however, to be shown above, that such books, many of them, already existed from Moses down, long before the Exile (the law, collections of psalms, of proverbs, written prophecies: to what end did the prophets write, if they did not mean their prophecies to be circulated and preserved?); and such writings, to the godly who knew and used them, had the full value of Scripture. A canon began with the first laying up of the "book of the law" before Yahweh (Deuteronomy 31:25, 26 Joshua 24:26). The age of Ezra and Nehemiah, therefore, is not that of the beginning, but, as Jewish tradition rightly held (Josephus; 2 Maccabees 2:13; Talmud), rather that of the completion, systematic delimitation, acknowledgment and formal close of the canon. The divisions of "law, prophets, and holy writings" would thus have their place from the beginning, and be nearly contemporaneous. The Samaritans accepted only the 5 books of the law, with apparently Joshua (see SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH).
(c) Close of Canon:
There is no need for dogmatism as to an absolute date for the close of the canon. If inspired voices continued to be heard, their utterances were entitled to recognition. Books duly authenticated might be added, but the non-inclusion of such as a book as Sirach (Ecclesiasticus: in Hebrew, circa 200 B.C.) shows that the limits of the canon were jealously guarded, and the onus of proof rests on those who affirm that there were such books. Calvin, e.g. held that there were Maccabean Psalms. Many modern scholars do the same, but it is doubtful if they are right. Ecclesiastes is thought on linguistic grounds to be late, but it and other books need not be so late as critics make them. Daniel is confidently declared to be Maccabean, but there are weighty reasons for maintaining a Persian date (see DANIEL). As formerly noticed, the threefold division into "the law, the prophets, and the rest (ta loipa, a definite number) of the books" is already attested in the Prologue to Sirach.
2. The New Testament:
Critical controversy, long occupied with the Old Testament, has again keenly attached itself to the New Testament, with similar disturbing results (see CRITICISM). Extremer opinions may be here neglected, and account be taken only of those that can claim reasonable support. The New Testament writings are conveniently grouped into the historical books (Gospels and Acts); Epistles (Pauline and other); and a Prophetic book (Rev). In order of writing, the Epistles, generally, are earlier than the Gospels, but in order of subject, the Gospels naturally claim attention first.
(1) Historical Books:
The main facts about the origin of the Gospels can perhaps be distinguished from the complicated literary theories which scholars are still discussing (see GOSPELS). The first three Gospels, known as the Synoptics, evidently embody a common tradition, and draw from common sources. The Fourth Gospel-that of John-presents problems by itself.
(a) The Synoptics:
The former-the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke)-fall in date well within the apostolic age, and are, in the 2nd century, uniformly connected with the authors whose names they bear, Mark is spoken of as "the interpreter of Peter" (Papias, in HE iii.39); Luke is the well-known companion of Paul. A difficulty arises about Matthew, whose Gospel is stated to have been written in Aramaic (Papias, ut supra, etc.), while the gospel bearing his name is in Greek. The Greek gospel seems at least to have been sufficiently identified with the apostle to admit of the early church always treating it as his.
The older theory of origin assumed an oral basis for all 3 Gospels. The tendency in recent criticism is to distinguish two main sources:
(1) Mk, the earliest gospel, a record of the preaching of Peter;
(2) a collection of the sayings and discourses of Jesus, attributed to Matthew (the Eusebian Logia, now called Q); with
(3) a source used by Luke in the sections peculiar to himself-the result of his own investigations (Luke 1:1-4).
Matthew and Luke are supposed to be based on Mark and the Logia (Q); in Luke's case with the addition of his special material. Oral tradition furnished what remains. A simpler theory may be to substitute for (1) a Petrine tradition already firmly fixed while yet the apostles were working together in Jerusalem. Peter, as foremost spokesman, would naturally stamp his own type upon the oral narratives of Christ's sayings and doings (the Mark type), while Matthew's stories, in part written, would be the chief source for the longer discourses. The instruction imparted by the apostles and those taught by them would everywhere be made the basis of careful catechetical teaching, and records of all this, more or less fragmentary, would be early in circulation (Luke 1:1-4). This would explain the Petrine type of narrative, and the seeming dependence of Matthew and Luke, without the necessity of supposing a direct use of Mark. So important a gospel could hardly be included in the "attempts" of Luke 1:1.
(b) Fourth Gospel:
The Fourth Gospel (Jn), the genuineness of which is assumed (see JOHN, GOSPEL OF), differs entirely in character and style. It is less a narrative than a didactic work, written to convince its readers that Jesus is "the Son of God" (John 20:31). The gospel may be presumed to have been composed at Ephesus, in the last years of the apostle's residence there. With this its character corresponds. The other gospels had long been known; John does not therefore traverse the ground already covered by them. He confines himself chiefly to matters drawn from his personal recollections: the Judean ministry, the visits of Christ to Jerusalem, His last private discourses to His disciples. John had so often retold, and so long brooded over, the thoughts and words of Jesus, that they had become, in a manner, part of his own thought, and, in reproducing them, he necessarily did so with a subjective tinge, and in a partially paraphrastic and interpretative manner. Yet it is truly the words, thoughts and deeds of his beloved Lord that he narrates. His gospel is the needful complement to the others-the "spiritual" gospel.
