General Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon William Henry Green

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General Introduction


to the Old Testament:

The Canon


William Henry Green

Digitized by Ted Hildebrandt, Gordon College, 2006

originally published by:

Charles Scribner's Sons

1898

PREFACE
ANY ONE who addresses himself to the study of the

Old Testament will desire first to know something of

its character. It comes to us as a collection of books

which have been and still are esteemed peculiarly sa-

cred. How did they come to be so regarded? Is it

due simply to a veneration for antiquity? Is this a col-

lection of the literature of ancient Israel, which later

generations prized as a relic of early ages? Is it a

body of Hebrew literature to which sanctity was at-

tributed because of its being written in the sacred

tongue? Is it a collection of the books containing

the best thoughts of the most enlightened men of the

Israelitish nation, embodying their religious faith and

their conceptions of human duty? Or is it more than

all this? Is it the record of a divine revelation, made

through duly authorized and accredited messengers

sent of God for this purpose?

The first topic which is considered in this volume

is accordingly that of the Canon of the Old Testament,

which is here treated not theologically but historically.

We meet at the outset two opposing views of the

growth of the canon: one contained in the statements

of the Old Testament itself, the other in the theories of

modern critics, based upon the conception that these

books gradually acquired a sacredness which did not

at first belong to them, and which did not enter into
vii
viii PREFACE

the purpose for which they were written. This is

tested on the one hand by the claims which the various

writers make for themselves, and on the other by the

regard shown for these books by those to whom they

were originally given. The various arguments urged

by critics in defence of their position that the canon

was not completed nor the collection made until sev-

eral centuries after the time traditionally fixed and

currently believed are considered; and reasons are

given to show that it might have been and probably

was collected by Ezra and Nehemiah or in their time.

The question then arises as to the books of which

the Old Testament properly consists. Can the books

of which it was originally composed be certainly iden-

tified? And are they the same that are now in the

Old Testament as we possess it, and neither more nor

less? This is answered by tracing in succession the

Old Testament as it was accepted by the Jews, as it

was sanctioned by our Lord and the inspired writers

of the New Testament, and as it has been received in

the Christian Church from the beginning. The Apoc-

rypha though declared to be canonical by the Council

of Trent, and accepted as such by the Roman Catholic

Church, are excluded from the canon by its history

traced in the manner just suggested as well as by the

character of their contents, which is incompatible with

the idea of their authors being divinely inspired.

PRINCETON, N. J.,

October 3, 1898.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTA-



MENT 1

Introduction, the term and the science modern; the early

Christians, Origen, Augustin, Jerome, 1; Adrian, Eucherius,

Cassiodorus; after the Reformation, Walther, Walton,

Hobbes, Spinoza, Richard Simon, Carpzov, 2; Eichhorn,

Jann, Herbst, Welte, DeWette, 3; Hengstenberg, Haver-

nick, Horne; Keil, Kurtz, Nosgen, Bleek, Stahelin, 4; Reuss,

Wellhausen, Kuenen; Strack, Konig; A. Zahn, Rupprecht,

Hoedemaker, Stosch; S. Davidson, Robertson Smith, Driv-

er; Douglas, Valpy French and his collaborators, 5.


GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTA-

MENT 7


Introduction defined and limited; general and special;

canon and text, 7, 8.


THE CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

I.
THE CANON 9

Derivation and meaning of the word canon, 9, 10.
II.

TESTIMONY OF THE BIBLE IN REGARD TO THE FORMATION

OF THE CANON 11

Directions by Moses respecting the law, 11; thenceforth

divinely authoritative, 12, 13; addition by Joshua, 13;

Samuel, 14; the law in the temple, other copies of the law,

15, 16; books of the prophets also canonical, recapitulation,

17, 18.
ix


CONTENTS

III.

PAGE

THE CRITICAL THEORY OF THE FORMATION OF THE CANON 19

Eichhorn admitted that the law was canonical from the

time of Moses; this denied by more recent critics, 19; Deu-

teronomy canonized under Josiah, the entire Pentateuch

under Ezra as the first canon, 20; a second canon of the

prophets much later, 21; the hagiographa, a third canon,

later still, 22; argued, 1, from late origin of certain books;

2, the threefold division of the canon, 23; 3, the Samari-

tan canon; 4, the Synagogue lessons, 24; 5, the law, or the

law and the prophets, used to denote the whole Old Testa-

ment; 6, order of books in 2d and 3d divisions; 7, books

disputed, 25.

