International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ARCHAEOLOGY; ARCHAEOLOGY AND CRITICISM
ar-ke-ol'-o-ji, krit'-i-siz'-m: Archaeology, the science of antiquities, is in this article limited to the Biblical field, a field which has been variously delimited (De Wette, 1814, Gesenius), but which properly includes not only all ancient facts bearing upon the Bible which had been lost and have been recovered, but all literary remains of antiquity bearing upon the Bible and, also, as of the first importance, the Bible itself (Hogarth, Authority and Archaeology, vi).
Scope of Article:
Criticism, the art of scrutiny, is here limited mainly, though not exclusively, to the literary criticism of the Bible, now, following Eichhorn, commonly called the Higher Criticism. Thus "Archaeology and Criticism," the title of this article, is meant to designate the bearing of the archaeology of Bible lands upon the criticism, especially the Higher Criticism, of the Bible. The subject as thus defined calls for the discussion of, I. What archaeology can do in the case-the powers, rights and authority, that is to say, the Function of archaeology in criticism; and II. What archaeology has done in the case, the resulting effects of such archaeological evidence, that is to say, the History of the bearing of archaeology upon the criticism of the Bible.
The function of archaeology in criticism has only recently been given much attention and the opinions thereon have varied greatly.
(a) Ignored by Encyclopaedists:
Biblical encyclopaedists generally, until the most recent, have not given this subject a place at all (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, Encyclopedia Biblica, Smith, Dictionary of the Bible, Kitto, Encyclopedia of Biblical Literature, Hamburger, See Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche, Eadie, Biblical Encyclopedia). McClintock and Strong's Encyclopedia Biblical and Ecclesiastical Literature has an article on "Biblical Archeology" consisting entirely of bibliography, also an article of a general character under "Sac. Ant." The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge Encyclopedia has an article, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907, has an article under the title "Biblical Antiquities," and the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1902, has an article of five pages on "Biblical Archeology" But on the function of archaeology in criticism there is almost nothing anywhere.
(b) Variously Estimated by Critics:
Critics have varied much in their estimate of the value of archaeology in criticism, according to their individual predilections and their critical theories, but until very recently archaeology has not generally been given a commanding, or even a prominent, place in criticism. Wellhausen seems to declare for the dominance of archaeology in criticism in the beginning of his History of Israel, though he very much ignores it in the pages that follow (History of Israel, 12). Driver (Authority and Archaeology, 143-50), thinks "testimony of archaeology sometimes determines the question decisively," but is "often strangely misunderstood," and the defeats of criticism at the hands of archaeology are often "purely imaginary" (LOT, 1897, 4). Orr thinks "archaeology bids fair before long to control both criticism and history" (POT, 305-435). Eerdmans, successor to Kuenen at Leyden, definitely and absolutely breaks with the Wellhausen school of criticism, chiefly on the ground that archaeology has discredited their viewpoint and the historical atmosphere with which they have surrounded the Old Testament. Wiener, the most prominent of recent Jewish critics, also believes that a proper apprehension of the nature of ancient institutions, customs, documents and codes, i.e. archaeology, and especially the archaeology of the Bible itself, is clearly decisive in its influence on the issue raised by the Wellhausen school (BS, 1908-10).
(c) Urged by Archaeologists:
Archaeologists generally for a long time have been putting forward the superior claims of their science in the critical controversy (Brugsch, Egypt under the Pharaohs; Naville, Recueil de Travaux, IV, N.S.; Petrie, Hyksos and Israelite Cities, chapters i-iv; Researches in Sinai, 188-223; Spiegelberg, Aufenthalt Israels in Aegypten; Steindorf, Explorations in Bible Lands (Hilprecht), 623-90; Sayce, Higher Criticism and the Monuments; Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition, xi; Jeremias, Das alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients).
The function of archaeology in criticism, as fully brought to light by recent discussion, is as follows:
1. Historical Setting.
Archaeology furnishes the true historical setting of Scripture. In the criticism of a painting, it is of the utmost importance to hang the picture aright before criticism begins. It is not greatly different in the criticism of literature, and especially Biblical literature. The patriarchs and prophets and psalmists are the "old masters" of spirituality and of religious literature; their productions were brought forth under certain social, political, moral and religious conditions, and within certain surroundings of influences, enemies, opportunities, temptations and spiritual privileges. It is only archaeology that can hang their pictures aright, and it is only when thus hung that true criticism is ready to begin. The critic is only then a critic when he has seen how archaeology has hung the picture (BST, 1906, 366).
2. Guidance to Methods.
Archaeology gives guidance to the methods of criticism. This it does; (a) Presuppositions:
With regard to presuppositions. Presuppositions are inevitable from our mental constitutions, and necessary to the consideration of any subject, since all subjects cannot be considered at once. But our presuppositions are naturally, to a large extent, those induced by our own experience and environment, until we are otherwise instructed. As it is only archaeology that is able to instruct us concerning the exact circumstances of certain portions of the Bible it is evident that, in those portions, without the instruction which archaeology can give, we cannot be assured of correct presuppositions in the critic.
Archaeology gives guidance concerning the canons of criticism. It is of the utmost importance that a literature should be judged only by the canons followed by its own literati. The innumerable literary remains of Egypt and Babylonia reveal methods and standards very different from each other, and still more different from those of modern western literature, but exhibiting to a marked degree the literary peculiarities of the Old Testament. In Babylonian literature, much attention is paid to epochal chronology. In Egyptian literature, comparatively little attention is given to chronology, and what chronology there is, is seldom epochal, but either synchronistic or merely historianic. In the Old Testament there is a mixture of all these kinds of chronology. Again, in Babylonian literature, there is carefulness and some degree of accuracy; in Egyptian literature, carelessness, slovenliness and inaccuracy are provokingly frequent. The Scriptures of the Old Testament are, in this respect, in striking contrast to these other literatures, ye t nowhere in ancient oriental literature is there the mathematical rigidity of statement demanded in occidental literature today; on the other hand there is frequently a brevity and abruptness of literary method which, to western minds, appears to be fragmentariness of documents. The attempt to elucidate oriental literature in the Bible and out of it by applying thereto the tests and standards of western literature is not less disastrous than would be the attempt to judge western literature by these oriental peculiarities.
