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advantages of such an extension of biblical know-| as will satisfy all reasonable curiosity, and enable ledge would soon be apparent, in the growing matu- those who desire it, to make a proper application of rity and perfection of the Christian character, and those principles and rules that relate to the other in the increased usefulness and efficiency of the branch of our subject. Christian ministry.
12. The following, then, will be the method of 9. Biblical learning is usually divided into two proceeding, in treating on the various topics comprincipal branches; namely, CRITICISM and INTER-prised in this part of our work. First, we shall PRETATION,
direct our attention to the text of the Bible, with (1) BIBLICAL CRITICISM treats of the laws by a view to ascertain, in a general way, its original which the genuineness or purity of the text is de- character, and the securities we possess for its precided, and by which it is to be restored where it sent integrity. This will bring under review the may have been corrupted.
Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and the various ac(2) BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION treats of the cidents to which literary compositions are liable in rules by which the sense of the text is to be passing down the stream of time, from a period educed and exhibited, and embraces all those va- antecedent to the invention of printing ; more parrious branches of learning usually comprehended ticularly those which have occurred to the sacred under the head of biblical antiquities.
writings. Thence we shall be led to inquire into 10. From this statement of the objects of these the character and value of various readings, or the two branches of biblical learning, it will be per- different wording of the same passage in the several ceived that the one is intimately connected with manuscripts and other extant documents compristhe other; and that some knowledge of each of ing the sacred text, or portions of it; the sources in them is indispensable to constitute a good inter- which they have originated; and the means we preter.
possess for correcting the errors that
have 11. The object of this work being to furnish the crept into the text. We may
then review the prounlearned as well as the more erudite with a com- gress that has been made towards restoring the prehensive and practically useful digest of the text to its original purity, and the methods by several topics connected with the interpretation of which this has been effected. Having thus ascerthe Sacred writings, BIBLICAL CRITICISM will be tained the actual state of the books, the contents dispatched in a much more summary way than the of which it is proposed to investigate, we may matters incident to INTERPRETATION. The reason proceed, step by step, through the several rules of for this is, that CRITICISM pertains to the original interpretation. This will exhibit the means that text, and not to a translation—with which, only, may be legitimately employed for educing the sense we shall assume our readers to be familiar; all of the language used by the sacred writers, on the attempts to go into the minutio of this branch of subjects of which they treat. Thus we shall be the subject, therefore, would tend only to perplex introduced to almost every variety of subject comand annoy, without affording any compensating ad-prised in the Bible, and clearly ascertain the nature vantage. We shall endeavour, however, to give of those qualifications that are indispensable to the such a general view of this part of biblical science sound interpretation of its contents.
1. The immediate object of sound criticism, as to restore the original readings that have been will have been perceived, is not to understand and excluded by them. interpret the Holy Scriptures, but to examine their 3. There are four principal sources from which genuineness and uncorruptness
, to assign reasons criticism may draw those indications and helps on for deeming any particular passage to have been which it is principally to rely, partly to ascertain altered from its original state, and to propose the what changes have taken place, and partly to resurest means by which such passage may be re- store the original readings. The first is, an accustored, with the greatest certainty or probability, to rate acquaintance with the peculiarities of the its pristine condition.
language wherein, not merely the sacred Scriptures 2. The purpose of criticism is, therefore, two- in general, but each particular book was composed. fold: in the first place, to discover the changes that The second is a comparison of the various manuhave taken place in the original text; and then, scripts or copies which we have of them, origi
TIIE HEBREW AND GREEK SCRIPTURES.
nating at various periods. The third consists of the learned are not agreed, as to the language the various translations which have been made of in which they were originally composed ; namely, them into foreign languages. The fourth and last, the Gospel of Matthew, and the Epistle to the which must be employed but seldom, springs from Hebrews, the latter of which is attributed to Pau!, the writings and remains of the earlier Fathers, and upon very conclusive evidence. These books, it generally of the earlier ecclesiastical writers, who has been thought by very able critics, were written have made some use of the Bible.*
in the Hebrew, or rather in the Syro-Chaldaic 4. The sections comprised in this chapter, will tongue, which was the vernacular language of the be devoted to a review of the several topics per- Jews in the time of our Saviour ;t and, consetaining to the criticism of the Bible, for the pur- quently, that our present Greek text is only a pose of elucidating, as far as is necessary for translation from the originals. To enter into a general purposes, its materials and objects. critical investigation of this disputed topic would
not accord with our present purpose; but a few SECTION I.
remarks seem to be called for.
