EXEGESIS OR HERMENEUTICS.
- I. The Conception and Problem of Biblical Exegesis.
- Exegesis a necessary Science (§ 1).
- Relations to Criticism and Philology (§ 2).
- Exegesis and Dogmatics (§ 3).
- Exegesis and Theological Science (§ 4).
- II. The Method.
- Three Kinds of Exegesis (§ 1).
- Philological Exegesis (§ 2).
- Historical Exegesis (§ 3).
- Employment of Analogy and Hypothesis (§ 4).
- Stylistic Exegesis (§ 5).
- III. Historical Review of Exegetical Principles and Methods.
- Transition from Dogmatic to Historical Principles (§ 1).
- Origen (§ 2).
- The Antiochian School (§ 3).
- Later Patristic Methods (§ 4).
- The Middle Ages (§ 5).
- The Reformation (§ 6).
- Post-Reformation Theories (§ 7).
- Exegesis as Affected by History (§ 8).
- IV. The Forms of Interpretation of Scripture.
- Glosses and Scholia (§ 1).
- Commentaries and Their Type (§ 2).
- Translation and Paraphrase (§ 3).
- V. History of Exegesis.
- Prepatristic Exegesis (§ 1).
- Patristic and Medieval Exegesis (§ 2).
- Exegesis Since the Reformation (§ 3).
- German Exegesis in the Nineteenth Century (§ 4).
- Modern French Exegesis (§ 5).
- Exegesis in Holland (§ 6).
- English Exegesis (§ 7).
- Exegesis in the United States (§ 8).
Biblical exegesis or hermeneutics is the first of the four departments of theological science (interpretative, historical, dogmatic, practical); its function is the interpretation of Scripture.
I. The Conception and Problem of Biblical Exegesis:
1 . Exegesis a Necessary Science.
That the oral and written tradition coming from the past may continue to be a vital and spiritual possession necessitates both understanding and appropriation of the sense. Understanding is achieved either directly by simple apprehension, or mediately by a process. In the latter case, the object is approached methodically that it may be learned in its limits, essence, and causes. To understand whatever heritage the past produced under conditions which no longer exist, correct insight is needed into the disparity of past and present. And when such a heritage has acquired a certain authority either as a model (classical literature) or as a norm of right living (the Corpus juris) or as the source of Christian inspiration (the Bible), the necessity for assurance that a correct understanding is reached is the motive for constructing a theory of exposition. Out of this grew the technical term "hermeneutics," first used by Plato as expressing the art of rightly apprehending and setting forth the etymology and value of any given word. The term is derived from hermneuein, "to interpret," "to make intelligible that which is obscure," hence often simply "to translate from a foreign tongue" (John i. 38, 41-42), and then it passed to the meaning "to explicate." In the last sense it was used by the Fathers, and their commentaries were named Hermneiai. The term was used when a man explained either that which originated with another (as a deity) or the cogitations of his own spirit. Similarly "exegesis" is from exgeisthai, "to lead forth, interpret." So that as the theory of explanation exegesis or hermeneutics has to make intelligible whatever has survived because of its essential value. Its concern is not merely with rhetoric, as Schleiermacher would have it, making of it merely an art. It is both a science and an art; a science in that it formulates definite rules of procedure, an art in that it infuses new life into material by making it a new and present possession.
2. Relations to Criticism and Philology.
To bring a thing to the understanding is to make it serviceable in sense and significance. Appreciation of the significance leads to a decision as to worth, and is therefore akin to criticism; to establish the sense is to explicate with the proper means as the case is conceived in the mind. Exegesis is to be differentiated from criticism, nearly related though they are. The former is inductive and analytical; the latter is synthetic. Exegesis asks what a thing means; criticism asks about its correctness and truth. Exegesis seeks to know, to interpret, to explicate; criticism to value and correct. But the conditions of serviceable and artistic comprehension lie partly in the general laws of human thought and expression, partly in the special quality of the material under examination. "He who would the poet know, must to the poet's country go" is a universal maxim. Sympathy gives the closest insight. So that for appreciation of a religious thought more than esthetic apprehension is required. In this criticism and exegesis are handmaidens, both are peerless schoolmistresses to lead to Christ, but only under the condition stated. Exegetical art is called out by material which, originating in the past, has by its inherent worth come down to the present instinct with vital force. In early times, it dealt with Homer and the myths because they had meaning for religious and spiritual life. The type was philological, and had in view complete explanation from the standpoint of history, archeology, philosophy, and esthetics. Indeed, exegesis gains its individuality and completeness through the material with which it deals so far as this is a coherent whole and has relationship to the life of the present. Thus modern exegesis has attained definite form in two branches, jurisprudence and theology, working upon the Corpus juris and the Bible. In these two spheres the character of the material produces essentially different results. Jurisprudential exegesis expounds the rules and methods which Roman law embraced, hence the interest is largely historical.
3. Exegesis and Dogmatics.
Biblical exegesis deals with a work which was the canon of the Church, the understanding and the use of which has from the beginning been vexed by religious postulates and dogmatic claims. When, then, historical explanation of its facts brought ever more clearly into view departure from dogmatic conclusions or even opposition to them, questions were raised about the Bible, its character and its authority, and about the right of exegesis and its methods, which must remain for each generation to solve, since the Bible is ever the religious source for the Christian Church. And then questions arise as to the functions of exegesis. Is it purely explicative or is it normative? Exegetical and ecclesiastical interests clash. When the latter prevail, producing the Roman Catholic type, exegesis is bound up with the tradition of the Church, and almost becomes supererogatory in the dogma that Scripture is its own interpreter. On the other hand, emphasis upon the historical element alone without reference to the religious character of the material makes of exegesis a mere discipline. Choice may be made between a purely historical and grammatical type and one which is to have somewhat of a dogmatic character. If the canon is a historical development, the question appears to be decided. The function of exegesis is to know and discern the character of Scripture and why it has that character. Their own limitations require that exegesis and dogmatics work independently. Methodical and reliable exegesis guarantees that dogmatics is building not upon mysteries and fraud; while the necessity for a dogmatic formulation of the contents of Scripture produces in exegesis the consciousness of the seriousness of its task. Exegesis produces from the sources a Biblical history and theology which have no immediate relation to the task of dogmatics. It works over the Scriptures independently and positively not merely to satisfy itself with certainty, but as a support to churchly theology by furnishing it its certainty. On this account there is required complete severance from all dogmatic postulates as furthering both scientific and ecclesiastical interests.
