Saturday, April 25, 2020

Psalms Of Praise

"...Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible. Nor does it cease to be so when, through lack of skill, the forms of its expression are very uncouth or even ridiculous. Heaven knows, many poems of praise addressed to an earthly beloved are as bad as our bad hymns, and an anthology of love poems for public and perpetual use would probably be as sore a trial to literary taste as Hymns Ancient and Modern. I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed."

C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, p. 94-95

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Does Paul Teach Against Justification By Works Or Works Of The Law Only?

  • Discussion:
          -Tim Staples wrote an article in which he attempts to rebut common biblical texts cited against the Catholic view of justification such as Romans 3:28 and 4:4-5. Following are a handful of excerpts from the author along with a critique:

          "...First, it is true that St. Paul does not say works of law in Romans 4:5. But the context makes it very clear that St. Paul was referring to circumcision in particular and the same “works of law” he was referring to in Romans 3:28. Romans 3:28 down to Romans 4:5 represents one continuous thought in answering the Judaizers and their insistence upon circumcision and keeping the Old Covenant in order to be saved."

          Even assuming that Paul is addressing circumcision in Romans 4:5, that would have no bearing on the argument for Sola Fide because that ritual is a good work and can still be utilized as an example of works not contributing to our justification. The apostle deals with the Jewish Law and good works as a category.

          In verse two, Paul says "justified by works." In verse four, he refers to "the one who works." In verse six, Paul says that one is justified by faith "apart from works." In this context, he even uses Abraham who was not under the Levitical system as his first example. There is no reason to believe that "works of the Law" applies only to works of the ceremonial law. Also, the New English Translation has this footnote on Romans 3:20:

          "...interpreters, like C. E. B. Cranfield (“‘The Works of the Law’ in the Epistle to the Romans,” JSNT 43 [1991]: 89–101) reject this narrow interpretation for a number of reasons, among which the most important are: (1) The second half of v. 20, “for through the law comes the knowledge of sin,” is hard to explain if the phrase “works of the law” is understood in a restricted sense; (2) the plural phrase “works of the law” would have to be understood in a different sense from the singular phrase “the work of the law” in 2:15; (3) similar phrases involving the law in Romans (2:13, 14; 2:25, 26, 27; 7:25; 8:4; and 13:8) which are naturally related to the phrase “works of the law” cannot be taken to refer to circumcision (in fact, in 2:25 circumcision is explicitly contrasted with keeping the law). Those interpreters who reject the “narrow” interpretation of “works of the law” understand the phrase to refer to obedience to the Mosaic law in general."

          Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes, in their book titled When Cultists Ask, p. 214, notes concerning the Apostle Paul's use of works of the Law:

          "To limit all of Paul's condemnations of "works" to only works of the law of Moses is like limiting God's condemnation of homosexuality in the Old Testament (cf. Lev. 18, 20) to Jews since these passages occur only in the Mosaic law which was written to Jews. And, to grant that a moral law (e.g., natural law) exists outside the law of Moses is to grant the Protestant point that "works" here are not just limited to works of the Mosaic law. The truth is that the condemnations are more broadly applicable than the immediate context in which they arose. The same is true of Paul's condemnation of meritorious "works" as a means of salvation. To limit Paul's condemnation to works of self-righteousness as opposed to meritorious works is reading into the text a distinction that is not there."

          There are other passages in Pauline writings that outwardly deny "works" as being the basis of justification, rather than apart from the "works of the Law" (Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 3:5-7). The context of those verses is not about Jewish Law. Rather, they speak of our calling to holiness, God's mercy, and genuine conversion of heart. Thus, we further reason to believe that the terms "works" and "works of the Law" are synonymous.

          It would be foolish to limit the phrases "works" and "works of the Law" in the context of Romans to only meaning the exclusion of boundary-markers, since the immediate context refers to obedience to the Ten Commandments (Romans 2:20-25). The wrath of God is revealed against all sin (Romans 1:18), which includes both Jews and Gentiles.

          William D. Barrick, in his essay titled The New Perspective and "Works of the Law" (Gal. 2:16 and Rom. 3:20), p. 278-279, writes:

          "In the intertestamental period, sectarian authors at Qumran spoke of the members of their community as "doers/workers of the law" (ośê hattorāh, 1QpHab 7:11; 8:1; 12:4). They did not indicate that "the law” in such cases was limited to circumcision, Sabbath-keeping, or dietary regulations. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, one of the world's leading authorities on Qumran, Aramaic, and the intertestamental period, concludes that Qumran materials (especially 4QMMT 3.29) rule out the suggestion of both Dunn, about a restricted sense of erga nomou, ..., and Gaston, that the gen. nomou is a subjective gen[itive]."

          "When it comes to Romans 7:6-7, we need to go a bit deeper in our response. St. Paul does use the ninth and tenth commandments as examples of “law” that cannot save us. St. Paul is using the example of the “Judaizers” to teach all of us a deeper truth about the nature of justification and works. The works that justify us (as we saw in Romans 2:6-7) are works done in Christ. When the “Judaizers” were insisting a return to the Old Covenant was necessary for salvation, they were, in essence, saying Christ and the New Covenant are not enough. And in so doing, they were ipso facto rejecting Jesus Christ and the New Covenant."