(c) Literary Form:
Archaeology gives guidance concerning literary form. Much of the definiteness and unity of modern literature is due to the arts of printing and book-binding. All archaeological literature of Bible lands, lacking, as it does, the influence of these arts, is, in form, indefinite, or fragmentary, or both. These peculiarities in form and the causes of the same, archaeology makes very plain by abundant illustration. It makes clear, also, that fragmentariness and indefiniteness in oriental literature, in so far as it arises from the literary form and not from partial destruction of documents, in no wise militates against integrity.
Archaeology gives guidance concerning interpretation. Archaeology admonishes us of the truism, too often overlooked, that a language or literature means only what it is understood to mean by those from whom it comes, so that the etymological, syntactical and speculative methods of interpretation employed in criticism, in order to be reliable, must have the support of the historical method. In the absence of this support, more especially if contemporary history as revealed by archaeology be antagonistic, interpretation, though supported by all the other methods of criticism, is very precarious. The interpretation of a rubric by the etymological and analytical methods may be partly or completely overthrown by a single picture or a brief description of the priest at the altar. For instance, it is very disquieting to compare the remarks of commentators on Bible references to the worship at high places with the facts revealed by the recent discovery of high places and the worship there conducted (Macalister, PEFS, 1903, 23-31; Robinson, BW, January, 1901; January, 1908, 219-25, 317-18; Vincent, Canaan, 144). Archaeology must guide in the interpretation of ancient literature, whether that which has just been dug up, as the recent finds of manuscripts and monuments, or that which has never been lost, as in the Bible itself.
3. Facts to Test Theories.
Archaeology supplies facts wherewith to test theories.
Facts and Correct Criticism Agree:
There can be no real antagonism between the facts of archaeology and a correct literary criticism of trustworthy documents. But who or what is to determine when the criticism is correct? If there is conflict between the facts of archaeology and the conclusions of criticism, which must give way? To ask the question is to answer it. Theory must always give way to facts. "Where the testimony of archaeology is direct, it is of the highest possible value, and, as a rule, determines a question decisively; even where it is indirect, if it is sufficiently circumstantial and precise, it may make a settlement highly probable" (Driver, Authority and Archaeology, 143). This prerogative of archaeological facts in the testing of critical theories must, then, of necessity be given wide and positive recognition.
(a) Theories Need Attestation:
No theory is to be finally accepted and made applicable to faith and life until tested and attested by facts; if it be a theory in the field of Nature, by the facts of Nature; if in the field of experience, by facts of experience; if in the field of history, byfacts of history. The Master brings even revelation to this test when He says, "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself" (John 7:17). Anything in the Bible may be discredited by theory; as everything in heaven and earth may be-indeed, has been-discredited by theory. One might as safely abandon the beaten track for the most alluring but unconfirmed appearance of an eastern desert, as turn one's life aside to a theory unattested by fact. However perfect the appearance, it may, after all, be only the mirage, and the disappointed pilgrim may never get back to the safe road. Let theory first be confirmed by fact; then it may be received into the life.
(b) Success not Attestation:
Even a theory which meets all the known conditions of the case in hand is not by that fact proved to be true, and therefore to be received into the life. The most alluring danger to which criticism is subject is the contrary assumption that a theory which meets all the known conditions of the case in hand is thereby proved to be true. This is not the case. Such a theory must, in addition, be corroborated by facts independently brought to light, or by mysteries unlocked; and even if mysteries be unlocked, the theory is not necessarily an entirely correct theory-the key that turns the lock must be something like the key that belongs to it, but may after all, be a false key. There must, in any case, whether of mysteries unlocked or of facts otherwise brought to light, be independent, genuine evidence in addition to the adaptability of theory to all the known conditions of the case in hand. And furthermore, a theory must not only be able to meet the test of some additional facts, but the test of all the conditions imposed by any additional facts brought to light, and be able, also, to incorporate these new facts as naturally as those upon which theory was originally constructed.
(1) Theory in Life:
The problem is not to determine one or several of the ways in which an event might have taken place, but the one way in which it did take place. A theory which meets all the conditions of the case in hand may be one of the several ways in which the event might have taken place, but only by independent, genuine, corroborative evidence is any theory to be attested as the way in which the event actually did take place. That this statement of the case is correct in the experiences of life, we have abundant evidence in the proceedings of courts of law. The most careful procedure does not wholly prevent false convictions. The prosecutor presents a theory of the commission of a crime which meets all the conditions of the case as made out by the evidence, convinces twelve jurymen, and secures a conviction. Yet sometimes afterward it is found out that another person committed the crime in an entirely different way. That the dictum under discussion is inapplicable to literature is equally well established. Sir Peter LePage Renouf argued with great acuteness and force that it is possible to assign significations to an unknown script, give meanings to the words thus formed, construct a grammar and translate inscriptions as historical statements and make good sense, though not a single sign, or word, or construction, or thought be correct (Life-work, I, 6, 7). He says of such a method: "It is not difficult to make out the Ten Commandments, the Psalms of David, the Homeric Poems, or the Irish Melodies, on any ancient or modern monument whatever, and in any language you please."
(2) Theory in Literature:
Actual examples in fulfillment of Renouf's warning thesis are not wanting. The grotesque, yet confident, efforts at the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone are not forgotten. Dr. Budge says (The Mummy, 124): "In more modern times the first writer at any length on hieroglyphics was Athanasius Kircher, the author of some ponderous works in which he pretended to have found the key to the hieroglyphic inscriptions, and to translate them. Though a man of great learning, it must be plainly said that, judged by scholars of today, he would be considered an impostor." Joseph de Guignes (1770) maintained that China was settled by Egyptians, and the Chinese characters only degenerate Egyptian hieroglyphs. Similar failures in the attempt to decipher the Hittite hieroglyphs and translate the Hittite inscriptions must form painful recollections to distinguished scholars yet living, whose efforts, extending in some cases not only to lists of signs but to syllabaries, vocabularies, grammars and translations, are now, in part, and in some cases, in toto, rejected by the whole learned world. However successful present or future efforts of these scholars may prove to be, they have, in part at least, themselves repudiated their former work. The most plausible theory of a literature, though it seem to embrace every detail, may, after all, be found to be, as in one or two of the instances referred to above, wholly false when tested by the principles of philology and the facts of contemporary history.