The Acts narrates the origin and early fortunes of the church, with, as its special motive (compare Acts 1:8), the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles through the labors of Paul. Its author is Luke, Paul's companion, whose gospel it continues (Acts 1:1). Certain sections-the so-called "we-sections" (Acts 16:10-17; Acts 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16)-are transcribed directly from Luke's journal of Paul's travels. The book closes abruptly with Paul's 2 years' imprisonment at Rome (Acts 28:30, 31; 60-61 A.D.), and not a hint is given of the issue of the imprisonment-trial, liberation or death. Does this mean that a 3rd "treatise" was contemplated? Or that the book was written while the imprisonment still continued? (thus now Harnack). If the latter, the Third Gospel must be very early.
(2) The Epistles.
Doubt never rested in the early church on the 13 epistles of Paul. Following upon the rejection by the "Tubingen" school of all the epistles but 4 (Rom, 1, 2 Cor, Gal), the tide of opinion has again turned strongly in favor of their genuineness. An exception is the Pastoral epistles (1, 2 Tim, Tit), still questioned by some on insufficient grounds (see PASTORAL EPISTLES). The epistles, called forth by actual needs of the churches, are a living outpouring of the thoughts and feelings of the mind and heart of the apostle in relation to his converts. Most are letters to churches he himself had founded (1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians(?), Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonains): two are to churches he had not himself visited, but with which he stood in affectionate relations (Romans, Colossians); one is purely personal (Philemon); three are addressed to individuals, but with official responsibilities (1 Timonty, 2 Timothy, Titus). The larger number were written during his missionary labors, and reflect his personal situation, anxieties and companionships at the places of their composition; four are epistles of the 1st Roman imprisonment (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon): 2 Timothy is a voice from the dungeon, in his 2nd imprisonment, shortly before his martyrdom. Doctrine, counsel, rebuke, admonition, tender solicitude, ethical instruction, prayer, thanksgiving, blend in living fusion in their contents. So marvelous a collection of letters, on such magnificent themes, was never before given to the world.
The earliest epistles, in point of date, are generally held to be those to the Thessalonians, written from Corinth (52, 53 A.D.). The church, newly-founded, had passed through much affliction (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:3, 4, etc.), and Paul writes to comfort and exhort it. His words about the Second Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13) led to mistaken expectations and some disorders. His second epistle was written to correct these problems (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, etc.).
Corinth itself received the next epistles-the 1st called forth by reports received at Ephesus of grave divisions and irregularities (1 Corinthians 1:11;
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BIBLE, THE, V INSPIRATION
1. Scripture a Unity:
Holy Scripture is not simply a collection of religious books: still less does it consist of mere fragments of Jewish and Christian literature. It belongs to the conception of Scripture that, though originating "by divers portions and in divers manners" (Hebrews 1:1), it should yet, in its completeness, constitute a unity, evincing, in the spirit and purpose that bind its parts together, the Divine source from which its revelation comes. The Bible is the record of God's revelations of Himself to men in successive ages and dispensations (Ephesians 1:8-10; Ephesians 3:5-9 Colossians 1:25, 26), till the revelation culminates in the advent and work of the Son, and the mission of the Spirit. It is this aspect of the Bible which constitutes its grand distinction from all collections of sacred writings-the so-called "Bibles" of heathen religions-in the world. These, as the slightest inspection of them shows, have no unity. They are accumulations of heterogeneous materials, presenting, in their collocation, no order, progress, or plan. The reason is, that they embody no historical revelation working out a purpose in consecutive stages from germinal beginnings to perfect close. The Bible, by contrast, is a single book because it embodies such a revelation, and exhibits such a purpose. The unity of the book, made up of so many parts, is the attestation of the reality of the revelation it contains.
2. The Purpose of Grace:
This feature of spiritual purpose in the Bible is one of the most obvious things about it (compare POT, 30). It gives to the Bible what is sometimes termed its "organic unity." The Bible has a beginning, middle and end. The opening chapters of Genesis have their counterpart in the "new heaven and new earth" and paradise restored of the closing chapters of Revelation (21; 22). Man's sin is made the starting-point for disclosures of God's grace. The patriarchal history, with its covenants and promises, is continued in the story of the Exodus and the events that follow, in fulfillment of these promises. Deuteronomy recapitulates the lawgiving at Sinai. Jos sees the people put in possession of the promised land. Backsliding, rebellion, failure, do not defeat God's purpose, but are overruled to carry it on to a surer completion. The monarchy is made the occasion of new promises to the house of David (2 Samuel 7). The prophets root themselves in the past, but, at the very hour when the nation seems sinking in ruin; hold out bright hopes of a greater future in the extension of God's kingdom to the Gentiles, under Messiah's rule. A critical writer, Kautzsch, has justly said: "The abiding value of the Old Testament lies above all in this, that it guarantees to us with absolute certainty the fact and the process of a Divine plan and way of salvation, which found its conclusion and fulfillment in the new covenant, in the person and work of Jesus Christ" (Bleibende Bedeutung des Altes Testament, 22, 24, 28-29, 30-31).
Fulfilment in Christ.
How truly all that was imperfect, transitional, temporary, in the Old Testament was brought to realization and completion in the redemption and spiritual kingdom of Christ need not here be dwelt upon. Christ is the prophet, priest and king of the New Covenant. His perfect sacrifice, "once for all," supersedes and abolishes the typical sacrifices of the old economy (Hebrews 9-10). His gift of the Spirit realizes what the prophets had foretold of God's law being written in men's hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Jeremiah 32:39, 40 Ezekiel 11:19, 20, etc.). His kingdom is established on moveless foundations, and can have no end (Philippians 2:9-11 Hebrews 12:28 Revelation 5:13, etc.). In tracing the lines of this redeeming purpose of God, brought to light in Christ, we gain the key which unlocks the inmost meaning of the whole Bible. It is the revelation of a "gospel."
