Introduction to the Old Testament HTML version

JOHN EDGAR McFADYEN, M.A. (Glas.) B.A. (Oxon.)
_Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis, Knox College,
To My Pupils Past and Present
This _Introduction_ does not pretend to offer anything to
specialists. It is written for theological students, ministers, and
laymen, who desire to understand the modern attitude to the Old
Testament as a whole, but who either do not have the time or the
inclination to follow the details on which all thorough study of it
must ultimately rest. These details are intricate, often perplexing,
and all but innumerable, and the student is in danger of failing to
see the wood for the trees. This _Introduction_, therefore,
concentrates attention only on the more salient features of the
discussion. No attempt has been made, for example, to relegate every
verse in the Pentateuch[1] to its documentary source; but the method
of attacking the Pentateuchal problem has been presented, and the
larger documentary divisions indicated.
[Footnote 1: Pentateuch and Hexateuch are used in this volume to
indicate the first five and the first six books of the Old Testament
respectively, without reference to any critical theory. As the first
five books form a natural division by themselves, and as their
literary sources are continued not only into Joshua, but probably
beyond it, it is as legitimate to speak of the Pentateuch as of the
It is obvious, therefore, that the discussions can in no case be
exhaustive; such treatment can only be expected in commentaries to
the individual books. While carefully considering all the more
important alternatives, I have usually contented myself with
presenting the conclusion which seemed to me most probable; and I
have thought it better to discuss each case on its merits, without
referring expressly and continually to the opinions of English and
foreign scholars.
In order to bring the discussion within the range of those who have
no special linguistic equipment, I have hardly ever cited Greek or
Hebrew words, and never in the original alphabets. For a similar
reason, the verses are numbered, not as in the Hebrew, but as in the
English Bible. I have sought to make the discussion read continuously,
without distracting the attention--excepting very occasionally-by
foot-notes or other devices.
Above all things, I have tried to be interesting. Critical