Images de page
PDF
ePub

of Hebrew-Chaldaic literature down to the middle, minutely analysed by modern German critics, who of the 2d C. B. C. By an artificial arrangement have attempted to show that they bear internal under the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the evidence of having been composed generally at a number of books has been limited among the Jews later period than is ordinarily believed. This opinto 22. These writings were spoken of in the time ion, however, has met with little acceptance out of of Christ as graphé, Scripture, or Holy Scripture, or, Germany, as it is considered to be incompatible with more distinctively, with regard to their principal the view of inspiration which has been, and still is, contents, as the Law and the Prophets.' Some- commonly held both by Jewish rabbis and Christian times the Psalms and the remaining holy writings | divines. (hagiographa) are distinctively noticed. The Law The Samaritans, who were at enmity with the includes the Pentateuch, or the first five books. Jews, recognised only the five books of Moses, and The Prophets are subdivided into earlier and later: a corrupt version of the book of Joshua, as canonical. the former--which, however, are not properly pro- On the other side, the Egyptian Jews, for whom the phetical-including the books of Joshua, Judges, Alexandrine version of the Old Testament was Samuel, and Kings; and the latter containing made, received as canonical several writing which the three great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and were rejected, or subordinated as apocryphal (see Ezekiel-to whom the Christians, in accordance Apocrypha), by the Jews of Palestine. The primitive with the Alexandrine translation, add Daniel as church, in the period which elapsed before the canon well as the minor prophets. The third division of the New Testament was completed, referred to of the Old Testament includes the hagiographa, the Old Testament for proof of doctrines; but, on consisting of the books of Job, Proverbs, Psalms, account of the prevalent ignorance of the Hebrew the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, Lamenta- and Chaldee languages among the early Christians, tions, and Esther. With regard to the order of the Alexandrine Greek version was the authority these several books, the Alexandrine translation, employed. As this included the apocryphal books, the Fathers of the Church, and Luther on one rejected by the Jews of Palestine, the earliest side, differ from the Jews; again, among the Jews, Christian Fathers made the same use of these writthe Talmudists differ from the Masoretes, while a dif- ings as of the others; but the growth of criticism ference is also found between Spanish and German during the next two centuries was fatal to their MSS. Hence have sprung the different arrangements i reputation, or at least to their authority. We do not of the books of the Old Testament.

find, however, that they were formally designated The Septuagint is generally adduced in proof of apocryphal' until the time of Jerome (5th c.), the existence of these books in a collected form as though the Greek Church, in the previous century, early as 285 B. C., but as most scholars now doubt had approximated to this mode of viewing them, whether at that period more than the Pentateuch by affirming them to be not canonical, but only was translated into Hellenistic Greek, we cannot edifying, and also by issuing lists or catalogues of safely build upon such evidence. The earliest indubit- those books which were recognized as canonical. În able notice is found in the prologue to the Alexan the Latin Church, on the other hand, these writings drine translation of the book of Jesus Son of Sirach, were received as canonical after the 4th c., though written by his grandson probably about 130 B. C., Jerome, Hilarius, Rufinus, and Junilius wished to and which not merely demonstrates that the Law distinguish them from the canonical books by the and the Prophets then existed in a collective form, name of libri eeclesiastici. The Protestants, at the

Reformation, returned to the distinction originally time. His language, however, does not prove that made by the Palestinian Jews between the Hebrew the third division was then concluded, though neither Scriptures of the Old Testament and the apocryphal does it disprove it. This conclusion is first definitely works included in the Alexandrine version and the ascertained from the catalogue given by Josephus, Latin Vulgate. Luther, in his translation of the who flourished after the middle of the first century of B., included the Apocrypha as books not to be the Christian era, while Philo, who flourished 41 A. D., placed on a level with the canonical Scriptures; but quotes casually from nearly the whole of them. profitable for reading. The council of Trent, which