"Inspiration" is a word round which many debates have gathered. If, however, what has been said is true of the Bible as the record of a progressive revelation, of its contents as the discovery of the will of God for man's salvation, of the prophetic and apostolic standing of its writers, of the unity of spirit and purpose that pervades it, it will be difficult to deny that a quite peculiar presence, operation, and guidance of the Spirit of God are manifest in its production. The belief in inspiration, it has been seen, is implied in the formation of these books into a sacred canon. The full discussion of the subject belongs to a special article. (see INSPIRATION). Biblical Claim.
Here it need only be said that the claim for inspiration in the Bible is one made in fullest measure by the Bible itself. It is not denied by any that Jesus and His apostles regarded the Old Testament Scriptures as in the fullest sense inspired. The appeal of Jesus was always to the Scriptures, and the word of Scripture was final with Him. "Have ye not read?" (Matthew 19:4). "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). This because "God" speaks in them (Matthew 19:4). Prophecies and psalms were fulfilled in Him (Luke 18:31; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:27, 44). Paul esteemed the Scriptures "the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2). They are "God-inspired" (2 Timothy 3:16). That New Testament prophets and apostles were not placed on any lower level than those of the Old Testament is manifest from Paul's explicit words regarding himself and his fellow-apostles. Paul never faltered in his claim to be "an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God" (Ephesians 1:1, etc.)-"separated unto the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1)-who had received his message, not from man, but by "revelation" from heaven (Galatians 1:11, 22). The "mystery of Christ" had "now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit," in consequence of which the church is declared to be "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 3:5).
Marks of Inspiration.
It might be shown that these claims made by New Testament writers for the Old Testament and for themselves are borne out by what the Old Testament itself teaches of prophetic inspiration, of wisdom as the gift of God's spirit, and of the light, holiness, saving virtue and sanctifying power continually ascribed to God's "law," "words," "statutes," "commandments," "judgments" (see above). This is the ultimate test of "inspiration"-that to which Paul likewise appeals-its power to "make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15)-its profitableness "for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16)-all to the end "that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Timothy 3:17). Nothing is here determined as to "inerrancy" in minor historical, geographical, chronological details, in which some would wrongly put the essence of inspiration; but it seems implied that at least there is no error which can interfere with or nullify the utility of Scripture for the ends specified. Who that brings Scripture to its own tests of inspiration, will deny that, judged as a whole, it fulfils them?
4. Historical Influence of the Bible:
The claim of the Bible to a Divine origin is justified by its historical influence. Regarded even as literature, the Bible has an unexampled place in history. Ten or fifteen manuscripts are thought a goodly number for an ancient classic; the manuscripts of whole or parts of the New Testament are reckoned by thousands, the oldest going back to the 4th or 5th century. Another test is translation. The books of the New Testament had hardly begun to be put together before we find translations being made of them in Latin, Syriac, Egyptian, later into Gothic and other barbarous tongues (see VERSIONS). In the Middle Ages, before the invention of printing, translations were made into the vernacular of most of the countries of Europe. Today there is not a language in the civilized world, hardly a language among uncivilized tribes, wherever missions have gone, into which this word of God has not been rendered. Thanks to the labors of Bible Societies, the circulation of the Bible in the different countries of the world in recent years outstrips all previous records. No book has ever been so minutely studied, has had so many books written on it, has founded so vast a literature of hymns, liturgies, devotional writings, sermons, has been so keenly assailed, has evoked such splendid defenses, as the Bible. Its spiritual influence cannot be estimated. To tell all the Bible has been and done for the world would be to rewrite in large part the history of modern civilization. Without it, in heathen lands, the arm and tongue of the missionary would be paralyzed. With it, even in the absence of the missionary, wondrous results are often effected. In national life the Bible is the source of our highest social and national aspirations. Professor Huxley, though an agnostic, argued for the reading of the Bible in the schools on this very ground. "By the study of what other book," he asked, "could children be so much humanized, and made to feel that each figure in that vast historical procession fills, like themselves, but a momentary space in the interval between two eternities, and earns the blessings or the curses of all times, according to its effort to do good and to hate evil, even as they are also earning their payment for their work?" (Critiques and Addresses, 61).
A few notes may be added, in closing, on special points not touched in the preceding sections.
1. Chapters and Verses:
Already in pre-Talmudic times, for purposes of reading in the synagogues, the Jews had larger divisions of the law into sections called Para-shahs, and of the prophets into similar sections called HaphTarahs. They had also smaller divisions into Pecuqim, corresponding nearly with our verses. The division into chapters is much later (13th century). It is ascribed to Cardinal Hugo de St Caro (died 1248); by others to Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury (died 1227). It was adopted into the Vulgate, and from this was transferred by R. Nathan (circa 1440) to the Hebrew Bible (Bleek, Keil). Verses are marked in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) as early as 1558. They first appear in the New Testament in Robert Stephens' edition of the Greek Testament in 1551. Henry Stephens, Robert's son, reports that they were devised by his father during a journey on horseback from Paris to Lyons.
