The questions, raised in the book of
professor Cartashev "The Old Testament Biblical Criticism" are
tempting and need to be answered.
The books starts with the narration about that in
spite "the rigid historical conservatism of the ecumenical church in all
its confessions for enough time, almost for two thousands years, opposed any
negative, profaned and critical attitude to the Biblical material," in the
final run, such a critical attitude to the Bible wins everywhere, and even
"in the Roman-Catholic Church these conclusions, if they are not accepted
directly, then they are seriously discussed as methodological problems, as
working hypotheses, and therefore free the Roman-Catholic science about the Old
Testament from the bondage of infirm apologetics" (p.7).
Further, Professor Cartashev
notes with sorrow that only in the Orthodox world these critical conclusions
are not fully accepted. In the pre-revolutionary academies "there were
only some informative hints, concerning the delicate issues of the articles of
professors F. Eleonslky and V. Ryibinsky." Nowadays "the innovatory
line is introduced into science by the second young professor of the Old
Testament and Hebrew in the Athenian Theologian faculty Basil Vellas,"
about whom professor Cartashev tells further on, that Vellas is "the pupil
of the German science, in particular of professor E. Zelling from Vienna"
It is so sad to hear this, in
realization that the Paris Theologian Institute and the Athenian Theologian
Faculty, as far as we know, are the latest independent Orthodox highest
theologian institutions. Could they not be really preserved authentically
Orthodox? There exist so many Protestant schools!
About V. Vellas prof. Cartashev
writes further: "In spite of this swallow, which does not make spring
come, in totality one must assume that the question about the going of the Old
Testament discipline through the crucible of the critical method in theologian
schools of all Orthodox countries still remains untapped. And the so very old
in science (?) topic as the Old Testament Biblical criticism, sounds as some
novelty for the East. It is infinitely sad that our great Mother Russian Church
is now so bent to the ground and absorbed in the most elementary questions of
every-day existence "to baptize and bring Good News," that, maybe, it
will not soon ascend to those aristocratic heights of the theologian
flourishing, from which it was thrown down into the bottom of revolutionary
What proud words. How much
professor’s pride and scorn towards this "Plebeian" activity of
"baptizing and bringing Good News," which we together with all the
apostles and saints consider the highest, unique matter in the universe, to
which all these proud "aristocratic heights of the theologian bloom"
can only serve as secondary support, is seen here. And if they stop being such
a support, but reach for the non-belonging to them independent role and turn to
the crooked paths of carnal wisdom, then the Divine hand mercilessly overthrows
them: sometimes mercifully earlier than the mentioned disgrace will reach them,
as it happened with Russian academic science, sometimes letting them talk till
the Hercules’s columns of unbelief and insanity, as it happened with the
Protestant, for example, Tubingen German, so-called theologian science.
What are these "conclusions
of the Biblical criticism," about the lack of assimilation of which in the
Orthodox theologian science grieves prof. Cartashev?
They are many. In the mentioned
book they are given in brief.
First of all it turns out that
the whole number of books of the Old Testament is
"pseudo-epigraphic," i.e. these books belong not to the authors, they
were assigned to. But prof. Cartashev hurries to specify that "the
teaching to believe authority of holy books does not depend on the defined
authorship." The thought is correct. The Church gives authority to the
holy book only with the fact that including it in Its canon, It authorizes it,
i.e. this holy book is admitted to be the Church book. That is why, for
example, the authority of the corresponding books does not become less because
of the fact that their writer was King Solomon, who from the "the lover of
wisdom" turned into "the lover of loose women." But this means
that the Church completely authorizes the given holy book. And for any unbiased
believing person, not dazzled by a proud thought about the cultural superiority
of his generation over the rest, the two thousand-year long testimony of the
Church about this or that authorship, of this or that holy book is more
convincing not only because of infallibility of its moral authority, but as
well more convincing out of rational considerations, than because of the
kaleidoscopically changing opinions on this question of various
For example, for us King David is
not "a legendary personality" (p.25), created on the conjecture of
authorities, (in what professor Cartashev believes), in the circle of Hebrew
scribes and rabbis of the post-Babylonian period, but the brightest lively
personality, whom we love with living love. Through this love: living, and
therefore understanding, penetrating inside of his emotional experiences, as in
our own ones, we clearly understand his feelings, when after his downfall he
composed his holiest psalm, which we often repeat in the minutes of our sinful
falls: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my
transgressions…" And we cannot take these sacred lines away from the
well-known to us Psalmist—king and assign them to some unknown falsifiers of
the 6th or 4th century BC, which on the supposition of
prof. Cartashev and recognized by him authorities, so well imitated the
repentant feeling of the invented by them legendary king, that for two thousand
years the best and most clever of the Christians could not guess that they
constantly repeat some forgery, with the confessionary feeling.
