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of the Pentateuch: on the contrary, his character, his solemn appeal to the people after he had in vain endeavoured to turn them from their purpose of appointing for themselves a king, and his conduct towards Saul, concur with many incidental notices in his history, to prove that the Law of Moses was in existence before his day, and its divine authority acknowledged by all the Israelites. Between the time of Moses and that of Samuel, no one is known who can possibly be conceived to have had either a motive or the ability to forge such a work, or the art to obtain for it credit and attention from his countrymen. If the history in the book of Joshua is to be relied upon, it must have been in his hands, and believed by him and the whole people to ontain the statutes and the ordinances of Jehovah. (See Josh. viii. 31, 35.) There is, in short, no period in the Jewish history, in which it can be imagined with any appearance of probability, that such writings as the four last books of the Pentateuch could be fabricated, and imposed upon the nation as containing the true account of the origin of their race and of the acts of their forefathers, and the very laws which God had prescribed. A whole people could not suffer themselves to be so deluded. That the Mosaic laws were in force, more or less, during very age succeeding that of Moses ; that they are as ancient as the conquest of Palestine, will scarcely be denied; and when their peculiar character is considered, it seems reasonable to conclude, that the laws were written before they were observed. But if the laws were written, the history with which they were so intimately connected, from which, indeed, they cannot be separated, without doing violence to both, must also have been written. The four last books of the Pentateuch, therefore, must have been coeval with the legislator himself; and if they belong to the age of Moses, who is so likely to have been the author of them as Moses ?
" The internal evidence in favour of this conclusion is clear and forcible. The author appears to have been an eye-witness of the transactions recorded; since various minute circumstances connected with time, place, and the situation and character of the persons introduced, are related, which could have occurred to no other; the manner in which the laws are mingled with the narrative, without any attempt at a systematic arrangement, in the order in which they were enacted, and often in immediate connection with some incident out of which they arose, is artless and natural, and such as the legislator himself, but no one in a later age, would be likely to adopt. Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities, has professed to give in Greek what Moses wrote in Hebrew; but, as might have been expected, he has departed from the order observed by the author of the Pentateuch. He has separated the laws from the historical detail, and placed them all in one view. And the same method would, no doubt, have been pursued by the original writer, had he not been present at the transactions which he records, and engaged in establishing the Israelitish polity. What plainer indication that Moses was that writer can we have or desire ?"
The first book of Moses is called GENESIS in the Greek version, and this name has been copied in modern versions in general. It means Production or Origin, and appropriately describes the contents of the earlier part of the book especially, which treats of the creation of the world, and the origin and progress of human society. The Jewish name for the book is Beraschit, or In-thebeginning, this being the first word of the book itself. The other books of the Pentateuch also are named in the same way, by citing one of their first words; but none of those names happen to be equally descriptive of their contents; while in each case the Greek
name, which we use, is descriptive, as will be seen in their places.
Genesis is probably the oldest book in the world. It is indeed “a priceless relic of the olden time.” It is older than Moses, admitting him to have been the author or compiler of the Pentateuch. For it is evident that his authorship of Genesis must have been of a very different kind from that to which he may have claim as regards the other four books. Those four relate the events of his own time, and the deeds and laws of his personal administration; but Genesis ascends to 2500 years before his time, and perhaps even higher still. He did not therefore write the contents of Genesis from personal knowledge, as he might (and I believe did) the chief part of the other books. Whoever writes an account of things that happened before his own time, must derive his materials either from other writings or from oral tradition. The earliest historian of any country collects information from the memories of old persons still living, and from the traditions which they have treasured up as received from their forefathers. And a wonderful amount of fact, not unmixed with fable or theory, is thus preserved. But if writing has been for some time in use before his day, he finds some of these histories and traditions already put upon more durable record. He finds the favourite national songs written carefully down, as some old bard had long since been heard to sing them. He finds many a family or patriotic legend on parchment, lead, or paper of some kind (more precious than gold), written as best remembered, and secured thenceforth from further injury by future failures of memory.