          Paul says that the Law is holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:12; 16). In other words, it reflects the character of God. Thus, there exists no new law by which we can be justified. Romans 7:6-7 is a problem for Tim's position because it shows us that Paul had much more than circumcision in mind when mentioning works of the Law. He even distinguishes between circumcision and following commandments (1 Corinthians 7:19). Consequently, Paul excludes the moral aspects of the Law as grounds for justification before God. He goes as far as to say that love fulfills the Law (Galatians 5:14). There is not a single good work that does not fit into that category. The Apostle Paul does not say that we "can only perform salvific acts in Christ." It is always by faith (Galatians 3:1-3).

          "Just so no one would get the wrong idea of what St. Paul was saying, it seems, he put it plain and simple in Galatians 5:19-21 and 6:7-9. There is no way we can get “justification by faith alone” that excludes works as necessary for justification in any and every sense if we read these texts carefully. St. Paul makes clear that if Christians allow themselves to be dominated by their “flesh,” or lower nature, they will not make it to heaven."

          In Galatians 5:19-21, the Apostle Paul contrasts works of the flesh with works of the Spirit. In Galatians 6:7-9, he states that the wicked will face eternal judgement. These passages, however, are not related to the instance of justification. They are different contexts. Galatians 2:16, 3:11, and 3:22 are clear that justification is not obtained by works.

          In Romans 3:27, Paul raises a rhetorical question: "By what kind of law? Of works?" If there was some new law which we could obey to get saved from eternal condemnation, then this would have been the ideal place for him to mention it. But that does not happen. What Paul is arguing against is the law of works. He is excluding works in general.

          The Roman Catholic Church shares a glaring parallel with the Judaizers, who claimed that believers needed to revert to observing the Law in addition to faith in Christ for salvation. The Roman Catholic Church denies the sufficiency of faith as the instrument of justification by adding sacraments. Both groups mix Law with grace. Such was categorically condemned by the Apostle Paul as a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-12).

Friday, April 10, 2020

Mosaic Authorship Of The Pentateuch

Pentateuch, the. The Greek name given to the five books commonly called the Five Books of Moses. The present Jews usually call the whole by the name of Torak, i.e. "the LAW," or Torath Moshek, " the Law of Moses." The rabbinical title is "the five-fifths of the Law." The division of the whole work into five parts has by some writers been supposed to be original. Others, with more probability, think that the division was made by the Greek translators; for the titles of the several books are not of Hebrew but of Greek origin. The Hebrew names are merely taken from the first words of each book, and in the first instance only designated particular sections, and not whole books. The MSS. of the Pentateuch form a single roll or volume, and are divided, not into books, but into the larger and smaller sections called Parshiyath and Sedarim. For the several names and contents of the Five Books, we refer to the articles on each book, where questions affecting their integrity and genuineness are also discussed. The unity of the work in its existing form is now generally recognized. It is not a mere collection of loose fragments carelessly put together at different times, but bears evident traces of design and purpose in its composition. The question has been raised, whether the Book of Joshua does not, properly speaking, constitute an integral portion of this work. All that seems probable is, that the Book of Joshua received a final revision at the hands of Ezra, or some earlier prophet, at the same time with the books of the Law. At different times, suspicions have been entertained that the Pentateuch as we now have it is not the Pentateuch of the earliest age, and that the work must have undergone various modifications and additions before it assumed its present shape. So early as the second century, we find the author of the Clementine Homilies calling in question the authenticity of the Mosaic writings. Jerome, there can be little doubt, had seen the difficulty of supposing the Pentateuch to be altogether, in its present forms, the work of Moses. Aben Ezra (1167), in his Com. on Deut. i. 1, threw out some doubts as to the Mosaic authorship of certain passages, such as Gen. xii. 6, Deut. iii. 10, 11, xxxi. 9. For centuries, however, the Pentateuch was generally received in the Church without question as written by Moses. The Age of criticism had not yet come. The first signs of its approach were seen in the 17th century. Spinoza (Tract. Theol.-Palit. c. 8, 9, published in 1679) set himself boldly to controvert the received authorship of the Pentateuch. But it was not till the middle of the last century that the question as to the authorship of the Pentateuch was handled with anything like a discerning criticism. In the year 1753 there appeared at Brussels a work entitled "Conjectures sur les Mémoires originaux, dont il paroit que Moyse s'est servi pour composer le Livre de Genèse." It was written in his in his 69th year by Astruc, Doctor and Professor of Medicine in the Royal College at Paris, and Court Physician to Louis XIV. 

His critical eye had observed that throughout the Book of Genesis, and as far as the 6th chapter of Exodus, traces were to be found of two original documents, each characterized by a distinct use of the names of God; the one by the name Elohim, and the other by the name Jehovah. Besides these two principal documents, he supposed Moses to have made use of ten others in the composition of the earlier part of his work. But this documentary hypothesis," as it is called, was too conservative and too rational for some critics. Vater And A. T. Hartmann maintained that the Pentateuch consisted merely of a number of fragments loosely strung together without order or design. This has been called the "fragmentary hypothesis." Both of these have now been superseded by the supplementary hypothesis, which has been adopted with various modifications by De Wette, Bleek, Stahelin, Tuch, Lengerke, Hupfeld, Knobel, Bunsen, Kurta, Delitzsch, Schultz, Vaihinger, and others. They all alike recognize two documents in the Pentateuch. "They suppose the narrative of the Elohist, the more ancient writer, to have been the foundation of the work, and that the Jehovist, or later writer making use of this document, added to and commented upon it, sometimes transcribing portions of it intact, and sometimes incorporating the substance of it into his own work But though thus arriving in the main, they differ widely in the application of the theory. Thus, for instance, De Wette distinguishes between the Elohist and the Jehovist to the first four books, and attributes Deuteronomy to a differ ent writer altogether. S helin, on the other hand, declares for the identity of the Deuteronomist and the Jehovist and supposes the last to have written in the reign of Saul, and the Elohist in the time of the Judges. Hopfeld finds, in general at least, traces of three authors, an earlier and later Elohist, as well as the Jehovist. Delitesch agrees with the authors above mentioned in recognizing two distinct documents as the basis of the Pentateuch, especially in its earlier portions, but he entirely severs himself from them in maintaining that Deuteronomy is the work of Moses. Ewald distinguishes seven different authors in the great book of Origines or l'rimitive History (comprising the Pentateuch and Joshua). 

