Bible Study: Old Testament Books
The history of the origin of the Chosen PeopleIn Hebrew, Bereshith, in Greek Genesis, whence the title nowadays of "Genesis" or the "birth." This title is singularly appropriate, for the truest account of the Book is comprised in the expression "History of Origins." Yet even here we must be careful to avoid a common pitfall. The book is not professedly the history of the origin of the world nor even of the human race, it is essentially the history of the origin of the Chosen People. Failure to realise this point has led to many misapprehensions and even heresies. The creation of the world is described, but only as man's future habitation; the creation of the animals is described, but as destined for man's use; cf. infra., s.v., Hexaemeron.
The history of a Chosen Race necessarily demands the elimination of those portions of the race which are not so chosen, and in this fact we have the key to Genesis. The author proceeds by a series of eliminations of all those who did not fall within the scheme of God's providential care of this world. These eliminations are indicated by the expression which occurs no less than ten times "these are the generations of..." in Hebrew Toledoth.
Following the hint thus given we may divide the book into ten chapters of unequal length as follows:
(a) 2:4, "These are the generations of the heaven and the earth."Thus in this series of Genealogies we pass, from the Adamites to the Sethites, then to the Noachites, then to the Semites, then to the Thareites, then to Isaac as opposed to Ismael, then to Jacob as opposed to Esau. It should be noticed, too, as throwing instructive light on the author's mode of composition, that these genealogies are interwoven with the narrative in such a way that the various portions of genealogy serve to weld together the otherwise scattered accounts of the patriarchs. It is this feature which gives unity to the whole. If we fail to grasp it we lose the key to the book. The author must have had in his hands the whole genealogical tree as well as the narrative portions, and he has most skilfully pieced them into a harmonious whole.
(b) 5:1, "This is the book of the generation of Adam."
(c) 6:9, "These are the generations of Noah."
(d) 10:1, "These are the generations of the sons of Noah."
(e) 11:10, "These are the generations of Sem."
(f) 11:27, "These are the generations of Thare."
(g) 25:12, "These are the generations of Ismael."
(h) 25:19, "These are the generations of Isaac."
(i) 36:1, "These are the generations of Esau."
(j) 37:2, "These are the generations of Jacob."
Before proceeding to a more minute analysis of the book, it will not be amiss to point out its geographical divisions.
Chapters 1-3 deal with man in Eden;
Chapters 4-11 with the Euphrates valley;
Chapters 12-38 with Canaan;
Chapters 39-50 with Egypt.
Chapters I-XI. The history of the Creation, of our first Parents, and of the Patriarchs.
Chapters i-ii. The CREATION
Chapter iii. The FALLThe subsequent promise of a Redeemer, often termed the Protevangelion, or "First Gospel." The necessity of preserving this promise led to the gradual elimination of a Chosen Race; they were chosen then, not because of any merits of their own, but simply for the furtherance of the Divine plans for the ultimate redemption of the world from the consequences of Adam's fall.
Chapter iv. The story of Cain and Abel
Lamech, of the race of Cain, is rejected, and SETH is born to replace Abel.
Chapters v-ix. The history of the SethitesThe entire race is blotted out by the DELUGE, with the exception of Noah of the race of Seth; he and his sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth, are preserved in the ark. Chanaan son of Ham is cursed and Japheth is set aside, yet with a blessing.
Chapters x. The genealogy of the descendants of NoahIt follows these three sons by whom the earth is re-peopled after the Deluge; this chapter is of great importance ethhographically, it has often been the object of rationalistic sneers, but every archaeological discovery serves to show the accuracy of the writer. For instance, it used to be maintained that the Elamites (10:22) could not be Semites, but the recent discoveries in Elam have shown that they were so.
