Driver On The Literature Of The Old Testament. -- By: W. E. Barton

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 049:196 (Oct 1892)
Article: Driver On The Literature Of The Old Testament.
Author: W. E. Barton

Driver On The Literature Of The Old Testament.1

W. E. Barton

THIS is the first volume of the “International Theological Library,” which is to be published simultaneously in this country and England, and is designed to cover the whole field of Christian theology. Of the twelve volumes already arranged for, six are to be by American and six by English scholars. While the Library is interconfessional as well as international, its authors are for the most part among the advocates of the results of the Higher Criticism, and the editors are Professors Charles A. Briggs, and Stewart D. F. Salmond. From such a series, the Christian scholar has reason to expect much; and the successive issues will be looked for with interest, not unmingled, in the case of some of the volumes, with anxiety.

Canon Driver makes no attempt to set forth the theology of the Old Testament,—a book on that subject by Professor A. B. Davidson being one of those arranged for in this library: his attempt is to give an account of the contents, structure, and general character and aim of the several books; and this he does in the main with candor, cogency and conciseness. Whatever one’s opinions on the points in controversy, the book is of great value. It would be difficult to name any recent work on the Old Testament con-

taining so much that is of interest and value to the Bible student of the present day. In speaking of its characteristic features, general statements must suffice for the most part; as it would be difficult to state the author’s views adequately in fewer words than he himself employs, and a satisfactory critique upon it would require a volume at least as large. Yet, that the book may not pass with the necessarily superficial criticism of general statements, we shall indicate briefly but in detail, a few of Dr. Driver’s most characterestic positions.

Canon Driver is a higher critic of the moderate type. He believes thoroughly in the methods of the modern school of criticism, and accepts the most important of its results. He is, however, a believer in the supernatural, and while treating the books of the Bible “as literature,” recognizes their divine origin. His preface defends his book against the anticipated charge that his conclusions antagonize established truths concerning inspiration: his introduction defends it from attacks on the ground of the supposed sacredness of the canon of Scripture.

On these points he says: —

“It is not the case that critical conclusions, such as those expressed in the present volume, are in conflict either with the Christian creeds, or with the art...

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