IV.

TILE DETERMINING PRINCIPLE IN THE FORMATION OF THE

CANON 26

Prime error of the critics, Ewald, Dillmann, 26, 27;

Eichhorn, early national literature, 28; Hitzig, Hebrew lit-

erature, 29; religious character, Robertson Smith, 30, 31;

claim made by the books of the Old Testament, 32; the law

regarded from the first as a divine revelation, 33; so like-

wise the books of the prophets, 34; this not a theological

speculation, but a historical fact, 35, 36.

V.

THE COMPLETION OF THE CANON 37

Testimony of Josephus, 37; not merely his private opin-

ion, 38; his mistake regarding the Persian kings, 39; he

ascribes prophetic power to John Hyrcanus; critical allega-

tions, presumption against them from the common belief

of the Jewish nation, 40; Chronicles, no proof of late date

from its genealogies, 41; Ezra and Nehemiah, the title

King of Persia, 42-44; Jaddua, Darius the Persian, 45-48;

the days of Nehemiah; Ezra iv. 6-23, 49, 50; Ezra vii.

1-10, 51, 52; long periods passed over in silence, 52; Ec-

clesiastes, governmental abuses, 53; its language and ideas,

54, 55; Esther, 55, 56; Daniel, statement of Delitzsch, 56;

historical objections, a, put in the hagiographa, 57; b, not

CONTENTS xi

PAGE


mentioned by the son of Sirach, 58; c, third year of Je-

hoiakim, i. 1; d, Chaldeans, a caste of wise men, 59; e,

Belshazzar, king and son of Nebuchadnezzar, 60-65; f,

Darius the Mede, 66; g, the books, ix. 2; h, other indica-

tions of late date, 67; language of the book, 68-70; pre-

dictions of the remote future, 71, 72; specific predictions

do not end with Antiochus Epiphanes, 73; blends with

Messiah's reign as usual in prophecy, 74; the compromise

attempted is futile, 75; genuine predictions admitted and

traditional basis assumed, 76; Maccabean Psalms, 77; the

statement of Josephus and the belief of the Jews not dis-

proved, 78.


VI.

THE THREEFOLD DIVISION OF THE CANON 79


The prologue to Ecclesiasticus, 79; fourfold division of

the Septuagint; the Hebrew division based, not on the

character of the books, nor various grades of inspiration,

but the official status of the writers, 80, 81; Dillmann's

objection; Moses Stuart, 82, 83; Ezra, Nehemiah, Chroni-

cles, Daniel, 84-86; Lamentations, 87; Strack's objections,

88; origin of the number 22, views of critics, 89, 90; con-

clusion, 91, 92.

VII.

WHEN AND BY WHOM COLLECTED 93

Authority of the books not dependent on their collec-

tion; Elias Levitt ascribed the collection to Ezra and the

Great Synagogue, 93; the passage from Baba Bathra, 94,

95; theory of modern critics, 96 ; its mistakes corrected, 97;

critics urge, 1, Ezra only bound the people to obey the law,

98; 2, Samaritans only acknowledge the Pentateuch, 99;

3, Scriptures read in the Synagogue, 100; 4, usage of terms

"the law" and "the law and the prophets," 101, 102; 5,

arguments based on certain critical conclusions: (1) dis-

crepancies between Chronicles and Samuel or Kings; (2)

composite character of Isaiah, 103, 104 ; (3) Zech. ix.–xiv.;

(4) Daniel, 105; (5) books of prophets not canonical until

prophecy had ceased, 106; it is alleged (1) that none of the

k’thubhim were admitted until the second division was

xii CONTENTS

PAGE


closed, 107; (2) late date of some books; (3) Chronicles pre-

ceded by Ezra and Nehemiah, 108; (4) additions to Esther

and Daniel; canonization not to be confounded with col-

lection, Bellarmin, 109, 110; prologue to Ecclesiasticus,

111; attempts to weaken its force, 112; 2 Esdras xiv. 21

ff., 113; 2 Mace. ii. 13, 114; 1, Ezra the scribe, 115; 2, needs

of the period following the exile, 116; 3, private collections

already existed ; 4, all the sacred books then written; 5, the

cessation of prophecy, 117, 118.

VIII.