4. Exegesis and Theological Science.
But if the purely historical character of exegesis is maintained, does it not become an exclusive discipline? The Old Testament contains the remains of a national religious literature which presents peculiarities of speech, special forms of religious ideas, and having a purpose which is entirely different from that of the New Testament, which has by no means the character of a national literature and bespeaks a movement differing in type from that which produced the Old Testament (see HEBREW LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, II). These two parts of the Bible offer different problems to exegesis, both being religious sources, and through the origin of Christianity historically bound together. Must there be two kinds of exegesis? Here neither the postulates of a method alien to the essence of the testimonies to faith in Scripture itself nor ecclesiastical decisions regarding the nature of the canon determine the method, which is ruled alone by the contents of Scripture in its reciprocal relations. From a dogmatic truth exegetical verity does not follow, but one does proceed from exegetical truth to dogmatic verity. This makes clear one of the relations of exegesis to theological science. It has grown out of ecclesiastical needs and is security for the pure Christian character of the Christian organization, and so has vindicated its right to a place in theological science. It has in view not simply the history of Israel and the origin of Christianity, but definite testimony to the religious spirit which has bound together the Old and the New Testament. It employs the underlying disciplines of Biblical philology, introduction, archeology, history of the times, and criticism of the text. Trustworthy results are attained only when questions of the trustworthiness of the text are raised and settled, and so with other problems. As a result, the exegete, like the historian, has in his hand the power of palingenesis by educing and strengthening the sense of the historically and psychologically possible.
II. The Method:
1. Three Kinds of Exegesis.
The ultimate purpose of the exegete is reached when on the one side he understands the object of the exposition to be the same as that of the original writing, and on the other side has the same point of view of the origin, purpose, and means of attaining the purpose as the author had. He stands for his hearers as did the author for his. This is the ideal, which in the nature of the case can be only partially realized, since the gulf between the circumstances under which the text arose and those in which it exists for the exegete can not be entirely closed. Then too the matter of the individuality of the author complicates the problem, since psychological analogies are not sufficient ground for certainty in reconstruction. The realities of the original speech, the historical conditions, and the inner life of the text have to be brought home to the understanding. Of these the first two help to realize the sense, the third helps to the meaning; the first two tell what was actually said and done, the third gives the purpose of saying or doing. Exegesis falls then into three parts: philological, revealing the structure and vocabulary of the language; historical, setting forth the text as the result of certain actual conditions of origin, contents, and purpose; and stylistic, building on the other two and leading to the valuation of the text. Other names employed to designate these stages or varieties are grammatical, psychological, and rhetorical exegesis.
2. Philological Exegesis.
Philological exegesis has a double problem, lexical and grammatical. It takes into account not only grammatical structure and etymology, but also transformations wrought in forms and meanings of words by the ordinary historical development of language and by new needs and relations. This involves the mastery of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek as the original tongues, and may require also that of the languages of the versions. The Greek of the Septuagint comes into consideration as a lingua franca of old times and as the language of the Bible of early Christianity. So the varieties of Greek in the New Testament, from the almost classic forms of the Lucan literature to the Hebraistic character of the Johannean writings demand notice (see HELLENISTIC GREEK). The definition of the character of Biblical language in general and of New Testament Greek in particular under the influence of the dogmatic view-point has become the object of dissidence since the rearing of an independent philological science which reproduces rather the views of the early Fathers than the dogmatic learning of post-Reformation times. Origen notes the providential readiness of the Greek to receive the content of revelation in New Testament times, while Augustine speaks of the spiritual impress the language received, particularly under Paul. In general, a new eloquence was discerned in this tongue fitting it to act as the mediator of a new divine wisdom. This was a point which humanism missed, and strife was waged between the Hebraists and the purists until Winer protested against the boundless arbitrariness with which the New Testament Greek was handled. One of the questions remaining open is how far insight into the words of Jesus can be promoted by translation into the Syro-Chaldaic spoken dialect of his times. There is needed in this department of study not only knowledge of language but the linguistic sense, something difficult to attain in the case of a dead tongue. To attain it necessitates not only knowledge of word meanings and of homonyms and synonyms and etymology, but insight into the national life. With this, extraordinary forms and hapax legomena and new forms give insight into historical conditions. And as a last aid in this matter comes philological conjecture on the basis of parallels and analogies.
3. Historical Exegesis.
Historical exegesis arises from the fact that complete understanding of a document necessitates knowledge of the conditions under which it was written, taking into account the circumstances of both author and reader. The document must be put into its historical environment. But this involves not merely the problem of history but that of the psychology of the writer, as furnishing the index of his purpose and method. Fundamental in Biblical exegesis is the consideration of the epoch-making character of the writings. The more necessary then becomes knowledge of their origin, content, purpose, and influence in their total relations with the whole life of the age when they arose. All-important here is the view of the world and of all its relationships set forth in the documents. And necessary too are estimates of the originality of the conceptions contained and their relationship to or departure from those current at the time. For the Old Testament the current conditions of the Semitic world were important; for the New, the Old Testament religion, Judaism and Hellenism. Historical exegesis takes all such considerations into account, and attempts to understand the author through his work and his work through the author.4. Employment of Analogy and Hypothesis.
An important means to a historical understanding is the correct employment of analogy. The relation of representations in the Bible to extra-Biblical representations, their independent or derivative character, are matters of importance. Two coats of like cut may bespeak the same tailor, but do not imply similar disposition or accomplishments in the wearers. Paul's characterization of ethnic cults as demon-worship does not imply that he shared all the Jewish hatred and misconception which this judgment carried with it in the Jewish mind. So analogy does not imply wholesale transference of identity. An assistant in this same direction is the use of hypothesis, especially in the case of a broken connection. It assumes a connection in the circumstances or in the train of thought which does not appear on the surface. A broken torso guides to a reconstruction only when there are certain traces of the original form. But in history the help of psychology is often available to fill in outlines only partly discernible. The "historical" explanation of the inner development of Jesus and the psychological deductions concerning the conversion of Paul are cases in point. But conceptions that are foreign or dogmatic merely are misleading in the use of hypothesis. The mistake must not be made of confusing historical learning with historical insight or the historic sense. A century ago all religion was regarded as the production of priestcraft, and Jesus was regarded simply as a wise teacher. In the present, under the influence of the doctrine of evolution, religion is regarded as the product of a process of unfolding, and the ethical and intellectual elements of the religious life suffer the consequences. The antidotes for the eisegesis and dislocations which in the interest of dogmatics have invaded this province are reality and piety, especially piety. The interpreter of Scripture handles books which are religious sources for the communities of believers. It is not his task to infer hypothetically the religion of Israel and the Gospel and to discover the real behind that which is alleged, but to bring to the understanding the actual fact as it exists. Like the historian, he seeks the objective sense, not the subjective.
