The Abraham of the early prophetic narratives, however, is a remarkably consistent character. He exemplifies that which is noblest in Israel’s early ideals. How is Abraham’s faith illustrated in the prophetic stories considered in the preceding paragraph? His unselfishness and generosity? His courtly hospitality? Was his politeness to strangers simply due to his training and the traditions of the desert or was it the expression of his natural impulses? Was Abraham’s devoted interest in the future of his descendants a noble quality? How are his devotion and obedience to God illustrated? In the light of this study describe the Abraham of the prophetic narratives. Is it a perfect character that is thus portrayed? Is it the product of a primitive state of society or of a high civilization?
THE TENDENCY TO IDEALIZE NATIONAL HEROES.
Is Shakespeare right in his statement that “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”? Why do men as a rule idealize the dead? Does the primitive tendency to ancestor worship in part explain this? Is the tendency to idealize the men of the past beneficial in its effect upon the race? What would be the effect if all the iniquity of the past were remembered? The tendency to idealize national heroes is by no means confined to the Hebrews. Greek, Roman and English history abounds in illustrations. Cite some of the more striking. Why are they often thought of as descendants of the gods? Compare the popular conception of the first president of the United States and his character as portrayed in Ford’s “The Real George Washington.” The portraits of national heroes, even though they are idealized, exert a powerful and wholesome influence upon the nations who honor their memory. The noblest ideals in each succeeding generation are often thus concretely embodied in the character of some national hero. Compare the great heroes of Greek mythology with the early heroes of the Old Testament. Do these differences correspond to the distinctive characteristics of the Greeks and the Hebrews? Are these differences due to the peculiar genius of each race or in part to the influence exerted by the ideals thus concretely presented upon each succeeding generation? Is it probable that in the character of Abraham the traditional father of the Hebrew race was idealized? Is it possible that teachers of Israel, consciously or unconsciously, fostered this tendency that they might in this concrete and effective way impress their great teachings upon their race? If so, does it decrease or enhance the value and authority of these stories?
THE REASONS FOB MIGRATION.