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in the Old Testament made Mosheh, nor Solomon Shelomeh; nor is Artaxerxes rendered Artachshasta, nor Cyrus Choresh, agreeably to the Hebrew orthography, though the names of the two last mentioned are not derived to us from the New Testament, but from Pagan historians.
12. Not that I think it of any moment whether the names be derived from the Greek or from the Hebrew, or from any other language. The matters of consequence here are only these two; first, to take the name in the most current use, whether it be formed from the Hebrew, from the Greek, or from the Latin; secondly, to use the same name in both Testaments, when the difference made on it in the two languages is merely such a change in the spelling and termination as commonly takes place in transplanting a word from one tongue into another. Nothing can be more vain than the attempt to bring us, in pronouncing names, to a stronger resemblance to the original sounds. Were this, as it is not, an object deserving the attention of an interpreter, it were easy to show that the methods employed for this purpose have often had the contrary effect. We have in this mostly followed German and Dutch linguists.
Admitting that they came near the truth according to their rule of pronouncing, which is the utmost they can ask, the powers of the same nominal letters are different in the different languages spoken at present in Europe; and we, by following their spelling, even when they were in the right, have departed farther from the original sound than we were before. The consonant j sounds in German like our y in the word year; sch with them sounds like our sh, like the French ch, and like the Italian sc when it immediately precedes i or e; whereas sch with us has generally the same sound with sk, and the consonant j the same with 9 before i or e. Besides, the letters which with us have different sounds in different situations, we have reason to believe were sounded uniformly in ancient languages, or at least did not undergo alterations correspondent to ours. Thus the brook called Kidron in the common version in the Old Testament, is, for the sake I suppose of a closer conformity to the Greek, called Cedron in the New. Yet the c in our language in this situation is sounded exactly as the s, a sound which we have good ground to think that the corresponding letter in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, never had.
13. The rules, therefore, which I have followed in expressing proper names are these: First, When the name of the same person or thing is, in the common translation, both in the Old Testament and in the New, expressed in the same manner, whether it be derived from the Hebrew or from the Greek, I uniformly employ it, because in that case it has always the sanction of good use. Thus Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, Jerusalem and Jericho, Bethlehem and Jordan, and many others,
remain in the places of which they have had immemorial possession, though of these Moses and Solomon are directly from the Greek, the rest from the Hebrew. Secondly, When the name of the same person or thing is expressed in the common translation differently in the Old Testament and in the New, (the difference being such as results from adapting words of one language to the articulation of another,) I have, except in a very few cases, preferred the word used in the Old Testament. This does not proceed from the desire of coming nearer the pronunciation of the Hebrew root, for that is a matter of no consequence; but from the desire of preventing as far as possible all mistakes in regard to the persons or things spoken of. It is from the Old Testament that we have commonly what is known of the individuals mentioned in it, and referred to in the New. By naming them differently, there is a danger lest the person or thing alluded to be mistaken.
For this reason, I say, Elijah, not Elias; Elisha, not Eliseus; Isaiah, not Esaias; Kidron, not Cedron. For this reason also, in the catalogues of our Lord's progenitors, both in Matthew and in Luke, I have given the names as they are spelt in the common version of the Old Testament. From this rule I admit some exceptions. In a few instances the thing mentioned is better known, either by what is said of it in the New Testament or by the information we derive from Pagan authors, than by what we find in the Old. In this case the name in the New Testament has a greater currency than that used in the Old, and consequently, according to my notion of what ought to regulate our choice, is entitled to the preference. For this reason I say Sarepta and Sidon, not Zarephath and Zidon, as the former names are rendered by classical use, as well as that of the New Testament, more familiar than the latter. Thirdly, When the same name is given by the sacred writers in their own language to different persons, which the English translators have rendered differently in the different applications, I have judged it reasonable to adopt this distinction made by our old interpreters as conducing to perspicuity. The name of Jacob's fourth son is the same with that of two of the apostles. But as the first rule obliges me to give the Old Testament name Judah to the patriarch, I have reserved the term Judas, as used in the New, for the two apostles. This also suits universal and present use, for we never call the patriarch Judas nor any of the apostles Judah. The proper name of our Lord is the same with that of Joshua, who is, in the Septuagint, always called Inoous, and is twice so named in the New Testament. Every body must be sensible of the expediency of confining the Old Testament name to the captain of the host of Israel, and the other to the Messiah. There can be no doubt that the name of Aaron's sister, and that of our Lord's mother, were originally the same. The former is called in the
Septuagint Mapiau, the name also given to the latter by the evangelist Luke. The other evangelists commonly say Magia. But as use with us has appropriated Miriam to the first and Mary to the second, it could answer no valuable purpose to confound them. The name of the father of the twelve tribes is, in the oriental dialects, the same with that of one of the sons of Zebedee, and that of the son of Alpheus. A small distinction is indeed made by the evangelists, who add a Greek termination to the Hebrew name when they apply it to the apostles, which, when they apply it to the patriarch, they never do. If our translators had copied as minutely in this instance as they have done in some others, the patriarch they would indeed have named Jacob, and each of the two apostles Jacobus. However, as in naming the two last they have thought fit to substitute James, which use also has confirmed, I have preserved this distinction.
14. Upon the whole, in all that concerns proper names, I have conformed to the judicious rule of King James the First more strictly, I suppose, than those translators to whom it was recommended: "The names of the Prophets and the holy writers, with the other names in the text, are to be retained, as near as may be, according as they are vulgarly used."