5. Stylistic Exegesis.
Stylistic or rhetorical exegesis, according to Luther (Preface to Ecclesiastes), seeks to know the scope of a book, its object and aim. This complements the work of philological and historical exegesis, and places the document in its literary category. When historical exegesis has shown the purpose, rhetorical exegesis reveals the connection of the means devoted to that purpose. This operation arranges its work in rhetorical and in logical departments. The former concerns the quality and propriety of the expression, the turns and variety of usage, the art or naïveté‚ of the narration, the art-forms of literary expression, and the like. The latter looks at the thought construction, estimates it as closely woven or flowing or disconnected, as orderly or of mere aggregated parts. It sets forth the inner life and the totality of character of the whole document. It serves to give the psychological side of historical exposition, reveals the relation of the author to the writing, and in this way discovers the individuality of the author.
The writings unified in the Bible have either little or no connection with the Greek productions with which they are often compared. This is especially true of the Old Testament, and almost equally of the New Testament, particularly of the Gospels and Epistles. These sprang out of the new needs of missionary enterprise and the founding of Christian communities. Consequently they have their own modes of expression and means of explanation, to interpret which requires entry into their world of thought. Religious pragmatism, prophetic oracle, the disclosure of apocalyptic, the liturgical lyric and gnomic wisdom continue to exist in the New Testament, but the center in this case is the work of Jesus. The difference between the sayings and parables of Jesus and the dialectic of Plato is very great. It is therefore of importance exactly to catch the imagery and the peculiar usage of these writings. Whoever sees merely picture and metaphor where the picture is the very impress, the integrating essence, of truth makes a beast of burden of a Pegasus. If one takes the symbolism of a religious outlook (like Luke xvi. 19-20) or a promise (like Mark xiv. 25) as literal, he falsifies the idea by a process of mythologizing. To treat the paradoxes of Jesus literally as statement of a law, as one might the command about baptizing, leads into absurdity. Emphasis upon the word "is" in the institution of the Lord's Supper makes one a captive to dogmatic authority. "One may translate literally, but that is not the way to exposition or understanding." Stylistic exegesis leads from the whole to the parts, and so brings the exegetical process to its fit conclusion.
III. Historical Review of Exegetical Principles and Methods:
1. Transition from Dogmatic to Historical Principles.
The development of exegetical theory was parallel with the history of doctrine, or, rather, there was a reciprocity of interaction, since exegesis apprehends the sources in sense and meaning as a help to the building of dogma. So the history of the science of exegesis is not to be confused with the history of exegesis, the one having to do with the theory, the other with the practise. The early Church assumed the inspiration of Scripture and sought a serviceable theological and ecclesiastical exposition. The growth of the historical sense and the rise of an independent philosophy raised the question of the authority of Scripture, and the dogma of inspiration and of infallibility could not halt the movement thus begun. In this respect the Tractatus theologico-politicus of Spinoza (1670 in Eng. transl., new ed., London, 1877) was epoch-making. The seventeenth century saw the gradual rise of a science of antiquities, which brought new material and new points of view. Then came the consideration that the authors of the books of the Bible were to be regarded as human authors. Next questions of method arose, and the schools of classical philology, Pietism, and rationalism expressed their aims. Men debated how far profane writers could be used in the process of elucidation, and unsifted material was collected by Grotius, Wetstein, and many others. The result of all this work was summed up in Wolle's Regulæ triginta hermeneuticæ ad circumspectam scripturæ illustrationem ex autoribus profanis utiles (Leipsic, 1722). The end of the eighteenth century, by which time greater independence had been gained, brought a deepening of the work, which was largely accomplished through the effort after a historical theology.
Origen was the first to construct a theory of explanation of Scripture. With all patristic exegetes he assumed that Scripture contained divine wisdom and the teachings of salvation, and that the spirit of God was the author. The sense is therefore in all circumstances deep, clear, true, and productive of salvation. But it is evident that many passages are obscure if the sense of the words is taken in such passages as those which refer to the days of creation, to the Garden of Eden, the anthropomorphisms, and the "high mountain" in the story of the temptation. In case the obvious sense given is not worthy, there must be an undersense which is concealed and must be brought out. Indeed, corresponding to the trichotomy of man, the sense is threefold. The sense of the words is the flesh of Scripture (for simple men), the soul is the moral sense (I Cor. ix. 9), while still beyond is a pneumatic sense (I Cor. ii. 6-7). This is what became known as the "theory" in exegesis or the "allegorical method." In this method Origen was the follower of Philo (whom he would enroll among the Church Fathers). Philo's starting-point was the same and his idea of a hidden sense the same. But his idea was in turn borrowed from the Greeks, since Plato had already conceived the same method in treating Homer, and the Stoics had developed the system. Whether Philo was influenced by the rules of exegesis of the Palestinian schools is an open question; Origen could hardly have been decided by this influence. Two principles rule the exegesis of Origen. His view of Scripture is correct; and where he follows this alone, his exegesis is keen yet delicate. But he further insists that Scripture must say what the exegete decides is worthy of deity. When the literal sense seems unworthy, he seeks a "mystic, tropical, analogical, or concealed" sense by means of "theory."
3. The Antiochian School.
In opposition to Origen the Antiochian school of exegesis sought to be fair to historical results both through "theory" and explanation. Eustathius of Antioch (c. 325, De Engastrimytho, ed. T. Zahn, T U, 1886) opposed Origen. Diodorus of Tarsus made theory and allegory synonymous. Isidore of Pelusium and Photius distinguished between theoretical and historical exegesis, the former leading to the moral or mystical sense, the latter to the precise sense. Theodore of Mopsuestia (d. about 428) regarded theoretical exegesis as accurate investigation and knowledge over against arbitrary discovery of a secret sense, in which he followed Diodorus, and in numerous commentaries and in polemical writings assailed the conclusions of the allegorists as those of mythologists. Job was to him a dramatic poem, the Song an erotic celebrating Solomon's marriage, while he explained prophecies by contemporary actions and persons.
