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In this study of the Bible in the same way as any other ancient book or literature is studied, attention has been directed mainly to the following points :-(1) The ascertainment of the best original text of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the manuscripts of both exhibiting all the variations naturally arising in the process of copying and transmission. The text of the Old Testament, indeed, is beyond doubt very corrupt. (2) The critical interpretation of the text in relation to the personality of the author and the conditions of his time. To do this requires not only the examination of each book, or each document of a composite book (of which criticism finds a large number in both Testaments) at first apart from, and then in relation to other books, but also the examination of each of the books of the same author (say Paul), or the documents of a composite book (say Genesis), in the order of their origin. On the distinction of authorship, occasion, and date, is based the new branch of Biblical, as distinct from Dogmatic Theology. It might, however,


be more accurately called Biblical Theologies, for as the authors are many, and some of them passed through several stages of religious development, so their theological views are found to vary greatly. (3) The collection of the various books, or the formation of the so-called Canons, constituting the two Testaments. The result of this branch of criticism has been to show that both Testaments were formed very gradually upon no very definite principle, and at a much later period than was once thought. So that in the case of both when the work of collection was done, books were left out which might just as well have been included (for example, Ecclesiasticus, I Clement to Corinthians, The Teaching of the Apostles), and others included which might as well have been left out (for example, Esther, II Peter, Jude). However, the criticism of the Canon has tended more and more to branch off into the wider inquiry as to the relation of the books of the Bible to ancient literature at large, for instance, to the Assyrian and Babylonian, the Persian and the Indian :

and again to more recent Christian devotional literature. (4) Herewith is connected the last point: the nature and value of the contents of the Bible as history, religion, ethics, literature. How far do the Biblical writings come up to the higher standards of truth, devotion, morality, writing ?

What, then, has this scientific criticism of the Bible done for it ? Undoubtedly, it has revolutionized men's views of the book. To be sure, the lover of truth would have to be quite content if the clear result had been wholly unfavourable to its historical, religious, moral, and literary reputation and influence. He cannot love the Bible more than the truth. But, as a fact, the result is not of this kind. The Bible certainly loses much in some respects, but it gains more in others; and its losses are, for the most part, real gains.

But before we proceed further, we may say at once, criticism has taken the meaning out of those famous technical terms which were once used to represent the worth of the Bible and to distinguish it from all other literature-Inspiration, Divine Authority, Integrity, and Genuineness. The inspiration of the Bible is found not to differ essentially from that of other great writings : its authority and divinity are regarded as seated in its intrinsic matter, not in any uniqueness of origin (as coming direct from God, or from apostles or friends of apostles), and as qualities belonging to all writings of an equally high class. As to the integrity of the text and the genuineness of the various books, it has been established beyond contradiction that the text has suffered considerably in transmissionespecially in the case of the Old Testament, and that many of the books were not written by the authors whose names they now bear, either in the manuscripts or in the received tradition (Pentateuch, Psalms, Daniel, Matthew, Revelation, II Peter, Pastoral Epistles).2 The Bible has lost weight and influence of a kind by this surrender of its supernatural authority as the revelation of truth not to be reached



1 See Note A, p. 27.

2 See Note B, p. 27.

by natural means. It has also lost much by the critical proof of the composite structure and essentially anonymous authorship of the Pentateuch, the Psalms, some of the Prophets, the Gospels, the Acts, and the Apocalypse. As having no authority above reason, and not supplying the testimony of eyewitnesses to miraculous and other events, it is not what it once was evidentially as the foundation of faith. Criticism often makes the Prophet the contemporary of the event instead of its prognosticator (Isaiah, chaps. vii.-x.; or chaps. xl.–lxvi. ; or Daniel), and the Evangelist turns out to be a late and unknown collector of tradition not always harmonious (Matthew). The fulfilments of prophecy, once so confidently alleged, are found to rest on curious principles of Rabbinical or Hellenistic exegesis, and not a few reported miracles are now explained away as allegories or myths. It is to shut one's eyes to the most obvious facts not to see that results such as these have deprived the Bible of distinctive characteristics and

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1 See Note C, p. 27.

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