Did I understand you last night to say that the chronology in the Septuagint differed from the chronologies in the authorised English version?–Yes.
Which chronology is true?–The Hebrew.
How do you know that the Hebrew chronology is more true than that in the Septuagint?–By a process of argument which would be too extensive to rehearse to-night.
I would like to have it.–I cannot do it in the time.
When will you?–In a lecture.
But now?–I have not time.
Do you mean that during the whole of the debate you will have no time to explain why you accept the Hebrew chronology, and reject the Septuagint?–With the immense argument I have to unfold, I do say I have not time.
Then, as you say that the Hebrew chronology is true, and the Septuagint chronology is not true, how do you account for a book, which you say was translated from a divine revelation, having an incorrect translation, at least as far as the chronology is concerned?–Because the translation was out of the custody of its safe and divinely-appointed keepers.
Who were the "safe and divinely-appointed keepers" of the original revelation?–I answer by quoting the Apostle Paul in the third chapter of Romans: "What advantage, then, hath the Jew? . . . chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. "
Will you be kind enough to show me any evidence prior to the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, when you say the Septuagint translation was made, that the "original revelation was in the custody of" its safe and divinely-appointed keepers? Who do you say were the custodians of these writings? Tell me where kept, the town they were kept in, and the people who, you say, had the custody of them?–That is rather an extensive question; break it up.
Well, name the town where they were kept, first?–Shiloh, first.
When were they kept in Shiloh? from what date to what date?–Just after Joshua’s conquest of Canaan by the tribes of Israel.
Where shall I find any evidence of that?–In the Book of Joshua.
Will you kindly quote me chapter and verse for that?–Yes, I will (after turning over a Bible for some time): Judges 18:31.
Do you rely on that text?–Wait a moment; let me give you my answer.
Don’t you know there is not a word about any of the books being kept in Shiloh in that text?–Yes; that is only a part of my answer.
But where have you any evidence that at, or about, the time of Joshua any books were kept in Shiloh?–This is the first part of my answer. My answer is not complete. I prove here that the house of God was at Shiloh. I will next prove that the house of God contained the ark, and that the ark contained the books of Moses.
I am content to accept any evidence. Give me some.–I will give you the evidence (referring to the Bible).
I say that there is not a particle of evidence of the existence of any books about the time of Joshua in Shiloh.–Then I will prove it.
That is what I want you to do.–Deuteronomy 31:24: "It came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. "
Where does that show that the five books you call the books of Moses were kept in Shiloh after the time of Joshua?–It shows that Moses commanded the Levites to put it there, and I must next prove that the Levites put it there. I ought to have begun by quoting the command of God to Moses.
I must ask you not to make speeches, but to give me the evidence. Please identify the book of the law with the five books?–I am dealing with the evidence to which I am alluding. In Exodus 25:16, we have the command that I ought to have quoted first–the command of God to Moses: "Thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee."
Exodus 25:16: 1 will read it: "Thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee". Will you,show me how I am to make that prove that the first five books, which you call the Books of Moses, were kept in Shiloh at the time of Joshua?–And in Numbers 3:31 we have the duty of the priests to take charge of the ark and its contents.
Numbers 3:31: "Their charge shall be in the ark, and the table, and the candlestick and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof." How does that prove that the first five books were in Shiloh after the time of Joshua?–It establishes a line of evidence, which a critical mind ought to be able to see.
Oh! does it?–Yes. Well, I think I need not attempt at present to continue this.
Do you mean you have given all the evidence you can?–No. I will undertake, when I have time, to do it.
When will you undertake to do it? On which night of the debate? Choose your own night.–I had better promise generally–before the discussion is out.
But "generally" means no time at all?–I don’t like to commit myself to anything I am not sure of doing.
Do you mean to say that you cannot do it?–I am quite sure of my ability to do it.
What date do you say was the date of Joshua?–As a man?
You have spoken of "Joshua".–Do you mean Joshua as a man or a book?
I mean it in the sense you have used it.–I have used it in both senses.
When you said the five books were in Shiloh about the time of Joshua, I want to know in years, Anno Mundi, what time you meant?–Well, I suppose it would be in round numbers, somewhere about 1,500 years before Christ.
"Somewhere about 1,500 years" before the Christian era. Is there a particle of evidence outside the Bible of the existence of Hebrew as a written language at that date?–The Bible is sufficient evidence.
Just answer my question: Is there a particle of evidence outside the Bible of the existence of Hebrew as a written language at that date?–Yes, there is.
Give it me?–I cannot–not now.
Will you undertake to give me that evidence any night during this debate? You are putting on me rather too much work, Mr. Bradlaugh.
Oh! I will put on you more than that; that is only a trifle. Will you undertake on any night during this debate to give that evidence–yes or no?–The Bible is such good evidence that I undertake to produce no other, although I believe there is.
Why do you believe there is any other evidence?–From scattered information I have gleaned in general reading.
Name an author?–All authors who have written on the subject with whom I have come in contact.
Name one that you have come in contact with?–The question is so frivolous I refuse to answer.
Then under those circumstances I decline to put any more questions.