Driver’s Proof-Texts -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:221 (Jan 1899)
Article: Driver’s Proof-Texts
Author: G. Frederick Wright


Driver’s Proof-Texts1

G. Frederick Wright

In further proof that the Pentateuch employs language “implying that the period of the Exodus lay in the past, and that Israel is established in Canaan,”2 Dr. Driver adduces Deut. 2:12b, which reads, “As Israel did unto the land of his possession which the Lord gave unto them.” But this is ordinarily and easily explained, on the theory of Mosaic authorship, by regarding it, with perhaps the whole of the two preceding verses, as a parenthetical explanatory addition by a later hand. No one could reasonably object to the supposition that a limited number of such additions have been made. The textual criticism of the New Testament has familiarized us both with the fact of .such clerical additions in manuscripts undergoing repeated copying, and also with their limitations and characteristics. By general consent, this is preeminently the kind of explanation most likely to creep into a manuscript in the process of transmission. It may, however, with a fair show of reason, be maintained that this is not such an addition, but that Moses is here referring to the conquests of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, already effected on the east side of Jordan.

Deut. 3:2 is Dr. Driver’s next proof-text. This passage relates that Og’s bedstead was a bedstead of iron, add-

ing, “Is it not in Rabbah of the children of Ammon.” Dr. Driver interprets this clause as indicating that Og’s bedstead is “a relic of antiquity.” But such an interpretation is entirely gratuitous. It may as well be that it is referred to as “a memorial of a recent victory.”

Dr. Driver is also himself careful to add, in a separate clause, that these last two passages, as well as Deut. 3:14, might “indeed in themselves be treated as glosses.” But he insists that “the attempts that have been made to reconcile the other passages with Moses’ authorship must strike every impartial reader as forced and artificial.” With reference to the soundness of this judgment, we will refer the reader to our examination of them in a previous number of the Bibliotheca Sacra.3

Dr. Driver further fortifies this selected body of inconsequential proof-texts by referring to other passages of Deuteronomy quoted on p. 82 f. of his volume. On turning to this page, we find that the Mosaic authorship of Deute...

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