5. The notion of a Hebrew original of these
two compositions seems to have been suggested The Original Languages of Scripture-The Aramxan Language merely by the consideration, that they were in---Language in which Matthew's Gospel and the Epistle to tended primarily and specially for the instruction the Hebrews were written — Peculiar style of the New and use of Hebrew converts. It has been mainTestament- The Genuineness of the New Testament demonstrable from its Style – Importance of Hebrew and Greek tained by some writers, that several of the early Learning to an Interpreter-Historical Account of the Hebrew Christian Fathers testify to the existence of a HeLanguage-Various Schools of Hebrew Philology.
brew text; but it will be found, upon examination, 1. SPEAKING in general terms, it may be stated that those passages in their works upon which rethat Hebrew and Greek are the two languages liance is placed, are nothing beyond inferences or employed by the Author of revelation, to convey a conjectures, which we are at liberty to take for knowledge of his will and purpose to mankind. what they may be deemed to be fairly worth.
2. THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT were, Their opinion was evidently founded upon the with the exception of a few passages, composed in circumstance to which we have adverted—the the Hebrew tongue.
The exceptions relate to adaptation of the books for the instruction of the passages written in the Chaldee dialect, the rea- llebrews—and not upon any facts relating to the sons for employing which in the places where it actual existence of a Hebrew text. occurs, are sufficiently obvious.
They are passages
6. But such an assumption is as unnecessary as either consisting of transcripts from original docu- it is gratuitous. There is ample evidence that the ments, or comprising information specially designed Greek language was very commonly used by the to be communicated to the people by whom this Jewish people, after their subjugation by the Macedialect was employed. Thus, Jer. x. 11, which is donian Greeks; and, what is perhaps still more pure Chaldee, introduced into the midst of a He- to the purpose, that great numbers of them, in, brew composition, was to be addressed by the Jews as well as out of, Judea, read their own Scripto the Babylonian idolaters: “ Thus shall ye say tures in this tongue, in the version of the LXX. unto them, The gods that have not made the It was not necessary, therefore, that the books heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the in question should be composed in the Hebrew earth, and from under these heavens.” Several language, either for the purpose of rendering passages in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh them intelligible to the Jews, or of inducing chapters of Ezra, consist of copies of original let- the Jews to peruse them.
The Greek tongue ters and decrees, in the Chaldee tongue; and the had been already consecrated by the Septuagint book of Daniel, from the second chapter to the translation, which was highly esteemed and seventh, which is in this language, treats exclu- venerated by the Hebrews. But if there were sively of the affairs of Babylon, and was, there no real necessity for employing the Hebrew lanfore, with the utmost propriety so written. guage in these works, there are, without doubt,
3. THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT are all very urgent reasons for thinking that the Greek in the Greek language, which, being the most pre- was used. In the first place, a great multitude valent at the time they were penned, was the best of Jews, especially those who resided in Egypt, adapted for works designed for general circulation. and in whose necessities the Septuagint version 4. There are but two of these books about which originated, were altogether ignorant of the Hebrew therefore, would have effectually shut out such / explanation of these doctrines could with more persons from their perusal, and thus have defeated advantage be compared, so as to be better underthe very object which their authors are supposed stood, being expressed in one language, than if in to have had in view by adopting it.* In the next the different epistles they had been expressed in place, it is to be remembered, that, although the the language of the churches and persons to whom gospel of Matthew and the epistle to the Hebrews they were sent. Now, what should that one lanmay have been intended for the special use of the guage be, in which it was proper to write the descendants of Abraham, they nevertheless con- Christian revelation, but the Greek, which was tain unquestionable evidence that they were not then generally understood, and in which there intended for their exclusire use. Similar in their were many books extant that treated of all kinds design to every other part of the sacred volume, of literature, and on that account were likely to and necessary to its completion, they were given be preserved, and by the reading of which, Chrisfor the use of all the churches of the saints (many tians in the after ages would be enabled to underof the earliest of which were composed of Greeks), stand the Greek of the New Testament? This and meant for universal dissemination. Such being advantage none of the provincial dialects used the case, it was obviously proper that they should in the apostles' days could pretend to. Being be written in Greek, because that language was limited to particular countries, they were soon to then universally understood."
