Aspects of the Old Testament: Considered in Eight Lectures Delivered before the University of Oxford


Aspects of the Old Testament, the Bampton lectures for 1897, were presented as eight talks before the University of Oxford. In these lectures, Ottley's aim was to show that it is possible to regard as conclusive and to welcome many of the verdicts of the "higher criticism" of the Old Testament, without necessarily accepting what is merely conjectural and arbitrary.

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2006 pp. 448. New reprint edition; previously published by Longmans, Green & Co., 1898.

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Aspects of the Old Testament, the Bampton lectures for 1897, were presented as eight talks before the University of Oxford. In these lectures, Ottley's aim was to show that it is possible to regard as conclusive and to welcome many of the verdicts of the "higher criticism" of the Old Testament, without necessarily accepting what is merely conjectural and arbitrary.

About the Author:
Robert Lawrence Ottley Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oxford

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556351631
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Series: Bampton Lectures
  • Pages: 468
  • Product dimensions: 6.52 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Lawrence Ottley (1856-1933) was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Pembroke College, Oxford. He was a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, principal of Pusey House, and after 1903 canon of Christ Church and Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oxford. Among his writings are 'The Hebrew Prophets' and 'The Religion of Israel'.

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Table of Contents

The Christian Church and the 'Higher Criticism'
The Catholic spirit illustrated     1
Subject of the lectures proposed     6
Standpoint from which it is approached     11
The belief in the Incarnation     12
The Incarnation illustrates the divine use of media, and the divine self-accommodation to human capacities     13
Analogy of the Incarnation applied to Scripture     15
The unity of Scripture     15
Its twofold nature     17
Its self-witness     20
The belief in Inspiration     22
The action of the Holy Spirit discernible-
In the formation of Scripture     26
In the writers themselves     27
The meaning of Inspiration to be ascertained inductively     29
Its peculiar characteristics     30
The main results of historical criticism assumed     32
Summary of these results     33
Special observations on the higher criticism-
Historical consistency of its results     36
Hindrances to their acceptance     40
The duty of deference to experts     44
Factors determining the true use of the Old Testament-
The authority of Christ     46
The spiritual experience of Christians     49
The doctrine of theChurch: its bearing on our inquiry     51
Different Aspects of the Old Testament
The special function of the Old Testament     53
General survey     55
The Old Testament a history of redemption     56
The story of the 'origins,' its character and purpose     57
Special features of redemptive history-
The occurrence of miracle     61
The principle of limitation or severance     63
Character of the historical narratives     65
The Old Testament the history of a progressive revelation     66
Different views of the evolution of the idea of God     67
Effects of the exodus     68
The foundations of monotheism     69
Of the idea of holiness     72
Of the idea of grace     75
The continuity of revelation     78
The Old Testament traces the history of a covenantal relationship     79
The divine requirement involved in it     81
The Old Testament and the Messianic hope     82
The idea of a kingdom of God or 'theocracy'     84
Its history considered     85
Its characteristics proclaimed by the prophets-
Universality     86
Spirituality     87
The Old Testament witnesses to a divine purpose for the individual     89
Growth of the sense of individuality     90
The teachings of spiritual experience and of national calamity     91
The general arrangement of the Hebrew Bible-
Its correspondence with the five above-mentioned aspects of Old Testament theology     93
The Historical Element in the Old Testament
Analogy of Scripture to physical nature     98
The Old Testament an historical book     100
Preliminary considerations-
Composite character of the narratives     101
Probable results of archaeological research     105
The-a priori credibility of miracle     107
The patriarchal period relatively pre-historic     109
The narratives historical in substance     110
A true picture of the general conditions of patriarchal life     113
And of the main factors in Israel's religious development     115
Element of idealization in the Pentateuch, its extent and characteristics     119
The 'priestly narrative': its character     121
Prophetic idealization in the older narratives     125
Considerations which appear to justify it     128
The Mosaic period-
The work of Moses that of a prophet     131
Main features of the Mosaic narratives     133
They regard the exodus as a fundamental fact     134
They aim at exhibiting the character and requirement of God     138
They depict an ideal theocracy     140
Typical significance of the narratives     142
General reflections     144
The historical books-
The materials forming their substratum, and their general features     145
Three elements in the prophetic theory of the history-
The reality of grace     151
The importance of critical epochs     152
Method of divine deliverances     154
The action of the Holy Spirit in Israel's history     155
General summary     157
The patriarchal narratives     160
The Progressive Self-Revelation of God
The continuity of revelation     161
General features of Hebrew revelation considered as progressive     162
The method justified in Christ     164
Illustrations of the tendency of Old Testament religion-
In the sphere of worship     166
The principle of selection     167
Circumcision     167
Sacrifice     168
In the sphere of ethical ideas     170
The idea of 'holiness'     171
Mosaism and the Decalogue     172
The idea of personality      175
Human sacrifice: Gen. xxii     176
The slaughter of the Canaanites     178
The 'Name' of God progressively unfolded     181
General names, 'El, 'Eloah, 'Elohim, 'El 'Elyon; their meaning and use     183
The patriarchal name, 'El Shaddai     184
The name Jahveh     185
The titles Adonai and Jahveh Tsebaoth     186
The Hebrew conception of revelation     187
Theological significance of the different titles of deity     189
