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A Yachting Cruise in the Baltic. By S. R. Graves. Longman. ? Pictures of German Life in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries.
Second Series. By Gustav Freytag. Translated by Mrs. Mal
colm. Chapman and Hall. Lectures on the History of England. By William Longman. Vol. I.
Longmans. War Pictures from the South. By Colonel P. Estvan. Routledge
and Co. A Painter's Camp in the Highlands. By P. G. Hamerton. Mac
millan. A Visit to Russia. By Henry Moor, Esq. Chapman and Hall. History of Christian Missions during the Middle Ages. By G. F.
[Full of hearty vigorous writing and animal spirits; but not as well put
together as the author's earlier works.] Lost and Saved. By the Hon. Mrs. Norton. Hurst and Blackett.
[Pervaded by a most unpleasant tone on moral subjects.] The Water-Babies. By the Rev. C. Kingsley. Macmillan. Deep Waters. By Miss A. Drury. Chapman and Hall. Giulio Malatesta. By T. A. Trollope. Chapman and Hall. Arrows in the Dark. By the Author of “Said and Done." Smith,
Elder, and Co. A First Friendship. Parker and Bourn. Chesterford. By the Author of " A Bad Beginning." Smith, Elder,
THE NATIONAL REVIEW.
ART. I. -THE CRITICISM OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. An Introduction to the Old Testament, Critical, Historical, and
Theological. By Samuel Davidson, D.D. of the University of
Halle, and LL.D. 3 vols. Williams and Norgate, 1863. In the primitive text-books on the canon of Scripture there was a respectable custom that under the heads of inspiration, genuineness, and authenticity, should be arranged all that could be plausibly made out with regard to the canonical authority of each book. The proofs were collected with care, and set forth in unadorned simplicity. The Rev. Hartwell Horne devotes a page and a half to the genuineness and authenticity of Daniel, observing that with regard to that book there is every possible evidence, both external and internal; the former embracing “the general testimony of the whole Jewish church and nation," and the latter the convincing fact that the" language, style, and manner of writing are all perfectly agreeable to that age.". It is true that the proofs of other books are somewhat meagre in comparison. The Song of Solomon, for example, rests upon the argument that, as the canon of the Hebrew Scripture was settled by Ezra, who “wrote, and we may believe acted, by the inspiration of the Most High,” the Song, which was placed by him in the same volume with the Law and the Prophets, must have been a sacred book. As regards Ecclesiastes, again, “there can be no doubt of its title to admission ; Solomon was eminently distinguished by the illumination of the Divine Spirit, and had even twice witnessed the Divine presence.” The learned author naïvely adds—we are quoting the edition of 1828—that "the tendency of the book is excellent, when rightly understood; and Solomon speaks in it with great clearness of the revealed truths of a future life and of a future judgment.”
Now we have no more wish to exclude the Song of Solomon from a collection of Hebrew literature than any other wellmeaning love-song. The little idyll in question is pastoral, and perhaps pretty; not rigidly decorous throughout, according to our modern ideas, but ardent, and to speak seriously-dis
No. XXXIV. OCTOBER 1863.
tinctly virtuous in its tendency. The Established Church does not introduce it into its services, and is content with the modest remark, which, if it were only at all true, would be certainly applicable,—that of this, in common with the rest, there was never any doubt in the Church. The other books, too, which we have just mentioned, we are most happy to receive, though perhaps in a different sense from the author of the celebrated * Introduction." But it is difficult to help wondering whether its writer really believed that there was nothing more to be said on the subject than the few words which he devotes to it in each of these cases. The Canticles, for example, are never quoted by our Lord or his Apostles, by Josephus or Philo. Daniel contains Greek words. There is hardly an educated man at the present time who will not feel that we have advanced somewhat beyond such criticism as that above quoted. It so happens that one of the books in question is of antiquity now almost undisputed, and that the other is, according to the opinion of nearly every critic, a production of the age of the Maccabees. But, whether by the diligence of English or Germans, orthodox or heretics, the present knowledge of the Old Testament has advanced many steps beyond that of forty years ago.
The study of the Jewish records is one for which many men have no time, and still more have no taste. But the results of that study there are few who do not wish to understand, and there are even some who are willing to accept. The minds of Englishmen have been lately aroused to the fact that there is something yet to be learnt beyond the truth that all Hebrew writers were infallible. The students of the Old Testament have been so loud in their assertion of novel ideas, so persistent in their refusal of cherished beliefs, that it has become evident to an ordinary obscrver that, whatever the new views are, they are not the results of mere caprice. At the same time, the knowledge of Scripture in English society has been as yet deplorably small, and all but the simplest arguments are beyond the understanding of the public. It needs some inatter-of-fact numerical calculation, or some broad and picturesque view of a difficulty, to enable a layman to recognise the facts which critics themselves have learnt on their first entrance upon scriptural study. The words ‘Biblical criticism,' 'canon,' recension,' 'authenticity,' are to ordinary eyes invested in one general fog. Something, they feel, is going on in the background, which is at all events interesting, and which the bishops consider shocking. Reason is a very good thing in its way ; why has rationalism such an awful and malignant sound? Religious liberty has been a watchword of Englishmen for two centuries; it cannot be stinted now. But why, it is generally felt, cannot the critics say distinctly what there is to be said, instead of imploring the laity to grant them
the religious liberty of talking to one another in a tongue not understanded of the multitude ?
