A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha

A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha

A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha

A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha

Excerpt

This Commentary is written by Anglican scholars who, while holding their faith, are determined in approaching the books to give their critical faculty, instructed by all the means within their power, its full and rightful freedom. It is hardly necessary to say that they have not found the results of legitimate criticism to conflict with the Catholic faith, though, believing, as they do, that criticism is a progressive science, and in the main a new science, their conclusions do very often differ widely from those which have been traditional. It will perhaps hardly be doubted that a Commentary on the whole Bible, written from this particular point of view, has been for many years both wanted and lacking; so that we need not apologize for endeavouring to supply the need. But it should be added that on no portion of the books was a new Commentary more obviously required than on the Apocrypha. It is not easy to exaggerate the importance of the books comprised under this ambigous title in supplying the mental background necessary for understanding the New Testament.

Two further general explanations seem to be necessary. 1. The Bible should be read from the point of view from which it was written; and there can be no doubt that from end to end the original writers wrote, and later editors, where such there were, edited and adapted the original documents for the purpose of edification, not of pure science. Thus, though the historical and archæological importance of the books is immense, it is the spiritual use of them which is their proper use, and it is principally to this spiritual use of the Bible that we intend our Commentary to minister. We shall have fallen quite short of our aim if it does not lead all those who study it onwards from 'reading, marking, and learning' to 'inwardly digesting' the Holy Scriptures; and in particular if it is not of service to the ministers of religion in that 'daily reading and weighing of the Scriptures' to which they are pledged, and by which alone they can hope to wax riper and stronger in their ministry. But it must be confessed that, especially in parts of the Old Testament, it will be found that the critical and archæological aspects of the books are the most prominent in this Commentary. In the present condition of biblical criticism this is inevitable. A commentator on any book must explain his view of the book, his reasons for so regarding . . .

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