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mination of them be instituted for some special object of inquiry. In this case not one or two versions merely should be consulted, but every version that is accessible should be referred to: and all such places should be compared together as are parallel, that is, those passages in which the same word or the same form of speaking respectively occurs; and, where any thing worthy of preservation offers itself, it will materially facilitate future studies to note it either in an interleaved Bible, or, which perhaps is preferable, in an interleaved Lexicon. This practice will not only enable the biblical student to discover and correctly to appreciate the genius of a version, and the ability, or the reverse, with which it may be executed; but it will also supply many important helps for the interpretation of Scripture. As, however, some of the antient versions have been altered or interpolated in many places, great care must be taken to distinguish the modern amendments from the genuine text of the original antient translator. The various excellent concordances that are extant, will afford great assistance in finding out such parallel words or phrases.

In order to ascertain how far the antient versions represent correctly the meaning of Hebrew or Greek words, the following rules will be found useful.

1. That meaning is to be taken and received as the true one, which all the versions give to a word, and which is also confirmed by the kindred dialects :

Because, the number of testimonies worthy of credit being as great as possible, there can be no room left for doubt.

2. All those significations, formerly given to Hebrew words, are to be considered as correctly given, which the Septuagint or other Greek translators erpress by the same or similar Greek words, although no trace of such meaning appear in any Oriental language.

For, as no doubt can be entertained of the diligence and scrupulous learning of those translators, who can presume to measure the vast copiousness of the Arabic, Syriac, and other Oriental languages, by the few books which in our time are ex. tant in those languages ? since no one is so ignorant as to suppose that all the riches of the Greek and Latin languages are comprised in the very numerous remains of classical literature with which our age happily abounds. With regard to the New Testament, “ in cases where the sense is not affected by different readings, or the translator might have taken them for synonymous, the evidence of Greek manuscripts is to be preferred to that of an antient version. The same preference is due to the manuscripts wherein the translator has omitted words that appeared of little importance, or a passage in the Greek original is attended with a difficulty which the translator was unable to solve, and therefore either omitted or altered according to the arbitrary dictates of his own judgment."'?

3. Where the versions differ in firing the sense of a word, the more antient ones, being executed with the greater care and skill, are in the first place to be consulted, and preferred to all others.

For, the nearer a translator approaches to the time when the original language was vernacular, we may readily infer that he has expressed with so much the greater fidelity the true signification of words, both primary and proper, as well as those which are derivative and translated. There are, however, some cases in which antient versions are of more authority than the original itself. Most of the translations of the New Testament, noticed in the preceding pages, surpass in antiquity the oldest Greek manuscripts now ex at : " and they lead to a discovery of the readings in the very antient manuscript that was used by the translator. By their means rather than from the aid of our Greek manuscripts, none of which is prior to the fourth or fifth century, we arrive at the certain knowledge, that the antient writings have been transmitted from the earliest to the present age without material alteration ; and that our present text, if we except the passages that are rendered doubtful by an opposition in the readings, is the same which proceeded from the hands of the apostles. Whenever the reading can be precisely determined, which the translator found in his Greek manuscript, the version is of equal authority with a manuscript of that period : but as it is sometimes difficult to acquire this absolute certainty, great caution is necessary in collecting readings from the antient versions."1

1 Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 3.

4. A meaning given to a word by only one version, provided this be a good one, is by no means to be rejected; especially if it agree with the author's design and the order of his discourse.

For it is possible that the force and meaning of a word should be unknown to all other translators, and no trace of it be discoverable in the kindred dialects, and yet that it should be preserved and transmitted to posterity by one version. This remark applies chiefly to things which a translator has the best opportunity of understanding from local and other circumstances. Thus, the Alexandrian interpreters are the most ample testimony for every thing related in the Old Testament concerning Egypt, while others, who were natives of Palestine, and perhaps deeply skilled in Jewish literature, are the best guides we can follow in whatever belongs to that country.”

5. Lastly, Those versions" of the New Testament, in which the Greek is rendered word for word, and the idioms of the original, though harsh and often unmeaning in another language, are still retained in a translation, are of more value in point of criticism than those which erpress the sense of the original in a manner more suitable to the language of the translator.