On the other side, however, stands an array of names scarcely less distinguished for learning, who maintain not only that there is unity of design in the Pentateuch which is granted by many of those before mentioned but who contend that this unity of design can only be explained on the supposition of . single author, and that this author could have been none other than Moses. This is the ground taken by Hengstenberg, Havernick, Drechsler, Ranke, Welte, and Keil. 

II. We ask in the next place, What is the testimony of the Pentateuch itself with regard to is authorship? 1. We find on reference to Ex. xxiv. 3, 4, that "Moses came and told the people all the words of Jehovah and all the judgments, and that he subsequently wrote down all the words of Jehovah. These were written on a roll called the book of the covenant, the ten commandments. Leaving Deuteronomy aside for the present, there are only two other passages in which mention is made of the writing of any part of the Law and those are Ex. xvii. 14, where Moss is commanded to write the defeat of Amalek in book (or rather in the book, one already in use for the purpose and Num. xxxiii. 1, where we are informed that Moss wrote the journeyings of the children of Israel in the desert, and the various stations at which they cramped. It obviously does not follow from the statements that Moses wrote all the rest of the first four books which bear his name. Nor on the other hand does this specific testimony with regard to certain portions justify us in coming to an opposite conclusion. So far, nothing can be determined positively one way or the other. 

But it may be said that we have an express testimony to the Mosaic authorship of the Law in Deut. xxxi. 9-12, where we are told that " Moses wrote this Law," and delivered it to the custody of the priests, with a command that it should be read before all the people at the end of every seven years, on the Feast of Tabernacles. In ver. 24 it is further said, that when he "had made an end of writing the words of this Law in a book till they were finished," he delivered it to the Levites to be placed in the side of the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, that it might be preserved as a witness against the people. Such a statement is no doubt decisive; but the question is, how far does it extend? Do the words  'this Law ' comprise all the Mosaic legislation as contained in the last four books of the Pentateuch, or must they be confined only to Deuteronomy 1? The last is apparently the only tenable view. So far, the direct evidence from the Pentateuch itself is not sufficient to establish the Mosaic authorship of every portion of Five Books. Certain parts of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and the whole of Deuteronomy to the end of chap, xxx., are all that are expressly said to have been written by Moses. Two questions are yet to be answered. Is there evidence that parts of the work were not written by Moses? Is there evidence that parts of the work are later than his time? 

2. The next question we ask is this: Is there any evidence to show that he did not write portions of the work which goes by his name? We have already referred to the last chapter of Deuteronomy, which gives an account of his death. Is it probable that Moses wrote the words in Ex. xi. 3, or those in Num. xii. 3? On the other hand, are not such words of praise just what we might expect from the friend and disciple who pronounced his eulogium after his death? (Deut. xxxiv. 10.) 3. But there is other evidence, to a critical eye not a whit less convincing, which points in the same direction. If, without any theory casting its shadow upon us, and without any fear of consequences before our eyes, we read thoughtfully only the Book of Genesis, we can hardly escape the conviction that it partakes of the nature of a compilation. It has indeed a unity of plan, a coherence of parts, a shapeliness and an order, which satisfy us that as it stands it is the creation of a single mind. But it bears also manifest traces of having been based upon an earlier work  and that earlier work itself seems to have had cm- bedded in it fragments of still more ancient documents. Before proceeding to prove this, it may not be unnecessary to state, in order to avoid misconstruction, that such a theory docs not in the least militate against the divine authority of the book. The history contained in Genesis could not have been narrated by Moses from personal knowledge; but whether he was taught it by immediate divine suggestion, or was directed by the Holy Spirit to the use of earlier documents, is immaterial in reference to the inspiration of the work. The question may therefore be safely discussed on critical grounds alone. 

