Full Text for Archeology - the Nemesis, part 2 (Text)

ion Inquiry MAIER, W. A .: Archeology - the N emesis . . KBETZMANN, P. E.: Znr Ge chichte der 1 teinischen Bibel KRETZMANN, P . E. ' W here and What Is Heaven? KRETZMANN, P. E.: Propositions on the Sabbath-Sunday Question LAETSCH, THEO.: Malicious Desertion KBETZMANN P E. : Die Hallpttchr:ften Luthers in chro- nologischer Reihenfolge Dispositionen u eber die altkirchliche Epistelreihe Miscellan eu Theological Observer. - Xirchlich-Zettgeschichtliches . Book Review. - Ltteratur Page 16 1 171 176 18 4 189 195 197 205 206 212 218 233 Ein r'recliger mw 01 t alleln 10 ,vIM!, .lise) da er die Schafe unterwel;tO, wl~ de reebte Chrl ten !IOlIen seln, ondem .ucb daneben den Woellen ICeMen. du .Ie die Schafe nlcht angreifen und mit faIRCher Lehre ,'erfuebren uud Imum ein· fuebrrn. - LH hr,. r ,t keln Ding, d' die J.eutl' mehr bel der Klrcbe behaelt deon die flUte l'redigt. - dpolo, ie, Art. ~ If the trumpet g1VI' an un~'ertahl loOund, who sbalI prepare bllll8elf to the battle? 1 Cor 4 , 8. Published for t he Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other 4tates CONCORDIA PUBLISHDlG HOUSE, St. Lo Mo. [ l I 176 .Archeology - the Nemesis. which is caused by it, the paper mentioned observing that what the report voices has in its chief aspects long been held by the mission board of its church-body and by others of its prominent members. There are sharp words of criticism heard in certain quarters. For instance, the United Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions is re- ported to have declared : "We repudiate any adherence to, or any sympathy with, the report wherein it is a deflection from the fact that Jesus Ohrist is the only and eternal Son of God, who made atonement for the sins of men by His death on the cross, wh~ arose from the dead, who is eternally alive, who by the presence of the Holy Spirit controls and energizes the Ohurch in its divine mission to all mankind." What is distressing is that members of the United Presbyterian Ohurch belong to the committee of thirty-five that initiated and supported this inquiry and, furthermore, that such ex- pressions do not come from all parts of Protestantism in the United States. This leads us to say that the Laymen's Report is symptomatic above everything else, showing the hold which Modernism has come to have on the body of the American Ohurch. Viewed in this light, it is a reminder to all who love the old Gospel to gird their loins ,and to bestir themselves, because the forces of unbelief are threaten- ing to aweefJ the country. W. ARNDT. 4 • ~ Archeology - the Nemesis. (Oontinued instead of concluded.) II. Refuted Claims of Historical Inaccuracies. The second function of avenging archeology has been the tearing down of that amazing scaffold of theories on which a skeptical criticism has sought to reconstruct the Biblical narratives according to the blue-prints of its tendential theorization. Perhaps the most ruthless of the three higher critical procedures of attack on the Scriptural record is the unequivocal assault upon its historicity. Under the patronage of rationalism it became the con- ventional procedure to make the point of departure in the discussion of Old Testament literature the unabashed contention that these Hebrew writings were replete with errors, inaccuracies, contradictions, anachronisms, and other telltale evidences of late authorship. If any one of the classical authors even incidentally suggested a reminiscence which could be twisted into a conflict with the Hebrew Scriptures, this was paraded to illustrate the alleged historical fallacy of the Old Testament. With this purpose in mind all the extant writings of early Greek and Latin authors were gleaned for negative material, their statements marshaled in apparently formidable array, and the whole indictment distorted under an extravagant conception of the -validity of such ancient history. Archeology - the Nemesis. 177 When this procedure had developed its greatest momentum, an authentic voice of the past raised its initial protest. Since the middle of the last century, when Botta (1842) and Layard (1845) began their pioneer excavations in Mesopotamia, this new and decisive voice insisted on injecting itself into these discussions of Old Testament history. It was the voice of archeology, coming from the debris~ covered mounds of the Tigro-Euphrates Valley, from the crumbling remains of Egypt's glory along the Nile, from the banks of the Orontes, from coastal Byblos, from Palestine, Oappadocia, Persia, Boghaz-Koei, Orete, the Sinai Peninsula, Yemen, and the long list of other sites where the excavators' spade was active, that has helped to give this generation a more intimate understanding of those early ages than Herodotus or any of his successors could enjoy in spite of the millennia of priority which was theirs. It was in no halting syllables that this new voice