Nothing can account for the popularity of the late books of theological inquiry in England, but the distinct understanding that they are the mouth-piece of a large and increasing school. It was commonly declared by the antagonists of Bishop Colenso's first volume on the Pentateuch, that if it had appeared in Germany, that land of theological learning, it would have created no sensation at all. If the statement be even partially true,--for the greatest critics of the Continent have spoken of the book with considerable praise, the simple reason is, that the main ideas which it contained were in themselves no novelty to the Germans. The intellectual conservatism of England was about half a century, roughly speaking, behind its neighbour. And true as this is in regard to the results of inquiry, it is still more true in respect of the way in which the questions themselves are looked at. Here, it is well understood, when a theological professor sits down to write a book, that he has some cause to advocate. There, it is charitably supposed that he wishes to elucidate the subject. Here, a clergyman is considered as competent to deal with a disputed topic, if he is a good man and keeps his Sunday-schools in order. There, it is believed to be necessary to have examined the controversy with care. A German student will inform an inquirer at once which branch of theology it is to which he has chiefly devoted himself, and will hesitate to dogmatise upon others. An English bishop will publish a statement that he has been credibly informed that one particular interpretation of a text is right, and that he is confident that a complete refutation of a given heresy will be found in the work of a friend of his own. Except among the educated laity, who preserve an emphatic silence, the criticism of the Scriptures is treated in England with prejudice, violence, and haste; and prejudice, violence, and haste alike exclude the golden virtue of candour.
The secret of German success in criticism is to be found in the system of division of labour. Every one of the great names that are mentioned in connexion with theological progress can be classified and set down in his own peculiar niche in history. The study of the Old Testament has been the work in reality of but a few men. All the philosophy of Germany, a century or a century and a half ago, was concentrated on the New; and it was long before real progress was made in the investigation of the Jewish Scriptures. The first great name is that of Michaelis, the thorough German, the man of hard solid learning, whose researches into the details of Mosaism are far from obsolete now. Rosenmüller trod somewhat in the same steps, and Herder added the element of a more modern literary zeal; to listen to him, said
J. Paul Richter, was like beholding the red dawn amid the moonlight. It was not till popular attention had been roused almost painfully towards the subject of criticism by the publication by Lessing of the Wolfenbüttel fragments, that Eichhorn appeared on the stage. He was the model of a critic-serious, acute, calm. His“rationalism"-we use the word in the technical sense-has indeed died out, but much of his spirit and much of his work remains. Röhr, the German Stanley, with Bertholdt and Vater, are the next names that meet us; the tone of criticisin then experienced some change. The influence of Schleiermacher in Germany was such that his disciples introduced even into the study of the Old Testament, upon which he himself had not entered, something of his earnestness and depth; and, strange as it may appear, one of the results of the change was the happy divorce of criticism from dogma. The old master had exalted the individual religious life above the formularies of belief; and some of his successors adopted from him the religious spirit, and left the questions of orthodoxy to fight their own battle, while they devoted themselves to historical study. De Wette is the most eminent example of the school of which we are speaking; he died not very long ago, after years of patient labour, animated by a keen critical sagacity, and recommended by a blameless life. The later Tübingen school must be mentioned with him, though their chief work has been on the New Testament, and though in many of their number the polemical spirit of the partisan destroys the earnestness of the critic. De Wette has been followed (we are speaking of Old Testament criticism only) by Tuch, Maurer, Winer the lexicographer of the Bible, Knobel of Basle, Hitzig, whose study of the Prophets has been invaluable, Hupfeld, Lücke, and the accomplished Bunsen, whose skill it was to pursue doctrinal theology as a theologian, ecclesiastical theories as a politician, and Scriptural studies as a critic, and to know how to keep them apart. The rising Dutch school of criticism must be added to the German list; Leyden is beginning to be a university of high theological reputation, and there are few contemporary names which stand higher in the critical world than that of Kuenen. Last of all, as isolated from the rest, far above them in mastery of Oriental language and ideas, acute, obstinate, apparently almost reckless in a conjecture, but indestructible in an argument, of keen sensibility, poetic temperament, profound piety, relentless in self-assertion, quick in apprehension, untiring in patience, stands Ewald of Göttingen, foremost of German critics.
We sometimes hear on platforms, and find echoes even in episcopal letters, of an orthodox reaction in Germany. The destructive school has died out, it is said, under the efforts of Hengstenberg, Neander, and Tholuck. It would be equally true to assert that English heterodoxy is disappearing through