(3) Theory in History:
The dangers of unconfirmed theory in life and literature are even greater in history, which, in its present-day form, is but life written down, human experiences given over to all the accidents and conventionalities of literature. The warnings here from Egyptian and classical history and literature are not to be disregarded. Menes and other early kings of Egypt were declared by critics to be mere mythological characters; likewise Minos of Crete; and the stories of Troy and her heroes were said to belong to "cloudland." But the spades of Petrie at Abydos (Royal Tombs), of Evans at Knossos (Quarterly Review, October, 1904, 374-95), and of Schliemann at Troy (Ilios: City and Country of the Trojans), have shown the "cloudland" as solid earth, and the ghostly heroes to be substantial men of flesh and blood. If we are to learn anything from experience, certainly no theory of either sacred or profane history is to be accepted as final until tested and attested by facts.
(c) Source of the Needed Facts:
Only archaeology is bringing forth any new facts on the questions raised by criticism. Criticism produces only theories; it combines facts, but produces none. Exegetes and commentators rarely, if ever, now bring to light new facts any more than present-day philosophers give the world new thoughts. A flood of light is, indeed, pouring across the page of the exegete and the commentator in these latter days which makes their work inestimably more helpful for interpretation, but the source of that light is neither criticism nor exegesis, but archaeology. Archaeology it is which sets alongside the Bible history the facts of contemporary life and thus illustrates Biblical literature and literary methods by contemporary literature and the methods of contemporary literati, and which makes the purity, sanctity and divinity of the things of revelation stand out in their own glorious light by setting round about them the shadows of contemporary ritual and morality and superstition.
(d) Scope of Function:
Hence, no critical theory of the Bible is to be finally accepted and made a part of our faith until tested and attested by archaeological facts. Even Wellhausen, however far he departs from this principle in the course of his criticism, seems to lay it down as fundamental in the beginning of his History of Israel, when he says: "From the place where the conflagration was first kindled the fire men keep away; I mean the domain of religious antiquities and dominant religious ideas-that whole region as Vatke in his Biblical Theology has marked it out. But only here, where the conflict was kindled, can it be brought to a definite conclusion" (History of Israel, 12). G. A. Smith quotes also with approval these words from Napoleon (Campagnes d'Egypte et de Syrie dictees par Napoleon lui-meme, II): "When camping upon the ruins of the ancient cities, someone read the Bible aloud every evening in the tent of the General-in-Chief. The verisimilitude and the truthfulness of the descriptions were striking. Th ey are still suited to the land after all the ages and the vicissitudes." But Dr. Smith adds, "This is not more than true, yet it does not carry us very far.. All that geography can do is to show whether or not the situations are possible at the time to which they are assigned; even this is a task often beyond our resources" (HGHL, 108). Thus critics, while here and there acknowledging the proper function of archaeology in criticism, have not heretofore allowed it much scope in the exercise of that function.
Limitations of Discussion:
The history of archaeology in criticism to be set forth here has mainly to do with the testing of critical theories by archaeological facts. The contributions of archaeology to the furnishing of the historical setting of the Biblical narratives make up a large part of this and every dictionary of the Bible. The history of the guidance of critical methods by archaeological information is in the making. There can hardly as yet be said to be any to record.
A Wide Field:
The field opened up for the testing of critical theories by the results of archaeological research is so varied and so extended that only an outline can be given here. Extravagant claims concerning the outcome of this testing have been made both by some critics and by some of their opponents; as when Dr. Driver says, after except the points upon which the evidence of archaeology is neutral, "On all other points the facts of archaeology, so far as they are at present known, harmonize entirely with the position generally adopted by the critics" (Authority and Archaeology, 145); or as when the astronomer, C. Piazzi Smyth, thought that the great pyramid proved the "wisdom of the Egyptians" to have included some of the abstruse problems of higher mathematics; and Dr. Seiss, in his Miracle in Stone, was confident that the same colossal monument of Egypt definitely portrayed some of the extreme positions of the premillennial theology.
Some of the instances of the testing of critical theories concerning the Scriptures by the facts of archaeology, for which unquestionable historical proofs can be offered, are here presented.
1. Theories Not Affecting Historicity or Integrity.
Many critical theories, notably those not affecting the historicity or the integrity of the Scriptures, i.e. accordant with the face value of Scripture, have been corroborated and others discredited.
(a) Theories corroborated:
(1) Geography and Topography:
The theory of the geographical and topographical trustworthiness of Scripture, i.e. that the peoples, places and events of Scripture are to be found just where the Bible places them. Attempts to belittle the importance of this geographical and topographical corroboration of the trustworthiness of the Scriptures have been made (Driver, Authority and Archaeology, 148; also LOT, xi; Smith, HGHL, 108), but such attempts are not satisfying. The theory of the correctness of the Biblical statements has been of well-nigh universal acceptance; archaeologists have fitted out expensive expeditions in accordance with it, exegesis has allowed it to enter into its conclusions, discussion has proceeded upon the assumption of its correctness, the whole body of identifications which make up Biblical geography and topography attest it, and the whole list of sacred geographies, uniform in every essential particular, are in evidence in support of this theory, even the works of those writers who have spoken disparagingly of it.
