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sections or Parashahs with which their commencements coincide. These Parashahs were subdivided into smaller sections termed Sederim (Heb 09770), i. e. orders or ranks, denoted by the Heb. 5 p or o s.
At what time, or by whose means, the five leading portions of the Pentateuch came to be popularly distinguished as five separate books, bearing each of them a distinct title, we have no means of ascertaining. As they are designated by their present Greek appellations in the version of the Septuagint, it is certain that the distinction is at least as ancient as the era of that work, and how much earlier it may have obtained, we know not. As it is a matter of little practical moment it may safely be left among many other unsolved problems of biblical archæology.
§ 2. Author, Authenticity, &c.
The claim of Moses to the authorship of the Pentateuch was a matter of universal tradition, and never called in question either by Jews or Christians, for at least three thousand years after its publication, till Thomas Hobbes of England, about A. D. 1650, advanced the bold hypothesis that the first five books of the Bible
, were called the books of Moses, not because he wrote them, but because they relate to transactions in which he acted a prominent part. Subsequent to the time of Hobbes, the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch has been assailed by a multitude of learned men, among whom the most distinguished are Spinoza, Simon, Leclerc, Volney, Hasse, Nachtigall, Vater, Bertholdt, De Wette, and Gesenius, all of whom, though broaching different theories by which to account for the composition of the work, agree in denying its authorship to Moses. For a complete refutation of the objections and arguments urged on this score, our limited space compels us to refer to the principal authorities in wbich the subject is formally treated, such as Horne's and Jahn's Introductions, Marsh's Lectures, Graves on the Pentateuch, &c. A condensed, but very clear and satisfactory view of the arguments impugning the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch, with an able refutation in popular form, will be found in Prof. Stowe's 'Introduction to the Study of the Bible.'
We shall at present content ourselves with barely adverting to the main sources of evidence which go to prove Moses the author of the Pentateuch.
1. The unanimous and uncontradicted testimony of antiquity.
2. He is designated in several parts of the work itself as the author; Ex. 17. 14.-24.4–7.-34. 27. Num. 32. 2. Deut. 31. 9, 19–24.
3. This is confirmed by the evidence of almost all the sacred writers of the Old Testament; Josh. 1. 7, 8.-3. 34, 35. Judg. 3. 4. 2 Kings, 23. 25. 2 Chron. 30. 16. Ezra, 8. 3. Neh. 1. 7, 8, et al. To this is to be added the testimony,
4. Of Christ and his Apostles ; Mat. 19. 7. Luke, 16. 29.-24. 27. John, 1. 17. -7. 19. Acts, 3. 22.--28. 23. Rom. 10. 5, et al.
5. The whole series of historical events pertaining to the Hebrew nation rests upon the authority of these books, and demonstrates that they emanated from Moses.
6. The contrary hypotheses are self-contradictory and entirely without foundation.
7. All the objections to the authenucity of these books are susceptible of an easy and satisfactory answer.
The five books of Moses are written in pure Hebrew, with some diversity of style, such as naturally springs from :he diversity of the subjects of which it treats; but throughout with the utmost simplicity, combined with an admirable force and vividness of expression. Of their inspiration and canonical authority no doubt has ever been entertained by the Church. Moses conversed with God 'face to face, as man speaketh unto his friend;' Ex. 33. 11; he was privileged to address God at all times, Ex. 25. 22. Num. 7. 89.-9.8; and was invested with the power of working miracles, Ex. 8. 19, et al. He affirms that what he delivered was by the command, and at the suggestion of the Almighty ; and the sacred writers of the New Testament uniformly acknowledge the inspired authority, and divine legation of Moses. The Pentateuch, immediately after its composition, was deposited by the ark in the tabernacle, Deut. 31. 26 ; it was read every Sabbath day in the synagogues, Luke, 4. 16. Acis, 13. 15, 27.–15. 21. and in the most solemn manner every seventh year, Deut. 31. 10, et seq. ; the supreme ruler in Israel was obliged to copy it, Deut. 17. 18, 19.—27. 3 ; the people were commanded to teach it diligently to their children, Lev. 10. 11. Deut. 6. 6--9, and it was preserved by the Israelites with the most vigilant care, as the divine record of their civil and religious polity. Its being thus guarded as a sacred deposit, is the surest guaranty that is has descended to us in a general uncorrupted purity.