As regards the genuineness and authenticity of seemed to think that the only safe path for Catholithe Old Testament, there has been much discussion cism to pursue was the exact opposite of that on in modern times. The generally received opinion is, which Protestantism moved, declared that whoever that the various books were originally written wholly denied the canonical character of the Apocrypha or chiefly by the persons whose names are affixed should be anathema. to them, except Judges (Samuel), Ruth (Samuel), The NEW TESTAMENT, or the collection of canoniEsther (Mordecai), Kings and Chronicles (Ezra cal scriptures containing the history and doctines and Jeremiah), and perhaps Job (Moses ?); but of Christianity, may be divided into three chief that these MSS. having perished in the detruction sections: 1. The historical books, or the four gosof the first temple, when Nebuchadnezzar took pels, and the Acts of the Apostles. 2. The didactic Jerusalem, the members of the great synagogue- and pastoral writings, which include the Epistles which included Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, of Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Malachi, and afterwards Simon the Just-50 years Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, after the building of the second temple, acting in Timothy, Titus, Philemon, the Hebrews, the two accordiance with a divine commission, rewrote the Epistles of Peter, the three Epistles of John, the Old Testament; or rather made a recension of other Epistles of James and Jude. 3. The prophetical existing copies, to which were subsequently added section, consisting only of one Book, the Apocalypse, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Thus the canon or Revelation of St. John the Divine. The primitive was concluded. This was the belief of the. Jews Christians referred for proof of doctrine, &c., only, themselves at a later period; the Pirke Aboth so far as we are aware, to the Old Testament, and (Sayings of the Fathers), one of the oldest books quotations from it by the apostolie Fathers are of the Talmud, as well as other Jewish records, dis- numerous enough ; but we find few clear and certain tinctly assert it. It is, however, simply a tradition, references to the didactic portions of the New and though possibly true, is necessarily incapable Testament. The reason of this appears to be, that the either of demonstration or refutation. In the ab- lapse of time had hallowed the Old Testament, and sence of any direct and conclusive evidence on this given to it that superior authority which springs from point, the contents of the Old Testament have been / venerable age. The generations which immediately

succeeded that of the apostles and indeed, so, records out of which the canonical gospels were far as we can see, the same may be said of the formed; but this opinion appears to be utterly unapostles themselves did not consider the apostolic tenable, when we remember that only twenty or writings of equal importance as writings with the thirty years can be allowed for the transmutations sacred books of the Old Testament. Besides, most of to take place in, and that the churches must have the epistles were of little use in controversy, for silently consented to the change, for there is no the earliest heretics denied the apostleship of St. murmur of complaint or hint of opposition expressed Paul; while both parties admitted the authority of in the whole history of the time. the Septuagint, and found in it their common / Nevertheless, the idea of a strict and pure New weapons of argument. Nevertheless, we occasion Testament canon (See CANON) is not discernible in ally find references to the didactic portions of the the church in Justin Martyr's time. There is no New Testament, such as those to Romans, 1st positive evidence in favour of its existence; but this Corinthians, Ephesians, Hebrews, and James, in is not to be wondered at, for the consciousness of Clemens Romanus; to 1st Corinthians and Ephesians, freedom in the Holy Spirit, which penetrated the in Ignatius; to. Romans, 1st Corinthians, 2d Cor Christians of the 1st c.; the opposition of what in intians, Galatians, Philippians, 1st Timothy, 2d continental theology are termed the Pertine and Timothy, Ist Peter, and 1st John, in Polycarp. Pauline (q. v.), i. e., the Judaising and anti-Judaising Still more uncertain are the references of the apos- parties, which does unquestionably appear to have tolical Fathers to the gospels. The notices found existed, though not in that exaggerated form ir in Barnabas, Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, and which it