THE EXTENT OF THE CANON-THE CANON OF THE JEWS 119

Division of the subject; the Talmud, 119; Josephus,

120-122; the canon of the Samaritans, 122; the Sadducees,

123; Essenes, Therapeute, 124; Alexandrian Jews, 124-

126; the Septuagint, 127, 128; the notion that there was no

defined canon in Alexandria, 129; Movers argues for an en-

larged canon in Palestine, 130; disputations in the Talmud,

131-136; Baruch and Ecclesiasticus have no sanction in the

Talmud, 137; critical perplexity respecting the admission

of Daniel and rejection of Ecclesiasticus, 138; passages

from the Talmud, 138-140.

IX.

THE CANON OF CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES 141

They sanction the Jewish canon negatively; and positive-

ly, 1, by express statements, 141; 2, general references, 142;

3, direct citation, 143; this the highest possible proof of its

correctness, 144; use of Septuagint, 1, not sanction its in-

accuracies; 2, not liable to be misunderstood; 3, not quote

the Apocrypha, 145; alleged traces of acquaintance with

the Apocrypha, 146, 147; Jude vs. 14, 15 from Book of

Enoch; Jude ver. 9, 148; James iv. 6; 1 Cor. ii. 9, 149;

Eph. v. 14; John vii. 38, 150; Luke xi. 49; 2 Tim. iii. 8,

151; Mat. xxvii. 9; Wildeboer's extravagant conclusion,

152; sacred books of the Jews distinguished from all others,

153; allegation that some books were still disputed, 154; at-

titude of the New Testament to the Old, 155, 156.
CONTENTS xiii

PAGE


THE CANON OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH 157

Question between Roman Catholics and Protestants, 157;

decision of Christ the supreme authority; meaning of ca-

nonical, 158; and apocryphal, 159, 160; catalogue of Melito,

160, 161; Justin Martyr, Syriac version, 162; Origen, Ter-

tullian, 163; Council of Laodicea, 164; fourth century

catalogues, 165, 166; Augustin, Councils of Hippo and

Carthage, 167-174; testimony of the first four centuries,

175; the Greek Church; the Western Church, 176; Cardi-

nals Ximenes and Cajetan, 177; Innocent L, Gelasius,

178; Council at Florence; Council of Trent, 179; Apoc-

rypha in popular usage, 180; included in early versions,

181, 182; read in the churches, 183-185; quoted by the

fathers, 185, 186; under the same titles as the canonical

books, 187-189; attributed to prophets or inspired men, 189,

190 ; proto-canonical, and deutero-canonical; doctrine of

the Roman Catholic. Church; the Greek Church, 191; Prot-

estant Churches, 192; the apocryphal controversy, 193, 194.

XI.


THE APOCRYPHA CONDEMNED BY INTERNAL EVIDENCE 195

Value of internal evidence; Tobit, Judith, 195,196; Wis-

dom, Ecclesiasticus, 197, 198; Maccabees, 199; Additions

to Esther and Daniel, 200.


XII.

ORDER AND NUMBER OF THE CANONICAL BOOKS 201

Inferences from Eccles. xii. 12-14; Matt. xxiii. 35, 201;

and Luke xxiv. 44, 202; Talmudic order of the prophets,

202-205; of the hagiographa; greater and lesser k'thubhim,

206; Massoretic arrangement; German manuscripts; Je-

rome, 207; the Septuagint; varied enumeration, 208, 209.

TREATISES CONSULTED ON THE

CANON
THESE treatises are arranged in the order of their

publication, that their position in the discussion may be

seen at a glance.

BISHOP Costri: A. Scholastical History of the Canon, 1672.

J. D. MICHAELIS: Review of Oeder's Freye Untersuchung uber

einige Bucher des Alten Testaments, in the Orientalische und

Exegetische Bibliothek, No. 2, 1772.

J. D. MICHAELIS: Review of Semler's Abhandlung von freyer Unter-

suchung des Canon, in the same, No. 3, 1772.

J. D. MICHAELIS: Review of Hornemann's Observationes ad illus-

trationem doctrines de Canone Veteris Testamenti ex Philone, in

the same, No. 9, 1775.

J. G. EICHHORN: Historische Untersuchung uber den Kanon des

Alten Testaments, in the Repertorium fur Biblische und Morgen-

landische Litteratur, No. 5, 1779.

