Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/694

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APOLOGETICS


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APOLOGETICS


every form of divine intervention, und accordingly rejected revelation, inspiration, miracles, and proph- ecy. Together with unbelievers of a still more pro- nounced type, tlicy a,ssailed the historic \alue of the Bible, decrying its miraculous narratives as fraud and supers! ition. The movement started in England, and in the eighteenth century spread to P^ ranee and Germany. Its baneful influence was deep and far- reaching, for it found zealous exponents in some of the leading philosophers and men of letters — Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, d'Alembert, Dide- rot, Lessing, Herder, and others. But able apolo- gists were not lacking to champion the Christian cause. England produced several that won lasting honour for their scholarly defence of fundamental Christian truths — I^ardner, author of the "Credibility of the Gospel History", in twelve volumes (1741-,55); Butler, likewise famous for his "Analogy of Religion Natural and Revealed to the Constitution of Nature" (17361; Campbell, who in his "Dissertation on Mir- acles" (1766) gave a masterly answer to Hume's arguments against miracles; and Pa ley, whose "Evi- dences of Christianity" (1794) and "Natural Theol- ogy" (1802) are among the classics of English the- ological literature. On the continent, the work of defence was carried on by such men as Bishop Huet, who published his "Demonstration Evang^lique" in 1679; Leibnitz, whose "Th6odic^e" (1684), with its valuable introduction on the conformity of faith with reason, had a great influence for good; the Benedictine Abbot Gerbert, who gave a comprehensive Christian apology in his " Demonstratio Verie Religionis Ver- aeque Ecclesiae Contra Quasvis Falsas " (1760); and ihe Abbe Bergier, whose " Traite historique et dogma- tique de la vraie religion", in twelve volumes (1780), showed ability and erudition. — (b) The Nineleenlh Century. In the last century the conflict of Christi- anity with rationalism was in part lightened and in part complicated bj^ the marvellous development of scientific and historic inquiry. Lost languages, like the Egyptian and the Babylonian, were recovered, and thereby rich and valuable records of the past — many of them unearthed by laborious and costly excavation — were made to tell their story. Much of this bore on the relations of the ancient Hebrew people with the surrounding nations and, while in some instances creating new difficulties, for the most part helped to corroborate the truth of the Bible Iiistory. Out of these researches have grown a num- ber of valuable and interesting apologetic studies on Old Testament history: Schrader, "Cuneiform In- scriptions and the Old Testament" (London, 1872); Hengstenberg's "Egypt and the Books of Moses" (London, 1845); Harper, "The Bible and Modern Discoveries" (London, 1891); McCurdy, "History, Prophecy, and the Monuments" (London-New York, 1894-1900); Pinches, "The Old Testament in the Light of the Historic Records of Assyria and Baby- lonia" (London-New York, 1902); Abb6 Gainet, "La bible sans la bible, ou I'histoire de I'ancien tes- tament par les seuls t6moignages profanes" (Bar-le- Duc, 1871); Vigouroux, "La bible et les d^couvertes modernes" (Paris, 1889). On the other hand. Bib- lical chronology, as then understood, and the literal historic interpretation of the Book of Genesis were thrown into confusion by the advancing sciences — ■ astronomy, with its grand nebular hypothesis; biol- ogy, with its even more fruitful theory of evolution; geology, and prehistoric arctui-ology. Rationalists eagerly laid hold of these scientific data, and sought to turn them to the discredit of the Bible and like- wise of the Christian religion. But able apologies were forthcoming to essay a conciliation of science and religion. Among them were: Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Wiseman, "Twelve Lectures on the Con- nection between Science and Revealed Religion" (London, 1847), which, though antiquated in i)arts,


is still valuable reading; Reusch, "Nature and the Bible" (London, 1876). Others more mouern and up to date are: Duilhd de Saint-Projet, "Apologie scientifique de la foi chr^tienne" (Paris, 188.5); Abl;^ Guibert, "In the Beginning" (New York, 1904), one of the best Catholic treatises on the subject; and more recent still, A. de Lapparent, "Science et apolo- g^tique" (Paris, 1905). A more delicate form of scientific inquiry for Christian belief was the appli- cation of the principles of historic criticism to the books of Holy Scripture. Not a few Christian schol- ars looked with grave misgivings on the progress made in this legitimate department of human re- search, the results of which called for a reconstruc- tion of many traditional views of Scripture. Ration- alists found here a congenial field of study, which seemed to promise the undermining of Scripture- authority. Hence it was but natural that the en- croachments of Biblical criticism on conservative theology should be disputed inch by inch. On the whole, the outcome of the long and spirited contest has been to the advantage of Christianity. It is true that the Pentateuch, so long attributed to Moses, is now held by the vast majority of non-Catholic, and by an increasing number of Catholic, scholars to be a compilation of four independent sources put together in final shape soon after the Capti\ity. But the antiquity of much of the contents of these sources has been firmly established, as well as the strong presumption that the kernel of the Pentateuchal legislation is of Mosaic institution. This has been shown by Kirkpatrick in his "Divine Library of the Old Testament" (London-New York, 1901), by Driver in his "Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (New York, 1897), and by Abie Lagrange, in his "M^thode historique de I'Ancien Testament" (Paris, 1903; tr. London, 1905). In the New Testament the results of Biblical criticism are still more assuring. The attempt of the Tubingen school to throw the Gospels far into the second cen- tury, and to see in most of the Epistles of St. Paul the work of a much later hand, has been absolutely discredited. The synoptic Gospels are now gener- ally recognized, even by advanced critics, to belong to the years 65-85, resting on stiU earlier written and oral sources, and the Gospel of St. John is brought with certainty down to at least a. d. 110, that is, within a very few years of the death of St. John. The three Epistles of St. John are recognized as gen- uine, the pastoral letters being now the chief object of dispute. Closely connected with the theory of the Tubingen School was the attempt of the ration- alist Strauss to explain away the miraculous element in the Gospels as the mythical fancies of an age nuich later than that of Jesus. Strauss's views, embodied in his "Life of Jesus" (1835), were ably refuted, together with the false assertions and inductions of the Tubingen School, by such Catholic scholars as Kuhn, Hug, Sepp, Dollinger, and by the Protestant critics, Ewald, ileyer, Wie.seler, Tholuck, Luthardt, and others. The outcome of Strauss's " Life of Jesus, ' ' and of Renan's vain attempt to improve on it by giving it a legendary form (Vie de J&us, 1863). has been a number of scholarly biographies of our- blessed Lord: by Fouard, "Christ the Son of God" (New York, 1891); Didon, "Jesus Christ" (New York, 1891); Ederslicim, " I.,ife and Times of Jesu.-. the Messiah" (Now York, 1SU6). and otliors.

Another field of study which grew up chiefly in tlu- last century, and has had an influence in sh:ipingthe science of apologetics, is the study of religions. The study of the great religious systems of the pagan world, and their comparison with Christianity, fur- nished material for a number of specious arguments against the independent and supernatural origin of the Christian religion. So, too, the study of the origin of religion in the light of the religious philos-