'El, 'Elohim, 'Eloah, 'El 'Elyon     190
'El Shaddai and 'Adonai     191
Jehovah (Jahveh)     193
Anthropomorphic language in the Old Testament     194
The attributes of Jehovah     195
'Righteousness' and 'truth'     198
'Kindness' or 'grace'     199
The jealousy of Jehovah     200
Jehovah Tsebaoth     203
The 'fatherhood' of God in the Old Testament     204
Conclusion     205
The Ancient Covenant and its Worship
The covenant between Jehovah and Israel inaugurated at Sinai     206
The idea of the covenant: its history and conditions     209
The moral requirement involved in the covenant     213
The Decalogue: its contents and characteristics     215
Religion the foundation of personal morality and social duty     219
Absence of directions bearing on worship     220
Moral symbolism of the Mosaic institutions     222
The sanctuary and the sacrifices-
The prophetic idea that underlies them     224
The description of the tabernacle an idealized sketch     226
The levitical sacrifices     227
The sacrifices based on pre-existing customs     229
The attitude of the prophets towards sacrifice     230
Was the levitical system ever in actual operation?     231
The development of piacular sacrifice     232
Names and characteristics of the different classes of sacrifice     234
General features common to all     236
Features distinctive of each     238
Symbolic and typical significance-
Of the Tabernacle     247
Of the sacrificial system     250
Fulfilment of levitical types in Christ-
The Burnt-offering     253
The Sin-offering     255
The Peace-offering     258
Spirituality of the Law     259
The symbolic significance of the Tabernacle     261
Prophecy and the Messianic Hope
The use of the phrase 'The Law and the Prophets'      265
Prophecy, the distinctive element in Hebrew religion     269
The beginnings of prophetism-
An institution common to the Semitic tribes     270
The work of Samuel     272
Elijah     273
The prophets: aspects of their work-
Prophetic inspiration: its character. The name Nabhi     274
The sphere in which the gift of prophecy was exercised     277
Function of the prophets     279
Social and political conditions of the eighth century     281
Social influence of the prophets     283
Their work that of proclaiming judgment     285
The religious influence of the prophets     286
The prophets in relation to monotheism and Universalism     287
The teaching of Amos: Jehovah the moral ruler of the universe     288
Hosea: the prophet of divine love     290
Two permanent elements in the prophetic conception of God     292
Teaching of the book of Jonah     293
The Messianic hope: its gradual growth     295
The promise of spiritual victory-
The Protevangelium     296
The 'Blessing of Jacob'     297
The prophecy in Deut. xviii. 15     298
The hopes connected with David's house     299
The oracle in 2 Sam. vii     300
'Figurative prophecy'     301
The Hebrew idea of royalty     302
Limitations of prophecy     306
The self-manifestation of Jehovah-
'The day of the Lord'     304
A day of judgment and of salvation     305
The suffering people of God     308
Effects of calamity on the Messianic hope     309
'The servant of Jehovah'     310
The new covenant     312
Teaching of Jeremiah and Ezekiel     313
The post-exilic prophets     314
The apocalyptic literature     316
Ideal fulfilment of prophecy in Christ     318
Personal Religion in the Old Testament
Tendencies of the post-exilic age foreshadowed at an earlier period     323
Circumstances which gave an impulse to the development of personal religion     324
The post-exilic age spiritually fruitful     328
The Hagiographa: their character and contents     329
The foundation truths of personal religion-
The idea of a future life     334
The Law witnesses to the truth of man's personal relation to God     336
Hebrew conception of death     337
The dignity of human nature recognized     338
The anomalies of life and divine retribution      343
Doctrine of the Law     343
The 'era of difficulties': the book of Job     346
The 'era of quiescence': Ecclesiastes     348
The idea of a personal providence: the Psalms     350
Witness of other books: Cantica, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah     355
The sense of the fruitfulness of suffering     359
Characteristics of the 'Wisdom literature'     359
The book of Job     361
The book of Ecclesiastes     364
Summary and conclusion     370
The Old Testament and Christianity
The analogy between the incarnate Word and Scripture     373
The New Testament view of the Old-
The Old Testament revelation fragmentary     377
Variety of methods in which God manifested Himself     378
Rudimentary character of the old dispensation     379
The New Testament verdict on the Law     380
Unique authority of the Old Testament asserted by Christ     381
For Him there was 'a Bible within the Bible'     382
Principles observed by New Testament writers in their employment of the Old     383
Existing methods of interpretation: Halachah, Haggadah, and Sodh     384
Our Lord's employment of these methods     385
The New Testament exegesis of the Old-
Its breadth and freedom     389
Apostolic use of Haggadah and Halachah     390
Allegorism     392
Moral purport of the quotations     393
Contrast between Christ and the Scribes and Pharisees     394
Messianic use of the Old Testament     396
Summary     400
The permanent function of the Old Testament in the Church     401
Preliminary questions-
The historical quality of the Old Testament narratives     401
The existence of a 'secondary' sense     405
The sacramental view of the universe     406
The organic relation between Judaism and Christianity     408
The Old Testament, a revelation of God's nature and character     412
The aim of God's moral government considered     413
Its methods and laws of action     414
The place of suffering     415
The Old Testament as witnessing to Christ     416
Its Messianic import     417
What is ideal is Messianic     419
Function of the Old Testament in forming and training character     421
The 'morality of the Old Testament'-
Theocentric     423
And altruistic     424
The Old Testament as a manual for the spiritual life     426
The Old Testament as an instructor in social righteousness     430
Social doctrine of the Old Testament-
Not based on individualism     431
Recognizing moral forces in social progress     432
The Old Testament as an aid in New Testament exegesis     433
Summary of the lectures     436
Concluding reflections-
The duty of individual Christians     437
Place of Scripture in the system of the Church     440
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