Chapters xi. The story of the TOWER OF BABELThis and the consequent dispersal of the human race is followed by the genealogy of the Semites out of whom the Thareites are chosen as the depositories of the divine promises; in this family, Abram is born. Thus from a Chosen Race we have passed to a Chosen Family, and the history may now be conveniently termed that of
Chapters XII-XXV. ABRAHAM THE CHOSEN.God had made Covenants with Noah, 6:18, 8:21, 9:1-17, but He now enters into a peculiarly personal and intimate relationship with Abram:
Chapter xii. Abram is introducedHe calls him from Haran in Mesopotamia; He appears to him at Moreh; He makes to him the first promise, "to thy seed will I give this land."
Chapter xiii. Abram and Lot agree to separate.The promise is renewed to Abram, "I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth."
Chapter xiv. The expedition of the four kings from the east.A chapter of the highest historical importance; its details have received the most extraordinary confirmation from recent discoveries in Babylonia and Assyria, q.v.; Abram's interview with Melchisedech — the most mysterious figure in the whole of the Old Testament.
Chapters xv. God reveals to AbramIn a vision is given the future greatness of his descendants as well as their future sufferings in Egypt; they shall be in bondage four hundred years, but shall come out from that land after the fourth generation. The promise is renewed, "number the stars if thou canst ... so shall thy seed be; Abram believed God and it was reputed to him unto justice."
Chapter xvi. ISMAEL.The episode of Agar, ISMAEL is born.
Chapter xvii. Abram's name is changed.The promise is once more renewed to Abram, "I am, and My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of many nations." His name, Abram, is changed into that of Abraham; the promise is sealed by the sign of circumcision; Sara is promised a son, "kings of peoples shall spring from him." Abraham believes, but, seeing that Ismael is therefore rejected, he prays for him.
Chapters xviii-xix. The destruction of Sodom.The promise of a son to Sara is renewed, and, just as Abraham, 17:17 had laughed at the idea, so did Sara laugh now; hence the name of "Isaac" or "LAUGHTER." As Abram, too, had prayed for Ismael, so now he pleads for Sodom, but unavailingly, though Lot is saved. The account closes with the story of the origin of the Moabites and of the children of Ammon.
Chapter xx. Abraham goes south.Abraham goes to Gerara in the south, and just as Pharaoh, 12:11-20, had taken Sara into his house, so now did Abimelech.
Chapter xxi. ISAAC is born.Agar and Ismael at the instance of Sara are cast out; a league is made between Abraham and Abimelech.
Chapter xxii. The sacrifice of Isaac.Abraham is commanded to sacrifice Isaac on Mt. Moriah; an angel forbids him to carry out his intention, for God is but trying his faith; the promise is once more renewed, "in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed." An appended genealogy puts us in possession of the relation between Abraham and those of the Thareites who had remained at Haran, and we are thus prepared for Isaac's subsequent marriage with Rebecca.
Chapter xxiii. Sara dies.Sara dies, Abraham buys the double cave of Macpelah from the children of Heth.
Chapter xxiv. Rebecca.He sends to Haran for a wife for Isaac; Abraham's steward, Eliezer, returns with Rebecca.
XXV-XXVI, HISTORY OF ISAAC THE CHOSENAn account is prefixed of Abraham's other children by Cetura; from them sprang the Midianites, etc. Abraham dies, and is buried with Sara. The "Generations" of Ismael and Isaac follow, and we are then given the account of the sale of his birth-right by Esau who thus forfeited the privilege of reckoning the Messiah among his children. Isaac goes to Gerara as Abraham had done, and Abimelech takes Rebecca into his house just as he had taken Sara. The promise is once more renewed to Isaac as to his father before him, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
XXVII-L. HISTORY OF JACOB THE CHOSEN
Chapter xxvii. Jacob and Esau.He obtains his father's blessing in place of Esau.
Chapter xxviii. The promise renewedHe has to fly to Haran to escape the latter's wrath; on his way there is vouchsafed him the vision of the ladder stretching up to heaven. The promise is renewed to him as to Isaac and Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
Chapters xxix-xxxii. Jacob renamed ISRAELJacob serves seven years for Rachel, Leah is palmed off upon him; he serves other seven years for Rachel; sons are born to him (see the genealogical tables below); his substance increases at the expense of Laban, he flees to the west, a compact is made between him and Laban; he has a vision of angels at Mahanaim, he struggles with an angel at night, and his name is changed to ISRAEL.
