Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the space passed over on that day, the new land, which Strabo in his time reckoned at six stadia, together with the breadth of the Grecian encampment, which we may suppose to have been considerable, as the Greeks were pressed for room, and drew up their ships on the shore in several lines.' We cannot reckon less than two miles for these two deductions, which will reduce the distance fought over to thirty-two miles, a feat not impracticable for combatants who moved in chariots. But even if such an exertion were beyond the powers of men in these degenerate days, it was not so extraordinary an action for heroes, who could hurl a rock, which two men could not lift, even in the days of the poet;? who could distinguish a voice from one end to another of a camp, three or four miles long ; 3 who could make themselves beard from the centre to either wing of it; 4 who could build a complete fortification with walls and towers, and a palisaded ditch in a single day; ' or who could see so clearly, that Helen is able from the walls of Troy to point out and minutely describe all the leaders of the Grecian host, when the whole of the Trojan army lay between. It is evident that all these are fictions, which the Muse allows and encourages, and they are connected with some of the features of the Iliad, which delight and astonish us the most. At one time the poet found it convenient to magnify beyond possibility, the common occurrences of war; at another, to bring together the actions of an extensive field, in order to present them to view in one continued scene.

It would not be fair to conclude by a parity of reasoning, that Homer has magnified the scene as well as the actions of the war, and that Troy might therefore have been a small place, situated in a narrow district. The Trojan war is an event which we cannot disbelieve, without undermining the whole fabric of ancient history. Being an expedition undertaken by the united forces of all the states of Greece, agaist those of Asia and Europe, and an expedition, that involved in war all the country from Paphlagonia on the East to Pæonia on the West, the numbers engaged on both sides (without referring to Homer or to the opinions of antiquity) cannot be estimated at less than a hundred thousand, and such being the numbers, we cannot allow them a space smaller than that between Kum-Kale and Bunár-bashi for their encampments and military operations

1 Ουδε γαρ ουδ', ευρύς περ εων εδυνήσατο πάσας

Αιγιαλδς νήας χαδέειν στείνοντο δε λαοί.
Το ρα προκρόσσας έρυσαν, και πλησαν απάσης

Hióvos or bua yakpov, Soov ouveepyalov črpal.- II. E. v. 33. * II. E. v. 303. T. y. 286.

3 nl. v. 77.

4 , v. 22%. SH, V. 496. 465.

6 r. v. 178.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

to «

[ocr errors]

I have just seen an advertisement of a new translation of the
Bible, the first part of which was to be published in the beginning
of this month, by John BELLAMY, author of The History of all
Religions.

. I most heartily concur in the opinion of those who wish to see
a new edition of the authorised version of the Bible, undertaken
by authority, and corrected and improved by all the aids of sacred
criticism. But a work so important and so difficult, indispensably
requires much depth and variety of learning, combined with a
sober judgment, and correct principles of criticism. Before
public

and extensive patronage, therefore, is given to a new translation of the Bible, it is right to inquire how far the translator is qualified for the task : how far he manifests competent learning, sound judgment, and correct principles of Biblical Criticism. In the advertisement to which I have alluded, the author refers

some of our most learned writers, who were decidedly of opinion, that a new translation of the Scriptures was absolutely necessary.” Amongst these writers I recognise the names of some who have rendered essential services to the cause of sacred literature, by correcting the present Hebrew text from the collated Hebrew MSS., and the ancient versions. Such were Archbishop Newcome, Bishop Lowth, Dr. Kennicott, and Dr. Blayney. And we might naturally suppose from the authority of these learned writers being referred to, that the same principles of criticism on which they uniforınly proceeded in their emendation of the authorised version, are adopted by Mr. Bellamy. But on referring to No. xiv. of the Classical Journal, your readers will find that his principles of criticism are entirely at variance with those of the above-mentioned critics, and that, whatever may be Mr. BeLLAMY's learning and judgment in other respects, his ideas of Hebrew grammar, and of the meaning of many Hebrew words, differ widely from common and established authority.

