Not a member?     Existing members login below:

Introduction to the Old Testament


discussions are too apt to divert those who pursue them from the
absorbing human interest of the Old Testament. Its writers were men
of like hopes and fears and passions with ourselves, and not the
least important task of a sympathetic scholarship is to recover that
humanity which speaks to us in so many portions and so many ways
from the pages of the Old Testament. While we must never allow
ourselves to forget that the Old Testament is a voice from the
ancient and the Semitic world, not a few parts of it--books, for
example, like Job and Ecclesiastes--are as modern as the book that
was written yesterday.
But, first and last, the Old Testament is a religious book; and an
_Introduction_ to it should, in my opinion, introduce us not
only to its literary problems, but to its religious content. I have
therefore usually attempted--briefly, and not in any homiletic
spirit--to indicate the religious value and significance of its
several books.
There may be readers who would here and there have desiderated a
more confident tone, but I have deliberately refrained from going
further than the facts seemed to warrant. The cause of truth is not
served by unwarranted assertions; and the facts are often so difficult
to concatenate that dogmatism becomes an impertinence. Those who know
the ground best walk the most warily. But if the old confidence has
been lost, a new confidence has been won. Traditional opinions on
questions of date and authorship may have been shaken or overturned,
but other and greater things abide; and not the least precious is
that confidence, which can now justify itself at the bar of the most
rigorous scientific investigation, that, in a sense altogether unique,
the religion of Israel is touched by the finger of God.
JOHN E. McFADYEN.
ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND.
CONTENTS
THE ORDER OF THE BOOKS
GENESIS
EXODUS
LEVITICUS
NUMBERS
DEUTERONOMY
JOSHUA
THE PROPHETIC AND PRIESTLY DOCUMENTS
JUDGES
Remove