« AnteriorContinuar »
Dr. Tymms treats of "Christian Theism" in a comprehensive and masterly manner, and from a Trinitarian point of view. Dr. Medley treats of the "Permanent Significance of the Bible," incidentally defending the historical character of the Old Testament, maintaining that the Bible is the record "of the movements of God in the redemption of mankind," and as such cannot cease to be significant until man ceases to be what he is (p. 105). Dr. Cave furnishes an extended essay on "The Bible View of Sin.” Dr. Green, an equally extended one upon “The Deity and Humanity of Christ," in which he speaks of the doctrine of the Kenosis as involving a term which is "undoubtedly a convenient one," but must not be pressed too far. Dr. Price writes upon "The Redemptive Work of the Lord Jesus Christ," defending the view of the atonement which was presented by Augustine and Athanasius, which emphasizes, according to the author, "the mystical union of Christ with those whose nature he assumed" (p. 219). Dr. Newth treats of the "New Testament Witness concerning Christian Churches"; Dr. Parker, of "The New Citizenship"; Dr. Brock, of "Christianity and the Child"; Dr. Rogers, of "The Pulpit and the Press"; while the volume is closed by a posthumous fragment from Dr. Reynolds upon "The Witness of the Spirit." From this summary of contents it will be seen that the volume is a storehouse of most valuable information upon a wide variety of topics.
ST. PAUL'S CONCEPTION OF CHRIST; or, The Doctrine of the Second Adam. The Sixteenth Series of the Cunningham Lectures. By DAVID SOMERVILLE, M.A., Minister of Roseburn Free Church, Edinburgh. Pp. xvi, 331. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons. $3.00. The author of this instructive, helpful, and able series of lectures acknowledges his great indebtedness to Albrecht Ritschl, whose real work he thinks has been greatly misunderstood among the English-speaking people, and with Ritschl insists upon the importance of going back to Christ in the formulation of our theological systems. Naturally he attributes to Paul great influence in formulating the higher views of the person of Christ which came to prevail in the early church. Yet he insists that the four Gospels have not been impaired to any extent as sources of historic truth by theological bias proceeding from the school of Paul. According to them, Christ "did claim to be the Messiah, and his consciousness of Messiahship was rooted in his knowledge of himself. He knew himself to be the Son of God. . . . He was conscious that he contained in his own person the principle of salvation for mankind” (p. 226); and yet "the reticence of Christ about himself was remarkable. He told the world nothing, and his disciples exceedingly little," of his prehuman life (p. 227). As a summary of present discussion upon this theme, this volume will be found very valuable.
AN OUTLINE OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. BY WILLIAM NEWTON CLARKE, D.D., Professor of Christian Theology in Colgate University, Hamilton, N. Y. Pp. ix, 488. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1898. . $2.50 net.
This volume is characterized throughout for clearness, brevity, and great good sense. There are scarcely any references in it to the literature of the subject, except to the classical portions of the Bible which support the various doctrines. In these respects it may be compared with President Fairchild's "Elements of Theology," either of which books is admirably adapted to furnish the reader with a comprehensive and defensible statement of the essential truths of the Christian system. Dr. Clarke is specially happy in his statement of the relation of Christ to the Bible. First, he agrees with those who assert that it was Christ who gave us the Bible. Christ lived his life and wrought his work as a preliminary to the record of it. But Dr. Clarke does not lose sight of the correlative fact, that now it is "the Bible that gives us Christ. . . . It was written and preserved that we might know him, and God through him" (p. 21). Nor does the author depreciate the Old Testament. While duly recognizing that "the full revelation of God is not in the Old Testament," he emphasizes the fact that "the Old Testament evinces a knowledge of God that is wonderful in a pre-Christian age, and is so full of him that it can never cease to be helpful to Christian faith" (p. 33). While not maintaining "the complete inerrancy" of the Bible, he claims that the Scriptures are to such an extent free from error that "they become practically a revelation, or a means of revelation, to every age (p. 37). The author's definition of God is aimed to avoid as much as possible controversial questions. "God is the Personal Spirit, perfectly good, who in holy love creates, sustains, and orders all" (p. 66). The sections upon the proofs of God's existence are specially to be commended. From the intellectual starting-point God's existence is proved: "(1) Through the intelligibleness of the universe to us; (2) Through the idea of cause; (3) Through the presence of ends in the universe” (p. 105). From the religious starting-point, God's existence is discovered: “(1) Through the religious nature of man; (2) Through the great dilemma— a good God or a bad one; (3) Through the spiritual experiences of men, especially in Christianity" (p. 118). The only criticism we are inclined to make upon this is, that we see no reason for denying that the religious starting-point is also an intellectual starting-point, the sole difference being that different classes of facts are brought before the bar of the intellect for its judgment.