III.-THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
$ 1. Title, General Scope, and Date.
We have already on a previous page adverted to the manner in which the Hebrew titles of the five books of Moses may have originated. Whether this were the fact or not, yet according to the existing arrangement in all printed copies of the Hebrew Bible these books are named from the first word occurring in each. The original title of the present, therefore, is 6708ma bereshith, in the beginning, from its commencing words. But in the Greek, which is followed in our version, the title is Levsois genesis, generation, or production, from the account of the origin of the visible creation with which the book opens. The Greek titles of the remaining books of the Pentateuch bear a similar relation to their contents, as will appear when we come to treat of each in its turn.
The claim of Moses to the authorship of this book is of course made out by the same arguments which go to ascertain the entire Pentateuch as his pro duction. As these have been already considered, it will be unnecessary here to repeat them. The general scope of the book is to give an authentic though brief history of the creation and the early ages of the world to the flood, and thenceforward to trace more particularly the origin and the varied fortunes of that remarkable people who were chosen by God as the depositaries of the true religion and of the promise of the Messiah. The following synopsis, arranged in historical and chronological order, will give a condensed view of its contents, which cover a period of 2369 years.
1. The Creation, clap. 1. 2.
Almough it cannot reasonably be questioned that this book, as well as the rest of the Pentateuch was written by Moses, yet it is by no means agreed at what time it was written. Eusebius and some eminent critics after him have conjectured that it was written while he kept the flocks of Jethro his father-inlaw, in the wilderness of Midian. But the more probable opinion is that of Theodoret, that Moses wrote it after the exode from Egypt and the promulgation of the Law from Mount Sinai, as previous to the call related Ex. 3, he was only a private individual and not endowed with the spirit of prophecy. Without that spirit he could not, it is supposed, have recorded, with so much accuracy, the history of the creation and the subsequent events to his own time, nor could he have foretold so many signal events then future. But it is as impossible as it is of little consequence to determine the truth on this point. Sufficient is it for us to know, that Moses was under an influence of inspiration in the composition of his history, which secured the infallible truth of all his statements.
$ 2. Was the book of Genesis compiled from more ancient documents ?
This is a question entirely distinct from that of the genuineness and authenticity of the book. Moses may have been its author, and all its statements absolutely true, and yet it may have contained passages which he did not write. In a historical work extending through a period of more than two thousand years, it would be very natural that quotations should be made from preceding writings of authentic character, provided any such were in existence; and though we are not expressly informed that any did exist, yet very plausible reasons may be urged in support of the hypothesis from the style and structure of the narrative itself. It is clear that Moses must have derived his knowledge of the events which he records in Genesis, either from immediate divine revelation, or from oral tradition, or from written documents. The nature of many of the facts related, and the minuteness of the narration, render it extremely improbable that immediate revelation was the source from whence they were drawn. That his knowledge should have been derived from oral tradition, appears morally impossible, when we consider the great number of names, ages, dates, and minute events, which are recorded. The conclusion then seems fair that he must have obtained his information from written documents coeval, or nearly so, with the events which they recorded and composed by persons intimately acquainted with the subjects to which they relate. Such memoranda and genealogical ta. bles written by the patriarchs or their immediate descendants, and préserved by their posterity until the time of Moses, may have been the sources to which he had recourse in constructing his narrative. He may have collected these, with additions from authentic tradition or existing monuments, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, into a single book.