We also know that this loved by
us king David knew, and not superficially, but as one of the basis of his
faith, about the resurrection of the dead, believing in it so profoundly and
correctly that we, believing into the same, till now meet the Compline of
Sunday with words: "Arise, O God, judge the earth," and with his
words rejoice in the night of the Resurrection: "Let God arise, let his
enemies be scattered...," "This is the day which the LORD hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it."
We know that all holy prophets
believed in the resurrection of the dead, so that the words of prophet Hosea
sound in the Pascal night as the most joyful expression of victory over death:
"O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction"
That is why the proof, given by
prof. Cartashev against the authorship of prophet Isaiah of his entire book
(this is a very early surmise, proposed by the negative criticism) in the
reference to the 24th and 32d chapters of the prophet, as at those
that could be written only in the 2d century BC, because, as he said, there was
expressed the belief in the Resurrection, and this dogma "glimmers in the
darkness of the Old Testament ignorance only at the end of the Hellenistic
époque" (p. 27-28) is not at all convincing.
Does prof. Cartashev really think
that the holy prophets and forefathers of the Old Testament did not believe in
the resurrection of the dead, if in this believes any religious man, even a
heathen. What, in this case, would the words of Ap. Paul mean: "But
without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must
believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
By faith Noah became heir of the righteousness… By faith Abraham obeyed…
Through faith also Sara herself received strength… These all died in faith, not
having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded
of them… But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly… By faith
Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…accounting that God was able to
raise him up, even from the dead… By faith Moses… esteeming the reproach of
Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the
recompence of the reward… and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance;
that they might obtain a better resurrection" (Hebr.11). Is it that the
contemporary professors and those professors of the past century know better
about the faith of holy righteous people of the Old Testament, than Ap. Paul?
On the testimony of the Gospel,
and besides of J. Flavius we know that on the contrary, in the époque, close to
Christ, i.e. exactly at the end of the Hellenist époque, among the Hebrew
people appeared the nation (the Sadducees), who did mot believe in the
resurrection of the dead, like now they appear among the nations, accepting the
Christianity in a formal way.
Those people were exposed by the
Lord not even with the words of prophet David or anyone of the later holy
writers, but by the words of the one, whom Jesus Christ and the entire church,
and with It we, sinners, accept and will accept as the first Old Testament
writer — the God-Seeing Moses: "But as touching the resurrection of the
dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the
God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God
of the dead, but of the living" (Ex. 5:6; Math. 22:32; Marc 12:26; Luke
We shall get back to the question
But before that let us say about
the question, which seems to us especially flagrant, about the attempt to
discredit the fundamental for the whole Christianity prophesy of prophet
Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son" (Is.7:14).
This is how prof. Cartashev
writes about that: ‘Isaiah "pointed at the forthcoming birth of a son with
the name Immanuel by a young woman as at the sign of mercy of Yahweh … It is
strange, and of course, not accidental, the translation of those pious Hebrew
translators of this extract from Isaiah into Greek, who insisted on putting
here the unexpected by its sense for a conceiving woman and unexpected at all
for Judaism word "parthenos," i.e. a virgin, translating here such a
Hebrew word as "ga-alma." The direct Hebrew word for the definition
of a virgin and virginity is "betula." The word "alma" is
wider in its meaning. It signifies a mature young woman, ready to marry or an
already married young woman, in Russian — moloditsa" (p.35).
