Old Testament Criticism and the Pulpit

Theodore G. Soares
1905 The Biblical World  
The question whether or not critical studies tend to make preaching effective might well be discussed on the basis of the excellent book published nearly two years ago by Professor McFadyen, entitled Old Testament Criticism and the Christian Church. It is a pity that all discussions of the subject cannot be conducted in the irenic spirit of this book. Humor may have some place in serious argument, but ridicule and abuse can only cloud the issues. Nothing can be more unfortunate than the
more » ... te than the spectacle of Christian teachers accusing one another of dishonesty, and sneering at one another's puerility and ignorance. This is not said as a plea for mercy from the side that has been beaten in the war of wits. The brilliant satire of Wellhausen is at least equal to the ridicule of the author of Daniel in the Critics' Den. But neither has aided the cause of truth, nor led the people who look for guidance to a more reverent attitude toward the sacred Scriptures. Of course higher criticism as such must not be obtruded into the pulpit. Indeed, as McFadyen well points out, the very name is unfortunate. With all its literary propriety, it can never be dissociated from seeming arrogance and hostility. To be sure, as he shows conclusively, all present-day students are really critics. The process by which Professor Green defended the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch was exactly the same critical process as that by which other scholars have attempted to prove its composite authorship. Yet the term "critic" has come to be a party name, and as such is unfortunate. The question that is involved is really one of historical and literary method. Are the Scriptures to be treated as literature ? Is the history of the Hebrews to be treated as history? Professor McFadyen insists most clearly that these questions must be answered in the affirmative. And he shows further that the employment 267
doi:10.1086/473560 fatcat:bbziite4kzhbhnk3dmjbcz7e5e