If an apology were needed for calling
in question the conclusion of those scholars who deny that Moses was the
author of the Book of Deuteronomy, it is furnished by these scholars themselves.
They constantly insist that men of thought should hold their most cherished
convictions subject to revision. They denounce as unreasoning traditionalists
those who, rejecting further investigation, cling tenaciously to old beliefs.
They are the last men, therefore who should object to any fresh re-examination
of their own conclusions. They would thus be imitating those whose unwillingness
to hear them excites their displeasure. In no conclusion are these scholars
more confident than in the one just mentioned; and if I shall appear to
them exceedingly rash in publishing at this late date an attempt to show
that it is erroneous, they are still bound by their own principles not
to condemn me without a hearing. If I shall not advance anything new, I
may at least place old arguments and evidences in a form somewhat new;
and I may be able to point out some defects in their work that have hitherto
escaped their notice. I have a right, therefore, to expect among the most
interested and appreciative of my readers those whose opinions I am constrained
to combat-provided only that my work shall prove worthy the attention of
serious men. I did not enter upon it hastily, but after an earnest study
of the whole field of controversy for many years.