« ZurückWeiter »
CRITICAL REMARKS. — BOOKS WHICH CONTAIN NO
PROOF OF A PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF THE PENTATEUCH.— IMITATIONS OF THE PENTATEUCH IN PRECEDING WRITERS.-INQUIRY WHETHER THE NEW TESTAMENT PROVES THAT MOSES WAS THE AUTHOR OF THE PENTATEUCH.
It has been said, that the whole of Hebrew and Christian antiquity regarded the Pentateuch as the work of Moses, and that it is frequently cited as such in the other books of the Old Testament.
This is a bold assertion, in which however a few trifles have been entirely overlooked. For instance, it disregards the fact, that the passages which merely speak in general terms of ancient popular legends, traditional usages, and customary rights, or of an ideal law and instruction (torah), must be carefully distinguished from other passages, which expressly mention a written collection (of law], and which quote its very words. Again, this argument omits to draw the line where Hebrew antiquity with its historical evidence commences, and intentionally neglects to assign the precise date when verbal quotations are found to have been first made from the Pentateuch. Besides the assertors of this proposition have forgotten that their own argument loses all its force after the date of the first verbal quota
tions from the Pentateuch, and that the ordinary rules of criticism do not allow ancient writings to be blended promiscuously with more recent compositions.
Single expressions and phrases have been adduced by Jahn and Eichhorn, as obvious imitations of the Pentateuch; but these critics have in their turn forgotten that such passages generally belong to the common peculiarities of language, and that in attributing various Psalms, from which they quote these expressions, to the time of David, they have assumed a date for these Psalms which still requires to be proved".
If therefore the books and passages which contain no evidence as to the question before us be put aside, the assertion of the opponents to the later date of the Pentateuch will be reduced to the following form :
“That, after a certain date, the Pentateuch is quoted in other books, and that its laws then appear as if they had owed their origin to Moses."
Early Hebrew writers, however, and especially the poets and prophets of that nation, lived among the people themselves, and they composed their works under the influence of traditions, to which the Pentateuch has given a still greater extension. Besides, they made use of the popular traditions without the slightest reference to any written foundation for them; and it may be assumed, without fear of contradiction, that the Pentateuch was not indispensably necessary to enable such writers to allude either to the legends of their native country or to the settled popular ideas of their own time.
i See especially Hartmann, Histor. krit. Forsch. (Historical and Cri. tical Researches], p. 552, &c.
Allusions of this kind were accordingly made to the flood of Noah', to the Patriarchs, to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah), to the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt, and their sojourn in the Arabian desert“, to the
1 «The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”—Isaiah xxiv. 5.
2 « He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him : he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us.”—Hosea xii. 3, 4.
Compared with the following :
“And the children struggled together within her ; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus ? And she went to enquire of the Lord...... And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel ; and his name was called Jacob : and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”—Gen. xxv. 22, 26.
“ And Jacob was left alone : and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.”—Gen. xxxii. 24.
The evidence of Pseudo-Isaiah on the contrary (li. 2.) cannot be admitted on account of its recent date.
3 « They declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not.”—Isaiah iii. 9.
“I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.”—Amos. iv. ll.
See also Introd. to Gen. chap. xviii.
4 “ But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh.”—Judges xi. 16.
“Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts ? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed.”— 1 Sam. vi. 6.
“ Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.”—1 Sam. xv. 2.
“And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods ?”—2 Sam. vii. 23.
“And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea ; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and
MENTION OF THE NAME OF MOSES.
priesthood of Aaron', to the miracles of Moses?, and in general to the services which Moses had rendered to this nation. Here too we may remark, that the increasing frequency with which the name of Moses is mentioned in different books supplies us with a useful indication of the zealous efforts which were made by the popular legends in later times to obtain a closer view of this mythical hero. Thus in the books of Samuel the name of Moses is only mentioned twice; in the book of Judges three times; in the Psalms eight times; in the books of Kings ten times; in the Chronicles, including Ezra and Nehemiah, thirtyone times; and in the book of Joshua fifty-six times. A lyrical hymn which is put into the mouth of Moses in the 90th Psalm, refrains from all allusion to the primæval history, although such a reference would have appeared most natural in such a poem; and those who desire to
shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria ; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.”—Isaiah xi. 15, 16.
“Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel ?”- Amos v. 25.
“Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”—Psalm lxxvii. 20.
“He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar : they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.”—Psalm xcix. 7.
1 “And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house.”—Sam. ii. 27.
2 “ Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian : he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt......And the Lord of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.”Isaiah x. 24, 26.
3 See Zunz, p. 35.
. PERIOD OF ORAL TRADITION.
survey an entire period, during which oral tradition was the sole record of the national history, have only to refer to two important passages,—the one in the book of Judges' and the other in the 78th Psalm? In the first of these, the miracles of Jehovah, which he wrought in the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, are said in Judges to have been “told to them by their father g3," and the 78th Psalm speaks of the ancient sayings which the people had heard, and which they had been told. This Psalm is ascribed to Asaph, but in many of its allusions it suggests an origin much later than the time of David, and it appears, from verses 9 and 10, to have been certainly composed subsequently to the division of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel 4.
The same remarks may be made on many ancient customs and laws derived from usage, among which we may mention the abstemiousness of the Nazaritess, the custom of suffering the hair to grow during vows, the purification
1 “And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?"-Judges vi. 13.
2 “ Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” —Psalm lxxviii. 3. 3 'Sher sipru-lanu 'abothaynu.
4 “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law.”—Psalm lxxviii. 9, 10.
5 “ Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing."-Judges xiii. 4.
6 “And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of Hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a manchild, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”—1 Sam. i. 11.