The language of chapter i. I-ii. 3 is totally unlike that of the section which follows, ii. 4- iii. 23. This last is not only distinguished by a peculiar use of the Divine Names — for here and nowhere else in the whole Pentateuch, except Ex. ix. 30, have we the combination of the two, Jehovah Elohim — but also by a mode of expression peculiar to itself. It is also remarkable for preserving an account of the Creation distinct from that contained in the first chapter. It may be said, indeed, that this account does not contradict the former, and knight therefore have proceeded from the same pen. But, fully admitting that there is no contradiction, the representation is so different, that it is far more natural to conclude that it was derived from some other, though not antagonistic source. To take another instance. Chapter xiv. is, beyond all doubt, an ancient monument, — papyrus-roll it may have been, or inscription on stone, — which has been copied and transplanted in its original form into our present Book of Genesis. Archaic it is in its whole character; distinct too, again, from the rest of the book in its use of the name of God. We believe, then, that at least these two portions of Genesis — chap. ii. 4-iii. 24, and chap, xiv. — are original documents, preserved, it may have been, like the genealogies, which are also a very prominent feature of the book, in the tents of the patriarchs, and made use of either by the Elohist or the Jehovist for his history. We come now to a more ample examination of the question as to the distinctive use of the Divine Names. Is it the fact, as Astruc was the first to surmise, that this early portion of the Pentateuch, extending from Gen. l. to Ex. vi., does contain two original documents characterized by their separate use of the Divine Names and by other peculiarities of style? Of this there can be no reasonable doubt. We do find, not only scattered verses, but whole sections, thus characterized. Through out this portion of the Pentateuch, the name Jehovah prevails in some sections, and Elohim in others. There are a few sections where both are employed indifferently ; and there are, finally, sections of some length in which neither the one nor the other occurs. And we find moreover that in connection with this use of the Divine Names there is also a distinctive and characteristic phraseology. The style and idiom of the Jehovah sections is not the same as the style and idiom of the Elohim sections. After Ex. vi. 2-vii. 7, the name Elohim almost ceases to be characteristic of whole sections; the only exceptions to this rule being Ex. xiii. 17-19 and chap, xviii. Such a phenomenon as this cannot be without significance. If, as Hengstenberg and those who agree with him would persuade us, the use of the Divine Names is to be accounted for throughout by a reference to their etymology — if the author uses the one when his design is to speak of God as the Creator and the Judge, and the other when his object is to set forth God as the Redeemer — then it still cannot but appear remarkable that only up to a particular point do these names stamp separate sections of the narrative, where as afterwards all such distinctive criterion fails. Still this phenomenon of the distinct use of the Divine Names would scarcely of itself prove the point, that there are two documents which form the groundwork of the existing Pentateuch. But there is other evidence pointing the same way. We find, for instance, the same story told by the two writers, and their two accounts manifestly interwoven; and we find also certain favorite words and phrases which distinguish the one writer from the other. (1.) In proof of the first, it is sufficient to read the history of Noah. In order to make this more clear, we will separate the two documents, and arrange them in parallel columns : —

Gen. vi. 5. And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented Jehovah &c.
Gen. vi. 12. And Elohim saw the earth, and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
 7. And Jehovah said, I will blot out man whom I have created from on the face of the ground.
13. And Elohim said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.
vii. 1. And Jehovah said to Noah ... Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. vi. 9. Noah a righteous man was perfect in his generation. With Elohim did Noah walk.
vii. 2. Of all cattle which is clean thou shalt take to thee by sevens, male and his female; and of all cattle which is not clean, two, male and his female. vi. 19. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of all shalt thou bring into the ark to preserve alive with thee: male and female shall they be.
3. Also of fowl of the air by sevens, male and female, to preserve seed alive on the face of all the earth. 20. Of fowl after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every thing that creepeth on the ground after his kind, two of all shall come unto thee that thou mayest preserve (them) alive.
vii. 4. For in yet seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out all the substance which I have made from or the face of the ground. vi. 17. And I, behold I do bring the flood, waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven: all that is in the earth shall perish.
vii. 5. And Noah did according to all that Jehovah commanded him. vi. 22. And Noah did according to all that Elohim commanded him; so did he.

Without carrying this parallelism farther at length, we will merely indicate by references the traces of the two documents in the rest of the narrative of the Flood : — vii. 1,6, on the Jehovah side, answer to vi. 18, vii. 11, on the Elohim side; vii. 7, 8, 9, 17, 23, to vii. 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 22; viii. 21, 22, to ix. 8, 9, 10, 1 1. (2.) But again we find that these duplicate narratives are characterized by peculiar modes of expression; and that, generally, the Elolistic and Jehovistic sections have their own distinct and individual coloring. There is therefore, it seems, good ground for concluding that, besides some smaller independent documents, traces may be discovered of two original historical works, which form the basis of the present Book of Genesis and of the earlier chapters of Exodus. Of these there can be no doubt that the Elohistic is the earlier. The passage in Ex. vi. establishes this, as well as the matter and style of the document itself. Whether Moses himself was the author of either of these works is a different question. Both are probably in the main as old as his time; the Elohistic certainly is, and perhaps older. 4. But we may now advance a step farther. There are certain references of time and place which clearly prove that the work, in its present form, is later than the time of Moses. When, for instance, it is said (Gen. xii. 6, comp. xiii. 7), "And the Canaanitc was then in the land," toe obvious meaning of such a remark seems to be that the state of things was different in the time of the writer; and the conclusion is, that the words must have been written after the occupation of the land by the Israelites. The principal notices of time and place which have been alleged as bespeaking for the Pentateuch a later date are the following : — (a.) References of time. Ex. vi. 26, 27, need not be regarded as a later addition, for it obviously sums up the genealogical register given just before, and refers back to ver. 13. But it is more naturally reconcilable with some other authorship than that of Moses. Again, Ex. xvi. 33-36, though it must have been introduced after the rest of the look was written, may have been added by Moses himself, supposing him to have composed the rest of the book. Moses there directs him to have composed the rest of the book. Moses there directs Aaron to lay up the manna before Jehovah, and then we read : "As Jehovah commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony " (i.e. the Ark) "to be kept. And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited ; they did eat manna until they come unto the borders of the land of Canaan." Then follows the remark, "Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah." It is clear then that this passage was written not only after the Ark was made, but after the Israelites had entered the Promised Land. The difficulty is greater with a passage in the Book of Genesis. The genealogical table of Esau's family (chap, xxxvi.) can scarcely be regarded as a later interpolation. It docs not interrupt the order and connection of the book; on the contrary, it is a most es sential part of its structure; it is one of the ten "generations" or genealogical registers which form, so to speak, the backbone of the whole. Here we find the remark (ver. 31), "And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." No unprejudiced person can read the words, " before there reigned any king over the children of Israel," with out feeling that, when they were written, kings had already begun to reign over Israel. Either then we must admit that the Book of Genesis did not exist as a whole till the times of David and Solomon, or we must regard this particular verse as the interpolation of a later editor. 

