« PrécédentContinuer »
The Original Languages.
87. For explaining the Scriptures, some knowledge of the original languages in which they were written, is absolutely necessary; as without it, whatever sense a person puts upon them, must be taken wholly on the authority of others.
88. To be reduced to this necessity, is shameful in the teachers of religion ; and, therefore, to neglect the ftudy of these languages, is also in them inexcusable.
89. Criticism presupposes the grammar of the particular languages ; and is employed in applying the principles there laid down, to their proper use.
go. The languages in which the Scriptures are written, are the Hebrew and the Greek; on them it therefore is, that Scripture criticism must be exercised.
The Origin of the Hebrew Language, and of the
91. Some have ascribed the invention of language, wholly to the natural powers of men; ' others, wholly to a divine instruction." Most probably, the first language was formed by Adam and Eve for themselves, by the use of their own powers, but supernaturally afsisted. 3 * Diod. Sicul. 1. i. La&ant. de cultu. I. 10. Greg. Nyff. cont.
Eunom. or. 12. Simon, V. T. l. 1. c. 14, 15. · The Jews in general. Plato. Cratyl. Koran, c. 2. Bux.
torf de ling. Heb. orig. Blair on Rhetor. L. 6. Walton
Prol. 1. § 4.
92. From our supposing the primitive language to have been formed not without divine assistance, or even from its having been immediately of divine original, it cannot be concluded, that it must have possessed an uncommon degree of perfection; for still, the wisdom of God would adapt it to the necessities of mankind at that period, and to the use which their unimproved fa. culties could make of it; and consequently, it is natural to think that it was narrow and unpolished.
Univ. Hift, ib. Blair, ib.
93. Adam and his posterity continued to use the primititive language, only making some additions to it, as their occasions from time to time required. On account of the longevity of men, and their not being very numerous, nor widely scattered, that language probably remained with little variation, till the deluge ; and the same language would, of course, be spoken by the family of Noah, for some space of time.
Univ. Hift. ib. Simon, ib. Waltoa, Prol. 1. $ 6.
94. This uniformity of language was broken by the dispersion of mankind at Babel ; and when, in consequence of that event, the different tribes were formed into distinct nations, they would naturally run into different dialects, which would, in course of time, become more and more different from one another. Gen. xi. 6, &c. Cleric. in loc. Simon, V. T. l. 1. C. 14.
Scaliger, Exercit. in Cardan. II. Cafaubon, Diatrib. de ling. Heb. M. Casaubon de 4 ling. Wotton concerning the Confusion of Languages. Brett’s Elay on the same. Buxt. de ling. Heb. confufione. Walton, ib. $ 6, 7.
95. Some have thought that the primitive language is wholly loft; others, that it still exists, and that the Hebrew is that language. The truth seems to be, that in one sense it is loft, all the languages now known differing from it in many respects ; but in another sense it still exists, to wit, in the several dialects derived from it, all which retain something of it.
Greg. Nys. ib. Simon, ib. c. 14. Grot. in Gen. xi. 1.
06. Of these dialects, that may most properly be reckoned the primitive language, which has deviated least from it: And, though claims have been urged in favour of many languages, particularly, of all the Oriental tongues, this character is shewn, by many playsia ble arguments, to belong to the Hebrew, in preference to all others. Theodoret. qu. 51. in Geo. Pocock. Pref. in Tograi. Buxt.
ib. Chrysoit. hom. 30. in Gen. xi. Auguft. de Civ. Dei, 1. 17. C. 11. Hieron. Comment. in Sophon. Origen, hom. 11. in Num. Selden de Synedr. l. 2. c. 9. Bochart, Phaleg. l. 1. c. 15. Simon, V.T. 1.1. c. 14, 15. Schultens, Orat. de ling. Arab. Walton, Prol. 3. $ 1-22.
97. The Hebrew language was not confined to the Ifraelites alone, nor even to the descendants of Abraham or of Shem; but was the fame with that of the Phenicians and Canaanites, who were of the posterity of Ham.
98. The Greek language was ultimately derived from the same source, having taken its rise from some of the Oriental dialects used by the colonies which peopled Greece ; but, by reason of the situation of those that used it, their progress, in arts and sciences, and their care in refining and improving it, it underwent so great alterations as to become, in time, a very dissimi- , lar language. Squire's Inquiry into the Origin of the Greek Language.
Ogerii Græca et Latina Ling. Hebraizantes. . Monboddo's
Of Written Language, particularly the Hebrew and
99. Men could not fail soon to become desirous of expressing their thoughts by visible marks, as well as by sounds.
100. The first method which they fell upon for this purpofe, was, probably, the fixing upon marks to denote particular things; and these would be, in the beginning, a rude picture of the thing; but would, afterwards, be simplified for the fake of expedition. Of marks in this stage, the Chinese characters appear to be an instance. Warburton, Div. Leg. Blair on Rhetor. L. 7: Walton, Prol.
2. Ø 13, 20, 21.
101. By most nations, these marks of things were laid aside, as soon as they had invented or learned a more commodious method of writing, namely by an alphabet ; but, the Egyptians retained it along with this other method, and improved it to a great degree of refinement in their hieroglyphical writing, which they appropriated to particular purposes, especially those in respect of which they studied.secrecy.
Warburton, ib. Blair, ib. Walton, ib. $ 17, 18, 19.