4. Later Patristic Methods.
Its dogmatic and practical usefulness secured to the "theory" of Origen its influence, and its subjective character favored correction in the interest of ecclesiasticism. This last was continually advancing both in the Eastern and the Western Church. The tendency induced eisegesis, but was now in the direction of illustrations and proofs of dogma. So Augustine declares that whatever in the divine word can not be referred to a noble end or to the truth of faith is to be taken as figurative, and the norm for this is the rule of faith (De doctrina Christiana, II., xx. 10). Against Augustine, Chrysostom, Athanasius, and Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa (in his Hexaemeron) would have nothing to do with allegory, but explained the text in accordance with its evident meaning. And yet he at times rejoiced in allegorical exposition, especially in the Song. Jerome in his many works binds together literal exposition with a "spiritual knowledge," and speaks of the progress from the littleness of the letter to the grace of the spiritual intelligence. Far superior to him in deep insight and clearness is Augustine, who works out his ideal of an exegete (in De doctrina Christiana) and shows that he informs the results of scientific exegesis with a fine rhetorical sense (on Augustine cf. R. Simon, Hist. critique des . . . commentateurs du Nouveau Testament, p. 250, Paris, 1693). The writers on exegesis continued to formulate rules by which to derive a multiple sense from Scripture. Such a one was Eucherius of Lyons (d. about 452), whose Formulæ spiritualis intelligentiæ divides "contemplative theology" into historical discussion and the "interpretation of spiritual knowledge," which last is arbitrary allegorizing, turning all figurative language to dogmatic, religious, or ethical purposes. Yet in the "historical discussion" he produces valuable comments upon Scripture passages. Thus there is produced a compromise between the school of Antioch and Origen. Junilius (d. about 552) speaks for the exegetical tradition of the school of Nisibis (in his Instituta regularia divinæ legis, ed. H. Kihn, Freiburg, 1880). He would have Scripture so explained that the explanation shall accord with the writer's individuality and with the environment of time, place, order, and intention. Thus patristic exegesis involved on one side historical explanation, on the other dogmatic, allegorizing attempts to determine an inner sense.5. The Middle Ages.
The exegesis of the Middle Ages rested upon the principles already in existence, except that the tendency was toward an increase of eisegesis in the interest of building up an ecclesiastical tradition of interpretation. Its cause is well stated by Vincent of Lerins (d. about 450), when he says: "Every one interprets Scripture differently; Novatian has one interpretation, Sabellius another, Donatus another, still others are by Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, etc." Faith founded itself upon the authority of the divine law and upon the tradition of the Church catholic. Thomas Aquinas speaks not only for the exegesis of the Middle Ages but for Catholicism when he says: "The author of Sacred Scripture is God, in whose power it is to fit not only words to meanings (which man can do), but even things themselves." And then he proceeds to develop a fourfold exegesis, literal, figurative, moral, and anagogical, in which the figurative and anagogical are arbitrarily distinguished. Thus Jerusalem signifies the city, the Church, a settled and moral order, and the everlasting life.
6. The Reformation.
The Reformation drew a stroke through all these refinements and returned to the sources, discovering anew the word of God beneath the mounds of ecclesiastical tradition. It pronounced the dictum: The Church is not to determine what Scripture teaches, but Scripture determines what ought to be taught in the Church. Humanism led the way with Erasmus as its spokesman. Luther declared it his task to translate the Scripture in its simple sense. But the orientation of exegesis was still religious, Scripture proving itself to be a book of testimonies for the reality of the revelation of God. Melanchthon drew the portrait of an Evangelical theologian: "A good theologian and faithful interpreter of the heavenly teaching should be expert first in language, next in logic, and then a witness." Criticism was free and Luther spoke without reserve regarding the value of the canonical books. Reliable interpretation was demanded, which contributed clearness and certainty to faith. In the stress of the first need the interpreters dealt little with theory and contented themselves with propounding fundamentals. Scripture was defined as the collection of standard sources of the Christian religion. Alongside the formula: "Scripture is the interpreter of Scripture" was another: "Let all knowledge and exposition be according to the analogy of faith."
7. Post-reformation Theories.
For the orthodoxy of the seventeenth century, Scripture is the document containing the teaching inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible could therefore not be self-inconsistent, and exegesis was prevailingly apologetic. The textus receptus was canonized, and in the Old Testament the inspiration of the pointing was maintained. Rules for interpretation were formulated anew, and the Philologia sacra of S. Glass (ed. I. A. Dathe, Leipsic, 1776) was the exegetical text-book of the Lutheran confession. From this point of view an important book is that of A. Rivet, Isagoge ad scripturam sacri Veteris et Novi Testamenti (Leyden, 1627). For the Roman Catholic Church the norm continued to be expressed by the maxim: "Tradition (or the Church) is the interpreter of sacred Scripture," and more attention was paid to patristic work upon Scripture than to philological investigation. Richard Simon laid the foundations of a historical-critical science of Scripture, but not without a polemical purpose against the Protestant principles regarding the Bible. Simon's work was put on the Index because of its critical openness; its meaning was first grasped by Protestants when historical criticism came to its rights. The next step in the way was taken by the opponents of Protestant confessionalism. Socinian exegesis remained without influence because of its subjective dogmatism. But such work as that done by Grotius was important, and the danger to confessionalism was discerned by A. Calovius and attacked in his Biblia Veteris Testamenti illustrata (4 vols., Frankfort, 1672-76). Meyer advanced the cause of unprejudiced reason in a remarkable critique upon the fundamental dogma "Scripture its own interpreter," reason being, according to him, a gift of God displayed both in Scripture and in the formulation of dogma. A. H. Francke bewailed the fact that men concerned themselves with criticism, which affected only the outer shell of Scripture, and left untouched the elucidation of the deeper sense of Scripture. He therefore turned aside from the dogmatic valuation of the Bible and applied himself to a devotional exposition founded on scientific principles and applying the psychological principle of the individuality of the author. Against the Pietistic school of exegesis the Reformed theologian J. A. Turretin busied himself in the interest of a grammatical-historical exegesis (Tractatus bipartitus, Geneva, 1728, ed. Teller, 1776). His principle is that theology is the teaching transmitted in Scripture, and to the study of Scripture the mind should come as a tabula rasa, ready to receive the true sense. Here also first appeared the postulate of a presumptionless exegesis as opposed to a dogmatic. The eighteenth century saw the first scientific work written in German on exegesis, that by S. J. Baumgarten, Ausführlicher Vortrag der biblischen Hermeneutik (ed. Bertram, Halle, 1767). The theology of this writer is Pietistic, founded upon the philosophy of Leibnitz and Wolff. He was preceded by J. A. Bengel (also of the Pietistic school), whose principal labors were upon text criticism. In the Dutch school J. Cocceius was the antipodes of Grotius, so that the saying took form: "Grotius could find Christ nowhere in sacred literature, Cocceius found him everywhere."