(2) Story of the Nations:
The theory of the ethnographical correctness of Scripture. That the relation between peoples as indicated in Scripture is correct, has been a working theory for all general purposes and only departed from for special ends. Kautzsch says (Die bleibende Bedeutung des Alttestaments, 17): "The so-called Table of Nations remains, according to all the results of monumental exploration, an ethnographic original document of the first rank, which nothing can replace." The progress of archaeological research has confirmed this general working theory and every year adds new confirmation with regard to particular items which, for some special end, have been represented as against theory. That the general theory of the correctness of the tribal relationships in Scripture has been, and is being, sustained, is indisputable (Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition; Gunkel, Israel und Babylonien, chapter vi; Sayce, Patriarchal Palestine, chapter ii; Winckler, OLZ, December 15, 1906; Budge, History of Egypt, I; Orr, POT, 400-401, 529-30). See TABLE OF NATIONS.
(3) Accuracy of Scripture:
The theory of the accuracy of Scripture in both the originals and the copies. Every theory of inspiration postulates this in greater or less degree, and the most prevalent analytical theory put forth by criticism, with its lists of words indicating, as it is asserted, authorship, demands, for its very life, a degree of accuracy and invariableness in the use of words in both the writing of originals and the transmission of them by copyists greater than that demanded by any the most exacting theory of inspiration. Wherever it has been possible to test the statements of Scripture in its multitudinous historical notices and references, archaeology has found it correct to a remarkable degree, and that in its present form and even in minute peculiarities of statement (Brugsch, Broderick edition, Egypt under the Pharaohs, chapters v-vi; Sayce, Patriarchal Palestine; Naville, Recueil de Travaux, IV, N.S.; Petrie, Tahpanhes; Tompkins, The Age of Abraham; Clay, Light on the Old Testament from Babel).
(4) Bible Imagery:
The theory of the correctness of the imagery of the Bible. This is another of the fundamental and universal working theories of criticism which is, however, sometimes forgotten. Whatever theory of the authorship and the origin of the various books of the Bible, there is always, with only a few special exceptions, the underlying assumption on the part of the critics of the correctness of the imagery reflecting the topography, the flora and the fauna, the seasons and the customs. Indeed, upon the trustworthiness of the imagery, as upon the exactness in the use of words, criticism depends. And this underlying assumption of criticism of every hue has been confirmed indisputably in its general features, and is being corroborated year by year in its minutest details, and even in those very special instances where it has been disputed. To this end testify the whole company of oriental residents, intelligent travelers and scientific investigators (Thomson; Van Lennap; Robinson; Stanley; Palmer, Desert of the Exodus; Trumbull, Kadesh Barnea; Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeological Researches; Van Dyke, Out of Doors in the Holy Land).
Besides these theories of a general character, some concerning particulars may be noticed:
(5) Garden of Eden:
The theory of the location of the Garden of Eden somewhere in the Euphrates Valley. This theory has been all but universally held and, while it is not yet definitely of substantiated, is receiving cumulative corroboration along ethnological lines. Wherever it is possible to trace back the lines of emigration of the early nations mentioned in the Bible, it is always found that the ultimate direction is toward a certain comparatively small area in western Asia.
(6) The Flood:
The geological theory concerning the flood of Noah as the last great change in land levels is being most exactly confirmed, not only by investigations into glacial history, but by examination of the records of the cataclysm left upon the mountains and valleys of central and western Asia (Wright, The Ice Age in North America; and Scientific Confirmations of Old Testament History, chapters vii-xi). See DELUGE OF NOAH.
(7) Sodom and Gomorrah:
The geological theory of the destruction of the Cities of the Plain has been exactly confirmed by the examination of the strata; a bituminous region, a great stratum of rock-salt capped by sulphur-bearing marls and conglomerates cemented by bitumen, an explosion of pent-up gases, which collect in such geological formations, blowing the burning brimstone high in the air, and the waters of the Jordan coming down to dissolve the salt of the ruptured rock-salt stratum-all this provides for exactly what the Bible describes and for the conditions found there today; the pillar of smoke rising up to heaven, the rain of fire and brimstone falling back from the blowing-off crater, the catching of Lot's wife in the edge of the cataclysm and her encrustation with salt (Wright, Scientific Confirmations of Old Testament History, 144; Blankenkorn, ZDPV, XIX, 1).
(8) Hyksos and Patriarchs:
It has long been thought that there might be some relationship between the mysterious Hyksos kings of Egypt and the Patriarchs to account for the favorable reception, even royal distinction, given the latter. This theory of relationship has been very fully established by the discoveries of Petrie at Tell el-Yehudiyeh (Petrie, Hyksos and Israelite Cities, 1-16). He has not shown to what race the Hyksos belonged, but he has shown their tribal character, that they were, as their name indicates, "Bedouin princes," leaders of the nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes of Upper and Lower Ruthen, i.e. Syria and Palestine, and northern and western Arabia, as were the Patriarchs, so that the latter were shown by the former the consideration of one "Bedouin prince" for another.
(b) Theories Discredited:
(1) Uncivilized Canaan:
The interesting picture which was wont to be drawn of Abraham leaving all his friends and civilization behind him to become a pioneer in a barbarous land has become dim and dimmer and at last faded out completely in the ever-increasing light of contemporary history revealed by Babylonian and Palestinian discoveries (Vincent, Canaan, chapters i-ii).
(2) Concerning Melchizedek:
Concerning Melchizedek, "without father and without mother" (Hebrews 7:3), Tell el-Amarna Letters, while not wholly affording the needed information, have put to flight a host of imaginings of old commentators, and pointed toward Melchizedek's place in a line of kings at Jerusalem of unique title disclaiming any hereditary rights in the crown. "It was not my father and it was not my mother who established me in this position, but it was the mighty arm of the king himself who made me master of the lands and possessions of my father." This title, over the correct translation of which there has been much controversy, occurs not once only, but seems to have been required at every formal mention of the sovereignty of the king (Budge, History of Egypt, IV, 231-35).