THE OUTWARD FORM OF THE VERSION.
I AM now to offer a few things on the form in which this translation is exhibited. It is well known, that the division of the books of holy writ into chapters and verses does not proceed from the inspired writers, but is a contrivance of a much later date. Even the punctuation, for distinguishing the sentences from one another, and dividing every sentence into its constituent members and clauses, though a more ancient invention, was, for many ages, except by grammarians and rhetoricians, hardly ever used in transcribing; insomuch, that whatever depends merely on the division of sentences, on points, aspirations, and accents, cannot be said to rest ultimately, as the words themselves do, upon the authority of the sacred penmen. These particulars give free scope for the sagacity of criticism, and unrestrained exercise to the talent of investigating, inasmuch as in none of these points is there any ground for the plea of inspiration.
2. As to the division into chapters and verses, we know that the present is not that which obtained in primitive ages, and that even the earliest division is not derived from the apostles, but from some of their first commentators, who, for the conveniency of readers, contrived this method. The division into
chapters that now universally prevails in Europe, derived its origin from Cardinal Caro, who lived in the twelfth century: the subdivision into verses is of no older date than the middle of the sixteenth century, and was the invention of Robert Stevens. That there are many advantages which result from so minute a partition of the sacred oracles, cannot be denied. The facility with which any place, in consequence of this method, is pointed out by the writer, and found by the reader; the easy recourse it gives, in consulting commentators, to the passage whereof the explanation is wanted; the aid it has afforded to the compilers of concordances, which are of considerable assistance in the study of Scripture; these, and many other accommodations, have accrued from this contrivance.
3. It is not, however, without its inconveniences. This manner of mincing a connected work into short sentences, detached from one another, not barely in appearance, by their being ranked under separate numbers and by the breaks in the lines, but in effect, by the influence which the text, thus parcelled out, has insensibly had on copiers and translators, both in pointing and in translating, is not well suited to the species of composition which obtains in all the sacred books, except the Psalms and the book of Proverbs. To the epistolary and argumentative style it is extremely ill adapted, as has been well evinced by Mr. Locke ;* neither does it suit the historical. There are inconveniences which would result from this way of dividing, even if executed in the best manner possible; but, though I am unwilling to detract from the merit of an expedient which has been productive of some good consequences, I cannot help observing, that the inventors have been far too hasty in conducting the execution.
The subject is sometimes interrupted by the division into chapters. Of this I might produce many examples, but, for brevity's sake, shall mention only a few. The last verse of the fifteenth chapter of Matthew is much more closely connected with what follows in the sixteenth, than with what precedes. In like manner, the last verse of the nineteenth chapter, " Many shall be first that are last, and last that are first," ought not to be disjoined (I say not, from the subsequent chapter, but even) from the subsequent paragraph, which contains the parable of the labourers hired to work in the vineyard, brought merely in illustration of that sentiment, and beginning and ending with it. The first verse of the fifth chapter of Mark is much more properly joined to the concluding paragraph of the fourth chapter, as it shows the completeness of the miracle there related, than to what follows in the fifth. The like may be remarked of the first verse of the ninth chapter. Of the division into verses it may be observed, that it often occasions an unnatural separation
* Essay for the understanding of St. Paul's Epistles, prefixed to his Paraphrase and Notes on some of the Epistles.
of the members of the same sentence; nay sometimes, which is worse, the same verse comprehends a part of two different
That this division should often have a bad effect upon translators is inevitable. First, by attending narrowly to the verses, an interpreter runs the risk of overlooking the right, and adopting a wrong division of the sentences. Of this I shall give one remarkable example from the Gospel of John, chap. x. 14, 15. Our Lord says, in one of his discourses, Εγω ειμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλος* και για νωσκω τα εμα, και γινωσκομαι ὑπο των εμων, καθως γινωσκει με ὁ πατηρ, κάγω γινωσκω τον πατέρα και την ψυχην μου τιθημι ὑπερ των προβάτων. When the sentence is thus pointed as it manifestly ought to be, and exhibited unbroken by the division into verses, no person can doubt that the following version is equally close to the letter and to the sense: I am the good Shepherd; I both know my own, and am known by them, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. But its being divided into two sentences, and put into separate verses, has occasioned the disjointed and improper version given in the common translation: "14. I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep; and am known of mine. 15. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." In this artificial distribution (which seems to have originated from Beza; for he acknowledges that, before him, the fifteenth verse included only the last member, " and I lay down," &c.) the second sentence is an abrupt, and totally unconnected, interruption of what is affirmed in the preceding words, and in the following: whereas, taking the words as they stand naturally, it is an illustration by similitude, quite in our Lord's manner, of what he had affirmed in the foregoing words. But though the translator should not be misled in this manner, a desire of preserving, in every verse of his translation, all that is found in the corresponding verse of his original, that he may adjust the one to the other, and give verse for verse, may oblige him to give the words a more unnatural arrangement in his own language, than he would have thought of doing if there had been no such division into verses, and he had been left to regulate himself solely by the sense.
4. Influenced by these considerations, I have determined, neither entirely to reject the common division, nor to adopt it in the manner which is usually done. To reject it entirely, would be to give up one of the greatest conveniences we have in the use of any version, for every purpose of occasional consultation and examination, as well as for comparing it with the original and with other versions. Nor is it enough that a more commodious division than the present may be devised, which shall answer all the useful purposes of the common version, with* In Matt. xi. 2, we have a verse without a verb, and ending with a comma.