Some Aspects Of The Conservative Task In Pentateuchal Criticism -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 069:274 (Apr 1912)
Article: Some Aspects Of The Conservative Task In Pentateuchal Criticism
Author: Harold M. Wiener


Some Aspects Of The Conservative Task In Pentateuchal Criticism

Harold M. Wiener

II.

In the Bibliotheca Sacra for January, 1911, the present writer discussed “Some Aspects of the Conservative Task in Pentateuchal Criticism.” The object of the present paper is to consider these further in the light of what has occurred since that article was written. It cannot be contended that the conditions of the problem are unaltered or that no new light has been thrown on the duty of conservatives by what has happened in the interval.

It may first be observed that, whether we look at the lights or the shadows of the picture, conservatism has made progress. There is more and better conservative literature in the world than before. The emergence of Mr. J. S. Griffiths as a new conservative writer is a most cheering sign of the times. His excellent “Problem of Deuteronomy “is a welcome addition to the literature of the subject, and strengthens the position of conservatives throughout the English-speaking world. Dr. W St. Clair Tisdall has published an admirable brochure entitled “Why I am Not a Higher Critic,” which has been warmly received in more than one country. The Jewish Quarterly Review, formerly an organ of the higher criticism, has been converted to sane and sober views on biblical scholarship, and is now conducted with a learning and an ability that bid fair to make it one of the most valuable of theological

periodicals to all who are interested in Old Testament Studies: it is not the only periodical that has shown signs of turning from the higher critical vagaries. In Germany, too, indications of change from the fashionable hypothesis are not wanting. Pastor W. Möller has at last broken with the documentary theory; and though his book “Wider den Bann der Quellenscheidung” may at first shock the delicate sensibilities of those who hold that orthodoxy consists in the unquestioning acceptance of a theory that makes the Pentateuch a cento of literary forgeries, it cannot in the long run fail to assist in shaking the position which that theory now occupies in the Universities of Northern Europe.1 Here, too, mention should be made of Dr. Aage Schmidt’s “Gedanken uber die Entwicklung der Religion auf Grund der babylonischen Quellen,”2 a monograph that is distinguished by the conservative results to which a comprehensive survey of the ancient evidence as to religious development has led the learned author. The true weakness of conservatives does not lie in any inherent difficulties of the conservative case or in any faults of its champions...

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