Robert Lawrence Ottley.

Aspects of the Old Testament : considered in eight lectures delivered before the University of Oxford online

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ASPECTS

OF

THE OLD TESTAMENT



OTTLEY



HORACE HART, PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY



THE BAMPTON LECTURES, iSpj

ASPECTS

OF THE

OLD TESTAMENT

CONSIDERED IN EIGHT LECTURES

DELIVERED BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

BY

ROBERT LAWRENCE OTTLEY, MA.

SUCCESSIVELY STUDENT OF CHRIST CHURCH AND

FELLOW OF MAGDALEN COLLEGE

SOMETIME PRINCIPAL OF THE PUSEY HOUSE

'Caritas congaudet veritati.' — i Cor. xiii. 6.
NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
NEW YORK AND BOMBAY



\_All rights reserved]



EXTRACT

FROM THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

OF THE LATE

REV. JOHN BAMPTON,

CANON OF SALISBURY.

"I give and bequeath my Lands and Estates to the

"Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of
" Oxford for ever, to have and to hold all and singular the
"said Lands or Estates upon trust, and to the intents and
" purposes hereinafter mentioned ; that is to say, I will and
" appoint that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ox-
" ford for the time being shall take and receive all the rents,
'-■ issues, and profits thereof, and (after all taxes, reparations,
"and necessary deductions made) that he pay all the re-
<' mainder to the endowment of eight Divinity Lecture Ser-
" mons, to be established for ever in the said University, and
" to be performed in the manner following :

"I direct and appoint, that, upon the first Tuesday in
" Easter Term, a Lecturer be yearly chosen by the Heads
" of Colleges only, and by no others, in the room adjoining
"to the Printing-House, between the hours of ten in the
" morning and two in the afternoon, to preach eight Divinity
"Lecture Sermons, the year following, at St. Mary's in



vi EXTRACT FROM CANON BAMPTON'S WILL

"Oxford, between the commencement of the last month in
" Lent Term, and the end of the third week in Act Term.

"Also I direct and appoint, that the eight Divinity Lecture
" Sermons shall be preached upon either of the following
'• Subjects — to confirm and establish the Christian Faith, and
"to confute all heretics and schismatics — upon the divine
"authority of the holy Scriptures — upon the authority of
"the writings of the primitive Fathers, as to the faith and
" practice of the primitive Church — upon the Divinity of our
" Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ — upon the Divinity of the
" Holy Ghost — upon the Articles of the Christian Faith, as
" comprehended in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.

" Also I direct, that thirty copies of the eight Divinity Lec-
"ture Sermons shall be always printed, within two months
" after they are preached ; and one copy shall be given to the
" Chancellor of the University, and one copy to the Head of
" every College, and one copy to the Mayor of the city of
" Oxford, and one copy to be put into the Bodleian Library ;
'' and the expense of printing them shall be paid out of the
"revenue of the Land or Estates given for establishing the
"Divinity Lecture Sermons; and the Preacher shall not be
" paid, nor be entitled to the revenue, before they are printed.

" Also I direct and appoint, that no person shall be quali-
" fied to preach the Divinity Lecture Sermons, unless he hath
" taken the degree of Master of Arts at least, in one of the
"two Universities of Oxford or Cambridge; and that the
" same person shall never preach the Divinity Lecture Ser-
" mons twice."



PREFACE



The following lectures are intended rather to illus-
trate than to defend exhaustively a view of the Old
Testament which to the writer has long been habitual,
and which, having some claim to be considered a via
media, will, he hopes, commend itself to thoughtful
Churchmen.

Mr. Goldwin Smith has recently asserted that those
whom he calls ' rationalistic apologists ' do but tamper
with their conscience and understanding when they
claim that the Old Testament contains both a divine
and a human element. 'Far better it is,' he says,
' whatever the effort may cost, honestly to admit that
the sacred books of the Hebrews, granting their
superiority to the sacred books of other nations, are,
like the sacred books of other nations, the works of
man and not of God \' Such statements as this, and
they are not infrequently made, seem to challenge the
attention of loyal Churchmen, and to justify the
attempt to deal dispassionately both with the un-
deniable facts that have been brought to light by

1 Guesses at the Riddle of Existence (Essay on ' The Church and the
Old Testament ')j P- 95-



viii PREFACE

historical and critical research, and with the theories
which they are supposed to support.

In writing these lectures I have had in view several
different classes of persons.