This question, unlike the rest of
the conjectures of the professor, is not at all new. It appeared already in the
first centuries of the Christianity. The Church responded to it long ago.
Really in the Hebrew texts in
this extract of the prophesy of Isaiah there stands not the word
"betula" — a virgin, but "alma" — a young woman. This is
translated by the word "neanis," a young woman, in the latest Hebrew
translations of the Old Testament into Greek. But in the first, most ancient
translation from Hebrew into Greek, in the God-inspired and holy translation of
the 70 (too be more exact, of the 72, 6 from each generation of Israel)
interpreters, i.e. translators, made on the Divine direction and especially not
like an individual act, but as the council exploit of the whole Old Testament
church, in this translation without any double sense stands the word
"parthenos" — a Virgin. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and
bear a son."
A key to the correct
understanding of that, how it happened, is given by very prof. Cartashev, when
he says: ‘The Alexandrian translation of the 70 was accepted by the Church with
love; and by the Judaism, which had created it, it was rejected with the
mystical horror and substituted by others (Aquila and Symmachus), processed in
the anti-Christian manner" (p.35). And prior to that, about the Hebrew
original, from which those anti-Christianly processed translations were made,
the professor says: "The Rabbis withdrew from the circulation all the
ancient copies of the Synagogue and changed them by the copies of one list,
which were admitted by them to be the best and sample-like. Thanks to this,
unique in the history of the world literature, fanatically scrupulous
operation, fulfilled in the end of the first or beginning of the second century
of the Christian era, the Hebrew text, otherwise called as the Massorite,
reached the most inert state" (p.17).
Only having prepared themselves
in such a manner, exterminating all Hebrew texts beforehand, where the
terrifying them word was, having prepared translations, akin to their idea, the
Judaism published them with the refutation of the Christian understanding of
the prophesy of Isaiah about the Holy Virgin.
But as an answer to all these
thorough, scrupulous attempts the Christian apologists calmly answered that
they could respond to prof. Cartashev: "If by prophet Isaiah there really
stood the word "a young woman" instead of the word "a
virgin," then there would be no prophesy in that. Every day young women give
birth to children, and no one sees in that any wonder, any sign."
A professor of the highest
theologian school should have known that the Church had already answered to the
posed by him question, which he answers not according to Its spirit, but to the
spirit of Its enemies.
The prophesy of the holy prophet
of God Isaiah can be heard from every page of the New Testament, is the
corner-stone of our faith and we can admit this prophesy to be the erroneous
translation or a forgery, neither on the testimony of such ancient enemies of
the Christianity as Aquila and Symmachus, nor on the conjectures of the new
On page 46 of the discussed book
we meet the central question of it, the question about the origin of the
Pentateuch of Moses. The author bombards us with names of the know and unknown
to us authorities of the Protestant German criticism and says:
" The main part, it can be
said, of the most glorious achievements, was lifted upon its shoulders by the
German Protestant science, and after it — by the Holland science, and with the
help of the works of Eichgorn, Fatter, Evalds, Reiss, Graf, Kuenen, and
Wellgausen it finally made the firm outline of the most probable hypothesis
about the genesis of the Pentateuch of Moses… It began with the literary
analysis of the Pentateuch, definition of its multi-content character and then
went over to the profound rebuilding of the whole historical scheme of
development of the religion of Israel, i.e. the whole customary holy history.
Already in 1834 professor E. Reise of the Protestant Theologian Faculty in
Strasburg proclaimed a thesis, which was diametrically opposite to this scheme:
it was not that first appeared the Law of Moses, and then the prophets, but on
the contrary: historically there came the prophets, and only then the written Laws
of Moses. The whole sense of the literature-historic discovery of the Old
Testament Biblical criticism fits into this formula" (p.47).
As the main proof of such an
upside down rearrangement of the whole Old Testament is given the idea that
from Joshua till Ezra the Biblical books as though did not undergo the existing
legislation of Moses.