spoke. When its long-muffied tones were released, - providentially in those years of unbelief's blatant insistence on its triumph, - its very first utter- ances swept away completely many of the most pretentious theories involving the claims of Old Testament inaccuracies. As the cold, fog-bearing east wind rolls in over the Massachusetts shore only to be repelled by the warmth of a blowing west wind, so many of the chilling and befogging clouds of destructive criticism vanished into the thin air before the vibrant and dissipating warmth of that new voice. Scholars of critical inclinations who are at least more or less open-minded have admitted these iconoclastic effects of archeology on the venerated canons of critical theories. The most recent book on the Old Testament, as viewed in the light of archeology, is Albright's The Archeology of Palestine and the Bible. Admitting that Well- hausenism and some of its theories, which have become so fundamental for the modern anti-Scriptural attitude, are found deficient when weighed in the scale of historical accuracy, the author, who is sepa- rated from our position by an unbridgeable chasm of criticism, says (pp. 129. 130): "The orthodox critical attitude toward the traditions of the Patriarchs was summed up by the gifted founder of this school, J uli us Wellhausen, in the following words: 'From the patriarchal narratives it is impossible to obtain any historical information with regard to the Patriarchs; we can only learn something about the time in which the stories about them were first told by the Israelite people. The later period, with all its essential and superficial characteristics, was unintentionally projected back into hoary antiquity and is re- flected there like a transfigured mirage: In other words, the account given in Genesis of the life of the Patriarchs is a faithful picture of the life of Israelites at the time when this account was composed, i. e., according to the view of the dominant critical school, in the ninth and eighth centuries B. C. ·The nomadic touches were derived, it is 12 178 Archeology - the Nemesis. supposed, from the life of the Arab nomads of the day or, perhaps, from the life of the Judean nomadic tribes of the Negeb. Practically all of the Old Testament scholars of standing in Europe and America held these or similar views until very recently. Now, however, the situation is changing with the greatest rapidity, since the theory of WeZlhausen will not bear the test of archeological examination" (italics ours). But one of the most graphic and demonstrable illustrations of this about-face which archeology has imposed upon the critical recon- struction of Old Testament history may be found in the examination of the many claims for Scriptural inaccuracy written a century ago by a recognized master of Old Testament interpretation. In 1835 von Bohlen's Die Genesis made its first appearance. It was a product of that superior, condescending criticism which, while avoiding the cut-throat blasphemies of nihilistic unbelief, approaches the text with an indulgent pseudoaffability. It was written by a trained Semitist, an expert in Sanskrit, as the last word in the rationalistic inter- pretation of Genesis; and it abounded in proud-crested attacks on the historicity and credibility of the Scriptures. A century has elapsed since the publication of his book, and in no other branch of human endeavor has there been such a "century of progress" as in the field of Biblical archeology. And when to-day, in this age of archeological enlightenment, the objections of von Bohlen, typical of hundreds of similar invectives against the Old Testament truths, are investigated, a drastic demonstration of the nemesis of archeology once more becomes evident. It is for this purpose, then, that we present, from von Bohlen's own book and in his own words, his inculpations of the records of Genesis and the effective antidote offered by archeology, mindful that the procedures that he adopts against this first book of the Scriptures have been employed by his colleagues in criticism against each successive book of the Old Testament. A. The Age of Alphabetical Writing. In his introduction (p. XL) von Bohlen formally indicts the Book of Genesis and repudiates the Mosaic authorship on the count that writing was unknown at the time of Moses. Echoing the prevalent attitude of his day (particularly the canon of literary criticism established by Wolf a few decades before, to the effect that the employment of writing for literary purposes was unknown until the classical period of Greek history), his own words assert apodicti- cally and not without a tinge of skeptical sarcasm: "Das hoechste Datum fuer die semitische Schrift ueberhaupt ist kaum das zehnte vorchristliche Jahrhundert, und die'ses nicht einmal beglaubigt>" w~r darueber hinausraet, der raet eben und mag noch leicht ein Jahr- taus end hinzusetzen, weil es, ohne Gruende, nur auf den Glauben an- kommt> den er findet. n Archeology - the Nemesis. 