is apprehended by the Tübingen school, Polycarp are only sufficient to indicate that all the who consider it an unanswerable proof of the nongreat facts of Christ's life were known to the existence at the time of a catholic church; the. churches, and that the doctrinal significance of still living tradition of the apostles; the difficulty these had begun to be realised. They do not, of diffusing apostolic writings sent only to particular however, demonstrate the existence of written churches; the absence of criticism; the vascillation gospels, but they prove that Christianity rest on in determining the point where the apostolic men a historic basis. Their silence in relation to the ceased; the use in the worship of God of the Old written gospels now constituting a portion of the Testament, and, in particular churches, of casual canon of the New Testament, is at first sight Christian writings, not now looked upon as canonisingular; but when we reflect that the facts of cal: all these causes together operated in hindering, the Saviour's life and teachings were apparently quite till the middle of the 2d c., a formal collection of familiar to the churches so familiar, indeed, that New Testament writings of any compass or critical no explanation was needed in alluding to them--we value, though it seems quite clear that they existed see that the necessity of the apostolic fathers quoting separately, and were regarded as the most authoritafrom the evangelists ceases. It is contended, that tive records of the new dispensation. The earliest any specific quotations would have been a work of trace of such a collection (the ten Pauline epistles supererogation; whereas, in the case of the didactic without the pastoral epistles) appears after the epistles, which were written originally for the bene- middle of the .2d c., in opposition to that gnostic fit of particular churches, and conditioned by their perversion of primitive Christianity which had been special circumstances, and the contents of which, introduced by Marcion of Pontus. In the close therefore, could not be so well or widely known, of the 2d, and in the beginning of the 3d c., Irenæus, quotations or allusions might more naturally be Clemens Alexandrinus, and Tertullian bear testilooked for. But evidence of this negative character mony to the recognition of the four gospels, the for the existence of the evangelical records, however Acts of the Apostles, the thirteen Pauline epistles, probable, is very uncertain, and its uncertainty is the 1st Epistle of Peter, the 1st Epistle of John, and increased by the use made of writings which, at a the Apocalypse, as canonical writings. But they do later period, were rejected as apocryphal. First, in even more than bear testimony to their recognitionthe second half of the 2d c., more distinct references they appeal to antiquity for proof of the authenticity to the gospels are found in Papias (died 163), in of the books which they used as Christian ScripJustin Martyr (died 166 A. D.), in his pupil Tatian tures. On this point, Tertullian is especially precise, (died 176), in Athenageras (died 180), and in and his most convincing argument on behalf of the Theophilus, who wrote about the year 180. None surety of the gospels' is, that the very heretics of these writers, however, name the authors from bear witness to them. They did not, it is admitted, whom they quote, though Papias—the earliest, but acknowledge the whole of the New Testament not the most trustworthy of them bears direct canon, but this is explicable on the hypothesis, and minute testimony to the existence of gospels by which is justified by investigation, that the porSt. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John, the catholic epistles, tions rejected were those that seemed alien to and the Apocalypse, whence it has been concluded their own opinions. Two distinct collection of that the authenticity of the apostolic memoirs was writings are now noticed—the Instrumentum Evannot then settled, and perhaps not even investigated; gelicum, containing the four gospels ; and the but anonymous quotation seems to have been a Instrumentum Apostolicum, containing the Acts of characteristic carelessness of the time, for of this the Apostles, along with the Pauline and other kind are 117 of Justin Martyr's references to the epistles. Respecting several parts of the New TestaOld Testament. The great fact on which a con- ment canon, differences of opinion prevailed in early structive Christian criticism leans in regard to times, nor was the war of criticism closed until the the evidence of these writers is, that they do not 6th c., for considerable difference of opinion existed speak of the gospel or apostolic memoirs as things in regard