XX. — FROM THE DIVINE ORACLES TO THE HIGHER CRITICISM.
By ANDREW DICKSON WHITE, LL. D. (Yale), Ph. D. (Jena),
FORMERLY PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
V. VICTORY OF THE SCIENTIFIC AND LITERARY METHODS.
WHILE the struggle for the new truth was going on in various fields, aid appeared from a quarter whence it was least expected. The great discoveries by Layard and Botta in Assyria were supplemented by the researches of George Smith, Oppert, Sayce, and others, and thus it was revealed beyond the possibility of doubt that the accounts of the Creation, the tree of life in Eden, the institution of the Sabbath, the deluge, the Tower of Babel, and much else in the Pentateuch were simply an evolution out of earlier myths, legends, and chronicles. So perfect was the proof of this that the most eminent scholars in the foremost Christian seats of learning were obliged freely to acknowledge it. The more general conclusions which were thus given to biblical criticism were all the more impressive from the fact that they had been revealed by various groups of earnest Christian scholars working on different lines, by different methods, and in various parts of the world. Very honorable was the full and frank testimony to these results given in 1885 by the Rev. Francis Brown, a professor in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at New York. In his admirable though brief book on Assyriology, starting with the declaration that "it is a great pity to be afraid of facts," he showed how Assyrian research testifies in many ways to the historical value of the Bible record; but at the same time he freely allowed to Babylonian history an an-