Certain it is that several of the first chapters of Genesis have the air of being made up of selections from very ancient documents, written by different authors at different periods. The variety which is observable in the names and titles of the Supreme Being is appealed to among the most striking proofs of this fact. This is ohvious in the English translation, but still more so in the Hebrew original. In Gen. 1---2. 3, which is really one piece of composition, as the title, v. 4, 'These are the generations,' shews, the name of the Most High is uniformly b2734 Elohim, God. In ch. 2. 4-ch. 3, which may be considered the second document, the title is uniforınly 5773 077777 Yehovah Elohim, Lord God, and in the third including ch. 4, it is 777079 Yehovah, Lord, only, while in ch. 5, it is 09732 Elohim, God, only, except in v. 29, where a quotation is made and 777, Yehovah used. It is hardly conceivable that all this should be the result of mere accident. The changes of the name correspond exactly to thc changes in the narratives and the titles of the several pieces; and each document uniforınly preserves the same name, except when a quotation is made, and then, as the fidelity of history requires, the name used by the person introduced as speaker, is inserted. It is impossible perhaps to decide definitely respecting the amount of quotations of this kind, but in the first fifteen chapters of the book it seems to be considerable. Now do all these accurate quotations,' says Prof. Stowe, 'impair the credit of the Mosaic books, or increase it? Is Marshall's Life of Washington to be regarded as unworthy of credit, because it contains copious extracts from Washington's correspondence, and literal quotations from important public documents? Is not its value greatly enhanced by this circumstance? The objection is altogether futile. In the common editions of the Bible the Pentateuch occupies about one hundred and fifty pages, of which perhaps ten may be taken up with quotations. This surely is no very large proportion for an historical work extending through so long a period.'
It is undoubtedly true that to an English reader the hypothesis of the compilation of the book of Genesis from pre-existent documents
, may at first sight, appear strange and in some degree revolting. It will, however, bear the test of closer examination, and in proportion as our acquaintance with the book itself increases, our belief of the fact of its compilation will be apt also to strengthen. Pareau, a sober and moderate critic, uses the following strong language: 'Many have observed and proved beyond a doubt, that the book of Genesis is formed of various fragments, written by divers authors, and merely compiled by Moses, and thus prefixed to his own history.' (Inst. Interp. Vet. Test. p. 112.) He draws from the fact a strong argument in favour of the credibility and historical accuracy of the book. The inspired authority of the work is in nowise affected by this theory, for, as Jahın has well remarked, some of the documents are of such a nature, that they could have been derived only from immediate-revelation; and the whole being compiled by an inspired writer, it has received the sanction of the Holy Spirit in an equal degree with his original productions.
$ 3. Commentators. It was the author's original intention to have given a detailed view of the principal commentaries, and other sources of illustration, of which he has availed himselt in the preparation of the ensning notes. These he had purposed to have accompanied with such characterising notices as might aid the biblical student in making a selection of the most valuable works in this department. But after devoting so much space as he had already done to the various prolegomena contained in the foregoing pages, he soon found that it would be impracticable to do justice to his design, without doing injustice to a portion at least of his authorities. Under these circumstances he determined to wave the minute specification which entered into his original plan, and to put before the reader, in the most compendious form, a catalogue of important biblical works, a large portion of which he has consulted in the course of his labors. The list is by no means complete, nor would it perhaps be possible to present one so ample but the question might still be asked why it did not include more. In fact, this department of sacred litera ture is enlarging itself so rapidly by accessions from innumerable sources, that its very bibliography is becoming voluminous, and a catalogue that would answer a very good purpose this year becomes decidedly defective the next. The following enumeration, in which regard has been had to the wants of others than mere English readers, comprises the titles of what may be considered as at least the nucleus of a tolerably extensive apparatus for the study and the exposition of the sacred volume, but more especially of the Pentateuch and the historical books of the Old Testament.
(Fil.) Dissert. Sacræ.
Introd. Vet. Test.
Geography of the Bible.