Moses

Moses

Moses

Moses

Excerpt

In the year 1906 Eduard Meyer, a well-known historian, expressed the view that Moses was not a historical personality. He further remarked: "After all, with the exception of those who accept tradition bag and baggage as historical truth, not one of those who treat him as a historical reality has hitherto been able to fill him with any kind of content whatever, to depict him as a concrete historical figure, or to produce anything which he could have created or which could be his historical work." It is precisely this, the description of Moses as a concrete individuality and the demonstration of what he created and what his historical work was, that I have made my purpose in this book; on the, to me, obvious basis of unprejudiced critical investigation, dependent neither on the religious tradition nor on the theories of scholarly turns of thought.

To the best of my knowledge, what has been essayed here is the first comprehensive attempt of this kind. None had been made indeed until the days of Eduard Meyer; and of the two books which have since appeared on Moses and which deserve scholarly mention, namely, "Mose und seine Zeit", by Hugo Gressmann (1913), and "Mose", by Paul Volz (1907, completely revised new edition, 1932), the former did not attempt the task at all, but exhausted itself in an analysis, which frequently led to entirely erroneous results, of the various strata of saga-growth; while the second, which is valuable and stimulating but too general, and which does not deal adequately with the basic problems of the Biblical text, has conceived the task too narrowly. During the past four decades important contributions have been made to specific problems of research, which have certainly helped to display the historical appearance of Moses and his teaching ; I refer to these in the notes.

Such an account as that attempted here must admittedly renounce one thing. It cannot undertake to submit a consecutive record of . . .

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