Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Hebrew Bible at VTS (4)

My last installment of this series on the history of the Bible at VTS was back on July 23rd. This installment (number 4) brings us up to the turn of the twentieth century, where we find the seminary faculty and board wrestling with the conflict in America over modernist biblical criticism.

The year was 1906 and the presenting issue was as follows. The seminary catalog was listing books representing modernist criticism of the Hebrew Bible (e.g., J. Wellhausen's and C. Brigg's reference books). The board of trustees asked for their removal. The members of the board did not want the catalog to give the impression that VTS endorced the findings of the modernist approach. (Interesting how then as now, people jump to assume that if a professor assigns a book, he or she agrees with its views!)

One of the books the board wanted out of the catalog was Job and Solomon by the Rev. T. K. Cheyne (London, 1887). Cheyne, professor of interpretation at Oxford and canon of Rochester, was a prolific biblical scholar, whose work squarely represented the rising historical critical approach to the Hebrew Bible that was soon to dominate the guild of biblical studies.

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