A Travesty Upon Existing Dominant Methods Employed In Old Testament Criticism -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 049:193 (Jan 1892)
Article: A Travesty Upon Existing Dominant Methods Employed In Old Testament Criticism
Author: G. Frederick Wright


A Travesty Upon Existing Dominant Methods Employed In Old Testament Criticism

G. Frederick Wright

Under the pseudonym of E. D. McRealsham, an ingenious writer, who is evidently thoroughly at home in all the facts and methods of biblical criticism, has published a pamphlet of one hundred pages purporting to show, by careful critical analysis, that the Epistle to the Romans was not written by Paul, but is a composite document containing clear traces of four distinct writers. We are the more inclined to give prominence to this jeu desprit because of the indications that are in it that the author is a well-known American biblical scholar of high attainments in Old Testament studies, as well as in various other lines of inquiry. So well sustained and apparently conclusive is the evidence, that, but for a postscript confessing the real character of the work, it would doubtless have passed as serious criticism, and have made many converts. It is well, therefore, that the author reveals his character, and emphasizes his belief in the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Romans. Otherwise his work would with reason have been classed with that of Steck and Völter, who have recently renewed the well-nigh forgotten attack of Bruno Bauer upon the genuineness of the Epistle. In these days of unbelief and agnosticism it is scarcely safe to attempt to caricature any of the extravagances of criticism, since many of the critics themselves have in their serious efforts attained the climax of absurdity.

In the present case the results of this analysis of an Epistle whose genuineness is supported by stronger and more abundant evidence than that of almost any other ancient document, are certainly most surprising, and show that the method of criticism so much relied upon by many Old Testament critics at the present time is utterly delusive in its results. Upon exhaustive analysis the author finds that there are four well-marked divisions of the book, which are marked by a combination both of doctrinal and linguistic characteristics, and which coincide with peculiar uses of the name of God and of Christ. Through certain well-defined sections, Christ is referred to as Jesus Christ; through certain others, as Christ Jesus; while through the remaining portion, God, instead of Christ, is represented as the supreme authority and author of salvation. These last portions, also, are distin-

guished by well-marked doctrinal peculiarities, in one of which Christianity is portrayed as an ethical institution in which salvation is by obedience to law, while, in the other, salvation is by faith, not in Jesus, but in God. These four divisions he symbolizes by the letters G1, G2, JC, and CJ.

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