2. The King James Version and Revised Version:
The King James Version of 1611, based in part on earlier English Versions, especially Tyndale's, justly holds rank as one of the noblest monuments of the English language of its own, or any, age. Necessarily, however, the Greek text used by the translators ("Textus Receptus"), resting on a few late manuscripts, was very imperfect. With the discovery of more ancient manuscripts, and multiplication of appliances for criticism, the need and call for a revised text and translation became urgent. Finally, at the instance of the Convocation of the Province of Canterbury, the task of revision was undertaken by Committees representing the best English and American scholarship. Their labors resulted in the publication, in 1881, of the Revised New Testament, and in 1885, of the Revised Old Testament (a revised edition of the Apocrypha was published in 1896). The preferencest of the American Revisers were printed in an appendix, a pledge being given that no further changes should be made for 14 years. The English Companies were disbanded shortly after 1885, but the American Committee, adhering to its own renderings, and believing that further improvements on the English the Revised Version (British and American) were possible, continued its organization and work. This issued, in 1901, in the production of the American Standard Revised Version, which aims at greater consistency and accuracy in a number of important respects, and is supplied, also, with carefully selected marginal references (see AMERICAN REVISED VERSION). Little could be done, in either the English Revised V ersion or the American Standard Revised Version, in the absence of reliable data for comparison, with the text of the Old Testament, but certain obvious corrections have been made, or noted in the margin.
3. Helps to Study:
In recent years abundant helps have been furnished, apart from Commentaries and Dictionaries, for the intelligent study of the English Bible. Among such works may be mentioned the Oxford Helps to the Study of the Bible; the valuable Aids to Bible Students (Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1898); Dr. Angus' Bible Handbook (revised by Green); A. S. Peake's Guide to Biblical Study (1897); W. F. Adeney's How to Read the Bible (1896); R. C. Moulton's The Modern Reader's Bible (1907); The Sunday School Teachers' Bible (1875); The Variorum Reference Bible and Variorum Teachers' Bible (1880); Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech (1909); The Twentieth Century New Testament (Westcott and Hort's text, 1904); S. Lloyd's The Corrected English New Testament (Bagster, 1905).
Compare articles in the Bible Dicts., specially Sanday on "Bible," and Dobschutz on "The Bible in the Church," in Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, II; Westcott, The Bible in the Church (1875); W. H. Bennett, A Primer of the Bible (1897); A. F. Kirkpatrick, The Divine Library of the Old Testament (1896); J. Eadie, The English Bible; works on Introduction (Driver, etc.); books mentioned above under "Helps"; B. B. Warfield in Princeton Theological Review (October, 1910); C. A. Briggs, General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture (Scribners, 1899); W. H. Green, General Introduction to the Old Testament (Scribners, 1899); E. C. Bissell, The Pentateuch: Its Origin and Structure (Scribners, 1885); Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament.
CRITICISM OF THE BIBLE
krit'-i-siz'-m: Criticism in General
1. Lower or Textual Criticism
2. Higher Criticism
II. LOWER OR TEXTUAL CRITICISM
1. Origin of the Science
2. Methods Employed
3. Causes of Error
4. Weighing of Authorities
(1) The Old Testament
Manuscripts and Versions
(2) The New Testament
(a) Manuscripts and Versions
(b) The Western Text
III. HIGHER CRITICISM
1. The Old Testament
(1) Astruc and Successors
(3) Graf and Wellhausen
(4) Literary and Historical Grounds of Theory
(5) The Codes
(6) Effects on History, etc.
(7) General Results
(8) Criticism of Theory
2. The New Testament
(1) The School of Baur
(2) Synoptical Criticism
(a) Oral, Documentary, and Dependence Theories
(b) The "Logia"
(c) Two-Source Theory
(d) Authorship-Lukan and Johannine Questions
(3) Modern "Critical-Historical" School
(4) Remaining Writings of New Testament
Criticism in General:
So much has been said and written in recent years on "Criticism" that it is desirable that the reader should have an exact idea of what criticism is, of the methods it employs, and of the results it reaches, or believes itself to have reached, in its application to Scripture. Such a survey will show the legitimacy and indispensableness of a truly scientific criticism, at the same time that it warns against the hasty acceptance of Speculative and hypothetical constructions. Criticism is more than a description of phenomena; it implies a process of sifting, testing, proving, sometimes with the result of establishing, often with that of modifying or reversing, traditional opinions. Criticism goes wrong when used recklessly, or under the influence of some dominant theory or prepossession. A chief cause of error in its application to the record of a supernatural revelation is the assumption that nothing supernatural can happen. This is the vitiating element in much of the newer criticism, both of the Old Testament and of the New Testament.
1. Lower or Textual Criticism:
Criticism of Scripture ("Biblical criticism") is usually divided into what is called "lower or textual criticism" and "higher criticism"-the latter a phrase round which many misleading associations gather. "Lower criticism" deals strictly with the text of Scripture, endeavoring to ascertain what the real text of each book was as it came from the hands of its author; "higher criticism" concerns itself with the resultant problems of age, authorship, sources, simple or composite character, historical worth, relation to period of origin, etc.
2. Higher Criticism:
The former-"textual criticism"-has a well-defined field in which it is possible to apply exact canons of judgment: the latter-"higher criticism"-while invaluable as an aid in the domain of Biblical introduction (date, authorship, genuineness, contents, destination, etc.), manifestly tends to widen out illimitably into regions where exact science cannot follow it, where, often, the critic's imagination is his only law.
It was only gradually that these two branches of criticism became differentiated. "Textual criticism" for long took the lead, in association with a sober form of Biblical "introduction." The relations now tend to be reversed. "Higher criticism," having largely absorbed "introduction" into itself, extends its operations into the textual field, endeavoring to get behind the text of the existing sources, and to show how this "grew" from simpler beginnings to what it now is. Here, also, there is wide opening for arbitrariness. It would be wrong, however, to deny the legitimate place of "higher criticism," or belittle the great services it is capable of rendering, because of the abuses to which it is frequently liable.
It is now necessary that these two forms of criticism should be looked at more particularly.
