Latest German Theological Works -- By: W. F. Warren

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 020:79 (Jul 1863)
Article: Latest German Theological Works
Author: W. F. Warren


Latest German Theological Works

Prof. W. F. Warren

(1.) Die Psalmem Uebersetzt und Ausgelegt, von Dr. Ferdinand Hitzig, Professor der Theologie in Heidelberg. (Vol. I. 8vo. pp. xxxi and 312. Price, 2 Thaler). This is the title of a new commentary upon the Psalms, the first volume of which, reaching to the 55th, has just been issued. A former work of Dr. Hitzig’s (Die Psalmen, Historischer und kritischer Commentar nebst Uebersetzung, 2 Bde.) appeared in 1835–36, and created no small sensation by the boldness of its “positive” criticism. De Wette having endeavored in his Commentary (1811) to throw doubt and suspicion upon most of the results of contemporary and former biblical scholars without substituting anything reliable in their place, Hitzig seems to have felt himself called upon to complement his predecessor’s negative and destructive work by setting forth the positive results to which the new and “only truly scientific “principles of biblical criticism must necessarily lead. Accordingly he set himself to the determination of the real authorship, age, etc., of each Psalm from internal, philological, and rhetorical characteristics.

The result was a denial of Davidic origin to all but twelve (to wit, 3, 4, 7 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, ] 7, 18, 19 ), the attributing of a score or more to Jeremiah (5, 6, 14, 22–41), and the assignment of more than half of the entire Psalter (all beyond the seventy-third) to the age of the Maccabees! This was pretty resolute criticism, but seems to have only prepared the way for von Lengerke, who in 1847 quite distanced his Heidelberg predecessor, by refusing to the “sweet singer of Israel” the authorship of a solitary Psalm in the whole collection. This however was so manifestly overdoing the thing that it failed even to endanger Hitzig’s position as the main representative of the extreme school of what Delitzsch calls “omniscient, positive criticism,” in the department of Psalm interpretation. During the thirty years which have elapsed since this position was accorded him, the scholarly works of Hengstenberg (1842–47), Vaihinger (1845), Tholuck (1843), Ewald (1839), J. Olshausen (1853), Hupfeld (1855–62), have appeared, and in them the pretended results of the Heidelberg critic have been abundantly discussed. Accordingly he now reappears to retract, as he tells us, whatever the continued study of the subject since his debut in 1835 has led him to abandon or modify, and to expose the weakness of that which has been urged against such of his positions as he still maintains. The work proves far less controversial, however, than one would expect from the author’s peculiar position, and indeed from his brief preface. We have not found time to c...

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