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From The Quarterly Review.
own way gives expression to "the disJUI; AND THE “ FAUST.” 1
sonance of faith and doubt" in the an
cient and modern world, and both exThere is a story told that Carlyle, having been asked to take the reading at press the misgivings of noble minds in
all ages, East and West, Semitic and family prayers during a short visit paid to his friend the Provost of Kirkcaldy, Aryan, as each of them tries also to find
a solution of the rid of life. and, as chance would have it, opening
Since the appearance of Mr. Froude's the Bible at the first chapter of the
remarkable essay on Job in the WestBook of Job, read on and on to the end
minster Review for October, 1853, no of the last chapter; then, closing the volume, he remarked, “That is a marvel- epoch-making work has appeared in this lous, life-like drama, only to be appre
country or elsewhere on the subject.
Renan and Reuss, Dillman and Deciated when read right through.” If any of our readers have ever tried to litzsch, S. Cox and Cheyne, Davidson, perform this feat in their study, they thrown light on the subject in their
and quite lately Professor Dillon, have will not be astonished at the consterna
scholarly researches; but they cannot be tion of the provost, nor will they won
said to have added much by way of new der, with Carlyle, why it was that he
discovery, or striking originality of was not asked again to assist at family prayers in that household. It will be to thought in their comments. The case
stands differently them still less a matter of surprise that
Goethe's “Faust." Kuno the book should be the subject of such Scherer, Vischer, and other more or less
Fischer, entrancing interest to the author of eminent "Faust" scholars, making am“Sartor Resartus," in which a similar field of inquiry is traversed in the mod- ple use of recent discoveries among the ern way of viewing the same problems. papers of Goethe–especially that of the For in this “all men's book," as Carlyle Urfaust in the Göchhausen copy edited calls Job, we have, as he says, "the old- by Erich Schmidt in 1888–have done est statement of the never-ending prob- ties of "Faust," intentional and other
much towards elucidating the obscurilem,-man's destiny, and God's way
wise, and have vastly enhanced the inwith him here in this earth.” It is
terest which attaches to the subject. mainly on account of this universality
But there is quite enough of attractive that we propose to treat here of the
matter in the contemporaneous literaBook of Job, “the Oriental Faust," in
ture which concerns itself with either of connection with Goethe's "Faust,” the
these unique productions of the human outcome of the modern spirit and occi
mind to render a comparative study of dental modes of thought: for each in its
them at this present juncture both inter11. The Sceptics of the Old Testament: Job
esting and instructive. Koheleth, Agur. With English Text translated
In the Book of Job, according to for the first time from the primitive Hebrew as Quinet, we see scepticism lurking, like restored on the basis of recent Philological Dis a serpent, in the Holy of Holies. This coveries. By E. J. Dillon, late Professor of Com may be taken simply as a bold simile, parative Philology and Ancient Armenian at the
and, as such, courting admiration withImperial University of Kharkoff, etc. London,
out commanding unreserved acceptance 1895. 2. Goethes Faust nach seiner Entstehung, Idee.
on our part; yet it may be admitted that und Composition. Von Kuno Fischer. Zweite
in this "psychological drama” of the neu bearbeitete und vermehrte Auflage. Stutt Hebrews we have the highest form of gart, 1887.
religious doubt stated in startlingly 3. Die Erläuterungsarten des Goetheschen bold language. Its special interest lies Faust. Von Kuno Fischer. Heidelberg, 1889.
in the fact that it contains so much 4. Goethes Faust. Neue Beiträge zur Kritik des Gedichts.
which is akin to modern thought, and Von Friedrich Vischer. Stuttgart
that it so “truly and forcibly states the 5. Goethe in der Epo«he seiner Vollendung doubts and misgivings which harrow (1805-1832). Versuch einer Darstellung seiner
the souls of thinking men of all ages and Denkweise und Weltbetrachtung. Von Dr. Otto nations.” But the book does more than Harnack. Leipzig, 1887.
this. Here we not only catch a glimpse
of the darkness beyond our ken; its gost of his own torment; it is also the pages are also illumined by the faint determined effort to conquer honest rays of a faith partly, at least, dispell- doubt and to struggle out of the darking the gloom, though the flickering ness of desponding scepticism and flame more than once is threatened with moral pravity into the light of truth and complete extinction-a faith not only in high effort, under Divine guidance and righteousness as tending unto life, the regenerative influences of Divine which is the main characteristic of Jew- love. Both poems, in short, from the ish thought, but faith, too, in the right speculative side, may and ought to be eousness of God, spite of all appear regarded in the light of a “Théodicée,” ance to the contrary.