II. Lower or Textual Criticism.
1. Origin of the Science:
We take first lower or textual criticism. There has never been a time when criticism of Scripture-lower and higher-has been altogether absent. The Jews applied a certain criticism to their sacred writings, alike in the selection of the books, and in the settlement of the text. Examples are seen in the marginal notes to the Hebrew Scriptures (Qere and Kethibh). The Fathers of the early church compared manuscripts of the New Testament books, noting their differences, and judging of the books themselves. The Reformers, it is well known, did not accept blindly the judgments of antiquity, but availed themselves of the best light which the new learning afforded. The materials at the disposal of scholars in that age, however, were scanty, and such as existed were not used with much thoroughness or critical discernment. As aids multiplied with progress of discovery, comparison of manuscripts and versions one with another and with patristic quotations, revealed manifold divergencies and it became apparent that, in both Old Testament and New Testament, the text in current use in the church was far from perfect. "Various readings" accumulated. Not a few of these, indeed, were obvious blunders; many had little or no support in the more ancient authorities; for others, again, authority was fairly equally divided. Some were interpolations which had no right to be in the text at all. How, in these circumstances, was the true text to be ascertained? The work was one of great delicacy, and could only be accomplished by the most painstaking induction of facts, and the strictest application of sound methods. Thus arose a science of textual criticism, which, ramifying in many directions, has attained vast dimensions, and yielded an immense body of secure knowledge in its special department.
2. Methods Employed:
The materials with which textual criticism works (apparatus criticus) are, as just said, chiefly manuscripts, versions (translations into other tongues), quotations and allusions in patristic writings, with lectionaries (church service-books), and similar aids. The first step is the collection and collation of the material, to which fresh discovery is constantly adding; the noting of its peculiarities, and testing of its age and value; the grouping and designation of it for reference. A next important task is the complete collection of the "various readings" and other diversities of text (omissions, interpolations, etc.), brought to light through comparison of the material, and the endeavor to assign these to their respective causes.
3. Causes of Error:
More frequently than not errors manuscripts are unintentional, and the causes giving rise to them are sufficiently obvious. Such are the carelessness of scribes, lapses of memory, similarity of sounds (in dictation), or in shape of letters (in copying), wrong dividing of words, omission of a line or clause owing to successive lines or clauses ending with the same word. Intentional changes, again, arise from insertion in the text of marginal notes or glosses, from motives of harmonizing, from the substitution of smoother for harsher or more abrupt expressions-more rarely, from dogmatic reasons.
4. Weighing of Authorities:
Mistakes of the above kinds can generally be detected by careful scrutiny of sources, but a large number of cases remain in which the correct reading is still doubtful. These, next, have to be dealt with by the impartial weighing and balancing of authorities; a task involving new and delicate inquiries, and the application of fresh rules. It does not suffice to reckon numbers; manuscripts and versions have themselves to be tested as respects reliability and value. Through the presence of peculiarities pointing to a common origin manuscripts come to be grouped into classes and families, and their individual testimony is correspondingly discounted. Older authorities, naturally, are preferred to younger but the possibility has to be reckoned with that a later manuscript may preserve a reading which the older manuscripts have lost. Such rules obtain as that, of two readings, preference is to be given to the more difficult, as less likely to be the result of corruption. But even this has its limits, for a reading may be difficult even to the point of unintelligibility, yet may arise from a simple blunder. As a last resort, in cases of perplexity, conjectural emendation may be admitted; only, however, as yielding probability, not certainty.
In the application of these principles an important distinction has to be made between the Old Testament and the New Testament, arising from the relative paucity of material for critical purposes in the one case, and the abundance in the other. The subject is treated here generally; for details see articles on LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT; LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; TEXT AND MANUSCRIPTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
(1) The Old Testament:
Manuscripts and Versions:
In the Old Testament, textual criticism labors under the peculiar disadvantage that, with one minute exception (a papyrus fragment of the 2nd century, giving a version of the Decalogue), all known Hebrew manuscripts are late (the oldest not going beyond the 9th century A.D.); further, that the manuscripts seem all to be based on one single archetype, selected by the rabbis at an early date, and thereafter adhered to by copyists with scrupulous care (compare G. A. Smith, OTJC, 69; Driver, Text of Sam, xxxviiff; Strack, however, dissents). The variations which these manuscripts present, accordingly, are slight and unimportant. For a knowledge of the state of the text prior to the adoption of this standard, criticism is dependent on comparison with the versions-especially the SEPTUAGINT (which see), with the SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH (which see), and with parallel passages in the Old Testament itself (e.g. in Samual, Kings, Chronicles). Frequent obscurities in the Hebrew text, with undeniable discrepancies in names and numbers, show that before the fixing of the text extensive corruption had already entered. A simple instance of mistake is in Isaiah 9:3, where the King James Version reads: "Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy." The context shows that the "not" is out of place: the Revised Version (British and American) therefore rightly reads (with the Hebrew Qere: the sounds are similar), "thou hast increased their joy." In the Septuagint the divergences are often very great in order, arrangement, and readings; there are extensive interpolations and omissions (in Jeremiah, Graf reckons that 2,700 words of the Massoretic text are omitted); evidences, where the alterations are not of design, that the Hebrew manuscripts employed by the translators often differed widely from those approved in Palestin. The Samaritan recension likewise exhibits considerable differences.
