The New Philosophy Vol 64 No 3, July-September 1961
Old Testament scholarship is a diverse and changing field, with a history all its own. It is not a unit that can be pinned down precisely with a few words. In a sense, its beginnings are ancient, for contradictions in the letter of Scripture were pointed out even in early Christian times. Scholars worried about the size of certain numbers, and inconsistency in them. But it was a Frenchman, Astruc, in the late eighteenth century, whose observations on the Divine names began the modern story. Then, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, a German named Julius Well- hausen brought to bear on the Old Testament, a systematic Hegelian philosophy, and reconstructed a history of Israel with basic differences from that presented by the literal sense itself. It was his work, presented in detail and with compelling intellect, that shook the Christian churches, and is the source of much of the doubt that remains concerning the role of Biblical scholarship in religion.