Chapters xxxiii-xxxvi. JOSEPHHe meets Esau; he establishes himself at Shechem where Simeon and Levi draw upon themselves their father's curse for their violent revenge upon the Sichemites for the wrong done to their sister. Isaac dies, and the "Generations" of Esau are given. The whole interest now centers in JOSEPH, not because he was the chosen one of Jacob's sons, but because in the divine plan he was the means of securing for the Israelites a place of refuge in Egypt.
Chapters xxxvii-xxxviii. Joseph is sold into Egypt.But as though to point out that the chosen line will pass through JUDAH and not through Joseph, we are told, apropos of a disgraceful sin on Judah's part, that he had two sons Phares and Zara, in the direct line of the latter came the Messias, cf. St. Matth. i.
Chapters xxxix-xli. Joseph in EgyptJoseph acquires a high position in Egypt.
Chapters xlii-xlv. Joseph and his brothers.His brethren, driven by the famine which Joseph had foretold, come down into Egypt. Joseph ultimately reveals himself to them and sends for his father.
XLVI-L. ISRAEL GOES DOWN INTO EGYPTAt this critical point in the history of the chosen line the writer gives us in full the catalogue of the tribe. They are settled in Gessen; Jacob blesses the children of Joseph; by divine instinct he puts Ephraim, the younger, before Manasses, thus in a mysterious way repeating what he himself had done to his brother, Esau. In the extent of the blessing thus given to the children of Joseph we see the reward vouchsafed to him for his faithful services, but his was not the chosen line, and his sons were afterwards the chief opponents of the Davidic race. Jacob, before dying, prophesies the future of his children, and, in mysterious fashion, dwells upon the "things that shall befall them in the last days." To Judah he makes the most glorious promises: "the sceptre shall not be taken from Judah, nor a ruler from his thigh, till He come that is to be sent, and He shall be the Expectation of nations.' The book concludes with the death of Joseph who conjures his sons not to leave his body in Egypt, when, in the Providence of God, they shall go up into the land of their inheritance, cf. Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32.
This brief analysis of the book will enable us to see how supernatural it is in tone. It is well to realise this, for we are at times apt to forget it in the interest of the story; while at times, too, the human aspect of it all is so strikingly displayed that we are in danger of losing sight of the part which Almighty God so clearly plays throughout. Thus Genesis has not inaptly been termed the Book of Visions, Covenants, and Promises; this is as it should be, for the book is fundamental in more ways than one. It tells us the history of the origins of this world and its inhabitants, but, as hinted above, not so much for their own sake as for the sake of bringing into clear light God's plan of Redemption of the human race. Thus whilst the human interest is always there, and sometimes indeed only too painfully manifested, God also is always there — in the background it is true — but it is only in the light of His presence that we can arrive at a true understanding of the story. A student will do well to make for himself lists of the various visions, covenants, and promises in order to secure a grasp of this fundamental character of the whole book.
THE HISTORICAL VALUE OF CHS. I-XIThere will, presumably, always be discussion on this point; of late years it has intensified owing to the discoveries in Babylonia and Assyria of accounts of the Creation and the Flood, etc., which run on lines extraordinarily similar to those of the Biblical narratives. The principal events given in these chapters are the Creation, the Fall, the Flood, the Ethnographical details in ch. x., and the history of the Patriarchs in ch. xi. Are we to take these recitals as sober history in the same way as we take the accounts of the reigns of David or Ezechias? Are we to regard them, as do so many modern critics, as myths or legends? Or, lastly, is it possible to find some via media between these two extremes?
