Images de page
PDF
ePub

hostility to science, and malignity,' he forfeits all claim to that indulgence which his acknowledged merits would otherwise bave demanded. He who has stepped out of his way to impute the want of a due regard to the principles of justice and truth to an amiable and respectable man, who held the Regius Professorship of physic for twenty years, and is now gone to a tribunal whose decision Sir James ought not to have anticipated, exposes himself to all the severity of impartial criticism. An undue opinion of his own merits naturally leads a man to depreciate the moral as well as the intellectual qualifications of his opponents; but the dead should be spoken of with candour, if not with tenderness; Où ydp so bad κατθανούσι κερτομεϊν επ' ανδράσιν, was the remark of the most virulent of poets. We cannot refrain from mentioning one circumstance which is singularly at variance with Sir James's representation of the eagerness that exists at Cambridge for botanical information. • It is customary,' Professor Monk informs is, “ for persons, who propose to attend public lectures, to write their names previously upon a board prepared for the purpose—but in spite of the celebrity of the lectures given at the Royal Institution, the “hungry flock,” which was on this occasion disappointed of its repast, consisted of the Vice-Chancellor, and only four or five other persons.'

We now dismiss the subject, which our readers perhaps may think that we have considered more at length than its apparent importance required. But the fact is, that in its ultimate bearings the question is one of the last consequence. Upon the system of instruction pursued in our Universities depends, in a very considerable degree, our national character, in point of religious belief as well as of intellectual acquirements. Attempts have been repeatedly made in our Universities to break down the barriers which were erected to maintain purity in faith and discipline; but they have hitherto been defeated by the steadiness and consistency of the bodies at large. We trust that they will ever preserve their proper and constitutional character of church of England seminaries, in spite of the lamentations of Jeremy Bentham and the sarcasms of Mr. Brougham. Only let the tutors and heads of houses bear in mind that their zeal for the cause of truth must not evaporate in remonstrances against the introduction of aliens. Their first and most sacred duty is to initiate the youth committed to their care into the doctrines and duties of Christianity; and it will profit but little to guard against the intrusion of dissenters, if they are not careful to supply abundance of sound and orthodox instruction. Precept upon precept, and line upon line should be directed to the grand object of making the academic youth rational, and conscientious, and virtuous members of our national church. If this be neglected—if the honours of the University be conferred solely upon proficiency in

mere

[ocr errors]

mere human literature, we scruple not to say, that the great ends of
its institution are not answered. The youthful mind will be exer-
cised in the subtlety of metaphysical disquisitions, and habituated
to require the accuracy of mathematical demonstration, before it is
taught to discern the proper and legitimate province of reason in
matters of religion, or to estimate the real value of those grounds
of probability, upon which the truth of the Gospel rests.
sident members of one university will understand the allusion con
tained in these remarks. We trust that they will persevere in their
endeavours to make religious knowledge a prominent feature of
academical instruction, and to take away from their adversaries a
great occasion of gainsaying.

The re

Art. XI. A Reply to the Quarterly Review on the New Trans

lution of the Bible from the original Hebrew. By John Bellamy, Author of the History of all Religions. 8vo. London. 1818.

WI

HEN we lately undertook to examine Mr. Bellamy's New

Translation of the Bible, we found not only that proofs of his utter incompetence to the task crowded upon us at every step, but that his bold pretension of making new discoveries as to the meaning of the plainest passages of the Bible, tended to shake the confidence of the public in the certainty of received scriptural interpretations. In consequence, we felt ourselves called upon to explain, without disguise, the grounds of the opinion which we were led to form respecting this writer and his work. At the same time, we had no wish unnecessarily to wound his feelings, and were there.fore desirous of abstaining from the exposure of his blunders to a greater extent than appeared to be required by a just regard to truth and to our public duty.

Whatever may have been the effect of these strictures on our readers, (and we are much mistaken if this be at all doubtful,) their influence on the author himself has not been that which we intended. Instead of teaching him to estimate more justly his qualifications as a biblical critic and translator, they have operated in a most unfortunate manner on the irritability of his temper; and given birth to a Reply,' in which he assails us with the most opprobrious epithets, and boldly contends that we are advocating the cause of errror.

Under these circumstances, we find ourselves compelled to revert to a subject which we thought was set at rest, and to adduce some further confirmation of the opinion already stated respecting this

author's

we

author's demerits. To his low and vulgar scurrilities we stoop not to reply. To his assertions that we are actuated by malicious and interested motives, we merely answer, that we have no interest in writing against his translation, besides that which all who revere the Bible have in preventing the perversion and degradation of its sacred truths. Let him prove to us that the received sense of Scripture is erroneous, and his new discoveries true;

and

will

engage to recommend his translation as warmly as we now oppose it.

In conducting his · Reply,' Mr. Bellamy adopts, of course, that plan which he deems most advantageous to his defence. He generally keeps in the background the essential part of what we urged against him, and then boasts that he has completely confuted us : often he turns suddenly from one part of the subject to another, so as to make it difficult for the reader to trace the particular point which he is pretending to answer; then again, he strives to draw off attention from his own detected blunders, by dwelling at large on what he is pleased to deem instances of error in the received translation; and, whenever he finds himself entirely at a loss, he bursts out into violent fits of astonishment and indignation, rails at the dishonesty and incapacity of his reviewers, &c. (pp. 36. 39. &c.) We complain not that he has recourse to all these stratagems; but, in proportion as it is his business to perplex and confuse matters as much as possible, it is ours to place every thing before the reader in the most perspicuous order. To this end, we must request their attention, while we advert particularly to those texts on which we grounded the charge of utter incompetence against him, and consider with what success he has rebutted it. We begin with distinctly affirming that he has not, in any one instance, disproved in the slightest degree the justice of our strictures; nay, that he has now afforded the most valuable of all testimonies, his own, to their truth : for, since he has manifestly strained every 'nerve to confute what we advanced, his total failure amounts in fact to a complete admission of its validity.