It does not follow that, where difference exists, these rival texts are to be preferred to the Massoretic. Few, since the exhaustive examination of Gesenius, would affirm the superiority of the Samaritan to the Hebrew; even in regard to the Septuagint the trend of opinion seems increasingly in favor of the text of the Massoretes (compare Skinner, "Genesis," International Critical Commentary, xxxv-xxxvi). There is no need, however, to maintain the general superiority of the above texts to the Massoretic to be convinced that, in many instances, the Septuagint, in some cases, probably, even the Sam, has retained readings from which the Massoretic Text has departed. Old Testament criticism has, therefore, a clear field for its labors, and there can be little doubt that, in its cautious application, it has reached many sound results. Less reliance can be placed on the conjectural criticism now so largely in vogue. Dr. G. A. Smith has justly animadverted on the new textual criticism of the poetical and prophetical books, "through which it drives like a great plowshare, turning up the whole surface, and menacing not only the minor landmarks, but, in the case of the prophets, the main outlines of the field as well" (Quarterly Review, January, 1907). This, however, trenches on the domain of the higher criticism.
(2) The New Testament:
In the New Testament the materials of criticism are vastly more abundant than in the Old Testament; but, with the abundance, while a much larger area of certainty is attainable, more intricate and difficult problems also arise. The wealth of manuscripts of the whole or parts of the Greek New Testament far exceeds that existing for any other ancient writings (Nestle mentions 3,829: 127 uncials and 3,702 cursives: Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament, English translation, 34-35, 81); the manuscripts of versions (excluding the Vulgate, reckoned by thousands), are likewise very numerous.
(a) Manuscripts and Versions:
Greek manuscripts are usually divided into uncials and cursives (or minuscules) from the character of the writing; the oldest uncials go back to the 4th and 5th centuries. The five chief, that alone need be named, are the Codex Sinaiticus (4th century), the Codex Vaticanus (B, 4th century), the Codex Alexandrinus (A, 5th century), the Codex Ephraemi (C, 5th century), the Codex Bezae (D, Gospels and Acts, Greek and Latin, 6th century). These manuscripts again are grouped according to affinities (Bengel, Griesbach, Lachmann, are here chief precursors; Westcott and Hort, chief modern authority), Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus (B) going together as representing one type of text, in the opinion of Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek the best (the so-called "Neutral"); Codex Bezae (D) representing a "Western" text, with marked peculiarities; A and C exhibiting mixed texts. The VSS, in turn, Syriac, Old Latin, Egyptian (originating with 2nd and 3rd centuries), present interesting problems in their relations to one another and to the Greek manuscripts Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, and Codex Bezae. With the Syriac versions (Sinaitic, Curetonian, Peshitta), Tatian's Diatessaron, or Harmony of the Gospels, ought to be mentioned. Formerly the Peshitta was taken to be the oldest Syriac version (2nd century); now, especially since the discovery of the Lewis (Sinaitic) palimpsest, it tends to be regarded as a later revision of the older Syriac texts (probably by Rabula of Edessa, beginning of the 5th century). The Old Latin, also the old Syriac, manuscripts show marked affinities with the text of Codex Bezae (D)-the "Western" type.
(b) The Western Text:
The question chiefly exercising scholars at the present time is, accordingly, the relation of the Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in the Greek text based on Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus to the Western text represented by Codex Bezae, but now finding early support from the Old Latin and Syriac, as well as from quotations in the 2nd and 3rd Fathers. The Western text is discounted by Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek for its para-phrastic character, and "astonishing freedom" in changing, inserting and omitting (Westcott-Hort, 122); yet, on internal grounds, certain important omissions in this text of the last three chapters of Luke are accepted by these authorities as representing the purer text, the rejected readings being termed "non-Western interpolations." A newer school, however, is disposed to accept the Western readings, as, to a much larger extent than was formerly supposed, the more original; while some writers, as Blass, Nestle, in part Zahn (compare Nestle, op. cit., 324), seek a solution of the difference of texts in theory of two editions (Blass, Luke and Acts; Zahn, Acts alone). This theory has not met with much acceptance, and the problems of the Western text must still be regarded as unsolved. The question is not, indeed, vital, as no important doctrine of the New Testament is affected; but it touches the genuineness of several passages to which high value is attached. E. g. the words at the Supper, "which is given for you," etc. (Luke 22:19, 20, not in D), are excluded by Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek as a non-Western interpolation; while the passage on the angel and the bloody sweat (Luke 22:43, 14 in both Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Bezae), and the first word on the cross, "Father, forgive them," etc. (Luke 23:34, in Codex Sinaiticus, omitted by Codex Bezae (D) and the Sinaitic Syriac), are rejected as Western interpolations. The Revised Version (British and American) retains these passages with marginal note.
As respects results, it may be said generally that the labors of a long line of scholars have given us a New Testament text on which, in nearly all essential respects, we can safely rely. Others, it is to be owned, take a less sanguine view (compare Nestle, op. cit., 227). The correct reading seems undeniably settled in a large majority of cases. The the Revised Version (British and American) embodies most of the assured results; doubtful cases are noted in the margin. Among passages long known to be interpolations, now altogether removed, is that on the three witnesses in 1 John 5:8. The two longest passages noted as not belonging to the original text are the last 12 verses of Mark (16:9-20), and the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11).
III. Higher Criticism.
The scope of the higher criticism has already been indicated. Many of the inquiries it undertakes were formerly covered by what was called Biblical introduction; the flight of the newer science, however, is bolder, and the problems it seeks to solve are more complicated and far-reaching. An important part of its work is the analysis of books, with the view of determining their component parts (e.g. the J, E, P, D, of the Pentateuch), the age, origin, and characteristics of each, their connection with external conditions and the state of belief and life of the time. The nature of its task will be better understood from a rapid survey of its procedure.
