THE name Old Testament History is an inheritance from early theological science. All history was allowed to fall into the two divisions designated as Sacred and Profane. The former readily divided itself into the Biblical and Ecclesiastical sections, and the Biblical section as readily arranged itself under the heads Old Testament and New Testament. Of late years the distinction between sacred and secular has become less marked. It is now felt that all history is sacred, because it is all the working out of the plan of God. What has been known as Old Testament History now begins to appear under the title History of Israel.
Whichever name we use, the discipline itself is of the first importance to every one who would understand the world or his own time. The little land of Palestine has had large influence upon the progress of mankind. The story of the people who dwelt there is more widely known than anything else that has come down to us from ancient times. In modern Europe, in America, among all nations that profess the Christian religion the names of Abraham, Moses, and David are household words. The same is true in Mohammedan countries. Israel has contributed to our civilisation the enduring and powerful element of religion. The literature of Israel has become a part of the Bible, and the Bible is the book of religion for the civilised world. But a literature cannot be understood without a knowledge of the people which gave it birth. The importance of a study of the history of Israel needs no further demonstration.1____________________