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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/363

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CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM.

struggling into utterance and being, all around us. . . . It is close upon us—it is prepared by all the forces of history and mind—its rise sooner or later is inevitable." This is prophesy, but it is not argument; and a little attention to Mrs. Ward's own statements will exhibit a very different picture. The Christian representative in her dialogue exclaims:

What is the whole history of German criticism but a series of brilliant failures, from Strauss downward? One theorist follows another—now Mark is uppermost as the Ur-Evangelist, now Matthew—now the Synoptics are sacrificed to St. John, now St. John to the Synoptics. Baur relegates one after another of the Epistles to the second century because his theory can not do with them in the first. Harnack tells you that Baur's theory is all wrong, and that Thessalonians and Philippians must go back again. Volkmar sweeps together Gospels and Epistles in a heap toward the middle of the second century as the earliest date for almost all of them; and Dr. Abbott, who, as we are told, has absorbed all the learning of the Germans, puts Mark before 70 a. d., Matthew just about 70 a. d., and Luke about 80 a. d.; Strauss's mythical theory is dead and buried by common consent; Baur's tendency theory is much the same; Renan will have none of the Tübingen school; Volkmar is already antiquated; and Pfleiderer's fancies are now in the order of the day.

A better statement could hardly be wanted of what is meant by an attack having failed, and now let the reader observe how Merriman in the dialogue meets it. Does he deny any of those allegations? Not one. "Very well," he says, "let us leave the matter there for the present. Suppose we go to the Old Testament"; and then he proceeds to dwell on the concessions made to the newest critical school of Germany by a few distinguished English divines at the last Church Congress. I must, indeed, dispute her representation of that rather one-sided debate as amounting to "a collapse of English orthodoxy," or as justifying her statement that "the Church of England practically gives its verdict" in favor, for instance, of the school which regards the Pentateuch or the Hexateuch as "the peculiar product of that Jewish religious movement which, beginning with Josiah, . . . yields its final fruits long after the exile." Not only has the Church of England given no such verdict, but German criticism has as yet given no such verdict. For example, in the introduction to the Old Testament by one of the first Hebrew scholars of Germany, Prof. Hermann Strack, contained in the valuable "Hand-book of the Theological Sciences," edited, with the assistance of several distinguished scholars, by Prof. Zöchler, I find, at page 215 of the third edition, published this year, the following brief summary of what, in Dr. Strack's opinion, is the result of the controversy so far:

The future results of further labors in the field of Pentateuch criticism can not, of course, be predicted in particulars. But, in spite of the great assent which the view of Graf and Wellhausen at present enjoys, we are nevertheless convinced that it will not permanently lead to any essential alteration in the conception which has