to the value of the testimony of the early which had only recently made their appearance, apologetic authors. Origen doubted the authority but as well known and long established. Justin of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the Epistle of even states that the apostolic memoirs' were James, of Jude, of the 2d of Peter, and the 2d regularly read in the churches for the edification and 3d of John; while, at the same time, he was of believers--a fact which clearly indicates their disposed to recognise as canonical certain apocryphal superior sanctity and universal reception. The scriptures, such as those of Hermas and Barnabas, Tübingen school contend, that these apostolic which were decidedly rejected by the Church. The memoirs, could not have been the canonical gospels, Apocalypse was treated as a dubious part of but must rather have been the primitive evangelicall the canon down to the 7th c. The learned and circumspect Father, Eusebius, in the 4th c.,in a passage | strife could not always remain confined to Germany. of his Church History, distinguishes three classes of They have been felt more or less over all Protestant New Testament scriptures: 1. Universally recognised countries; and even Catholic France, which has no scriptures (homologoumena), the four gospels, the theology to contend for, shews the influence of the Acts of the Apostles, the fourteen Pauline epistles, new movement in those departments of art and the 1st Epistle of John, and the 1st of Peter. 2. science which are most nearly allied to theology. Scripture not universally recognised (antilegomena In England, during the i8th c., several valuable or notha), including the Epistles of James and Jude, apologetic works were published, such as Lardner's two Epistles (2d and 3d) of John, the 2d of Peter, Credibility of the Gospel History, and Paley's Horce and the Apocalypse of John; also the Acts of Paul Paulina. In the early part of the 19th c., appeared (afterwards universally rejected), the Book of the Horne's Introduction to the Study of the Scriptures, Shepherd (Hermas), the Revelation of Peter, the which has been frequently reprinted. Since then, Epistle of Barnabas, the Doctrines of the Apostles, Tregelles, Davidsor, Westcott, and numerous other and the Gospel of the Hebrews. 3. Absurd and scholars, have entered the field; and it is not too heretical scriptures.

[graphic]

much to affirm, that, at least among the higher, more The Western Church, which was more con- philosophic, and more earnest class of British theoservative and less critical than the Eastern logians, there exists at this moment a keener spirit Church, completed the canon with greater rapi- of impartial inquiry, as regards the foundations of dity. Although the eastern Council of Laodicea biblical criticism, than Britain has ever previously (360–364), in determining the canon of the New witnessed. The practical tendencies of the AngloTestament, excluded the Apocalypse, the western Saxon mind long restrained it from interfering in synods of Hippo-Regius (393), Carthage (397), the what seemed to be a mere maze of unprofitable Roman bishop, Innocent 1. (in the beginning of speculation ; but now that its deep and vital relations the 5th c.), and the Concilium Romanum under to the groundwork of men's actual and possible Gelasius I. (494), recognised the entire canon of beliefs have begun to be felt, these same practical the New Testament as we find it in the present tendencies are manifestly asserting themselves, and day. The doubts entertained by individuals respect- we may confidently anticipate that a large measure ing some parts of the canon had become excep- of attention on the part both of the clergy and tional and unimportant at the close of the 7th c. | laity will soon be given to this most important of all Owing to the want of Greek scholarship, as also, branches of knowledge. perhaps, to the growing idea of an infallible church EDITIONS OF THE BIBLE: HISTORY OF THE TEXT. papacy, there was no criticism worthy of the name -As both the Old and the New Testament were during the middle ages. Doubts, therefore, respect- written in ancient languages, and transcribed in ing the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Epistles times when philological criticism hardly existed, the of James and Jude were first revived, after a long examination and comparison of various editions, quietude, at the time of the Reformation. Luther with a view to obtain the greatest possible purity of himself ventured to declare the Epistles to the text, forms an important part of theological study. Hebrews and the Apocalypse 'apocryphal.' The Text of the Old Testament.