179 This statement was printed in 1835. To-day no one with even an approach to an acquaintance with the remarkable archeological discoveries in the search for the origin of writing could refrain from repudiating this charge. Entirely aside from the Egyptian hiero- glyphics and the Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform, there can be no doubt to-day that Semitic alphabetic writing antedates the Mosaic era by many centuries. Within the last ten years we have these two notable conquests: 1. the French excavation at Byblos, which in 1923 unearthed the Phenician inscription on the sarcophagus of .Akiham (Hiram), king of Byblos, who, according to demonstrable evidence, ruled in the thirteenth century B. O. (American Journal of Arche- ology, January, 1926, pp. 86 f.; Journal of American Oriental Society, Vol. 46, No.3, p. 236); and 2. the Harvard University investigations of the Serabit inscriptions on the Sinai Peninsula, which conservative scholars are willing to date around 1800 B. O. (Martin Sprengling, The Alphabet, Its Rise and Development from the Sinai Inscriptions.) By the first discovery the horizon of literacy was pushed back more than four hundred years beyond the time of the earliest alphabetic writing previously extant. By the ~ecf'"'1d, the intel'eating, th0ugh somewhat inconclusive, results of the interpretation of these Sinai inscriptions (A'i(berican Journal of Semitic Languages and Litera- tures, VoL 49, No.1, October, 1932, pp. 46 ff., 56 ff.), the date of alphabetic writing approaches an association with the end of the third millennium; for Sprengling's contention that the person who in- scribed these Serabit stones was the author of the script must over- come much antecedent improbability. Thus while von Bohlen pictures an analphabetic ancient world and scoffs at the notion of literary activity in the Mosaic era (a posi- tion also shared by Reuss, Dillman, and others), the modern verdict, which rests on a definite historical basis, is not only this affirmation: "It is probable that at the time of the Amarna letters" (the four- teenth century, or the time of Moses) "the usual mode of writing in Syria, Phenicia, and Palestine was the alphabetic" (American Journal of Archeology, 1. c.), but also the unavoidable conclusion that the real origin of alphabetical writing lies in the dim past, too far anterior to Moses to be dated definitely. B. The Table of Nations. Von Bohlen did not refrain from indulging in the criticism of that chapter which is still the playground of higher critical fancy, the table of nations, Gen. 10. He held no high opinion of its origin or its accuracy, for he wrote (p. 136): "Welche Gruende aber den A nordner veranlassen konnten, grade so einzuteilen, laesst sich bei jeder einzelnen Voellcerschaft nicht ermitteln " bei Assur, V. 22, wer- den Semiten vorausgesetzt, und 6S konnte leicht kommen, dass der Verfasser durch einzelne Hebraeer, welche aus fernen Landen nach 180 Archeology - the Nemesis. Palaestina kamen, ueber entlegene Nationen getaeuscht wurde,' bei andern mochten befreundete Ruecksichten obwalten, wie das Ent- gegengesetzte bei den Phoeniziern und uebrigen Kanaanitern fast mit Bestimmtheit dart vorausgesetzt werden. Bei noch and ern sind wir nic7d mehr imstande, die Richtigkeit durch die Bpraehe zu pruefen." Specifically he mentions as inaccurate the association of Elam with the Semitic nations. His indictment (p.112) reads: uBo haben sich doeh manche Unrichtigkeiten eingeschlichenJ' winige wahl aus UnkundeJ wie die Verbindung von Persien (Elam) mit dem semiti- sehen StammeJ ... und man wird demnaeh auf keine Weise mit den aelteren Erklaerern eine rein geschichtliche Wahrheit des Ganzen be- haupten koennen." Trained Orientalist that he was, his Sanskrit studies protested against the inclusion of the Elamites, whom the ethnographical science of his day classified as Indo-Europeans, in the Semitic group. And until very recently his objection was shared by a large number of critical scholars. Even Hommel at first protested that the Elam of Gen. 10 could not be identified with Elam proper. But again the spade brought to light indisputable evidence which corroborated the classification of Gen. 10. The French excavations at Susa, the capital of Elam, showed that, while the later cultural and racial affinities of Elam were unquestionably Indo-European, an earlier civilization, antedating the Persian period by long centuries, was Semitic. To-day the Elamite texts, written in the cuneifOTm characters of the Babylonian and published by Pere Scheil, demon- strate the unmistakable affinity of this language, both the vocabulary and construction, with the Semitic group. The related attacks by von Bohlen on the ethnographical details of Gen. 10 were destined to the same fate. He protests, for example, against the inclusion of the Assyrians