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very wide from the truth.-Vid. Montfaucon's Palæogradia Græca.
But the age of Hebrew manuscripts cannot be ascertained by these rules. They are written in one uniform square character, (I am not speaking of the Rabbinical Hebrew,) and they are all, (I am speaking of ancient manuscripts,) without dates. Dr. Kennicott supposes, that the oldest Hebrew manuscript is not beyond the age of 800 or 900 years.
See bis Dissert. Generalis. All that can be ascertained of Hebrew manuscripts then is, whether they have, or not, the points and accents, &c. and the marginal notes called keri ? whether or not, they are written in columns, with all the spaces and other peculiarities of the best masoretic copies; and whether the skins are ornamented, or not, with the corona at the top of a few of the letters : in short, whether they have, or not, the undoubted evidence of their being derived from ancient synagogue copies : for this is the criterion hy which the Jews are directed in estimating the value of the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament. But with respect to the precise antiquity of particular copies, they do not seem to possess any precise rules by which they form their judgment: to what, however, they call private copies they pay little regard.
As to this Indian Hebrew manuscript, it unquestionably possesses all those marks of peculiarity, correctness, and surprising minuteness, which, in the estimation of a Jew constitutes the prime excellence, and stamps the value of a synagogue copy. It has also many marks of antiquity. It is also accompanied with this additional circumstance, which will give it consequence among Christians. Dr. Kennicott observes, ' It is certain, that almost all the Eastern Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament, which are known at present, were written between the years 1000 and 1457; which makes it probable, that all the manuscripts written before the periods 700, or 800, were destroyed by some decree of the Jewish Senate, on account of their many differences, then declared genuine.'
I shall not inquire now into the exact truth of this opinion ; nor of some others delivered by Dr. Kennicott. But as this learned writer, and many others, have expressed an earnest wish, (the manuscripts of the western Jews being in their judgment corrupted) ihat copies of the Hebrew Scriptures among the Indian and Chinese Jews could be procured, (who had carried on no intercourse with the western,) this being the case, the present Indian Hebrew manuscript, it is presumed, cannot fail of being considered a treasure: it is the great desideratum; yet, according to the present collator, it differs in nothing which is material from the western copies, whether Jewish or Christian.
But our present business is not so much with criticism, as with statement: we shall therefore hold to our readers the balance, as it were, of opinions, by presenting them with a copy of a note, from the Rev. Dr. Marsh, Margaret Professor, to the Collator, Mr. Yeates.'
“ A manuscript roll of the Hebrew Pentateuch, apparently of some antiquity, and found among the black in the interior of India, must be regarded at least as a literary curiosity, deserving the attention of the learned in general. And, as this manuscript appears on comparison to have no important deviation from our common printed Hebrew text, it is of still greater value to a theologian, as it affords an additional argument for the integrity of the Pentateuch. The Hebrew manuscripts of the Pentateuch preserved in the West of Europe, though equally derived, with the Hebrew manuscripts preserved in India, from the autograph of Moses, must have descended from it through very different channels; and therefore the close agreement of the former with the latter is a proof that they have preserved the original text in great purity, since the circumstances, under which the manuscript was found, forbid the explanation of that agreement on the principle of any immediate connexion. It is true, that as this manuscript, (or rather the three fragments of which this manuscript is composed,) was probably written much later than the time when the Masoretic text was established by the learned Jews of Tiberias, it may have been wholly derived from that Masoretic text; and in this case it would only afford an argument, that the Masoretic text had preserved its integrity, and would not affect the question, whether the Masoretic text itself were an accurate representative of the Mosaic autograph.
But, on the other hand, as the peculiar circumstances, under which the manuscript was found, render it at least possible, that the influence of the Masora, which was extended to the African and European manuscripts by the settlement of the most distinguished Oriental Jews in Africa and Spain, never reached the mountainous districts in the South of India ; as it is possible, that the manuscript in question was derived from manuscripts anterior to the establishment of the Masora ; manuscripts even, which might have regulated the learned Jews of Tiberias in the formation of their own text; the manuscript appears for these reasons to merit particular attention. A description and collation of it, therefore, must certainly interest every Biblical critic." Camb. Dec. 10, 1810.
