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Trinity, a weak, infirm, and defiled sinner. Let them implore Christ.“ Under the drawing, in Ethiopic : “ In the same manner, every slayer that slays Cain, will I repay in this; and as he slew, so shall he be slain.” On the reverse of folio 98, at the end of the book of Exodus, are two figures, somewhat similar, but rather better drawn, and seemingly by the writer of the manuscript; and, in another place or two, there are marginal ornaments. At the end of Deuteronomy is this inscription, in Ethiopic; “ The repetition of the law, which God spake to Moses. Numbered 5070 (words.) Inter
. cede for your slave Isaac.” At the end of the volume : "Pray for those who laboured in this book; and for your slave Isaac, who gave this to Jerusalem, the Holy." Then follows an inscription, in Arabic : “ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, one God. O Lord, save thy people from every evil! O our God, Jesus Christ, the speaker to men! O holy people, remember your slave Isaac, the poor : God shall remember you in the mercies of this book. Pray, if God be willing, that I may be permitted to see your face. And pray for me, the sinner. Pardon my sins, O Lord ! and
. let my body be buried in Mount Sion.” Then follows, in Ethiopic : “That our enemies may not say of us, We have conquered them: be ye prudent. We have given you a lamp. Be ye the culture. Sow ye the flock : reap and rejoice.”..... A few lines have been erased. Then follows...."me, Isaac, the poor, in your prayers. It was completed in Beth Gabbaza, of Axuma. In thy name, o Lord, have I planted, that thou place me not in any other place except Mount Sion; the mount of Christ; the house of Christians. Let them not be forgotten in your prayers, who have read and testified to you. Preserve, O Lord, this my offering for me thy servant, the poor; and preserve all these books which I offer, that the brethren, dwelling at Jerusalem may be comforted. And pray for me, forget me not in the holy offices, and in prayer, that we may all stand before God in the terrible day and hours. That it might not be written that we were wanting, I have previously sent and given you this for the warfare of the testimony. Intercede, and bless. And also for the refreshing of the record of the Fathers : and also for Cueskam,3 the queen of the sons of Abyssinia ; that they may be comforted, and thence convert our region — may, moreover migrate into other regions, and restore Jerusalem :- and for the Calvary of Mary. Let them pray for
Let it be preserved as the widow's mite, for ever and ever. Let them not sell or exchange; nor let them carry it
1 It is customary among the Jews, Syrians, and Ethiopians, to number the words in the books of Scripture.
2 In most of the eastern churches, it is the practice to enumerate their Saints in a certain part of the Liturgy.
3 The name of a region, a sea, and a mountain, in Ethiopia ; so celebrated, as to be esteemed by the Ethiopians as preferable to even Sinai or Mount Olivet; and, as tradition says, whither Joseph and Mary, with the child Jesus, betook them. selves, making it their residence for some time, after the flight into Egypt, Castell, sub voce. - Ludolf, sub voce, says it is the name of a monastery in Upper Egypi, which was always had in great veneration by the Copts and Ethiopians; and where Christ is said to have resided with his mother, when he fled from Herod.
away ; nor let them cause it to be placed elsewhere. And...,” the rest is wanting. Hence it appears, that the book was written at Asuma, the antient capital of Ethiopia ; and that it was sent by Isaac to the Abyssinians residing in Jerusalem. No date appears in the manuscript itself. It is, probably, about 300 years old. On the reverse of fol. 285, is a drawing, intended to represent Andrew the Apostle, with the book of the Gospels in one hand, and the keys in the other. Some less ingenious draftsman, however, has, by means of the transparency of the vellum, traced out this figure on the first page of this folio, and given the name of Peter to his humble representation. He has thus succeeded in assigning to St. Peter the first place, and also in bestowing on him the keys. Against this picture of Peter is placed his age, 120 years.
The following fac-simile represents part of the remarkable prophecy of Balaam.
I shall see him, but not now : I shall call him blesséd, but he is not rear : there shall arise a star out of Jacob, and from Israel shall it arise : and he shall destroy the ambassadors of Moab, and shall take captive all the children of Seth.
This precious manuscript has been carefully transcribed, and is now printing with a fount of types, cast at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society, from the matrices (preserved at Frankfort) of the celebrated Ethiopic scholar John Ludolph ; whose types, 1 Eighteenth Report of the Church Missionary Society, pp. 188, 189. In p. 190. there is an interesting notice of the Ethiopic MSS. of the Scriptures, in the Royal Library at Paris.
as used in his printed works, have been highly approved by the Abyssinians.
