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It is no light undertaking, in the present day, to attempt to produce a Translation of the Sacred Scriptures ; and he that shrinks not from the labour should consider, that assiduity is but one of the requisite qualifications. Perseverance may and does exist without learning, or without a capacity of mind fitted for grappling with a subject that has for so many hundred years received the utmost attention, and that has been advanced to the state of perfection that the labour and wisdom of the most indefatigable, and most learned, and most powerfully minded men have been able to advance it. To entertain a reasonable hope of labouring with success in such an undertaking, a man ought to feel convinced that he possesses some advantage over those that have preceded him ; either that his Learning and Research are more extensive, or that his powers of Mind are greater, or that he possesses some description of Knowledge of which they were ignorant. Convictions of this description, if rationally founded, are a sufficient warrant for such an undertaking; and the Public, if persuaded of their existence, are called on, not to say, are required to examine and weigh with care and attention the arguments advanced in support of the views of such an author.
In presenting this work to the Public, I do not claim attention to it on the ground of my possessing Learning and Research ; for the plan I have followed, is in all cases to confine my Translation of the Greek into English, generally, to the precise Words, and as far as I comprehend the subject, in all cases, to the exact Sense that the Received Translation or Donnegan's Lexicon authorizes. In the cases of Nouns, and the Tenses &c. of Verbs, I invariably follow Valpy's Greek and English Grammar. These authorities being highly esteemed, I have endeavoured implicitly to copy; I admit my obligation to follow in all cases their dictates; but in no case do I profess to justify them.
Neither do I claim attention to my work on the ground of esteeming myself to possess greater powers of Mind than those that have preceded me; but I rest my claim, exclusively, on my conviction, that I possess information of which they were ignorant; and that indeed of a nature, that appears to me, of vital consequence to the attainment of the required end. On this ground, alone, do I venture to come forward as a Translator of the Sacred Scriptures, and as I lay claim to nothing worthy of attention but this ; indeed, as I desire in all other respects to follow the directions of those that have preceded me, I claim
for my endeavour an examination with an exclusive reference to this one point, to which, alone, I solicit attention, and which, alone, I feel called on to explain and defend.
The information that I consider I possess, consists, in an expectation of my having discovered the following particulars.
1st. The Punctuation employed by the Ancient Greeks.
2nd. The method of determining in all cases the character of the Sense intended to be conveyed. 3rd. The Sense conveyed by the Insertion and Omission of the article.
For the elucidation and explanation of the above particulars I must refer my readers to my Pamphlet entitled, “Rules for Ascertaining the Sense conveyed in Ancient Greek Manuscripts.” No one acquainted with Greek will maintain, that the possession of information on these points is not essential to the attainment of a correct Translation; and as I believe my views on these points to be correct, I feel bound to submit them to public consideration.
May He, without whom nothing is Strong, nothing is Holy, be pleased to grant, that should my views be erroneous, my endeavour may be, by His direction, a means of exciting others to labor, and ultimately of obtaining the truth.
17, Fenchurch Street,
July 1st, 1849.
In the following translation I adhere, in every case, to what is stated in the following observations :
1st. No Greek word is translated differently to that which the Received Translation or Donnegan's Lexicon authorizes.
2nd. In every case, the expression of the Translation of the Tenses of Verbs is that which Valpy states in his Grammar to be the rendering of them ; except, as far as my Rules may, in some few cases, to a certain extent interfere.
3rd. The Expression and Omission of the Article is made, in all cases, to effect the Sense; the character of which effect is Defined and Particularized in my Rules.
4th. The whole of the Punctuation is in accordance to what according to my Rules is expressed in the original.
5th. No transposition of words is admitted beyond what is stated in my Rules.
6th. The character of the Sense of all passages is determined by my Rules, which particularize the marks by which to determine, whether Passages are intended to conveyA Literal, or a Metaphorical, or other than a Literal Sense.- A Sense Definite or Indefinite. - Limited or Unlimited.-Particular or General. — Whether Parenthetical or otherwise. Whether Elliptical or otherwise.
It will save the reader both time and trouble here to make a few observations, as in this place the subjects to which they relate may be considered generally, whereas if they were discussed in the Notes, they would require more or less explanation to remove the effect of the particular biases and circumstances of the case connected with each particular passage ; and more particularly am I induced here to present them, inasmuch as they are in my opinion of great moment, having been the source of numerous errors, not only .grievous in relation to their number, but also to their extent in error.
It is I believe admitted by all Scholars, that a strict Literal Translation of Greek into English will not produce in every case in each Language agreement in Sense.
