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however, inserted a few emendations from the Various Readings collected by Dr. Kennicott, and De Rossi, whenever they appeared to be genuine, and of sufficient importance to warrant such insertion. When introduced into the text, they are distinguished by being inclosed in brackets, and the reason for their introduction is assigned in a note, that the reader may at once perceive how far we have deviated from the common text, and how little it is affected by such
The notation in Roman characters has been adopted from the conviction, that it would tend materially to facilitate the progress of the learner in the attainment of the Hebrew language, serve as a stimulus to many to engage in its acquisition, and prove highly interesting even to the mere English Reader. Nothing, perhaps, has tended more to retard the progress of Oriental Literature in Europe, than the apparently strange, uncouth, and intricate nature of the characters in which the Eastern Languages are usually written and printed. This has been the incubus which has depressed the energies of hundreds, and from which many have fled away with dismay. This evil has been severely felt, and unequivocally acknowledged with respect to some of those languages, and has also been partially removed ; and it is hoped that the present undertaking will have the effect of smoothing the path to the acquisition of that ancient and sublime language in which the Oracles of God were first conveyed to man. Two objects were to be attained in the proposed system of notation - distinctness of orthography and accuracy of pronunciation. The first we have secured by assigning to each character and vowel-point a distinct letter or letters, according to the annexed scheme, with as small a departure from their usual pronunciation in English as possible, By adopting, occasionally, Italic and small capital letters, and the usual prosodical marks, in preference to any other mode of notation, it has thus been rendered extremely simple and easy of acquirement; while the Roman letters are so modified as to discriminate and express, accurately, the orthography, as well as the orthoepy, of each word in the original character. The latter object, it must be confessed, was of more difficult attainment, as the Jews of various nations differ, in a trifling degree, with regard to the pronunciation of certain letters and vowels. We believe, however, it will be found, that the most approved and generally received mode of pronunciation has been followed ; and it may easily be adapted to any other system, by giving to each letter, which is as definitely fixed as in the original character, the precise sound required. Thus those who prefer pronouncing the wāf always as v, and the qāmētz as 7, have merely to substitute those sounds for the 'w and ā by which they are indicated. The Anti-punctist, also, may accommodate it to his own system, and read it with nearly the :same facility, by rejecting all the vowels, and substituting any he may please to insert in their stead.
The Interlinear Translation is substantially the same with the Authorized English Version, except in those few instances in which it was conceived to be erroneous, or where the Hebrew idiom required a closer version; and even in the latter case, we have frequently done little more than adopt the marginal readings of our larger Bibles. The principal deviations from the common translation are placed at the bottom of the page, in the form of notes, that the reader may at once perceive how seldom we have had
occasion to depart from that truly excellent version. The order of the original words being preserved, and the version of each word given, it became necessary to indicate by figures the manner in which it is to be read in order to adapt it to the English idiom, and to enclose in brackets those words which were either superfluous in that idiom, or were not translated in the Authorized Version. It must also be remarked, that when one Hebrew word is rendered by two or more English words, those words are connected by hyphens, and must be combined in one in order to make the expression equivalent to the Hebrew; and that the words supplied to complete the sense in English, which are not in the original, are printed in Italics.
Thus the translation “is strictly literal, as Locke enjoins, but never sacrifices English sense or grammar to express a foreign idiom;" and,“ with regard to grammar, it is taught already by this method of translation, to those who know English Grammar; for every word, as far as possible, is rendered in its corresponding part of speech, even to the cases of nouns and the tenses of verbs; and where this cannot be done, the exception makes the rule the plainer : so that Syntax, that part of Grammar which most perplexes a learner, may be, and is postponed till a later period -- and all that engages the pupil's attention in the early stage of his progress, is the meaning of words and their usual infections. He is placed on the footing of a child learning its native tongue, to whom the sense of words and their forms is alone a sufficient study, and by whom a knowledge of English Syntax is not attempted to be gained till this foundation is perfectly secured."*
* See the Prospectus of a Popular System of Classical Instruction, prefixed to the first Books of Virgil, and Homer, pp. vi. vii.
It will be perceived, that we have arranged the poetical parts in parallel lines, the importance of which arrangement has been fully acknowledged by every competent Hebrew scholar since the days of Bishop Lowth. “In the best editions of the Bible,” says Archbishop Newcome,* “ the poetical parts should be divided into lines answering to the metre of the original. The common editions would be made too expensive by such a distribution, which would occupy a large space; but this inconvenience may be avoided, by placing each hemistich within inverted commas, or by any other proper mark of distinction for the pause. Dr. Kennicott's words on this subject are: “Si universa in bibliis Hebræis carmina, more poetico, lineis brevibus, et plerumque fere æqualibus (saltem ubi non fuerint corruptæ) nunc demum imprimerentur, mirum quantum elucesceret statim sacri poetæ mens; idque in mille locis, ubi, sub usitatæ prosæ forma, difficillimum est ullam, saltem veram, expiscari sententiam.'”+
The Notes are chiefly designed to justify any deviation from the Authorized Version, by giving the authorities upon which the translation is founded; to rectify the words of the Sacred Text, by pointing out the more important Various Readings; to state briefly the arguments for the rendering of difficult, dubious, and obscure words, with references to philological and other works where these arguments are more copiously discussed; to furnish a more literal rendering than was practicable in the text; to elucidate, more fully, expressions which could not be rendered by a single word ; to exhibit the distinctive marks of difference be
* Cited by Bishop Jebb, Sacred Literature, p. 66.
tween words which are usually regarded as synonymous ; and, not unfrequently, to illustrate the ideas, images, and allusions of the
Sacred Penman, by a reference to objects idioms, customs, manners, and laws, which were peculiar to his age or.country, or to Oriental nations.
We cannot close, without adverting to one great end to which this work may be rendered eminently subservient--that of evincing the utter groundlessness of the charges which have of late years been brought against our venerable Translation, and of repelling the allegations of uncertainty with which the Hebrew language itself has been arraigned. Here, by the usage of the words themselves, every man may judge whether they be correctly rendered or not ; and we are persuaded, he will speedily arrive at the conclusion, that, except in a very few cases, they could not have been better translated. While it is admitted, that a few things require alteration and emendation, occasioned by the changes which have taken place in the English language, and by modern improvements in sacred criticism and philology; it may confidently be affirmed, that for general fidelity and perspicuity, for elegance, nervousness, and dignity, our old Version has never been surpassed, and that it is only inferior to the Sacred Original itself. Equally unfounded are the charges of uncertainty brought against the Hebrew language; which owe their origin to the putid translations of men characterized by ignorance or temerity, and which equally bid defiance to every principle of grammar and
We here put it in the power of all men to satisfy themselves of the truth of the assertion, that the Sacred language, in its signification and construction, is not a whit more uncertain