For proof of what is here advanced, I refer to a paper in No. xiv. of the Classical Journal, p. 221, &c. intitled “ Biblical Criticism.Let us see, in the first place, what opinion My. B. there gives of those “most learned writers," as he justly calls them, Newcome, Lowth, Kennicott, and Blayney. “I shall now," says

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

he, “after having given undeniable proof of the lamentable errors of Kennicott, and his supporters, leave the learned and reflecting seader to form his own opinion of Mr. H. for the liberty he has taken in saying, 'we have a specimen of Mr. B.'s modesty in charging Þr. Kennicott and De Rossi with ignorance of the Hebrew.' I certainly have charged them with ignorance of the Hebrew, and I have not only charged them with ignorance, but have also substantiated that charge." p. 236. 66 Were it not for the care and attention of learned men in the present day, the Bible would soon be corrupted by such menders as Kennicott, De Rossi, and others, who lean on those broken reeds." p. 237. Now among those who lean on such “ broken reeds” as Kennicott and De Rossi, ---Newcome, Lowth, and Blayney must clearly be numbered. “ It is as easy to point out numbers of errors in Lowth and Leusden, as it has been the muny false translations of those sober critics, Kennicott and De Rossi.” p. 238. So much for Mr. B.'s opinion of these “most learned writers," whose authority he has quoted in his advertisement.

Let us now examine how far Mr. B. agrees with these eminent critics on the present state of the Hebrew text. Dr. Kennicott's collation of Hebrew MSS. appears to bave arisen from the result of a comparison which he instituted between the parallel passages || Chron. xi. and || | Sam. xxii. This comparison enabled him to detect many manifest errors in the present Hebrew text, and led him to conjecture that an extensive collation of Hebrew MSS. would lead to the correction of many errors of transcribers, and consequently to the elucidation of many important passages of scripture. And the result is generally allowed to have answered his expectations, and to have restored many readings, apparently genuine, which had before been either altogether lost, or bad existed only in the early versions made from ancient Hebrew copies.

It is scarcely necessary to prove that the same opinion was entertained respecting the errors of the present Hebrew text, by Archbishop Newcome, Bishop Lowth, and Dr. Blayney, and indeed by almost every critic who, since the publication of Dr. Kennicott's collations, has endeavoured to improve the authorised version.

On this subject I will only quote that accurate Hebrew scholar, and elegant and enlightened critic, Bishop Lowth. “ All writings transmitted to us like these,” i.e. the writings of the Old Testament, "from early times, the original copies of which have long ago perished, have suffered in their passage to us by the mistakes of many transcribers through whose hands we have received them; errors continually accumulating a proportion to the number of transcripts, and the streain generally becoming more impure, the more distant it is from the source. Now the Hebrew writings of the

Old Testament being, for much the greatest part, the most ancient of any;

instead of finding them absolutely perfect, we may reasonably expect to find ihat they have suffered in this respect more than others of less antiquity generally have done.” Lowth's Prelim. Dissert. to Isaiah, p. 50. Perth edition, 1793. With this

pasage let us compare Mr. B.'s sentiments on the same subject, as contained in his letter in the Classical Journal, No. xiv. “ As to the ability to maintain and prove the absolute integrity of the Hebrew test, I am of opinion that it requires no great ability to prove that it is now as perfect as it wus in the days of Moses." p.

237. “ There is not a surer mark of a man's ignojance of the original, than when he speaks against the absolute integrity of the Hebrew text.” p. 238. I will now ask whether an author, who in the 19th century holds such sentiments respecting the present state of the Hebrew text, is likely to improve the authorised version of the Bible? Whether, whilst we allow the New Testament to have been corrupted through the faults of transcribers, we are to believe that a constant miracle has preserved the Hebrew test of the Old Testament, which from the great similarity of the letters is much more liable to the errors of transcribers in a state of absolute perfection? Whether those passages which by the assistance of the collated MSS. and ancient versions have been restored to clearness and consistency, must by renouncing these valuable aids, be again involved in obscurity ?

