Imagini ale paginilor

they could with difficulty refrain. The generally received opinion is, that he was a proselyte to Judaism, and a disciple of the celebrated Rabbi Hillel, who flourished about 50 years before the Christian æra; and consequently that Onkelos was contemporary with our Saviour: Bauer and Jahn, however, place him in the second century. The Targum of Onkelos comprises the Pentateuch or five books of Moses, and is justly preferred to all the others both by Jews and Christians, on account of the purity of its style, and its general freedom from idle legends. It is rather a version than a paraphrase, and renders the Hebrew text word for word, with so much accuracy and exactness, that being set to the same musical notes, with the original Hebrew, it could be read in the same tone as the latter in the public assemblies of the Jews. And this we find was the practice of the Jews up to the time of Rabbi Elias Levita; who flourished in the early part of the sixteenth century, and expressly states that the Jews read the law in their synagogues, first in Hebrew and then in the Targum of Onkelos. This Targum has been translated into Latin by Alfonso de Zamora, Paulus Fagius, Bernardinus Baldus, and Andrew de Leon, of Zamora.1

II. The second Targum, which is a more liberal paraphrase of the Pentateuch than the preceding, is usually called the Targum of the Pseudo-Jonathan, being ascribed by many to Jonathan Ben Uzziel who wrote the much esteemed Paraphrase on the Prophets. But the difference in the style and diction of this Targum, which is very impure, as well as in the method of paraphrasing adopted in it, clearly proves that it could not have been written by Jonathan Ben Uzziel, who indeed sometimes indulges in allegories and has introduced a few barbarisms; but this Targum on the law abounds with the most idle Jewish legends that can well be conceived; which, together with the barbarous and foreign words it contains, render it of very little utility. From its mentioning the six parts of the Talmud (on Exod. xxvi. 9.) which compilation was not written till two centuries after the birth of Christ;- Constantinople (on Numb, xxiv. 19.) which city was always called Byzantium until it received its name from Constantine the Great, in the beginning of the fourth century; the Lombards (on Num. xxiv. 24.) whose first irruption into Italy did not take place until the year 570; and the Turks (on Gen. x. 2.) who did not become conspicuous till the middle of the sixth century, learned men are unanimously of opinion that this Targum of the Pseudo-Jonathan could not have been written before the seventh, or even the eighth century. It has been translated into Latin by Anthony Ralph de Chevalier, an eminent French Protestant divine, in the sixteenth century.

III. The Jerusalem Targum, which also paraphrases the five books of Moses, derives its name from the dialect in which it is composed. It is by no means a connected paraphrase, sometimes omit

The fullest information, concerning the Targum of Onkelos, is to be found in the disquisition of G. B. Winer, entitled, De Onkeloso ejusque Paraphrasi Chaldaica Dissertatio, 4to. Lipsia, 1820.

ting whole verses, or even chapters; at other times explaining only a single word of a verse, of which it sometimes gives a two-fold interpretation; and at others, Hebrew words are inserted without any explanation whatever. In many respects it corresponds with the paraphrase of the Pseudo-Jonathan, whose legendary tales are here frequently repeated, abridged, or expanded. From the impurity of its style, and the number of Greek, Latin, and Persian words which it contains, Bishop Walton, Carpzov, Wolfius, and many other eminent philologers, are of opinion, that it is a compilation by several authors, and consists of extracts and collections. From these internal evidences, the commencement of the seventh century has been assigned as its probable date; but it is more likely not to have been written before the eighth or perhaps the ninth century. This Targum was also translated into Latin by Chevalier, and by Francis Taylor.

IV. The Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel.- According to the talmudical traditions, the author of this paraphrase was chief of the eighty distinguished scholars of Rabbi Hillel the elder, and a fellow disciple of Simeon the Just, who bore the infant Messiah in his arms: consequently he would be nearly contemporary with Onkelos. Wolfius, however, is of opinion that he flourished a short time before the birth of Christ, and compiled the work which bears his name, from more antient Targums that had been preserved to his time by oral tradition. From the silence of Origen and Jerome concerning this Targum, of which they could not but have availed themselves if it had really existed in their time, and also from its being cited in the Talmud, both Bauer and Jahn date it much later than is generally admitted the former indeed is of opinion that its true date cannot be ascertained; and the latter, from the inequalities of style and method observable in it, considers it as a compilation from the interpretations of several learned men, made about the close of the third or fourth century. This paraphrase treats on the Prophets, that is (according to the Jewish classification of the sacred writings), on the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Sam. 1 & 2 Kings, who are termed the former prophets; and on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets, who are designated as the latter prophets. Though the style of this Targum is not so pure and elegant as that of Onkelos, yet it is not disfigured by those legendary tales and numerous foreign and barbarous words which abound in the later Targums. Both the language and method of interpretation, however, are irregular: in the exposition of the former prophets, the text is more closely rendered than in that on the latter, which is less accurate, as well as more paraphrastical, and interspersed with some traditions and fabulous legends. In order to attach the greater authority to the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, the Jews, not satisfied with making him contemporary with the prophets Malachi, Zechariah, and Haggai, and asserting that he received it from their lips, have related, that while Jonathan was composing his paraphrase, there was an earthquake for forty leagues

