King's Business - 1917-10



UNOBTRUSIVENESS Archaeologists generally, for a long time, have been putting forth the superior claims of their science in critical contro­ versy, sometimes with a fanfare to all opponents as they enter the lists, and some­ times with such quiet unobtrusiveness as to escape altogether the attention of the general public. The great Brugsch, in his Egypt under the Pharaohs, without once stepping aside from the role of the scientific Egyptologist, yet, in his marshaling of evidence, occu­ pies a large portion of the field of criticism in the early Bible history, and nearly always flies the banner of what has been sometimes contemptuously called tradition­ alism. Indeed, it is indisputable that most archaeologists who have taken the trouble to display critical colors at all have been much inclined to conservatism. Naville claipied the most exact verifica­ tion of the Biblical account at Pithom, and interprets the Israel stele of Meremptah in exact accord with the Bible story. WINDOW OPENED Petrie, in Hyksos and Israelite Cities, opens a window that lets in the ¡sunlight upon the dark period of the early Hykos domination and bids us look upon the illumination of the patriarchal history in Egypt. In his Researches in Sinai, bring­ ing to light the strange commingling of Egyptian and Semitic religions characteris­ tic of that borderland, he shows the exist­ ence of a genuine natural background for the picture of a well-developed Semitic religion in the heart of the Sinai peninsula both before and after the Exodus period. Dayce, in his Higher Criticism and the Monuments, and Hommel, in Patriarchal Palestine, enters the lists for the dominance of archaeology in criticism with a chal­ lenge to all comers. ; Hiprecht, in Explora­ tions in Bible Lands, and Clay, in Light on the Old Testament from Babel and Amurru, The Home of the Northern Semites, make large contributions toward the confirma­ tion of the Scripture narrative, but do not

ADVANCE GROUND Orr takes the most advanced ground on the value of archaeology in criticism, declaring that “archaeology bids fair before long to control both criticism and history,” and devotes a comprehensive and cogent chapter in his Problem of the Old Testa­ ment to the illustration of this advance position. Eerdmans, successor to Kuemen at Ley­ den, is not so modest, but boldly assumes that not only “before long” but already archaeology does control both criticism and history; for he definitely and absolutely breaks with the Wellhausen School of criticism chiefly on the ground that archae­ ology has discredited their critical view­ point and made impossible, indeed absurd, the historical atmosphere with which they surround the Old Testament. In stating his views for English readers, he says: “It is generally accepted by those who are not bound by dogmatic theories that the main lines of Old Testament criticism may be traced With approximate certainty. I believed so myself for many years, but I no longer hold that opinion.” “The Penta- teuchal criticism was in every respect a product of Western thought, Western logic, Western combination, which has often for­ got that the history of religions and the living Orient were contradictory to the- principles of the critical theories.” “To Sum up in conclusion, I believe that an explanation of the text from the stand­ point; of the old Israelitic thought will lead to a reformation in the Old Testament criticism.” Wiener, one of the most prominent of recent Jewish critics, also believes that the proper apprehension of ancient institutions, customs, documents and codes, i. e., arch­ aeology, and especially the archaeology of the Bible itself, is clearly decisive in its influence on the issue raised by the Well­ hausen School. In his Essays in Penta- teuchal Criticism he says: “In order to understand the Pentateuch, we must so far as possible restore the conditions for which it was in the first instance designed.”

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker