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various readings themselves, in the order of chapter and verse, with evidences for and against them. Then, as to passages of more immediate importance, he examines, with impartial and scrupulous care, each evidence, external and internal, in favour of this or that particular reading. Thus the following Scripture passages are especially attended to: Matt. vi. 13; John i. 1; viïi. 1-11; 1 Tim. iii. 16; 1 John v. 7. Lastly was given an introduction to the Revelation of St. John, a book subjected to many more various readings (though it exists in fewer MSS.) than any other book of the New Testament; but oftener found in the MSS. which Bengel's exertions had brought to light, than in others. Here, therefore, he had the more to do in consequence of the very great imperfectness of all the hitherto printed editions of the Apocalypse. The third part of the Apparatus defended criticism in general, and the present criticisms in particular; especially as every care had been taken to keep the latter within the golden medium. Yet he would not dissemble how much still remained to be done for perfecting the general criticism of the New Testament; he therefore, in conclusion, earnestly called upon those who had time, ability, and opportunities, to contribute their help in this laborious but most useful study.
OPINIONS PRONOUNCED UPON BENGEL'S CRITICISMS.
The reception of his work among the studious fully answered his expectations; nevertheless, while many of the better disposed were thankful for the advantages it afforded, insomuch that the minor edition of the New Testament was soon out of print, there were others of a very different mind. 66 Certain ministers of God's word” scrupled not to insert in one of the periodicals entitled “ Early Gathered Fruits,” (No. 4, of the year 1738,) a stricture containing the following remarks.
every book-maker is to take into his head to treat the New Testament in this manner, we shall soon get a Greek text totally different from the received one. The audacity is really too great for us not to notice it; especially as such vast importance, it seems, is attached to this edition. Scarcely a chapter of it has not something either omitted, or inserted, or altered, or transposed. The audacity is unprecedented."
The writer of this stricture was probably John George Hager, M.A.; he, at least, it was who afterwards used very much the same language in a disputation which he held at Leipsic.
Quite another sort of objections was raised in an article of the Bibliothèque Raisonnée, published by the Wetsteins of Amsterdam; (see vol. for 1734, p. 203;) which article was known to have been written by J.J. Wetstein himself. Here it was stated as a principal defect of Bengel's work, that he had not adopted lections enough; not even all which he considered the true ones; that he had gone only upon a half measure; and that half measures, particularly in criticism, had been always of little or no use. That it was one and the same thing here, whether we gently intimate or whether we speak out; whether we note our preference for one lection standing in the text, or for another standing in the margin; all still depended upon the general question, Are we or are we not freely to use our critical resources ? The right of using these had never been disputed by the Protestant churches or by Rome herself; for as it rests on the surest foundation, so all editors of the Greek Testament had ever acted
it. Cautious and prudent, however, as they had been in so doing, this had not secured them from censure and persecution: for even Erasmus had been rewarded with the reputation of being an Arian ; and Robert Stephens was obliged to fly to Geneva to escape a burning at the stake, &c. Therefore Bengel's excessive prudence and caution would be any thing but serviceable to him; especially as he too, in editing the Apocalypse, had found it necessary to abandon these his favourite virtues ; so that it would have been better had he relinquished such caution altogether, and adopted into the text, whether from print or manuscript, whatever readings he considered to be the best. That the four worded canon proposed by Bengel " Proclivi scriptioni præstat ardua,” (“the more difficult reading is preferable to the easier one,") was quite ambiguous and unsupportable, as any reading countenanced by a majority of MSS. is surely the one to be preferred; hence Bengel's work, as presenting a collation of only twelve, could be of no very great value. Wetstein lastly threw out a sarcastic slight upon Bengel's promised exegetical annotations, (the Gnomon ;) but he concluded with acknowledging, that Bengel's edition of the New Testament was the best that had ever yet been printed.
That Bengel should publish some reply to opinions thus more or less unreasonably passed upon his work, seemed necessary from the circumstances of the case, especially as that age was charac
teristically fond of learned controversy. He had also another reason for so doing; for “critical labours being (as he had observed) so toilsome and dry, doubly entitled the labourer to a temperate and equitable judgment upon his productions; consequently it was but right that he should defend himself against unreasonable detraction.” This he undertook to do in several pieces as follows.
In reply to Wetstein's strictures he wrote, “A Defence of the Greek Testament, edited at Tübingen in 1734." This defence he inserted in the preface to his “Harmony of the four Gospels, published in 1736. Count Zinzendorf having read the “Defence," had recommended it to his friends in Holland; for he met with it in his tour through that country, and was very much pleased with it. From Holland, therefore, Bengel received a request, which there is reason to suppose came originally from Bâsle, that he would by all means republish it in Latin, for easier access to foreign countries. Bengel then revised and translated it, and sent it to Amsterdam for admission into the “ Miscellanea Critica,” a journal published there; its admission, however, having been, for some special reason, refused, two of his friends, Professor D'Orville and Jerome von Alphen, undertook the printing of it.* Bengel in this defence dismisses several minor objections, and proceeds as follows:-- 1. “ That Wetstein was incorrect in asserting, that the edition in question had been prepared with the help of no more than twelve MSS.; it contained his own collations of seven Strasburg MSS., one Byzantine MS., one at Warsaw, one at Moscow, two at Uffenbach ; with collations made by others of three at Bâsle, and collations of seven more, besides the collations of L. Valla and of J. Faber Stapulensis. He had also collected upon the ancient Latin version of the Old and New Testament (the Vulgate,) sufficient to render it a very easy task to make a complete recension of that version. Above all, by impartially collating every lection of printed editions, he had reduced the whole controversy to a much narrower compass, upon very many passages.