In the first place, it will be evident that there can be no such thing as a history, properly so-called, of the creation, for there was no historian there to see it and tell us about it. But this fact will not allow us to regard the stories detailed in these early chapters as mere myths having no foundation. Hence we must cast about for some 'via media' which, while doing full justice to the character of the recital, shall avoid any view which runs counter to sound teaching regarding inspiration or the historical character of the recital.
It must be noted at the outset that there seems to be no appreciable change of style or treatment when we pass from Ch. xi. to the following chapters. Further, as pointed out above, the book seems to have been most carefully welded into a homogeneous whole, the author piecing together his story by means of the genealogical tables scattered throughout the volume. Again, there are no detached portions in the book; we cannot, for instance, understand any one chapter without first reading the whole of what has gone before; thus the Fall alone will explain the doctrine of a Chosen Race, which, as we have seen, runs through the whole story; similarly the Flood alone will enable us to understand the position of the Semites. Lastly, ch. xi., which closes the history of the patriarchs, is evidently constructed with a view to what follows, it ends with the origin of the Thareites from whom sprang Abraham.
These facts will not, of course, explain the character of the early chapters, for this harmonious arrangement is due solely to a writer who lived many centuries after the events which he narrates. We want to get behind him, so to speak, and see for ourselves what value is to be attributed to the stories which he has preserved for us. His treatment of them is one thing, their own precise character and origin is another.
We will, for clearness' sake, take only one portion of the early story and examine it in the light of the evidence we possess:
The HEXAEMERONAccording to the Biblical narrative the work of Creation extended over six days, and on the seventh the Creator rested. On the first day, the Light was made; on the second, the firmament; on the third, the waters were divided from the land, and the trees and herbs came into being; on the fourth, the sun, moon, and stars were created, and were set to rule the seasons; on the fifth, the fishes and fowls were created, and were bidden to increase and multiply; on the sixth, the animals and creeping things came into being, and man was created to have dominion over them; on the seventh, God rested from His work. The story of Creation has thus been given in general, and its order stated; man coming last; in the succeeding chapter, the order is reversed, and the creation of man is espec- ially dwelt upon; its mode is given at length, and man's relation to the rest of creation is detailed; finally a help-mate is created for Adam,
An examination of this account shows us (a) that creation was conceived of as consisting in a definite series of operations; (b) that it is given in a more or less poetical form ; thus we note the recurring formula "and there was evening and morning, one day," etc.; (c) though it is the creation of the universe which is treated of, it is yet clear that all is told from the standpoint of the earth; in other words, we are not told the story for its own intrinsic interest, nor from a purely scientific point of view — we have not a cosmogony so much as a geogony. (d) The account is essentially anthropomorphic, i.e., God is depicted as a man, He acts, plans, and speaks like a man. (e) The whole account is essentially popular, i.e., it is expressed in popular language and according to appearances: e.g., the description of the firmament. If we ask what precise doctrinal teaching is to be gathered from the account, it will seem that nothing is explicitly taught us in the first chapter beyond the fact that God created all, and that He rested on the Sabbath day.
It will help us to arrive at a fuller understanding of the question if we now turn to the accounts of the Creation which have recently come to us from the East, viz., from Chaldea. These are three in number, and they vary considerably from one another. The most important of them was discovered by George Smith at Kouyunjik or Niniveh, and further fragments have since been brought to light, so that we now have portions of all the seven (?) tablets upon which it was originally engraved, except the second and the sixth. The portion of the seventh tablet where the creation of man should come is unfortunately mutilated. Though founded on older poems this epic is probably not earlier than the time of Assur-bani-pal, 668-626 B.C. The contents of the tablets may, for purposes of comparison, be stated as follows:
Tablet I. "At that time" (so it opens), there was no heaven or earth, only a watery chaos — Tiamat — existed. From this proceeded the primaeval deities, Lakmu and Lakhamu; then An-sar and Ki-sar, the upper and lower firmament. Later came Anu the sky-god, Bel the god of the spirit-world, and Ea the god of the rivers and the sea.
Tablet II. is wanting, but seems to have contained an account of the conflict between Merodach — son of Ea, and sun-god of Babylonia — and Tiamat.