In practice, this disagreement is corrected by a substitution in English, of that which most nearly expresses in each particular place what is expressed in the Greek. To this I think no one can object; but not so, when, as continually occurs, this substitution is produced as the Actual Sense, under every circumstance, of a Word or Form of Expression : since
the substituted Sense is as dependant on the exactness of the Particular Circumstance, as of the Word or Form of Greek ; in addition to which it should never be forgotten, that, in such cases, it is only a Substituted Sense, that is, the nearest approach to the Literal Sense of which the custom or usages of the two Languages will admit; hence the Substituted Sense, independent of the Particular Circumstances, may never be regarded as a Sense of any Word or Form of Expression. To give an example—The Aorist is in the present day Translated in the Sense of the Present Tense, Draw; or of the Perfect, Have drawn; or of its own particular Sense, Drawn. I am quite ready to admit, that in many places the Aorist is rightly expressed in English by the Present Tense; and in others, by the Perfect Tense; but I am not prepared to admit, that these or any similar classes of instances, either in relation to this or other Words and Forms of Expression, are any justification for contending, that it is optional with the Translator, how, in all cases, such passages are to be Translated. Thus in relation to the Aorist, whether it is in every case to be translated in the Present, Perfect, or Aorist Sense, as the Translator may choose ; that man will never duly comprehend the Sense conveyed by Greek, who regards the Sense as that which the Author has not power himself to fix, but must leave to the choice and selection of him who thinks fit to translate his work; reducing the instruction of Almighty God, to that which man deems it fitting it should be.
With reference to the Aorist, and my observations apply to perhaps all the Cases in Greek in which departures of this kind are said to be left to the choice of the Translator ; the Present Sense, regarded strictly, does never express the Sense in any case that the Aorist is used and intended to convey; and the justification for using the Present Tense in English is not, that it expresses the Sense of the Aorist in Greek, but that in English there is no permitted means of expressing by a single term, that which the Aorist in Greek does express; thus, for the Translation of John iv. 7, we have no Perfect Sense, but we have a Present Sense, and so are compelled to Translate the Aorist in a Present Sense. A woman of Samaria comes to draw water, see Note on it; still however our deficiency here does not change the original Sense expressed by the Aorist, or in any way sanction our considering that it may be regarded as justly rendered by a Present Sense, in any case, in which it is possible by the usage of our own Language to express an Aorist Sense. This Rule should be strictly attended to in all cases. In some cases, it is true, deficiency in our own Language may compel us to a substitute, but that substitute can only be defended, in those particular cases in which it is impossible with regard to the propriety of our own Language, to express the Sense that is expressed in the Greek; and will in no way sanction, what has by means of it been regularly practised, a departure from a strict Literal Sense in cases where the requirements of our own Language do not necessitate thereto : neither will it in any
way sanction, our regarding the Sense of the Aorist to be other than that which is strictly its own.
Again, it may be difficult in some places to distinguish in English between iva In order that, and õti That; and it may also be in some places contrary to the usage of our own Language to express such difference; but admitting such to be the case, it will not sanction our regarding it as left to the choice of the Translator to determine, what is to be the Sense conveyed by wa whenever it is 'used; it is not left to him to obscure, if not to pervert the Sense, as in John xiii. 34, and many other places ; and the same in relation to many other words.
In conclusion I would observe in relation to this subject, that if out of one hundred examples, ninety-nine are compelled by the requirements of our own Language to be Translated in other Sense than a strict Literal Rendering would afford, it does not sanction or justify, if the requirements of our own Language do not preclude, the Translation of the hundredth passage in any Sense that the strict Literal Translation of the original does not afford.
It does not appear to me that I shall infringe the just limits of a Literal Translation, if in this and all future Translations I so far depart from the Form of the Original, in all cases not affecting the Sense, as to Translate the Forms, such as, The Father of us, of them, of him, &c. &c. Our, Their, His Father, &c. &c.
Having fully stated in my Tract on Ιησού, the reason why έν χριστώ Ιησού should be Translated, In the Dispensation of Jesus, I shall here only add, that in all cases I shall hereafter so render it without further notice.
In my Tract on kúpios I have stated the reasons why kuplos not preceded by the Article, and used as a Distinctive Appellation, is used exclusively in relation to God; and as I do not see the possibility of distinguishing in English between the Appellation Lord, when used in relation to God, and when used in relation to Christ, in any way consistent with our usage in relation to Sense and Sound, I have substituted in my
Versions for Lord, when used in relation to God and not preceded by the Article, the Appellation Jehovah, as ensuring a more correct apprehension of the Sense, and sanctioned by the only places in the Authorized Version translated Jehovah being in Greek expressed by kupios without the Article.
My Translation is made from the Greek Text of the Vatican Manuscript alone.
The Figures between the Lines under 500 refer the reader to the Rules. Some of these figures are sometimes succeeded by a comma, which is followed by other figures, these other figures point out the paragraph in the Note to the Rule that is referred to.