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at his command. He reigned a long time, and constructed some monuments, but their execution is viler than those of any other Pharaoh.
This last circumstance indicates a long interregnum, during which the arts perished for lack of use; an event so likely to have followed the Exodus of the Bible, that our proof that here is its place in the history of Egypt seems to be completed thereby. It is moreover expressly stated by the priests that such an interregnum actually took place on the occasion of the Exodus.
We are well aware that our friend Mr. Savile stedfastly refuses to admit this for a moment, on account of the difficulties in which the ordinarily assumed dates of the times of Sesostris and his successors involve the Bible chronology. He must excuse our reminding him that this is bad induction, and that bad induction cannot be good divinity. If we have truly apprehended Lord Bacon's method, the right course would be to admit the fact, and then carefully and patiently to examine the chronologies oth of Israel and Egypt, to ascertain, if possible, where the mistake lies which assigns widely different dates in the two histories to synchronous events. Had he done so we believe he would soon have detected the error. The vulgar dates of the reigns of Sesostris Rameses and his successors are mere speculations of Bunsen's, published sixteen years ago in the German version of his book on Egypt. By Champollion and his brother, these reigns had been dated from two to three centuries earlier. The change was made by Bunsen for one reason only. We know the date of the reign of Shishak, who pillaged the temple at Jerusalem in Rehoboam's reign, which was almost seven hundred years later than that assumed by Champollion for the date of Sesostris. Now neither on the monuments, nor in the Greek list, can a sufficient number of names of kings be found reigning in this interval whose united reigns, by ordinary computation, could possibly have filled up this wide gap between them. Bunsen (as was his wont) settled the difficulty, by at once shoving onward Sesostris, his predecessors and sucessors, to within the required distance of Shishak. He knew nothing of the interregnum just mentioned, as we need not explain.
We have, unhappily, very imperfect data for computing the duration of the interregnum between the death of Sethos II. and the accession of his successor. The Egyptian priests called it thirteen years; but art would not perish from an entire generation in so brief an interval as this, and besides, an event so disgraceful was sure to be dishonestly abridged, and very much, in their narrations. Osburn conjectures something short of a century. But there is an event in the subsequent history of Egypt, the bearing of which, upon this interval, he did not perceive. The last great temple, in Egypt, was built at Thebes by the second succession of Sethos II.—The prisoners employed on it were all Canaanites, taken in the cities and strongholds of Lower Egypt.
Josephus against Apion, i., 28.
f Mon. Tho., ii., 610.
Thus our friend Mr. Savile will perceive that there is no need to throw overboard the facts of Egyptian history. If rightly read and carefully interpreted, they will do no violence to the chronology of the Bible, for which he so earnestly and successfully contends.
Discussions on the Gospels. In Two Parts. By the Rev. A. ROBERTS,
M.A. London: Nisbet and Co. Some three years ago Mr. Roberts published an Inquiry into the Original Language of St. Matthew's Gospel ; with relative Discussions on the Language of Palestine in the time of Christ, and on the origin of the Gospels. The substance of that volume is reproduced here, with such additions and revisions as a continued investigation of the various topics has suggested. It is needless to add that, although the former is incorporated with this, the present is to be viewed as an entirely new work.
Mr. Roberts intimates that he had before the common lot of authors; that his views were approved by some of our best critics, and that by others they were received with disapprobation. We are glad to find that unfavourable judgments did not damp his ardour, and that he has courageously prosecuted his inquiries, and given the result in the substantial volume before us, the general plan of which we shall describe in the fewest possible words.
The First Part, on the language employed by our Lord and his disciples, comprises eight chapters. Chapter I. is introductory, stating the author's proposition, and the different views which have been entertained on the question, offering some preliminary remarks, and indicating the sources of evidence. Chapter II. gives historical proofs of the prevalence of Greek in Palestine in the times of Christ and his apostles. Here we are led from a consideration of the fact that Greek was so widely prevalent at the period referred to, to observe the causes of this prevalence in Palestine, and the evidence of the fact from various sources. Chapter III. is an argument for the general prevalence of Greek in Palestine, gathered from a general survey of the New Testament. Chapter IV. continues the same argument in the form of special proofs from the gospels. Chapter V. proceeds with the inquiry by an examination of the Acts. Chapter VI. adopts a similar course in relation to the Epistle to the Hebrews, the authorship of which is discussed. Chapter VII. gives further proofs from the New Testament. Chapter VIII. examines and answers objections.