(3) Oriental Chronology:
The theory of the chronology of the early portions of the Old Testament, which made it to be so exactly on the principle of the system of chronology in vogue in our western world today, which, indeed, assumed that there could be no other system of chronology, and which was universally held as a working hypothesis by all classes of critics and commentators until very recently, has been greatly modified, if not utterly discredited, by both archaeological and ethnological research. Whatever may have been the system and method of chronology in use in early Biblical history, it certainly was not the same as our epochal chronology based upon exact astronomical time. The early chronologies of the Orient were usually historianic, oftentimes synchronistic, but very seldom epochal. The first, and usually the only, intent of present-day chronology is to chronicle the flight of time; the ancient systems of the East often introduced a moral element; events, rather than time, were chronicled, and the time in which nothing took place and the man who accomplished nothing were apt to be passed over in silence. Sometimes chronicles were arranged symmetrically, and again the visional conception of time found in all prophecy seems sometimes to have prevailed in the writing of history. Certain it is that ancient oriental thought regarded man's relation to life as of far greater importance than his relation to time-a more deeply moral conception of chronology than our own (Green, BS, April, 1890, 285-303).
2. Theories Affecting the Integrity or Historicity of Scripture.
Many critical theories attacking the integrity or historicity of Scripture, i.e. reconstructive theories, have been utterly discredited by archaeological evidence, and, in some cases, abandoned by those who held them (compare Driver, Genesis, addenda, 7th edition, xx).
(a) Ignorance of Patriarchal Age:
The ignorance of the patriarchal age was once a frontier fortress which threatened away all literary pretensions beyond that limit.
Read Complete Article...
(The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis)
2. Historical Perspective
3. Inspiration and Criticism
II. THE LEGISLATION
2. Covenant Code
3. The Sanctuary
4. Kinds of Sacrifice
5. Sacrifice in General
7. Priests and Levites
11. Additional Note
III. THE HISTORY
2. Kings, etc.
3. The Conquest
4. Ideas of God
1. Covenant Code
In Jeremiah 7:22, 23 we read: "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices: but this thing I commanded them, saying, Hearken unto my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people." It is the contention of the present article that this statement of the prophet is correct (compare II, 5).
More specifically, it is contended that evidence can be produced from the Old Testament to show that Israel's religion can be seen in a long period of growth; and in this growth a fixed sacrificial law, with a minutely regulated ritual obligatory on all Israelites, the culmination and not the beginning of the process. It is contended, moreover, that this conception of the development of the institutional side of the religion of the Old Testament is attained by the strictest evaluation of all the Old Testament evidence and by no a priori considerations.
2. Historical Perspective:
To be sure, one is met at once in the Old Testament by what seem to be complete denials of this point of view. In the Pentateuch we find statement after statement that a given law was due not to some late author but to Moses himself, and there are numerous passages in the historical books (most notably in Chronicles) that speak of these laws as in effect from the earliest times. Such evidence must be paid all possible respect and must be overruled only on the most imperative considerations.
However, if for the moment the books of the Old Testament be viewed only as historical documents, it will be admitted that the possibility of overruling such evidence may well arise. And it may very well arise without calling in question in the slightest degree the good faith of the writers of questioned passages; for an acquisition of historical perspective comes very late in intellectual evolution, particularly-though not only-in the realm of religious history. Even the trained scholar has to be on his guard lest he read back the concepts of his own time into some past generation, while the non-specialist never succeeds in avoiding this error completely. For the uncultured mind, especially for the Oriental, the problem scarcely exists. That which is generally accepted and which is not obviously novel tends to be classified as that which "always has been." A law so old that its actual source is forgotten is referred as a matter of course to some great lawgiver of the past. A custom that in a writer's own day is universally observed by the pious must always have been observed by the pious. Even documentary evidence to the contrary is not convincing to such a writer, for that documents may be wrong is not a modern discovery. To be sure, the older document may be copied mechanically or the discrepancy may not even be noticed. But it is never surprising when we find a writer simply accrediting the pious men of old with the customs of his own day, since even documentary evidence to the contrary he felt could not be right. This is not forgery, as we understand the word, nor need there be the faintest moral reproach connected with such conduct. Quite on the contrary, such a writer may well be acting in the only sense that the conscience of any man of his generation could conceive right.
3. Inspiration and Criticism:
However, the Old Testament is not a mere collection of human documents, and another question arises. Does the acceptance of inspiration compel us to assume that in every case a writer's ordinary historical methods were entirely overruled? The question is a rather broad one and does not relate merely to the correct transmission of historic facts. To be asked, rather, is this: Did God present to His instruments a mechanically accurate set of past facts which would give a conception of history that no one of the sacred writer's generation could understand? Or did He suffer His revelation to find expression in terms of the current conceptions of history, much as we are accustomed to say it found expression in terms of the current conceptions of science? A full discussion of the various theological arguments involved would be quite outside the province of an article of this Encyclopedia, but reference must be made to two important Biblical arguments:
(1) In a question which thus affects the amount covered by the inspiration of the Bible, quotations from the Bible itself beg the question when adduced to show entire infallibility. So appeals to the New Testament are hardly helpful. Moreover, they prove too much. In Jude 1:14, 15 there is a quotation from the Book of Enoch (1:9), which is made in the most formal manner possible. But will anyone maintain that this compels us to believe that our Book of Enoch was actually written by Enoch, the seventh from Adam? Yet if the quotation had been taken from an Old Testament work, precisely this would have been maintained.
(2) Far more important is the use of the Old Testament by Christ, for here a quite different authority comes in. But the question must be asked: Just how far did our Lord's use of a passage involve ratification of all the current ideas about that passage? A good answer is supplied by Acts 1:6, 7. When He is asked, "Dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" we know that the pedantically "correct" answer would have been, "The kingdom never will be restored to Israel in any such sense as ye conceive of it." Yet this is precisely what Christ does not say. "It is not for you to know times or seasons." No hint was given at all that the kingdom was universal, for the disciples would find that out for themselves in good time. In order that they should be able to do God's work there was no need to bewilder them with a truth as yet altogether revolutionary. And any close student of the "Kingdom of God" passages soon realizes how often Christ uses current terminology without comment, even when it seems almost materialistic. A literal exegesis of Luke 22:18 would necessitate believing that grapes will grow in the world to come and that Christ will drink wine made from them, and almost certainly the disciples gathered just this idea from the words. But no one today finds them in the least a difficulty. The exact extent of the kingdom and the exact nature of the happiness in it were irrelevant to what the disciples had to do. And so it cannot be thought an injustice to treat Christ's use of the Old Testament by exactly the same rules, all the more as nowhere, not even in Mark 12:36, does the argument turn on the original human author or the date of writing. What Christ Himself, in His inner consciousness, knew on the subject is something beyond our immediate data. But His use of the Old Testament lends no support to a Kenotic theory, not even on the wildest Old Testament critical hypotheses.