The first passage on which we animadverted,* was his translation of Gen. ii. 21, 22. in the following uncouth and novel manner:

. Then he brought one to his side, whose flesh he had inclosed in her place. Then Jehovah God built the substance of the other, which he took for the man, even a woman: and he brought her to the man.'

After stating the entire and absolute concurrence of all versions, and of all interpreters and commentators, in the received sense, we shewed the total want of authority for this barbarous jargon. We will give Mr. Bellamy's answers in detail.

See our last Number, pp. 262–267.

1. In reply to our remark (p. 264.) that the acknowledged sense of np is cepit, sumpsit, abstulit, he produces (p. 21.) il passage where it is rendered - brought.' Numb. xxi. 28. ' And Balak brought (np) Balaam unto the top of Peor. We insist on our former remark in its full force. The word may be rendered

bring' with reference to a person, place, or thing, in which "take' and 'bring’ are in a manner synonimous; but it would be as much a departure from the acknowledged use of words to render cepit or tulit, followed by a or de, in the sense of ' bring to,' as nps, when followed, as it here is, by the preposition. - 9. We maintained (p. 265) that the preposition prefixed to 151357 signifies' from' in Hebrew, quite as much as the Latin a or the Greek

απο, , and that nothing can be considered as established in language, if it can be rendered at will by the opposite sense to' Mr. Bellamy assigned before no reason for his new translation; he assigns none now; and gives not a single word of answer to our remark: thereby admitting that he has used the word in a sense wholly opposed to the true one.

3. We insisted (p. 265) that, although vSy is used to signify“ a rib' only in this first chapter of Genesis, yet it always occurs in some cognate sense, and all authorities are agreed in giving this sense here. To this Mr. Bellamy replies, (p. 20.) that all authorities are not so agreed, because • Origen, in answer to the assertion of Celsus, concerning Eve being made from Adam's rib, says that“ these things are to be understood allegorically: and that Philo, Eusebius, and St. Austin say the same.” Thus,' continues he,' as to this view of the subject I am not alone.' Of what view does he speak? The question now before us is, whether the Hebrew words are rightly construed to mean that God took one of the ribs of the man, &c.; and how does the assertion of Origen, that allegory is concealed under the literal sense, tend to shew that he did not construe the words precisely as others have done? But we can reduce

the matter to actual proof. Origen's words are, (Orig. contr. Cels. lib. iv. p. 187. edit. 1677.) . Then, since he (Celsus) determined to carp at the Scriptures, he blames also this passage-και ελαβε μιαν των πλευρων αυτε, και ανεπληρωσε σαρκα αντ' αυτης, και φκοδομησε την πλευραν-εις γυναικα : hereby proving most fully that he differed not from others in the slightest degree in his construction of the original words. Indeed, his contention for the allegorical sense, proves, of itself, that his interpretation was literally the same as ours.

4. On Mr. Bellamy's rendering of the next clause,' whose flesh he had inclosed in her place,' we remarked, (p. 265.) that he unnecessarily departs from the received meaning; that the sense of bis words is quite mintelligible; that he has no authority for rendering the verb in the pluperfect tense, and that there is nothing in the original corresponding to the pronoun relative' whose' which he gratuitously introduces into the translation. To all this, the whole of what we find in reply is a simple observation respecting the last clause. The translators have frequently rendered the by the pronouns relative who, which, also the genitive whase, and the accusative whom. We will not affirm positively that they have not done so, because we cannot be certain of the fact without a laborious search through every page of the Old Testament. But this we scruple not to affirm most distinctly, that, if they have done so in any particular instance, no authority is thereby afforded for thus rendering the word whenever it occurs. The Hebrew copulative i corresponds to the Latin copulative et. It is possible that some translators may have found it convenient, in rendering a Latin sentence into English, to express et by the pronoun relative; but who in his senses would therefore contend that et signifies who, which, whose, and may be rendered by the pronoun relative whenever the translator pleases ?

words rendered

5. On his strange rendering of ysyn ny by the substance of the other,' we observed (p. 266. 274.) that ne is simply the mark of the accusative, or, at the most, should merely be expressed by the very,'ipsum, not by the substance of;' and that he might translate byna house,'' a tree,' or any thing else, with quite as much reason as the other.'

ith respect to nx, he answers (as far as we understand him) (p. 38.) that he couceives the word should be rendered as he has rendered it,' wherever our idiom will alloir of the translation.' We leave the reader then to judge whether our idiom requires it here. As to oby, all the answer we can find is (p. 20.) a reference to five passages of Scripture,' where (says he) the same word is translated as I have translated it. Let us see. In two of his passages (Exod. xxvi. 26. 2 Sam. xvi. 13.) the word occurs in the singular, and is translated side'; in two others, (Exod. xxx. 4. xxxvi. 27.) in the plural,“ sides;' in the remaining one, Ezek. xli. 6. mi son is translated side chambers. But the word also occurs in the last-mentioned text in a form more to Mr. Bellamy's purpose, and to ours. " The side chambers (of the temple) were three, one over another. The Hebrew of the latter expression is vby 38 oby, literally side to side,'' side upon side,' latus ad latus, correctly expressed by our translators' one over another.' And this is Mr. Bellamy's authority for translating vse in this passage of Genesis, by the other'! His blunder is portentous. The case is precisely the same as if a person were to find in the description of a building, in Latin, such an expression as latus ad latus

« PrécédentContinuer »