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Moses Stuart - The Father of Biblical Science in America by John H. Giltner

By John H. Giltner

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Yet his discovery of Eichhorn prevented him from falling back on an anachronistic defense of his beliefs. He learned early that higher criticism judiciously applied could be as useful to defend as to destroy, and though this truth does not shine through in everything Stuart did and said at Andover, it stood out in crucial issues in later years, especially when he became a participant in the debates on the Trinity which swept New England. Stuart transmitted his new critical knowledge to his students almost immediately in a second series of lectures on such themes as the formation of the Old Testament canon; the dates, authors, and circumstances of the several books; and his appraisal of the various texts of the Old Testament along with their critical helps.

44 A few important characteristics of these Jectures can be observed and summarized. On the whole they exhibited a strong and consistent faith in the worthwhileness of critical investigation, despite Stuart's conservative positions. Thus, while he accepted and defended the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the unity of the book of Isaiah, and the historicity of Esther, Job, Daniel, and Jonah, he avoided a literalistic view, especially where he felt the text to be at fault, as in the genealogical tables in Chronicles, or where he observed extreme prophetic imagery, as in Ezekiel or Zechariah.

Wayland, Memoir, 66. Wayland's account of a conversation with Stuart on this occasion provides a humorous glimpse of Stuart as a New England farmer: lhe crop was a sorry one, and as I was raking near him, I intimated to him something of the kind. I shall never forget his reply. 'Ba!! was there ever climate and soil like this! Manure the land as much as you will, it all leaks through this gravel, and very soon not a trace of it can be seen. If you plant early, everything is liable to be cut off by the late frosts of spring.

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