in the Semitic group, an objec- tion which becomes a philological curiosity in the light of subsequent discoveries. He insists that the Lydians must likewise be divorced from the Semitic group; but no one acquainted with the development of historical research would endorse that contention to-day. In short, in every point in which he has voiced his dissension from the state- ments of this tenth chapter the monumental evidence has contradicted his theorization. C. Amraphel and His Expedition. In the much-abused fourteenth chapter of Genesis and its record of the four kings embattled against the five von Bohlen gives his critical gainsaying free rein. He ridicules the idea of an Amraphel as king of Babylonia and contemporary with Abram and claims: "Fuel' diese Verhaeltnisse bietet sich geschiehtlich nul' die Zeit des Sardanapal darJ wenn wir dem Erzaehler eine geringe Verwl!!chslung del' Namen zugute haltenJ' denn auch fuel' ihn war die Zeit eine aUe und laengst entschwundeneJ da er sie als die Periode del' Patriarchen bezeichnet. Wie naemlich in Indien ganze Dynastien den Beisatz Archeology - the Nemesis. 181 "pala" oder Beschuetzer annehmen, so scheint ~~,~~ sich unge- zwungen durch Amarapala, Beschu(J;tzer der Go etter, deuten zu lassen und ist dann vielleicht gleichbedeutend mit Sardanapal selbst, da morgenlaendisehe Fuersten haeufig Titel fuehren und Sridhanapala Schaetzebehueter bezeiehnen wuerde." Such fantasies (Sardanapalus is a mythical mistake for Ashurbanipal, 668-626 B. O.!) might have passed unchallenged in the precuneiform days, but with the dis- covery of the royal inscriptions of Hammurabi, his correspondence to Sin-iddinam, and particularly his monumental code, there can be no doubt that the Amraphel is to be identified as Hammurabi on the basis both of the linguistic evidences and of the harmonious con- cordance of details between Gen. 14 and Hammurabi's own records. But von Bohlen anticipated other objections which were later to be voiced by men of such recognized critical authority as Noeldeke and Eduard Meyer. For instance, he finds it objectionable (p. 168) that powerful rulers of these Mesopotamian districts would institute campaigns against apparently insignificant countries, and he asserts that the military cost would have outweighed any resultant revenue. But it is now a commonplace of Babylonian history that similar ex- peditions were made to the Mediterranean countries at the time of Sargon I, or even of Lugal-Zaggizi, long before the days of Ham- murabi's dynasty. The expedition of the four allied kings to the west was probably a general expedition in which the Oanaanite kings were only one of similar groups of rebellious vassals. D. Aegyptica. It is in the chapters of Genesis relating to Egypt that von Bohlen finds a field for the most detailed attack upon the credibility of the Old Testament. In the following we have listed a half dozen of his typical disparagements of this part of the Genesis narrative, each of which has been completely repudiated by archeological developments. In Gen. 12 he maintains that the animals mentioned in Abram's inventory (v. 16, sheep and oxen, she-asses and camels) form evidence of unhistorical presentation and later authorship. He insists (p. 163) : "1m uebrigen nennt der Erzaehler Tiere SEINES Vaterlandes, welche Abram zum Teil in A(J;gyp,ten nieht erhalten konnte (vgl. 45, 23,· 47,17; Ex. 9,3); er gibt ihm keine Pferde, welehe im Niltale recht heimisch waren, wie es allerdings der Referent weiss (41,43; 47,17), dag(J;gen aber Sehafe, welehe so wenig wie Kamele in den Marsch- laendern Aegyptens vorkommen, daher die letzteren von den Alten dem Lande abgesproehen werden, und Esel, die ihrer Farbe wegen ausserordentlich verhasst waren." A much-enlarged acquaintance with things Egyptian has invalidated all these objections. It is now recognized and admitted that camels were known from the time of the first dynasty. In regard to the asses, Knight well summarizes 182 Archeology - the Nemesis. (Nile and Jordan, p. 114): "Wilkinson, however, has shown the frequency with which the ass is represented on the monuments as an integral portion of domestic riches, some Egyptians possessing even 700 or 800 of these animals. The famous Sheikh Abishua in the Beni-Hasan wall-paintings is shown with his thirty-seven companions accompanied by their asses, while in 1913 Petrie discovered in the cemetery at Tarkan, thirty-five miles south of Oairo, in a predynastic tomb the skeletons of three asses. Their heads had been cut off and placed beside their bodies, the animals having been killed to accom- pany their masters to the other world. This proves what has hitherto been scouted - the existence of the ass in Egypt at the very earliest period." Sheep were not only well known, but were sacred to the Egyptians. The arguments based on the non-mention of the horse may simply be a fallacious a-silentio conclusion. But if Abram