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BOOK REVIEWS 



SELLIN'S COMMENTARY ON THE MINOR PROPHETS 1 

The new series in which the volume here reviewed belongs is appear- 
ing apace. It began with Kittel's notable commentary on the Psalms, 
1914, and we now have Genesis, by Procksch, Deuteronomy, by Konig, 
and the present volume from the hands of the editor of the series. Jere- 
miah, by Volz, is in press. The series has its own individual scope, 
shorter than the exhaustive commentaries, of which the International 
Commentary is a type in English, but more capacious than the Kurze 
Commentare which German scholarship has lately made its specialty. 
The present volume is more than a quarter as large again as Nowack's 
commentary on the minor prophets. There is no series in English parallel 
to this German enterprise, the "Westminster Series" confining itself 
rather to the use of the English reader. We must note the interest of 
German scholarship in producing commentaries that are handbooks for 
the educated biblical student and also for the intelligent layman, but 
which do not overawe them with too vast a mass of data. 

Theologically the series is conservatif, positif. The terms are used 
comparatively. The authors in no way meet the critical problems from a 
confessional or dogmatic basis as to the inerrancy of biblical text and 
doctrine. The present volume is proof of the intelligent and rational 
treatment of all critical questions, while it demonstrates that the writers 
are fully equipped with the critical armor of offense and defense. They 
differ from their predecessors in a fresh and often original treatment of 
the data of criticism, and do biblical science the favor of showing that 
many critical conclusions have by no means reached finality. That is, 
there are other combinations, other points of view, which can greatly 
modify previous conclusions on such questions as those of integrity of 
text and book and of authorship and age. In a word, we are reminded 
that, while philology may be a science, literary criticism is not, that the 
possible combinations are too manifold and the subjective element in the 
critic too uncontrollable to allow finality. The very elements of textual 
and of metrical criticism which have been vaunted by some scholars as 

1 Das Zwolfprophetenbuch. tlbersetzt und erklart von D. Ernst Sellin. (Commen- 
tar zum Alten Testament. Herausgegeben von D. Ernst Sellin. Band XII.) Leipzig 
und Erlangen: Deichert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1922. 

643 



644 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

scientific tests can be used by other hands to opposite ends. Our judg- 
ment on gunpowder or poison gas varies, depending upon whether our 
enemies use them or we have learned their use. 

As we should expect from Dr. Sellin, he has presented a commentary 
on the Minor Prophets that is fresh and original. It is a tribute to the 
eternal value of those Old Testament seers that something new can be 
written on them every few years. It is equally a caution to our biblical 
learning to mark how we may not rest satisfied with results so far 
achieved. If a scholar picks up a new commentary on this subject with 
a certain feeling of satiety, he cannot drop the present volume without 
breathing a fresh breeze blowing over the dry bones of criticism. 

There is not a book of these Twelve Prophets on which Sellin does not 
present a new point of view, for the whole or in important details. Some 
of his theories are wholly new, others are modifications or extensions of 
views of his predecessors. In general he argues for the authenticity of 
far larger sections of the several books than has been for long the received 
view. He bases his arguments upon the canons practiced by more 
radical scholarship, just as radically no doubt, perhaps as arbitrarily, 
but with the constant wholesome reminder that no soil is so well culti- 
vated but that it can stand fresh plowing. 

To give some examples of Sellin's treatment, we may begin with the 
classic of Amos. He denies the almost dogma of the day that the end of 
the book, g:8b S., is a late addition; canceling verse 8b as an intrusion, 
he argues for the authenticity of the passage and connects it with the 
biographical episode at end of chapter 7 on the cue .of the second person 
singular in 9:15. Amos would then, while predicting the overthrow of 
the Northern Kingdom, have promised the return of Israel's loyalty to 
the house of David. This method or rearrangement of various pericopes 
is pursued also in the handling of that crux inter ■prelum, the marriage 
of Hosea, Hosea 1-3. The section on the purchase of the renegade 
woman, 3:1-5, he boldly transfers to the beginning of chapter 1, as 
introductory to the story of the prophet's married life — thus involving 
himself, as he admits as to the authenticity or correct placing of 1:2. 
Thus, in part with Steuernagel, he overcomes the difficulty of treating 
3 : 1-5 as a subsequent, unexplained episode in the domestic history. In 
regard to the current cavalier exegesis of making Hosea merely a prophet 
of doom, he would restore the book as a whole, minus the usual amount 
of glosses, to the authorship of that prophet. 

