The Bible In The Light Of Archaeological Discoveries -- By: Melvin Grove Kyle

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:293 (Jan 1917)
Article: The Bible In The Light Of Archaeological Discoveries
Author: Melvin Grove Kyle


The Bible In The Light Of Archaeological Discoveries1

Melvin Grove Kyle

One of the members of the Board of Managers of Xenia Theological Seminary said to me a few months ago, “Just what are you trying to do in your department in the Seminary?” Of course the question was asked jocosely and in a bantering way, and it was received and answered in the same kindly spirit. Nevertheless, that jest voiced a real question: there is in these days a widespread desire, and an imperative need as well, that the people should be made to know exactly what Theological Seminaries are “trying to do.” The one thing I am going to do in this Inaugural Address is to gratify that desire and satisfy that need concerning the Department in Xenia Theological Seminary to which I have been elected, The Newburg Research Chair of Biblical Theology and Biblical Archaeology.

Biblical Theology is a vague name with a various meaning. It is supposed to have been intended to differentiate this Department of Seminary work from the Department of Systematic Theology. But Systematic Theology is also Biblical,

— sometimes: at least, it is at Xenia and at the other Theological Seminaries represented here on this occasion. The term “Biblical Theology” is actually made to cover everything from the simplest, most superficial book-study to the most radical of modern critical theories and the whole medley of speculative vagaries in matters Biblical. It is impossible to find one definition that will suit Biblical Theology everywhere. As to the definition of Biblical Archaeology, perhaps it may justly be said that it is the right of Xenia to make a definition, for this was the first Theological Seminary in America to give distinct recognition to the new science of Biblical Archaeology as a separate Department of Seminary work. This was done in the establishment of the Research Lectureship of Biblical Archaeology which I have had the honor to occupy since 1908.

Now, coming to exact definitions, Biblical Theology in this Seminary is the Bible itself at its face value as a finished product, the progress of doctrine throughout the course of revelation in its chronological order. Of course, in observing chronological order, it is impossible to keep clear of literary questions; lint the discussion of those questions belongs, at Xenia, to other Departments of the Seminary. In Biblical Theology the traditional view of the order of the books of the Bible, not because it is traditional, but because it is the order held by the great body of the scholarship of the Church in all ages and at the present time, is accepted as a working hypothesis to be tested by the whole cours...

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