ana from the practical point of view, as It may be conceded that the work be- Froude puts it, are “dramas of the trial longs to the "freeminded school of of man, with Almighty God and the thought,” just as the modern "raust," angels as the spectators of it." also a drama of man's destiny, is pro Both poems, then, contain a pulosfoundly influenced by the rationalistic ophy of religion; and though each of doubt of the century. But in the pro- them is the natural outcome of a pecullogue to the “Faust” in which Goethe iar period in the history of Eastern and acknowledges his indebtedness to the Western thought respectively, they are Book of Job, he also shows that both alike eminently cosmopolitan in concerworks have much higher aims than tion and treatment. “Why, Eliphaz mere negative criticism of the current talks like Helvetius or Saint Lambert, traditional views on ethics and religion. and Job is the antagonist of individualColeridge went too far in calling the ism," cries Pierre Leroux in his strange "Faust" the mouthpiece of the preva- paraphrase of the Book of Job, and he lent scepticism, and in saying that in regards Job as an anti-clerical Socialist, credulus odi is its key-note throughout. -an extreme instance to show that the The Book of Job is, indeed, an attempt ancient writer even now appeals still to "humanize Judaism," and the to the human heart. In the same way “Faust” is the outcome of modern the herd of commonplace expositors in humanism. But then, one of the tasks all ages, seeing in Job the type of an humanism sets itself to accomplish is Eastern saint rather than a Western the positive attempt to indicate the sage, held him up simply as a pattern of process and to mark out the lines of de- patient suffering, whilst such an velopment in the “ascent of man” from lightened critic as Professor Cheyne lower to higher things. For this reason speaks of him as these two masterpieces of the world's literature are not merely the expression the first of those poet-theologians from of a Titanic revolt against theological whom we English have learned so much. dogmatism, or attacks on the glaring and who are all the more impressive as
teachers because the truths which they fallacies of theistic optimism. The
teach are steeped in emotion, and have for “Melchizedek of Hebrew literature,” as
their background a comprehensive view of Delitzsch calls Job, on account of the the complex and many-colored universe. mystery which surrounds its age and authorship, has this in common with the Considering, then, the books for our person of Melchizedek, that it furnishes present purpose simply in the light of sustenance to the faithful in their strug- literary productions, we may now progles. It could not do so if it were ceed to point out the coincidences and merely what some represent it to be, the contrasts between them in their stateproduct of eviscerated faith, although it ment of the problem of life, and in their graphically describes the temporary attempts at finding a solution of the eclipse and revival of faith. So, too, the many moral difficulties which engage "Faust" is not only the expression of the attention of the sceptic, or seeker “that restless and corrosive doubt" after truth in every age, and not least so which consumes souls like that of in our own. Such are the origin of evil, Amiel, who accordingly sees in it the the prevalence of injustice, the indefispectre of his own conscience and the niteness of moral standards, the uncer
tainty' of man's final destiny. Job and of faith and patience. Faust falls from "Farst” agree, that poetic justice is the pinnacle of intellectual contempladone in the end: on the whole they take tion and spiritual rapture, in which he up the optimistic standpoint, “All's well would embrace the whole universe to that ends well." The angels carry off quench his insatiable thirst for knowlthe redeemed soul of Faust after his edge and take all humanity to his many sad lapses into error and sin. bosom, his heart full of the sorrow of The epilogue of the Book of Job rein- the world. Both, by an act of Divine states the hero in his prosperous posi- mercy, are saved from final and irretion after a course of instruction in the trievable fall. They recover lost ground sweet uses of adversity. The path and and reach a higher platform, after havgoal, however, are not the same in each. ing been humbled and purified by the The Läuterungsprocess is utterly un- agonies of the struggling spirit. Both like.