Similar remarks may perhaps apply to Lev. xviii. 28. This undoubtedly assumes the occupation of the Land of Canaan by the Israelites. The great difficulty connected with this pas sage, however, is that it is not a supplementary remark of the writer's, but that the words arc the words of God directing Moses what he is to say to the children of Israel (ver. 1 ). (4.) In several instances, older names of places give place to those which came later into use in Canaan. In Gen. xiv. 14 and in Deut. xxxiv. I, occurs the name of the well-known city of Dan. In Genesis, we can only fairly account for its appearance by supposing that the old name Laish originally stood in the MS., and that Dan was substituted for it on some later revision. In Josh. xiv. 15 (comp. xv. 13, 54) and Judg: i. 10, we are told that the original name of Hebron before the conquest of Canaan was Kirjath-Arba. In Gen. xxiii. 2, the older name occurs, and the explanation is added evidently by some one who wrote later than the occupation of Canaan), " the same is Hebron." Another instance of a similar kind is the occurrence of Hormah in Num. xiv. 45, xxi. 1-3, compared with Judg. i. 17. So far, then, judging the work simply by what we find in it, there is abundant evidence to show that, though the main bulk of it is Mosaic, certain detached portions of it are of later growth. We are not obliged, because of the late date of these portions, to bring down the rest of the book to later times. 

III. We are now to consider the evidence lying outside of the Pentateuch itself, which bears upon its authorship and the probable date of its composition. This evidence is of three kinds : first, direct mention of the work as already existing in the later books of the Bible; secondly, the existence of a book substantially the same as the present Pentateuch amongst the Samaritans ; and, lastly, allusions less direct, such as historical references, quotations, and the like, which presuppose its existence. 1. We have direct evidence for the authorship of the Law in Josh i. 7, 8, and viii. 31, 34, xxiii. 6, xxiv. 26, in all which places Moses is said to have written it. The Book of Judges does not speak of the Book of the Law. No direct mention of it occurs in the Books of Samuel. The first mention of the Law of Moses after the establishment of the monarchy is in David's charge to his son Solomon, on his deathbed (1 K. ii. 3). The allusion seems to be to parts of Deuteronomy, and therefore favors the Mosaic authorship of that book (comp. viii. 9, 53). In 2 K. xi. 12, "the testimony is put into the hands of Joash at his coronation. This must have been a book containing either the whole of the Mosaic law, or at least the Book of Deuteronomy. Ir. the Books of Chronicles, far more frequent mention is made of " the Law of Jehovah," or " the book of the Law of Moses " — a fact which may be accounted for partly by the priestly character of those books (comp. 1 Chr. xvi. 40, xxii. 12, 13; 2 Chr. xii. 1, xiv. 4, xv. 3, xvii. 9, xxv. 4, xxxi. 3, 4, 21, xxxiii. 8, xxxiv. 14, xxxv. 26). In Ezra and Nehemiah, we have mention several times made of the Law of Moses, and here there can be no doubt that our present Pentateuch is meant; for we have no reason to suppose that any later revision of it took place. At this time, then, the existing Pentateuch was regarded as the work of Moses. The Books of Chronicles, though undoubtedly based upon ancient records, are probably in their present form as late as the time of Ezra. Hence it might be supposed that if the reference is to the present Pentateuch in Ezra, the present Pentateuch must also be referred to in Chronicles. But this does not follow. The Book of Ezra speaks of the Law as it existed in the time of the writer; the Books of Chronicles speak of it as it existed long before. Hence the author of the latter (who may have been Ezra), in making mention of the Law of Moses, refers of course to that recension of it which existed at the particular periods over which his history travels. In Dan. ix. 11, 13, the Law of Moses is mentioned; and here again a book differing in nothing from our f resent Pentateuch is probably meant. In the Prophets and in the Psalms, though there are many allusions to the Law, evidently as a written document, there are none as to its authorship. 

2. Conclusive proof of the early composition of the Pentateuch, it has been argued, exists in the fact that the Samaritans had their own copies of it, not differing very materially from those possessed by the Jews, except in a few passages which had probably been purposely tampered with and altered: such for instance as Ex. xii. 40; Deut. xxvii. 4. If this point could be satisfactorily established, we should have a limit of time in one direction for the composition of the Pentateuch. It could not have been later than the times of the earliest kings. It must have been earlier than the reign of Solomon, and indeed than that of Saul. History leaves us altogether in doubt as to the time at which the Pentateuch was received by the Samaritans. Copies of it might have been left in the northern kingdom after Shalmaneser's invasion, though this is hardly probable; or they might have been introduced thither daring the religious reforms of Hezekiah or Josiah. But the actual condition of the Samaritan Pentateuch is against any such supposition. It agrees so remarkably with the existing Hebrew Pentateuch, and that too in those passages which are manifestly interpolations and corrections as late as the time of Ezra, that we must look for some other period to which to refer the adoption of the Books of Moses by the Samaritans. This we find after the Babylonish exile, at the time of the institution of the rival worship on Gerizim. Till the return from Babylon, there is no evidence that the Samaritans regarded the Jews with any extraordinary dislike or hostility. But the manifest distrust and suspicion with which Nehemiah met their advances when he was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem provoked their wrath. From this time forward, they were declared and open enemies. A full discussion of this question would be out of place here. We incline to the view of Prideaux, that the Samaritan Pentateuch was in fact a transcript of Ezra's revised copy. The saint view is virtually adopted by Gesenius. 