4. The ARMENIAN VERSION was also made from the Alexandrian Septuagint : its author was Miesrob, who invented letters fully expressive of the Armenian tongue, towards the close of the fourth or early in the fifth century. It is said to have been subsequently altered according to the Peschito or old Syriac version, and according to the Latin Vulgate, by Uscan, an Armenian bishop, who was specially sent to Amsterdam to superintend the edition there printed in 1666. The edition printed at Constantinople in 1705, 4to., was collated by Bredencamp, for the late Rev. Dr. Holmes's edition of the Septuagint. The Armenian version of the Scriptures has been attributed to Chrysostom, but, it does not appear, on satisfactory authority: 2
5. The SCLAVONIC or Old RUSSIAN VERSION is derived from the Septuagint : it was executed in the ninth century by Cyril of Thessalonica, the inventor of Sclavonic letters, in conjunction with Methodius, by both of whom the Gospel was preached to the Bulgarians. The Pentateuch was first printed at Prague in 1519; and the entire Bible, in 1570 : the edition of the Sclavonic scriptures, executed at Ostrog in 1581, is the exemplar whence all the modern Russian editions are printed. It is said to have undergone several revisions, particularly in the time of the patriarch Nicon : and the New Testament is rendered with more perspicuity than the Old.
$ 4. ON THE ANTIENT LATIN VERSIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES. I. Of the OLD ITALIC or Ante-Hieronymian Version. — 11. Account
of the Biblical Labours and Latin Version of Jerome. - III. Of the VULGATE Version and its editions. - IV. Critical value of the Latin
Vulgate version. 1. AT the commencement of the Christian æra, the Latin was gradually supplanting the Greek as a general language, and it soon might be called the language of the Western church. From the testimony of Augustine, it appears that the Latin church possessed a very great number of versions of the Scriptures, made at the first introduction of Christianity, and whose authors were unknown ; and that, in the pri
1 For other particulars relative to the Ethiopic Version of the Scriptures the reader is referred to “A Catalogue of the Ethiopic Biblical Manuscripts in the Royal » Library of Paris, and in the Library of the British and Foreign Bible Society, also
some account of those in the Vatican Library at Rome : with remarks and extracts. To which are added Specimens of Versions of the New Testament into the modern languages of Abyssinia, &c. With fac-similes of an Ethiopic and an Amharic Manuscript. By Thomas Pell Platt, B. A. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. London, 1823.” 4to. -A valuable accession to biblical literature.
2 Jahn, p. 82. Masch, pp. 169–173 ; in pp. 173—181. the Armenian editions are described ; Kortholt, pp. 304, 305. On the present state of the Armenian church in India, see Dr. Buchanan's "Christian Researches," pp. 341-346.
3 A copy of this singularly rare book is in the Library of Earl Spencer: it is de scribed by Mr. Dibdin, who has given a fac-simile of it, in his Bibliotheca Spenceriana, vol. i. pp. 90-93.
mitive times, as soon as any one found a Greek copy, and thought himself sufficiently versed in both languages, he attempted a translation of it. In the course of time, this diversity of translation produced much confusion, parts of separate versions being put together to form an entire composition, and marginal notes being inserted into the text : but one of these Latin translations appears to have acquired a more extensive circulation than the others, and for several ages was preferably used, under the name of the Itala or old Italic, on account of its clearness and fidelity. This version, which in the time of Jerome was received as canonical, is by him termed sometimes the Vulgate and sometimes the Old, in opposition to the new translation imdertaken by him. He mentions no other version. The Old Italic was translated from the Greek in the Old Testament as well as in the New, there being comparatively few members of the Western church, who were skilled in Hebrew. From the above cited expressions of Augustine, it has been inferred that the old Italic version was made in the first century of the Christian æra; but the New Testament could not have been translated into Latin before the canon had been formed, which was certainly not made in the first century : and the great number of Hebraisms and Syriasms observable in it, particularly in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, have induced some eminent critics to conjecture that the authors, of this translation were Jews converted to Christianity. There is, however, every reason to believe, that it was executed in the early part of the second century : " at least it was quoted by Tertullian before the close of that century. But, before the end of the fourth century, the alterations, either designed or accidental, which were made by transcribers of the Latin Bible, were become as numerous as the alterations in the Greek Bible, before it kas corrected by Origen.”5
II. To remedy this growing evil, Jerome, at the request and under the patronage of Pope Damasus, towards the close of the fourth century, undertook to revise this translation, and make it more con1 Augustine, de Doct. Christ. I. ii. c. 11.