In fact, it is not correct. The
quickest look through the Biblical pages points at the different fact. The book
of Joshua from the very first pages means the existence of the Pentateuch and
is inseparable from it. Without knowing the books of Moses, one can understand
nothing in the book of Joshua. Look, chap. Т, 13, 17; chap. II, 13 and
17; chap. Ш, 4; chap. XI, 126 and so on, and so forth.
The story of daughter of Jepht
with all its mysticism has other explanations, except that one, which is given
by prof. Cartashev.
In the first book of Kings Anna,
the mother of Samuel, appeals to the Lord with the words of St. Miriam, the
sister of Moses. With the sacrifice of Elijah and his sons, they act according
to the ritual, assigned in the 3d chapter of Leviticus and when the sons of
Elijah deviate from this direction because of their covetousness and gluttony,
then those bringing sacrifice expose them, referring to the written in the Law,
i.e. in the Pentateuch of Moses. Look. I Kings. 2,1317. The books of Kings, in
general, are aware of the narrated in the books of Moses. Look. 1 Kings 2:27
and 30; 10:2; 12:6-12; 14:32; 3 Kings. 1:50.
About the rights of the king,
chapter 8 of the first book of Kings and the 17 chapter of the Deuteronomy are
saying absolutely identical things.
About the warning of God about
the violation of the Law Samuel says in the 12th chapter of the 1st
book of Kings, basing his words on Deuteronomy. About the retribution for the
robbed lamb David says to Nathan according to the rule, written down in Exodus.
Compare 2 Kings 12:6 and Exodus 22:1. The plaintiff demands from David the
execution of the murderers on the rules of Numbers and Deuteronomy. Compare 2
Kings 14:4 and Numbers 35:19,21 and Deuteronomy 19:12.
The Psalms are filled with hints,
concerning the books of Moses about the Creation of the world till Deuteronomy.
It is enough to see the margins of the Psalms, filled with references to the
books of Moses, in the edition of the Bible with parallel extracts, for the
refutation of the conjecture that the Psalms are not the work of King David,
but the later creation of some unknown falsifiers of the 4th or 6th
century BC; the books of Kings give in their context, in the description of
life of David, his psalms, which exactly like those, given apart in the Psalms,
are connected in their content with the whole Divine Testament. Look 2 Kings,
chap.7 and 22.
Very significant are the words of
the 3d book of Kings, ch.8:56: "Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest
unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not
failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses
Horib is the Divine Mountain for
Prophet Elijah. He knows about the Divine Testament. 3 Kings 19:8. The books of
Kings are closely connected with the books of the prophets, in particular, with
prophet Isaiah, who, as the Old Testament Evangelist, was mostly attacked by
the negative critics. Look 4 Kings, ch.19 and 4 Kings 21:8-15.
The books of Proverbs and Wisdom
of Solomon are filled with the words from the books of Moses. But the main
thing is that the books of prophets, which prof. Cartashev so categorically
assigns to the earlier time, than the Law of Moses, constantly give the words
from the Pentateuch.
Isaiah knows well the book of
Genesis. . Look. Ex. 29:22; 41:8; 51?2; and also: 1:10; 3:9 and 13:19. He knows
Exodus: Ex. 10:26; 43:16-18; 48:21; 51310; 63:11-13. He knows the book of
Numbers: Ex. 48:21, the book of Judges: Ex. 934 and 10:26. About the law of the
Lord (and the Old Testament knows no other Law than that of Moses) Isaiah says
the words, which are quite in time to be remembered in this case: "Seek ye
out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall
want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered
them" (Is. 34:16, as it seems, it is related to Deut.28:15).
Prophet Jeremiah knows the book
of Genesis. Look. Ezek. 14:14-20; 16:3 и 45:62. He knows the book of
Exodus. Look Ezek. 20:6-14; 18:68. He knows the book of Leviticus. Look Ezek.