8. Exegesis as Affected by History.
With Herder, Kant, and the founders of the new school of history (Niebuhr) and of research into the sources of classical philology (F. A. Wolf) began new times with new results, based upon historical investigation into the religion of the Old Testament and examination of the sources of early Christianity. The Protestant doctrine of inspiration became untenable under the leadership of J. S. Semler, J. J. Wetstein, and J. A. Ernesti, all under the sway of the historical spirit but still not entirely freed from dogmatic influence. Thus Semler held Scripture to contain the word of God and therefore not to contain inconsistencies. Difficulties were dismissed on the theory of Accommodation (q.v.). L. J. Rückert (Commentar über den Brief . . . an die Römer, Leipsic, 1831) remarked that "the exegete, as an exegete, is neither orthodox nor heterodox, neither a supernaturalist nor a rationalist nor a pantheist, neither pious nor godless, neither emotional nor without feeling." D. F. Strauss could not deride sufficiently the doctrine of inspiration held by the early Protestants. Exegetical theory was therefore influenced greatly by the effort to solve the historical-critical problems while allowing the revelational character of Scripture. The effort was making to recognize the human and the divine side of the Bible. To this problem philosophy made no contributions of importance. Kant's contribution was not philosophical but practical. H. Olshausen's attempt to reinstate the allegorical method met no success, while the work of his predecessors was summed up in Immer's Hermeneutik des Neuen Testaments (Wittenberg, 1873; Eng. transl., Hermeneutics of the New Testament, Andover, 1877). F. Lücke attempted to give to exegesis a stronger theological tendency, and F. H. Germar sought a religious guaranty for the results of the hermeneutical processes under a method which should include the historical-philological method and should take account of the harmony of Scripture. J. T. Beck endeavored to advance the cause by a "pneumatic interpretation" on the basis that the Bible is an organism, the spirit of each part of which is the author, which spirit the interpreter must incarnate in his own holy life before he can explain Scripture. J. L. S. Lutz would have the philological-historical interpretation united with the religious, ecclesiastical and dogmatic, in which he was not far removed from the standpoint of the Reformation. Hofmann came to nearly the same conclusion by another road. He took the Bible to be the history of salvation, a history independent of ordinary development and of a different kind. It is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ, The theologian, in order to interpret Scripture in truth, must come as a member of the Church and as a witness of the salvation of which he is possessed. Hofmann's service was then contributed in favor of ecclesiastical exegesis, recognizing, however, the historical character of the Bible. The general result of work upon the theory of interpretation is that for a positive exegesis, free from both positive and negative dogmatic interpolations, the guaranty is in a conjoint operation of all varieties, which gives and receives, controls and criticizes, all in order to grasp and to expound the life which is inculcated in the Holy Scriptures.
IV. The Forms of Interpretation of Scripture:
The results of the exegetical process may be made available in many different forms; the exegete may indicate how the text is to be understood, in which case he becomes a glossator, scholiast, or commentator; or he may identify himself, so to speak, with the text, may take the place of the author and produce a translation or a paraphrase. All these forms have been highly developed in the centuries during which exegesis has been at work.
1. Glosses and Scholia.
The simplest form of elucidation is the gloss, which explains an obscure or uncommon expression by a clear or usual one or substitutes for a foreign term the corresponding translation. This method has been applied to Homer, Plato, the Corpus juris, etc., as well as to the Bible, and the value of its results is varied. The glossator is first of all an interpreter, not an expounder, hence the collections of glosses among the Byzantines were the basis of the lexicons, of which those of Hesychius, Suidas, and Phavorinus contain many Biblical glosses. In the Western Church gloss came to have a special meaning, and the excerpts from the collections became the brief but authoritative commentaries of scholasticism, written either after the text, beside it, or in interlinear fashion. Two of the most noted are that of Walafrid Strabo and that of Anselm of Laon (see GLOSSES, BIBLICAL AND ECCLESIASTICAL). The gloss extended itself beyond the explanation of a word and became a scholium. This was originally a marginal note, and scholia often were for use in the schools. No methodical investigation of Biblical scholia has yet been made.
2. Commentaries and Their Type.
Commentaries differ from glosses and scholia in that they attempt to explain the whole of a writing and not isolated expressions, and they have literary unity. The purpose is to give a full and pure impression of the writing so that the reader of the commentary may be in as good a position to receive the sense as was the original reader. Its relation to the original is that of a bust of Socrates or Augustus to their subjects, though for Biblical writings that ideal is unattainable. A commentary of the Bible must keep in view not merely the Bible, but also the history of its interpretation if it is to present adequately the present status. It can accomplish its end only by division of labor, parting the work into the linguistic, historical, and rhetorical or stylistic. The danger throughout is that attention to minute points will obscure a comprehensive view, while regard for the total impression may cause oversight and error in minutia. The double purpose, to make clear the document as a whole and to clear up individual difficulties, has produced two types of results, the glossatorial and the reproductive, of which Bengel's Gnomon and Ewald's or Hofmann's commentaries are respectively examples. For a rounded understanding of Scripture both methods are necessary. It would be desirable to give a history of commentaries, since the one-sidedness of certain periods tends to be reproduced in other periods, but space forbids anything but the most brief attempt. For the patristic type Origen's commentaries gave the pattern, concerned as they were with particulars, and turning aside for allegorical meanings and applications. The Antiochian school was concise and scholiastic (see ANTIOCH, SCHOOL OF). During the period of formulation of dogma, exegesis tended toward catenæ, excerpts of scholia and glosses (see CATENÆ), and to schematization of traditional renderings. Humanism awakened the grammatical sense, but produced few commentaries. The Reformation emphasized the religious content. The age of the confessions tended again to heap matter together, and philological comment reproduced scholiastic form. Pietism roamed freely in ascetic edification. The nineteenth century endeavored to employ the linguistic-historical method and at the same time to preserve the religious interests, to bind together analysis, reproduction, and glossematic clearing up of minutia, all this with regard to the history of the science.