language. The employment of it in these writings, * Ste Planck's Sacred Philology, chap. iv. Bib. Cabinet, vol. vii.
+ See note on page 7.
be disused; and few (if any) books being written 7. We have already intimated, that there are in them which merited to be preserved, the meanother arguments, of a critical character, that ing of such of the apostles' letters as were comoppose the theory of a Hebrew original of these posed in the provincial languages, could not easily two works; but we cannot, consistently with our have been determined." || plan of proceeding, do more than thus allude to 8. It must not be supposed, however, that the them. Referring, then, those persons who may Greek of the New Testament is of the pure be desirous to see more upon the subject, to those classical style. On the contrary, it is of a very works in which it is discussed, I we close these peculiar structure, partaking of the Alexandrian suggestions with a good remark from Macknight, and oriental idioms, with a very large admixture which will apply to Matthew's gospel, equally of the peculiarities of the Hebrew phraseology. .as to the epistles :—“It was proper that all the Hence it has not improperly been called Hebraicapostolical epistles should be written in the Greek Greek. This topic has been very elaborately language ; because the different doctrines of the discussed by critics, but the result of their labours gospel being delivered and explained in them, the is all that is practically valuable to the interpreter
* We hope we shall not be considered as speaking dogmati- same purpose as we have done ; and it is highly probable cally upon a question involving so many and various conside- that he would object to the application which is here made of rations as the one under notice. The mere fact of being them. Nevertheless, we cannot but think, that, taken in conopposed to such scholars and critics as Grotius, Mill, Campbell, nexion with that view of the matter wbich we have above and Michaëlis, with others too numerous to mention, would be suggested, they are as cogent against the hypothesis of an exalone sufficient to deter us from this.
clusive Syro-Chaldaic original of Matthew and the Hebrews, as
they are against the paradoxical notion of the learned author of "If, from the prevalence of the Greek language at the time “Palæoromaica.” of the apostles, we extend our view to the state of the Christian church in its earliest period, we shall find increasing proba- which are easy of access, may be consulted : Lardner's Works,
On the original of Matthew's gospel, the following works, bility of a Greek original. All the Gentile churches, established 1 vol. ii. p. 147, 4to. ; Townson's Works, vol. i. p. 30; Marsh's by the apostles in the East, were Greek churches ; namely, Michaelis
, vol. iii. pt. 1, p. 112; Whitby's General Preface ; those of Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia, Corinth, Philippi, Thessa- and Campbell on the Gospels, vol. iii. p. 2. On the epistle to lonica, &c. Again, the first bishops of the church of Rome the Hebrews, we need but refer to the first volume of professor were either Greek writers, or natives of Greece. According to Tertullian, Clemens, the fellow-labourer of Paul, was the Stuart's very elaborate and judicious “Commentary,” which first bishop of Rome, whose Greek epistle to the Corinthians is has been reprinted in this country under the eye of Dr. Hen
derson. still extant. But whether Clemens or Linus was the first hisbop of Rome, they were both Greek writers, though probably || New Literal Translation of the Apostolical Epistles, matives of Italy. Apencletus was a Greek, and so were the preface to the Epistle to the Hebrews, sect. ii. and jii. It is greater part of his successors to the middle of the second proper to name a third hypothesis, relative to the original of century. The bishops of Jerusalem, after the expulsion of the Matthew's gospel, namely, that there were two editions pubJews by Adrian, were Greeks. From this state of the govern- lished by the Evangelist, one in the Syro-Chaldaic language, for ment of the primitive church by Greek ministers-Greeks the information of the Jews in Judea ; the other in the Greek lanby birth, or in their writings-arises a high probability that the guage, for the use of those in the provinces, and also for the GenChristian Scriptures were in Greek.”—(Bishop Burgess, in bis tile churches. It will be perceived, that all the objections which Appendix to the “ Vindication of 1 John v. 7.") We should have been urged against the other hypothesis do not apply to be chargeable with disingennonsness, however, were we not to this, and as it removes some of the discrepancies by which the * apprise the reader that the learned prelate from whom we have subject has been embarrassed, it way, perhaps, be deemed the qorated these remarks, did not einploy them for precisely the best of the three.