had no horses at the time, it is very likely due to the fact that these animals were introduced (or perhaps reintroduced) into Egypt during the subsequent Hyksos dynasties. This would also account for the important role assumed by the horses and chariots of Pharaoh cen- turies later at the time of the Exodus. Again, the dream of the butler is attacked. This, it is urged, presupposes the cultivation of the vine, an agricultural development allegedly introduced only after the time of Psammetichus (594--589 B.O.). Oiting Herodotus for his authority, he maintains (p. 373) : "Ein wichtiges Zeitdatum fuer die Jugend der Erzaehlung liegt hier in dem Tra1~me des Schenken, nach welchem der Weinbau in Aegypten vorausgesetzt wird,' denn erst NACH Psammetich, also grade um die Zeit des Josia, w'ar derselbe notduerftig im Niltale versucht worden, urnd loonnte in einem fiachen Lande, welches grade um die Zeit der Traubenreife unter Wasser steht, nU1' an einigen wenigen Punkten Fortgang finden. Die Aegypter bedienlen sieh zum Getraenke einer Art Bieer, wobei Herodot ausdruecklich hinzufuegt, dass keine Wein- stoec7ce in dem Lande wuchsen. . .. Den orthodoxen Aegyptern galt del' Wein als Blut des Typhon, sie tran7cen ihn nicht vor Psammetich, sagt PI"UTARCH (Isis und Osiris, 6), und brachten ihn auch nieht zum Opfer. In gegenwaeertiger Zeit kommt nur bei Phium die Traube fort ~tnd gibt sehleehten Wein." This preference of Herodotus over the much earlier Scriptural records is not only unscientific in prin- ciple, but it is also fatal in its conclusions. -The process of wine- making is so amply illustrated in early Egyptian scenes, and refer- ences to the vine are so definite, that to-day not even the most radical opponent to the Scriptures would repeat this charge. Related in principle are many other attacks, an of which have been nullified under the progressive revelation of Egyptology. An in- accuracy is found in the fact that Joseph eats meat, Gen. 43, 16 (p. LV). We now know, as Rawlinson emphasizes, "Animal food was .Archeology - the Nemesis. 183 the principal diet of the superior classes in Egypt." The J oseph- Potiphar story in Gen. 39 is attacked on the ground that Egyptian conventions at that time would prevent Joseph from corning into contact with Potiphar's wife, since the women were restricted to the harem (p.371). But Egyptian explorations have revealed repeatedly scenes depicting the unusual degree of freedom conceded to Egyptian women. These objections carryover to the Book of Exodus, whose first chapter is attacked under the indictment that construction with brick was Babylonian and not Egyptian and whose second chapter is dis- paraged because Pharaoh's daughter bathes in the Nile, a procedure which this German critic finds too primitive to be concordant with the high civilization of Egypt at this time. These and a dozen other minor attacks pertaining to the Aegyptica of both Genesis and Exodus have been squarely met and completely repudiated by the new light which a more advanced age has shed upon these passages. In listing these samples of assaults upon the historicity of Genesis, we have presented only one phase of the critical attack which is systematically flil'ected against the rest of the Old Testament. For von Bohlen did not stand alone in urging these incriminations. His procedure has been adopted in a modified or extended form by his like-minded successors. In striking repetition they have singled out some passage of the Old Testament and cried, "Unhistorical!" only to have the nemesis of archeology confound their charges. We think of the discrediting of the early records concerning the Philistines and those touching upon the Hittites; the association of Abraham and Brahman, which would have made the Semites Hindus; the serene insistence that Sargon II was a figment of free imagination; the critical tour de force by which ancient geography was reconstructed and Egypt transposed from Africa to Asia; the ridicule heaped on the succession of Belshazzar, - these and other confidently voiced triumphs of higher criticism over Biblical history that have been silenced by the onward march of archeology's conquests. While the presentation of these errors and inconsistencies is largely negative, a rapid survey of this kind is not without a tangible and stimulating lesson; it makes a pronounced contribution to Ohris- tian confidence, for it lends the weight of its force to strengthen the intelligent Bible student's appraisal of the many new and repeated charges that are directed against the Scriptures to-day, If the anti- Bible movement in the past has been characterized by such premature judgments, hasty conclusions, and false premises in regard to Israel's history, we may rest with the conviction that the nemesis of archeology will inevitably overtake many of the claims raised by the unbelieving criticism of to-day and to-morrow. (To be conduded.) W. A. MAIER.