Remarks On The Authenticity And Genuineness Of The Pentateuch -- By: B. B. Edwards

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 002:6 (May 1845)
Article: Remarks On The Authenticity And Genuineness Of The Pentateuch
Author: B. B. Edwards


Remarks On The Authenticity And Genuineness Of The Pentateuch

B. B. Edwards

It is certainly not the part of wisdom to introduce to the American Public, indiscriminately, the skeptical opinions on morals and religion which prevail in Europe. Some of these opinions will soon perish on the soil that gave them birth. Before they can be confuted, they will cease to exist.1 Other opinions are so inter-interwoven with habits of thinking peculiar to the people of continental Europe; they are the product of a state of society, philosophical and religious, so unlike our own, that the attempt, on our part, to controvert, or even to comprehend them, would be a fruitless labor.

But some of the opinions referred to are not indigenous in France or Germany only. They are by no means exotics in English or American soil. Indeed not a few of the most destructive theories that prevail in Germany, were transplanted from England. The German skeptic is the lineal descendant of men who once figured in English literature. Doubts or disbelief in respect to the doctrines of revelation which exist among us, are the spontaneous growth of our own institutions and habits of thought, and have been only reinforced from abroad. It has been obvious, for a number of years, that there has been an increasing tendency in certain quarters to question or reject the divine authority of the Old Testament. This has been manifest in the case of some individuals who have no special regard for German literature, or

who may have even a positive antipathy to it. The origin of their doubts is either within themselves, or it must be ascribed to habits of thinking and acting peculiar to Americans. Foreign skepticism is not specially in fault.

While the Old Testament generally is assailed, the Pentateuch is made the subject of special attack. Moses, it is alleged, is the least trustworthy of the Jewish historians, or rather the genuineness of the Pentateuch is denied altogether and its authorship, unceremoniously, thrust down to the Babylonish captivity or still later. Many of the miraculous events which it describes are regarded as no better than Rabbinic fables, or Grecian myths.

It may be well here to inquire, briefly, into some of the grounds of this prevalent skepticism. Why are the Hebrew Scriptures, and the five books of Moses particularly, subjected to these fresh assaults? Some causes may exist which have hitherto been unknown, or comparatively inoperative.

A prominent ground of this skeptical tendency is the injudicious, or incorrect method, which has been pursued by not a few orthodox interpreters of the Old Testament. They have ne...

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