of Scripture. Michaelis has thus characterized that this furnishes one of the most incontestable the style of the several writers of the New Testa- and satisfactory proofs of that important fact. ment; and his description will be found sufficiently The variation in style that prevails in the Old minute for general purposes.*
Testament books, is found to correspond most 9. The gospels of Matthew and Mark exhibit exactly with the changes which the Hebrew lanstrong vestiges of the Hebraic style; the former guage underwent, from time to time, by reason presents harsher Hebraisms than the latter; and of the intercourse of the Jewish people with the the gospel of Mark abounds with still more adjacent nations; while the peculiarity of comstriking Hebraisms. The epistles of James and position by which the New Testament books Jude are somewhat better; but even these are full are characterized, affords decisive evidence of of Hebraisms, and betray in other respects a cer- their Hebrew authorship, as well as of the partain Hebrew tone. Luke has, in several passages, ticular era at which they were penned. || written pure and classic Greek, of which the first 12. From what has now been said on the orifour verses of his gospel may be given as an instance. ginal character of the sacred volume, the value In the sequel, where he describes the actions of and importance of Hebrew and Greek learning to Christ, he has very harsh Hebraisms; yet his style is an interpreter of Scripture will be sufficiently more agreeable than that of Matthew or Mark. obvious. A critical dissertation
the original In the Acts of the Apostles he is not free from languages of Scripture would be wholly out of Hebraisms, which he never seems studiously to place in a work intended for popular use; but it have avoided; but his periods are more classically will be expected that we should give some histoturned, and sometimes possess beauty devoid of rical account of these languages, in so far as that art. John has numerous, though not uncouth, is necessary in a bibliographical account of the Hebraisms, both in his gospels and in his epistles; sacred text. but he has written in a smooth and flowing lan- (1) The Hebrew language was so named by guage,
all the Jewish writers in the the forefathers of the Israelitish nation; but excellence of narrative. Paul, again, is entirely whether from Heber, one of the descendants of different from them all: his style is, indeed, Shem (Gen. x. 21, 25; xi. 14, 16, 17), or after neglected, and full of Hebraisms, but he has Abraham, who, from the circumstance of his having avoided the concise and verse-like construction come from the other side of the Euphrates, was of the Hebrew language, and has, upon the called gyn the Hebrero, “the over passenger whole, a considerable share of the roundness of (from the root ny aber, to pass over), has long Grecian composition. It is evident that he was been a matter of controversy amongst the learned. as perfectly acquainted with the Greek manner of It is a point not likely to be settled, nor is it of expression as with the Hebrew; and he has intro- the slightest importance that it should be. It duced them alternately, as either the one or the might also have been called the Jewish language, other suggested itself the first, or was the best as being that employed by the subjects of the approved. I
Jewish kingdom (2 Kings xviii. 26; 2 Chron. 10. Neither the limits nor the plan of this xxxii. 18; Isai. xxxvi. 11), and also the Canaanwork will permit us to enlarge upon this topic. itish (Isai. xix. 18), not only because it was used Mr. Horne has given numerous instances of the in the country of Canaan by the Israelites, but Hebraisms, Syriasms, and Latinisms, found in the also because the language of the Canaanites was, New Testament; and also the canons which have in its origin and genius, the same with that of the been laid down by Ernesti and his commentator,
Hebrews. The Jews, after their return from Morus, by which to determine their force and Babylon, conferred upon it the title of the holy meaning. $
language. 11. It would be out of place here, to advert. at (2) The antiquity of the Hebrew language is any great length, to the argument deducible from very great, and its original, in the opinion of the the style of the sacred writings, in favour of their most learned men, must be referred to an age genuineness; but we may be permitted to remark, long prior to the origin of the Israelitish race.
