Contributions To A New Theory Op The Composition Of The Pentateuch (V.) -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 077:308 (Oct 1920)
Article: Contributions To A New Theory Op The Composition Of The Pentateuch (V.)
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Contributions To A New Theory Op The Composition Of The Pentateuch (V.)

Harold M. Wiener


In the foregoing essays we have seen reason to believe that our Pentateuch contains a good deal of commentary, and that many readings are due to theological doctrines of one kind or another. In the BS for April, 1918 (pp. 261 ff.), and April, 1919 (p. 219), short references were made to the subject of mysticism, which was thought to be probably responsible for some readings. This is a topic which would be best handled by professional theologians, but in order to draw attention to it some further discussion seems to be necessary.

There are two great aspects of the Divine nature which here claim our consideration. God is transcendent. He is also immanent. Passage after passage of the Hebrew Bible emphasizes His transcendence: —

“God is in heaven, and thou upon earth” (Eccl 5:2).

“The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what manner of house will ye build unto me? and what place shall be my rest?” (Isa 66:1).

“But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded “(l K 8:27).

This idea of His transcendence has affected the text of many Biblical verses, and we have often had occasion to draw attention to readings that are due to it.1

The doctrine of God’s transcendence, if taken by itself

and pushed to its utmost limits, removes Him altogether from human ken. That can never satisfy the religious soul which pants for communion with Him. And so more advanced theology sets some doctrine of immanence by the side of the conception of His transcendence. In view of later developments of Jewish thought it is natural to expect that if the Pentateuchal text has been affected by mystical doctrines, it is in the passages relating to God’s dwelling among His people, the glory and the cloud, that we shall find them. The question raised in the passage cited from Solomon’s prayer is answered in 3 Macc 2: —

9 Thou, O King, when thou didst create the boundless and measureless earth, didst choose this city and sanctify this place for thyself, who hast need of nothing, and didst glorify it by a splendid manifestation, establishing it to the glory of thy gr...

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