The Historic Character Of The Pentateuch -- By: S. C. Bartlett
BSac 20:78 (April 1863) p. 381
The Historic Character Of The Pentateuch
That the five books of Moses retain their hold on the confidence of intelligent men, certainly is not due to any special forbearance with which they have been treated in modern times. For a long time, and more particularly during the present century, much of the ablest scholarship in the world has been engaged in assaults, direct and indirect, upon their credibility and authority. And last of all, the appointed expounders and sworn defenders of the word have gone forth from the interior of the citadel to aid the enemy.
Let the sacred books be subjected to every legitimate test. Only let there be judicial fairness. Let no man come with a theory which absolutely precludes evidence of facts in advance, or prescribes to God that he cannot interpose in the world that he made. No man may assume that the narrative of a miracle is proof that that account is “not
BSac 20:78 (April 1863) p. 382
contemporary with the alleged event,” or pronounce it “absurd to suppose that one man [Moses] could have created beforehand the epico-historical, the rhetorical, and poetical style in all their extent and compass, and perfected these three departments of Hebrew literature.”1 Let no man ask us to heed his mere arbitrary assertion that the alleged length of patriarchal life is “intrinsically impossible.”2 We cannot be expected to accept in advance the result of the modern dissection of the Pentateuch, till its latest, ablest, and most dogmatic advocates can unite on some result — whether with Tuch (in 1838) they will recognize an Elohist and his supplementer the Jehovist, or with Gramberg (in 1828), two documents and a compiler, or with Hupfeld (in 1853), three documents combined by a later editor, or with Knobel (in 1861), a ground-writing, a law-book, a war-book, a Jehovist, and a “Deuteronomiker,” or with Ewald (in 1851), seven different narratives modified by other subsequent writers, or with Hartmann (in 1837), a multitude of fragments, greater and smaller, strung together. We might, perhaps, be more profoundly impressed beforehand by the names arrayed against the Mosaic authorship of the books, could the deniers but agree on their date and authors within eight hundred or a thousand years.3
We do not wish to deny or conceal the fact that many difficult questions can be raised concerning the record as we now have it. They are mostly difficulties of detail, often arising clearly from brevity and omission, sometimes apparently from errors of transcription. The means of sol...
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