There are those who, like Mr. Goldwin Smith him-
self, imagine that 'High Churchmen, having studied
recent criticism, feel that there is a millstone to be cast
off^' Speaking for myself, I am unaware of any 'mill-
stone' other than the strange and inveterate miscon-
ceptions which are widely prevalent, and are apparently
shared by the distinguished essayist himself, respecting
the true place and function of the Old Testament in
the life and system of the Christian Church. Those
who have watched the course of religious thought on
the subject will certainly feel that Mr. Goldwin Smith's
strictures on the honesty and good sense of Church-
men are somewhat belated and irrelevant. I say con-
fidently that the effect of a more strictly historical
and scientific study has been to enhance the interest,
reverence, and love with which we Churchmen regard
the Old Testament. We deplore the comparative
neglect of the Bible which has to some extent been
the consequence of recent unsettlement, and we are
anxious to enrich others as we have been enriched,
by imparting to them a point of view from which the
verdicts of criticisms can be justly appreciated.

It is a matter of simple experience that modern
research has both enlarged our insight into the actual
course and method of divine revelation, and has shed
abundant light on many points which the pre-critical
conception of Hebrew history left obscure or alto-
gether unexplained.

Again, there are those whose dislike or suspicion of
the critical movement has led them, as I think, to

^ Op. cif. p. 50.



PREFACE IX

minimize the significance and' value of its assured
results. The main defect of some books written in
defence of traditional theories is that while they en-
deavour, not without a measure of success, to discredit
the results of an extreme, one-sided, and rationalistic
criticism, they do not always appear adequately to
recognize the importance of those conclusions which
the research of 150 years has rendered inevitable,
which sober critics of every school practically agree
to accept, and which in any case have considerably
modified the traditional theory of Hebrew history and
religion \

My aim is to show that it is possible to regard as
conclusive and to welcome with cordiality many verdicts
of the ' Higher Criticism,' without necessarily accepting
what is merely conjectural and arbitrary.

Once more, there is a class of persons to whom
maxima debetur reverentia.

It may be asked whether I have seriously considered
the probable effect on the simple faith and piety of
ordinary Churchmen of statements which question
cherished beliefs, and may possibly disturb or en-
danger faith itself. Certainly I r£cognize with sincere
pain that certain assumptions and statements contained
in this book may possibly cause disquiet and alarm to
some devout Christians. But it is one of the diffi-
culties of our present transitional position that each
step in advance, while it brings relief to many, occa-
sions distress or even scandal to some. We must face
the inevitable cost involved in intellectual movement.
The duty of a teacher is to weigh the perils of frank
utterance against those of continued silence. On the

1 I may mention such typical works as Prof. Robertson's Early Religion
of Israel, Mr. Baxter's Sanctuary and Sacrifice, and Prof. Hommel's
Ancient Hebrew Tradition illustrated by the Mottumefits.



X PREFACE

one hand, he may know of many — clergy, students,
schoolmasters, thoughtful laymen, highly educated
women charged with the religious training of children,
and others — who are deeply impressed by the solidity
and weight of the case for the Hiorher Criticism of the
Old Testament, and who, in view of its apparent
results, are eagerly looking for guidance and reassur-
ance. On the other hand, he is bound to consider
carefully the danger of wounding or scandalizing those
who have little or no opportunity of forming an inde-
pendent judgment on matters of science or criticism,
and who cannot be expected to part with convictions
that are indissolubly bound up with their religious
experience.

In view of this difficulty, a man is justified in com-
mitting himself to the guidance of God, and doing his
best at once to aid the perplexed, and to deal tenderly
with those whose faith has been hitherto undisturbed.
I do not ask any reader to accept without due inquiry
the particular conception of Hebrew history which has
been adopted in these lectures; but I do desire to
show that a Christian believer need not cast away his
faith because his traditional view of the Old Testament
has been shown to be inadequate or untenable. And
if through any want of due reverence, caution, or con-
sideration I have needlessly troubled any devout mind,
I can only express my sorrow, and unreservedly
submit what I have written to the judgment of the
Church.

I must acknowledge a debt of gratitude to friends
who have given me the benefit of their counsel and
criticism, especially to Dr. Driver, Dr. Moberly, and
Dr. Lock. To the governors of the Pusey House who
granted me a Term's absence from Oxford, and to my
friend Mr. Hutton of St. John's College who allowed



PREFACE XI

me the use of his house at Burford, I am equally
indebted. Mr. Rackham of the Community of the
Resurrection, who has devoted unsparing pains to the
revision and correction of the proof-sheets, has rendered
a signal service both to the writer and to the readers
of this book.

R. L. O.

WiNTERBOURNE BaSSETT,

August, 1897.



SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS



LECTURE I.
The Christian Church and the 'Higher Criticism.'

PAGE

The Catholic spirit illustrated I

Subject of the lectures proposed 6

Standpoint from which it is approached 1 1

I. The belief in the Incarnation 12

The Incarnation illustrates the divine use of media, and the

divine self-accommodation to human capacities ... 13
Analogy of the Incarnation applied to Scripture . . -15

(1) The unity of Scripture . ...... 15

(2) Its twofold nature I?

(3) Its self-witness 20

II. The belief in Inspiration 22

The action of the Holy Spirit discernible —

(1) In the formation of Scripture 26

(2) In the writers themselves 27

The meaning of Inspiration to be ascertained inductively . 29

Its peculiar characteristics 3°

III. The main results of historical criticism-assumed ... 32

Summary of these results . 33

Special observations on the higher criticism —

(1) Historical consistency of its results .... 36

(2) Hindrances to their acceptance 4°

(3) The duty of deference to experts 44

IV. Factors determining the true use of the Old Testament —

(i) The authority of Christ 46

(2) The spiritual experience of Christians . ... 49

The doctrine of the Church : its bearing on our inquiry . • 5 ^



LECTURE IL

Different Aspects of the Old Testament.

The special function of the Old Testament 53

General survey . . . -55



xiv SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS



FAGB



I. The Old Testament a history of redemption .... 56

The story of the ' origins,' its character and purpose . . 57
Special features of redemptive history —

(1) The occurrence of miracle 61

(2) The principle of limitation or severance ... 63
Character of the historical narratives 65

II. The Old Testament the history of a progressive revelation . 66

Different views of the evolution of the idea of God ... 67

Effects of the exodus 68

The foundations of monotheism 69

Of the idea of holiness 72

Of the idea of grace 75

The continuity of revelation 78

III. The Old Testament traces the history of a covenantal relation-

_ship 79

The divme requirement mvolved in it 81

IV. The Old Testament and the Messianic hope .... 82

The idea of a kingdom of God or ' theocracy ' . . . .84

Its history considered 85

Its characteristics proclaimed by the prophets-
Universality 86

Spirituality 87

V. The Old Testament vi^itnesses to a divine purpose for the indi-

vidual 89

Growth of the sense of individuality . . . . . .90

The teachings of spiritual experience and of national calamity 91
The general arrangement of the Hebrew Bible —

Its correspondence with the five above-mentioned aspects

of Old Testament theology 93



LECTURE III.

The Historical Element in the Old Testament.

Analogy of Scripture to physical nature 98

The Old Testament an historical book loo

Preliminary considerations —

(i) Composite character of the narratives . . . loi

(2) Probable results of archaeological research . . . 105

(3) The (2 /r/^;^' credibility of miracle .... 107

I. The patriarchal period relatively pre-historic .... 109

The narratives historical in substance Iio

(1) A true picture of the general conditions of patriarchal

life 113

(2) And of the main factors in Israel's religious develop-

ment 115

(3) Element of idealization in the Pentateuch, its extent

and characteristics II9

The ' priestly narrative ' : its character 121

Prophetic idealization in the older narratives .... 125

Considerations which appear to justify it . . . ... 128

II, The Mosaic period —

The work of Moses that of a prophet 131



SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS xv



PAGE



Main features of the Mosaic narratives 133

(1) They regard the exodus as a fundamental fact . .134

(2) They aim at exhibiting the character and requirement

of God 138

(3) They depict an ideal theocracy 140

(4) Typical significance of the narratives . . . .142
General reflections 144

III. The historical books —

The materials forming their substratum, and their general

features 145

Three elements in the prophetic theory of the history—

(1) The reality of grace 151

(2) The importance of critical epochs . . . .152

(3) Method of divine deliverances 154

The action of the Holy Spirit in Israel's history . . .155
General summary 1 57

Note A. The patriarchal narratives 160



LECTURE IV.

The Progressive Self-Revelation of God.

