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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/365

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CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM.
I say to myself (says her spokesman, p. 466) it Las taken some thirty years for German critical science to conquer English opinion in the matter of the Old Testament. . . . How much longer will it take before we feel the victory of the same science. . . with regard to the history of Christian origins?

Remembering that the main movement of New Testament criticism in Germany dates not thirty, but more than fifty years back, and that thirty years ago Baur's school enjoyed the same applause in Germany as that of Wellhausen does now, does it not seem more in conformity with experience and with probability to anticipate that, as the Germans themselves, with longer experience, find they had been too hasty in following Baur, so with an equally long experience they may find they have been similarly too hasty in accepting Wellhausen? The fever of revolutionary criticism on the New Testament was at its height after thirty years, and the science has subsided into comparative health after twenty more. The fever of the revolutionary criticism of the Old Testament is now at its height, but the parallel suggests a similar return to a more sober and common-sense state of mind. The most famous name, in short, of German New Testament criticism is now associated with exploded theories; and we are asked to shut our eyes to this undoubted fact because Mrs. Ward prophesies a different fate for the name now most famous in Old Testament criticism. I prefer the evidence of established fact to that of romantic prophecy.

But these observations suggest another consideration, which has a very important bearing on that general disparagement of English theology and theologians which Prof. Huxley expresses so offensively, and which Mrs. Ward encourages. She and Prof. Huxley talk as if German theology were all rationalistic and English theology alone conservative. Prof. Huxley invites his readers to study in Mrs. Ward's article

the results of critical investigation as it is carried out among those theologians who are men of science and not mere counsel for creeds;

and he appeals to

the works of scholars and theologians of the highest repute in the only two countries, Holland and Germany, in which, at the present time, professors of theology are to be found, whose tenure of their posts does not depend upon the results to which their inquiries lead them.

Well, passing over the insult to theologians in all other countries, what is the consequence of this freedom in Germany itself? Is it seen that all learned and distinguished theologians in that country are of the opinions of Prof. Huxley and Mrs. Ward? The quotations I have given will serve to illustrate the fact that the exact contrary is the case. If any one wants vigorous, learned, and satisfactory answers to Prof. Huxley and Mrs. Ward, Ger-