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Christianity are to be received because Christianity is, then cadit quaestio about universality. But obviously Dr. Kuenen cannot intend anything so one-sided or so foolish. His contention that Islám was the product of one mind, and its possibilities were shut up deliberately by the founder himself within the corners of one book, justifies him, he considers, in pronouncing movements whose aim is to satisfy longings which are either not named or condemned in the Qorán, illegitimate, and in declaring a movement which would bring back the simple dry literalism of the sacred text, to be of the very essence of Islám itself. Undoubtedly Islám stands in this respect on a very different basis from Christianity. Jesus did not write a book; and his companions, if they wrote the books attributed to them, produced no fixed and complete system of Theology-very little, indeed, which can fairly be used for dogmatic purposes -only very imperfect biographical notes, and a number of letters on certain religious needs of some of the earliest Christian congregations. If therefore it is fair to judge Islám by the precepts of the Qorán, by which it was to stand or fall, then at least Christianity is not tied in any similar way. And Dr. Kuenen decides that it is fair to judge Islám thus. He is undoubtedly right from a legal point of view. Mohammed did what he could to restrain the free development of religion by making his religion coextensive with his book. But is it altogether right to regard the entire subsequent development of Islám from the standpoint of the wishes of the “ pious founder"? Movements, political as well as religious, continually outrun the calculations of those who set them going; but we do not therefore condemn the founder, or say that his principles were wrong because they led to a fuller development than any that he could foresee. So here, though it may be true that the Sufites were mystics rather in spite of, than through, their adhesion to Islám, and likewise that in
Mohammed himself and his book there was very little of a mystic character, yet I should hesitate to declare Sufism an illegitimate accretion. Mystically disposed souls will find anywhere something that they can read in a mystic sense, and the Sufites did find such even in the Qorán. In the Christian world, if there had not chanced to be among the early converts some one to write the Gospel attributed to St. John, the mystic element, which was to play so important a part in medieval Christianity, would be judged to be without any ancient justification. The capacity of, and the possible development inherent in, a religion which has a long history must be judged a posteriori by the facts of that history; the intentions of the founder, even when documentarily reduced to writing, as in the case of Mohammed, cannot have anticipated every possible development, and visited it beforehand with sanction or disapproval. It is indeed quite possible to go further, and to contend that the limitation of view was the necessary fault of the age and the locality, and that the same Mohammed, living in the nineteenth century, would omit many of the sayings which sound to us the most bigoted, cruel, or foolish, and speak in a different—a higher and purer-tone. Though it is impossible to prove the truth of such speculations, yet justice demands that we should not lose them altogether out of sight.
Dr. Kuenen next approaches the more generally interesting, and, intrinsically, also more important, subject-Judaism and Christianity. His contributions to the interpretation of the Old Testament, and especially to the true historical sequence of the forces which combined to form the religion of Israel, are well known in this country, first through the work of Bishop Colenso, who used largely his early work, - Historisch-kritisch onderzoek naar het opstaan en de verzameling van de boeken des Ouden Verbonds" (Historical and
critical investigation into the origin and collection of the books of the Old Testament), and still better through his later book (in which his views are modified and matured), translated as “ The Religion of Israel.” The historical
” principles which guide him in his investigations are mainly these: When he finds in the historical books apparent inconsistencies, anachronisms, evidence of plurality of authorship, and of partisanship, which seems to throw doubt upon the truthfulness of the historian, he takes refuge in other books—especially in the Prophets, whose authorship is known and whose evidence is above suspicion-in which incidentally a good deal of history is contained, and endeavours to reconstruct the history from them. The result thus obtained is then compared with the picture given in the historical books, in order to discover the relation between the two classes of books, to discover the standpoint of the latter, and the reasons for their divergence from the picture presented by the former. With the historical books may be classed the Pentateuch, which exceeds all in the divergence of teaching of its different parts, and upon which scholars have worked hard in speculation for more than a century to classify its contents and assign them to their several authors. It might be expected that a perfectly independent source, such as the Prophets, would throw much light upon the composition of the Pentateuch ; and this is really the case. It has done more important service here in a few years than the speculations of the previous century, which had no such solid historical basis. It has rendered antiquated even the arrangement of the Pentateuch made by Ewald, and essentially adopted by Colenso, and by Dr. Kuenen himself in his “ Onderzoek.” Dr. Kuenen's principles of historical investigation will be recognised as essentially the same as those of New Testament critics, who study the undoubted Epistles of Paul as the oldest reliable documents of Christian history, and proceed with the facts thence elicited to determine the age and authority of the more doubtful Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. It is obvious that his method could not have been tried while the authorship of the entire Pentateuch by Moses was an article of the creed of all critics. But it is no less evident that no advance in historical criticism was possible until some such mode of investigation as Dr. Kuenen's could be tried. And it need not surprise those who know anything of the innumerable inconsistencies of fact and of legislation discovered long ago in the Pentateuch, that Dr. Kuenen finds it to be not the product of one man nor of one age, but to be a complex, containing some of the most ancient sayings current in Israel, and constantly added to till the very latest age of the Hebrew history found in the Bible. Hence in these lectures but little use
. is made of the Pentateuch ; more of the books of the Kings (Samuel and Kings), but most of the Prophets, whose age is known.
It has been said that Jahveh was the national god of Israel. No satisfactory theory derives him from any foreign people; and the prophets rely so constantly and confidently on the assertion that Jahveh is Israel's god, and Israel his people, that we feel bound to admit him to be the native conception of the Deity. Of course we deal solely with the historical period, commencing with the settlement of Israel in Canaan. Temples were erected to him in the earliest period at many places—Jerusalem, Beth-el, Dan, Shiloh, and ruder structures called “high places ” all over the country; at all these sacrifices were offered, and at first any Israelite might perform the rite, but later there was a recognised order of priests to do it. In the regular domestic life Jahveh was remembered at all seasons : on the Sabbath, at new moon, at the feast for the rejoicing over the harvest, and at that for the shearing. Moreover,
, they consult Jahveh on every important event of life by means of an oracle, which is given by either a priest or s
prophet. Another sign, indicating how closely the idea of Jahveh as their god and protector was entwined with the whole existence of the Israelites, is the fact that their names were generally compounded with that of their god. This is the case with all the names that end in jah, and nearly all those that begin with J; to which class belong the great majority of the names of the Kings of Judah. This picture shows Jahveh to have been the national god, whom every class acknowledged, and to whom every individual in Israel testified in some way or other. Whatever evil might be said of Israel, it could not be affirmed that they failed to honour Jahveh.
But this is not the idea of the history of Israel that passes generally current. The current conception is that which the historian (especially of Judges and Kings) expresses when he moralises on the acts of a reign (as 1 Kings xv. 3-5, 2 Kings xv., &c.), and notably in the summary of the history at its commencement, in Judges ii. 7-23, and at the dissolution of the kingdom of Ephraim, in 2 Kings xvii. This conception is as follows:-A compact or covenant of mutual fidelity was made between Jahveh and Israel. To this the people remained faithful under Joshua; but after his death they went astray and served Baalim, were punished by Jahveh, repented under the force of affliction, and returned again to his service—to repeat the same process again and again. In Ephraim it was still worse; the people persistently worshipped the idols, would not listen to prophets who warned them of their folly, made two metal idols in the form of calves, performed idolatrous worship to Baal and the host of heaven, and sacrificed their children to Molech. And Judah imitated Ephraim in all this. The Chronicler gives essentially the same picture. According to this view the people were constantly idolatrous, and abandoned the service of Jahveh for that of Baal, Molech, Asherah, and other deities of neighbouring