The continuity of revelation 161

I. General features of Hebrew revelation considered as progressive 162

The method justified in Christ 164

Illustrations of the tendency of Old Testament religion —

(a) In the sphere of worship 166

The principle of selection 167

Circumcision 167

Sacrifice 168

(d) In the sphere of ethical ideas 170

The idea of ' holiness ' 171

Mosaism and the Decalogue 172

The idea of personality ....... 175

Human sacrifice : Gen. xxii. 176

The slaughter of the Canaanites 178

'II. The 'Name' of God progressively unfolded .... 181
General names, '£/, 'E/oa/i, 'E/o/u'm, 'El 'Elyon ; their mean-
ing and use 183

The patriarchal name, '£■/ .S'/w^<3'az 184

The name y^;//z/^/i . 1 85

1\\&i\i\^%Adonaizxi^JahvehTsebaoth 186

The Hebrew conception of revelation 187

Theological significance of the different titles of deity . . 189

'£■/, 'Elo/nin, ' Eloah, 'El "Elyon 190

'£■/ Shaddai and 'Adonai 191

Jehovah {Jahveh) 1 93

Anthropomorphic language in the Old Testament . . . 194

The attributes oi Jehovah 195

(i) 'Righteousness ' and 'truth' 198

(2) * Kindness ' or ' grace ' 199

The jealousy oi Jehovah ........ 200



SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS

PAGE

Jehovah Tsebaoth ' . . . . 203

The ' fatherhood ' of God in the Old Testament . . . 204
Conclusion 205



LECTURE V.

The Ancient Covenant and its Worship.

The covenant between Jehovah and Israel inaugurated at Sinai . 206

I. The idea of the covenant : its history and conditions . . . 209

II. The moral requirement involved in the covenant . . . 213

The Decalogue : its contents and characteristics . . .2x5

(1) Religion the foundation of personal morality and social

duty 219

(2) Absence of directions bearing on worship . . . 220

(3) Moral symbohsm of the Mosaic institutions . , 222

III. The sanctuary and the sacrifices —

The prophetic idea that underlies them 224

The description of the tabernacle an idealized sketch . . 226

The levitical sacrifices 227

(i) The sacrifices based on pre-existing customs . . 229

(2) The attitude of the prophets towards sacrifice . . 230

(3) Was the levitical system ever in actual operation? . 231

(4) The development of piacular sacrifice .... 232
Names and characteristics of the different classes of

sacrifice 234

General features common to all . . . . . 236

Features distinctive of each ..... 238

IV. Symbolic and typical significance —

Of the Tabernacle 247

Of the sacrificial system 250

Fulfilment of levitical types in Christ —

The Burnt-offering 253

The Sin-offering 255

The Peace-offering 258

Spirituality of the Law 259

Note A. The symbolic significance of the Tabernacle . . .261



LECTURE VL

Prophecy and the Messianic Hope.

The use of the phrase ' The Law and the Prophets "... 265

Prophecy, the distinctive element in Hebrew religion . . . 269
I. The beginnings of prophetism —

An institution common to the Semitic tribes .... 270

The work of Samuel • . . . 272

Elijah 273



SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS



conception



II. Tbe prophets : aspects of their work —

(i) Prophetic inspiration : its character. The name Nadht

(2) The sphere in which the gift of prophecy was exercised

Function of the prophets

Social and poHtical conditions of the eighth century
Social influence of the prophets .
Their work that of proclaiming judgment

(3) The religious influence of the prophets
The prophets in relation to monotheism and univer

salism

The teaching of Amos : Jehovah the moral ruler of the

universe

Hosea : the prophet of divine love

Two permanent elements in the prophetic

of God

Teaching of the book of Jonah

III. The Messianic hope : its gradual growth .

(1) The promise of spiritual victory —

The Protevangelhtin

The ' Blessing of Jacob '

The prophecy in Deut. xviii. 15

(2) The hopes connected with David's house
The oracle in 2 Sam. vii.
'Figurative prophecy' ....
The Hebrew idea of royalty
Limitations of prophecy

(3) The self-manifestation of Jehovah —

' The day of the Lord ' .

A day of judgment and of salvation

(4) The suffering people of God
Effects of calamity on the Messianic hope
' The servant of Jehovah ' . .

(5) The new covenant ....
Teaching of Jeremiah and Ezekiel

(6) The post-exilic prophets
The apocalyptic literature .
Ideal fulfilment of prophecy in Christ .



274
277
279
281
283
285
286

287

288
290

292
293
295

296
297
298
299
300
301
302
306

304
305
308
309
310
312
313
314
316
318



LECTURE VII.



Personal Religion in the Old Testament.

Tendencies of the post-exilic age foreshadowed at an earlier period 323
Circumstances which gave an impulse to the development of per-
sonal religion 324

The post-exilic age spiritually fruitful 328

The Hagiographa : their character and contents .... 329
The foundation truths of personal religion —

I. The idea of a future life 334

(i) The Law witnesses to the truth of man's personal

relation to God 336

Hebrew conception of death 337

The dignity of human nature recognized . . . 338

b



SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS



(2) The anomalies of life and divine retribution
Doctrine of the Law ....
The 'era of difficulties' : the book of Job
The ' era of quiescence ': Ecclesiastes

II. The idea of a personal providence : the Psalms

Witness of other books ; Cantica, Ruth, Esther
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah .

