Is The So-Called “Priestly Code” Post-Exilic? -- By: J. T. Lias

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 067:265 (Jan 1910)
Article: Is The So-Called “Priestly Code” Post-Exilic?
Author: J. T. Lias


Is The So-Called “Priestly Code” Post-Exilic?

Reverend J. T. Lias

No one who is conversant with modern biblical criticism can have failed to notice the extreme unwillingness of the critic of the hour to meet the arguments of his opponents, and the somewhat suspicious eagerness with which he assures the world that the whole controversy is closed. As a matter of fact it has scarcely been opened. Owing to a concurrence of unfavorable circumstances, the critics of the critics have had no proper chance of being heard, especially on the English side of the Atlantic. And for the following reasons: (1) The secularization of the two ancient universities of this country, which took place fifty years ago, has not yielded its natural fruits until now. The tradition which required the theological professors at these Universities to hold a brief for the Theology of the Church of England has only just passed away, and a period when the professors are not only permitted but expected to be altogether unfettered in their researches has definitely arrived. Consequently, and very naturally, the public opinion of the University is at present running- very strongly in favor of absolute freedom of research. Then (2) these Universities are in the swing of a very strong reaction against over-dogmatism; and (3) it will hardly be denied by people of reflecting minds that the age is in a most unusual hurry to arrive at conclusions; that these conclusions are very fre-

quently not the result of progress in the past but the direct negative of all former beliefs; and that the time spent in testing alleged results is looked upon as time wasted. Consequently — and especially is this the case in the critical investigation of the Scriptures — the latest theory which holds the field is trumpeted as “scientific,” “assured,” “indisputable,” and its results as “final,” “Scholars,” we are somewhat pompously informed, “are agreed “on the conclusions arrived at by the latest methods in fashion. The legitimate inference is naturally drawn from the postulate that those who dispute the conclusions in question are “not scholars.” And the practical result is that all criticism is silenced in the organs of opinion which claim to be conducted on principles of scholarly research. It is true that this summary mode of silencing antagonists bears a suspicious similarity to the methods of the Vatican in days past, and that it is precisely the same as that which the Curia is now employing towards Tyrrell and Loisy. It may therefore be found useful to remind the public that calling names is not argument; that even “bigots,” “obscurantists,” and “traditionalists “may have something to say for themselves; that the conclusions to which...

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