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pretations of history found in the Bible which attributed the wholesale massacre of the Canaanite to Jehovah's direct command, expressions contained in it of the natural feeling of the persecuted exiles crying out to Jehovah for vengeance on cruel Babylon, it was deemed necessary to make congruous with the command of Christ, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies," since both were assumed to have emanated equally directly from the same divine Author.3
The modern student of the Bible frankly recognizes these self-contradictions in the Bible, and they do not trouble him, because they do not militate
1 Josh. viii. 2; x. 40.
2 Ps. cxxxvii. 8, 9. Stanley in his History of the Jewish Church treats of the apparent contradiction between certain teachings in the Old Testament and others in the New Testament thus : “That this inferiority of the Old Dispensation was an acknowledged element in the 'gradualness and partialness’ of Revelation, inevitably flows from the definition of Revelation as given by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 'God who in sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past to our fathers?” (p. 280), and refers to Chrysostom's Homily on 1 Cor. ch. xiii., where he says, quoting Ps. cxxxix. 21, 22: “Now because he has brought us to a more entire self-command ... he bids us rather admit and soothe them. ... We must not hate but pity.” This is an application of the evolutionary philosophy long before evolution was recognized as a philosophy.
3 Much ingenuity has been displayed in the endeavor to reconcile the apparent contradictions in the Bible between different authors, or between Biblical authors and scientific conclusions, or the moral consensus of mankind. Some treatises of considerable ability have been devoted wholly to this task. See, for example, J. W. Haley's An Examination of the Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (1873), and Robert Tuck's A Handbook if Biblical Difficulties, 2 vols. (1886).
against his conception of the inspiration of the writers or the character and authority of their writings. The differences between the old view and the new view are radical and even revolutionary, and the advocates of the new method seem to me mistaken when, to guard against the fears of the timid, they endeavor to minimize the differences between the new and the old. The question between the two is not merely whether there are some errors in the science or history of the Bible, still less whether there were any in the original autographs, long since lost. The point of view, the methods of study, the theological assumptions which underlie that study, and the results attained, differ, and differ very widely. It is a great deal better to recognize these differences frankly than to attempt to conceal them either from others or from ourselves.
By the modern school the method of dividing the Bible into a series of texts, treating them all as of equal authority and weight, because equally words of God, and constructing a system of theology by piecing them together, is not only abandoned as antiquated; it is frankly condemned as unscientific and erroneous. A new method is proposed to take its place; this new method goes by the infelicitous title of the “ Higher Criticism.” I call it infelicitous because, while to scholars its meaning is perfectly clear, to many people it is not, for the simple reason that it is a technical term, and in it the words are used in a technical and non-popular sense. To the non-scientific reader criticism of anything
signifies judgment of it, and generally such judgment as discovers and exhibits its imperfections to such the phrase “higher criticism " suggests a superior kind of judgment of the Bible, and connotes a kind of spiritual egotism in the higher critic. To the scientific student the word “criticism" applied to the Bible means “inquiry into the origin, history, authenticity, character, etc., of the literary documents ”l of which it is composed. Lower criticism means such inquiry into the text or into particular texts, and is equivalent to textual criticism; higher criticism means inquiry into the documents as a whole, their integrity, authenticity, credibility, authorship, circumstances of their composition, and the like, and is equivalent to literary criticism.2 Applied to the study of Shakespeare, the question, Is the disputed line to be read “To the manner born” or “To the manor born"? would belong to lower criticism; the question, how largely the sonnets of Shakespeare are really autobiographical in their character, how largely they are dramatic impersonations of sentiment, would belong to higher 1 Century Dictionarg.
Higher Criticism is sometimes called philosophical study of the Bible. “It is named the Higher Criticism because it is higher in its order and in its work than the Lower or Textual Criticism. This department of criticism has lived and worked under this name for more than a century. The Higher Criticism devotes its attention to the literary features of the Bible. It has four great questions to answer: As to the integrity of the writings ; as to the authenticity of the writings; as to literary features; as to the credibility of the writings." C. A. Briggs, D. D., The Study of Holy Scripture, pp. 92 and 95.
criticism. It would be a mistake to suppose that either lower criticism or higher criticism is peculiar to the present half-century; there have always been
oth a textual and a literary study of the Bible, both a lower and a higher criticism ; but in our time new emphasis has been attached and new importance given to the literary study, or higher criticism. In these articles I shall discard technical expressions, because the book is not intended primarily for technical students; I shall, therefore, speak of the literary study, rather than of the higher criticism, of the Bible.
Employing a new method in its study of the Bible, the new school approaches this study with a different theological assumption from that of the old school. The difference is not easily defined; but it is all the more important because it is rather spiritual than philosophical, and therefore transcends exact definition. The old theology laid emphasis on what is called the transcendence of God; the new theology on his immanence. The old theology regarded God as apart from matter, and creating the world as an architect or builder by mechanical processes; as apart from nature, and directing it as an engineer his engine ; as apart from humanity, and ruling over his subjects as a king; as apart from man, and mysteriously joined to him in the incarnation of the God-man. The new theology conceives of God as dwelling in matter, shaping it as the soul shapes the body ; dwelling in nature, and ruling it as the soul rules the body; dwelling in man, and controlling him less by law and power than by influence, less as a king rules his subjects than as a father controls his loyal son ; entering into man in the incarnation, and becoming God manifest in the flesh, Christ being the God-in-man rather than the God-and-man. This theological point of view applied to the Bible changes our conception of inspiration and revelation. The new view believes in revelation, but conceives it less as a disclosing of an external God to man than as an unveiling of God in human experience; it believes in inspiration, but it conceives of inspiration less as an addition to human experience of something superhuman than as a transfusion of human experience by a Spirit who is superhuman. It consequently regards the Bible, not so much an addition to human knowledge of certain truths before unknown if not unknowable, as the record of a spiritual consciousness in certain souls, which is possible, in varying degree, to the souls of all. Taking as its definition of religion “the life of God in the soul of man," it regards the Bible as a book of religion rather than as a book about religion ; that is, as the transcription of the experiences of men who were conscious of the life of God in their times, their nation, and their own souls. This consciousness of God in themselves constituted their inspiration; and in this consciousness of God in their own souls God was