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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by
CHARLES ELIOT NORTON, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
The following Translation of the Gospels occupied a portion of the author's time for many years of his life. It was undertaken in the conviction that no version of the Gospels existed in English which did not present many obstacles to a right understanding of them, and to a just appreciation of the evidence for their truth afforded by their internal character. A translation was needed which, while corresponding to the original as nearly as the idiom of our language would permit, should not be a mere verbal rendering, but should clearly express the meaning of the text, preserving, as far as possible, the simplicity which characterizes the style of the Evangelists. The present work was accordingly regarded by the author as the necessary basis of a treatise which it was his purpose to publish on the internal evidences of the genuineness of the Gospels; while that treatise, at the same time, might serve as an introduction to the translation. This intended treatise, though begun many years ago, was never finished. Such portions of it, however, as were left in manuscript have been printed in a separate volume, with other papers relating more or less directly to the same subject.*
The translation was completed and carefully revised for the press some time before the author's death; and during the latter part of his life he was much employed on the notes intended to accompany it. The note on the Temptation (Matthew iv. 1-11) was his latest literary labor; and it was while making a revised copy of this from his original draught, that increasing feebleness compelled him to lay down his pen for the last time. +
* The following is the title of the volume referred to : 6 Internal Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels. Part I. Remarks on Christianity and the Gospels, with particular reference to Strauss's
Life of Jesus.' Part II. Portions of an Unfinished Work. By Andrews Norton.” Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. 1855. 8vo.
+ The portion of this note which was transcribed and revised for the press by the author ends near the middle of page 44 of the volume of Notes.
The editorial responsibility as regards the translation has been limited, with very little exception, to the careful superintendence of the press. In respect to the notes it has not been so light. These had been gradually accumulating during many years; and had the author's life been prolonged, there is little doubt that many of them would have undergone revision, and that many others would have been added. Some were left unfinished. Others existed only in the form of memoranda. The editors deemed it best to print most of these unfinished notes and memoranda, notwithstanding their brevity or incompleteness, believing that the thoughts expressed or suggested would be of value to the student of the Gospels.
In addition to what was thus left by the author, the kindness of some of his former pupils placed at the disposal of the editors their manuscript notes of the oral exposition of the Gospels given by him many years ago, while Professor of. Sacred Literature in the Divinity School of Harvard University.* Such materials were to be used with caution; but a considerable number of
The notes referred to were taken in the years 1826 – 1830.