1 Bibliotheca Hebraica, tom. i. p. 1160.

around him; and that if any bird happened to pass over him, or a fly alighted on his paper while writing, they were immediately consumed by fire from heaven, without any injury being sustained either by his person or his paper!! The whole of this Targum was translated into Latin by Alfonso de Zamora, Andrea de Leon, and Conrad Pellican; and the paraphrase on the twelve minor prophets, by Immanuel Tremellius.

V. The Targum on the Cetubim, Hagiographa, or Holy Writings, is ascribed by some Jewish writers to Raf Jose, or Rabbi Joseph, surnamed the one-eyed or blind, who is said to have been at the head of the Academy at Sora, in the third century; though others affirm that its author is unknown. The style is barbarous, impure, and very unequal, interspersed with numerous digressions and legendary narratives; on which account the younger Buxtorf, and after him Bauer and Jahn, are of opinion that the whole is a compilation of later times: and this sentiment appears to be the most Dr. Prideaux characterises its language as the most corrupt Chaldee of the Jerusalem dialect. The translators of the preceding Targum, together with Arias Montanus, have given a Latin version of this Targum.

VI. The Targum on the Megilloth, or five books of Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ruth, and Esther, is evidently a compilation by several persons: the barbarism of its style, numerous digressions, and idle legends which are inserted, all concur to prove it to be of late date, and certainly not earlier than the sixth century. The paraphrase on the book of Ruth and the Lamentations of Jeremiah is the best executed portion: Ecclesiastes is more freely paraphrased; but the text of the Song of Solomon is absolutely lost amidst the diffuse circumscription of its author, and his dull glosses and fabulous additions.

VII, VIII, IX. The three Targums on the book of Esther.This book has always been held in the highest estimation by the Jews; which circumstance induced them to translate it repeatedly into the Chaldee dialect. Three paraphrases on it have been printed: one in the Antwerp Polyglott, which is much shorter, and contains fewer digressions than the others; another, in Bishop Walton's Polyglott, which is more diffuse, and comprises more numerous Jewish fables and traditions; and a third, of which a Latin Version was published by Francis Taylor; and which, according to Carpzov, is more stupid and diffuse than either of the preceding. They are all three of very late date.

X. A Targum on the books of Chronicles, which for a long time was unknown both to Jews and Christians, was discovered in the library at Erfurt, belonging to the ministers of the Augsburg confession, by Matthias Frederick Beck; who published it in 1680, 3, 4, in two quarto volumes. Another edition was published at Amsterdam by the learned David Wilkins (1715, 4to.) from a manuscript in the university library at Cambridge. It is more complete than Beck's edition, and supplies many of its deficiencies. This Targum, how



ever, is of very little value: like all the other Chaldee paraphrases, it blends legendary tales with the narrative, and introduces numerous Greek words, such as οχλος, σοφισαι, αρχών, &c.

