“Christ and the Pentateuch”: JSTOR Content on the Internet Archive

“Christ and the Pentateuch”: JSTOR Content on the Internet Archive May 23, 2013

Content from JSTOR's older journal collection has been made available on the Internet Archive. As an example, below is a quote from an article by Henry P. Smith published in 1890, “Christ and the Pentateuch”, which appeared in the periodical The Old and New Testament Student. I think it is particularly interesting, given that some are still arguing today about things which Smith considered to have been settled more than a century ago, such as creation in six literal days. More than that, the persistence and growth of conservative and fundamentalist stances has indeed had a detrimental effect on Christianity in ways that were foreseeable back then.

The danger of insisting that the denial of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch involves the denial of our Lord's divinity must be clear. This procedure can, at the best, only perplex the less decided, while it may drive the more independent into active disbelief. What would be the result to insist now in this way on the theory that the sun moves around the earth, or on the theory that the universe was created in six literal days? Yet these theories were once as firmly held and as decidedly based on Scripture as the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is based upon the word of Christ. The divinity of our Lord, however, is as firmly established as in the days of Galileo, or as in the youth of Hugh Miller. When we think that Christianity has survived the attacks of a Hume, a Gibbon, a Lessing, and a whole French Revolution, we shall probably not be much disturbed at the supposed subversive tendencies of a Wellhausen.

I offer this as a discussion starter, as well as an illustration of the kinds of interesting older content one can find online nowadays.


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  • I enjoyed Smith’s article! Of course I knew theologians of the period held these and similar views; that was part of the reason for the rise of the fundamentals, but it is really interesting to read this article today. Thanks!