1. The Old Testament:
Higher criticism began, mainly, with the Old Testament. Already in the 2nd century, Gnostics assailed the Old Testament as the work of an inferior deity (the Demiurge), and heretical Ebionites (Clementine Recognitions and Homilies) declared it to be corrupted with false prophecy. In the 17th century Spinoza prepared the way in his Tractatus (1670) for future rationalistic attacks.
(1) Astruc and Successors.
The beginning of higher criticism in the stricter sense is commonly associated with the French physician Astruc, who, in his Conjectures, in 1753, drew attention to the fact that, in some sections of Genesis, the Divine name employed is "Elohim" (God), in others, "Yahweh." This he accounted for by the use of distinct documents by Moses in the composition of the book. Eichhorn (1779), to whom the name "higher criticism" is due, supplemented Astruc's theory by the correct observation that this distinction in the use of the names was accompanied by other literary peculiarities. It soon became further evident that, though the distinction in the names mostly ceased after the revelation of Yahweh to Moses (Exodus 3:6), the literary peculiarities extended much farther than Genesis, indeed till the end of Jos (Bleek, 1822; Ewald, 1831; Stahelin, 1835). Instead of a "Pentateuch," recognized as of composite authorship, there was now postulated a "Hexateuch" (see PENTATEUCH; HEXATEUCH). Meanwhile De Wette (1805-6), on grounds of style and contents, had claimed for Deuteronomy an origin not earlier than the reign of Josiah. "Fragmentary" theories, like Vater's, which contributed little to the general development, may be left unnoticed. A conservative school, headed by Hengstenberg (1831) and Havernick (1837), contested these conclusions of the critics, and contended for the unity and Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch Bolder spirits, as Vatke (1835), anticipated the conclusions of the newer critical school in declaring that the Levitical laws were latest of all in origin. Their voices were as yet unheeded.
(2) Hupfeld. A distinct advance on preceding theories was made by Hupfeld (1853; in part anticipated by Ilgen, 1789). Hitherto the prevailing assumption had been that there was one fundamental document-the so-called Elohistic, dated usually in the age of the Judges, or the time of Saul or David-and that the Yahwistic parts were "supplementary" to this (not a separate document). It was the merit of Hupfeld to perceive that not a few of the sections in the "Elohistic" document did not bear the usual literary marks of that writing, but closely resembled the "Yahwistic" sections in everything but the use of the Divine name. These portions he singled out and erected into a document by themselves (though they bear no signs of being such), while the Yahwistic parts were relieved of their "supplementary" character, and regarded as belonging to a distinct document also. There were thus now 3 documents, attributed to as many authors-the original Elohist, the 2nd or Younger Elohist (E) and the Jahwist (Jahwist). Deuteronomy, as a distinct book, was added to these, making 4 documents in all.
(3) Graf and Wellhausen.
Thus matters stood till the appearance of Graf's work, The Historical Books of the Old Testament, in 1866, through which something like a revolution in the critical outlook was effected. Following in the track of Vatke, earlier, Reuss, of Strassburg, had taken up the idea that the Levitical legislation could not, as was commonly presumed, be earlier than Deuteronomy, but was, on the contrary, later-in fact, a product of the age of the exile. Graf adopted and developed this theory. He still for a time, while putting the laws late, maintained an earlier date for the Elohistic narratives. He was soon led, however, to see that laws and history must go together; so the whole Elohistic writing was removed from its former place, and brought down bodily to the end of the religious development. Graf, at the same time, did not regard it as an independent document. At first theory was scouted, but gradually, through the able advocacy of Kuenen and Wellhausen-especially the latter-it secured ascendancy, and is now regarded as the critical view paragraph excellence. Order and nomenclature of the assumed documents were now changed. The Elohist, instead of standing first, was put last under the designation P or Priestly Code; Wellhausen's symbol for this writing was Q. Its date was taken to be post-exilian. The Jahwist becomes J; the Elohist becomes E. These are placed in the 9th or 8th centuries B.C. (circa 850-750), but are supposed to have been combined a cent or so later (JE). Deuteronomy, identified with the law-book found in the temple in the reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22), is thought to have been written shortly before that time. The order is therefore no longer 1st Elohist-Jahwist and 2nd Elohist-D, but J and E-D-P. The whole, it is held, was finally united into the great law-book (Pent) brought by Ezra to Jerusalem from Babylon (458 B.C.; Ezra 7:6-10), and read by him before the people 14 years later (444 B.C.; Ne 8).
(4) Literary and Historical Grounds of Theory.
A sketch like the above gives, of course, no proper idea of the grounds on which, apart from the distinction in the Divine names, the critical theory just described is based. The grounds are partly literary-the discrimination of documents, e.g. resting on differences of style and conception, duplicates, etc. (see PENTATEUCH)-but partly also historical, in accordance with the critic's conception of the development of religion and institutions in Israel. A main reliance is placed on the fact that the history, with its many sanctuaries up to the time of Deuteronomy, is in conflict with the law of that book, which recognizes only one sanctuary as legitimate (chapter 12), and equally with the Priestly Code, which throughout assumes this centralizing law. The laws of Deuteronomy and Priestly Code, therefore, cannot be early. The prophets, it is held, knew nothing of a Levitical legislation, and refused to regard the sacrificial system as Divine (Jeremiah 7:22).
(5) The Codes:
The code under which older Israel lived was that formulated in the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23), which permitted many altars (Exodus 20:24 f). The law of Deuteronomy was the product of a centralizing movement on the part of the prophets, issuing in the reformation of Josiah. The Priestly Code was the work of fertile brains and pens of post-exilian priests and scribes, incorporating older usage, devising new laws, and throwing the whole into the fictitious form of Mosaic wilderness legislation.