* Those who wish to see more npon this subject, may consult + The reader may see reason to modify this opinion, after Michaëlis on the New Testament, vol. i. p. 143, &c. ; Schaeferi reading chap. iii. sect. 7, on the Scripture Parallelisms. Institutiones Scripturisticæ, pars i. p. 137, &c.; Morus Acro
# Michaëlis, Introduction to New Test. vol. i.
p. ases, vol. i. p. 202, &c.; Campbell's first Preliminary Dissertation to the Gospels; Planck's Essay, “ De verâ naturâ et
$ Critical Introd. vol. ii. p. i. ch. 1, sect. 3. indole Orat. Græc. Nov. Test.” translated in the second volume li On this topic the reader may consult Michaëlis, Introd. of the Biblical Cabinet ; and Stuart's “ Grammar of the New vol. i. p. 116, &c.; or Campbell's Preliminary Dissertations, 'Testament,” Andover, 1834.
vol. i. p. 50, &c.
Nay, it even seems to have been coeval with the Old Testament, does not extend beyond the age human race, and to have been the language which, of David and Solomon, and the age
of the prophet surviving the deluge with Noah, was the only schools established by Samuel; its golden age dialect in the new world, and common to the lasted from the time of David to the Babylonian succeeding generations (Gen. xi. 1). It after- captivity, and, during this period, probably, wards contracted a degree of diversity among the great part of the sacred writings of the Jews was different nations which bordered upon each other
, composed. After the invasion of Palestine by. such as we observe in the dialects of one and the the Assyrian and Chaldean rulers of Babylon, same language; but, among the Hebrews, it things were completely changed. The Jews of seems probable, that, approaching nearest to its Palestine, along with their political independence, primitive nature and genius, it of all the others lost also the peculiar character of their language. retained the clearest marks of that simplicity The Babylonian-Aramaic* dialect expelled the which is peculiar to children, and points in no Hebrew, and gradually became the predominant obscure manner to the infancy of the human language of Palestine, which it continued to be race. Its adolescence, or the period of its deve- to the period of the Christian era, if not later. See lopment towards that degree of perfection which Acts i. 19; xxi. 40; xxii. 2.+ we find it to have attained in the writings of the (3.) There is a difference of opinion among
* This dialect is frequently called the Chaldaic, but very it in different dialects. The dialect of Jerusalem and Jadea ertoDeously. With the language of Babylon, as Pfannkuche
was most correct; but that which prevailed in Samaria, and observes, we are well acquainted; but the true Chaldaic, which particularly that of Galilee, was much more rude than the was, probably, more intimately related to the Persic, Median, former, full of contractions and mutilations ; letters were omitted Armenian, and Kurdic, nobody knows.