? Ibid. c. 15. This passage of Augustine is suspected to be incorrect, and Bishop Marsh, after many other critics, thinks that we ought to read illa for Itala. Michaelis, vol. ii. part ii. p. 623. See also Dr. Lardner's Works, vol. v. pp. 115, 116.
3 A Codex Rescriptus or Palimpsestus of an Antehieronymian Version has been discovered by Dr. Feder at Wurtzburg, who has transcribed nearly all that is legible, comprising the prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. These portions supply the chasms occurring in Sabatier's Edition, and differ materially from the fragments of antient versions printed in his Collection. The latter are not fragments of the Itala, for they want that perspicuitas sententiæ, which characterises i Dr. Monter, Bp. of Seeland, supposes them
to be of African origin : and as M. Feder allowed him to make use of his labours, Bp. M. copied them, and announced his intention of publishing an edition of them. Letter of Bp. Munter to M. Gregoire, dated Copenhagen, Feb. 7. 1819, in Revue Encyclopedique, for March 1819, p. 545.) But this design has not yet been realised.
4 "The learned and ingenious Eichhorn, in his Introduction to the Old Testament, supposes that the first Latin Version of the Bible was made in Africa ; where Latin alone being understood, a translation was more necessary; where the Latin version was held in the highest veneration ; and where, the language being spoken with less purity, barbarisms might have been more easily introduced than in a provincial town in Italy." Bp. Marsh's Michaelis, vol. ij. part ii. p. 628.
5 Bishop Marsh's Divinity Lectures, part i. p. 66.
formable to the original Greek. He executed the revision of the Old Testament according to the Hexaplar text of Origen, which he went to Cæsarea to consult, and the New Testament after the original Greek; and completed his task A. D. 384. Of this revision, the Book of Job and the Psalms (which alone have been preserved to our times), together with the Chronicles, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, are all that were ever published ; Jerome's manuscripts, comprising the remaining books of Scripture, being lost or destroyed through the wilful negligence or fraud of some individual whom he has not named. But before Jerome had finished his revisal, he had commenced a translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew into Latin, in order that the Western Christians, who used this last language only, might know the real meaning of the Hebrew text, and thus be the better qualified to engage in controversial discussions with the Jews.
III. This version, which surpasses all former ones, was executed at different times, Jerome having translated particular books in the order requested by his friends. We learn from Augustine that it was introduced into the churches by degrees, for fear of offending weak persons : at length it acquired so great an authority from the approbation it received from Pope Gregory I., that ever since the seventh century it has been exclusively adopted” by the Roman Catholic church, under the name of the Vulgate version : and a decree of the Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, commanded that the Vulgate alone should be used whenever the Bible is publicly read, and in all sermons, expositions and disputations; and pronounced it to be authentic, -a very ambiguous term, which ought to have been more precisely defined, than the members of that council chose to define it. * Upon this ground many contended, that the Vulgate version was dictated by the Holy Spirit ; at least was providentially guarded against all error ; was consequently of divine authority, and more to be regarded than even the original Hebrew and Greek texts. And, in effect, the decree of the council, however limited and moderated by the explanation of some of their more judicious divines, has given to the Vulgate such a high degree of authority, that, in this instance at least, the translation has taken place of the original: for these translators, instead of the Hebrew and Greek texts, profess to translate the Vulgate. Indeed, when they find the Vulgate very notoriously deficient in expressing the sense, they do the original Scriptures the honour of consulting them, and take the liberty, by following them, of departing from their authentic guide ; but, in general, the Vulgate is their original text; and they give us a translation of a translation ; by which second transfusion of the Holy Scriptures into another
1 Jerome, Ep. 64. ad Augustin. 2 With the exception of the Psalms ; which being daily chanted to music in the church service, made it difficult to introduce alterations. The Old Italic Psalter, as corrected by Jerome, has therefore been used ever since the time of Gregory I. The apocryphal books of Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, and the two books of Maccabees, are also retained from the old Latin version.