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PROCESS OF COMPILATION.
formation of the early Mosaic system of worship. In the progress of time this ancient record was worked up again and augmented; and some still later Hebrew would appear to have combined the two, the older and the more recent narrative, into one connected whole. Thus a certain degree of unity is found to prevail through the Pentateuch, or, in other words, we can trace the plan of an original work, which however was afterwards subjected to being twice augmented and worked up?.”
We cannot but acknowledge the correctness of these views of Ewald, with the single exception of that in which he has assumed that the original record with Elohim was subjected to be a second time worked up, and that consequently more than one series of additions are to be distinguished. Now there are good grounds for believing that these ancient fragments were adopted by some one Israelitish compiler?, and were interwoven by him into his own narration. It is indeed a matter of surprise, that no previous inquiry should have led even to a conjecture of so simple a result; for it may be easily seen, that the portions of the narrative which employ the name of Jehovah cannot be so united together as to form a connected whole, that they are far more finished, that they discover in every instance a more recent date, and are clearly marked by the more exclusive spirit of the later Hebrews; whilst those 310
i See Studien und Krit., 1831, iii. 602, and Berliner Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik (Berlin Annals of Scientific Criticism), 1831, p. 365.
3 “ Diaskeuasten,” Germ. [“ The ancient Diaskeuastæ, or compilers of the time of Pisistratus, were employed to collect, revise, and compile the scattered poems of Homer, which had previously been handed down by oral tradition, and had been sung in detached portions among the Greeks.” See Wolf's Prolegomena ad Homerum, $$ 33, 34, 35.]
DATE OF THE EIGHTH CENTURY.
portions, on the other hand, which adopt the name Elohim everywhere manifest the existence of foreign and more especially of polytheistic ideas, and would be to a great extent obscure without some knowledge of the other portions of Oriental mythology. They were founded beyond a doubt on foreign and possibly on Mesopotamian traditions, they adopted the conceptions which prevailed in that part of Asia, they evidently rest until the time of Abraham on Chaldæan ground, and they bear a Chaldæan date of the eighth century before Christ, in the use of the true solar year in their account of the deluger. Beyond this date the antiquity of these records does not consequently ascend; and though they also include the primæval and national history of the Hebrews, it must still be borne in mind (and a mere denial cannot disprove the fact) that the Chaldæans, as well as the Phænicians and other kindred tribes of Palestine, might all lay claim to a common ancestry and a common store of traditions, as the brethren of one and the same iace.
At the commencement of Genesis the different narrations stand in perfect connection, and it is only at intervals, as we shall show in the commentary, that the Hebrew
[See Gen. vii. 11, and viii. 14. The Noachian deluge is described as commencing on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah's 600th year, and as terminating on the twenty-seventh day of the second month of his 601st year; and as lunar years were usually adopted in very ancient chronology, the duration assigned to the deluge may be calculated as one lunar year and ten days, or 365 days, or one solar year. A lunar year consists of 354 days 8 hours, and therefore 10 days would be required to make up the solar year of 365 days. It is also remarkable that the solar year was first known among the Chaldæans, B.c. 747, at the æra of Nabonassar, king of Babylon, so that the adoption of the period of a solar year, for the duration of the deluge in Genesis, would appear to be characteristic of the eighth century before Christ.]
COMPOSITION OF GENESIS.
compiler ventures to introduce a favourite theory or to promote some patriotic purpose of his own; but we find, as he proceeds, that he infuses into the work a larger portion of purely Jewish elements, until at length the primæval history of his people enables him to assume a bolder and more independent position. He may indeed have had other materials before him, or may have occasionally borrowed from ancient epic lays, as for instance the whole poem [on the twelve tribes] in chapter xlix, from the time of Solomon; but nevertheless it is only in what are called the Elohim records that we can discover the existence of any earlier written origin, and all critical arguments unite to assure us, that the whole compilation could not have been reduced to its present form until nearly the time of the Exile (B.C. 722.].......
We have thus refuted the hypothesis which assumes the existence of more than one series of ancient and original records; and while we recognize with Ewald the unity of Genesis, we allow the full force of the proofs of the two distinct elements which have been discovered by others; but it is clear, from the remarks which have been made, that, with merely the names of Elohim and Jehovah as guides, we cannot presuře to divide the whole text into separate portions, and to select the original record out of these fragments; for we cannot prove, how often the compiler may have derived merely the connecting passages from the original source of his work, with how liberal or how sparing a hand he may have subsequently interwoven them into his narrative, or even, in particular cases, what ideas may belong to him, and what may have been adopted from previous compilers.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION OF GENESIS.
It has been already observed that those narratives which are distinguished by the use of Elohim for the name of God, are also remarkable for the characteristics of the Mesopotamian region of central Asia which they exhibit, and that without some knowledge of the other portions of Eastern mythology they would now be obscure. This is particularly the case with some of the narratives which occur in the earlier portions of Genesis, and which will therefore claim for a short time our further consideration. So close and striking is their connection with similar ideas prevalent among the Hindoos, Persians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, and Greeks, both in their general outline and in their particular features, that attempts have been often made to derive or explain what is called the heathen mythology from that which is found in the Bible,—a mode of explanation which might perhaps have been expected at the time of Bishop Huet, but which at the present day can only proceed from prejudice or want of critical inquiry. Kaiser has indeed endeavoured to tread in this old path, but it is now a century too latel: he would try to persuade us that the key to the mythology of every ancient people may be found in the earlier chapters of Genesis, and
See his “Commentarius in priora Geneseos capita, quatenus universæ Populorum Mythologiæ claves exhibent.” Nürnb. 1829.
he actually brings himself to say, that without the Israelitish tribes we should have had no zodiac; that the Hindoos would have been ignorant of the flood, and that the Greeks would have been unacquainted with their gods and heroes if they had not been instructed by the Jews,-a supposition almost too absurd to deserve the serious examination which we have given it in another work?. But the author has wisely omitted to prove in the first instance the priority of the Hebrew mythology, or even to point out the manner in which it was diffused among all the other nations of the earth ; and, in answer to these vague assertions, we will here present to the attention of the reader the following passage from Dohm :
“ It is strange," he observes, “ that such pains should have been taken to trace to the Jews not only the origin of all the ideas of science and religion which are found among eastern nations, but even the commencement of every possible variety of usage, custom and ceremony. The small and circumscribed people of the Hebrews, who were generally despised, and who never maintained an intercourse with other nations either by trade or by conquest, by religious missionaries or by philosophical travellers, are supposed, according to the dreams of certain learned men, to have supplied all Asia, and from thence the whole world, with religion, philosophy and laws, and even with manners and morals 2.”
Very similar are the opinions of Corrodi on this subject: “ It appears to me,” he says, “ that the Jews were not
1 Altes Indien (Ancient India), i. 215. ? Dohm, Anmerkungen zu Ives Reise nach Indien (Observations on Ive's Journey to India), i. 134.
3 Geschichte des Chiliasmus (History of the belief in the Millenium),