Rupprecht On The Pentateuch -- By: Samuel Colcord Bartlett

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:224 (Oct 1899)
Article: Rupprecht On The Pentateuch
Author: Samuel Colcord Bartlett


Rupprecht On The Pentateuch

Rev. Samuel Colcord Bartlett

A thoroughly conservative and able work on the Pentateuch in these days from Germany is a noteworthy phenomenon. In Edward Rupprecht’s “Des Rätsels Lösung”1 we have it—conservative of the conservatives—a work which appears to have made some sensation even in Germany. Its chief disadvantage is its extent of more than eleven hundred pages, which, however natural for a German to write and for another German to read, are a little discouraging to any other nationality. An outline of the discussion may be a matter of interest, as indicating a rising revolt against the methods and results of the higher criticism, so-called, in the land of its supremacy. Obviously all that can be done within moderate limits is to indicate the course and method of the discussion without attempting to reproduce the arguments to any extent, even in an abridged form.

The volumes open with a résumé of certain positions maintained in a previous critique by the author, mainly on Strack’s division of the “sources of the Pentateuch.” As these positions reappear directly or by implication in the discussion, and give a clue to the author’s reasoning, we cite them, as follows: —

1. The methods of determining the so-called “sources” are at variance with the universal conditions of procedure in the literary investigation of documents, resorting, as it does, to a course of arbitrary conjecture and phantasy,

which cuts loose from every mark of science. For the text often shows the one characteristic name of God in inseparable connection, logical and phraseological, with the other characteristic name (Jehovah, or Elohim), and moreover in the environment of the qualities of style ascribed by the theory to the other.

2. The peculiarities of style, set forth in long lists with the aspect of science, are themselves but an hypothesis. The text lies before the critic as an unbroken continuity. Dividing lines must first be drawn by the critic, in order to say, This expression is found in that portion, and another in that. But what are the landmarks by which to draw the lines? Answer, The divine names. But the fact is, that, when the continuous text is divided according to these names, there are frequently found in connection with the one name expressions which are found connected with the other; and a close division on the ground of peculiarities of style is impossible.

3. In many cases the assignment of a passage to J, E, or P is determined solely by the properties of style; that is to say, while the distribution ...

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