III. The sense of the fruitfulness of suffering
Characteristics of the 'Wisdom literature
The book of Job ....
The book of Ecclesiastes .
Summary and conclusion .



Daniel



PAGE

343
343
346
348
350

355
359
359
361
364
370



by



LECTURE VIII.
The Old Testament and Christianity.

T "S^ ^^^^^SJ between the incarnate Word and Scripture
1. 1 he New Testament view of the Old —

(i) The Old Testament revelation fragmentary.
(2) Variety of methods in which God manifested Himself
Tu^' ^f "<i'n^entary character of the old dispensation .
1 he New Testament verdict on the Law .
Unique authority of the Old Testament asserted

Christ

For Him there was 'a Bible within the Bible ' .*
Principles observed by New Testament writers in thei

employment of the Old ....
Existing methods of interpretation : Halachah, Ha^mdah

and Sodh .

Our Lord's employment of these methods .'
The New Testament exegesis of the Old—
(i) Its breadth and freedom ....
Apostolic use of Haggadah and Halachah

Allegorism

(ii) Moral purport of the quotations '.
/•••^ £°"^^^^^ between Christ and the Scribes and Pharisees
(inj Messianic use of the Old Testament .

Summary

II. The permanent function of the Old Testament in the Church
Preliminary questions—

The historical quality of the Old Testament narratives.
1 he existence of a ' secondary ' sense .
(1) The sacramental view of the universe
Tu r^^f' "^^^ organic relation between Judaism
-TK • Testament, a revelation of God's nature
Ihe aim of God's moral government considered
Its methods and laws of action
The place of suffering ..."
^' 7^^,P^^ Testament as witnessing to Christ
Its Messianic import
What is ideal is Messianic .' \



and Christianity
and character



373

378
379
380

381
382

383

384
385

389
390
392
393

394
396
400
401

401
405
406
408
412
413
414
415
416

417
419



SYNOPSIS OF CONTENTS xix



PAGE



3. Function of the Old Testament in forming and training character 421
The * morality of the Old Testament '—

Theocentric 423

And altruistic 424

4. The Old Testament as a manual for the spiritual life . . . 426

5. The Old Testament as an instructor in social righteousness . 430
Social doctrine of the Old Testament —

Not based on individualism 431

Recognizing moral forces in social progress .... 432

6. The Old Testament as an aid in New Testament exegesis . . 433

Summary of the lectures 436

Concluding reflections—

The duty of individual Christians 437

Place of Scripture in the system of the Church . . . 440



ASPECTS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT



LECTURE I



All things are yours. — I Cor. iii. 21.

There are few terms the precise significance of
which it is more difficult to fix than the word ' catholic/
As applied to the Christian Church it connotes primarily
her world-wide extension. The holy Church th7^ough-
out all the zvorld doth acknowledge Thee. To the idea
of extension the idea of doctrine is added. The Church
is 'catholic' inasmuch as she is the teacher of all
truth needful for man in the conduct and development
of his spiritual and moral life ; she is the home of all
graces and virtues, and the school in which every
variety of human character may find its appropriate
discipline \ But there is another, sense in which the
Church of Jesus Christ is a 'catholic' society: to
her most loyal children she is the imparter of spiritual
breadth, she fosters a true catholicity of heart and
temper. Faithfulness to the mind of the Church and
submission to her discipline has sometimes been sup-
posed, and with a show of justice, to involve hostility to
the advancement of learning, cramped and petty views
of things, and a one-sided estimate of human nature.
And ye1; if the Church of God be the abiding-place of
that Holy Spirit whose presence brings liberty, and
the home of that charity which rejoiceth zvith the truth ^,

1 Cyr. Hier. Caiech.yivm. 23. Cp. Lightfoot on Ignat. ad Smyrn. viii.
^ 2 Cor. iii. 17; i Cor. xiii. 6.

9 ^ B



2 THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH [lect.

a faithful son of the Church will have a just sense
of the infinitude and many-sidedness of truth. He
will cultivate in himself the spirit of candour, and
width of intellectual sympathy. He will be keenly
alive to the strength of an opponent's case \ He will
discriminate carefully between what is essential and



Online LibraryRobert Lawrence OttleyAspects of the Old Testament : considered in eight lectures delivered before the University of Oxford → online text (page 1 of 41)