Facts and Fancy about the Bible - 17

Last time we heard about a law suit which was launched after H. G. Wells published his best-selling The Outline of History in 1920. A few years before that, Miss Florence Deeks had submitted the manuscript of a book, which she had written, to the Toronto office of Well’s publisher. The work which she planned to publish was a history of the world entitled The Web.

Her book was rejected. After Well’s large and weighty (1,324 pages) volume was published (which he completed in 18 months) Miss Deeks became convinced that the books had matching structures, scope, and even contained identical factual errors! After consulting some experts Miss Deeks managed to convince three of them to present their evidence that the work in her manuscript had been plagiarized.

One of the learned gentlemen, the Rev. W.A. Urwin, M.A., D.B., PhD., later Professor of Old Testament languages and Literature at Chicago University, explained his reasons in court for consenting to present his evidence in this case -

“I consented in considerable measure because this is the sort of task with which my study of ancient literature repeatedly confronts me, and I was interested to test out in modern works the methods commonly applied to those of the ancient world.”

He is referring here to the very works of HIGHER CRITICISM which were employed to bring the modern verdict against Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and of its writing about eight centuries after the time of Moses. The professor’s testimony in this case, in his mind, would vindicate the scholarship which pronounced against Moses.

And so his evidence, with that of two other similarly schooled witnesses, were heard in court. One of them declared his opinion in this case that, “Mr Wells wrote his book with the manuscript of Miss Deeks’ book upon his desk in front of him.”

The finding of the Judge, and later the Appeal Judges of Canada “completely rejected the evidence of the higher criticism, and dismissed the case.”

Miss Deeks, still having great confidence in the testimony of her erudite witnesses, appealed to the highest legal tribunal in the British Empire - while her country was still the Dominion of Canada - The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The result was -

“After a long hearing in which the Higher Criticism was thoroughly reviewed...the court unanimously rejected the appeal.” The British archaeologist Sir Charles Marston, in his book, The Bible is True, commented on the implications of this judgement -

“Nearly a century after Biblical criticism had started, archaeologists first began to dig...in Bible lands, in order to increase existing knowledge of ancient history. So the sources of information were no longer derived from classical writers, combined with conjectures of what ought to have happened, but began to be slowly enriched by evidence left behind...it has become necessary to scrap...what people have learned in Colleges and Seminaries...and go back to the original books of Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua.”

Meanwhile, Biblical archaeology has made great strides, pushing aside the musings of higher critics, whose methods have been repudiated by the judges of what passes as true evidence.