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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 ibat 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
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 text, I am of opinion that it requires no great ability to prove that it is now as perfect as it was in the days of Moses.” p. 237. “ There is not a surer mark of a man's ignorance 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 was 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 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 think 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, Kennicott
, &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
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
ויגוע ויחת אברהם בשיבה טובה זקן ושבע .8 .words., [Gen. xxv
“ 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'odi after you. “ and full of days.” See Gen. xxxv. 29. Job xlii. 17. || Chron. xxiii. 1.-xxix. 28.' x17 Josh. xxii. 34.
,and the children of Reuben " ויקראו בני ראובן ובני גד למזבה כי ען
יהוה אלהי ישראל .c&
and the children of Gad called the altar
for it shall be a witness, &c.” TV is inserted after 721p 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 58 OTTON 6 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 'IT (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
' This and the following examples are chiefly taken from Kennicott's Dissertations and Remarks. The iext is transcribed from his “Vetus Testamentum Hebraicum cum variis lectionibus." 2 Kenn. Rem. pp. 104-5.
ing for the difference, to suppose that 7 was by mistake written for 7, to which it bears a very close resemblance? In confirmation of this conjecture it may be observed that the word is Tin not 7777 in Sam. Ar. and 200 Hebrew MSS. Many similar instances
' might easily be collected, as Num. ii14. Sevyn for 5x1y7. Compare with Num. i. 14. vii. 42. X. 20.
. One of the sons of Gomer is called " Gen.x. 3. and ny i Chron. i. 6. In Ezra ii. 25. Kirjath-jearim, a well known city, is called D'iy nip Kirjath-arim ; but in the parallel passage Nehem. vii. 29. and I believe in every other passage where it occurs, it is spelt O'ny np Kirjath-jearim. And in many, both of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSŠ, the read ing is biny np, in Ezra ii. 25. In || Chron. xxi. 2. we find in
, Israel ;" when it is well known that Jehoshaphat was king of Iudah, and there was no king of Israel of that name. Accordingly more than 30 MSS. and all the ancient versions read , 7717 for
Jehoshaphat king of » יהושפט מלך ישראל the Hebrew text
The 3d head consists of interpolations, which are fewer in number than the errors under either of the former heads, and which seem to have principally arisen from the transcriber having inadvertently copied the same passage twice. || Kings viii. 16.
ובשות חמש ליורם בן אחאב מלך ישראל ויהושפט מלך יהודה מלך יהוים בן יהושפט מלך יהודה.
Literally thus: “ Now in the fifth year of Jehorain, the son of Ahab, king of Israel, [and Jehoshaphat king of Judah,] Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, began to reign.” For proofs of the contradiction between this passage as it stands, and other parts of the sacred history, I refer to Kennicott's Remarks, p. 139. and his Dissertatio Generalis, p. 44. The difficulty will be easily removed by supposing that the transcriber, after having written
מלך יהורם בן accidentally omitted the words בן אחאב מלך ישראל -then discover : יהושפט מלך יהודה :and wrote the following words
ing his mistake, he wrote the sentence anew, including the three words which he had omitted, without erasing his interpolation. The words are omitted in two MSS. and the Hexaplar Lyriace. Many similar instances of interpolation occur in the collated MSS. I will mention but one example more of interpolation, distinguishing the supposed interpolation by inclosing it within brackets :
ויקחו נא חמשה מן הסוסים הנשארים זאשר נשארו .13 .Kings vii בה הנס ככל ההמון ישראל אשר [נשארן בה הנם ככל המון ישראל אשר] תמו ונשלחה ונראה.
“Let them take, I pray thee, five of the horses which remain, which
See Kennicott's Remarks, p. 23-4. ? Kenn. Rem. p. 144. Doederleen Biblia Hebraica in loc. 3 Kenn. Rem. p. 139.
