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ing the text of that part of Scripture in a very great degree correct.

Walton, Prol. 6. 1.

60. But an opinion, however ill-founded, has been generally received, the few who ventured to oppose it having been till lately discountenanced and borne down, that the Old Testament, as printed in Hebrew, is absolutely correct; and the prevalence of this opinion has prevented many from employing any care in examining the text of the Old Testament.

Walton, Prol. 7.

61. In support of that opinion, is urged the great care and accuracy of the Jews, in transcribing their Scriptures. But, as no care is sufficient, without a perpetual miracle, for preventing every mistake in tran. scribing, so, by every kind of evidence of which the matter is capable, it appears that they have actually committed mistakes


often in their copies of the Old Testament. Ken. Diff. 1. p. 235, 379, 351, 371, 411. Dis. 2. p. 315,

404, 441, &c. 260, 273, 274, 278. Diff. Gen. Ø 23.

62. It is, however, insisted, that, when transcribers made any small mistake, it was immediately corrected by the Jewish Doctors, so that no mistakes now remain in any of the copies. But, though these Doctors did several times review and correct the copies of the Old Testament, this could not be effectual for removing every mistake; nor did one review, even in their own-judgment, render other reviews unneceffary Ken. Dist. 2. p. 444. Diff. Gen. 32–43. 51–58. Hou

big. Prol. c. 1. a. 2. Walton, Prol. 8. § 18——29.

63. But it is urged, that the Mafora corrected all the mistakes which had crept in prior to it, and gave the means of detecting every subsequent mistake. From the very nature of the Mafora, however, it is clear, that it could not possibly answer either of these purposes ; and it is, in fact, very faulty and defective, and formed on late MSS. Simon, V. T. l. 1. C. 24, 25, 26. Houbig. Prol. c. 1. a. 3.

Ken. Dis. 2. p. 262—291. Walton, Prol. 8. Ø1-16.

64. After the reception of the Mafora, the Jews were very careful to correct their MSS. according to it; but, it being faulty and inadequate to the purpose, this was far from being sufficient for rendering them free from errors; and, in fact, there are readings in the text, as corrected by it, and printed, which are evidently wrong. Houbig. Prol. c. 2. a. 2. Ken. Diff. 1. p. 97, 343, 438,

446, 472, 528, 535. Dis. 2. p. 314, 356. Deut. X. 6. " Aaron died in Nofera. Contradicted by Num. XX. 22. xxxiii. 38. “ in Hor.Samaritan.

Ken. in loc. Diff. 2. p. 314. Dill. Gen. 18, 165. 2 Sam. xxiv. 13. “ Seven years of famine;” inconsistent with

1 Chron. xxi. 12. Three years ;” which is probably right. Uniformity. 70. , for .

Ken. Diff. 1. p. 472. Diff. Gen. s 167. 2 Chron. xxii. 2. “ Forty and two years old was Ahaziah ;" contradicted by 2 Kings vi. 26. “ Two and twenty;" and


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by 2 Chron. xxi. 20. his father Jehoram only forty. Vers.

for 5.

Ken. Diff. 1. p. 97, 528, 535. Diff. 2. p. 356.
Josh. xxi. 36, 37. omitted, yet genuine. Context. vers.
MSS. 3} Edit.

Simon, V. T. 1. 1. C. 22. Houbig. in loc. Ken. in loc.
Dill. 1. p. 440, 552.

Din. 2. p. 285, 330, 390, 459, 464, 485, 487, 571. Diff. Gen. $ 25, 43, 55, 56, 60, 61, 80, 98, 123, 125, 179.

65. The practice of correcting MSS. according to the Mafora, produced a very great degree of uniformity; it was confidently asserted that the uniformity was perfect ; and, for a long time, by reason of the want of access to a variety of ancient MSS., the assertion could not be directly disproved, and was very generally believed. But, since MSS. were examined, it appears with the fullest evidence, that they actually do contain very many variations from the Masoretic text; the oldest MSS. most; but even late ones feveral; and these often preferable to the received readings; and often unquestionably the genuine readings. Houbigant, Prol. c. 1. a. 2. Ken. Diff. 1. p. 290, 297. et pasfım. Diff. 2. p. 286, 445, 459. Gen, xliv. 24

" We came up unto my father ;” « our father.2 MSS. Samn.

Vers. Ken. in loc. Diff. Gen. $ 43. 1 Sam. xvii. 34. A lion and a hear took (177) him out of the

lamb. Keri. All MSS. Vers.
Ken. ibid. and § 39.
Isa. xxxvi. 5. “ I say, I have counsel ” 107928, abfurd.

“ thou sayeft." 16 MSS. Syr. 2 Kings, xviii. 20. Eng.
supplies it, but improperly retaining also the other reading.






Lowth et Ken. in loc.

66. The printed editions of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and those of the Greek of the New Testament are, therefore, precisely on the same footing; and the following principles may be justly held with respect to both.

Walton, Prol. 6.

67. There has not hitherto been so great care employed on any edition of the Scriptures, as to render the readings sacred which are adopted in it, or to supersede the necessity of examining them by MSS.

68. A reading is not rendered even suspicious, merely on account of its not being found in the common editions of the Bible.

69. A reading ought not to be rejected as false, for its not being found in any printed edition of the Bible.

70. So far is there from being reason for adhering tenaciously to the printed text, that it ought to be departed from without fcruple, whenever another read. ing found in MSS. is clearly preferable.

71. A much more correct edition of the Scriptures than any extant, may be obtained, and would be very desirable.



The Samaritan Pentateuch.

72. For ascertaining the true reading in the books of Moses, we have a peculiar instrument, the Samari. tan Pentateuch, which was little known by Christians till the 17th century; which was then printed from one MS.; but of which several MSS. have been since examined by learned men. Walton, Prol. 11. Ø 10. Simon, V. T. 1. i. c. 12. Houbia

gant, Prol. c. 3. Ken. Diff. 2. c. l. Diff. Gen. cod. 6166. Brett, Diff. on ancient versions.

73. It is not a version, but the original law itself, written in a character different from the Hebrew.


74. It was not translated from the Greek version, nor copied from Hebrew books after the time of Ezra ; but was among the ten tribes when they separated from Judah ; and, from the copies then among them, it has been successively transcribed. Houbigant, ibid. a. I. 1. Ken. Diff. 2. p. 110, 130, &c. .

Walton, Prol. 11. y 11, 12.

75. The Samaritan, and the Hebrew, are two independent copies of the original text, preserved by nations who hated one another, and held no intercourse together; yet they agree in general. This is a strong


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