4:14-16. He knows Deuteronomy. Look Ezek. 5:15. He knows the arrangement of a
temple-tabernacle. Look Ezek. 41:4 and compare Ex. 26:33 and Lev. 16:2. Also
compare the chapters of Ezekiel since 41 till 47 with the coinciding chapters
of Numbers and Leviticus, telling about the arrangement of a tabernacle and
about the temple service. Ezekiel knows that priests originate from the generation
of Levi. Look Ezek. 43:19.
Prophet Amos, whom prof.
Cartashev calls "the first of the prophetic writers" (p.55), knows
the history of the defeat of the Amorites by the Hebrews, described in the book
of Numbers. Look Am.2:9. He knows the book of Genesis. Look Am. 4:11 and 6:6.
He knows the book of Exodus and all the circumstances of the exodus of the
Hebrews from Egypt. Look Am.2:10, 3:1, 4:10.
The words, which prof. Cartashev
gives, citing prophet Amos: "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will
not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and
your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace
offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs;
for I will not hear the melody of thy viols" (Am.5:21-23), have quite
another meaning than that, which prof. Cartashev assigns to them. These and the
similar words of prophet Isaiah cited Christ the Savior, Whom no one dared to
suspect of not knowing the Law of Moses (look, Math.15:7). For every Christian,
remembering the Lord’s words — "I will have mercy, and not
sacrifice," the given text of prophet Amos is absolutely clear.
This is how the last phrase,
taken from the text and given by prof. Cartashev in his book in bold type, as
seeming the best way fitting his conjectures, sounds in the authentic context:
"Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty
years, O house of Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and
Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore
will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus" (Am.5:25-27).
For any unprejudiced look,
especially after the moment, when the given references made notable, how much
prophet Amos knew the circumstances of exodus, it is absolutely clearly seen,
that the Lord is indignant, expressing that through the mouth of the prophet,
with the unworthy service of Israel to Him in the time of miraculous guidance
of its people in the wilderness, but does not say that there was no service to
Him at all.
Exactly with this sense these
words are quoted by holy archdeacon Stephan in his God-inspired speech at the
beginning of the Christianity, as it is said about it in the book of Apostolic
Acts in chap.7:42-43. Would a Christian believe more in the concept of the
Divine Law of prof. Wellgausen, then to the most inspired first-Christian
commenter — Apostle and first martyr?
Prophet Hosea, the younger
contemporary of prophet Amos, knows the book of Genesis and in enough detail
narrates the whole story of holy Jacob. Look Hos.12:12. He knows the book of
Exodus. Look, Hos. 2:15; 9:3; 12:13; 13:4 and further. We shall not pile up the
references. We can add only one thing. Looking through the pages of holy
prophetic scriptures one gets convinced one more time, how fully and perfectly
the prophetic books are filled by the content of Divine Law, given hundreds
years before the prophets to holy God-seeing Moses. One must be blind to doubt
The other words of prof.
Cartashev more correspond to the truth: "All the narrated history of the
Hebrew people happens, accompanied by a crying and therefore unclear
contradiction with the very basic cult commandments of the written by Moses
Law" (p. 46).
But can our time sincerely be
surprised at such lack of correspondence between the Law and its fulfillment?
Can an incidental observer of modern life check if we possess and formally
respect the Evangelic law?
Can anyone, knowing our
contemporary life, say that we belong to the Church, which professes that
"neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor.6:9-10)
and if "any one does not fast in the Great Lent, Wednesday and Friday, let
it be anathema" (the Apostolic rule 69).
This violation of the Lord’s law,
which is absolute, and done even with kings, even "with the
incomprehensible agreement of legal priesthood" (p.53) cannot surprise us,
moreover in our time (and in all times) and cannot serve as a proof of knowing
nothing about the violation of the Divine law by these kings, priests and
Unfortunately, prof. Cartashev is
incorrect in thinking that "only the priests that have not read the 1st
and 2d commandments, could cultivate on the whole land of Judea, in the capital
and very temple of Yahweh such thistle of various heathen gods, superstitions
and cults, including the disgrace of "priestly" fornication"
(p.59). And not only has our époque, which violated all the Divine laws,
refuted its optimistic conjecture. After the 4th Ecumenical Council
(the rules of Which are admitted to be compulsory for the East and West), which
with its 100th rule categorically prohibited to the Christians the
drawing of any tempting pictures, the Christian Churches of the époque of
Renaissance and Ludwig XIV were filled with the absolutely dubious pictures,
which were passed off as icons.