In the author's chapter upon Sin we think, also, that he has failed to unify the subject as much as he might have done. His fourth definition, which he calls the best, is really the only true definition, namely, “sin is the placing of self-will or selfishness above the claims of love and duty" (p. 238), that is, sin is a selfish ruling choice.. That it is abnormal,
ungodly, and downward-tending is a natural result of its true character. Upon the Atonement, the author's statements are cautious but clearly defined. The object of the atonement is twofold: First, to make such a self-expression of God in Christ as to win men; and, second, as should satisfy God in his relations as moral governor (p. 348).
Upon questions relating to things to come, the author maintains, that the "two forward movements of the soul beyond death constitute a great separation," but, ". we should greatly misjudge if we thought of all men as fitted for one or other of these two states in its extreme form . . . but whatever may be the groupings and associations that the righteous judgment of God appoints, the great twofold division of destiny according to character is certain " (pp. 470-473).
STUDIES OF THE MIND IN CHRIST. By Rev. THOMAS ADAMSON, B.D., formerly Examiner for Divinity Degrees in Edinburgh University. Pp. xii, 300. 8vo. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons. $2.50.
This volume is another indication of the revival of a wide-spread and intense interest in questions relating to the union of the two natures in Christ. The interest has been aroused to a large extent by questions connected with the higher criticism of the Old Testament, since the radical higher critics deny that Christ had any special knowledge of the authorship of the Old Testament books. To maintain this theory it has been convenient to revive again the doctrine of the Kenosis, that is, that during his incarnation Christ so emptied himself of divine prerogatives that his human development was practically independent of his indwelling divine nature. The present volume is a painstaking discussion of the biblical facts bearing upon this and kindred theories, by which the author arrives at the conclusion that Christ's knowledge that he was the Son of God lay in his self-consciousness as a direct result of the incarnation. "The knowledge that he was God was as natural in his human mind, as in ours is the knowledge that we are men" (p. 160). As a learned discussion of this subject in its modern aspects, the book is of great value.
SOME BIBLE PROBLEMS. By D. W. SIMON, D.D., Principal and Professor of Systematic Theology in the United College, Bradford; author of "The Bible an Outgrowth of Theocratic Life," "The Redemption of Man," etc. Pp. xii, 285. I2mo. London: Andrew Melrose. 1898. In this series of popular lectures Dr. Simon presents in attractive and convincing form the results of his long study upon a variety of themes of greatest interest to the Christian public. Altogether they form a pretty complete summary of the arguments in support of the most defensible views concerning the Scriptures which are entertained by those who maintain a moderate conservative position respecting biblical criticism,
forming a book which is highly to be commended. The volume treats of the Early History of Israel and its Relation to Neighboring Nations, of the "Philosophy of Revelation and Inspiration," of the "Election of Israel," of the " Right Way to approach the Bible," of the "Traditions enshrined in the First Two Chapters of Genesis," of "Evolution and the Fall of Man," closing with two specially valuable chapters upon "Criticism and Israelitish History."
A DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE dealing with its Language, Literature, and Contents, including the Biblical Theology. Edited by JAMES HASTINGS, M.A., D.D., with the Assistance of JOHN A. SELBIE, M.A., and, chiefly in the Revision of Proofs, of A. B. DAVIDSON, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Hebrew, New College, Edinburgh, S. R. DRIVER, D.D., Litt.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford, H. B. SWETE, D.D., Litt.D., Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge. Vol. I. Pp. xv, 864. Imperial 8vo. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1898. Cloth, $6.00 per volume; in Half Morocco, $8.00 per volume.
