Dr. Kyle’s “The Problem Of The Pentateuch” -- By: Leander S. Keyser

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 078:309 (Jan 1921)
Article: Dr. Kyle’s “The Problem Of The Pentateuch”
Author: Leander S. Keyser


Dr. Kyle’s “The Problem Of The Pentateuch”1

Leander S. Keyser

Hamma Divinity School, Springfield, Ohio

The whole Christian world is greatly indebted to Dr. Kyle for this capable and convincing book, as well as for the other books that have come from his pen. Who knows but that Dr. Kyle “has come to the kingdom for such a time as this”? In many places, conspicuous places too, the higher critical theories that have been so jeopardizing to the faith, not to say destructive of the faith, have prevailed, and have taken large hold on the would-be scholarly mind of the age. It is not enough to denounce these liberalizing views; to grow angry and hurl epithets at them. The negative critics must be answered. Scholarship must match scholarship; logic must meet logic; facts must be appealed to with indubitable certainty.

These last sentences are descriptive of Dr. Kyle’s work. Nowhere does he use harsh terms, though he shows clearly what he believes and why he does not stand with the disintegrating critics. He understands the situation; he knows what the liberalistic position is; he sees clearly whither it would lead if it were generally accepted. Yet he never uses the argumentum, ad hominem — the appeal to fear or passion. We are glad he conducts the argument in so calm and judicial a temper.

According to the subtitle of Dr. Kyle’s book, he proposes a “new solution” of the Pentateuchal problem. It is interesting to follow his gradual and thoroughgoing method in presenting his solution. At first you wonder what such and such facts have to do with any solution whatever, and therefore you pursue the study step by step with intense interest, even with keenly aroused curiosity;

and when at length the solution is made clear — just at what might be called the “strategic” moment — you draw a sigh of relief and pleasure, and you exclaim to yourself, “Well, what could be more reasonable than this proposed solution?” It is really thrilling to contemplate what a revolution may take place in the religious world and the world of critical scholarship, if Dr. Kyle’s solution of the problem should be generally accepted in lieu of the documentary theory of the Pentateuch now so much in vogue. Would it not bring about a revival of true evangelical religion — a revival that would send out all our Biblical and theological scholars as naming evangelists for the conversion of the world?

But what is this new solution of the problem of the Pentateuch? The documentary theory, coming down to us from Astruc and Eichhorn through Graf, Wellhausen, Kuenen, Colenso, Cheyne, Driver, ...

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