Besides, in that time of weak technical progress,
the fact that as a consequence of violation and lack of respect towards the
Law, the Hebrew people could have no full list of holy books, could diminish
the guilt of the violators of the Divine Law.
In the period of greater literature
wealth and significantly developing literature technique, on the eve of
appearance of book-printing, in the end of the 15th-beginning of the
16th century, in the time of fight against the heresy of
"zhidovstvuyushie" in Russia, in the entire Orthodox Russian Church
there were no more or less complete exemplars of the Bible. Does it mean that
it did not exist at all for the Russian people?
We know not from the conjectures
of scientists but from the very Bible that Its several books were lost on the
criminal negligence throughout the centuries.
That is why we are not at all
surprised or tempted by the story, told in the 22d and 23 d chapters of the
book of 4 Kings and in the 34th chapter of the 2d book of
Paralipomenon, where it is said that in the time of rule of king Josie in the
house of the Lord, i.e. in the temple, there was found the book of Law, i.e.
surely the whole Pentateuch, and not only Deuteronomy, as prof. Cartashev is
convinced in his though (p.59). If to read the 35th chapter of the
book of Paralipomenon, the reference to which is on some reason omitted by the
professor, and not to remain content with the reference to the book of Kings,
then we shall see that the whole ritual of the Passover, carried our then for
the first time in many centuries, is taken not from Deuteronomy, but from
Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.
And this is completely incorrect
that "because of such confessions of the book of Kings the illusion of the
school holy historical concept, the history of the original existence of the
The Bible does not at all hush
about human negligence, even when it has to do with the righteous
representatives of mankind. For instance, in the book of Joshua it is said that
while stepping on the promised land Joshua circumcised the sons of Israel, for
"all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came
forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised: (Joshua 5:5). But that was
the period of guidance of the Hebrews by the holiest leader of it, God-seeing
prophet Moses; that one, to whom was strictly given the Law about the
compulsory circumcision of the born Hebrew children. And it must not be thought
that as it is according to the concept of prof. Cartashev, Joshua did not know
the laws of Moses. The book of Joshua, especially its first chapters, is full
of references to the époque of Moses and recollections about this époque, and
the 24th chapter repeats the whole story of Moses in brief.
The Bible is not silent about the
fact that throughout many centuries — it is hard to say how many — almost since
the times of Joshua till those of Josie, the Passover, given by God "by an
ordinance for ever" (Ex.12:17), was not carried out by the Jews, as well
as many other things of the Law of Moses. Meanwhile, if the matter was set that
way, as it seems to prof. Cartashev and other negative critics, i.e. if the
history of the Jewish people was compiled artificially in the post-Babylonian
period by skillful falsifiers, then would not they, inventing new, till that time
unknown feasts and other settings, enter the remarks about them into the
compiled by them chronicles?
Professor Cartashev asks himself:
"When does the Pentateuch appear on the scene?"
And he answers: "Already
since the times of king Josie, since 621, wee see the influence of the
Pentateuch. The whole history of religion of Israel undergoes a sudden change…
The heroic, creative work of the prophets, which first caused the creation of
Deuteronomy, found the inspired followers of this activity in the bondage, in
their majority — priests, what can be seen through the extreme interest,
expressed in the Pentateuch to the codification of all every-day ritual details
(as if the arrangement of the order of divine service can be interesting only
for priests — bishop N). All this is brought up to the original source of the
forefathers’ legends, to Moses, and implied in the stereotype formula, hundreds
of times repeated in the multi-colored chaotic and non-sequential order of
various commandments: "And God said to Moses" (obviously, the
professor thinks this formula to be one of the non-corresponding to the truth,
i.e. simply accuses the Divine Law of Sinai of lying — bishop N.). And then
there came the moment when the characteristic silence about the written Law of
Moses disappeared. The famous Jewish Torah, i.e. the Pentateuch, at once gets
in the middle of attention of after-bondage Israel. There appears the person,
with the name of which is connected the appearance of the Torah in Jerusalem.
