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the words as he could. The statement thus made was taken up and repeated by later writers in abundance. Eusebius does not deny its truth, although he
possibly attached no great importance to it. It may be observed that Papias does not say Matthew wrote a gospel, but "compiled the oracles” or discourses, by which, however, the gospel has been understood. Mr. Roberts criticises the assertion with some severity, but, on the whole, fairly. The next witness is Irenæus, who is possibly a mere echo of Papais. Upon this foundation all others have built. But the real question is, how far and in what sense the words are true? We are not able to pronounce a positive opinion, although we feel convinced that St. Matthew wrote the Greek gospel which bears his name, and that it alone was always accepted as an authentic and inspired document. If St. Matthew wrote a Hebrew or Aramaic gospel, it is curious that it should have been allowed so soon and so unaccountably to perish. What later writers give as a part of it are of little importance except as arguments against it.
After shewing the weak side of the case in favour of a Hebrew original of St. Matthew's gospel, Mr. Roberts examines the claims made by Dr. Cureton in favour of the Syriac fragment which bears his
The matter has been gone into at length in these pages, and Mr. Roberts only confirms the conclusions we had arrived at. The objection which to us seems most fatal to Canon Cureton's theory, is, that his fragment contains portions of four gospels instead of one. There were, therefore, four gospels so closely resembling each other in their particular features, and so connected in one volume, that if we admit three to have been taken from the Greek, we may almost assume that the fourth came from the same source. That Dr. Cureton's recension is a variation of the Peshito we have not the shadow of a doubt; and our conviction is supported by the fact that Adler describes a manuscript of the Peshito at Rome, containing many of the same differences of reading.
On the origin of the gospels, Mr. Roberts takes simply the ground that our Lord and his apostles spoke in Greek, and that the evangelists wrote independent records of his words and actions. Of the epistle to the Hebrews, our author thinks it was written in Greek under the direction of St. Paul, who himself added the concluding portion. The joint authorship is ascribed to Paul and Luke.
In conclusion we can only pronounce this a masterly discussion, one of the most thorough, sound, and independent treatises we have for some time met with. No one pursuing similar inquiries will be wise if he neglects it. It must take its place among those books which are so promising a feature of our time and country, and which, if not numerous, are an honour to our national literature. With such unwearied, able, and zealous labourers among us as Mr. Roberts, we shall have no cause to fear the adverse criticisms of learned unbelief, which is too often captious and pretending. Of course we do not accept all the conclusions here arrived at, but we accept many, and we like the manner, matter, and spirit of the work. It is free and manly, enlightened and
decided. It breaks away from the tyrannical fetters of traditional criticism, and goes out heartily in quest of the truth. This is what we want, and this is what the age demands. Too long have we been prone at the feet of great names in ancient and modern literature; but it is high time for us to stand up and assert our manhood. Too much have we relied upon the bulwarks which we saw around our holy inheritance, but now we may find them inadequate, and as in modern warfare, so in modern theology, the old methods must many of them give place to the new
A Commentary, Grammatical and Exegetical, on the Book of Job :
with a Translation. By the Rev. A. B. DAVIDSON, M.A. Vol. I.
Williams and Norgate. 1862. HERE we have another translation of the book of Job, another commentary upon that ancient and mysterious document. We say
another, for many indeed have been the endeavours of our countrymen, either to translate or to expound the Hebrew text of Job. Men ambitious of distinction as scholars and critics have known no aim higher than this, no work more honourable than this. It may be in the recollection of some of our readers, that while our present authorized version was yet unpublished, a man who had wished to be one of the translators, and who was as eccentric as he was learned, gave the world a thin quarto volume with the following title : “Job. To the King. A ColonAgrippina Studie of one moneth, for the metricall translation : but of many years, for Ebrew difficulties. By Hugh Broughton.” This was in 1610. The author says of Job, “The stile is in his language for verse, shortness, and strange words, as Pindarus in Greek: and fuller of difficultie, then all the other books of Adams tongue.” And again : “God would have this book as a jewel hid in the ground, not seen playn without paines.” Of Master Broughton's success, we need say nothing, but we readily accept his opinion of the difficulty of the book. Two centuries and a half have not sufficed to make it plain, and we gratefully receive every scholar-like contribution to its elucidation.
