21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 44


Irma volume may be described as a manifesto of the con- servative party in the Church. The Scottish divines, a class which has been specially touched by the critical movement, are noticeably absent. Only five or so out of nearly a hundred contributors hail from North Britain. More than three-fourths of the whole number are Anglican clergymen. Among these are representatives of different schools, set to work which will not bring them into collision. Dean Waco can hardly be in agreement with Mr. T. A. Lacey in his general outlook on theological questions, but then Mr. Lacey has no opportunity of showing his sympathy with the Abbe Loisy in the article on "The Eucharist." The articles on the Gospels (the Synoptists by Mr. Leighton Pullan, St. John by Professor Gwatkin) are conservative, though Mr. Pollan allows that the concluding verses of St. Mark do not belong to the original Gospel, and does not peremptorily reject the theory that what might have been stumbling-blocks in St. Mark were removed by Matthew and Luke. "Great caution is necessary in accepting the theory." Mr. D. C. Simpson, who writes about the Second Epistle of Peter, sums up against the genuineness of that book. In the Old Testament few concessions are made to criticism. Dr. C. H. H. Wright allows that there are difficulties in the account of the Deluge. "The destruction of plants must have been enormous," he says; he might have said "total," with water over the tops of the mountains. Dr. Orr, who writes on "Exodus," is not staggered by the two millions who are said to have wandered for forty years over the Sinaitic Peninsula. But it is useless to multiply instances of this kind; and it is impossible in the space at our command to argue the various questions which arise. A slight weakening of the orthodox position at this or that point may be observed ; but on the whole it is maintained. But when we have put the controverted matters aside, there remains a vast mass of information which has been carefully brought together and lucidly expressed. From this point of view the new Bible Dictionary may without hesitation be described as a great boon to the student. The articles of General Warren on localities in Palestine, as "The Salt Sea" and " Gezer " (embodying the results of recent researches), and Colonel Conder's on similar subjects, as "Galilee," "Gaza," and "Palestine," may . be specially mentioned. Mr. F. W. Bussell gives an excellent article on "The Roman Empire."