Tablet III. continues the account, Tiamat is slain and in
Tablet IV. her body is broken up so that of her skin is made the upper firmament, the habitation of Anu, Bel, and Ea; while the sea is ruled over by Ea.
Tablet V. The heavenly bodies are established as rulers of the seasons.
Tablet VI. is missing; it probably described the creation of the earth, the birds, and the vegetables.
Tablet VII. tells of the creation of the animals and reptiles, and probably the missing portion of this tablet gave an account of the creation of man.
The second account which has come down to us is much older. It is contained in a bilingual inscription, viz., in Accadian and Semitic-Babylonian, which was discovered by Rassam at Sippara, 1881-82. This inscription is thus primarily non-Semitic and belongs to a very early age. It is short, not more than forty- one lines on the obverse, and fifteen on the reverse. It is much more concerned with the divine origin of the great cities, Nippur, Erech, Eridu, and Babylon, than with the creation of mankind. The foundation of the great temples, too, is particularly dwelt upon. Very few deities are mentioned, there is no 'Tree of Life.' At the same time we are told of Merodach that "he made mankind' (l. 20 of the obverse); he also created the animals. The account further differs from that of the Bible in that there is no mention of the "Chaos," nor of the days and nights, the heavenly bodies, the fishes, birds, monsters of the deep; nor of the days of creation.
The third fragmentary account again is very different from the two preceding. George Smith was the discoverer of this also; he brought it from the library of Assur-bani-pal at Niniveh, but a colophon at its close informs us that it was copied from the library at Cutha. It is written in Semitic only, and cannot therefore belong to the pre-Semitic period, like the second account; it is thought that it may perhaps date from the time of Hammurabi, the Amraphel of Genesis 14, circa 2300 — 2200 B.C. It is interesting to note that the deity who prevails over the giant brood of Tiamat in this presentation of the story is not Merodach but Nergal who was, we know, the patron-deity of Cutha. This fact shows how the various narratives took on a different dress according to the centre in which they circulated. There is no creation in successive acts; Tiamat appears to rule over an underground city, so that the earth is represented as already existing; the state of "Chaos", however, may be represented by the expression in l. 8 "On a tablet he wrote not," The creation of the brood of Tiamat is referred to the "great gods," thus 11. 10-15:
"Warriors with the body of a bird of the valley, men,
"with the faces of ravens,
"Did the great gods create.
"In the ground the gods created his city,
"Tiamat gave them suck."
It may be useful for purpose of comparison to place in parallel columns the various data furnished by these accounts and that given in the Bible.
|Genesis||Assyrian Epic||Cuthaean Account||Pre-Semitic Account|
|1. Seven periods||ditto||wanting||wanting|
|2. 'Chaos' or, in Hebrew "Tehom"||"Tiamat"||"Tiamat"||ditto|
|3. The order of the Creation|
|(a) the light||ditto||wanting||ditto|
|(b) the firmament||ditto||ditto||ditto|
|(c) the earth||the heavenly bodies||ditto||ditto|
|(d) the heavenly bodies||earth||ditto||ditto|
|(e) the animals||ditto||ditto||ditto|
|(f) the reptiles||ditto||ditto||ditto|
|(g) man||probably||ditto||"he made mankind"|
We are now in a position to appreciate at its true worth the account given in Genesis. It is evident that it no longer stands alone, it is not an isolated story, but a portion of what we may term the world's heritage.