3. We are now to consider evidence of a more indirect kind, which bears not so much on the Mosaic authorship as on the early existence of the work as a whole. This last circumstance, however, if satisfactorily made out, is, indirectly at least, an argument that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Hengstenberg has tried to show that all the later books, by their allusions and quotations, presuppose the existence of the Books of the Law. He traces, moreover, the influence of the Law upon the whole life, civil and religious, of the nation after their settlement in the land of Canaan. Now, beyond all doubt, there are numerous most striking references, both in the Prophets and in the Books of Kings, to passages which are found in our present Pentateuch. It is established in the most convincing manner that the legal portions of the Pentateuch already existed in writing before the separation of the two kingdoms. Even as regards the historical portions, there are often in the later books almost verbal coincidences of expression, which render it more than probable that these also existed in writing. But now if, as appears from the examination of all the extant Jewish literature, the Pentateuch existed as a canonical book; if, moreover, it was a book so well known that its words had become household words among the people; and if the prophets could appeal to it as a recognized and well-known document, — how comes it to pass that in the reign of Josiah, one of the latest kings, its existence as a canonical book seems to have been almost forgotten? Yet such was evidently the fact. How are we to explain this surprise and alarm in the mind of Josiah, betraying as it does such utter ignorance of the Book of the Law, and of the severity of its threatening, except on the supposition that, as a written document, it had well-nigh perished? This must have been the case, and it is not so extraordinary a fact perhaps as it appears at first sight. It is quite true that, in the reign of Ahaz, the prophet Isaiah directed the people to turn "to the Law and to the Testimony;" and Hezekiah, who succeeded Ahaz, had no doubt reigned in the spirit of the prophet's advice. But the next monarch was guilty of outrageous wickedness, and filled Jerusalem with idols. How great a desolation might one wicked prince effect, especially during a lengthened reign! To this we must add, that at no time, in all probability, were there many copies of the Law existing in writing. It was probably then the custom, as it still is in the East, to trust largely to the memory for its transmission. The ritual would easily be perpetuated by the mere force of observance, though much of it doubtless became perverted, and some part of it perhaps obsolete, through the neglect of the priests. The command of Moses, which laid upon the king the obligation of making a copy of the Law for himself, had of course long been disregarded. Here and there perhaps only some prophet or righteous man possessed a copy of the sacred book. The bulk of the nation were without it. The oral transmission of the Law and the living witness of the prophets had superseded the written document, till at last it had become so scarce as to be almost unknown. 

On carefully weighing all the evidence hither to adduced, we can hardly question, without a literary skepticism which would be most unreasonable, that the Pentateuch is to a very considerable extent as early as the time of Moses, though it may have undergone many later revisions and corrections, the last of these being certainly as late as the time of Ezra. But as regards any direct and unimpeachable testimony to the composition of the whole work by Moses, we have it not. Only one book out of the five — that of Deuteronomy — claims in express terms to be from his hand. And yet, strange to say, this is the very book in which modern criticism refuses most peremptorily to admit the claim. It is of importance therefore to consider this question separately. All allow that the Book of the Covenant id Exodus, perhaps a great part of Leviticus and some part of Numbers, were written by Israel's greatest leader and prophet. But Deuteronomy, it is alleged, is in style and purpose so utterly unlike the genuine writings of Moses, that it is quite impossible to believe that he is the author. But how then set aside the express testimony of the book itself? How explain the fact that Moses is there said to have written all the words of this law, to have consigned it to the custody of the priests, and to have charged the Levites sedulously to preserve it by the side of the ark? Only by the bold assertion that the fiction was invented by a later writer, who chose to personate the great Lawgiver in order to give the more color of consistency to His work! But, besides the fact that Deuteronomy claims to have been written by Moses there is other evidence which establishes the great antiquity of the book. 