in it, and one gnttoral exchanged for another; so that, for er
ample, according to the careless and irregular pronunciation of the † Upon the change that was effected in the language spoken Galilean dialect, the same word might denote an ass, wine, in Palestine, after the return from Babylon, Dr. Pfannkuche’s wool, and a lamb to be sacrificed. A Galilean was, therefore, Trratise on the language of Palestine in the age of Christ easily recognized by his pronunciation (Matt. xxvi. 73), and was utils a theory which may now be considered as settled, and never admitted as a public reader of Scripture in any synagogue finally received among the learned. He maintains that the of Judea. language of Palestine was, in ancient times, the common “Jews residing abroad in Greek countries, particularly in bazuage of Western Asia THE ARAMEAN, the same as that Egypt, had completely adopted the Greek language as their which was spoken by the CANAANITE natives, and which, own; and even in Palestine itself, where abhorrence against subsequently, by the Hebrews--the progeny of Abraham, who every thing foreign was affected, it seems that, partly through was a new settler in that country-was called the Hebrew lan- | intercourse with Jews abroad who spoke Greek, partly through guage, it being the peculiar language of that nation ; that, by the the neighbourhood to Syria and Egypt, where Greek was geneBahy lonish captivity, this old Hebrew tongue was expatriated rally spoken, and partly from Greek residents, of whom, by the Aramaic, which was current in Babylon, and which, as its especially in Galilee and Perea, vast numbers dwelt among the pronunciation was somewhat broad and vulgar, bore the same re- Jews, the Greek had become generally known and current. lationship to the Hebrew as the lower Saxon dialect does to high This appears from Acts ii. 7–11, where Jews, from Greek German (or, as his translator suggests, as lowland Scottish does countries and provinces, witnessing the enthusiasm which had to English]; and that this Babylonian Aramaic soon became seized the apostles and their friends, wondered that they the national langnage of the Jews, the ancient Hebrew for expressed their religious thoughts and sentiments in Greck sine time still remaining the language of literature. By way dialects, which they had been accustomed to hear abroad, and of distinguishing this from other dialects, he proposes to call it not merely, as was usual, in ancient Hebrew; likewise from by the simple name of PALESTINIAN ARAMAIC, or PALESTINIAN Acts vi, 1–6, where a considerable number of the primitive SYRIAC ; Aramaic and Syriac being completely equivalent. members of the Christian community at Jerusalem is stated to See bis *Treatise on the Language of Palestine, in the age of have been Hellenistic, or Greek-speaking ; and also from Acts Christ and his apostles,' in the BIBLICAL CABINET, vol. ii. xxii. 40, compared with xxii. 2, where the Jews expected
Dr. Rohr, who adopts Pfannkuche's theory, in all its essen- Paul, who had been accused by Greek Jews, to address them tial points, has some remarks upon this subject, which, as they in Greek, but were delighted to hear him speak to them in are brief and valuable, we shall transcribe in this note. They the language of the comtry. Whether Jesus himself will supply information that we could not with propriety intro spoke Greek, caunot be determined for certain, although it duce into the text.
is highly probable; because in Galilee and Perea he was in "At the time of Jesus Christ, the ancient Hebrew was com- frequent intercourse with foreigners ; becanse even in Jerusalem pletely extinct, even in its character of language of literature, an interview with him was sought by Greeks (John xii. 20), and and all the Jews of that period, residing in Palestine, spoke and these, surely, spoke no other language but Greek; because we wrote the Aramaic. Jesus, too, spoke this language ; and the must suppose that the conferences between Judas and Pilate, mames Kephas (John i. 42), Boanerges (Mark iji. 17), Bar. mentioned in John xviii. 33–37, and xix. 9–11, were certainly nabas (Acts iv. 36), as also the expressions, Tabitha Kumi carried on neither in Aramaic nor Latin, but in Greek; and Mark v. 45), Abba (Ib. xiv. 36), Eli, Eli, &c. (Matt xxvii, because Mary, in her conversation with Jesus (John xx. 14, 46), are specimens of it. (Pfannkuche has collected many seq.), seems to have made use of the Greek language, until she additional expressions, as specimens of this language, in the recognized him as arisen from the dead, when she instantly treatise already referred to, pp. 67–69. Josephus has also returns to the familiar Aramaic, to which, in daily intersang Aramaic expressions in his “ Antiquities,” and Wars, course with him, she was accustomed, and addressed him with which the same critic has collected, pp. 70, 71.]
the word Rabboni. The apostles, too, being Galileans, must “People of biblical education spoke this language as it was be supposed to have been more or less acquainted with Greek, written; bat the common people, as generally is the case, spoke even during the three years of their familiar intercourse with