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written, has ceased to be the vernacular language of any nation for more than 2000 years; and what is very different from the case of the Greek and Latin languages, of which abundance is come down to us, both in poetry and prose, we possess in the ancient Hebrew those books only which form the volume of the Old Testament.” What! do we possess in the ancient Hebrew, those books only which form the volume of the Old Testament? By this assertion, it must necessarily be understood, that there are no writings in Hebrew but the Hebrew Bible; for as this gentleman has stated that, “ the case is very different from that of the Greek and Latin languages, of which abundance is come down to
prose and poetry;" he will necessarily be understood by his readers to mean, that no Hebrew writings, either in poetry or prose,
" are come down to us, except the books only which form the volume of the Old Testament." "Did he never hear of the voluminous writings of the ancient Jews, which “ are come down to us,” such as the Mishna, the Talmud, &c, besides the copious productions of the Paraphrasts, Onkelos on the Law, and Jonathan on the Prophets, written near 2000 years since? The writings of the Hebrews, which have come down to us, are perhaps as voluminous as all the writings of the Greeks and Latins.
The Advocate speaks of " the dignity, simplicity, and propriety of the language in which the sense of the original is conveyed." I have said the same, when speaking of the translation generally; but I have also said, that, considering the state of perfection to which the English language has arrived, there are many parts where we find neither “ dignity, simplicity, nor propriety;" as those learned men to whom I have referred, Bishop Newcome, Lowth, Blayney, Kennicott, and others, have also repeatedly said. See the following passages, in which I think it will be difficult for him to point out, either“ dignity, simplicity, or propriety :"
Numb. i. 49. “ Thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them”- Exod. xv. 30. Dance in dances". ch. xxxiv. 10. “ Such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation”-ch. iv. 8. “They will believe the voice of the lat
” ter sign." “ If they will not believe these two signs"--Lev. xi. 21. “Which have legs above their feet to leap withal”- --ver. 42. Creeping things that creep”—Numb. xix. 13. “ Whosoever
" toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead”-Gen. xxxvii. 23. « They stript Joseph out of his coat—that was on him”-ser. 24." And the pit was empty, there was no water in it”_" Plaister them with plaister"-1 Sam. ix. 2. “A choice young man and goodly.”-ch. xxii. 6. “Now Saul abode in Gibeah, under a tree in Ramah.”—2 Sam. xiv, 5. “ I am indeed a widow woman, and mine husband is dead."
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Passages of this, and of a worse, deseription, abound in almosť every page ; and yet the Reviewer has the presumption to tell us of “the dignity, simplicity, and propriety of the language in which the sense of the original is conveyed.” If he has ever read the Song of Solomon, the sense of which I aver is not given in the common version; (See on this book Classical Journal, No. XXX.) or if he has ever read such passages as Deut. xxiii. 1.-Hab. ii. 16.Isa. xxx. 22.-Ezek.xxiii. 3, 8.-Gen. xx. 36.-ch. xxxviii. 9. &c. &c. he will find them as far from “ dignity, simplicity, and pro. priety," as they are from truth. And if this interested associate of ihe Quarterly Review can possibly feel any anxiety for the prosperity of religion, and the credit of the Bible—if he could wish to
propriety," delicacy, and chastity of the sacred original in the English language; Christian charity induces me to hope that he will further the endeavours of all those learned men who have shown the necessity of a new revision; and of all those who,
1 instead of the highly condemnable expressions, are desirous of seeing the translation speak the meaning of the sacred writer : which, I shall continue to show, is not the case in such passages as the above. In
p. 258. the Quarterly Reviewer says, “All human means have been employed in the development of the true sense of Scripture ;” while in p. 251. he allows that "the translators, as human beings, have erred in judgment." And therefore, from his own premises, he must allow that all human means have not been employed, as these “ errors in judgment" remain to be rectified.
” I have said, and again affirm, that'no national translation of the Bible has been made from the Hebrew only since the 128th year of Christ. The critic, not with the Christian courtesy which generally constitutes the character of the clergy, says, that it “ is completely and absolutely false ; and no assertion can be more palpably untrue. To specify a few only—there were the Greek translations of Symmachus and Theodotian.” The translation of Theodotian is properly a revision of that of Aquila. Theodotian was a Gentile proselyte to Judaism, and, as is said by Montfaucon, was but meanly skilled in Hebrew, having left a vast quantity of Hebrew words not translated. He attempted only to polish the language of Aquila ; consequently his work was never understood to be a translation from the Hebrew only.
The translation of Symmachus is allowed to be a more elegant performance than that of Theodotian, yet his expressions are not always conformable to the original: it cannot, therefore, be a translation from the Hebrew only; it was merely a refined revision of those of Aquila and Theodotian. That of Aquila, however, was
made directly from the Hebrew, he being well acquainted with the language; and, as he was brought up under Akiba, had an advantage which Theodotian and Symmachus had not.. For these reasons I have said, that there has been no translation from the Hebrew only, since the time of Aquila ; those of Theodotian and Symmachus being more properly comments than translations; as has been allowed by learned men in different ages.
But I am told by this critic, that "there was the Latin translation of Jerome, not made, as Mr. Bellamy states, from the Greek translation, but from the original Hebrew." Refinus however is said to have accused Jerome of attempting to introduce Judaism, and “of having entirely changed the Scriptures, acting as a Jew and an apostate.” In fact the matter went so far that Jerome was obliged to change his style, and after he had called his censurers dogs and asses, to write apologies in defence of so necessary a work. See Essay for a New Translation of the Bible," p. 30. 1727.
