A Lacuna In Scholarship -- By: H. W. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:296 (Oct 1917)
Article: A Lacuna In Scholarship
Author: H. W. Magoun

A Lacuna In Scholarship

H. W. Magoun, Ph.D.


At the beginning of this discussion it was suggested (p. 93) that men do not realize what is involved in the failure to consider all of the facts concerning Jesus. They do not. It was also intimated (p. 100) that modern views on some of these matters would be considered later. They need to be. When men say such things as this, “I do not believe that anybody, in the time of Jesus, thought he raised the dead, or did these other miraculous things,” it is impossible to avoid asking one’s self whether they know anything whatever of the mentality of Jews either ancient or modern or of the existing evidence concerning such questions. The actual truth is diametrically opposed to their subjective opinions, which disclose a remarkable propensity for jumping at conclusions with little regard for consequences.

The situation is really so grave as to warrant the use of such expressions as, — an astonishing lack of historical perspective, an extraordinary bit of naivete, and an unaccountable dearth of the most elementary knowledge of Oriental psychology. In fact, the thing itself can only be explained, if one seeks to excuse it, by the assumption that their knowledge is wholly that of books and that it has never been extended beyond the narrow confines of their own little studies, or offices, so as to bring them into direct personal touch with

individuals of the race concerning which they presume to speak. Indeed, it is actually to be doubted whether they have even gone so far as to consult men who have had this experience.

The ancient Semitic mind was, just as the modern Syrian mind is, quite as receptive to the miraculous as the present-day rationalist’s is proof against it. Most other Orientals are of a like character. They believe without hesitation and with gladness what any modern materialist would regard as simply preposterous. There are exceptions, where education or influences from the West have destroyed the childlike simplicity of the native character; but the rank and file are as depicted. Moreover, in our Saviour’s day even the educated Scribes and Pharisees, as the evidence plainly indicates, did not attempt to gainsay the works of Jesus; for the so-called “Toldoth Jeshu,” which is related to the Talmud, never betrays, in spite of its bitter hostility to him, any disposition to deny his works, since it seeks to belittle them by declaring that he did them with the help of Egyptian magic. As he could not possibly have been over eight or ten years of age when he left that country, he must have been a trifle precocious. Comment is unnecessary.

When men have reached this degree of smug s...

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