Page images
PDF
EPUB

s'est servi Moyse pour composer le livre de la Genèse," is one reason for adopting a somewhat different method from that employed in Genesis. Another and more weighty reason appears in the relative incompleteness of the science itself in Exodus and the following books. This is due to several causes. Partly it is because more time and effort have been spent on Genesis, the earlier attempts setting out with Astruc's assumption, that the documents were compiled by Moses, which implied their limitation to Genesis ; partly because popular interest has chiefly attached to this book. Principally it is because the analysis becomes more difficult from Ex. iii. onward. Here in fact one of the principal discriminating features of the document E disappears, and in Ex. vi. the same becomes true of the document P. A phenomenon of Genesis, which was almost the sole reliance of Astruc for his analysis, is the uniform employment of Yahweh as the divine name in one series of narratives, and of Elohim, El, or El Shaddai in another. Its explanation appears in Ex. vi. 2f., where P relates the revelation to Moses of the name Yahweh : “And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Yahweh : and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob as El Shaddai, but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them.Of course then P did not use Yahweh in Genesis, and of course he now begins to use it as uniformly as Elohim or El Shaddai before. The justification to the analysis was invaluable, but it came at the cost of losing the then most important means of discriminating P from J. Moreover P does not relate this revelation to Moses on his own authority. He copied both it, and the practise it logically implies as to the name Yahweh, from the story of E in Ex. iii. Fortunately E is less systematic than P in his subsequent narrative, and often allows the name Elohim to stand in long passages of his material. Wherever this is not the case, however, the clew for analysis mainly relied upon in Genesis disappears, as in P, and hence the mere use of “ Yahweh” no longer serves, as in Genesis, to prove a passage Yahwistic or redactional. This is not the only increase of difficulty. The taking up of Deuteronony into the prophetic history JE necessitated a revision ; but this of course, would scarcely affect the patriarchal narratives, xxvi, 5 being the only clear trace of Rd in Genesis, whereas the whole of JE from Exodus on has undergone more or less systematic revision of this character, the alteration being especially marked in passages dealing with legislation, as e. g. in J's law of Passover, in both J and Eat the Sinai-Horeb chapters, and where, as in Joshua, account had to be taken of a new legislation by which the history was supposed to have been controlled.

The comparatively backward state of the science has necessitated a far larger proportion of pioneer work on my part than in the previous volume. In “The Genesis of Genesis ” I could content myself generally with exhibiting the consensus of critical opinion as to the analysis, presenting my reasons for the independent work done in the case of difficult and disputed chapters in the series of articles on “ Pentateuchal Analysis " published in Hebraica VII. 1 (Oct. 1890)—x. In the present volume I am obliged to take the attitude of an independent critic. The separation of P throughout from JE is now indeed a matter of general agreement among critics ; but the analysis of JE is quite otherwise, Its present relative incompleteness is well illustrated in the work of Addis above referred to, in which the distinction of type between J and E is carried to the end of Genesis, but employed after Ex. i. only in those portions of JE where the strands are traceable with exceptional clearness. As to the early chh. of Exodus, Kuenen says (“ Hexateuch” $ 8, n. 11): “In Ex. iii. 16-xii. we may find abundant points of support for a critical analysis ; but here we cannot separate two distinct documents, as we have done in Jacob's biography and elsewhere, and assign its share to each with confidence. The most we can hope for is to determine whether it is E or J that lies at the basis of the narrative, and sometimes even this is doubtful. ... It appears that in Ex. i. sqq. the simple interweaving of the authorities with the retention of the special characteristics of each gave way to their free use, and their intimate blending and recasting." Wellhausen advises relinquishment of the attempt at precise analysis of most of the Plague narratives, declares that JE is more correctly to be regarded as the author (Verfasser) of the Horeb-Sinai section than mere compiler (Redaktor) (Comp., Berlin, 1889, pp. 69 and 97), and has perhaps not wholly withdrawn his theory of a “second source of JE” in Numbers.* The French critic Bruston, imitates the example of Wellhausen by assuming a fourth source as a solution of the difficulties, the deus ex machina this time being a “second Jéhoviste." It has been my effort to show that no such “Hülfshypothesen" are necessary. JE does not change his method, nor is there a new source introduced. The sources are J, E and P, precisely as in Genesis, and combined in the same way.

What is required is not unfounded assumptions to explain our comparative inability to analyze, but more care, more patience, more determination to be guided not by preconceptions but by phenomena. It will be seen, however, from the above, that the problem was by no means the same as in Genesis, and different conditions have made necessary a difference in method of treatment.