That Mr. Davidson's work is on the right track, we admit at once, for he says at the outset that “any exposition now to be valuable or even bearable must base itself immovably on grammar. For grammar is the foundation of analysis, analysis of exegesis, exegesis of Biblical theology, and Biblical theology of dogmatic.' We are sorry to add that there is too much truth in his assertion, that “we in this country have been not unaccustomed to begin at the other end, creating exegesis and grammar by deduction from dogmatic, instead of discovering dogmatic by induction from grammar." Happily we are beginning to discover our mistake, and we recognize, with Mr. Davidson, the value of Mr. Wright's commentary on Genesis, and of Mr. Ginsburg's works. Let us hope that we have not heard the last of either of these three gentlemen, and that others will join them in their good work. The greater part of the Old Testament is open to them, and there is abundant room for their operations.
NEW SERIES.- VOL. I., NO. II.
Mr. Davidson has endeavoured in his translation to exhibit the meaning of the original, and instead of claiming for it any independent value, he merely wishes it to be considered a part of his exposition. He proposes to append to his work collected lists of divergences of rendering from the Peshito and other oriental versions. This is a good idea, as those divergences are numerous, instructive, and important. He has made considerable use of the latest and best authorities, and he particularly refers to the grammatical labours of Ewald, Gesenius, Nordheimer, Green, and Roorda. Other names specially mentioned are those of Schlottmann and Stickel.
The introduction to this volume discusses the following questions : the problem of the book; development of the idea of the book ; historic truth, era, and authorship. To the third of these only can we here allude. Mr. Davidson observes that it has been and still is held by some, that the book of Job has no historical basis. He is liberal enough to maintain that such a view is neither derogatory to Scripture, nor absolutely incompatible either with anything in the book itself, or in other parts of Scripture. This view is therefore neither irreverent nor impossible, and the same may be said of that which regards the whole as a literal record of actual facts and words; but neither the one nor the other is considered so probable as the idea which regards the prose portions as historical, and the rest as a poetical representation of the arguments used by the disputants. The book is therefore substantially true, but not a verbal report of what was spoken.
As for the authorship and date, nothing positive is known. Some have referred it to the patriarchal period; others to the time of Moses, or to Moses himself; and others again, have ascribed it to the period of the captivity, or even later. Mr. Davidson believes that the book of Job is anterior to the Solomonic books; he cares little how much earlier it is supposed to be. He is of opinion that the Hebrew was the author's native language, but he is not certain as to his place of residence. There is a commendable frankness in this introduction, and perhaps no better course could have been adopted than the one here followed : “We know nothing, and speculation is vain.” All we know is, that "there was man in the land of Uz, and his name was Job.” This land of Uz appears to have been to the east of Palestine and to the north of Edom. Every geographical indication in the book agrees with this opinion, better than with that which places Uz in the south of Palestine. The Septuagint translates Uz by Ausitis, which points in the same direction.
Of the translation and notes we cannot speak at length. Every one knows that, in the earlier portions of the book, difficulties begin to appear. The verb commonly denoting to bless, occurs with an apparent inversion of meaning, and hence it is rendered “to curse in the authorized version, and in many others. The Septuagint makes Job say, “perhaps my sons have thought evil in their hearts toward God," in i. 5: but in verse 11, the verb is translated "bless," and so also in other cases, except in iii. 9, where the version differs considerably from
the Hebrew. The difficulty has long puzzled the critics, and Mr. Davidson suggests that it should be met by translating "renounced God in their heart," etc. For his reasons we must refer to his notes. We may observe in general that the renderings adopted are accounted for in all cases of uncertainty, and that the opinions of the principal modern writers are examined and estimated. Besides this philological commentary, as we may term it, there are interspersed a large number of instructive notes, or such as convey information illustrative of the text. The whole body of notes indicates careful and learned research. The translation is divided into sections so as to shew the structure of the book; and every principal division is prefaced by a statement of its character and contents. In the present volume we are brought to the close of the fourteenth chapter; what remains is to be comprised in a second volume. We propose to enter somewhat more critically into the work when it is completed. Now, we do not profess to do it justice, but merely to invite the attention of our readers to the production of a volume which claims a place among the few devoted to a learned and scholarlike discussion of Old Testament books from English pens. We can speak very highly of what Mr. Davidson has done, and we are quite sure that he will win the suffrages of all who are able to appreciate his book.