1. It is remarkable for its allusions to Egypt, which ore just what would be expected sup posing Moses to have been the author. In xi. 10, there is an allusion to the Egyptian mode of irrigation; in xx. 5, to Egyptian regulations in time of war; in xxv. 2, to the Egyptian bastinado. Again, among the curses threatened are the sicknesses of Egypt, xxviii. 60 (comp. vii. 15). According to xxviii. 68, Egypt is the type of all the oppressors of Israel. Lastly, references to the sojourning in Egypt are numerous (vi. 21-23 ; see also vii. 8, 18, xi. 3). The phraseology of the book, and the archaisms found in it, stamp it as of the same age with the rest of the Pentateuch. 2. A fondness for the use of figures is another peculiarity of Deuteronomy. See i. 31, 44, viii. 5, xxviii. 13, 29, 44, 49, xxxix. 17, 18. The results are most surprising when we compare Deuteronomy with the Book of the Covenant (Ex. xix.-xxiv.) on the one hand, and with Ps. xc. (which is said to be Mosaic) on the other. In addition to all these peculiarities which are arguments for the Mosaic authorship of the book, we have here, too, the evidence strong and clear, of post-Mosaic times and writings. The attempt by a wrong interpretation of 2 K. xxii. and 2 Chr. xxxiv. to bring down Deuteronomy as low as the time of Manasseh fails utterly. A century earlier, the Jewish prophets borrow their words and their thoughts from Deuteronomy. Since, then, not only Jeremiah and Ezekiel, but Amos and Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, speak in the words of Deuteronomy, as well as in words borrowed from other portions of the Pentateuch, we see at once how untenable is the theory of those who, like Ewald, maintain that Deuteronomy was composed during the reign of Manasseh, or, as Vaihinger does, during that of Hezekiah. But, in truth, the book speaks for itself. No imitator could have written in such a strain. We scarcely need the express testimony of the work to its own authorship. But, having it, we find all the internal evidence conspiring to show that it came from Moses. We therefore declare unhesitatingly for the Mosaic authorship of Deuteronomy. Briefly, then, to sum up the results of our inquiry. 1. The Book of Genesis rests chiefly on documents much earlier than the time of Moses, though it was probably brought to very nearly its present shape either by Moses himself, or by one of the elders who acted under him. 2. The Books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, are to a great extent Mosaic. Besides those portions which are expressly declared to have been written by him, other portions, and especially the legal sections, were, if not actually written, in all probability dictated by him. 3. Deuteronomy, excepting the concluding part, is entirely the work of Moses, as it professes to be. 4. It is not probable that this was written before the three preceding books, because the legislation in Exodus and Leviticus as being the more formal is manifestly the earlier, whilst Deuteronomy is the spiritual interpretation and application of the Law. But the letter is always before the spirit; the thing before its interpretation. 5. The first composition of the Pentateuch as a whole could not have taken place till after the Israelites entered Canaan. It is probable that Joshua, and the elders who were associated with him, would provide for its formal arrangement, custody, and transmission. 6. The whole work did not finally assume its present shape till its revision was undertaken by Ezra after the return from the Babylonish Captivity.

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 715-721

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Prophetical Character Of The Psalms

"The moral struggle between godliness and ungodliness, so vividly depicted in the Psalms, culminates in Holy Scripture, in the life of the Incarnate Son of God upon earth. It only remains to show that the Psalms themselves definitely anticipated this culmination. Now there are in the Psalter at least three psalms of which the interest evidently centers in a person distinct from the speaker, and which, since they cannot without violence to the language be interpreted of any but the Messiah, may be termed directly and exclusively Messianic. We refer to Ps. ii., xlv., cx.; to which may perhaps be added, Ps. lxxii. It would be strange if these few psalms stood, in their prophetical significance absolutely alone among the rest. And hence the impossibility of viewing the psalms generally, notwithstanding the drapery in which they are outwardly clothed, as simply the past devotions of the historical David or the historical Israel. The national hymns of Israel are indeed also prospective; but in general they anticipate rather the struggles and the triumphs of the Christian Church than those of Christ himself."

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 776

Monday, April 6, 2020

Moral Characteristics Of The Psalms

"Foremost among these meets us, undoubtedly, the universal recourse to communion with God. Connected with this is the faith by which the Psalmist everywhere lives in God rather than in himself. It is of the essence of such faith that his view of the perfections of God should be true and vivid. The Psalter describes God as He is: it glows with testimonies to His power and providence, His love and faithfulness, His holiness and righteousness. The Psalms not only set forth the perfections of God, they proclaim also the duty of worshiping Him by the acknowledgment and adoration of His perfections. They encourage all outward rites and means of worship. Among these they recognize the ordinance of sacrifice as an expression of the worshiper's consecration of himself to God's service. But not the less do they repudiate the outward rite when separated from that which it was designed to express. Similar depth is observable in the view taken, by the psalmists, of human sin. In regard to the law, the psalmist, while warmly acknowledging its excellence, feels yet that it cannot so effectually guide his own unassisted exertions as to preserve him from error (Ps. xix.). The Psalms bear repeated testimony to the duty of instructing others in the ways of holiness (Ps. xxxii., xxxiv., li.). This brings us to notice, lastly, the faith of the psalmists in righteous recompense to all men according to their deeds (Ps. xxxvii., &c.)."

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 776

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Notes On The Authorship Of Hebrews

