DRIVER, SAMUEL ROLLES:
English Christian Hebraist; born at Southampton Oct. 2, 1846; regius professor of Hebrew (in succession to Pusey), and canon of Christ Church, Oxford, since 1883; member of the Old Testament Revision Company, 1876-84.
Together with T. K. Cheyne and Robertson Smith, Driver has been one of the foremost champions of Biblical criticism in England. Driver approached it from its linguistic side ("Jour. of Phil." 1882, pp. 201-236). His first contribution, "A Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew" (Oxford, 1874; 3d ed., 1892), has remained the most complete presentation of the subject. Driver has defended his position before several Church congresses (e.g., in 1883); his attitude has frequently been criticized from a theological point of view (see, for example, "The Guardian," 1890, pp. 1419 et seq.; Robinson, "Early Religion," p. xii.), while Cheyne complains that Driver is not a sufficiently representative exponent of modern higher criticism ("Introduction to the Book of Isaiah," p. xi.). In matters of criticism Driver has always taken a conservative view, showing much moderation and sympathy with the orthodox position. For him "the Old Testament is not a systematic treatise on theology, but the record of a historical revelation, which, just because it was historical, passed through many successive phases, and was completed gradually"; and the conclusions at which he arrives "affect, not the fact of revelation, but only its form. They help to determine the stages through which it passed, the different phases which it assumed, and the process by which the record of it was built up. They do not touch either the authority or the inspiration of the scriptures of the Old Testament" (compare his "Isaiah," Preface, and "Introduction," p. vii., New York, 1891). He takes a similar position in regard to the results of archeological and anthropological research; holding that though these results have taken the Hebrews out of the isolated position which they, as a nation, seem previously to have held, they "do not, in any degree, detract from that religious preeminence which has always been deemed the inalienable characteristic of the Hebrew race" ("Hebrew Authority," p. 7).
Driver's critical works deal with the most important books of the Old Testament, and his "Introduction" is still the standard English work on the subject. Driver's chief productions are his contributions to "The Holy Bible with Various Renderings and Readings" (together with Cheyne, 1876); known from the 3d ed. onward as "The Variorum Bible," 1888; "Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel," Oxford, 1890; "An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament," 1891; 6th ed., 1897; "Sermons on Subjects Connected with the Old Testament," 1892; "Isaiah: His Life and Times," in the "Men of the Bible" series, 1893; "Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Deuteronomy," 1895, in the "International Critical Commentary" series; "Joel and Amos," 1897, and "Daniel," 1900, in the "Cambridge Bible for Schools"; "The Parallel Psalter," 1898, and a critical edition of Leviticus, in the "Sacred Books of the Old Testament," ed. Haupt, 1894; "Hebrew Authority," in "Authority and Archæology, Sacred and Profane," ed. D. G. Hogarth, 1899. To the "Studia Biblica" (vol. i., Oxford, 1885) Driver has contributed a paper on "Recent Theories on the Origin and Nature of the Tetragrammaton "; to the "Jew. Quart. Rev." (i. 258 et seq.), an article on "The Origin and Structure of the Book of Judges"; and to Neubauer and Cowley's edition of Ben Sira he has added a glossary and some notes ("Original Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus," 1897, p. xv. ; compare "Oxford Magazine," viii., Nos. 11 and 12, 1890; and "The Guardian," 1896, p. 1029).
Driver has edited two small rabbinical works: a commentary on Jeremiah and Ezekiel by Moses ben Sheshet, London, 1871, and one on Proverbs, attributed to Abraham ibn Ezra, Oxford, 1880. He has also been a collaborator on the second edition of Smith's "Bible Dictionary," on Hasting's "Dictionary of the Bible," and on Cheyne and Black's "Encyclopædia Biblica," and is coeditor, with Professors Brown and Briggs, of the Clarendon press edition of Gesenius.
- Who's Who, s.v.;
- Prominent Men of the Nineteenth Century, s.v.;
- Cheyne, Founders of Old Testament Criticism, pp. 248 et seq., New York, 1893.