J. G. EICHHORN: Review of Corrodi's Versuch einer Beleuchtung

der Geschichte des Jfidischen und Christlichen Bibel-Kanons, in

the Allgemeine Bibliothek der Biblischen Litteratur, Vol. 4,

1792.


J. G. EICHHORN: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 3d Ed., 1803;

4th Ed., 1823.

G. L. BAUER: Einleitung in die Schriften des Alten Testaments, 3d

Ed., 1806.

L. BERTHOLDT: Einleitung in das Alte und Neue Testament, 1812.

E. W. HENGSTENBERG: Die Authentie des Daniel, 1831.

H. A. C. HAVERNICK: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 1836.

J. G. HERBST: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, edited by B.

Welte, 1840.

F. C. MOVERS: Loci quidam Historix Canonis Veteris Testamenti

illustrati, 1842.

MOSES STUART: Critical History and Defence of the Old Testament

Canon, 1845.
xv

xvi TREATISES CONSULTED ON THE CANON


W. M. L. DE WETTE: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 6th Ed.,

1845; 8th Ed. by E. Schrader, 1869.

L. HERZFELD: Geschichte des Volkes Israel, Vol. I., 1847 ; Vol. III.,

1863.


A. MCCLELLAND: Canon and Interpretation of the Holy Scriptures,

1850.

A. ALEXANDER: The Canon of the Old and New Testaments, 1851.

P. F. KEERL: Die Apokryphen des Alten Testaments, 1852.

K. F. KEIL: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 1853; 2d Ed. trans-

lated into English by G. C. M. Douglas, 1869.

H. EWALD: Ueber das suchen und finden sogenannter Makka-

baischer Psalmen, in the Jahrbucher der Biblischen Wissen-

schaf t, 1854.

H. EWALD: Ueber die Heiligkeit der Bibel, in the same, 1855.

B. WELTE: Bemerkungen uber die Entstehung des alttest. Canons,

in the Theologische Quartalschrift, 1855.

P. DE JONG: Disquisitio de Psalmis Maccabaicis, 1857.

G. F. OEHLER: Kanon des Alten Testaments, in Herzog's Real-

Encyklopadie, Vol. VII., 1857.

A. DILLMANN: Ueber die Bildung der Sammlung heiliger Schriften

Alten Testaments, in the Jahrbucher fur Deutsche Theologie,

Vol. III., 1858.

F. BLEEK: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 1860; 4th Ed. by J.

Wellhausen, 1878.

B. F. WESTCOTT: The Canon of Scripture, in Smith's Dictionary of

the Bible, 1860.

B. F. WESTCOTT: The Bible in the Church, 1866.

J. FURST: Der Kanon des Alten Testaments nach den Ueberliefer-

ungen in Talmud und Midrasch, 1868.

L. DIESTEL: Geschichte des Alten Testamentes in der Christlichen

Kirche, 1869.

C. EHRT: Abfassungszeit und Abschluss des Psalters, 1869.

J. DERENBOURG: L'Histoire et la Geographic de la Palestine d'aprês

les Thalmuds et les autres Sources Rabbiniques, 1869.

H. STEINER: Kanon des Alten Testaments, in Schenkel's Bibel-

Lexicon, 1871.

I. S. BLOCH: Geschichte der Sammlung der Althebraischen Litera-

tur, 1876.

W. L. ALEXANDER: Canon, in Kitto's Cyclopaedia of Biblical

Literature, 1876.

L. STRACK: Kanon des Alten Testaments, in Herzog-Plitt's Real-

Encyklopadie, Vol. VII., 1880.

S. DAVIDSON: The Canon of the Bible, 1880.

TREATISES CONSULTED ON THE CANON xvii
W. ROBERTSON SMITH: The Old Testament in the Jewish Church,

1st Ed., 1881; 2d Ed., 1892.

G. A. MARX (DALMAN): Traditio Rabbinorum Veterrima de Li-

brorum Veteris Testamenti Ordine atque Origine, 1884.

F. BUHL: Kanon and Text des Alten Testaments, 1891.

S. R. DRIVER: An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testa-

ment, 1st Ed., 1891; 6th Ed., 1897.

H. E. RYLE: The Canon of the Old Testament, 1892.

E. KONIG: Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 1893.

G. WILDEBOER: The Origin of the Canon of the Old Testament.

Translated by B. W. Bacon, edited by G. F. Moore, 1895.

HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD

TESTAMENT1

INTRODUCTION, as a technical term, is of comparatively

modern date, and borrowed from the German. It was

introduced as a generic designation of those studies,

which are commonly regarded as preliminary to the

interpretation of the Scriptures. As a science or a

branch of systematic learning, Introduction is of mod-

ern growth. The early Christian writers were either

not sufficiently aware of its importance, or imperfectly

provided with the means of satisfactorily treating it.

Their attention was directed chiefly to the doctrinal

contents of Scripture, and it was only when the genu-

ineness or divine authority of some part or the whole

was called in question, that they seem to have con-

sidered these preliminary subjects as at all impor-

tant; as for instance, when the attack upon the Penta-

teuch by Celsus, and on Daniel by Porphyry, excited

Origen and others to defend them, an effect extending

only to the Evidences of Revealed Religion and the

Canon of Scripture. The most ancient writings that

can be described as general treatises upon this subject

are by the two most eminent Fathers of the fourth

century, Augustin and Jerome. The four books of the

1 This brief sketch is extracted from an unpublished lecture of my

former friend, preceptor, and colleague, Dr. Joseph Addison Alex-

ander, for many years the ornament and pride of Princeton Theologi-

cal Seminary. It was written in 1843, and is here inserted as a

memento of a brilliant scholar and in humble acknowledgment of

indebtedness to his instructions.


2 HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION

former de Doctrina Christiana contain, according to his

own description, praecepta tractandarum Scripturarum,

and belong therefore chiefly to Hermeneutics. He was

ignorant of Hebrew, but his strength of intellect and in-

genuity enabled him to furnish many valuable maxims

of interpretation. Jerome's book was called "Libellus

de optimo interpretandi genere." It is chiefly contro-

versial and of much less value than Augustin's.

The first work which appeared under the name of

Introduction was in Greek, the Ei]sagwgh> ei]j ta>j qei

grafa

restricted to the style and diction of the sacred writers.

An imperfect attempt to methodize the subject was

made by Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons, in the fifth cen-

tury; but the first important advance was made in the

sixth century by Cassiodorus, a Benedictine monk, in

his work "De Institutione Divinarum Scripturarum,"

which treats especially the subject of the Canon and of

Hermeneutics, and was the standard work in this de-

partment through the Middle Ages.

The philological branches of the subject were first

treated in detail after the Reformation. The earliest

important works of this kind were the "Officina Biblica

of Walther" in 1636, and Bishop Walton's "Prolego-

mena to the London Polyglott" in 1657, which is par-

ticularly rich in reference to Biblical Philology and

Criticism. The insidious attacks on the divine author-

ity of Scripture by Hobbes and Spinoza, in the latter

part of the seventeenth century, called forth as its pro-

fessed defender Richard Simon, a Romish priest of

great ingenuity and considerable learning, but of un-

sound principles. His Critical Histories of the Old and

New Testaments provoked much censure, and gave oc-

casion to the first systematic Introduction to the Old

Testament, that of Carpzov, which appeared in 1721,
HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION 3
and is chiefly occupied with the evidences of revealed

religion and with hermeneutics.

In the eighteenth century, Introduction rose to great

importance, and the writers on it exercised great influ-

ence. The principles which Simon had obscurely rec-

ommended, were avowed and carried out by Semler

and his followers, who introduced a general scepticism

as to the canonical authority of some books and the in-

spiration of the whole. The Bible now began to be

studied and expounded as a classic, with reference

merely to the laws of taste. Upon this principle the

great work of Eichhorn was constructed, the first com-

plete Introduction to the books of the Old Testament,

the influence of which has been incalculably great in

giving an infidel character to modern German exegesis.

The counteracting influence of Jahn, a learned Roman

Catholic professor at Vienna, has been lessened by his

great inferiority to Eichhorn, both in taste and genius,

and his equal want of judgment as to some important

points. Another valuable work on Introduction from a

Roman Catholic source is that of Herbst, Professor in

Tubingen, edited after the author's death by his col-

league Welte in 1840, and greatly improved by his sound

conservative additions. Eichhorn's work, which first ap-

peared in 1780, and in a fourth edition more than forty

years after, is in several volumes; but the same general

principles of unbelief are taught in a compendious form

with great skill and talent by De Wette, one of the

most eminent of living German theologians.1 His In-

troduction to the Old Testament, filling a moderate

octavo, is convenient as presenting a compendious view

of the whole subject, with minute and ample references




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