It is with different feelings from those which Prof. Huxley provokes that I turn for a while to Mrs. Humphrey Ward's article on "The New Reformation." Since he adopts that article as a sufficient confutation of mine, I feel obliged to notice it, though I am sorry to appear in any position of antagonism to its author. Apart from other considerations, I am under much obligation to Mrs. Ward for the valuable series of articles which she contributed to the "Dictionary of Christian Biography" under my editorship, upon the obscure but interesting history of the Goths in Spain. I trust that, in her account of the effect upon Robert Elsmere and Merriman of absorption in that barbarian scene, she is not describing her own experience and the source of her own aberrations. But I feel especially bound to treat her argument with consideration, and to waive any opposition which can be avoided. I am sorry that she, too, questions the possibility in this Country of "a scientific, that is to say, an unprejudiced, an unbiased study of theology, under present conditions," and I should have hoped that she would have had too much confidence in her colleagues in the important work to which I refer than to cast this slur upon them. Their labors have, in fact, been received with sufficient appreciation by German scholars of all schools to render their vindication unnecessary; and if Prof. Huxley can extend his study of German theological literature much beyond Zeller's "Vorträge" of "a quarter of a century ago," or Ritschl's writings of "nearly forty years ago," he will not find himself countenanced by church historians in Germany in his contempt for the recent contributions of English scholars to early church history. However, it is the more easy for me to waive all differences of this nature with Mrs. Ward, because it is unnecessary for me to look beyond her article for its own refutation. Her main contention, or that at least for which Prof. Huxley appeals to her, seems to be that it is a mistake to suppose that the rationalistic movement of Germany has been defeated in the sphere of New Testament criticism, and she selects more particularly for her protest a recent statement in the "Quarterly Review" that this criticism, and particularly the movement led by Baur, is "an attack which has failed." The Quarterly Reviewer may be left to take care of himself; but I would only ask what is the evidence which Mrs. Ward adduces to the contrary? It may be summed up in two words—a prophecy and a romance. She does not adduce any evidence that the Tübingen school, which is the one we are chiefly concerned with, did not fail to establish its specific contentions; on the contrary, she says that "history protested," and she goes on to prophesy the success of other speculations which arose from that protest, concluding with an imaginary sketch, like that with which "Robert Elsmere" ends, of a "new Reformation preparing.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/362
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.