—The first duty of an spirit of orthodox dulness which ruled the Pro- impartial critic of this question is to lay aside both testant Church from the latter part of the 16th of the extreme and untenable opinions regarding the to the middle of the 18th c., had a deadening effect Hebrew text of the Old Testament, viz.—1st, that it on true biblical criticism. This was first revived lias come down to us in an absolutely faultless condiby a liberal Catholic writer, Richard Simon (died tion, by miraculous preservation; and 2d, that it has 1712), who first conceived the plan of an historico- been wilfully and unscrupulously falsified by the critical introduction' to the B.; afterwards, the Jews. That there are erroneous readings, nobody labours of Lowth, Semler, Herder, Griesbach, doubts. The real task devolving on a student of Michaelis, Eichhorn, and others, gave a new im- this branch of theological science is to explain these pulse to scriptural exegesis. In Germany, we may on natural principles, and by collating the various name among writers on the conservative and ortho- | recensions, to endeavour to obtain a pure text, or as dox side, the Catholic divines, Jahn and Hug, with close an approximation to that as may be possible. the Protestant writers, Hengstenberg, Hävernick, The following is a tolerably complete classification Guerike, Delitzsch, and Caspari: on the other side, of the causes of errors. 1. Errors arising from Berthold, De Wette, Credner, Reuss; and since the imperfect sight or occasional inattentiveness ; as when publication of the Life of Jesus by Strauss, the transcribers substituted one letter for another similar

New Tübingen school,' with F. Baur (q. v.) at its in appearance, transposed letters, words, and senhead, has questioned the authenticity and' apos- tences, and omitted the same; of which there are tolical antiquity of all the New Testament scrip- various examples. 2. Errors arising from imperfect tures, except the four larger Epistles of Paul to hearing, of which there are not many examples. the Romans, the Corinthians (1st and 2d), and the 3. Errors arising from defective memory; as when Galatians; while recently, Bruno Bauer (q. v.) has a transcriber fancied that he knew certain words, even denied the authenticity of the Epistle to the phrases, or clauses, on account of their having Galatians. The German controversy respecting occurred before; of these there are occasional the New Testament canon-one class of critics examples. 4. Errors arising from defective judgment; asserting that the majority of the New Testament as when words were wrongly divided, or abbreviascriptures were written in their present form) after tions wrongly resolved ; also from the custodes the middle of the 2d c.; the opposite class ascribing linearum (i. e., the letters which filled up the occato these scriptures an apostolic origin—still remains sional vacant space at the end of lines) and marginal in agitation; but, excluding the “Tübingen' and remarks being sometimes incorporated with the • Young Hegelian schools of criticism, it may be text. These not unfrequently happen. 5. Errors asserted that a majority of the biblical critics of arising from a well-meant desire on the part of Germany now recognise the substantial authenticity | the transcriber to explain or amend a text, really of the whole New Testament canon, except the 2d or apparently obscure. In this respect the SamaEpistle of Peter, leaving, however, at the same time, ritans are greatly to blame. See SAMARITAN VERa wide margin for supplementary interpolations, both SION OF THE PENTATEUCH. A very knotty point in the Old and New Testaments.

is, the condition of the text before and at the But, as might have been expected, the effects of the close of the canon. The opinion of Eichhorn, De Wette, and others is, that while the books circulated greatly corrupted, and contrasted it unfavourably singly in a sphere of uncertain authority, they were with that of the Samaritan Pentateuch. The chief greatly corrupted; in support of which, considerable advocates of this view were Vossius, Whiston, evidence is adduced, but still the probabilities are, Morin, and Capellus. On the other hand, Buxtorf, on the whole, against such a supposition, and it is Arnold Bootius, Wasmuth, and others, defended the better to suppose that the conflicting accounts of absolute purity of the Masoretic text, even to the the same events which are to be met with, especially inspiration of the vowel-points, which Buxtorf, in in the historical books, arise not from the careless- the preface to his grandfather's Tiberias, gravely ness or corruptions of copyists, but rather from the asserts to have been first invented by Ezra. This original authors or compilers having consulted controversy had at least one good result. It led different documents.

