Notes Of Delitzsch On True And False Defence Of The Bible -- By: H. M. Scott

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 048:190 (Apr 1891)
Article: Notes Of Delitzsch On True And False Defence Of The Bible
Author: H. M. Scott

Notes Of Delitzsch On True And False Defence Of The Bible

Prof. H. M. Scott


All American students of the Old Testament at the University of Leipzig during the past twenty years recall with pleasure the Anglo-American Exegetical Society, conducted by Dr. Delitzsch, in which in-freest social intercourse all burning questions of the Higher Criticism were touched upon. The old master impressed us all with his love of learning, his love of the church, his love of God. He spoke more than once with sadness of two or three radical critics, saying, he feared they had no vital knowledge of the religion of the Bible. He regretted that discussions in destructive criticism were not still carried on in Latin, that simple believers should not be shaken in their faith by extreme and often misunderstood statements of scholars. He deplored the dogmatism with which men of the school of Wellhausen asserted their opinions, and added that he himself was not nearly as sure of some things at seventy as he was at thirty. Amid all storms of criticism and conjecture, he pointed with glowing enthusiasm and conviction to the things that cannot be shaken.

The brief article here subjoined consists of the outlines which he prepared for use in the Anglo-American Society in the summer of 1889. In it will be felt the gentle spirit of the great Hebraist. He seeks to show the attitude of mind and heart with which all critics should approach the Bible.

We may not agree with all his statements; we may not accept all his admissions; but the aim and temper of his instruction may well be laid to heart even in America, where the special advocates of the Higher Criticism seem sometimes to suggest the ancient rebuke: “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.” This little essay was published in German as an Appendix to Johansson’s “Die heilige Schrift und die negative Kritik. Ein Beitrag zur Apologetik;”1 but as it may well be overlooked in so obscure a place, it is here translated for a wider circle of readers.


If one has before him a book which in its general impression and in its moral-religious effects appears to be worthy of our confidence, we are naturally inclined to think that certain things in it which seem objectionable, will, on closer investigation, be found quite capable of a favorable explanation. The Bible may certainly be regarded in an eminent degree as a book worthy of such confidence. We do not ignore the splendid products of genius which appear in the religious books of Brahmanism and Buddhism; but, compared with these, the Bible in its majestic simplicity bears in a much hig...

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