Dr. Driver On The Names Of God In The Pentateuch -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 071:283 (Jul 1914)
Article: Dr. Driver On The Names Of God In The Pentateuch
Author: Harold M. Wiener


Dr. Driver On The Names Of God In The Pentateuch

Harold M. Wiener

The ninth edition of Dr. S. R. Driver’s “Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament “contains some addenda including a discussion of some length on the Names of God in the Pentateuch avowedly in reply to Dahse and the present writer. The edition is dated October, 1913, but unfortunately I did not become aware of its existence till April, 1914. It is always unpleasant to have to controvert the views of one who has passed away, but it is extraordinarily unpleasant in a case where, as here, the author has for some years been employing questionable methods for the purpose of bolstering up a theory. Yet public duty demands that Dr. Driver’s last work should not be allowed to pass unnoticed. I shall, however, deal with the matter as briefly as possible.

The first point to be noticed is that, though Dr. Driver wrote an answer to Dahse, he did not read the book he was answering. This is very evident from his argument on page 33, where he proceeds on the assumption that Dahse has said nothing about the Joseph narratives, although a whole section of his book (Textkritische Materialien, pp. 122-143) is devoted to them, and a footnote (p. 129) hints at the possibility of further discussions in a future publication. In the footnote on page 26, too, Driver quotes “Dahse, as cited by Skinner.” Had he troubled to read Dahse himself, he would have found most of his contentions answered by anticipation.

It is necessary to lay some stress on Driver’s behavior in this matter, because there is a tendency to rely upon his judgment on the part of those who lack the leisure or the ability to examine these questions for themselves. It has been supposed that he was a reliable and competent expert who reached his conclusions only after careful and exhaustive study. This, however, is by no means the case. For, as already remarked, in this discussion Driver did not even read the work he professed to answer, and he gravely misrepresented Dahse’s attitude, as also the positions of most other conservatives. His expressed opinion, therefore, deserves no more weight than that of anybody else who undertakes to pronounce judgment on matters of which he is ignorant.

A large part of Driver’s discussion is occupied with an outline of Skinner’s arguments in the Expositor, and in view of the replies that appeared in that magazine (December, 1913) and the Bibliotheca Sacra (April, 1914), it is unnecessary for me to deal with this here. In the rest, Driver contributes little that is new. For the most part, he repeats old platitudes and arguments that have been effectively answered time and again. Bu...

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