II. The Legislation.
As is well known, among the laws of the Pentateuch there exist several well-marked groups, of which the most formal is Deuteronomy 12-26.
Another such group is Leviticus 17-26 or the Holiness Code (H), and still another is Exodus 20:22-23:19 or the Covenant Code (CC). With this last is closely connected the Decalogue and the little compend Exodus 34:17-26. Now it will be convenient for present purposes to designate the remaining mass of Pentateuchal legislation under the non-committal symbol X.
2. Covenant Code:
In the first place, attention may be directed to Covenant Code as a whole. Whatever it was meant to be, it was not meant as a mere interims code for the period of the wanderings, either in its civil or its religious prescriptions. One piece of evidence alone is enough to show the contrary: in the laws touching settlements of disputes it is presupposed that Moses himself is not accessible. And the life assumed is agricultural. Men are living in fields with settled boundaries (Exodus 22:5, 6). The vine and the olive are both under cultivation (Exodus 22:5, 29; Exodus 23:11), under such settled circumstances that the rest of the Sabbatical year can be observed. And of the feasts, Weeks and Tabernacles are connected with the harvests (Exodus 23:16). Of course, Moses may very well have given commands that looked to the future, but the present contention is simply that it was the remote and not the immediate future that is in point on this assumption. The life is Canaan and not the wilderness. But, now, the life is very primitive life. Flocks are of great importance, as is shown by the proportion of space given to laws about them. Rulers are mentioned only in Exodus 22:28 (nasi'), and judges, as settled officers, are not mentioned at all, for the very rare word in Exodus 21:22 (palil, Deuteronomy 32:31 Job 31:11 only) should be translated "umpire." Indeed in Exodus 23:1-9 the duties of citizens, witness and judge are so intermingled as to suggest that judgment was administered by a general gathering of the people. It is taken for granted that a master has marital rights over his maidservants (Exodus 21:7-11). Coined money is mentioned only in Exodus 21:32, if there. There is no attempt to define proportions exactly; compare Exodus 22:5 ("best of his own field") and Exodus 22:29 (the amount of the gift-a tenth?-not stated). Similarly there is no precise dating of the feasts of Weeks and Tabernacles in 23:16, while the exact day in Abib (Exodus 23:15) is at least not specified. Now, if this code could be isolated from the rest of the legislation, would not one refer it naturally on the above grounds alone to a time not very far either way from that of Saul?
Now, in what follows, the prescriptions of the various codes will be compared with each other in regard to the various institutions of Israel's religion and also studied in the wider evidence of the historical books. The evidence of Chronicles, however, will be omitted for the most part, as a separate section is devoted to it (III, 1).
3 The Sanctuary:
(1) The firstling is to be with its dam seven days, but on the eighth (not later!) it is to be given to God. The offerings from the harvest and from the presses (wine and olives) are to be offered without delay (Exodus 22:29, 30). Consequently the place of offering must have been readily accessible. By what has been said above and by the mention of "presses" here, ready accessibility in Palestine is presupposed. But this implies a multiplicity of sanctuaries. And in Samuel-Kings this multiplicity of sanctuaries is exactly what is found. Samuel sacrifices in Mizpah (1 Samuel 7:9), in Ramah (1 Samuel 9:12), in Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:15) and in Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:5). David's family held a yearly sacrifice in Bethlehem, which David attended regularly (1 Samuel 20:6). Solomon received a special revelation from God at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4 -for the account in Chronicles see III, 1). Although the heart of Asa was perfect and the way of Jehoshaphat right, yet the many altars were suffered to remain (1 Kings 15:14; 1 Kings 22:43 -again for Chronicles see III, 1). The destruction of the altars of God was to Elijah a terrible calamity (1 Kings 19:10). While Amos and Hosea abound in denunciations of sacrifices as substitutes for righteousness, yet they never even intimate a duty to offer sacrifices in some other place (Amos 1:2 Hosea 3:5 are irrelevant). Not even do Micah 4:2 and Isaiah 2:2 imply that Jerusalem was to have the sole right to the cult.
(2) Ezekiel is the first prophet who makes the place of sacrifice a matter of paramount importance, and this importance of the place is, in the Pentateuch, emphasized primarily in Deuteronomy. It is needless to collect the familiar evidence from Deuteronomy, but an illuminating comparison with Covenant Code is given by the laws for firstlings. No longer is the firstling given on the eighth day. It must be kept, but not worked or shorn, until the time when "year by year" it may be eaten in the chosen place (Deuteronomy 15:19, 20). So now the fruits of the field and the "presses" are not offered "without delay" but again "year by year," with a provision for turning them into money if the way be too long to the sanctuary (Deuteronomy 14:22-27). Deuteronomy and Covenant Code evidently have distinct conceptions-and again attention may be called to the fact that Covenant Code contains laws for Palestine, not for the wilderness. The Law of Holiness (H), Leviticus 17-26, is as explicit as Deuteronomy-sacrifice anywhere except at the Tent is a capital offense (Leviticus 17:8, 9). And the evidence of X need not be collected, but, passing out of the Pentateuch for the moment, Joshua 22:10-34 represents Israel as understanding from the first entrance into Canaan that sacrifice at any altar but the one was the worst of crimes.