learn to confess, as Faust does, man's In the Hebrew poem are presented the liability to errortrials and triumphs of the righteous, who robustly vindicates his innocence Man errs the while he strives, to the last. In the German poem we see but also in the case of both is verified toe mind struggling uneasily to break the Divine prediction of final victory for through its narrow boundaries of the good man groping for the right way. knowledge, like Homunculus in his phial, trying to gain freedom from con A good man, through obscurest aspiration, finement, passing thence through vari- Has still an instinct of the one true way. ous experiences of moral degradation Faust arrives at the goal by a more and mental humiliation, saved at last by circuitous path than Job, as the probhonest effort after repeated failures in lems of life become more complicated in the attempt to reconcile the real with the nineteenth century. Job's bold selfthe ideal, supported and supplemented assertionby Divine grace. In Job we see the human conscience standing question- My righteousness I hold fast, and will not ingly before the shrine of eternal jus
let it go: tice, demanding, at times too daringly, My heart shall not reproach me as long as
I live (xxvii. 6)a full explanation of the discord between righteous conduct and the is balanced by his touching resignation: strange dealings with his faithful servant by a judge ex hypothesi righteous, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him but taught at last humble acquiescence
(xiii. 15.) in the inscrutable designs of a power We see the spirit of submission taught whom finite reason cannot comprehend. in the more simple philosophy of JuIn "Faust" there is no question about daism as the only escape from the net of God's justice; it all turns on the possi- doubt. In Faust, too, resignation comes bility of man's triumph over adverse in as a condition of the higher life of forces in nature, the artificialities and man. Expectation is, by force of cirfalsities of life, the limitations of scien- cumstances, far in advance of fulfiltiuc knowledge, the impossibility of get- ment, but it is not a voluntary submisting firm hold of artistic ideals, and the sion to the unavoidable, as in the case obstacles in the way of social ameliora- of Job. The way of salvation, as extion and philanthropic effort. The final pressed by the choir of angels at the outcome is not success, but the hero is close of "Faust," is contained in the enabled to reach a higher level of puri. following lines:fied existence after passing through the mire and mud of moral contamination
Whoe'er aspires unweariedly with evil; and, after a sensuous sub
Is not beyond redeeming. mergence of his spiritual nature in ma It is more in the manner of the West; it terial indulgence, attaining to higher is the gospel of work peculiar to an inconception of duty dutifully performed. dustrial epoch. Job looks back on his Job falls from the high vantage-ground past life of active benevolence regret
so fully. Faust looks forward to redeem- of our natural senses, and on tlace
-e deing the time, spending the rest of his spondency in which a large survey of life in active usefulness for the general human life leaves the mind. From tuss good. It is the Arian view of the it has been inferred that the authors of world's redemption.
both works were pessimistic agnostics Whilst these are the main lines of the of the deepest dye. Yet such an infertwo poems where they run parallel or ence is unjustifiable. There
are pasdiverge from each other, there are minor sages in Job and the "Faust" which coincidences or contrasts which may be point distinctly to a different conclusion. fitly mentioned here, before we proceed In the case of Goethe, who is so near to to examine more minutely the manner us in time, we know for certain that on in which they each discuss the problem the whole he was an optimist, especially of life. Both are founded on a historical towards the close of his life-though, basis. There seems to be no doubt as like all of us, he had his darker moto the actual existence of either Job or ments, and the first part of the “r'aust" Faust; yet both are used as types for and much in the tone and texture of the parabolic teaching in the philosophical second part is in the minor key of melan. dramas which bear their name. Again, choly pessimism. In the case of Job the colloquies of Job may be compared we have no independent biographical with the more disquisitive portions of materials to correct false impressions on the second part of "Faust,” both con this subject: hence the readiness of the taining views on contemporary theories, interpreters to doubt the genuineness on physical science and natural philos- of those passages which are not in perophy. As Job, “the travelled citizen" fect agreement with the somewhat pesof the East in an age of general enlight- simistic view of life, which is generally enment, displays unusual acquaintance presented by the book. with out-of-the-way knowledge,
To add one more trait common to both Goethe, the man of universal attain- works, the dark background of the picments, alludes in the "Faust" to con ture they offer is a state of society and troversies connected with science, litera- social morality and polity which in a ture, and art during the age of the great measure justifies that intellectual Aufklärungszeit. So wide indeed is the bewilderment and sad depression of grasp of Goethe's mind, and so manifold feeling which are at the root of all the his attainments, that the marvellous sceptical doubts they contain. In such diverseness of his allusions might al- a state of society men ask themselves most lead to sceptical views some cen- whether, indeed, the world bears traces turies hence as to his being the sole of a Divine government, and this is author of them all. He may be then, as equally true whether it be in the age of Grimm suggests, turned into a myth, and national decadence in Judæa or Gercritics will be busily engaged in examin- many. The more advanced the state of ing the varied and often ill-fitting por- intellectual culture in such an epoch of tions of the “Faust” as to which are history, the more poignant will be the genuine and which spurious, just as the feeling of regret on account of the discritics of the Book of Job now cast crepancy between political and social doubı on the genuineness and integrity ideals, and their realization in fact. of some portions, trying to re-arrange Now as to the contrasts. In Job we the text, to find the proper place for miss what is so obvious and interesting what are supposed to be dislocated pas in the "Faust,” the hints as to the inner sages, and to purify it from foreign ac history of the author's life; for, by the cretions and interpolated glosses, or confession of Goethe himself, here we even to add lost bits here and there to have an actual transcript of his own life give it greater cohesion and consistency. and varied experiences, his inner strug.
