CHAPTER I - OLD TESTAMENT CRITICISM AND NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY
BY PROFESSOR W. H. GRIFFITH THOMAS, D. D., WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA
A large number of Christians feel compelled to demur to the present attitude of many scholars to the Scriptures of the Old Testament. It is now being taught that the patriarchs of Jewish history are not historic persons; that the records connected with Moses and the giving of the law on Sinai are unhistorical; that the story of the tabernacle in the wilderness is a fabricated history of the time of the Exile; that the prophets cannot be relied on in their references to the ancient history of their own people, or in their predictions of the future; that the writers of the New Testament, who assuredly believed in the records of the Old Testament, were mistaken in the historical value they assigned to those records; that our Lord Himself, in His repeated references to the Scriptures of His own nation, and in His assumption of the Divine authority of those Scriptures, and of the reality of the great names they record, was only thinking and speaking as an ordinary Jew of His day, and was as liable to error in matters of history and of criticism as any of them were.
CHAPTER V ONE ISAIAH
BY PROFESSOR GEORGE L. ROBINSON, D. D., MCCORMICK THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
“For about twenty-five centuries no one dreamt of doubting that Isaiah the son of Amoz was the author of every part of the book that goes under his name; and those who still maintain the unity of authorship are accustomed to point, with satisfaction, to the unanimity of the Christian Church on the matter, till a few German scholars arose, about a century ago, and called in question the unity of this book.” Thus wrote the late Dr. A. B. Davidson, Professor of Hebrew in New College, Edinburgh, (Old Testament Prophecy, p. 244, 1903).
I was born in 1981 and the last war on American soil was World War II, which ended in 1945. If you do not count the wars since then in which America has been involved overseas, my lifetime has been war-free. Though both my grandfathers served in the military, neither my father nor I have served in any capacity. Wars and small battles, as real as they are, have been the stuff of TV for me. I have read about them in the paper, heard about them on the radio and I can distinctly remember watching live footage of Desert Storm.
I am often asked by students why the NT quotations of the OT do not match up with what we have in our English OT. There are a number of reasons why this is so. The following are some suggestions about this problem (with a little help from my OT mentor, Walt Kaiser).
First, our OTs are generally translated from the Masoretic text, the traditional Jewish text, the earliest manuscripts of which are from around A.D. 900. Naturally, none of the NT writers had this text. If they knew Hebrew (as Paul did), they cited an earlier version of the Hebrew text, translating it into Greek themselves. This text was not necessarily identical with the text that we have.
Second, we have tried to get our printed Hebrew Bibles as close to the original as possible by comparing the Masoretic Text with manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the early translations of the Hebrew text into Aramaic and Greek. None of the NT writers had this luxury. They simply accepted whatever Hebrew text they had. It is unlikely that many of them owned any parts of the Scripture personally, so they were happy whenever they managed to get their hands on a copy of some part of the Scriptures.
Third, even when a NT writer knew Hebrew, he did not necessarily use that text. He often used the text that his readers would be familiar with. Paul sometimes quotes the Greek version of the OT, the Septuagint (LXX), even though he knew Hebrew and had probably memorized the OT in that language.
Reprinted with permission from Baptist Bulletin Mar/Apr 2013. All rights reserved.
Recent incidents of genocide (the systematic killing of ethnic or religious groups) and ethnic cleansing (the forced deportation of ethnic or religious groups):
Problem: How should a believer respond to accusations about genocide in the Old Testament? Does the Bible encourage genocide for religious purposes?