3. Translation and Paraphrase.
Translation of a document is the fruit and test of complete understanding, and gives an equivalent for the original, so far as that is possible. It is limited by the fact that much in the original can not be carried over into another speech. Artistic translation must therefore move freely in order to reproduce the original. The translation is a new dress which enables the stranger to gage the worth of the original. Thus Luther did not merely translate the Gospel, he made it German. Translation is limited also by its aim to reproduce the sense of the original in appropriate verbiage. Here literalness is often no gain, as when a Greek translator reproduced the Hebrew sign of the accusative, though as such it had no equivalent or meaning in the Greek. The desire to combine the merits of a translation and of a commentary resulted in the paraphrase, which reproduces the sense together with what is implied though not expressly said. Patristic exegesis did much of this work, and Erasmus, a supreme artist in this respect, went to school to Origen, Chrysostom, and Jerome. The best paraphrast clings to the sense while he develops pregnant meanings and elucidates the obscure.
V. History of Exegesis:
1. Prepatristic Exegesis.
The Old Testament was at first the subject of the exegetical art. In the synagogue two methods developed, the halacha or exposition of law, and the haggadah, which sought the deeper sense and applied it to practise. In this direction was developed cabalistic interpretation, which saw the secrets of revelation enclosed in numerical values (see CABALA). The Christian Church appropriated the Old Testament, and indeed largely in the Septuagint version which often serves excellently as an interpretation. The methods of Jewish exegetical work on the Old Testament influenced the writers of the New Testament. The Apocalypse is cabalistic, Paul and Hebrews reproduce the Alexandrine methods. Generally, however, the use of the Old Testament in the New is original, while it is employed from a new religious standpoint. It starts from faith in Christ as the God-sent savior who came providentially in the fulness of time (Gal. iv. 4). On this basis it seeks in the Old Testament in word and in type evidence of fulfilment of promise; consequently the use of the Old Testament in the New can not be regarded as exact exegesis, it is rather instruction in regard to the inner relation of the words of Scripture to the facts which establish the Christian faith (cf. Luke xxiv. 25-27; I Cor. x. 11).
2. Patristic and Medieval Exegesis.
The exegesis of the New Testament alongside of the Old began with its acceptance as canonical, and was practised first among the Gnostics. The type used by them and by their opponents was allegorical, the latter attempting to avoid the wilfulness of the former. Origen was the first great exegete and developed what had been begun by the Alexandrian school (Clement), becoming the "lawgiver and oracle" for subsequent times, drawn upon by Hippolytus, Dionysius of Alexandria, Eusebius of Cæsarea, Rufinus, and Jerome. A turn toward the construction of an ecclesiastical exegetical tradition was taken in the works of Didymus (d. 329), Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444), Ambrosius (d. 395), and Augustine. The works of the Antiochian school were preserved only in part, and that in excerpts in the catenæ. Of the works of Theodore of Mopsuestia only his commentary on the Minor Prophets survives. Other great names are Chrysostom, Basil, the two Gregorys, Theodoret, Ephraem, Isidor of Pelusium, and Ambrosiaster. For the collections which soon began to be made the sources in the Eastern Church were Origen and Chrysostom, and in the Western Augustine and Jerome. For the allegoristic method Gregory I. (d. 604) is the principal model and source. In both East and West the makers of catenæ were many; in the East were Procopius of Gaza and Olympiodorus and Photius, and in the West Isidore of Seville, Bede, Alcuin, Peter Lombard, Thomas Aquinas, Abelard, and the mystics. In Spain Jewish exegesis was fruitful; besides there was the work of Nicholas of Lyra. Humanism, using closely the text, produced the criticism of the Vulgate by Laurentius Valla, the text and commentaries of Erasmus, and the commentaries of Cajetan and Faber Stapulensis.
3. Exegesis Since The Reformation.
Of the Reformers, Luther did little strictly exegetical work apart from his preaching. Melanchthon's work is scholiastic. Other exegetes were Cruciger, J. Jonas, Brenz, M. Flacius, J. Camerarius, Zwingli (in sympathy with humanism), Ecolampadius, Butzer, and Capito. Calvin commented upon the whole New Testament except the Apocalypse, and also upon the Pentateuch, Psalms, and the Prophets. Besides these Musculus, Bullinger, and Beza (of special importance) are to be mentioned. The exegesis of the Counterreformation made no use of humanistic help, but took a polemic tone against the Evangelical theologians, as in the case of Vatablus and Clarius. Since the middle of the sixteenth century the Jesuits have occupied the field, their representatives being Maldonatus (d. 1583), Salmero (d. 1597), J. Mariana (d. 1624), Lucas of Bruges (d. 1629), Cornelius a Lapide (d. 1637), and the Italian Menochius (d. 1685). The results are summed up in J. de la Haye, Biblia magna (5 vols., Paris, 1643), and Biblia maxima (19 vols., Paris, 1660). The exegesis of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was bent to the affirmation or denial of "church doctrine," the Evangelienharmonie of Chemnitz striking the keynote. For the Lutherans such men as D. Chytræus and Erasmus Schmidt, for the Reformed Church J. Piscator and J. A. Lampe, for the Socinians J. Exell, and for the Pietists Spener and Bengel were the leading exponents. To all parties, excepting to the leaders Luther and Calvin, the Apocalypse seemed a work of great importance and was the object of much attention. With the earnest dogmatic zeal of the Arminians new interest was awakened, and the works of Grotius appeared, and those of his follower Clericus. The new standpoint was partly philological, partly practical. Gleanings were made in the rabbinical field (Lightfoot), in the historical field (Spanheim), in archeology (Cunæus), and in chronology (J. Scaliger). Fruits of these activities were the Critici sacri (9 vols., London, 1660), M. Poole's Synopsis criticorum (5 vols., London, 1669-76), and J. C. Wolf's Curæ philologicæ et criticæ in Novum Testamentum (5 vols., Hamburg, 1741). In the philological-theological school of Ernesti the ecclesiastical character of exegesis was no longer seen. The fundamental question at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the rationalism or the supernaturalism of Scripture. In the second third of that century the recovery of a confessional theology and a deep impression from Hegelian philosophy characterized the work done. Whether any school has made its impress upon the exegesis of the last third of the century, one standing in the midst of the conflict may not decide.
