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Besides the text in the different books of the New Testament, we meet with titles or inscriptions to each of them, and also with subscriptions at the end, specifying the writer of each book, the time and place, when and where it was written, and the person to whom it was written.
IV. It is not known by whom the Inscriptions or TITLES of the various books of the New Testament were prefixed. In consequence of the very great diversity of titles occurring in manuscripts, it is generally admitted that they were not originally written by the Apostles, but were subsequently added, in order to distinguish one book from another, when the canon of the New Testament was formed. It is however certain, that these titles are of very great antiquity; for we find them mentioned by Tertullian in the latter part of the second century,1 and Justin Martyr, in the early part of the same century, expressly states, that the writings of the four evangelists were in his day termed Gospels.2
V. But the Subscriptions annexed to the Epistles are manifestly spurious: for, in the first place, some of them are beyond all doubt false, as those of the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which purport to be written at Athens, whereas they were written from Corinth. In like manner, the subscription to the first epistle to the Corinthians states, that it was written from Philippi, notwithstanding St. Paul informs them (xvi. 8.) that he will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost; and notwithstanding he begins his salutations in that Epistle, by telling the Corinthian Christians (xvi. 19.) the Churches of Asia salute you; a pretty evident indication that he himself was in Asia at that very time. Again, according to the subscription, the Epistle to the Galatians was written from Rome; yet, in the Epistle itself, the Apostle expresses his surprise (i. 6.) that they were so sOON removed from him that called them; whereas his journey to Rome was ten years posterior to the conversion of the Galatians. And what still more conclusively proves the falsehood of this subscription, is, the total absence in this epistle of all allusions to his bonds or to his being a prisoner; which Saint Paul has not failed to notice in every one of the four epistles, written from that city and during his imprisonment.3 Secondly, the subscriptions are altogether wanting in some antient manuscripts of the best note, while in others they are greatly varied. And, thirdly, the subscription annexed to the first Epistle to Timothy is evidently the production of a writer of the age of Constantine the Great, and could not have been written by the apostle Paul: for it states that epistle to have been written to Timothy from Laodicea, the chief city of Phrygia Pacatiana; whereas the country of Phrygia was not divided into the two provinces of Phrygia Prima, or Pacatiana, and Phrygia Secunda, until the fourth century. According to
ment of Mr. Reeves's Bible." The book is printed with singular neatness and accuracy, and the fine paper copies are truly beautiful.
1 Adversus Marcionem, lib. iv. c. 2.
2 Apol. i. p. 98. Lardner's Works, 8vo., vol. ii. p. 121; 4to., vol. i. p. 344. 3 Paley's Hora Paulinæ, pp. 378, 379.
Dr. Mill, the subscriptions were added by Euthalius Bishop of Sulca in Egypt, who published an edition of the Acts, Epistles of Saint Paul, and of the Catholic Epistles, about the middle of the fifth century. But, whoever was the author of the subscriptions, it is evident that he was either grossly ignorant, or grossly inattentive.
The various subscriptions and titles to the different books are exhibited in Griesbach's Critical Edition of the New Testament.
ON THE ANTIENT VERSIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES.
NEXT to the kindred languages, versions afford the greatest assistance to the interpretation of the Scriptures, "It is only by means of versions, that they, who are ignorant of the original languages, can at all learn what the Scripture contains; and every version, so far as it is just, conveys the sense of Scripture to those who understand the language in which it is written."
Versions may be divided into two classes, antient and modern : the former were made immediately from the original languages by persons to whom they were familiar; and who, it may be reasonably supposed, had better opportunities for ascertaining the force and meaning of words, than more recent translators can possibly have. dern versions are those made in later times, and chiefly since the reformation they are useful for explaining the sense of the inspired writers, while antient versions are of the utmost importance both of the criticism and interpretation of the Scriptures. The present chapter will therefore be appropriated to giving an account of those which are most esteemed for their antiquity and excellence.
ANTIENT VERSIONS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
THE principal antient versions, which illustrate the Scriptures, are the Chaldee paraphrases, generally called Targums, the Septuagint, or Alexandrian Greek Version, the translations of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, and what are called the fifth, sixth, and seventh versions, (of which latter translations fragments only are extant,) together with the Syriac, and Latin or Vulgate versions. Although the authors of these versions did not flourish at the time when the Hebrew language was spoken, yet they enjoyed many advantages for understanding the Bible, especially the Old Testament, which are not possessed by the moderns: for, living near the time when that language was vernacular, they could learn by tradition the true signification of some Hebrew words, which is now forgotten. Many of them also being Jews, and from their childhood accustomed to hear the Rabbins explain the Scripture, the study of which they diligently cultivated, and likewise speaking a dialect allied to the Hebrew, they could not but become well acquainted with the latter. Hence it may be safely inferred that the antient versions generally give the true sense of Scripture, and not unfrequently in passages where it could scarcely be discovered by any other means. All the antient versions, indeed, are of great importance both in the criticism, as well as in the interpretation, of the sacred writings, but they are not all witnesses of equal value; for the authority of the different versions depends partly on the age and country of their respective
authors, partly on the text whence their translations were made, and partly on the ability and fidelity with which they were executed. It will therefore be not irrelevant to offer a short historical notice of the principal versions above mentioned, as well as of some other antient versions of less celebrity perhaps, but which have been beneficially consulted by biblical critics.