He finds also the mythological stories or philosophical theories of men before his time, written in their books ready to his hands. And from such materials the more methodical historian constructs his book. *
* It is not necessary to discuss (except in the general way in which the subject has already been treated, Prelim. ch. v. vi.) the comparatively modern fancy of Jewish Rabbis, weakly adopted by Christian Fathers, that Moses wrote the history of previous times by inspired dictation; because he never claims any such guidance, and because, also, the marks of human authorship, such as belong to other writings, are too plain to be doubted, and too interesting to allow of their being thrown away for a useless and improbable fiction. But we may here intro
Now the careful and intelligent reader of the book of Genesis finds irresistible proofs, in the book itself, of its being, in a great part at least, a compilation from separate books or documents previously existing, and which are therefore, intrinsically, yet older compositions than the Pentateuch of Moses. Supposing Moses to have been the writer of his own life and times, the records which he has prefixed are yet older productions, belonging, no doubt, to the very earliest period, whatever that may have been, when the art of writing was in use among the Hebrew patriarchal families.
I shall now mention a few of these very interesting inward marks of the composition of Genesis from previously existing documents. They are such as any one can understand, without pretending to deep learning ; and the observation of them must add new interest to the study of this part of Scripture.
Some things are related twice over; and the two accounts are so different in many particulars (and even duce, as having especial reference to Genesis, the cautious yet very intelligible suggestions of Dr. Hey and Bishop Berkeley:
“ The natural philosophy of the Pentateuch ought not to induce us to reject it. It is not at all likely that God, in order to enable a man to be a lawgiver of the Jews, should reveal to him all the causes of the phenomena of Nature. But why, you will say, did Moses give this as an authentic account of the creation? Suppose I answer, I do not know. It seems to me as if that would be no sufficient reason for rejecting our whole system of religious dispensations. Suppose I answer, Moses might be an inspired writer as a religious minister, and be left to his own notions, or to notions established in his time, as a natural philosopher ; and yet he always might write and speak in those different characters in one and the same tone and style. Even that would be sufficient to hinder our rejecting the Pentateuch." (Lectures in Divinity, by John Hey, Norrisian Professor of Divinity in University of Cambridge, Vol. I. p. 196.)
“Whether the beginning of Genesis is to be understood in a literal or an allegorical sense? whether the book of Job be a history or a parable: being points disputed between Christians, an infidel can have no right to argue from one side of the question in those and the like cases.” (Bishop Berkeley's Alciphron, Dial. vi. § 29.)
inconsistent in certain things), as to prove them to have been originally distinct accounts, composed by different writers, perhaps in different places or at different periods of time, each recording, it may be, the general tradition or belief of his own time and place.
Thus we have two separate accounts of the Creation ; the first beginning with the opening of the book and reaching to chap. ii. ver. 3; the other beginning with ch. ii. 4: “ These are the generations (or this is the history) of the heavens and the earth ;" a form which seems (as it often does in other places) to stand as the title, or heading, or introduction to a new section, if not a separate document. This second account reaches to the end of chap. iii.
Any careful reader must be struck with the distinction between these two sections, as regards the name by which the Divine Being is severally spoken of. In the former He is called God (Elohim in Hebrew); in the latter He is called the LORD GOD (Jehovah Elohim in the Hebrew). Now this systematic difference could hardly have taken place, had both accounts been written originally by one person. Such a transition would be perfectly unaccountable and incredible. The difference of usage plainly points out two different writers, and probably different periods also. The great question is whether the use of these names, Elohim and Jehovah, decisively marks two distinct periods of time. At the end of ch. iv. there is a brief observation which has greatly puzzled the interpreters: “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord (or Jehovah);" but which certainly cannot be taken as meaning that the name LORD or Jehovah began to be used instead of the name Elohim (God). (See Geddes's note and remarks on the passage.) If we take the narrative in Exodus vi. 3, as meaning that the name Jehovah was first used