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sands of years, just as the father of history saw and described them." *
The credibility of Arrian in the "Expedition of Alexander," has been fully recognised by Droysen, his latest editor. "As a historical writer, by his careful investigation and impartial criticism, he occupies an important place among the Greek historians in general, while of those who have written on Alexander, as Photius already judged, he has, undoubtedly, the first place." +
We might adduce many other testimonies to the same effect in relation to several of the Greek and Roman historians, but it is perhaps unnecessary. Those already referred to show clearly enough, that the tone of confident scepticism, which is now indulged by some in this country in respect to the Hebrew Scriptures, has no counterpart in the spirit and method with which the study of classical philology is pursued by the ablest scholars of the present day. This result is not owing to the less profound nature of the investigations. The whole circle of classical literature was never so thoroughly understood as it is at the present time.
We may add, that there are some indications of a return, in Germany, to a better temper of mind and a fairer style of criticism in respect to the Old Testament. It was the remark of Gesenius, that the older he grew, the more he was inclined to return in very many cases to the received methods of interpretation; and the later numbers of his Thesaurus furnish abundant testimony to the sincerity of his declaration. In his recent writings, he expresses more doubt in relation to the theory, which he once fully adopted, of the late origin of the Pentateuch.
The younger Rosenmüller found occasion, in a number of instances, to renounce the sceptical views which he advocated in some of his earlier works. Even De Wette, in the last edition of his Introduction to the Old Testament, assigns an earlier origin to the Pentateuch than he supported in the former editions. The general current in Germany, among those who deny the Mosaic authorship of the five books, seems to be setting in the same direction. One of the latest and ablest commentators on the book of Job, Prof. Stickel of Göttingen, has vindicated the speeches of Elihu as an integral part of the book of Job-a portion of it which Ewald and others had rejected. The integrity of Zechariah is at length admitted by De Wette, though with evident reluctance.
Every fresh examination of the topography and geography *Bähr, in Jahn, xvi. p. 326, xi. p. 435. Plutarch doubts the authenticity of Herodotus because some of his representations are not sufficiently favourable to the Greeks!
+ Sintenis, in Jahn, xvi. p. 132.
of places described or alluded to in the Pentateuch, shows that the writer had that exact local information which could proceed only from personal observation. "The Old Testament," says Legh, "is beyond all comparison the most interesting and instructive guide of which a traveller in the East can avail himself." "Wherever any fact is mentioned in the Bible history," says Wilkinson, we do not discover any thing on the monuments which tends to contradict it."+ These and similar facts have led such unprejudiced historians and writers as Ritter, Heeren, Leo, Schlösser, Luden, Ideler, Wachler, and others, to recognise the books of Moses as authentic history. The principal facts of the Pentateuch are acknowledged by Heeren in his "History of Antiquity" to be historically established. John Von Müller says of the tenth chapter of Genesis, that "the data are, geographically, altogether true. From this chapter, universal history ought to begin." "The record of
God's miraculous providence," says Luden, in his History of Antiquity, "in regard to the Israelites--the oldest monument of written history-did not preserve the people faithful towards God." "We have come to the decided conviction," remarks Leo, "after examining what has been lately written on this subject, that the essential parts of the law, as well as a great portion of the historical accounts, which form the groundwork of the Pentateuch, and cannot be entirely separated from the laws, as they show their import and design, were written by Moses himself, and that the collecting of the whole into one body, if not done by Moses himself, certainly took place soon after his time, perhaps during his life, and under his own eye."+
§ 3. Credibility of the Jewish Historians.
Our next position is, that greater credit is due to the Hebrew writers, when describing matters pertaining to Jewish history, than to Greek and Roman authors who have adverted to or delineated the same events. In the first place, the Jewish historians lived, for the most part, at or near the periods when the events which they describe occurred. Moses was the leading actor in the scenes which he professes to portray. The last four books of the Pentateuch, in a very important sense, are the memoirs of his own life. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel were eye-witnesses of the events and matters which they narrate. The prophets are historians of the periods in which they *Von Raumer's Palæstina, p. 2, where similar testimony from other travellers is quoted.
Anc. Egypt. i. 34.
Hengstenberg, Beiträge zur Einl. d. Alte Test. i. Prolegomena, pp. 28-35, also, Bibl. Repos., April 1838, pp. 440-448.
lived. They deserve, therefore, more confidence than foreign writers, who flourished centuries afterwards. We attach authority to Herodotus or Tacitus in proportion to the proximity of their lives to the events which they portray.
Again, the Hebrew writers were members of the community whose actions they record, actual residents in the countries and cities respecting which they give information. Moses was educated in the Egyptian court. He lived many years in the wilderness, and became, doubtless, intimately conversant with the whole Arabian peninsula. He does not take up his geographical notices at hearsay. The objects which he describes, he did not see with the hasty glance of a traveller, but with the practised eye of a native. So with other biblical writers. The author of the book of Job writes with the sure hand of one who had ocular proof. The scene of his poem is perfectly familiar to him. Moses does not speak of Egypt in the manner of Pythagoras or Plato, who saw the country only as travellers or temporary residents. Daniel does not write respecting Babylon in the manner of a Greek historian, who might have accompanied the expedition of the younger Cyrus. He professes to have lived, during the greater part of a century, in the metropolis, engaged in an employment which would necessarily lay open to him every source of information. On the other hand, Xenophon and Diodorus Siculus lived hundreds or thousands of miles from scenes and events which they describe. They may have been observing travellers, but they could not narrate the affairs of the Assyrians as they might do those of the Athenians or Sicilians. The journal of a tourist is no adequate substitute for the knowledge which is obtained from half a century's residence in a country or city.
