Professor Max Müller And His American Critics -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:133 (Jan 1877)
Article: Professor Max Müller And His American Critics
Author: Anonymous


Professor Max Müller And His American Critics

Like the mills of the gods spoken of by the heathen poet, the Quarterly Reviews grind slowly — much more slowly than the daily and weekly press. Whether or not they grind more surely it would be presumptuous in us to say. At any rate the subject of this Article cannot have passed wholly from the minds of the class of readers who are most interested in our pages; and there are several incidental lessons to be learned from the misunderstanding which has arisen between Professor F. Max Müller and his American critics which are too important to be lost. If, however, some of the reviewers ask concerning this Article, as they have asked of some others that have appeared in the Bibliotheca Sacra, how we stretch the word “Sacra” to cover the subject here treated of, we reply, that justice, charity, and the Christian courtesies of civilized life are to be reckoned among sacred things. The efforts of some of our high-toned political journals to infuse, during this Centennial year, a more judicial and rational spirit into our party politics, can but be greatly hindered by the example of such literary criticism as we are here compelled to notice. If we can render them any aid from our quarter, by rebuking that intemperance of speech which in this case has invaded even the higher critical journals of the land, we will gladly do so.

Furthermore, Professor Müller really seems to us to have received scant justice at the hands of the most of his American critics, and gross injustice from some; and his reputation is so great and of such a nature that he has a special claim to some words of defence on this side of the water and before the theological public. Our readers, we cannot doubt, are of a class to have a peculiar interest in his good name. His missionary addresses, and his wide correspondence with missionaries; his lectures on comparative religion and mythology, and upon Darwinism and language; the philosophical acumen which he has shown in his treatment of the origin and growth of language; and, finally, the prominent position he has occupied in resuscitating Sanscrit, the sacred literature of India; all this, and much more, give him a claim upon the attention of educated Christian teachers. It is not, then, an ordinary case of individual controversy; for nothing which such a man does in the line of his special calling is of private interpretation. We would not, however, set ourselves up as umpires upon all the matters in dispute between him and his American critics. Several of the points in controversy pertain to

Sanscrit literature, and other recondite matters, which must be left to the decision of scholars who have paid special attention to those subjects. In our criticism, in th...

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