A Hebrew Grammar, with Exercises. By M. M. KALISCH, Ph. D.,
M.A. Part I. London: Longmans. The importance of the study of Hebrew is, we hope, admitted by all our readers ; and probably the feeling in its favour was never more general than now. Yet, strangely enough, the best mode of learning the language, and its ease or difficulty, have been singularly misunderstood. Greek and Latin, and modern tongues, are now taught by methods, the value of which every student confesses. Hebrew alone, of all the learned languages we study, seems to have been left without adequate provisions for its attainment. Not that we want grammars, or lexicons, or verbal analyses, for we have them by hundreds; but we wanted what Dr. Kalisch now undertakes to supply, “ a practical introduction to the study of Hebrew.” In our opinion a work on grammar is a work of art, and one which can be judged of fitly only by those who know already the rules of the language. The difficulty is to lead a student through such a work, and to secure that he shall remember and apply the facts and relations to which his attention has been called. Here the majority break down, and for what reason we cannot imagine, except it be because they have not been properly exercised and directed. By the time they have gone through the grammar, they have forgotten no small amount of what they have been supposed to learn. How can the evil be remedied, if not by removing the cause? We are not sure that Dr. Kalisch has altogether succeeded. His valuable and elaborate volume contains an immense collection of facts and of exercises upon them, and yet we should hesitate to place it in the hands of a beginner and to confine him to it. The task might possibly be accomplished,
but it would be a painful one. Therefore we say that the first thing for the student to do is to ascertain something of the nature of the language he is going to learn; to do this, a rapid survey of the grammar is all that is needed, even though little of it will be understood. The next step is to learn a few simple and necessary elements or rules, to be accompanied by exercises and examples. A wise tutor will determine the order in which everything shall be learned, and in most cases that will not be the exact order of the book. When considerable progress is made, it will be time enough to take the grammar and to go through it from step to step without omission. In other words, the course is threefold, the first is superficial and general, the second practical and more specific, and the third the same in a higher degree and a more scientific order.
The author of this volume has an impression not exactly the same as our own, and thinks the student may and must follow the order he has adopted : such as like to try it may do so, but we warn them it will bring them into unnecessary difficulties. The book is so elaborate that it brings out and explains rules and exceptions, which the student cannot exemplify by his reading for a long time. We would put a Bible into his hands at a very early period, and shew him how to use that and his lexicon, because we have seen grammar and translation carried on side by side, to the profit and real pleasure of the learner. We have seen the grammar taken alone, with its dreary and labyrinthine forest of rules, to the weariness and disgust of the learner. We have seen other methods tried, but the only one we have known in all points a success is that which combines translation with exercises and rules. As for translation, it may begin with single words as soon as the alphabet is mastered, and will enable the student to commence laying in a stock of words from the outset. This brings us to an important point, and when we have named it we shall add no more: it is that in learning Hebrew, not only a grammar but a vocabulary has to be acquired. A man who knows all the rules of grammar before he opens his lexicon, is in danger of losing his grammar while he masters his lexicon. Grammar and lexicon must be united in study by means of translation. Dr. Kalisch does something towards supplying a vocabulary.
Of the volume before us, we have very little to do but to recommend it. There are occasional defects of style, ambiguous, obscure expressions, and the like; and what will cause more difficulty, if the book is employed as he suggests, a remarkable minuteness and multiplicity of detail in some portions. Advanced students will find it very useful as an occasional referee when their memories need refreshing, and there are few who might not read it with profit.