to an extensive examination of Hebrew MSS. in From recent investigations, it appears clear that the next century. Kennicott collated 630, 258 the strict dogmatic Jews of Palestine and Babylon throughout, the rest in part; De Rossi, 751, of which were generally far more careful in their preservation all but 17 were collated for the first time. Many of sacred records than the Samaritans and the still remain uncollated. The result of this elaborate Alexandrines, the latter of whom were remarkable investigation has been to convince scholars that the for their free, philosophising, non-textual spirit. In Masoretic text is substantially correct. All known the schools of learning in Jerusalem at the time of codices confirm it; the oldest of the professedly Christ, presided over by Hillel, who had come from literal versions, as well as the Targums of the time Babylon, and Sharmai, and in those which flourished of Christ, furnish similar satisfactory evidence; and elsewhere in Palestine, after the fall of the metro- when we consider the bibliolatrous tendencies of the polis, for instance, at Lydda, Cæsarca, Tiberias, &c., Jews after their return from exile, whatever may as also in the academies of Sora, Pumpeditha, and have been the case before, we may safely conclude Nahardea, near the Euphrates, at a later period, that we now possess the text of the Old Testament the text of the Old Testament was defined with much in the same condition as it was at the close of great care, first by the Talmudists, who seem to the canon. have adhered very closely to the ancient text, and At first, there were no intervening spaces between after the completion of the Talmud at the close of Hebrew words; afterwards, small intervals appear the 5th c. by the Masorites. See MASORA. This to have been occasionally allowed. With the introcare was at first bestowed only on the consonants duction of the square character, the use of small of the Hebrew text. The Masoretic vowel system, inerstices to separate words became general. The which sprang from that already existing among Talmud prescribes how much space should be the Syrians and Arabians, was developed from the between words in sacred MSS. designed for the 7th to the 10th centuries at Tiberias. By the synagogue. Various divisions according to the 11th c. it appears to have been completed, while sense were also introduced at an early period. In the Spanish rabbis of the next century seem ignor- the Pentateuch there were two, termed respectively ant of its then recent origin (Davidson's Text of open and closed. The former were intended to the Old Testament Considered, Lond. 1856). After mark a change in the matter of the text; the latter, the 11th c., the Masoretic text, with its perfected slight changes in the sense. Of these, the Pentasystem of vowels and accents, became the standard teuch contained 669, named perashioth (sections). authority among Jewish scholars. The comparative This division is probably as old, or nearly so, ás values of the different readings in the various MSS., the practice of reading the Law. It is found in the had by that time been carefully determined, and the Talmud, while the division into 54 great perashioth chief business of copyists, henceforth, was to make is first found in the Masora, and is not observed faithful transcripts.

in the rolls of the synagogues. The poetical books The earliest printed editions of the Hebrew B. were also subjected, from a very early period, to a bear a close resemblance to the MSS. "They are stichometrical division, according to the peculiarities without titles at the commencement, have appen- of Hebrew versification. In order to facilitate the dices, are printed on parchment with broad margin, reading and understanding of the prose books, a divi. and large ill-shaped type, the initial letters being sion into logical periods was also made, which is commonly ornamented either with wood-cut engrav- mentioned in the Mishna, while in the Gemara its ings or by the pen. These letters, however, are authorship is ascribed to Moses. From it sprang often absent. With vowels, the editions in question our present division of the Scriptures into verses. are very imperfectly supplied. Separate parts of It is highly probable that these divisions were long the B. were first printed.' The Psalms appeared handed down orally. Our present division of the in 1477, probably at Bologna ; the Pentateuch at Old Testament into chapters is a later invention, Bologna in 1482; the Prophets in 1486; the Hagio- and, though accepted by the Jews, is of Christian grapha in 1487. To most of these were subjoined origin : it may be dated as far back as the 13th the rabbinical commentary of Kimchi. The whole c., some assigning it to Cardinal Hugo, others to of the Old Testament appeared in small folio at Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury. It Soncino, 1488, and appears to have been followed was first employed in a concordance to the Vulgate, by the edition of Brescia (1494), which was used whence it was borrowed by Rabbin Nathan in the by Luther in his translation of the Old Testament. 