Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/311

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France has ever produced, did his best to crush Simon. In Germany, Wasmuth, professor first at Rostock and afterward at Kiel, hurled his "Vindiciæ" at the innovators. Yet at this very moment the battle was clearly won; the arguments of Capellus were irrefragable, and, despite the commands of bishops, the outcries of theologians and the sneering of critics, his application of strictly scientific observation and reasoning carried the day.

Yet a casual observer, long after the fate of the battle was really settled, might have supposed that it was still in doubt. As is not unusual in theologic controversies, attempts were made to galvanize the dead doctrine into the appearance of life. Famous among these attempts was that made as late as the beginning of the eighteenth century by two Bremen theologians, Hase and Iken. They put forth a compilation in two huge folios simultaneously at Leyden and Amsterdam, prominent in which work is the treatise on The Integrity of Scripture, by Johann Andreas Danzius, Professor of Oriental Languages and Senior Member of the Philosophical Faculty of Jena. To preface it, there was a formal and fulsome approval by three eminent professors of theology at Leyden. With great fervor the author pointed out that "religion itself depends absolutely on the infallible inspiration, both verbal and literal, of the Scripture text"; and with impassioned eloquence he assailed the blasphemers who dared question the divine origin of the Hebrew points. But this was really the last great effort. That the case was lost is seen by the fact that Danzius felt obliged to use other missiles than arguments, and especially to call his opponents hard names. From this period the old sacred theory as to the origin of the Hebrew points may be considered as dead and buried.

But the war was soon to be waged on a wider and far more important field. The inspiration of the Hebrew punctuation having been given up, the great orthodox body fell back upon the remainder of the theory, and intrenched this more strongly than ever—the theory that the Hebrew language was the first of all languages, spoken by the Almighty, given by him to Adam, transmitted through Noah to the world after the Deluge, and that the confusion of tongues was the origin of all the other languages of the earth. In giving account of this new phase of the struggle, it is well to go back a little. From the revival of learning and the Reformation had come the renewed study of Hebrew in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and thus the sacred doctrine regarding the divine origin of the Hebrew language received additional authority. All the early Hebrew grammars, from that of Reuchlin down, assert the divine origin and miraculous claims of Hebrew. It is constantly mentioned as "the sacred tongue"—sancta lingua. In 1506 Reuchlin, though himself persecuted by a