King's Business - 1917-10


THE KING’S enter so directly into critical controver­ sies. On the other hand, Spiegqlberg, in Aufen- thah' Israels in Eegypten, and Steindorf, in Explorations in Bible Lands (Hilprecht), Jeremias, in Das A lt Testament in Lechte des alien O r ie n ts Muller, in Asien and Europa, and Vincent, in Canaan cfapres l Exploration Recents, while accepting the great importance, indeed the decided char­ acter of archaeology in critical questions, do Slot see in it quite so dangerous an adversary to the prevailing critical theories. CONTROLLING FACTOR Taken all in all, and especially if we put to the one side the archaeologists who may be indulged in setting forth in large the importance of their own science, archaeol­ ogy has to the present time been given a quite subordinate place, indeed no perma­ nent seat at all in critical councils, but has only been called in for special cases when able to give some very important piece of evidence, a kind of critical “special prov­ idence,” as it were, “a very present help in ''time of trouble.” But these “special provi­ dences” have so accumulated, the induction has at last become so large, that the influ­ ence of archaeology in criticism is begin­ ning to be manifest not as a special provi­ dence but as a general providence, not an incidental element in . critical discussions but a controlling factor. The first part of the function of arch­ aeology in criticism, as thus fully brought to light by recent discovery and discussion, is to supply the historical setting of Scrip­ ture. Arhaxology furnishes the true historical setting of Scripture, and nothing else does so or can do so. Speculation in a scient­ ist’s study some thousands of miles from the scene of action cannot do it. Even if it be granted that history always develops according to the evolutionary hypothesis, still the task is hopeless, for the evolution­ ary hypothesis only proposes to be abatom- ical, to furnish the bones of history, while local conditions clothe the frame with flesh

BUSINESS and give it a countenance. Nor can trav­ eling and present-day observation of man­ ners and customs supply the historical set­ ting of Scripture, any more than abiding at home by the stove can elucidate the folk­ lore of one’s own community. To do that at home or abroad one must dig below the surface, and determine the relation between present customs and former ones, that is to say, become an archaeologist. MUST HAVE PROPER LIGHT The importance of exactly so doing in the case of Bible history in order to sup­ ply its true historical setting can hardly be over-estimated. In art, it is of the utmost importance to hang a picture right before criticism begins. Professor Van- Dyke of Princeton has pointed out that the pictures of the Old Masters are misunder­ stood and often unjustly criticised. They painted their pictures for particular places, under certain lights and shadows, and within special surrounding color schemes, but in modern art galleries their pictures are hung in places greatly different from those for which they were intended, with entirely different arrangement of lights and shadows, and within color surroundings •little less than destructive to the painter’s ideal. The thing of first importance is to hang the picture right before the criticism begins. Art and spirituality have a certain correspondence, not so much in essence as in the conditions necessary for apprecia­ tion. The patriarchs and prophets and psalmists are the Old Masters of spirit­ uality. Their productions were for certain situations in life, produced under certain social, political, moral and religious lights and shadows and within a certain sur­ rounding color scheme of influence, enemies, opportunities, temptations and spir­ itual privileges. Now, not to mention the homilists of all ages, the critics especially and very flagrantly have hung the pictures of these Old Masters of spirituality in the cloistered seclusion of German and Eng­ lish and American professorial study chairs and lecture rooms, under the lights and shadows of modern extravagantly arti-

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