(3) How is the offering of sacrifices in various places by such men as Samuel to be explained? That the worship was disorganized and the proper sanctuary could not be reached is hardly an explanation. For no disorganization of the country could be great enough to justify the offering of sacrifices in places not only unauthorized but flatly forbidden in Leviticus 17:8, 9. On theory of Mosaic origin for the whole of the Pentateuchal legislation, Samuel knew as much about the clear statements of the Law as does any Jew of today, but it is clearly enough recognized by all Jews that no disorganization of the county or Divine reprobation of the Temple justifies sacrifice in any other place. A key, however, seems to be found in Deuteronomy 12:8-11, where sacrifice in various places is actually authorized until such a time as the land should be pacified and the Divine choice given to a place-a time represented in the history of Israel as about the time of David, or perhaps Solomon. This certainly does explain the situation as it is found in Samuel-Kings. Only, it is in flat contradiction with H and X.
This point is important. Deuteronomy 12:8-11 not only represents sacrifice in various places as permitted until some later time, but it represents Moses and the Israelites as practicing the same things in the wilderness-"the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes; for ye are not as yet come," etc.; i.e. Deuteronomy's conception was that in the wilderness Moses and the Israelites offered sacrifice wherever they thought good. This was to continue until God gave them rest from their enemies round about. Then the sacrifices were to be brought to the chosen place and to be offered nowhere else. Now, the conception in H and X is wholly different. On the mount Moses received directions for the building of the Tabernacle, with its altar. From the beginning it was a capital offense to offer sacrifices on any other altar than this (Leviticus 17:8, 9), which was carried everywhere on the wanderings and brought into Canaan. In the very days of Phinehas, the offering of sacrifices on a different altar was enough to make civil war justifiable (Joshua 22:12). For further discussion see III, 2.
(4) The difficulties of these data are obvious but are completely satisfied by the assumption that different conceptions of past history are present. Deuteronomy belongs to a period when the unity of the sanctuary had become an established fact, but still before the memory of the many altars as comparatively legitimate was extinguished. H and X, however, belong to a considerably later day, when the unity of the sanctuary had been so long taken for granted that no pious Israelite could conceive that anything else had ever existed. The reference of the commands to Moses is altogether in oriental manner.
NOTE.- Exodus 20:24 has not been used in the above argument, but with the evidence presented there seems to be no obstacle to the translations of the EV. The familiar evidence of Judges is of course merely cumulative.
Leviticus 1-7 contains a list of the various kinds of sacrifices:
4. Kinds of Sacrifice:
(a) the sin offering and the trespass offering, very elaborately treated and obviously of the highest importance;
(b) the whole burnt offering and the peace offering; and, standing a little by itself, the meal offering.
The latter is of no especial significance for the present discussion and may be neglected. Now a curious fact may be noted. In the prophetic writings before Ezekiel there is not one single reference to class (a). This is not simply the argument from silence, for sacrifices with their special names are mentioned freely and sacrificial rites described-invariably of class (b), even when presented for penitential purposes. If the offering is not burnt whole, the worshipper eats of it-it is a peace offering. Jeremiah 7:21 is a particularly significant example, but compare Amos 4:4, 5; Amos 5:22, 25 Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:4 Isaiah 1:11; Isaiah 22:12-14; 28:7, 8 Jeremiah 6:20. Turning to Samuel-Kings we find this borne out. The names of the sin and trespass offerings appear in 2 Kings 12:16, but it is money that is referred to (the English Versions of the Bible should be checked with the Hebrew here), just as the golden mice appear as a trespass offering in 1 Samuel 6:3. And in the codes, neither Covenant Code nor Deuteronomy mentions class (a) and even in H they appear only in Leviticus 19:21, 22; i.e. what in later times appear as the greatest sacrifices of Israel-by Leviticus 8 Israel's first sacrifice was a sin offering-are found only in X and are mentioned in the prophets for the first time in Ezekiel 40:39, while the other classes are mentioned frequently. It seems difficult to escape the inference that class (a) appeared relatively late in Israel's history, a point discussed more fully in IV.
5. Sacrifice in General:
The problem presented by Jeremiah 7:22 is a very serious one. Obviously, to say that the command to offer sacrifice was not given on the day of the Exodus but on Sinai, is quite unsatisfactory, for this would make Jeremiah quibble. He denies categorically that a command to offer sacrifice was part of the Divine Law at all. Now, if it be noted that the offering of firstlings and first-fruits was altogether distinct from the regular sacrifices, it will be seen that Jeremiah can very well presuppose Covenant Code or even Deuteronomy, both of which contain only regulative prescriptions for sacrifice. (Whether Jeremiah actually did conceive Covenant Code and Deuteronomy as binding is another question.) But by what exegesis of the passage can Jeremiah pre-suppose X? The natural inference is that the regulations of X became obligatory on Israel after Jeremiah's day.
What follows is in itself an infinitesimal matter but the evidence is significant. The prohibition of steps for the altar in Exodus 20:26 is based on the fact that the ministrants X were very scantily clad (compare the light clothing of pilgrims at Mecca). This is corroborated in 2 Samuel 6:14, 20-22, where Michal reproves David for exposing himself. But in the priests wear rather elaborate vestments, over linen breeches (Exodus 28:42). And, to call in Chronicles for the moment, this is the conception found there of David's religious zeal at the bringing in of the ark. Besides the ephod he wears a long linen robe and Michal despises him, not for exposing himself, but only for dancing (1 Chronicles 15:27-29).
7. Priests and Levites:
(1) Covenant Code has no regulations regarding the priesthood, but of course it does not follow that this silence has any significance. However, Samuel-Kings furnish us with certain evidence. Samuel, although an Ephraimite (1 Samuel 1:1), offers sacrifice repeatedly (see 3, above). In 2 Samuel 20:25, 26 the Hebrew says that Zadok and Abiathar were kohanim, and also Ira the Jairite was kohen unto David. Exactly the same word is used for Zadok and Ira in practically the same sentence, and no one without prior conceptions would have dreamed of giving it entirely distinct translations under the circumstances, as do the King James Version and the Revised Version texts (not margins). Again in 2 Samuel 8:18 it is said that David's sons were kohanim and in 1 Kings 4:5 that Zabud was kohen. Now if kohen does not mean "priest" in these passages, they are the only cases out of a total of 750 occurrences. That the Chronicler understood the word to mean priest is shown by the fact that in his parallel to 2 Samuel 8:18 (1 Chronicles 18:17) he uses a different word altogether. The natural inference from these passages is that the restriction of priestly ministration to a certain line came about after Solomon's time (compare Judges 17:12, 13, a Levite is desirable but not essential).
