Hebrew Monotheism -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 064:256 (Oct 1907)
Article: Hebrew Monotheism
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Hebrew Monotheism

Harold M. Wiener

In the Bibliotheca Sacra for January, 1907 (pp. 1-18), it was shown how the Wellhausen school had been led into blunders which vitiated their treatment of the laws and history of Israel by reason of their attempting to accomplish without expert training that which could be safely undertaken only by specialists. As the differentia of this School consists mainly in the view taken of the religious development of Israel, the theories that had been woven with respect to “sanctuaries” were naturally taken as a crucial instance of the results of the Wellhausen methods. In the present article It is proposed to attack another important portion of their hypothesis of the religious development, namely, their conception of the growth of monotheism, and to show how the ideas that are now current are merely due to the bias of the late Dr. Kuenen, which led him to put forward a theory that was flagrantly contradicted alike by the evidence and by his own earlier statements made under the influence of that evidence. But, first, the readers of this Review should be acquainted with the results of the publication of the former article, and with such other salient facts as will enable them to draw their own inferences from those results.

It will be remembered that I explained how I had attacked the central Wellhausen theory in the Churchman 1 for December, 1905, with special reference to the Oxford Hexateuch,2 and had received no answer whatever, although a copy had been forwarded to each of the writers who were concerned in its production. This time I have been slightly more fortunate. I sent a copy of the article in the Bibliotheca Sacra to the editors of the Oxford Hexateuch and in due course I received a courteous communication from the senior editor, acknowledging receipt of the Review, and stating that he was unwilling to enter into a controversy. To appreciate the full force of Principal Carpenter’s attitude two things are necessary,—an acquaintance with the terms of the original challenge, and a knowledge of the way in which the Oxford Hexateuch came into existence.

The terms of the challenge are as follows: —

“I shall show that the critics, by using the ambiguous word ‘sanctuary,’ have confounded three entirely different things; viz. (1) an altar of earth or unhewn stone, on which sacrifices of burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, sheep and oxen, might lawfully be offered to the Lord by laymen without the assistance of a priest; (2) the ‘House of the Lord,’ where alone certain sacrifices might be performed, and ...

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