The Greek Genesis, The Graf-Wellhausen Theory, And The Conservative Position -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 076:301 (Jan 1919)
Article: The Greek Genesis, The Graf-Wellhausen Theory, And The Conservative Position
Author: Harold M. Wiener


The Greek Genesis, The Graf-Wellhausen Theory, And The Conservative Position

Harold M. Wiener

In The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures for April, 1918, there is an important and significant article on “The Greek Genesis” by Professor A. T. Olmstead. A further contribution is promised, and will not improbably have been published before the present paper appears; but in these clays I cannot rely on seeing the sequel by any given date, and there is too much in the first contribution that calls for early notice to render any postponement of the discussion wise. Indeed, an opportunity has now occurred where further debate seems likely to be exceptionally helpful. Unfortunately it is not possible for me, in the odds and ends of time which alone are at my disposal, to consider carefully every point that has been raised, and some of them must be left until a resumption of normal conditions makes it possible for me to tackle them in .the ordinary course of my studies, but enough remains for fruitful discussion.

There are six main observations to be made on Olmstead’s paper, and I will begin by stating them, because, in dealing with his views, I shall have to quote passages which illustrate more than one at a time. The importance of the paper is due to the first three. 1. It is enormously significant and entirely unprecedented that any higher critical organ in the English-speaking world should spontaneously publish a paper that so severely criticizes the treatment of the versions by the documentary theorists and concedes so much of the conservative case. 2. On a number of points Olmstead, working independently, has reached conclusions that closely resemble contentions that have been put forward in these pages. 3. On several other

points the differences are of such a character that further study and debate would probably remove, or at any rate reduce, them. 4. On the other hand, there has been an unfortunate delay in publication; and Olmstead, in order the better to show the independent resemblances between us, has intentionally refrained from bringing his article up to date. 5. He is under a misconception as to the standpoint of, I believe, many conservatives, certainly including myself. 6. He ignores the fact that the main attack on the Graf-Wellhausen theory has nothing whatever to do with the textual questions. To avoid any possibility of misconception, let me say at once that I do not believe that, if he had so much as hinted at the real state of affairs, The American Journal of Semitic Languages would have published him at all. Thus while I regard his attitude as unfortunate from one point of view, there is another standpoint from which it is wise and diplomatic. Better half a loa...

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