are left therein ; behold they are as all the multitude of Israel which are [left therein ; behold they are as all the multitude of Israel which are] consumed; and let us stand and see.” The transcriber having copied as far as the 2d VX, (which is marked with an asterisk,) on reverting to the original, seems to have cast his eye by mistake on the first WX (marked with a dagger) and wrote the intervening words twice over. This repetition is omitted in ó, Syr. and 36. MSS.' It may be said that these alleged errors of the Hebrew text are of little importance. They are selected, , not from their importance, but from the clear and strong bearing which they have on the question at issue, the integrity of the present Hebrew text. It would be easy to adduce passages in which the supposed corruption is of more importance. Indeed it was my intention to have done so, but as it would have led me into more detail, and as I fear I have already sufficiently tried the patience of your readers, I will rest my case here, and will ask in conclusion, whether any person who carefully examines the present Hebrew text of the passages which have been quoted, who considers the evidence bearing on the subject which arises from the ancient versions and the collated Hebrew MSS.; who recollects the innumerable errors which are universally allowed to have arisen from the mistakes of transcribers in all other cases; and who takes into the account the very great antiquity of the Hebrew records, and consequently the numberless times which they must have been transcribed, as well as the close resemblance which many of the Hebrew letters bear to each other ;-[ will ask whether any person who gives to these considerations their just weight, can agree with Mr. B., that “as to the ability to maintain and prove the absolute
, “ integrity of the Hebrew text-it requires no great ability to prove that it is now as perfect as it was in the days of Moses ;” and that
12 “ there is not a surer mark of a man's ignorance of the original, than when he speaks against the absolute integrity of the text." Let it be remembered that if in any one of the instances adduced, (and numberless other passages might have been easily brought forward,) the slightest error of the Hebrew text shall be admitted, its absolute integrity can no longer be supported. I am far from holding that the corruptions of the Hebrew text have extended so far as to affect our faith or practice, nor can I by any means approve of that passion for conjectural emendation which has actuated some critics. *But I cannot conceive that any person is competent to give to the world an improved version of the sacred writings, who holds that “the Hebrew text is now as perfect as it was in the days of Moses." + March, 1818.
· Kennicutt's Remarks, p. 138. 2 Class. Journ. xiv. 237. 3 Ib. xix. 238.
We refer our correspondent to Mr. Bellamy's Ophion, p. 121. 8vo. pr. 3s. 6d.; also to his articles in our Nos. xvi. and xviii. -Ed.
ON THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM MIDDLE,
AS APPLIED TO THE GREEK VERB, And the Errors of Kuster, Wolle, Fischer, and H. Ste
No. II.-[Continued from No. XXX. p. 304.] That some of the ancient critics really understood the Middle Verb in certain phrases to denote action mixed with passion, is apparent from the fact, to which scholars have not paid sufficient attention, that the Greeks invented a term to express this its peculiar force, * αντιπεπονθότα.
« Qui a tonsore tondetur, revera quidem ab eo aliquid patitur, sed tamen ipse simul actionem negotio huic admiscet, dum tonsori illi, a se arcessito, sponte se tondendum præbet, unde Græci hoc sensu semper adhibent verbum medium xeipso la, vel in Aor. 1. χείρασθαι. xelpacia. Contra, mortui, oves, pelles etc. sensu mere passivo dicuntur xelpeolau, quoniam in hoc negotio nec voluntatem ullam habent, nec facultatem, vel adjuvandi, vel prohibendi tonsuram. Hoc ipsum erudite nos docet Philo J. de Caino : "Noneg ydp sò κείρεσθαι διττόν, το μεν ως αντιπεπονθός, κατά αντέρεισιν, το δε ως υπεϊκον, καθ' υπόπτωσιν. Πρόβατον μεν γαρ, ή δέρμα, και το λεγόμενον κώδιον, ουδέν ενεργούν εξ αυτού, πάσχον δε μόνον υφ' ετέρου, κείρεται, ο δ' άνθρωπος συνδρών, και σχηματίζων, και επιτήδειον παρέχων εαυτόν, ανακιρνάς τω πάσχειν το ποιεϊν. • Ut enim tonderi duplex est, unum ut
Voces asterisco notatæ in H. Steph. Thes. Gr. L. desiderantur. 2 It is strange that Kuster, who, in his tract on the Middle Verb, quotes the passage of Philo, should not have admitted that Philo's ideas upon the Middle Verb were precisely his own, that is, as denoting action mired with passion, “Ο δ' άνθρωπος (κείρεται) συνδρών και σχηματίζων, και επιτήδειον παρέχων εαυτόν, ανακιρνάς τη πάσχειν το ποιείν, and that, as this opinion was probably not peculiar to Philo, but taken from some grammarian either of his own, or of a former age, the true principle of the Middle Verb in certain phrases was sufficiently known to some of the best ancient grammarians. I am strongly inclined to think, that to this very passage in Philo, Kuster was indebted for what has been improperly called his discovery about the true import of the Middle Verb in certain phrases, and that from the perusal of this passage in Philo, he was led to investigate the whole subject, and to apply to many other verbs that principle, which Philo applies to explain