The Organic Unity Of The Old Testament -- By: A. Troelstra

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 069:275 (Jul 1912)
Article: The Organic Unity Of The Old Testament
Author: A. Troelstra


The Organic Unity Of The Old Testament

A. Troelstra

[Lecture I. Translated by the Reverend John H. de Vries, D.D., Rector: Grace Church, Saybrook, Conn. This lecture, delivered in a course at the University of Leyden, with the volume by the author noticed in later pages of this Number, is but one of the many indications of the return of Old Testament critics to the maintenance of conservative views. The critical views of Kuenen are no longer maintained by his successors at Leyden. The all-too-prevalent Wellhausen assumptions are being now more and more discredited in the Fatherland, and it is to be hoped that his British and American followers may have their eyes opened to the anachronism of still maintaining ibis views of the Pentateuch. To continue to impose them upon the Christian public as the incontrovertible results of scholarship is coming to be little less than criminal.—Editor.]

All scientific investigation searches after unity. It views its object from all sides until it has seen it as a whole. That there is a unity in every object which presents itself to scientific consideration; that there is unity in the many-sorted complexity of things and of phenomena which we call the world, — that, in other words, the world is not a chaos but a cosmos, is the supposition, uttered or unexpressed, the conditio sine qua non, of all scientific effort.

Because of his creation after the image of God, there is an unquenchable thirst in man, even in his fallen estate, to see the universe, the earth, man, history, and everything that is found in the domain of culture, and especially the world of religious phenomena, and to grasp it as one thought, one divine work; not as an accidentally gathered collection of disparate objects or phenomena, but as one whole and one unit.

Whatever valid objections may be raised against the doctrine of evolution, Darwin’s hypothesis shows that the human mind cannot rest until it has grasped its given object of study as a unit.

From this it cannot be inferred that every search after unity moves in the right track. Anticipation has once been called the essence of sin; and, if anywhere, it is in the domain of science that this is frequently evident. The searcher there will often claim that he understands, and takes in as a whole, what he has not yet fully grasped. A theory is then constructed which, because it suddenly throws an unexpected light upon certain thus-far puzzling problems, glitters for a little while. But it is soon evident that the facts did not press the theory upon the investigator, but that the theory was pressed upon the facts. Take, for instance, the “religionsgeschichtliche” meth...

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