Textual Criticism, History, And Faith -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 067:266 (Apr 1910)
Article: Textual Criticism, History, And Faith
Author: Harold M. Wiener


Textual Criticism, History, And Faith

Harold M. Wiener

I have been asked to write a note on the bearing of the textual criticism of the Pentateuch on History and Faith. The immediate occasion for the request was the publication of a footnote in the Journal of Biblical Literature; and, as the genesis of that footnote seems likely to be typical of the origin of other publications, it is worth while to examine into it. It appears, from the record of the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis for December, 1908, that on Thursday, December 31, in that year — importance attaches to the date — Professor George A. Barton read a paper entitled “Abraham and Archaeology.” This was written in the usual strain of the Wellhausen critics, with many references to J1 and J2, E and P. The paper contains no internal evidence that its author had ever read or considered the publications of Dahse and Eerdmans, and proceeds on the assumption that all is for the best with the best of all possible critical theories. Unfortunately the Bibliotheca Sacra for the very next month (January, 1909) contained my article on “the

clue to the documents “to which the Wellhausenites have so far been unable to offer any reply, and the professor found his position changed. On the one hand his paper — as well as his earlier publications — committed him irretrievably to this hapless theory; on the other, apparently neither he nor any member of his school had any inclination to tackle my facts and arguments. Public demonstration of this has been afforded by the series of notes that appeared in the Expository Times for May, July, and September, 1909, under the title “The Name of God in Genesis.” Anybody who will be at the pains of reading those notes carefully and consecutively will see that the Wellhausen critics cannot possibly reply to the communications of Professor Schlögl and myself, and that their representative, Dr. Skinner, only succeeded in making some show of a case in the May number by putting forward assertions that he has not substantiated under cross-examination. It is therefore an easy task to realize and pity the plight in which Professor Barton found himself, though it is less easy to commend the course he adopted. The paper was printed in the ordinary way in the Journal of Biblical Literature for 1909, and on page 166 Professor Barton added the following footnote to a phrase in the text about “the so-called warfare between archaeology and criticism”:—

“One of the curious psychological phases of this artificial warfare is manifested in an article by Wiener on ‘Pentateuchal Criticism....

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