(2) In Deuteronomy the priesthood appears as limited to the sons of Levi, but it is at least safe to say that no explicit distinction is made within the tribe. In Deuteronomy 21:5 the priests are the "sons of Levi," just as in Deuteronomy 17:9; Deuteronomy 18:1; Deuteronomy 24:8 the term is "the priests the Levites." In Deuteronomy 10:8 the right to bless and in Deuteronomy 33:8-11 the right to offer incense and sacrifice are in no ways said to be restricted to a very small proportion of the tribe. Compare Jeremiah 33:21, 22 (here questions of authenticity are irrelevant). A clear distinction within the tribe of Levi appears in the prophetic writings for the first time in Ezekiel 44:10-31, where two kinds of Levites are spoken of, "the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok" (verse 15) and the Levites, simply (verse 10). No third class is recognized (compare Ezekiel 40:45, 46, where the distinction is between two classes of priests). Now, the distinction between the Zadokian and non-Zadokian Levites is based by Ezekiel on one thing only, in the past the former had been faithful and the latter had not (Ezekiel 44:10-15). Because the former had ministered before idols, therefore should they not come to execute the office of a priest, but perform only inferior ministrations. Now this can mean only that the non-Zadokians are excluded from priestly privileges that they once possessed. The non-Zadokians, if they had not sinned, would still have been legitimate priests in Ezekiel's eyes, for otherwise the exclusion from the altar would be eviscerated of all meaning as a punishment; i.e. Ezekiel knows of only two kinds of Levites, both kinds originally legitimate priests, but one class now to be forbidden access to the altar because of sin. A third class of Levite, non-Aaronites, who never had had access to the altar, but who, because of their righteousness, had been blessed with the privilege to perform minor ministerial acts, is conspicuous in Ezekiel by its absence. And this absence, in the face of the immense amount of minute detail contained in Ezekiel 40-48, can be explained on no other hypothesis than that Ezekiel did not know of such a class. When the immense importance of the non-Aaronite Levites in Chronicles, Ezra, etc., is thought of, what other explanation can be given for their omission in Ezekiel's elaborate regulations for the cult? To whom did Ezekiel consider the more menial work in the Temple would have fallen if the non-Zadokians had not sinned? Probably he never raised the question at all, but there is no objection to supposing that he would have assigned it to the priesthood as a whole.
(3) It is needless to collect the evidence of X. The non-Aaronite Levites appear there as ministers of the greatest importance, elaborately set apart, and with their duties and privileges accurately defined (Numbers 8, especially). Now, it is submitted that this evidence points in its most natural interpretation to a gradual narrowing of the priestly privileges in Israel through a period of many centuries. It is natural, though by no means necessary, to identify the non-Zadokians of Ezekiel with the non-Aaronites of X. At all events it is argued that in course of time, long after the priesthood had become restricted to Levites only, a considerable proportion of the latter lost their priestly privilege. Ezekiel stood near enough to the change (that he was the actual innovator is improbable) to state the fact of the degradation and its cause. X regarded the distinction as of such long standing that it must be accredited to Moses himself. It is highly probable that evidence of the change is to be found in Deuteronomy 18:6-8, but this will not be pressed here.
(1) In Covenant Code first-fruits are to be offered in Exodus 23:19 and a portion (perhaps a tenth, but not specified as such) of the whole harvest in 22:29. Nothing is said about their disposition. In Deuteronomy, the first-fruits of grain, wine and oil (with fleece) belong to the "priests the Levites" (18:4). And the basket of "fruit" in the beautiful rite of 26:1-11 probably had the same destination. Of the general harvest the tithe is to be dedicated, as explained at length in 14:22-29. The worshipper is to eat it himself, but shall take care to see that the Levite receives a portion. Every third year, however, the tithe is to be spent for the benefit of all who need charity, including the Levite. Note that in either case the Levite receives only a part of the tithe. In X the first-fruits are again assigned to the clergy (but now specifically to the priests- Numbers 18:12, 13). But it appears that the tithe is to be given wholly to the Levites in Numbers 18:21-24. The contradiction with Deuteronomy 14:22-29 is real. That two tithes were to be paid by the worshipper may safely be assumed as impossible, as a tax of one-fifth would have been unendurable. (It may be noted, though, that in later days the very pious took this interpretation-compare Tobit 1:7-but it is certain that no such ruling ever maintained generally.) An alternative explanation offered is that it could be assumed that the Levite would invite the worshipper to join in a feast on the tithe. Frankly, it is difficult to treat this as quite candid. In Deuteronomy the worshipper is anything rather than a mere guest at another man's banquet. When the tithe has been brought as money, the worshipper is to spend it on anything that best pleases him, and of the Levite it is said only "thou shalt not forsake him." Moreover, the tithe is to be consumed at the sanctuary and nowhere else (Deuteronomy 14:23; compare Deuteronomy 12:11). In Numbers 18, however, the tithe becomes the exclusive property of the Levite and it is assigned him as his source of income (verses 25-32) and so exclusively is it his that it in turn is tithed. And, far from being turned into a feast at which the worshipper shares, it need not be consumed at the sanctuary at all but may be eaten in "every place," wherever the Levite and his family may happen to live (verse 31). It would be hard to conceive of two rules more mutually exclusive than the tithe directions in Deuteronomy and Numbers. That the livelihood provided for the Levites in Deuteronomy is pitiful is hardly in point and at all events he received more than did the widow and the orphan. But compare IV.
Read Complete Article...
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.
Read Complete Article...
See CRITICISM OF THE BIBLE.
CRITICISM AND ARCHAEOLOGY
See ARCHAEOLOGY AND CRITICISM.