15ih c., who made a similar concordance to the The Biblia Polyglotta Complutensia (1514—1517), Hebrew Bible. Nathan's divisions are found in the Biblia Rabbinica of Bomberg, edited by Rabbi Bomberg's Hebrew B. of 1518. Verses were first Jacob-Ben-Chayim (Venice, 1525–1526), which has introduced into editions of the Hebrew B. by been adopted in most of the subsequent editions- Athias of Amsterdam, 1661, but were employed the Antwerp Biblia Polyglotta (8 vols., 1569--1572), in the Vulgate as early as 1558. The first English also the editions by Hutterus (Hamburg, 1587, and B. divided into verses was published at Geneva in frequently reprinted), Buxtorf (Basel, 1711), and espe- 1560. cially that by Jos. Athias (Amsterdam, 1661-1667) | New Testament.—The original MSS. of the New -all these are celebrated, and have supplied thé Testament were probably all written on papyrus, the basis of later editions by Simon, Hahn, Theile, and cheapest, but least durable material that could be others. In the 17th c., a vehement controversy obtained for the purpose. It was therefore imposarose regarding the integrity of the Hebrew text; sible, considering the constant handling to which one party maintained that the Masoretic text was the documents must have been subjected by the

eager converts, that they could have lasted for any , classes. After these came Griesbach, who, following length of time. Indeed no authentic notices of them out the idea, propounded his famous threefold divi. have come down to us, but we know that a very sion of the MSS. into Western, Alexandrian, and large number of copies were in existence from an Byzantine. The first two he considers the oldest; early period. Norton states the number at about the third, a corrupt mixture of both. Griesbach 40,000. The text of these, however, did not al- himself preferred the Alexandrian: he believed that ways agree. Variations originated, to a consider the Byzantine transcribers had taken great liberties able extent, from the same causes as operated in the with the text, and held that a few Alexandrian case of the Old Testament, viz., imperfect vision or MSS. outweighed, in critical value, a large number hearing, misunderstanding, carelessness, or an un- of the other. The accuracy of Griesbach's division critical judgment on the part of transcribers ; but has subsequently been questioned by many eminent it is natural to suppose that, on account of the German scholars, among whom may be mentioned greater freedom of spirit and thought which charac- Hug, Matthiä, Scholz, and Eichhorn, each of whom terized primitive Christianity, compared with Juda- has in turn favoured the world with a theory of ism, a latitude of conviction in regard to the value his own in regard to the probable value of the of the letter of Scripture, also influenced the churches. various families of MSS. Recently Lachmann has The idea of inspiration (q. v.) it is now admitted applied, with excessive strictness, a principle first by the most enlightened theologians, was progres- hinted by Bentley, viz., that no weight ought to sively developed. In the earliest ages it did not be attached to any MSS. except those written in the exist in any dogmatic form whatever. Christians old or uncial (q. v.) character. The chief advocate were content to believe that the evangelists and for the application of this principle in England is apostles spoke truth, by the help of the Holy Spirit, Tregelles; but it is rejected by the vast majority without perplexing themselves with the question, of biblical scholars, for the simple reason, that a whether the words were purely divine or purely MS. of the 10th or 11th c., if faithful to that human in their origin. They had a gospel to preach, from which it is copied (a thing not impossible) may and a world to convert, and were therefore not exhibit a really older and purer text than one of the in a mood to discuss mechanical notions. This 4th or 5th c. Impressed with this fact, Tischalso must have operated in producing the textual endorf, the latest, and, in the opinion of many, the variations referred to, many of which are of such a most