A Guidebook to the Biblical Literature

By John Franklin Genung | Go to book overview

the power of the person, who with all his greatness may be capricious or inconsistent or one-sided, must be added the steadying and enlightening power of ideas.

NOTE. On the need beyond personal ascendancy, Professor Gardiner remarks, in "Exploratio Evangelica", p. 5: "It is true that in the presence of a mighty spirit and leader of men, his direct commands may be taken as principles of action, and not expressed in terms of the intellect. But in ordinary times, and among thoughtful men, religious doctrine is as necessary to the healthy and normal development of a community as are faith and self-denial."

Our survey of the times before the age of books has revealed literature as it were in the germ: the song, the mashal, the elegy, the folk tale, all like a runwild oral utterance. It is significant, however, that later. when the specific lines of literature are gathered into a permanent canon-law, prophecy, poetry - all are attributed to personal sources of this period. To Moses is ascribed the beginnings of law, to Samuel the beginnings of prophecy and statesmanship, to David the beginnings of lyric religious poetry. One more great name, that of Solomon, is connected with a literary type, the mashal or wisdom type; and his activity immediately succeeds to this period of the Semina Litterarum. Thus the great centers of literary light and influence are recognized as personal; but their personality is translated into abiding ideas.

From Personal to Biblical

-76-

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