The reader will find that every part of the Prolegomena is instinct with historical interest, and contributes something to a vivid realization of what Old Israel really was, and why it has so great a part in the history of spiritual faith. In the first essay of the Prolegomena a complete picture is given of the history of the ordinances of worship in Israel, and the sacrifices, the feasts, the priesthood, are all set in a fresh light. The second essay, the history of what the Israelites themselves believed and recorded about their past, will perhaps to some readers seem less inviting, and may perhaps best be read after perusal of the article, reprinted from the Encyclopædia Britannica, which stands at the close of the volume and affords a general view of the course of the history of Israel, as our author constructs it on the basis of the researches in his Prolegomena. The essay on Israel and Judaism with which the Prolegomena close, may in like manner be profitably compared with sect. 11 of the appended sketch—a section which is not taken directly from the Encyclopædia, but translated from the German edition of the article Israel, where the subject is expanded by the author. Here the reader will learn how close are the bonds that connect the critical study of the Old Testament with the deepest and unchanging problems of living faith. W. ROBERTSON SMITH.
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Examining the history of worship and law in Israel, Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) argued that the Pentateuch is a synthesis of four independent narratives. His influential method and theory remain of significant interest in the field of biblical studies. This English translation of his key work was published in 1885.About the Author:
Douglas A. Knight is Professor of Hebrew Bible, Vanderbilt University Divinity School.
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