4. German Exegesis in the Nineteenth Century.
The German exegesis of the nineteenth century is characterized by division into schools which created each its own journal and organ. Thus there was the confessional school of Schleiermacher, and the reconstructionist school of F. C. Baur, the "new Tübingen school," the advocates of the "restoration-theology" under Hengstenberg, and Lutheran confessionalism under J. C. K. Hofmann. Leaders of a philological exegesis were Gesenius, Ewald, J. Olshausen, and Winer. Baumgarten-Crusius emphasized the religious element and De Wette the critical. C. J. A. Fritzsche, Reiche, and Rückert, using the philological method, strove to free interpretation from dogmatic shackles, and were ably assisted by H. A. W. Meyer. The leadership of Ewald was followed by Hupfeld, Hitzig, Bertheau, Knobel, Dillmann, and Graf. The ecclesiastical "restoration-theology" drew as its helpers in this field Hävernick, Delitzsch, Keil, Tholuck, and Lange. The Tübingen school directed its efforts to the reconstruction of the history of primitive Christianity. Independent of this school but somewhat in the same direction were the works of A. Hilgenfeld, H. Lipsius, H. Holtzmann, and C. Weizsäcker. The separation of the new school, which seeks to unite the results of exegesis with those of criticism, is well exemplified in the interpretation of Acts by De Wette as worked over by Overbeck, as well as in the Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch, in the Handkommentar, and in the Kurzer Handkommentar.
This review has sought to present a singular and peculiar religious and philosophical development. The Bible, a book consisting of two collections of writings different in history and in makeup, has proved itself through eighteen hundred years the inexhaustible source of nourishment for faith and support for the soul of Christianity. From its interpretation and application to dogmatic and practical questions arose the theology of patristics. The ecclesiastical and religious needs, changing with the times, resulted in the development of exegetical theories and ever new attempts at an improved and deepened exposition of Scripture. And for the future, given the two facts of God in history and of history as wider than man's folly and man's wisdom, a continually deepening appreciation of the Bible will result in the deepening of life.
5. Modern French Exegesis.
In French-speaking countries up to a recent date, the critical movement had made small headway. Protestantism in France was a feeble force. It had slight part in the deepest movements of the nation's life. Its colleges were hardly better than country academies. Its vitality exhausted itself in keeping alive. For a long time the fact that France was a near neighbor to Germany counted for little. The life of E. Reuss (1804-91) tells the story of the critical movement in France. He was born in Strasburg. He acquired the critical ideal and methods in Germany. His work was published, part of it in German, part of it in French. Die Geschichte der heiligen Schriften des Neuen Testaments appeared in Halle (1842, 6th ed., 1887, Eng. transl., The History of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament, London, 1884). An immense and productive activity followed, crowned by the monumental work, La Bible (translation, introduction, and commentary, 17 vols., Paris, 1874-81), in the preface of which his lifelong feeling regarding critical scholarship in France is expressed. Renan's great work, Origines du christianisme (7 vols. and Index, Paris, 1863-83; Eng. transl., The History of the Origin of Christianity, 7 vols., London, n. d.), is in parts extremely weak. An imagination of extraordinary brilliance builds with dangerous facility on the original work of the Germans. But as a whole it is an immense achievement, bringing the New Testament literature into fertilizing contact with the social life and needs of antiquity, and even when resting on hasty exegesis giving impetus and stimulus to deeper work by other men. French Switzerland has given one interpreter of high rank, F. Godet (1812-1900). Spiritual discernment, clear judgment, and an admirable expository method characterize his commentaries on the Fourth Gospel and the Pauline Epistles. But the critic in him was imperfectly developed. His weakness on this side betrays itself by the constant intrusion of exegesis into questions of text-criticism, and by tenacious conservatism in the field of introduction.
6. Exegesis in Holland.
Holland presents conditions materially different from those prevailing in France. Protestantism in this land was a national faith. As a religious principle it levied tribute on the deepest forces in the nation's history. Moreover, it possessed great universities, strong both in prestige and in equipment. Here, therefore, the critical mind that took its start from Germany found a field ready for the plow. J. H. Scholten (1811-85), professor at Utrecht, opened the critical movement. He began his theological career by a masterly treatise on the humanity of Christ (1840). His emphasis on this point led him into eager appropriation of the historical view of the New Testament. In his Historisch-kritische Inleiding tot de schriften des Nieuwen Testaments (Leyden, 1855) he defended the traditional view. But the critical attack overcame his resistance, and he published his surrender in Het Evangelie naar Johannes (1864). From this time on, he became in Holland an increasing force on the side of criticism. His great pupil Abraham Kuenen (1828-91) won his fame in the Old Testament field. But his Old Testament work became, in a way, representative of the recent criticism of the New Testament. Kuenen's scholars carried into the New Testament field the methods which had achieved in the Old Testament field such brilliant success. The history of recent interpretation in Holland shows, more clearly than in any other country, the prodigious influence which the Old Testament scholar is bringing to bear upon New Testament studies. Through his work the modern author has been able to realize that the literary conditions underlying the genesis and growth of the Scriptures are fundamentally different from those surrounding the modern author; that the corporate author rather than the individual author prevails in the Biblical field as a whole, and that corporate interests and hopes sometimes play upon and mold the text of sacred books for a long period before they take their final form. Pierson, Loman, Van Manen, and Naber with others constitute what is called the "Holland School." Bruno Bauer had anticipated some of their conclusions. But Bauer's work started from philosophical premises. The "Holland School," on the contrary, starts from sound historical premises. Old Testament methods and achievements have inspired the attempt to explain the Paul of the Pauline Letters as even more a literary than a real personality (like the Moses of the Pentateuch). The prestige of Old Testament study gives the attempt its justification. Parallel study in the field of Homeric criticism and other ancient literatures increases that prestige. The "Holland School" therefore is an important phenomenon for the interpreter of the New Testament. He must not yield to the temptation to sit in the seat of the scornful, but must show by deeper study of the Apostolic Age that the methods which are at home in the Old Testament are to be used with extreme caution in the New Testament field.