I should be very unwilling to charge Mr. B. with sentiments which he does not hold, but on cursorily reading some parts of his letter, from which several extracts have already been given, I struck with the following passage: “I find that this writer,” (a correspondent in the Classical Journal,) “ like the Greeks of old, is so refined in his notion concerning the unity of God, that he starts at the very idea of supposing that the noun oris Elohim, is a noun singular; or that God is ONE ONLY in essence and in person. Concerning this most important subject, I am governed, not only by right reason, but by the positive declaration of Scriplure; and am fully convinced that God is one, and NO MORE; that his glory he will not give to another; and that those who thiuk there are more are decidedly Polytheists.Class. Journ. xiv. 225. Are we to argue, that the authorised version of the Old Testament, as well as of the New, is to be “improved ?"

It appears from the passages quoted above, that the point at issue between Newcome, Lowth, Keunicott, &c. on the one side, and Mr. Bellamy on the other, is, whether the present Hebrew text of the Old Testament is in a pure and perfect state. In order to show whether Mr. B. is or is not right in maintaining the affirmative, I will produce some passages from Vander-Hooght's edi

was

[ocr errors]

tion, which I believe is generally allowed to be the best, and will endeavour to show that they have suffered, either from the mutilation of MSS. or the faults of transcribers, and that, by the assistance of the collated Hebrew MSS. and the ancient versions, the original words may with great probability be restored. It may appear to many of your readers a work of supererogation to adduce arguments which have already been frequently urged, and the force of which has been generally allowed by Biblical scholars. But if the absolute integrity of the Hebrew text is again asserted, the arguments which have been thought sufficient to refute this position must be repeated. The instances of corruption, which I propose to produce, may be arranged under three heads : Ist, The omission of words ; 2d, The alteration of words ; 3d, The interpolation of words.. [Gen. xxv. 8. yaun pt 12u niva 07x non yang

Toy X 90X “ Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full and was gathered to his people.” Here the Sam. 1, Syr. Ar. Vulg. and 4 MSS. insert D'or after you. “ and full of days.” See Gen. xxxv. 29. Job xlii. 17. || Chron. xxiii. 1.-xxix. 28.' NI Josh. xxii. 34.

" , and the children of Gad called the altar

for it shall be a witness, &c." W is inserted after said in Syr. Ar. Vulg. and in some MSS. and early editions of the Hebrew Bible. « And the children of Reuben, &c. called the altar Ed, [witness] for it shall be a witness, &c." Sam. xx. 12. 777 XTITION “ and Jonathan said unto David

O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father," &c. These words, as Kennicott justly observes, “must surprise all who read them with attention : —but excellent sense is restored, if by inserting the word 'n (vivit) agreeably to 2 Hebrew MSS., we read thus : "As Jehovah the God of Israel liveth, when I have sounded my father; if there be good, and I then send not unto thee,” &c. It may be observed that in Gen. xxv. 8. our English translators have inserted in Italics the words of years ;” and in Joshua xxii. 54. the word " Ed.

I now proceed to notice some alterations of words. In Gen. xxv. 14, 15. some of the sons of Ishmael are thus enumerated: “And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.” In the parallel passage || Chron. i. 30. the names are “Mishma and Dumah, Massa, Hadad and Tema,” &c. Can there be any doubt that Hadad and Hadar are the same person? And is it not the most probable mode of account

,and the children of Reuben " ויקראו בני ראובן ובני גד למזבה כי ען

[ocr errors]

יהוה אלהי ישראל .c&

This and the following examples are chiefly taken from Keonicott's Dissertations and Remarks. The iext is transcribed from his “Vetus Testamentum Hebraicum cum variis lectionibus.” 2 Kenn. Rem. Pp. 104-5.

« ZurückWeiter »