The three accounts, Semitic and pre- Semitic, which we have examined above, most certainly contain reminiscences of the origin of mankind and of this world which run on parallel lines with the Biblical narrative. None of them are 'history' in the technical sense of the term for the simple reason that they deal with the origins of history and not with history itself. Are we to dub them all indiscriminately 'myths'? Names are awkward things, and there is about the name 'myth' an air of romanticism which forbids us to use it in this connection. Can we call these stories 'legends'? Here again we feel a dislike to the term because of its associations. All, it will be evident, is a question of terms. As a writer who is fully competent to speak on such subjects, C. H. W. Johns, says in the volume of Cambridge Biblical Essays for 1910, "The term myth is not very definite. Mythology in the Bible is a very shocking idea to some accustomed to regard myths as essentially stories about the pagan gods ... It might be well to devise a more exact term to connote what we have to deal with here. For many so-called myths are primitive attempts to put an hypothesis into words before language has become sufficiently developed for scientific terms to be available. Recourse is invariably had to metaphor. It is impertinent in the highest degree to attempt to take these metaphors literally."
Primitive nations must necessarily have attempted to give some explanation, however unsatisfactory, of their own existence. It is hardly to be supposed that different nations would have lit upon the same metaphorical way of expressing their ideas on this subject and it seems perfectly legitimate to argue that the universal witness of the world, especially as concretised in the records which we have been examining, bears witness to a primitive revelation on the subject of the origins of mankind and the world in general. At the same time this revelation, while coming from God to man, must necessarily have been expressed in language suitable to man's comprehension, and he, in handing down to his sons the revelation received in the beginning, must needs have expressed things which, save in the case of Adam himself, were beyond his power to understand, and indeed altogether beyond his experience, in terms, too, which were often little better than metaphors, and which as such were only to a small extent capable of giving expression to man's ideas on the subject; it is in this sense that we can speak of the stories in Genesis as myths or legends, and in no other. In doing so we do not cease to remember their divine origin; we look rather at the halting way in which, from the necessities of the case, they must have been expressed.
What conclusions can we draw from this comparison between facts and the Assyro-Babylonian accounts given above? The latter are frankly, nay grossly, polytheistic, whereas the Biblical account is purely monotheistic. Again, the Assyrian account does not seem to involve a creative act; the light, for instance, is rather the result of a conflict between two powers, an evolution rather than a creation, and we are reminded of the dualism of the Persian Zoroastrianism. It is particularly noticeable how the Assyrian story personifies the Chaos of the Bible; Tiamat is a deity or at least a principle of evil. This is part of that metaphorical presentation of things which we indicated above when treating of myths; but the Biblical account is absolutely free from it. Once more, as Prof. Sayce has well remarked, 'between Bel-Merodach and the Hebrew God there is an impassible gulf.'
What, then, are the relations between these Assyrian and pre-Semitic accounts and the Biblical narrative? It must be remembered that the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Hebrews, were, all alike, Semites; further, that the parent of the Hebrew race, viz., Abraham, had come out of Chaldea, and that at the Exile the Hebrews had returned thither. The advanced Rationalistic School would argue that since the Pentateuch, according to their ideas, is only to be referred in its present form to the period succeeding the Exile, i.e., to about 400 B.C., we must see in the account of the Creation preserved in Genesis nothing more than a myth derived from Babylonia during the time of the Captivity. Others, however, would hold that the Hebrews derived it from Chaldea in the period preceding the departure of Thare from Ur of the Chaldees, and that they pre- served the original story in its monotheistic form, free from the accretions we now find in the Chaldean tablets. It is, however, a striking fact that the Bible presents to us Thare and Abraham as believers in the One True God, and it would seem as though from the days of Noah, God had preserved for Himself a portion of the human race untainted by the prevailing idolatry, He had revealed Himself to Adam and again to Noah; yet it is implied all through this early period of the history, that, in spite of the defection of the vast majority of mankind, there was always a chosen seed which did not stand in need of new revelation of what had once been declared, though it did at times call for drastic purification from the errors which had inevitably crept in through contact with the unbelievers in whose midst they lived. It would seem, then, more in accordance with the facts to suppose that all along the course of the history the true account of God's dealings with man and of His formation of the world and of the human race had been preserved undiluted and was handed down from century to century. Indeed, when we come to reflect upon it, a purification of the Chaldean account of the Creation or of the Flood would have involved an almost radical change of the accounts.
