A Symposium On The Antediluvian Narratives. — Lenormant, Delitzsch, Haupt, Dillmann -- By: Samuel Ives Curtiss

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 040:159 (Jul 1883)
Article: A Symposium On The Antediluvian Narratives. — Lenormant, Delitzsch, Haupt, Dillmann
Author: Samuel Ives Curtiss


A Symposium On The Antediluvian Narratives. — Lenormant, Delitzsch, Haupt, Dillmann

Prof. Samuel Ives Curtiss

I. Lenormant on the Primitive Traditions1

The translator, editor, and publisher of this work have rendered an important contribution to biblical studies by producing it in English dress.2 While it handles the subject of which it treats in a learned and scientific way, yet it is quite within the comprehension of every intelligent reader who is interested in such subjects.

The author, who was born in 1835, at Paris, and who is professor of archaeology, and a librarian of the Bibliothèque Nationale, has secured a good reputation in archaeology and numismatics. More recently he has devoted himself to the primitive history of Semitic peoples. Among his works may be mentioned the Manual of the Ancient History of the East, in two volumes. London and Philadelphia, 1869–70. The first edition of the original was published 1868–69, in three volumes, and the sixth in 1876. His Chaldaean Magic, London, 1877, first appeared in French in 1874, and was published as a revised edition in German, Jena, 1878.

In the preface to the work which we are considering he

is at pains to claim that he is a Christian, notwithstanding his critical views. His position is that of the ordinary evangelical critics, who hold that in the Scriptures God has revealed the truths of salvation, rather than those of science and history. Hence the Bible does not seem to be any less a revelation of God to him, because he recognizes the Jeho-vist and the Elohist in the Pentateuch, or because he maintains that the records found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis are largely derived from Babylonian traditions. His views, given in his own language, are as follows: “Never yet in the course of a career which already reckons a quarter of a century given to study, have I come face to face with a genuine conflict between science and religion. As far as I am concerned, the two domains are absolutely distinct, and not exposed to collision.” With reference to the authority of the Scriptures he says: “I believe firmly in the inspiration of the sacred books, and I subscribe with absolute submission to the doctrinal decisions of the church in this respect. But I know that these decisions extend inspiration only to that which concerns religion, touching faith and practice, or, in other words, solely to the supernatural teachings contained in the Scriptures. In other matters the human character of the writers of the Bible is fully evident. Where the physical sciences were concerned they did not ha...

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