The History Of Research Concerning The Structure Of The O. T. Historical Books -- By: Archibald Duff

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 039:155 (Jul 1882)
Article: The History Of Research Concerning The Structure Of The O. T. Historical Books
Author: Archibald Duff


The History Of Research Concerning The Structure
Of The O. T. Historical Books

Prof. Archibald Duff

The intense interest now widely felt in Hebrew religious history is to theologians a profoundly important phenomenon.1 That importance seems, indeed, to multiply itself while we reflect upon it. It is really only one of the superficial facts of the case that a great body of Christian churches, so cultured in pulpit and pew as are the many units of the Free church of Scotland, have for the last four years spent a large share of the time which they usually devote to internal ecclesiastical conference in discussing that Hebrew history. They have been almost equally divided on the question whether one of the ablest and most devout Old Testament scholars of the day should be condemned as a heretic because he has taught that the traditional views of the origin of the Old Testament are seriously incorrect. The scholar has been authoritatively freed from the charge of heresy; yet the church which acquitted him has forbidden him to teach any longer in her theological schools. His supporters within the Free Church have nevertheless met in public assembly, and presented to him important books and manuscripts, amounting in value to one thousand pounds sterling, as means wherewith he may still continue his Old Testament researches. These friends have also announced that they have collected and invested a fund which shall yield to the

expelled professor an annual salary quite equal to that which he received while holding the chair in the Free church theological school.

Thus these members of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland have chosen to be taught concerning the Old Testament by a man whom the vote of the assembled church forbids to teach in her theological classes. They remain within that church. Indeed, they are unquestionably devoted Christian men, many of them honored ministers, elders, professors of theology in the Free church. These men are so impressed with the value to their Christian life of the work done by Dr. W. R. Smith that they have set apart of their private means some thirty to forty thousand dollars ($30,000 to $40,000) to enable that gentleman to go on teaching themselves and the public his views concerning the Old Testament. Within six months of the silencing vote these gentlemen have made all necessary financial arrangements, and have established the silenced teacher as endowed investigator and public lecturer. The fact that they have gently pushed aside their own cherished ecclesiastical system, doing in contradiction to it the religious work which they cannot do through it, is perhaps a proof of the healthy Christian life in these m...

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