What has been said will enable us to appraise at their true worth the various views which have been put forward from time to time with regard to the narrative of the Creation.
(a) The Literal View of CreationAccording to this view the 'days' of the Creation were to be understood as literal days of twenty-four hours, and the week thus formed was a type of the Sabbath.
(b) The Concordistic System of CreationThis method regards the 'days' as periods of time. It was maintained, and rightly, that geology and astronomy proved the existence of a gradual series of changes, that the various species of animals, for example, did not appear on the earth simultaneously, but at intervals which were widely separated from one another. Supporters of this view held that the writer was only endeavouring to establish a harmony or 'concord' between the already existing week of days and the Creative acts of God.
(c) The Idealistic View of CreationIn answer to the previous view it was pointed out that geology did not really prove the existence of clear-cut divisions or periods; that the animals most characteristic of one period were to be at least traced in the foregoing, and so on. It was also insisted that the earth could not have been created before the sun, since its motion, indeed its very place in the universe, depends upon the sun. Hence in opposition to the foregoing views, the Idealist view was put forward under various forms; thus some would see in these early chapters only an allegorical presentation of the facts, and we are told to disregard the historical aspect of the account, and to see in it only religious teaching and popular statements of which the main points are that God created all, and that He sanctified the Sabbath-day. Others went further and declared that probably this first chapter was nothing more than a ritual hymn telling of the consecration of each day to God; it was suggested that this hymn was constructed as a set-off to the Egyptian ritual hymns, which embodies the same ideas. Another view, which probably gave rise to the term 'idealistic,' was that God showed Moses in a series of visions the various Acts of Creation. Of late it has been strongly maintained that the simplest solution of all the difficulties is to see in these early chapters the history of the origins of the world and of mankind told in metaphorical form. This view does not weaken the historical character of the narrative, it assumes it; but it endeavours to find a way of escape from the difficulties which beset all attempts to treat the accounts as strict history in the formal sense of the word. It is worth noting that this is no new idea, it is as old as St. Augustine; in his early work, De Genesi contra Manichaeos lib. ii. cap. 2, he has some very wise words against the folly of trying to take all the statements in Genesis literally; while in Cap. xii. of the same book he proposes views regarding the formation of Eve which many would nowadays be inclined to regard as heretical! And it must not be forgotten that St. Augustine carefully revised these earlier writings of his and corrected many things in this very book, but he made no change regarding his views on the character of the account of the Creation; he says, indeed, that they are the product of his youthful pen, but he seems to have felt it unnecessary to modify them. See the Decrees of the Biblical Commission given above, and compare also the teaching of St. Augustine and St. Thomas also given above.
GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF THE PATRIARCHS.
Seth Cain Abel
Sem Ham Japheth
Arphaxad Lud Aram Elam Assur
Abram Nachor m. Melcha Aran
Agar m. Cetura ni. Sara Huz Buz Camuel Bathuel Lot Jescha
Ismael Madian etc.
Isaac married Rebecca Laban Moab Ammon
Esau Jacob Lia Rachel
1 - See St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, la Pars, xciv. 3; ci. 1; II. da. II. doe, v. 1.
By Very Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P., S.T.M.
Doctor in Sacred Scripture,
Member of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, and
late Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the Collegio Angelico, Rome.
FR. R. L. JANSEN, O.P.
S. THEOL. LECT.; SCRIPT. S. LICENT. ET PROF.
FR. V. ROWAN
S. THEOL. LECT.; SCRIPT. S. LICENT. ET VET. TEST. PROF. AGGREG. IN UNIV. FRIBURGENSI (HELVET).
FRANCISCUS CARDINALIS BOURNE
FR. R. L. JANSEN, O.P.
S. THEOL. LECT.; SCRIPT. S. LICENT. ET PROF.
FR. V. ROWAN
S. THEOL. LECT.; SCRIPT. S. LICENT. ET VET. TEST. PROF. AGGREG. IN UNIV. FRIBURGENSI (HELVET).
FRANCISCUS CARDINALIS BOURNE