7. English Exegesis.
The intellectual leadership of England in the first part of the eighteenth century, the work of high promise in the field of text-criticism, gave reason to expect that the same sequence of thought which brought the higher criticism close on the heels of text-criticism in Germany would operate here. But there was no constructive philosophical movement in England to endow the religious reason with confidence. Instead, a great revival of religion (see METHODISTS) grappled the Bible, as the traditional theory of inspiration presented it, to the heart of England. Criticism, in breaking through the crust of tradition, had an extremely hard task. A typical exegete, the product of this religious revival, was Thomas Scott (1747-1821). His Holy Bible (4 vols., London, 1788-92; (see BIBLES, ANNOTATED, II., § 8), running through many editions, was the representative English commentary down to Alford's Greek Testament. Sir James Stephen called it "the greatest theological performance of our age and country." This opinion is a good standard by which to estimate the state of interpretation in England. Scott's Bible had great value as a devotional and dogmatic commentary along the lines of Evangelical feeling, but no historical insight. It is sometimes mistakenly said that the critical movement in England broke ground through Edward Evanson (1731-1805), who published The Dissonance of the Four generally Received Evangelists (Ipswich, 1792). But Evanson was not a critic. He was an antidogmatic dogmatist. More solid ground was taken by Herbert Marsh (1757-1839), bishop of Peterborough. He issued a translation of Michaelis' Einleitung in die . . . Schriften ten des Neuen Bundes as Introduction to the New Testament (4 vols., Cambridge, 1793-1801). In his own work, along the lines of Michaelis, he deserves high credit for the first inquiry in English into the origin of the canonical books. While, however, he provoked wholesale attack, his work had no appreciable results. When the strain of the Napoleonic wars was over and the revival of historical studies began, the Oxford movement turned the entire energy of the Church of England into the channels of ecclesiastical restoration and debate. Charles Lloyd (1788-1829), dreading the effect upon England of the kind of Bible-study that was carrying the day in Germany, urged on his pupil E. B. Pusey (1800-82) the advisability of a course of study in German universities. Pusey was in Germany in 1825 and again in 1826-27. His acquaintance with German scholarship, his labors as a Hebraist, and the subordination of all his scholarship to his vast influence as a churchman made him the most representative man in the English Church. F. D. Maurice (1805-72) brought to the study of the Scriptures an ennobling mysticism and a liberating mind. But as an interpreter he wholly lacked the historical spirit and method. The best preliminary work in Great Britain was done by Samuel Davidson (1806-99), professor at Belfast and Manchester. Frankly acknowledging his debt to Germany, devoting all his energy to Bible-work, he manifested both the initiative and the conservatism proper to a scholar doing a pioneer's work in a difficult field. It is characteristic of the situation that the critical movement should have cleared its main line of approach through the demand for a revised translation. Gathering volume from the middle of the century, and reaching its goal in 1881, it led to the monumental text-work of Tregelles and Westcott and Hort, and threw open the entire field of Bible-study. Essays and Reviews (q.v., London, 1860) raised a storm of controversy regarding the established views on inspiration. J. W. Colenso (1814-83), bishop of Natal, through his Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua critically Examined (7 parts, London, 1862-79), forced the Pentateuchal question to the front. The notable book by Sir John Robert Seeley, Ecce Homo (London, 1865), fixed attention on the humanity of Christ and thus, like the similar work of Scholten in Holland, helped to make the critical study of the Gospels inevitable. Henry Alford (1810-71) published a Greek Testament (4 vols., London, 1849-61) which rendered high service to a generation of English and American students, and signalized the immense advance of English interpretation since Scott's Bible. J. B. Lightfoot (1828-1889), bishop of Durham, published commentaries on the Pauline Epistles which combined in an extraordinary degree historical knowledge, exegetical insight, and literary charm. B. F. Westcott (1825-1901), bishop of Durham, in his commentaries on the Fourth Gospel, I John, and Hebrews, combined deep patristic learning with the historical method and spiritual charm. But while, through these and other scholars, Great Britain had created a body of work possessing high interpretational value, it presented an almost unbroken conservative front to the fundamental critical questions. Not until the last quarter of the century did the critical movement invade Great Britain with power. Here, as on the Continent, the Old Testament field was in many ways the proving-ground. The names of W. Robertson Smith (1846-94) and of T. K. Cheyne are distinguished. The publishing of the two dictionaries, the Dictionary of the Bible (1899-1904) and the Encyclopædia Biblica (1899-1903), constitutes an epoch. The International Critical Commentary demonstrates that critical methods have at last won their full rights in the field of English interpretation.
8. Exegesis in the United States.
It is easy to understand why the critical movement should have been late in getting under way in America. The country had no inherited culture, no stores of learning, no universities. Population was thinly spread over vast areas. Practical needs exerted an irresistible pressure. The country being intensely Protestant and having few ecclesiastical traditions, the Bible alone and by itself counted for more in the building of the nation than anywhere else in the world. As a result of all these conditions, the established Protestant interpretation of Holy Scripture acquired an immense hold. The revival of religion and missionary interest in the first quarter of the nineteenth century resulted in the founding of a large number of theological schools, beginning with Andover, 1807, which, however, offered no leverage for free and critical thinking. The dominant opinion in the various churches had complete control within the seminaries. Nowhere was critical detachment so hard to achieve. The Unitarian movement, while it exalted reason, made no direct contribution to interpretation. The philosophical movement of New England, coming from Germany and England, endowed the orthodox churches with liberating thought. Horace Bushnell (1802-76) is a typical figure. But the exegesis this movement inspired, like the exegesis of Coleridge and Maurice, lacked the historical sense and method. The prominent theological reviews (e.g., Bibliotheca Sacra, The Princeton Review) down beyond the middle of the century are almost wholly occupied with dogmatic, devotional, and institutional questions. But the influence of Germany, through translations of German books and through an increasing body of men who had studied in Germany, was steadily growing. The life of Philip Schaff (1819-93) is representative. The Schaff-Lange Commentary, both translation and original work, indicated a rising tide. The part taken by American scholars in the work of Bible revision was another significant sign. The logical sequence of critical Bible-studies has held strikingly true in America. The rapid rise of Old Testament criticism in the last quarter of the century is the notable phenomenon. With the exception of Ezra Abbott (1819-84), distinguished as a text-critic, and Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), noted as a lexicographer, the American names of the first rank have been made in the Old Testament field (Charles Augustus Briggs, Crawford Howell Toy, George Moore, Francis Brown). American scholarship has worked with English scholarship to produce the two Bible dictionaries noticed above and the International Critical Commentary above mentioned.
The history of the critical interpretation clearly proves that the great need of the time is patient and thorough exegesis. The constructive imagination, beginning with Baur, has done its work. The New Testament student has before him all the hypotheses that can give facile and imposing synthesis. The task that lies ahead is the deep study of individual documents. This is all the more necessary because the wide gaps in our knowledge of the Apostolic Age make constructive synthesis as tempting as it is dangerous. The other great need is that the student shall be on guard against the personal equation. The critical individual of modern Christianity is not wholly competent to understand the men of the Bible, for whom religion was a superb passion and the corporate life instinctive. He needs also to remember that the distinction between metaphysics and religion, which has become a necessary element of thought, was wholly foreign to the men of the New Testament. The "critical" exegete may be, in some ways, quite as naive as the patristic exegete.
HENRY S. NASH.