XI. Of all the Chaldee paraphrases above noticed, the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel are most highly valued by the Jews, who implicitly receive their expositions of doubtful passages. Shickhard, Mayer, Helvicus, Leusden, Hottinger, and Dr. Prideaux, have conjectured that some Chaldee Targum was in use in the synagogue where our Lord read Isa. Ixi. 1, 2, (Luke iv. 1719.); and that he quoted Psal. xxii. 1. when on the cross (Matt. xxvii. 46.) not out of the Hebrew text, but out of a Chaldee paraphrase. But there does not appear to be sufficient ground for this hypothesis: for, as the Chaldee or East Aramæan dialect was spoken at Jerusalem, it is at least as probable that Jesus Christ interpreted the Hebrew into the vernacular dialect in the first instance, as that he should have read from a Targum; and, when on the cross, it was perfectly natural that he should speak in the same language, rather than in the biblical Hebrew; which, we have already seen, was cultivated and studied by the priests and Levites as a learned language. The Targum of Rabbi Joseph the blind, in which the words cited by our Lord are to be found, is so long posterior to the time of his crucifixion, that it cannot be received as evidence. So numerous indeed are the variations, and so arbitrary are the alterations occurring in the manuscripts of the Chaldee paraphrases, that Dr. Kennicott has clearly proved them to have been designedly altered in compliment to the previously corrupted copies of the Hebrew text; or, in other words, that "alterations have been made wilfully in the Chaldee paraphrase to render that paraphrase, in some places, more conformable to the words of the Hebrew text, where those Hebrew words are supposed to be right, but had themselves been corrupted." But notwithstanding all their deficiencies and interpolations, the Targums, especially those of Onkelos and Jonathan, are of considerable importance in the interpretation of the Scriptures, not only as they supply the meanings of words or phrases occurring but once in the Old Testament, but also because they reflect considerable light on the Jewish rites, ceremonies, laws, customs, usages, &c. mentioned or alluded to in both Testaments. But it is in establishing the genuine meaning of particular prophecies relative to the Messiah, in opposition to the false explications of the Jews and Antitrinitarians, that these Targums are pre-eminently useful. Bishop Walton, Dr. Prideaux, Pfeiffer, Carpzov, and Rambach, have illustrated this remark by numerous examples. Bishop Patrick, and Drs. Gill and Clarke, in their respective commentaries on the Bible, have inserted many valuable elucidations from the Chaldee paraphrasts. Leusden recommends that no one should attempt to read their writings, nor indeed to learn the Chaldee dialect, who is not previously well grounded in Hebrew: he advises the Chaldee text

1 Dr. Kennicott's Second Dissertation, pp. 167-193

of Daniel and Ezra to be first read either with his own Chaldee Manual or with Buxtorf's Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon; after which the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan may be perused, with the help of Buxtorf's Chaldee and Syriac Lexicon, and of De Lara's work, De Convenientia Vocabulorum Rabbinicorum cum Græcis et quibusdam aliis linguis Europais. Amstelodami, 1648. 4to.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

§ 2. ON THE ANtient greek versions of the old TESTAMENT. I. History of the SEPTUAGINT; -II. Critical Account of its Execu tion; IV. III. What Manuscripts were used by its Authors; Account of the Biblical Labours of Origen;-V. Notice of the Recensions or Editions of Eusebius and Pamphilus, of Lucian, and of Hesychius;-VI. Peculiar Importance of the Septuagint Version in the Criticism and Interpretation of the New Testament; VII. Bibliographical Notice of the Principal Printed Editions of the Septuagint Version; VIII. Account of other Greek Versions of the Old Testament; -1. Version of AQUILA; — 2. Of THEO3. Of SYMMACHUS ; 4, 5, 6. Anonymous Versions. IX. References in Antient Manuscripts to other Versions. I. AMONG the Greek versions of the Old Testament, the ALEXANDRIAN OF SEPTUAGINT, as it is generally termed, is the most antient and valuable; and was held in so much esteem both by the Jews as well as by the first Christians, as to be constantly read in the synagogues and churches. Hence it is uniformly cited by the early fathers, whether Greek or Latin, and from this version all the translations into other languages which were antiently approved by the Christian Church, were executed (with the exception of the Syriac), as the Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Gothic, and Old Italic or the Latin version in use before the time of Jerome: and to this day the Septuagint is exclusively read in the Greek and most other Oriental churches. This version has derived its name either from the Jewish account of seventy-two persons having been employed to make it, or from its having received the approbation of the Sanhedrin or great council of the Jews, which consisted of seventy, or more correctly, of seventy-two persons.- Much uncertainty, however, has

1 Walton, Prol. c. ix. (pp. 333-469.); from which, and from the following authorities, our account of the Septuagint is derived, viz. Bauer, Critica Sacra, pp. 243-273. who has chiefly followed Hody's book, hereafter noticed, in the history of the Septuagint version: Dr. Prideaux, Connection, part ii. book i. sub anno 277. (vol. ii. pp. 27–49.); Masch's Preface to part ii. of his edition of Le Long's Bibli otheca Sacra, in which the history of the Septuagint version is minutely examined; Morus, in Ernesti, vol. ii. pp. 50-81., 101-119; Carpzov, Critica Sacra, pp. 481 -551.; Masch and Boerner's edition of Le Long's Bibliotheca Sacra, part ii. vol. ii. pp. 216-220., 256-304.; Harles, Brevior Notitia Literaturæ Græcæ, pp. 638 -643.; and Renouard, Annales de l'Imprimerie des Aldes, tom. i. p. 140. See also Origenis Hexapla, a Montfaucon, tom. i. Prelim. Diss. pp. 17-35. A full account of the manuscripts and editions of the Greek Scriptures is given in the preface to vol. i. of the edition of the Septuagint commenced by the late Rev. Dr. Holmes, of which an account is given in a subsequent page.

« ÎnapoiContinuă »