judicious cditor of the Greek Testament, has nature as to clearly prove that the commentators attempted to combine whatever is sound in Lachor transcribers thought themselves at liberty to niann's plan with a discriminative use of later alter or improve the expression. Nor must we MSS. overlook the fact, that the different culture and ten- ! The whole of the New Testament was first printed dencies of the Eastern and Western Churches also in the Complutensian Polyglott, 1514. From 1516 caused very considerable changes. Modern criti- to 1535, five editions appeared at Basel, under the cism reckons no less than 80,000 variations in the care of Erasmus, but without any great pretensions existing MSS. Nevertheless, one fact stands out, to critical accuracy. The subsequent numerous solid and imperishable, amid all the tiny fluctuations editions were, for the most part, either founded on of verbal criticism, viz., that, with one or two ex- the editions of Erasmus or on the Complutensian, ceptions, no material difference exists, or in all or on a collation of both. Among these editions probability ever did exist, in New Testament MSS. we may mention that by Colonäi (Paris, 1534), by The general Christian consciousness, which was the Bogard (Paris, 1543), the third by the elder Stephens real guardian of their integrity, had been grounded (1550), and that by the younger Stephens (Geneva, too deeply in the facts, doctrines, and ethics of 1569). Beza was the first who, by several collations a historic Christianity to follow in the wake of founded on the third edition by Stephens, made any sectarian or heretical modifications of the truth. considerable progress in the critical treatment of It instinctively turned, as it were, from a sense the text, and thus supplied a basis for the present of affinity to those apostolic records, the tone of received text (textus receptus), which was first which most closely corresponded to its own spiritual printed by Stephens with the Vulgate and critical character and development, and thus unconsciously annotations at Geneva, 1565; afterwards was freprevented any incongruous changes from being quently reprinted by Elzevir (Leyden, 1624) and effected in the mass of MSS. Of these MSS., up-others. The labours of the English scholar, Walton, wards of 1400 are known to scholars, and have in the London Polyglott (1657), of Fell (Oxford, been collated, and no essential discrepancy has 1675), and especially Mill (Oxford, 1707), were of been detected. Of course, it can be urged that great importance for the criticism of the New Tesall the MSS. belong to a period when the Church (tament. * Bengel exhibited great tact and acumen had gathered itself up into two great wholes-the) in his edition of 1734, Wetstein much industry and Latin and Greek, and when, therefore, a general care in the editions of 1751—1752, as also Semler, conformity in MSS., as in other things, is only to 1764. But all these recensions were surpassed in be expected; but the fragments which are found in value by the labours of Griesbach (1774). The more the earliest Church Fathers exhibit substantially, recent contributions to the criticism of the New though not verbally, the same text, and we may Testament by Scholz, the Lucubratio Critica (Basel, therefore fairly infer that this unintentional har- 1830), and the critical edition by Rink (2 vols., Leip. mony in part argues the general harmony of the 1830--1836), the edition by Lachmann, with especial earlier and later MSS.

use of oriental MSS., and, subsequently, the labour's Some slight attempts seem to have been made, of Buttmann (1842-1850) and Tischendorf (1841 during the early history of the Church, to obtain a and 1850), are also worthy of high praise. correct text. One Lucian, a presbyter of Antioch, Among the MSS. of the New Testament, the and Hesychius, an Egyptian bishop, are said by oldest are not traced back further than the 4th Jerome to have undertaken a recension of the New c., and are written in the so-called uncial characTestament, and both Origen and Jerome himself ters. The modern MSS., dating from the 10th c. were of considerable service in this respect. It is downwards, are distinguished by the cursive chato modern criticism, however, that we cwe almost racters in which they are written. The most im everything in regard to the regulation of the text. portant MSS. are the Codex Alexandrinus (in Bengel and Semler first started the idea of arranging the British Museum), C. Vaticanus (in the Vatican the MSS. of the New Testament into families or I at Rome), C. Ephrcemi (in the Imperial Library

« PrécédentContinuer »