Hebrews, Epistle to the.-I Canonical authority. Was it received and transmitted as canonical by the immediate successors of the apostles? The most important witness among these, Clement (A.D. 70 or 95), refers to this Epistle in the same way as, and more frequently than, to any other canonical book. Little stress can be laid upon the few possible allusions to it in Barnabas, Hermas, Polycarp, and Ignatius. It is received as canonical by Justin Martyr, and by the compilers of the Peshito version of the New Testament. Basilides and Marcion are recorded as distinctly rejecting the Epistle. But at the close of that period, in the North African church, where first the Gospel found utterance in the Latin tongue, orthodox Christianity first doubted the canonical authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews. To the old Latin version of the Scriptures, which was completed probably about A.D. 173, this Epistle seems to have been added as a composition of Barnabas, and as destitute of canonical authority. During the next two centuries, the extant fathers of the Roman and North African churches regard the Epistle as a book of no canonical authority; but in the fourth century its authority began to revive. At the end of the fourth century, Jerome, the most learned and critical of the Latin fathers, reviewed the conflicting opinions as to the authority of this Epistle. He considered that the prevailing, though not universal view of the Latin churches was of less weight than the view, not only of ancient writers, but also of all the Greek and all the Eastern churches, where the Epistle was received as canonical, and read daily and he pronounced a decided opinion in favor of its authority. The great contemporary light of North Africa, St. Augustine," held a similar opinion. The 3rd Council of Carthage, A.D. 397, and a Decretal of Pope Innocent, A.D. 416, gave a final confirmation to their decision. But such doubts were confined to the Latin churches from the middle of the second to the close of the fourth century. All the rest of orthodox Christendom from the beginning was agreed upon the canonical authority of this Epistle. Cardinal Cajetan, the opponent of Luther, was the first to disturb the tradition of a thousand years, and to deny its authority. Erasmus, Calvin, and Beza questioned only its Authorship. Luther, when he printed his version of the Bible, separated this book from St. Paul's Epistles, and placed it with the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, next before the Revelation; indicating by this change of order his opinion that the four relegated books are of less importance and less authority than the rest of the New Testament.-II. Who was the author of the Epistle? - The superscription, the ordinary source of information, is wanting; but there is no reason to doubt that at first, everywhere, except in North Africa, St. Paul was regarded as the author. Clement ascribed to St. Luke the translation of the Epistle into Greek from a Hebrew original of St. Paul. Origen believed that the thoughts were St. Paul's, the language and composition of St. Lake's or Clement's of Rome. Tertullian names Barnabas as the reputed author according to the North African tradition. The view of the Alexandrian fathers, a middle point between the Eastern and Western traditions, won its way in the Church. Luther's conjecture that Apollos was the author has been widely adopted; Luke by Grotius; Silas by others. Neander attributes it to some apostolic man of the Pauline school, whose training and method of stating doctrinal truth differed from St. Paul's. The distinguished name of Ewald has been given recently to the hypothesis that it was written by some Jewish teacher residing at Jerusalem to a church in some important Italian town, which is supposed to have sent deputation to Palestine. If it be asked to what extent, and by whom, was St. Paul assisted in the composition of this Epistle, the reply must be in the words of Origen, "Who wrote [i.e. as in Rom. xvi. 22, wrote from the author's dictation] this Epistle, only God knows." The similarity in phraseology which exists between the acknowledged writings of St. Luke and this Epistle, his constant companionship with St. Paul, and his habit of listening to and recording the Apostle's arguments, form a strong presumption in his favor. III. To whom was the Epistle sent? - Some critics have maintained that this Epistle was addressed directly to Jewish believers everywhere others have restricted it to those who dwelt in Asia and Greece. This question was agitated as early as the time of Chrysostom, who replies, to the Jews in Jerusalem and Palestine. The argument of the Epistle is such as could be used with most effect to # church consisting exclusively of Jews by birth, personally familiar with and attached to the Temple-service. Ebrard limits the primary circle of readers even to a section of the church at Jerusalem.-IV. Where and when was written -Eastern traditions of the fourth century, in connection with the opinion that St. Paul is the writer, name Italy and Rome, or Athens, as the place from whence the Epistle was written. Either place would agree with, perhaps was suggested by, the mention of Timothy in the last chapter. The Epistle was evidently written before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The whole argument, and specially the passages viii. 4 and sq., ix. 6 and sq., and xiii. 10 and sq., imply that the Temple was standing, and that its usual course of Divine service was carried on without interruption. The date which best agrees with the traditionary account of the authorship and destination of the Epistle is A.D. 63, about the end of St. Paul's imprisonment at Rome, or year after Albinus succeeded Festus as Procurator. - V. In what language was it written? Like St. Matthew's Gospel, the Epistle to the Hebrews has afforded ground for much unimportant controversy respecting the language in which it was originally written. The earliest statement is that of Clement of Alexandria, to the effect that it was written by St. Paul in Hebrew, and translated by St. Luke into Greek. But nothing is said to lead us to regard it as a tradition, rather than a conjecture suggested by the style of the Epistle. Bleek argues, in support of a Greek original, on the grounds of (1.) the purity and casy flow of the Greek; (2.) the use of Greek words which could not be adequately expressed in Hebrew without long peraphrase ; (3.) the use of paronomasia; and (4.) the use of the Septuagint in quotations and references. - VI. Condition of the Hebrews, and scope of the Epistle. --The numerous Christian churches scattered throughout Judea (Acts ix. 31; Gal. i. 22) were continually exposed to persecution from the Jews (1 Thess. ii. 14); but in Jerusalem there was one additional weapon in the hands of the predominant oppressors of the Christians. The magnificent national Temple might be shut against the Hebrew Christian; and even if this affliction were not often laid upon him, yet there was a secret burden which he bore within him, the knowledge that the end of all the beauty and awfulness of Zion was rapidly approaching. What could take the place of the Temple, and that which was behind the veil, and the Levitical sacrifices, and the Holy City, when they should cease to exist? What compensation could Christianity offer him for the loss which was pressing the Hebrew Christian more and more? The writer of this Epistle meets the Hebrew Christians on their own ground. His answer is-"Your new faith gives you Christ, and, in Christ, all you seek, all your fathers sought. In Christ, the Son of God, you have an all-sufficient Mediator, nearer than angels to the Father, eminent above Moses as a benefactor, more sympathizing and more prevailing than the high-priest as an intercessor: His sabbath awaits you in heaven; to His covenant the old was intended to be subservient; His atonement is the eternal reality of which sacrifices are but the passing shadow; His city heavenly, not made with hands. Having Him, believe in Him with all your heart, with a faith in the unseen future, strong as that of the saints of old, patient under present, and prepared for coming woe, full of energy, and hope, and holiness, and love." Such was the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 317-318