The value of the latter, as far as regards their critical application, decreases in proportion as the translator attends to purity and elegance, and of course deviates from his original : but their worth is greater in all other respects, as they are not only read with more pleasure, but understood in general with greater ease. By means of the former we discover the words of the original, and even their arrangement:- but the latter are of no use in deciding on the authenticity of a reading, if the various readings of the passages in question make no alteration in the sense. No translation is more literal than the New Syriac, and none therefore leads to a more accurate discovery of the text in the antient manuscript from which the version was taken ; but, setting this advantage aside, the Old Syriac is of much greater value than the New.3

1 Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 2. 2 Jahn, Introduct. ad Vet. Fæd. pp. 116–122. Pictet, Theologie Chretienne, tom. i. pp. 151–152. Bauer, Herm. Sacr. pp. 147-162. 301 –309. J. B. Carpzov, Prim. Lin. Herm. pp. 62-65. Ernesti, Inst. Interp. N. Test. p. 57. Morus in Emesti, tom. i. pp. 130, 131. Gerard's Institutes, pp. 107–111. Bishop Lowth's Isaiah, vol. i. pp. \xxxvii— c. 8vo. edit. Pfeiffer, Herm. Sac. c. 14. (Op. tom. ii. pp. 663—664.) 3 Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 3.




GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE CIRCULATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. I. Scarcity and high prices of the Scriptures. — II. Rude attempts to

convey an idea of their contents to the poor and illiterate. —dccount of the BiblIA PAUPERUM. - III. Number and classification

of the translations of the Bible into Modern Languages. 1. THE versions noticed in the preceding chapter are all that are of importance for the purposes of biblical criticism : but copies of them do not appear to have been very numerous in any country. In the early ages of Christianity, however anxious its professors must have been to become possessed of the sacred volume, – and however widely it was read in their assemblies for divine worship, - still the publication of a version was not what it now is, - the emission of thousands of copies into the world. It consisted, in a great measure, in translators permitting their manuscripts to be transcribed by others : and so long as the tedious process of copying was the only one which could be resorted to, exemplars of the sacred writings must have been multiplied very slowly. Before the inventions of paper and printing, manuscripts were the only books in use, and bore such excessively high prices, especially those which were voluminous, that few besides the most opulent could afford 10 purchase them :) even monasteries of some consideration had frequently only a missal. So long as the Roman empire subsisted in Europe, the reading of the Scriptures in Latin universally prevailed : but, in consequence of the irruptions of the barbarous nations, and the erection of new monarchies upon the ruins of the Roman power, the Latin language became so altered and corrupted, as no longer to be intelligible by the multitude, and at length it fell into disuse, except among the ecclesiastics.

In the eighth and ninth centuries, when the Vulgate Latin version had ceased to be generally understood, there is no reason to suspect any intention in the church of Rome to deprive the laity of the Scriptures. “ Translations were freely made, although the acts of the Saints were generally deemed more instructive. Louis the Debonair is said to have caused a German version of the New Testament to be made. Otfrid, in the same” (that is, the ninth) cen

1 Concerning the rarity and high prices of books, during the dark ages, the reader will find several authentic anecdotes in the first volume of an Introduction to the Study of Bibliography,' (pp. 345-349.), by the author of this work.

tury, rendered the Gospels, or rather abridged them, into German Verse: this work is still extant, and is, in several respects, an object of curiosity. In the eleventh or twelfth century, we find translations of the Psalms, Job, Kings, and the Maccabees, into French. But, after the diffusion of heretical principles, it became expedient to secure the orthodox faith from lawless interpretation. Accordingly the council of Thoulouse, in 1239, prohibited the laity from possessing the Scriptures ; and this prohibition was frequently repeated upon subsequent occasions.”I

II. Although the invention of paper, in the close of the thirteenth or early in the fourteenth century, rendered the transcription of books less expensive, yet their cost necessarily placed them out of the reach of the middling and lower classes, who (it is well known) were immersed in the deepest ignorance. Means, however, were subsequently devised, in order to convey a rude idea of the leading facts of Scripture, by means of the Block Books or Books of Images, as they are termed by Bibliographers, of which the following notice may be not unacceptable to the reader.

The manufacturers of playing cards, which were first invented and painted in the fourteenth century, had in the following century begun to engrave on wood the images of the saints, to which they afterwards added some verses or sentences analogous to the subject. As the art of engraving on wood proceeded, its professors at length composed historical subjects, chiefly (if not intirely) taken from the Scriptures, with a text or explanation engraved on the same blocks. These form the Books of Images or Block Books just mentioned: they were printed from wooden blocks; one side of the leaf only is impressed, and the corresponding text is placed below, beside, or proceeding out of, the mouth of the figures introduced.