The Second Part is on the original language of St. Matthew's gospel, and the origin of the gospels. Here we have seven chapters, the first of which states the question respecting St. Matthew's gospel, and the principles of the inquiry proposed. Chapter II. goes into the internal evidence for the originality of St. Matthew's gospel, involving a consideration of its general character and special peculiarities. Chapter III. introduces the subject of external evidence. Chapter IV. discusses the statements of ancient writers in support of a Hebrew original of St. Matthew's gospel. Chapter V. treats of other hypo
theses, and especially of the one arising out of the Curetonian Syriac. In Chapter VI. the more general question of the origin of the gospels is gone into; and in the last we have the conclusion, applications, and results.
Such is the ground which our author traverses, and such is the order in which he prosecutes his investigations. His thesis in the first part “is to prove, chiefly from the New Testament itself, that Greek was widely diffused, well understood, and commonly employed for all public purposes in Palestine, during the period spent on earth by our Lord and his apostles.” Our readers will at once be reminded of the well-known treatise of the Neapolitan lawyer, Domenico Diodati, “De Christo Græce loquente exercitatio qua ostenditur Græcam, sive Hellenisticam linguam cum Judæis omnibus, tum ipsi adeo Christo Domino et apostolis nativam ac vernaculam fuisse. This book, originally printed at Naples in 1767, was much valued, but its extreme rarity led to its republication by Dr. O. T. Dobbin, in 1843. Diodati, however,
, Dr. Dobbin tells us, was content with the simple establishment of his proposition, and for reasons best known to himself, said nothing as to the language in which the New Testament was written. Nevertheless, the work is a highly interesting one, and one which, notwithstanding its faults, will greatly assist the student by its numerous and curious facts. We may say in passing that Dr. Dobbin's account of Diodati's silence needs a little rectification, because the first and second sections of the Appendix argue for the Greek original of the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark, and the Epistle to Hebrews. But to return to Mr. Roberts.
He thinks that along with the Hebraistic vernacular, the Jews of our Lord's time mostly understood Greek. This view of the case relieves him of attempting to prove too much, and permits him readily to explain any Aramean words or expressions which the gospels contain. His only real difficulty, in our opinion, is to determine the proportions in which the two languages were spoken. Some have pleaded for an almost exclusive use of Aramaic, and others for an almost exclusive use of Greek; but Mr. Roberts pleads for a considerable preponderance of the latter. We imagine that he is right, certainly with regard to the cities and towns, and the more densely-populated districts. With isolated places and among the mountaineers, the Aramaic may have held on like the Gaelic in Scotland, the Welsh in Wales, and the Breton in France. But these will be treated as exceptional cases, and none would be charged with error who called French the language of Brittany, and English (Scotticised of course, the language of Scotland. The Greek which was spoken in Galilee, for example, was still Greek, although in accent and pronunciation it may have been deteriorated. And this reminds us of an argument for the use of Greek by the common people in the country which is worth a moment's notice. During our Lord's time, Peter carried on a conversation with the soldiers and others in the hall. St. Matthew informs us that those who stood there came up to Peter and said, " Surely thou also art one
of them, for thy speech betrayeth thee.” Mark somewhat varies the expression, “Surely thou art one of them : for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.” Luke simply makes them say, “ Of a truth this man also was with him : for he is a Galilean." We may readily believe that the language spoken by the people in the hall was the 'common Greek, and that if so, Peter spoke the same. He differed from them not in his language, but in his accent; it was his λαλεία, and not his διάλεκτος Or γλώσσα which distinguished him from the rest, and therefore both Matthew and Mark use the former word. If his language had been different, we should have found it similarly indicated in the Syriac. We turn to the Peshito of Matt. xxvi. 73, and Mark xiii. 70, and we find both places exactly answering to the Greek text. We look into the Philoxenian version, and we find the same thing. The Curetonian will not help us, as it does not contain the passages. But let these texts be compared with Acts ii. 6, and it will appear at a glance how careful the sacred writers, and the translators before us, have distinguished between a mode of utterance and a tongue or language. When Peter declared he knew not what they said, it is clear to all who are familiar with Greek, that his idea was this he knew not what they meant; he understood their words, but not the allusion. From all these facts we should infer that Greek was spoken, but with a marked accent, even upon the shores of the sea of Galilee. If so, it is still more likely that it was spoken in Judæa proper.
