Imagini ale paginilor

made in the case of the definite article. Here again it was necessary to consider the peculiarities of English idiom, as well as the general tenor of each passage. Sometimes we have felt it enough to prefix the article to the first of a series of words to all of which it is prefixed in the Greek, and thus, as it were, to impart the idea of definiteness to the whole series, without running the risk of overloading the sentence. Sometimes, conversely, we have had to tolerate the presence of the definite article in our Version, when it is absent from the Greek, and perhaps not even grammatically latent; simply because English idiom would not allow the noun to stand alone, and because the introduction of the indefinite article might have introduced an idea of oneness or individuality, which was not in any degrée traceable in the original. In a word, we have been careful to observe the use of the article wherever it seemed to be idiomatically possible: where it did not seem to be possible, we have yielded to necessity.

As to the pronouns and the place they occupy in the sentence, a subject often overlooked by our predecessors, we have been particularly careful; but here again we have frequently been baffled by structural or idiomatical peculiarities of the English language which precluded changes otherwise desirable.

In the case of the particles we have met with less difficulty, and have been able to maintain a reasonable amount of consistency. The particles in the Greek Testament are, as is well known, comparatively few, and they are commonly used with precision. It has therefore been the more necessary here to preserve a general uniformity of rendering, especially in the case of the particles of causality and inference, so far as English idiom would allow.

Lastly, many changes have been introduced in the rendering of the prepositions, especially where ideas of instrumentality or of mediate agency, distinctly marked in the original, had been confused or obscured in the translation. We have however borne in mind the compre

hensive character of such prepositions as 'of' and 'by,' the one in reference to agency and the other in reference to means, especially in the English of the seventeenth century; and have rarely made any change where the true meaning of the original as expressed in the Authorised Version would be apparent to a reader of ordinary intelligence.

3. We now come to the subject of Language.

The second of the rules, by which the work has been governed, prescribed that the alterations to be introduced should be expressed, as far as possible, in the language of the Authorised Version or of the Versions that preceded it.

To this rule we have faithfully adhered. We have habitually consulted the earlier Versions; and in our sparing introduction of words not found in them or in the Authorised Version we have usually satisfied ourselves that such words were employed by standard writers of nearly the same date, and had also that general hue which justified their introduction into a Version which has held the highest place in the classical literature of our language. We bave never removed any archaisms, whether in structure or in words, except where we were persuaded either that the meaning of the words was not generally understood, or that the nature of the expression led to some misconception of the true sense of the passage. The frequent inversions of the strict order of the words, which add much to the strength and variety of the Authorised Version, and give an archaic colour to many felicities of diction, have been seldom modified. Indeed, we have often adopted the same arrangement in our own alterations, and in this, as in other particulars, we have sought to assimilate the new work to the old.

In a few exceptional cases we have failed to find any word in the older stratum of our language that appeared to convey the precise meaning of the original. There, and there only, we have used words of a later date; but not without having first assured ourselves that they are

to us.

to be found in the writings of the best authors of the period to which they belong. In regard of Proper Names no rule was prescribed

In the case of names of frequent occurrence we have deemed it best to follow generally the rule laid down for our predecessors. That rule, it may be remembered, was to this effect, ' The names of the prophets and the holy writers, with the other names of the text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used. Some difficulty has been felt in dealing with names less familiarly known. Here our general practice has been to follow the Greek form of names, except in the case of persons and places mentioned in the Old Testament: in this case we have followed the Hebrew.

4. The subject of the Marginal Notes deserves special attention. They represent the results of a large amount of careful and elaborate discussion, and will, perhaps, by their very presence, indicate to some extent the intricacy of many of the questions that have almost daily come before us for decision. These Notes fall into four main groups: first, notes specifying such differences of reading as were judged to be of sufficient importance to require a particular notice; secondly, notes indicating the exact rendering of words to which, for the sake of English idiom, we were obliged to give a less cxact rendering in the text; thirdly, notes, very few in number, affording some explanation which the original appeared to require; fourthly, alternative renderings in difficult or debateable passages. The notes of this last group are numerous, and largely in excess of those which were admitted by our predecessors. In the 270 years that have passed away since their labours were concluded, the Sacred Text has been minutely examined, discussed in every detail, and analysed with a grammatical precision uuknown in the days of the last Revision. There has thus been accumulated a large amount of materials that have prepared the way for different renderings, which necessarily came under discussion. We have therefore placed

before the reader in the margin other renderings than those which were adopted in the text, wherever such renderings seemed to deserve consideration. The rendering in the text, where it agrees with the Authorised Version, was supported by at least one third, and, where it differs from the Authorised Version, by at least two thirds of those who were present at the second revision of the passage in question.

A few supplementary matters have yet to be mentioned. These may be thus enumerated,—the use of Italics, the arrangement in Paragraphs, the mode of printing Quotations from the Poetical Books of the Old Testament, the Punctuation, and, last of all, the Titles of the different Books that make up the New Testament,—all of them particulars on which it seems desirable to add a few explanatory remarks.

(a) The determination, in each place, of the words to be printed in italics has not been by any mcans easy ; nor can we hope to be found in all cases perfectly consistent. In the earliest editions of the Authorised Version the use of a different type to indicate supplementary words not contained in the original was not very frequent, and cannot easily be reconciled with any settled principle. A review of the words so printed was made, after a lapse of some years, for the editions of the Authorised Version published at Cambridge in 1629 and 1638. Further, though slight, modifications were introduced at intervals between 1638 and the more systematic revisions undertaken respectively by Dr. Paris in the Cambridge Edition of 1762, and by Dr. Blayney in the Oxford Edition of 1769. None of them however rest on any higher authority than that of the persons who from time to time superintended the publication. The last attempt to bring the use of italics into uniformity and consistency was made by Dr. Scrivener in the Paragraph Bible published at Cambridge in 1870–73. In succeeding to these labours, we have acted on the general principle of printing in italics words which did not

appear to be necessarily involved in the Greek. Our tendency has been to diminish rather than to increase the amount of italic printing; though, in the case of difference of readings, we have usually marked the absence of any words in the original which the sense might nevertheless require to be present in the Version; and again, in the case of inserted pronouns, where the reference did not appear to be perfectly certain, we have similarly had recourse to italics. Some of these cases, especially when there are slight differences of reading, are of singular intricacy, and make it impossible to maintain rigid uniformity.

(6) We have arranged the Sacred Text in paragraphs, after the precedent of the earliest English Versions, so as to assist the general reader in following the current of narrative or argument. The present arrangement will be found, we trust, to have preserved the due mean between a system of long portions which must often include several separate topics, and a system of frequent breaks which, though they may correctly indicate the separate movements of thought in the writer, often seriously impede a just perception of the true continuity of the passage. The traditional division into chapters, which the Authorised Version inherited from Latin Bibles of the later middle ages, is an illustration of the former method. These paragraphs, for such in fact they are, frequently include several distinct subjects. Moreover they sometimes, though rarely, end where there is no sufficient break in the sense. The division of chapters into verses, which was introduced into the New Testament for the first time in 1551, is an exaggeration of the latter method, with its accompanying inconveniences. The serious obstacles to the right understanding of Holy Scripture, which are interposed by minute subdivision, are often overlooked; but if any one will consider for a moment the injurious effect that would be produced by breaking up a portion of some great standard work into separate verses, he will at once perceive how necessary has been an alteration in this particular. The arrange

« ÎnapoiContinuați »