This is priest Ezra, who came there with the second big part of the returning
in 398 BC…
As we see, finally, by the 4th
century BC, we come onto the direct way out of the darkness and unbearable
perplexity of a school legend about the course of the holy history.
Before us is the Pentateuch of
Moses (p.60-63). It means that the books of Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, and it
seems as well of Joshua, are compiled in the 6th, 5th and
4th centuries. All this lively, breathing with authentic life
history of ancient shepherds-patriarchs and telling about the wandering of the
shepherd nation in the wilderness, attracting the endless generations of
believing people exactly with its natural simplicity, reason and taste, turns
out to be the artificial invention of the Rabbis of the 6th, 5th
and 4th centuries, in particular of Ezra (the style of writing of
whom does not, by the way, remind of the style of the book of Genesis, for
instance). Really, it is the greatest miracle. It can be compared to the
miracle, which the other researchers want to convince us of, together with
their invention, that the image of Christ was created in the 2d, 3d or 4th
centuries by skillful falsifiers. Having stepped on this road once, one cannot
stop. For not less scientific authorities than those, which remind of professor
Cartashev to prove the falsity of the images of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
Judas, Moses — these brightest living personalities of the Old Testament, say
about the artificiality of the image of Christ. And it happened that the
Protestant "theologian" science, to which reverently resorts in
citing prof. Cartashev, in the face of Tubingen theologians and Drews (Drews is
a Protestant pastor), came to the conclusion that the personality of Jesus
Christ is mythic.
What an emasculated, cabinet
soul, absolutely deprived of the artistic and historical feelings must have
one, to come to such conclusions!
To us both the ideas seem to be
real insanity. Not only our faith, but the very primitive artistic instinct,
the feeling of verity and history, insulted by such "theologian"
conjectures, testify to us that the living images of Abraham and other
patriarchs, Moses and Joshua could not be artificially created. Any great
writer turns out to be powerless to create religious human images. Let us
recall that neither Gogol, nor Dostoevsky could reproduce such an image. Let us
compare the image of elder Zosima and his sermon, created by Dostoevsky, with
the authentic images of our devotees, elders and their creations. We see at
once where the original and the infirm imitation, even in such writing manner
as of Dostoevsky, is.
But on the conjecture of prof.
Cartashev, these Rabbi writers of the 5th and 6th
centuries must have had absolute intuition and knowledge of the ancient, cut
off from them by a century, primitive shepherd daily life, which now we
reproduce only on the basis of archeological data, that the writers of the 4th
century did not have.
In order to understand, how
impossible the pretense of such archeological intuition by the writers of the 4th
century BC is, it is enough to remember the operating by greater technical
possibilities history époque of Titus Livius, in which, nevertheless, the
époque of the ancient Roman kings is described in the forms, corresponding to
the history of the times of Augustus. Moreover, let us remember our Russian
pre-Karamzin historians, who wrote about the ancient Russian princes as about
the Russian autocrats in the style of the latest kings and emperors. Did Ezra
and his contemporaries-scribes possess to such an extent rare ability, which
became accessible in our time, thanks to the development of archeology, — the
ability to be transferred into a remote époque, absolutely different from the
modern, and reproduce it so very artistically?
Here is one more opinion. The
Samaritans separated from the Jews not after the Babylonian bondage, but during
it. How did they take away during the separation the whole Pentateuch of Moses,
as their holy book, if it was brought into Palestine by hated Ezra at the
height of their separation?
Maybe, the Divine providence
preserves through the darkness of ages till the present days the remains of the
Samaritan nation, which huddles close to ancient Sychem at the foot of Mount
Harisim, so that they could testify to the unbreakable truth of the being
preserved by them Divine Old Testament?