But although Jerome was desirous of adhering to the Hebrew, it appears that he endeavoured to confine himself to what he thought “the sense of the Hebrew, more than to the literal translation of words and phrases ; as he not only confesses he had chietly used the former in his Translations, but also solemnly declares that he did not much regard the latter. “Essay for a New Translation of the Bible,” p. 36. The sense, therefore, given by Jerome, was the sense which he and the Jew that assisted him thought to be the true sense; not the sense obtained by showing the meaning of the same words in other parts of Scripture, which can possibly have no other meaning or application; as I have shown in my translation. So far, then, is this from proving that the version of Jerome was a translation from the Hebrew only, that it merely show's how anxious Jerome was to make a new version from it, and that he was overruled by the superstitious bigots in his day.
I have said, “ In the fourth century, Jerome made his Latin version from the Greek translation.” And the critic says, in his customary abusive style, “to prove the falsehood of this, we can produce an authority which the writer, we conceive, very highly values; we mean that of Mr. John Bellamy. In the Introduction, p.xx. he quotes the very words of Jerome, that he was induced to attempt a Latin translation from the Hebrew.'' But I ask the sober reader, How does this "prove the falsehood" of my statement? I still adhere to it; for all that the writer has advanced does not
; prove that I have contradicted myself. It only proves that he has suffered himself to be overcome by anger, or some more selfish motive, and this has led him into a statement of that which is not true. I ask, Did not Jerome prepare a Latin version from the
Greek translation ? Certainly; as I have said in the Introduction. Did not Jerome attempt a Latin translation from the Hebrew ? Certainly; as I have said in the Introduction. And I have shown above, by his own, acknowledgment, that he confined himself to what he thought to be the sense of the Hebrew, not to the literal translation. And he solemnly declares that he did not much regard it. So much for the version of Jerome. It appears
from his own acknowledgment, that, though he attempted a New Translation from the Hebrew, yet he failed in producing a literal translation; inasmuch as that which is not literal, is properly a paraphrase, not a translation.
The critic proceeds : “In more modern times, that of Sanctus Pagninus, made from the Hebrew, under Leo X.” But this was not a translation from the Hebrew only. It is allowed by all who know any thing of the subject, that Pagninus only imitated Jerome," and endeavoured to amend some passages from the Hebrew; this cannot, then, be called a New Translation from the original Hebrew only.
I shall now. proceed to give some undeniable proofs, that neither Theodotian, Symmachus, Jerome, the Vulgate, Pagninus, nor Sebastian Munster, up to the year 1535, nor the English translators, translated from the Hebrew only. This hasty and intemperate critic has some favorite terms, which he is fond of using : what he does not approve, he calls “ trash ;" he is fond of fixing on those whom he persecutes the words ignorant, presumptuous, arrogant;' and occasionally, when it suits his purpose, locks up his memory, and conveniently forgets what makes against himself.
I have not said that, in many instances, the translators did not refer to the Hebrew; he forgets that I have said, that they did not translate from the Hebrew only : and I now proceed to prove it.
This calumniating gentleman charges me with saying, that the translators have erred in mood, tense, person, infinitive, imperative, participles active, &c.' It is true, I have been so bold as to assert this; but surely he would not have brought this charge against me, had he understood the rudiments of the Hebrew grammar.
I admit that it is scarcely possible for a reader, who, like this critic, may not be acquainted with the grammar of the Hebrew language, to believe that such gross errors have been made by the translators. But they are to be found in almost every page of the Bible; and I refer the reader to the following passages, that it may be seen whether such a charge be not correct.
The same word nga veheebeeti, both consonants and vowels, Lev. xxvi, is translated as the first person singular preter, ver. 41.
mand have brought ; and as the first person singular future, ver. 25. and I will bring.
In Gen. xxxv. 7. 1922 niglou, is translated as the third person singular preter, and is applied to God; viz. he appenred; meaning that God appeared to Jacob. But it is the third person plural preter, and is applied to the whole family (viz. they appeared), as appearing before God, with the congregation at Beth-el, i. e. the “house of God." The calumniating gentleman will not attempt to fritter away the grammar in this clause, with his pretension to " peculiarities of idiom, and niceties of construction." Neither will he pretend to say, surely, that if the whole body of the translators above mentioned,--and if he please I will include the English translators in the time of James I. had translated from the Hebrew only, they would have translated the preter of the verb as the future, and the third person plural as the third person singular ; as is the case in the above passages.
Again, 2 Kings, viii. 10. And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayst certainly recover : howbeit the Lord hath showed me, that he shall surely die. Here is a palpable contradiction put into the mouth of the prophet; but the translators have rejected the negative 25, which makes good sense of the passage in the Hebrew; viz. And Elisha said to him, 83 728 75 leeke emaur lo, Go, say not, Thou shalt certainly recover : for the Lord hath showed me, that he shall surely die. I leave the public to correct the Reviewer, who has the confidence to tell his readers, that the present translution was made from the Hebrew. Had they translated from the Hebrew, they could not have put so gross a falsehood into the mouth of the prophet.
Iu i Kings, ii. 8, 9. we have the following words in the common version : “ And behold thou hast with thee Shemei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which (wbo) cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim : but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death by the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar-head bring thou down to the grave with blood.” The Critic
have recourse to his " peculiarities of idiom, and niceties of construction," if he should wish to rescue this formidable argument against the morality of the Bible (as exhibited in the common version, copying the Vulgate) from the objectors, who have not failed in their voluminous writings to show, in the most convincing manver," that instead of David being a man after God's own heart, (according to this version) he deliberately enjoins Solomon to put Shimei to