· Collation of an Indian Copy of the Pentateuch, &c. by Thomas Yeates. Cambridge, 1812.
Thus far on this Indian manuscript of the Hebrew Pentateuch.
We proceed to the Syriac manuscripts, given by Dr. Buchanan, Class Oo. 1. A Bible that contains the Old and New Testaments, together
with the Apocrypha, and fragments of the books of Clemens. It is in what is called the Estrangelo character in 2 vols. fol.
No, 1. 2. 2. The Pentateuch; folio, in a large character. No. 8. 3. The Pentateuch; a Nestorian copy, in quarto. No. 26. 4. The Pentateuch; a Nestorian copy, quarto. No. 27. 5. Judges, Samuel, Kings, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Song
of Solomon, Job, and Ecclesiasticus, in large quarto. No. 10. 6. Esdras, second and third of Maccabees, the Apocalypse,
Esther, Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, large quarto. No.
14. 7. The major and minor Prophets, Baruch, and Story of Su
sanna, a Mesopotamian copy, in folio. No. 7. 8. The major and minor Prophets, The Story of Susanna ; a Nestorian
copy in quarto. No. 18. 9. Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, in octavo. No. 39. 10. The Four Gospels, with the Acts of the Apostles, an An
tiochean copy in quarto. No. 25. 11. Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, and John, in quarto.
No. 31. 12. Psalms and Liturgy, quarto. No. 22. 13. Psalms, and some Canticles, in duodecimo. No. 40.
N. B. Should there be any omissions in these manuscripts, they shall be supplied at some future opportunity.
“Ο Βασιλικός "Υμνος,
God save the King.
Το αυτό μέτρω, ρυθμό και μέλει.
Σώζου Γεώργιε 'Aρχέ!
'Ανάστα Κύριε ο Θεός,
Τας αγαθάς σου Δωρεας
Gen. i. 2.—Heb. When the earth
Heb. And there was the spirit (or breath) of the Aleim, i. e. the ever-blessed Trinity, causing a tremulous motion on the faces of the waters. So Milton, P. L. 1. 19. sqq.
Thou from the first
And mad'st it pregnant But by the epithet dove-like, Milton, whose mind was a complete store-house of classical images, probably meant to express (Hom. Od.
ως δ' οτ' άν ή κίχλαι ΤΑΝΥΣΙΠΤΕΡΟΙ,
ήε πέλειαι. Where, however, the ruvvointepou must be referred to kixlal rather than to élelai, unless it inay be regarded as a commune epitheton.
5. Heb. And there was E. and there was M. day the first-kai εγένετο εσπέρα, και εγένετο πρωί, ημέρα μία-LΧΧ. Perhaps more correctly, at least more correspondently with the Jewish idiom, vxor μερον πρώτον. So St. Paul, (2 Cor. xi. 25.) νυχθήμερον εν τω βυθό πεποίηκα.
10. The dry land—Heb. to the dry land ways. Tyv Empáv. LXX. So Μatth. xxii. 15. Περιέγετε την θαλάσσαν και την ξηράν. It may, however, be remarked, that the sacred writers of the New Testament do not follow the version of the Seventy, so scrupulously as they are in general imagined to do. For many remarkable instances of discrepancy, see " Scripture authentick and Faith certain, by Edward, Lord Bishop of Cork and Rosse.”
14. Lights. Heb. Instruments or sconces of light. nona. Dworijpes. LXX. i. 2. candelabra. So philosophical and accurate is the Mosaic cosmogony, and so early in his history does the great Lawgiver direct our view to the great Father of Lights, from whom all illumination emanates !
24. Beast of the earth. Heb. wild beasts-Onpia. LXX. Cap. ii. 9. Pleasant to the sight. Heb. to be desired—the verb is
12. Bdellium and the onyx stone—ékei éotiv o ävOpač kai ó Nidos o Apúolvos. LXX. Qu. the carbuncle and chrysoprase ? Parkhurst interprets nutant, a pearl. Being joined with ONVZ, the hoof, or onyx stone, it can scarcely be the resinous gum described by Pliny. H. N. xxxvii. 8. Perhaps some of your correspondents, who have
, made the Mineralogy of Scripture their study, will favor me with their sentiments on this point, VOL. XVIII. Cl. Jl. NO. XXXVI.