To adapt the present volume to the new conditions imposed by the altered problem and somewhat altered circle of readers to which it is addressed, it has seemed best to put in place of the general Introduction of “The Genesis of Genesis a series of briefer Introductions prefixed to each subdivision of the narrative, the Prolegomena before each $ setting forth to the reader in large type the general distinguishing features of each document P, E, J, as they appear in that section, an Analysis in smaller type before each subsection discussing the phenomena of the text as it stands, and stating as briefly as possible the bulk of the evidence for its composite structure, together with the grounds of analysis, and theory of compilation. In addition a few pages at the beginning of the Prolegomena to & Si., v. and vii., are devoted to something more in the nature of historical criticism, discussing the history and significance of the tradition itself. A brief general Introduction sums up the data of the Prolegomena and presents the bearing of the facts derived from the study of the documents in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy upon the Documentary Theory as a whole.

*Cf. Wellhausen's Comp., p. 102 with the Nachtrag in the same volume, p. 339, in reply to Kuenen's criticism.

verse,

It may also be noticed, that no such systematic attempt has been made in the present volume as in “ The Genesis of Genesis ” to distinguish between ' and J’, E' and E?. This is not because of any doubt in my mind that such strata exist; for of this I am much more firmly convinced than before my study of the later historical books was completed. My conclusions are presented in the Introduction following. It seems to me, however, that the introduction of such questions should properly await a more advanced condition of the analysis.

Certain minor improvements have been attempted upon the former work as e.g. the entire abandonment of Hebrew type in favor of transliteration where needful; the adoption (except as to Pi

H) of Cornill's nomenclature ; the use of " for characteristic expressions of J, E and P in Part II., and the abandonment of the attempt to reproduce in English anything of the rhythm of Hebrew

If that part devoted to reconstruction of the documents is thus improved in any degree, it will be the better able to bear the loss of Prof. G. F. Moore's kindly, correcting hand in the translation. Faults and mistakes due to my deficiencies as a linguist will doubtless appear,

but in all essentials I am fortified by the authority of such scholars as Dillmann and Kautzsch. In addition I must acknowledge my great indebtedness to Budde's admirable articles on the legislative parts of JE, besides his personal kindnesses, and to C. H. Cornill's Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 2 Aufl. Freiburg i. B. 1892. Other standard works will be found referred to in the body of the work.*

In conclusion let me urge the general reader to remember that while the devotional and scientific treatment of the Bible are widely different, they are neither incompatible nor independent. For the very reason that devotional exposition must take as its point of departure some account of its documentary data, either scientific or assumed to be such, it has a natural inclination to conservatism, an impatience of criticism and change, and a disinclination to readjust itself to a new basis. Sometimes it undertakes to decree: “ La République

*Wildeboer's Letterkunde des Ouden Verboords, Groningen 1893, sent me by the author's kindness, arrives, unfortunately, too late for present use.

[ocr errors]

n'a pas besoin de savants,” and then its folly soon becomes manifest in its own destruction. In the nature of the case there is nothing but indolence and timidity of mind to prevent as excellent a structure of devotional thought and edifying exposition being reared upon the critical conclusions of modern specialists as upon the fantastic legends of those rabbis of whom Jesus said, “ They have made the Scripture of none effect by their traditions." Practically a dispassionate examination of the results will show that the former basis gives vastl ger and more excellent opportunity to set forth the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as He is revealed in this history of histories, and is far more consistent with Christian ideas, than the latter. The edifice reared upon it has the additional advantage of being founded upon tested and proved rather than untested material. The present work is not intended primarily for devotional reading, but it endeavors to do its part in substituting for the crumbling foundations of Rabbinic tradition, which have thus far been almost the sole reliance of Christian scholars in formulating their doctrine of Sacred Scripture, an “impregnable rock” of that true and divine science of biblical theology whose motto is, “ The Truth without fear or favor.”

We stand to-day, as Paul stood, between two opposing currents of religious thought, both earnest and both devout : “Jews" that require a sign, and “Greeks" that seek after wisdom. Whatever tends to minimize the miraculous by seeking the manifestion of God in the normal rather than the abnormal, is to the “ Jew," “ destructive criticism.” The “ Greek” is too apt to linger amid the lotus flowers of sweet reasonableness. The present work is“ destructive” of nothing but that which stands in the way of better, and which would not be destructible if it were not worthless. It is “constructive," at least in purpose, of a Bible which by the illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit will be more truly than ever a manifestation “to Jew and Greek” of both “the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

BENJAMIN WISNER Bacon. Parsonage, Oswego, N. Y., December, 1893.

« PreviousContinue »