The Chronology Of Bunsen -- By: E. Burgess
BSac 24:96 (Oct 1867) p. 744
The Chronology Of Bunsen
When we read the account of the last hours of Bunsen in the interesting obituary notice of him which was published in our journals soon after his death, we should have entertained from it a far higher idea of his Christian character than we did, had we not previously read his “Egypt’s Place in Universal History.” But having read that work we were puzzled to understand how one who treats the holy scriptures as he does, should even appear to be an evangelical Christian. It was altogether contrary to our observation, and we thought contrary to the observation and experience of the world, that one who adopts principles of interpretation such as Chevalier Bunsen does in the work above alluded to, should give evidence of such a heartfelt reception of the Saviour as is implied in the language of his obituary notice. And we could remove the difficulty only by the supposition that that language, as coming from his lips, had less than its usual meaning, or his mind had undergone a transforming change between the time of his last great literary work going from his hands and his death. Perhaps either supposition is possible. The latter is more agreeable to entertain, though we have seen no evidence of its being fact. Bunsen professes to regard the holy scriptures as of divine authority, and to treat them as
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such; yet no one of their bitterest enemies, it seems to us, has done more to undermine that authority.1
“Egypt’s Place in Universal History “is a work of great pretensions; and we confess ourselves inclined to accord to its author greatness of conception, and great industry and labor in execution; but we cannot say great judgment in selecting materials and putting them together, the whole bearing the stamp of the German mind. We think an English mind of equal ability, and with similar opportunities for research and collecting materials, would have done better, even had its views and principles coincided with those of the German author. Horace Hayman Wilson, the late eminent Sanscrit scholar of Oxford, had his studies been turned towards Egypt as they had been towards India, with the opportunities of Bunsen, would, we think, have produced a more valuable work. There is a great deal of lumbering matter in Bunsen’s work. But perhaps this feature is not to be too closely
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criticized. We have often found literary lumber-houses very valuable; so much so that we will put up with an author who shows a little vanity in collecting lumber.
We have said the conception of Bunsen’s work is a vast one. “Egypt’s ...
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