This involved an entire reconstruction of theological ideas which went beyond even the reconstructions of Amos and Isaiah.
Hence the various reconstructions of the earlier history, with all their inherent weaknesses.
Hence, in the absence of more complete external evidence one is obliged to recognize the limitations of Old Testament historical criticism, even though this recognition means that positive reconstructions are more precarious than negative conclusions.
On the other hand Christianity, though Asiatic in its origin and essential ideas, has to a large extent taken its present form on European soil, and some of its most important manifestations - notably the Roman Church - are European reconstructions in which little of the Asiatic element remains.
However, both the recovery of the compilers' aims and attempted reconstructions are precluded from finality by the scantiness of independent historical evidence.
Upon the (incomplete) external evidence and upon a careful criticism of the biblical history of this period, and not upon any promiscuous combination of the two sources, must depend the value of the plausible though broad reconstructions which have been proposed.4 Considerable stress is often laid upon Goliath's armour of bronze and his iron weapon, but even David himself has helmet, sword and coat-of-mail at his disposal (I Sam.
Many of them present evidence of having been more than once destroyed by fire and reconstructed, while others show one or more reconstructions at higher levels on the same site.
It is now generally recognized in histories of the Old Testament that a proper estimate of Solomon's reign cannot start from narratives which represent the views of Deuteronomic writers, although, in so far as late narratives may rest upon older material more in accordance with the circumstances of their age, attempts are made to present reconstructions from a combination of various elements.
But the general result of such reconstructions is tentative.
The biblical history is a " canonical " history which looks back to the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the law-giving and the covenant with Yahweh at Sinai, the conquest of Palestine by the Israelite tribes, the monarchy, the rival kingdoms, the fall and exile of the northern tribes, and, later, of the southern (Judah), and the reconstructions of Judah in the times of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes.
Upon the convergence of the manifold lines of investigation rest all reconstructions, all methodical studies of biblical religion, law and prophecy, and all endeavours to place the various developments in an adequate historical framework.
But as by the admission of both logicians these reconstructions of Darapti are illogical, it follows that their respective reductions of categorical universals to existentials and hypotheticals are false, because they do not explain an actual inference.
Quasi-syllogisms. - Besides reconstructions of the syllogistic fabric, we find in recent logic attempts to extend the figures of the syllogism beyond the syllogistic rules.
In support of the latter statement no evidence has yet been offered by these or any other scholars, nor yet has there been any attempt to meet the positive arguments of Halevy for a Hebrew original of xxxvii.-civ., whose Hebrew reconstructions of the text have been and must be adopted in many cases by every editor and translator of the book.
Any careful perusal of modern attempts to recover historical facts or an historical outline from the book will show how very inadequate the material proves to be, and the reconstructions will be found to depend upon an interpretation of the narratives which is often liberal and not rarely precarious, and to imply such reshaping and rewriting of the presumed facts that the cautious reader can place little reliance on them.
But it has not justified the application of this conclusion to all the instances in which some critics have relied upon it, or the sweeping inferences and reconstructions which have sometimes been based upon it.