A similar judgment is passed upon the integrity of the Book of 
Micah. The book down through 7:7 is attributed to the prophet's hand. 
He finds the chief trouble with this hypothesis in 4:1 — 5:8, but over- 



BOOK REVIEWS 645 

comes it, literally by the excision of "glosses," and theologically by 
comparison with Isaiah's position as to the future salvation of the people. 
He would also extend the historical scope of the prophet in diagnosing 
perhaps three stadia in his prophecy, namely about 722, 711, and shortly 
before Sennacherib's invasion. For Nahum 1, which he keeps for the 
prophet, he holds that the problem of the unfinished alphabetical poem 
is met by supposing that the prophet proceeded with the alphabet as 
far as he desired and then stopped with the letter c Ain. Sellin is very 
interesting in the treatment of Haggai and I Zechariah, on whose age his 
historical studies have thrown so much illuminating light and suggestion. 
Most original is his new theory of the origin of II Zechariah, chapters 9-14. 
After a particularly full discussion of previous theories he advances the 
theory that the chapters (chap. 14 is a Doppelganger to the preceding 
material) are an apocalyptic work, of about date 300 B.C. (with Stade), 
in which the writer has assumed the r61e of the prophet Zechariah and 
given an apocalypse in character like that of Daniel, of which book 
Deutero-Zechariah would then be early precursor. Joel he would divide 
into sections of different authorship, chapters 1-2, belonging to the early 
part of the fifth century, where also he would assign Malachi, and a 
late apocalyptic addition, chapters 3-4, of date circa 400. Obadiah, 
verses 1-10, is held to be, in its purified form, the eldest bit of written 
prophecy, harking back to 800 B.C. 

These samples of Sellin's very original theories may suffice. They 
have the same weakness of operating with assumed glosses and numerous 
transpositions as is the nemesis of all current criticism — a necessary 
discipline, however unsatisfactory it is. Sellin may be criticized for 
being too set on working out a fixed scheme for his reconstructions; at 
the same time it is only so that they can be prepared for judgment, and 
his positiveness and boldness help forward the critical decision. He 
pursues the usual makeshift of text corrections, the most unsatisfactory 
part of our commentary science. There is need here of deeper searching 
of the heart on the part of philologists, e.g., he "simplifies" Amos 7:4, 
"he calls to contend by fire," by reading lahab for larib and deleting the 
preposition "by," i.e., "he calls for the flame of fire." Are not some things 
too obvious, even for ancient scribes ? The root rib has the connotation 
of the ordeal, and this meaning should be understood here: the Lord 
calls to the ordeal of fire — and how can Jacob stand ? 

Two special merits of the book are found in a pair of sections which 
accompany the introduction to each of the Prophets. The one con- 
cerns the origin of the book, and herein Sellin takes much pains in trying 
to work out the literary history of the document. His treatment of 



646 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

Amos' part in the literary preparation of his booklet is, for instance, very 
suggestive. Also the sections on the "religionsgeschichtliche Bedeutung" 
of the several prophets are capital in their insight and expression. The 
student of theology should refer to these sections at least, if he has not 
leisure for the whole book. Sellin takes an uncompromising stand as a 
Christian theologian in interpreting the prophetical books as part of the 
divine plan in preparing the world for Christ. On this score he has 
recently taken up the gage against Delitzsch's Die grosse Tauschung in his 
Das alte Testament und die evangelische Kirche. 

James A. Montgomery 
Philadelphia Divinity School 



DOES PSYCHOANALYSIS REALLY INTERPRET JESUS? 1 

Jesus himself replied on one occasion to those who judged him insane, 
and his answer has generally been accepted as satisfactory. Of late 
years, however, the question raised by the Pharisees has been reopened 
by certain writers in Germany and elsewhere who would have been 
better employed in consulting the mental specialist on their own account. 
Mr. Bundy has set himself to examine their arguments and conjectures 
in the present book. At first we were inclined to doubt whether the 
work was worth doing, for the writers concerned are for the most part 
insignificant, and all of them absurd. But after reading the book we are 
satisfied that Mr. Bundy has done a useful service. He has brought 
together in a brief and readable survey all that has been written on one 
possible conception of the life of Jesus, and conscientious students who 
might otherwise have tried to sift these dust-heaps of literature for them- 
selves will now be spared that dirty and unprofitable labor. In his resume" 
of opinions with which he himself has little sympathy Mr. Bundy is 
always clear and fair, and has wisely stated the whole case without 
attempting to smooth down what might be offensive to Christian feeling. 
It is difficult to see how any reasonable mind can refuse to accept his 
conclusions. He points out that at this distance of time, on the strength 
of a few data imperfectly recorded, no diagnosis of the mental condition 
of Jesus is possible. He shows that in the literature under review the 
records have been misunderstood and distorted by men who know 
nothing of critical methods. He argues convincingly that the emotions 
and acts of Jesus, when viewed in the proper light, are fully consistent 
with mental health, and occasionally seem strange only because no allow- 

1 The Psychic Health of Jesus. By Walter E. Bundy. New York: Macmillan, 
1922. xviii+ 299 pages.