2.“ Why the canon · Proclivi Scriptioni præstat ardua,' should be deemed ambiguous, he was the less able to understand, as the terms of which it consists had long been used, and by the oldest critics; especially too as he had given his own meaning in thus
“ Io. Alberti Bengelii Defensio N. T. Græci Tubinga, anno 1734, editi. Lugduni Batavorum apud Conradum Wishoff, 1737.” It was also reprinted in the Appendix to the 2d edition of the “ Apparatus Criticus.”
combining them; and had shown the comprehensiveness of its application.
3. “ As to his never embodying in the text (except in that of the Apocalypse,) any MS. reading, though appearing the more correct one, he admitted it was a rule he had obeyed for prudential reasons, rather than from absolute necessity. He considered it, however, not so cautiously narrow as was represented; for as the many printed editions of the text serve to correct one another, all imperative need of reference to unprinted MSS. is hereby, except in a few instances, entirely done away.
His caution, though censured, was also most justifiable, as tending to satisfy very many considerate persons who had expressed, not entirely without cause in relation to such matters, their dissatisfaction with critics in general. Had he not used that caution, greater evil might have ensued than even was apprehended in the strictures of this journal, namely, an increased perplexity in the minds of many about the certainty of the text; a perplexity keeping pace with men's natural eagerness for novelty, and which at present was the more to be dreaded, as Wetstein's own example gave indeed some occasion to fear, that the public might, by and by, have the text of the New Testament modelled, first after one system of theoretical divinity, and then after another; unless some stand, like that objected to, were made to prevent it.
4. “ That the exception he had indulged in his revision of the Apocalypse, was defensible on two accounts; first, that its contingent of various readings was much greater than that of any other part of the New Testament; and secondly, that fewer MSS. of this than of its other parts had ever been collated, or even been discovered; so that his restricting himself to printed editions here, would have been rather out of place.
5. “ To the ridicule attempted against his yet unpublished Gnomon,' he had only to say, that the more his materials had increased, the more had he found it necessary to divide his notes, critical and exegetical, into three distinct works, namely, Text, Apparatus, and Gnomon; and that the last was now in the press.
6. “ As to Wetstein's notion, that the correctness of readings should be determined by a majority of MSS., it was absurd in itself, and contradicted its abettor's own Prolegomena of 1730; as also his preface to the second edition of Gerard's New Testament, published by the Wetsteins in 1735. That to ascertain the authority of any MS., it was necessary to have consideration of its origin; a thing which often gives preponderance to one,
beyond a hundred others. Were this mode of estimating them allowed and acted upon, there would be so little occasion for fearing any numerical reckoning, that rather he would wish it to be made; and that meanwhile he would venture to pledge himself that even a majority of manuscripts would in general confirm no recension so fully as his own.
7. “ Though he had no wish to inquire into Wetstein's motives for getting up such a hasty reprint of Gerard's Greek Testament in behalf of the firm of his relatives, he could not forbear making a few observations on the character of this new edition. Hasty, indeed, he was obliged to call it, because it retained all the typographical errors of the first, and even added one more, in stating that a hundred MSS. had been collated for that first edition, whereas only a single MS. had been collated for it; and because Wetstein had given this second edition a preface, which betrayed very diligent availment of Bengel's “ Apparatus Criticus,” and more approval of it than had been expressed in the Bibliothèque raisonnée," &c.
To the other strictures which appeared in the “Early gathered Fruits," and in “ Hager's Disputation,” he replied, partly in German and partly in Latin (in 1739), through a journal entitled “ New Literary Notices from Tübingen.” “As the former of these strictures had attempted to show, by specimens of Bengel's criticisms on the text of the Apocalypse, how much he had departed from the received one; and as the reviewer had hence concluded that the other books of the New Testament had been treated much in the same manner, which was surely, he said, to be lamented, as such an endeavour to throw uncertainty over the text was putting weapons into the hands of infidels ; Bengel, therefore, showed that Erasmus, who undervalued the Apocalypse, so hurried it to the press, that he had suffered many evident errors to remain, and had even substituted for the original Greek text of the concluding part of this book, a translation of his own into Greek from the Latin Vulgate. That “though the genuine Greek was afterwards brought to light, and printed in the Spanish (Complutensian) Polyglott, this spurious Greek of Erasmus was still propagated by other editions; so that it was high time the Apocalypse should undergo a most accurate revision, aided by the variety of excellent materials which had been gathered, not only from versions and from the Fathers, but also from newlydiscovered manuscripts. Unreasonable, then, was it that the Apocalypse, the only book in which he (Bengel) had deviated