In the third place, some of the principal classical writers were strongly prejudiced against the Jews. The early Greek writers seem to have known or cared little for the descendants of Abraham. The literary community at Athens, though excessively fond of novelties, seem to have been wholly ignorant of the Jews, or else to have held them in profound contempt. We wonder that Herodotus, with his liberal mind, and his passion for extensive researches, did not devote part of a chapter to a land crowded with so many interesting objects as Palestine. We wonder still more that men of the comprehensive views and philosophical liberality of Plato and Aristotle, did not think it worth while to look into the laws and institutions of Moses. The entire silence of such writers argues either total ignorance of what was occurring in Palestine, or a contempt for its inhabitants unworthy of men of their pretensions.
Essentially similar is the impression which we receive from
the Roman writers. Cicero throughout his multifarious writings makes no mention, we believe, of the Jews. The poets allude to them in a few instances, to point a jeer or round a period. Thus Juvenal:
"The laws of Rome those blinded bigots slight
In superstitious dread of Jewish rite;
To Moses and his mystic volume true," &c.
So remarkable is a paragraph relating to the Jews in the pages of the philosophic Tacitus, that we are tempted to give the substance of it. It is found in the fifth book of his History.
"According to some, the Jews, fleeing from the island of Crete, found an abode in the most distant parts of Libya, at the time that Saturn was violently dethroned by Jupiter. A proof is obtained from the name. There is a celebrated mountain in Crete called Ida; the inhabitants are termed Idaei, and by a barbarous enlargement of the word, Judaei. Others report, that in the reign of Isis, a multitude, pouring forth from Egypt, removed into the contiguous territories, under the lead of Hierosolymus and Judas. Most maintain that they are descended from the Ethiopians, who, compelled by fear and hatred of their king, Cepheus, changed their habitation. Others relate that an Assyrian mixed population, being destitute of land, took possession of a part of Egypt, and by and by inhabited Hebrew cities and territories as their own right, and then the neighbouring parts of Syria. Others give a distinguished origin to the Jews. The Solymi, a people celebrated in the poems of Homer, founded the city Jerusalem, and called it from their own name."
And this is from the calm, careful, and reflecting Tacitus, written after the Jewish nation had been in existence almost two thousand years, after the country had become a Roman province, when Rome was filled with Jews, and when, by a few minutes' walk, he could have found the true account of the origin of the Jews from the Antiquities of Josephus, or, perhaps, from that author's own mouth. From these legends related by Tacitus, we learn that a profound historian might neglect with impunity to obtain accurate information in respect to a people so despicable as the Jews; and we may also see what vague and unsatisfactory stories then prevailed throughout the civilised world in regard to the history of the Hebrews.
These facts show with sufficient clearness, that some of the Greek and Roman writers were altogether ignorant of the true origin and condition of the Hebrews, while others looked upon them with prejudice and contempt. Why, then, should we prefer these historians as authorities to the Hebrew writers, when the affairs of the Jews are in question? Yet this has
been the prevailing habit. Diodorus is put first, Moses second. If Manetho corroborates the lawgiver, well; if not, then the pagan must be set up as the standard. If Daniel's chronology does not agree with that of Abydenus, then the Hebrew is pronounced to be in error, and an additional proof is supposed to be furnished against the authenticity of his prophecies.
§ 4. Early Origin of Alphabetic Writing.
It has often been alleged as an argument against the genuineness of the Pentateuch, that alphabetic writing did not exist at the time of Moses, or if it had been discovered, the knowledge of it was very limited, much too limited to admit of the existence and use of such a book as the Pentateuch.
That alphabetic writing, however, did exist at or before the age of Moses, i. e., 1500 B. C., is capable of proof from a great variety of considerations. If each of the following positions does not of itself establish the fact, yet all, taken together, can leave no reasonable doubt on the subject.
1. So far as there is any evidence from tradition, it is in favour of the very early discovery of alphabetical writing. The traditions of all the nations of antiquity coincide in this, that the art of writing belonged to the origin of the human race, or to the founders of particular nations. Several kinds of alphabetical writing were in existence in Asia," says William von Humboldt, "in the earliest times." The Egyptians attribute the discovery of alphabetic writing to Thaaut; the Chaldeans to Oannes, Memnon, or Hermes; many of the Greeks to Cecrops, who probably came from Egypt; some to Orpheus; others to Linus; Eschylus assigns it to Prometheus; and Euripides, to Palemedes the Argive;-all these are witnesses that the discovery reached beyond the commencement of history, so that Pliny remarks, not without reason, ex quo apparet æternus literarum usus.
2. It will hold good as a general fact that the most useful arts would be first invented or discovered. Such as are necessary to the support of human life, those which man's inward or outward necessities would first crave, would, in general, be the first that would be originated. Necessity deeply felt is the mother of art. Feelings of joy or sorrow, common to man, and which require for their full expression some outward symbol, or some auxiliary accompaniment, would necessarily lead to the invention of musical instruments. Some of the more
important uses of iron would be early found out, because any degree of civilization, or even of comfort, would be hardly conceivable without it. The violent passions which agitate man,
*Hengstenberg, Beiträge, i. p. 425.