Of all the Xylographic works, that is, such as are printed from wooden blocks, the Biblia PAUPERUM is perhaps the rarest, as well as the most antient; it is a manual, or kind of catechism of the Bible, for the use of young persons, and of the common people, whence it derives its name, Biblia Pauperum the Bible of the Poor ; who were thus enabled to acquire, at a comparatively low price, an imperfect knowledge of some of the events recorded in the Scriptures. Being much in use, the few copies of it which are at present to be found in the libraries of the curious, are for the most part either mutilated or in bad condition. The extreme rarity of this book, and the circumstances under which it was produced, concur to impart a high degree of interest to it.

The Biblia Pauperum consists of forty plates, with extracts and sentences analogous to the figures and images represented therein ; the whole are engraven on wood, on one side of the leaves of paper ;


Hallam's View of Europe during the Middle Ages, vol. ii. p. 536. 4to. edition. ? They appear to have been first invented in 1390 by Jacquemin Gringonneur, a painter at Paris, for the amusement of Charles VI. king of France, who had fallen into a confirmed melancholy, bordering on insanity. °Rees's Cyclopædia, vol. vi. article Cards.


so that, when folded, they are placed opposite to each other. Thus, as the white sides of the leaves may be cemented together, the total number is reduced to twenty, because the first and last page remain blank. Copies however are sometimes found, the leaves of which not having been cemented on their blank side, are forty in number, like the plates. Each plate or page contains four busts, two at the top, and two at the bottom, together with three historical subjects : the two upper busts represent the prophets or other persons whose names are always written beneath them; the two lower busts are anonymous. The middle of the plates, which are all marked by letters of the alphabet in the centre of the upper compartment', is occupied by three historical pictures, one of which is taken from the New Testament ; this is the type or principal subject, and occupies the centre of the page between the two anti-types

or other subjects, which allude to it. The inscriptions which occur at the top and bottom of the page, consist of texts of Scripture and Leonine verses.

Thus in the fortieth plate, of which our engraving is a copy', the two busts of David and Isaiah are placed in the middle of the upper part of the page, between two passages of the Bible. The first of these, on the left of those prophets, is partly taken from the Song of Solomon (chap. v. 7, 8.) and runs thus : Legitur in Cantico Canticorum quarto capite, quod (or quo) sponsus alloquitur sponsam, et cam sumendo dixit; Tota pulchra et amica mea, et macula non est in te. Veni, amica mea ; veni, coronabere." Sponsus rerus iste est Christus ; qui, in assumendo eam sponsam, quæ est anime sine macula omnis peccati, et introducit eam in requiem eternam, et coronat cum corona immortalitatis.

The second passage, which is on the right of David and Isaiah, is taken from the Book of Revelations, and runs thus : Legitur in Apocalypsi xri'. capite, quod angelus Dei apprehendit Jhoannem Evangelistam, cum esset in spiritu, et volens sibi ostendere archani Dei dixit ad eum; Veni, et ostendam tibi sponsam, uxorem agni.” Angelus loquitur ad omnes in generali, ut veniant ad auscultandum in spiritu agnum innocentem Christum, animam innocentem coronantem.3

Beneath the bust of David which is indicated by his name, is a scroll proceeding from his hand inscribed Tanquam sponsus dominus procedens de thalamo suo. [See Psal. xix. 5. Vulgate Version.

Beneath Isaiah is ysaye vi, with a label proceeding from his hand inscribed Tanquam sponsus decoravit me corona. (See Isa. Ixi. 10. Vulgate Version.]

The letter . v : between these two labels denotes the order of the plate or page, as the cuts in this work follow each other according to two sets of alphabets, each of which extends from a to v only:

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1 These letters Mr. Dibdin thinks are the origin of the signatures which are used to denote the order of the sheets in printed books. Bib. Spenc. vol. i. p. xxvi.

2 Made from the last plate or page of the exemplar, which was the late Mr. Willet's. See the engravings facing the title-page.

3 The above sentences are printed without the contractions, which are 80 numerous and so complex, as to be with difficulty understood by any who are not conversant in atient records and early printed books.

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