(6) Effects on History, etc.
The revolution wrought by these newer constructions, however, is not adequately realized till regard is had to their effects on the picture given in the Old Testament itself of Israel's history, religion and literature. It is not too much to say that this picture is nearly completely subverted. By the leaders of the school (Graf, Kuenen, Wellhausen, Duhm, Stade, etc.) the supernatural element in the history and religion is totally eliminated; even by those who do not go so far, little is left standing. The history of the Pentateuch-indeed the history down to the time of the kings-is largely given up. Genesis is legend, Exodus hardly more trustworthy, Jos a romance. The histories of Samuel and David are "written up" by a theocratic narrator. None of the laws-even the Decalogue-are allowed to be certainly Mosaic. Monotheism is believed to have come in with Amos and Hosea; earlier, Yahweh was a "tribal" God. Ark, tabernacle, priesthood, feasts, as depicted in the Priestly Code, are post-exilic fiction. The treatment accorded to the Pentateuch necessarily reacts on the other historical books; the prophetic literature suffers in an almost equal degree through disintegration and mutilation. It is not Isaiah alone-where the question has long been mooted of the post-exilian origin of chapters 40-66 (see ISAIAH); the critical knife is applied with scarcely less freedom to the remaining prophetical books. Few, if any, of the psalms are allowed to be preexilic. Daniel is a work of the Maccabean age.
(7) General Results.
As a general summary of the results of the movement, which it is thought "the future is not likely to reverse," the following may be quoted from Professor A. S. Peake: "The analysis of the Pentateuch into four main documents, the identification of the law on which Josiah's reformation was based with some form of the Deuteronomic Code, the compilation of that code in the reign of Manasseh at the earliest, the fixing of the Priestly Code to a date later than Ezekiel, the highly composite character of some parts of the prophetic literature, especially the Book of Isaiah, the post-exilian origin of most of the Psalms, and large parts of the Book of Prov, the composition of Job not earlier than the exile and probably later, the Maccabean date of Daniel, and the slightly earlier date of Ecclesiastes" ("Present Movement of Biblical Science," in Manchester, Inaugural Lects, 32).
(8) Criticism of Theory.
The criticism of this elaborate theory belongs to the arts which deal with the several points involved, and is not here attempted at length (compare the present writer's Orr, The Problem of the Old Testament). The gains that have accrued from it on the literary side in a more exact and scholarly knowledge of the phenomena to be explained (e.g. distinction in the Divine names; distinction of P element in the Pentateuch from that known as JE) are not to be questioned; on the historical and religious sides also much has been done to quicken interest, enlarge knowledge and correct older ideas which have proved untenable-in general, to place the whole facts of the Old Testament in a clearer and more assured light. On the other hand, much even in the literary criticism is subjective, arbitrary and conjectural, while the main hypothesis of the subsequentness of the Levitical law to Ezekiel, with the general view taken of the historical and religious development in Israel, is open to the most serious exception. The Old Testament has its own account to give of the origin of its religion in the monotheism of Abraham, the covenants with the patriarchs, the legislation through Moses, which is not thus readily to be set aside in the interests of a theory resting largely on naturalistic pre-suppositions (see BIBLE). There is not a word in the history in Nehemiah 8 to suggest that the law introduced by Ezra was a new one; it was received without demur by a deeply divided community as the ancient law of Moses. So with the law of Deuteronomy in the time of Josiah (2 Kings 22). Its genuineness was doubted by no one. The position of theory, generally, is by no means so secure as many of its adherents suppose. Internally, it is being pushed to extremes which tend to discredit it to sober minds, and otherwise is undergoing extensive modifications. Documents are multiplied, dates lowered, authors are converted into "schools." Archaeologists, in large majority, declare against it. The facts they adduce tend to confirm the history in parts where it had been most impugned. The new Babylonian school in Germany (that of Winckler) assails it in its foundations. Recently, the successor of Kuenen in Leyden, Professor B. D. Eerdmans, formerly a supporter, has broken with theory in its entirety, and subjects the documentary hypothesis to a damaging criticism. It is too early yet to forecast results, but the opinion may be hazarded that, as in the case of the Tubingen New Testament critical school in last cent referred to below, the prevailing critical theory of the Old Testament will experience fundamental alteration in a direction nearer to older ideas, though it is too much to expect that traditional views will ever be resuscitated in their completeness.
2. The New Testament:
Higher criticism of the New Testament may be said to begin, in a Deistic spirit, with Reimarus (Fragments, published by Lessing, 1778), and, on Hegelian lines, with Strauss (Life of Jesus, 1835). In the interests of his mythical theory, Strauss subjected every part of the gospel history to a destructive criticism.
(1) The School of Baur.
In a more systematic way, F. Baur (1826-60), founder of the famous Tubingen school, likewise proceeding from Hegel, applied a drastic criticism to all the documents of the New Testament. Strauss started with the Gospels. Baur sought firmer ground in the phenomena of the Apostolic Age. The key to Baur's theory lies in the alleged existence of Pauline and Petrine parties in the early church, in conflict with one another. The true state of matters is mirrored, he holds, not in the Book of Acts, a composition of the 2nd century, written to gloss over the differences between the original apostles and Paul, but in the four contemporary and undoubtedly genuine epistles of Paul, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Roman, and in the Book of Revelation. In these documents the church is seen rent by a schism that threatened its very existence. By and by attempts were made at conciliation, the stages of which are reflected in the Gospels and remaining writings of the New Testament.
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