Another striking resemblance lies in gles, his triumphs and defeats. We the emphasis which both books lay on have no ground for believing that author our ignorance of the ultimate reason of and hero in the Book of Job can be simithings, even as to those phenomena larly identified, though there are not which seem subject to the cognizance wanting passages, such as the touching
elegy contained in the thirtieth chapter, dialogue or soliloquy. A more imporwhich evidently express the author's tant contrast still is the self-will, which own feelings and refer to his personal throughout characterizes Faust, comhistory. Again, though the friends of pared with the sad and submissive attiJob may be real persons and not, which tude of Job's mind, as, indeed, the seems more likely, types of the varying protestation of innocence in the latter shades of Jewish thought with which is utterly at variance with the confesthe writer finds himself in disagree. sion of guilt in the former. The temptament, yet love and friendship are not tion of Job throughout is to renounce treated in all their breadth and fulness his faith in Divine justice because of here, nor are they regarded as the most God's incomprehensible dealings with important elements of life in the same himself. That of Faust is to relax the way as they are in the German poem. strenuous effort in the soul's developMoreover, the sentiments and views ex ment by saying to the fleeting moment, pressed concerning woman's power and “Stay and be my delight.” In short, function in the “Faust” differ as widely Faust has too much force of individual from those contained in Job as the west will, which brings him into immediate does from the east. Nor can the Semitic contact with evil and the Evil One, from seriousness which pervades the whole an insatiable desire of embracing everyBook of Job be brought within reach of thing in his own personality; he is the comparison with the boisterous humor embodiment of the eighteenth-century and sometimes coarse burlesque in such individualism. Job represents not only scenes as "Auerbach's Keller" and the himself, but the suffering servant of “Walpurgisnacht,” whilst the sardonic Jehovah, the Jewish nation. His comcynicism of Mephistopheles has little in plaints show the weakness of belief in common with the Satan of Job. There the force of truth on behalf of his long. is a noble irony in the speech of Je- suffering compatriots in a critical period hovah, and critics have noticed passages of their history. Job is tempted to diswhere Job speaks ironically of the Di- belief in the ideal of Divine justice; vine power; Professor Cheyne, too, Faust is constantly in danger of letting points out that “Job distinctly places go his hold on ideal truth and goodness. the Satan in a somewhat humorous In fine, the chief contrast is that belight,” and he with others refers to the tween Hebrew thought, which is mainly resemblance of Elihu to the Bachelor in preoccupied with moral problems, and "Faust.” But the ludicrous light in Germanic thought facing intellectual which the latter is represented there problems. Nature, in our modern view is very different from the serious of it, as governed throughout by law, dignity with which Elihu is in- suggests questionings of time and vested in the Book of Job. No one sense, and raises difficulties of a specucould speak of the author of this lative kind which lead to scientific scepbook, with its characteristic Semitic ticism. Nature viewed in her most seriousness, as Edmond Scherer speaks lovely and most awe-inspiring aspects, of the author of "Faust;” “C'est Goethe as the mysterious offspring of the mind qui a écrit le Faust, l’quvre unique tis- of God, defying man to know her sesue de sarcasme et de pathétique." crets, leads back the Jewish thinker
Nothing, however, brings out the con from moral scepticism to faith in God trast between the two works so much as with unfeigned humility. So far from the constant appeal to active effort and being confirmed in his scepticism by a the restless movement of the principal contemplation of “the sadness of this figures in the modern as compared with weary and unintelligible world,” the the exhibition of passive endurance in consciousness of his own inability to the hero of the ancient poem, where the trace its meaning and the power and movement of the drama is slow unless hidden purpose of God in Nature leads disturbed by occasional outbursts of in- Job to repent himself in dust and ashes. tense passion, when the contemplative The reign of rigid law in Nature sugtone of expression is interrupted by sud- gests doubts concerning miracles and den turns of querulous impetuosity in revelation in modern minds, for these