Two New Volumes Of The International Critical Commentary -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 069:275 (Jul 1912)
Article: Two New Volumes Of The International Critical Commentary
Author: Harold M. Wiener


Two New Volumes Of The International Critical Commentary

Harold M. Wiener

I. The Minor Prophets 1

Undoubtedly the most extraordinary feature of this volume is the last sentence of the preface, for which the general editors, our old friends Doctors Briggs and Driver, are responsible. This preface is their first joint utterance since the Skinner correspondence, and to appreciate its full force one must remember the various positions that they successively occupied and evacuated in that correspondence. First, they said that they were not responsible if Dr. Skinner had not told the truth. I drove them out of this, indicating that men who purchased volumes of a series that they edited might reasonably hold that professors of standing would not lend their names to anything that was written in deliberate bad faith. After all, no man of honor who edited a series would say, “I do not care whether what is written in these volumes is true or false, composed in good or in bad faith. If anybody chooses to buy or read a book in reliance on my name, that is his affair, not mine. Caveat emptor: I recognize no responsi-

bility towards a public that trusts me.” When this had been

driven home sufficiently, our friends decided to abandon the position, and wrote at great length about textual criticism. But they added: “We naturally read the sheets of our contributors and make suggestions upon them, but we do not consider it to be our duty to instruct them how they are to deal with every question which arises.” Now they have got hold of yet another conception of their duties, which, apparently, does not involve reading the sheets. Their present position is stated on page iv: “The editors are not responsible for the opinions of the authors or for the details of their work, but only for the choice of the authors and such general supervision of their work as to insure its conformity to the plan of the series.” What does this mean? It means, first, that the general editors accept no responsibility whatever for the good faith of the volumes. Good faith is not comprised in the “plan of the series.” If one could show that the work on a particular book of the Bible did not include an introduction, or that there was only one set of notes instead of a minimum of two, then indeed “the plan of the series “might be infringed, and the editors might possibly accept responsibility. But if a book is dishonest and deceitful, “the plan of the series “is or may be inviolate, and in that case the editors are entirely satisfied. What do they care how many people may be deceived by works to which they stand sponsors? What concern has the International Cri...

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