About the psychological
substantiation of such "scientific discoveries" the late writer
D.Merezhkovsky says very well, mentioning the similar question about the
artificiality of the image of Christ the Savior and about as if later creation
of the New Testament. D. Merezhkovsky writes: "It would not enter anyone’s
head, to ask if there was Christ, if before asking their mind was not already
obscured by desire of His non-existence." And further on: "What is myth-mania?
(The assertion that Christ is a myth. This is the false-scientific form of
religious hatred to Christ and Christianity, as if a convulsion of human guts,
vomiting this medicine. "The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth,
because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil" (John 7:7). And
it is very obvious that anywhere, where they wanted to put an end to the
Christianity, "the scientific discovery," that Christ is a myth, was
accepted with enthusiasm, as if they just have been waiting for that" (D.
Merezhkovsky, "Unknown Jesus").
We, surely, do not suspect the
author of the discussed by us book of such hatred, but we incline to suspect
the others, to whom he believed, these reverently cited by him German, Holland,
Switzerland professors, who invented the proposed by him theory many years
before, of these horrible feelings.
The taking by storm of the
Christianity has a wide front. The world, which rejected Christ, needs to
destroy His deed in the root. Some could be tempted by the thoughtless
temptation of sin, the others should be confirmed that any religion is
anti-scientific, and consequently, refuted by science, still others should be
convinced that Christ the Savor never existed and the New Testament is a
forgery of the latest authors, the fourth should be made sure of the same idea
about the corner-stone of the Christianity — the Old Testament. There are many
such staircases for attack against the stronghold of Christ.
The fact that the given by prof.
Cartashev ideas about the artificiality of the creation of the Old Testament is
one of such staircases for attacking the very heart of the Christianity becomes
clear with the slightest plunging into the question.
Christ, as He Himself said,
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not
come to destroy, but to fulfill," i.e. came make it complete (Math.5:17).
Let us remember how many times Christ refers to the Law of Moses: Math. 8:4;
19:7; Mark 10:3; 12:26 and so on.
After the Resurrection, having
appeared to the apostles on their way, "beginning at Moses and all the
prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning
himself" (Luke 24:27).
Can one surmise that Christ had a
concept about "the overturned" manner writing of the Old Testament?
The task of a Christian is to understand the Divine Law the same way, as Christ
The best sample of such an
understanding and presenting of such an understanding of the Old Testament, is
the famous sermon of the holy First Martyr Stephan, conveyed in the 7th
chapter of the Apostolic Acts. Those, who are interested in the conveyed here
topic, should compare the concept of the Old Testament in the variant of
apostle Stephan and the same concept in the variant of prof. Cartashev. They
would be easily convinced in their difference and would be able to define,
which of these concepts is more logical, successive, with more historical
understanding and artistic intuition.
The authentic church
understanding of this question nowadays is still absolutely identical to the
understanding of it by Apostle Stephan in the first, one might say, minutes of
the Christian church — Its council character and catholicity, as it was defined
by the great teacher of the Church St. Vicente Lerinsky: "Council-catholic
is that, in what the whole Church always and everywhere believes and
believed." Because the Church and the church truth, necessary for the
eternal salvation of the soul, cannot depend on the temporary historical and
Only such theology, which has
roots in eternity, the Church considers to be Its own. In that case it does not
ask from a theologian any scientific diplomas, but Itself confers them on
Galilean fisherman John the Theologian and even on the malefactor on the cross:
"for while the one was led down to hades by the heaviness of his
blaspheming, the other was lightened of his sins, unto the knowledge of things
Any other wisdom Church never
thinks to be Its own and does not call by the holy and elevated name of
Theology, accepting everything that does not belong to It — the mundane,
converted into foolish wisdom, no matter how the outer world calls it.
The Protestant religion sank to
the disgrace of the "theologians," akin to prof. B. Bauer,
"pastor" Drews and others, who rejected the reality of Christ’s