The argument, from the extensive knowledge of Greek in the time of our Lord, is of some importance. It is a fact that Greek was used from the banks of the Indus to Gaul, and from southern Egypt to the Euxine. It was understood by a larger number of persons than any other language then known. Providence therefore wisely arranged that in this universal vehicle of thought, the New Testament should be first conveyed to men. There are many things to shew that the language which had overrun the whole civilized world, so far as Alexander conquered or the Cæsars ruled, should not be excluded from Palestine. We should not go quite so far as Mr. Roberts, who has a thesis to defend, but we believe him to be on the right side as to the prevailing language of Palestine. As it respects our Lord and his disciples, it is a fact that the oldest form in which their words have come to us is Greek. That the apostles were some of them unlearned and ignorant men is admitted, and yet they wrote and spoke Greek! If Greek had been unused for conversation and daily intercourse, we might have had an Aramaic original of the New Testament; whereas, the earliest edition of that book after the Greek, is confessedly a translation, and that from the Greek. Had Peter and John learned Greek by divine inspiration, we may suppose it would not have been so redolent of Palestine as it is. The New Testament is Greek, but it is mainly such Greek as a Jew would write.
We regret that we cannot go into the subject fully, as it is one of equal interest and importance, but we are quite convinced that the case made out in this volume for the general use of Greek by our Lord and his disciples is a very strong one. Perhaps this view of the subject was never before exhibited with so much learning and ingenuity. And be it remarked, that the author has the most reverential faith in the sacred volume. To him it is the supreme law, and while in the spirit of honest and believing criticism he interrogates it, yet when he has ascertained its testimony, he is satisfied, and asks no more.
We now come to the question of the original language of St. Matthew's gospel, respecting which three or four opinions have been entertained. The first is, that it was written in Hebrew; another, that it was written in Greek; and a third, that it was written both in Greek and Hebrew. There are some variations of these opinions. For Hebrew, some would substitute Syro-Chaldaic or Syriac; and with . regard to the third opinion, some say that Matthew himself wrote both in Greek and Hebrew, and others that the Greek was written by some of his disciples. Mr. Roberts rightly believes that the question must be settled by evidence alone, and by the whole evidence, and that in point of order the internal should precede the external evidence. Into each of these points he goes at some length, but we cannot follow him. Taking internal evidence first, it is affirmed, " that on a complete and thorough examination of the Greek gospel of St. Matthew, it is seen everywhere to possess the air and character of an original and not a translated work.” To this we should say, of course it does, although we know what a formidable array of names will rise up against us. Just as surely as that the Peshito wears the dress and has the features of a translation, so does St. Matthew's Greek gospel appear as an original, written by a Jew. The next point is, that “ the manner in which citations from the Old Testament are made in it” proves the originality of St. Matthew's Greek. This argument deserves attention, but is less forcible than the preceding, though more so than the following, viz. :—the explanations it gives of Hebrew words and phrases. The explanations or translations in question do not occur in the Peshito Syriac of St. Matthew, although that version does sometimes give them elsewhere, as in Heb. vii. 2, "King of Salem, which is king of peace.” The fourth argument is drawn from the Latinisms, which is not forcible. The fifth proof is from the frequent use of the imperfect tense. And the sixth is, the occurrence of certain unusual expressions. Taken together these considerations have a certain weight, but the first seems to us the chief and crowning evidence that it is not a translation.
For a moment we may turn to the external evidence. It is admitted that the Greek gospel can be traced back to the apostolic age, and that it is quoted extensively by all, or nearly all, the first Christian writers. When its author is named, it is said that Matthew wrote it. But it must be owned that at a very early period we meet with names which point to a Hebrew original. How shall we deal with these ? To contradict their statements is not to refute them. Eusebius, a man of some consideration, quotes Papias, as saying many years before, that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, and that everybody explained