The need of a new Dictionary of the Bible has been made imperative by recent rapid advancement in Egyptology and Assyriology, as well as by the increasing prevalence of revolutionary methods of biblical criticism. The present attempt to meet the necessity gives promise of being highly, if not altogether, satisfactory. The first volume shows us a beautifully printed page, with type which is at once clear and capable of compressing a large amount of material into a given space. The compression is also greatly aided by the system of abbreviations referring to current discussion. The subjects covered in the first volume extend from A to Feasts, which is considerably short of the point ordinarily reached by the first volume in three-volume dictionaries. A specially commendable feature of the work is the careful attention given to the shorter articles. Even where they are of a few lines, they have been prepared by the highest authority, and are duly signed. The contributors include a large number of the ripest and most trusted scholars of Great Britain and America, with an occasional one from Germany.
Theologically the effort has evidently been made to represent the moderately liberal school of critics, with a fair sprinkling of the more conservative scholars. Professor Hommel, of Munich, has furnished what are really extended treatises on Assyria and Babylonia, in which the cream of his higher criticism of the higher critics is condensed. Professor Sayce furnishes numerous articles of a similar tone. On the other hand, the articles upon Abraham by Dr. Ryle, upon the Chronology of the Old Testament by Dr. Curtis, upon Exodus by G. Harford-Battersby, and the Old Testament articles in general, give scant recognition of the arguments in support of the traditional views concerning the Pentateuch and slight consciousness of the possibility of doubt concerning the ex cathedra utterances of destructive criticism. So manifestly are the most of these Old Testament articles colored by the anti-supernatural
prejudices of the writers, that they cannot but fail to command the approval of the majority of reverential and sober-minded students of the Bible. It is well enough to present the arguments for the destructive criticism which is now so prevalent, but the editors of this volume have made a mistake in not securing an equally satisfactory presentation of the counter-arguments, so that the reader would be in a fair position to judge for himself. As it is, those purchasers of this Dictionary who do not have access to libraries will be compelled to purchase another in order to even matters up. It is probably too late to remedy this matter in the first volume, but if the publishers wish to make a financial success, or any other kind of success for such a work, they must see to it that the mass of the articles are either written in more judicial tone than characterizes these, or that both sides are given a fair presentation by competent writers.
GENESIS CRITICALLY AND EXEGETICALLY EXPOUNDED. By Dr. A. DILLMANN, late Professor of Theology in Berlin. Translated from the last Edition by WM. B. STEVENSON, B.D., assistant to the Professor of Hebrew, etc., Edinburgh University. In Two Volumes. Pp. xi, 413 and viii, 507. 8vo. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons.
In these two carefully translated and beautifully printed volumes the English reader now has access to the treasures of Dr. Dillmann's unequaled Commentary upon the book of Genesis. The work is characterized by great fullness of discussion upon all points bearing upon the interpretation of the book, and by abundant references to the voluminous literature pertaining to the subject. Dr. Dillmann's position with reference to the age of the documents into which it is supposed by many higher critics that the Pentateuch must be parcelled, differs from that of most of his associates; for, whereas they maintain that the Priest Code is the latest, he maintains that it was prior to Deuteronomy. Still Dr. Dillmann is a most ardent defender of a documentary origin of the Pentateuch, and treats the history of Genesis with a freedom which will be startling to most reverential students of the Bible. On page 4 of the first volume the reader will find the list of alleged repetitions and discrepancies which appear so formidable, but which Professor Green has subjected to such a thorough analysis and examination that their solidity disappears, and they are resolved into a fogbank, rather than the granite wall which they seem to the timid observer who does not try his strength upon them.
That the book of Genesis is not a literary unity is maintained by Dr. Dillmann, because "there are found in it all sorts of seemingly needless repetitions . . . also two or more accounts of the same things . . . and other irreconcilable statements." But, as Dr. Green clearly shows, and any one by sufficient diligence can ascertain, these "repetitions, disarrangements, contradictions, and chronological difficulties" are for the