1. OF THE TARGUMS, OR CHALDEE PARAPHRAses.
I. Targum of Onkelos ; — II. Of the Pseudo-Jonathan ; — III. The Jerusalem Targum; —IV. The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel ; -V. The Targum on the Hagiographa; — VI. The Targum on the Megilloth; - VII, VIII, IX. Three Targums on the Book of Esther;-X. Real value of the different Targums.
THE Chaldee word TaRGUM signifies, in general, any version or explanation; but this appellation is more particularly restricted to the versions or paraphrases of the Old Testament, executed in the East-Aramæan or Chaldee dialect, as it is usually called. These Targums are termed paraphrases or expositions, because they are rather comments and explications, than literal translations of the text: they are written in the Chaldee tongue, which became familiar to the Jews after the time of their captivity in Babylon, and was more known to them than the Hebrew itself: so that, when the law was "read in the synagogue every Sabbath day," in pure biblical Hebrew, an explanation was subjoined to it in Chaldee; in order to render it intelligible to the people, who had but an imperfect knowledge of the Hebrew language. This practice, as already observed, originated with Ezra as there are no traces of any written Targums prior to those of Onkelos and Jonathan, who are supposed to have lived about the time of our Saviour, it is highly probable that these paraphrases were at first merely oral; that, subsequently, the ordinary glosses on the more difficult passages were committed to writing; and that, as the Jews were bound by an ordinance of their elders to possess a copy of the law, these glosses were either afterwards collected together and deficiencies in them supplied, or new and connected paraphrases were formed.
There are at present extant ten paraphrases on different parts of the Old Testament, three of which comprise the Pentateuch, or five
1 See pp. 3, 4. supra. Our account of the Chaldee paraphrases is drawn up from a careful consideration of what has been written on them, by Carpzov, in his Critica Sacra, part ii. c. i. pp. 430-481.; Bishop Walton, Prol. c. 12. sect. ii. pp. 568-592.; Leusden, in Philolog. Hebræo-Mixt. Diss. v. vi. and vii. pp. 36-58.; Dr. Prideaux, Connection, part ii. book viii. sub anno 37. B. c. vol. iii. pp. 531555. (edit. 1718.) Kortholt, De variis Scripture Editionibus, c. iii. pp. 34-51.; Pfeiffer, Critica Sacra, cap. viii. sect. ii. (Óp. tom. ii. pp. 750-771.), and in his Treatise de Theologia Judaicâ, &c. Exercit. ii. (Ibid. tom. ii. pp. 862-889.); Bauer, Critica Sacra, tract. iii. pp. 288-308.; Rambach. Inst. Herm. Sacræ, pp. 606-611.: Pictet, Theologie Chretienne, tom. i. pp. 145. et seq.; Jahn, Introductio, ad Libros Veteris Fœderis, pp. 69 −75. ; and Wähner's Antiquitates Ebræorum, tom. i. pp. 156-170.
books of Moses:-1. The Targum of Onkelos; 2. That falsely ascribed to Jonathan, and usually cited as the Targum of the PseudoJonathan; and 3. The Jerusalem Targum; 4. The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, (i. e. the son of Uzziel) on the Prophets; 5. The Targum of Rabbi Joseph the blind, or one-eyed, on the Hagiographa; 6. An anonymous Targum on the five Megilloth, or books of Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah; 7, 8, 9. Three Targums on the book of Esther; and, 10. A Targum or paraphrase on the two books of Chronicles. These Targums, taken together, form a continued paraphrase on the Old Testament, with the exception of the books of Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah (antiently reputed to be part of Ezra ;) which being for the most part written in Chaldee, it has been conjectured that no paraphases were written on them, as being unnecessary; though Dr. Prideaux is of opinion that Targums were composed on these books also, which have perished in the lapse of ages.
The language, in which these paraphrases are composed, varies in purity according to the time when they were respectively written. Thus, the Targums of Onkelos and the Pseudo-Jonathan are much purer than the others, approximating very nearly to the Aramaan dialect in which some parts of Daniel and Ezra are written, except indeed that the orthography does not always correspond; while the language of the later Targums whence the rabbinical dialect derives its source, is far more impure, and is intermixed with barbarous and foreign words. Originally, all the Chaldee paraphrases were written without vowel-points, like all other oriental manuscripts: but at length some persons ventured to add points to them, though very erroneously, and this irregular punctuation was retained in the Venice and other early editions of the Hebrew Bible. Some further imperfect attempts towards regular pointing were made both in the Complutensian and in the Antwerp Polyglotts, until at length the elder Buxtorf, in his edition of the Hebrew Bible published at Basil, undertook the thankless task1 of improving the punctuation of the Targums, according to such rules as he had formed from the pointing which he had found in the Chaldee parts of the books of Daniel and Ezra; and his method of punctuation is followed in Bishop Walton's Polyglott.
I. The Targum of Onkelos. It is not known with certainty, at what time Onkelos flourished, nor of what nation he was: Professor Eichhorn conjectures that he was a native of Babylon, first because he is mentioned in the Babylonish Talmud; secondly, because his dialect is not the Chaldee spoken in Palestine, but much purer, and more closely resembling the style of Daniel and Ezra; and lastly, because he has not interwoven any of those fabulous narratives to which the Jews of Palestine were so much attached, and from which
1 Pére Simon, Hist. Crit. du Vieux Test. liv. ii. c. viii. has censured Buxtorf's mode of pointing the Chaldee paraphrases with great severity; observing, that he would have done much better if he had more diligently examined manuscripts that were more correctly pointed.