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-comso רעו עמים וחתו ; reading of the other versions
lowing is the ground of this emendation, as expressed in a note. “ The present reading lyn is subject to many difficulties; I follow that of the LXX. Y7 yvūns. Archbishop Secker approves this reading, WT know ye this, as parallel and synonymous to 13°7877 give ear to it in the next line.” On the other hand, however, to the single support of the Septuagint, Kocher opposes the joint
; ciamini populi, et consternamini ; congruenter phrasi ini noixnn accingimini et consternamini. Estque W Pyhal ex Pihel 17 associavit, Jud. xiv. 20, atque bene Chald. 17x consociamini ; neque longe abest Vulg. congregamini. Sed et Syrus 7 vidit, etsi cum aliis tanquam ex yy interpretabatur. Quid igitur obsit unius Græci in Esaia vertendo satis perspecta levitas, et åßae fía? Kocher might have likewise added the testimony of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, all of whom read συναθροίσθησε. .
But the genius of the critical school under consideration was of too aspiring a nature to be cramped in its flight by the mere readings of manuscripts and versions ; it aimed at something higher, the restoration of the text by conjecture alone. From the many innovations of this description, with which the work of Lowth abounds, I shall select only one ; but it is one, which shews, that an insatiablo thirst for emendation sometimes prevailed over both his taste and his judgment. Instead of rendering
. . , “ joy is darkened,” according to the established version, he translates them, “all gladness is passed away;" which translation he grounds upon the following correction ;
For . Houbigant. Secker." Upon this proposed transposition of the letters and > Kocher remarks, that it is altogether unsupported as well by manuscripts, as by the versions. He then thus explains the meaning of the word as it appears
in chap. xxiv. 11, f all ערבה כל־שמחה the words
.transposing a letter עברה read ערבה stFor
ערב Quid si verbi
in the Hebrew text untransposed. ignoratio eruditis viris obfuit, cujus diversæ et latente origine disparatæ significationes leguntur ? En verba Buxtorfii in lexico: miscuit, commiscuit, unde ad varia transfertur: negotiari, spondere, fidejubere, oppignerare ; amænum, suave, dulce esse; pertexere ; advesperascere, obtenebrari, obscurari. **** Nunc dispice, tenuene ac dilutum, idque per vim atque violenter arcessitum illud malis, “ transiit (1772y) omnis lætitia ;” an luminosum elegansque istud, “occidit (1737) omnis lætitia, ut cum decedens sol tristibus cuncta tenebris mergit. Surely the reading of the established version, "All joy is darkened,” is as well more elegant, as more correct, than his.
These are a few of the numerous defects pointed out in the criticisms of an accomplished Prelate, whose classical erudition, taste, and talents were probably as superior, as his philological acquirements in oriental literature were confessedly inferior, to those of his opponent. Kocher indeed seems to have had too high and inflexible an idea of, what is usually termed, the integrity of the sacred text; but Lowth had certainly too low and loose an opinion of it. From a perusal however of Kocher's tract, written in confutation of Lowth's criticisms, it is impossible not to admit the Bishop's failure in the attainment of the object which he had in view. Ignorant or regardless of grammatical minutiæ, he sometimes misconceives a meaning, which a little more accurate investigation would have clearly pointed out to him; while at other times he substitutes a novel reading in a passage, where the common one, if correctly understood, would have given him the very sense, which he imputes to it. And, ever prone to display the fertility of his fancy, he adds, subtracts, transposes, and changes letters upon the slightest pretext of ideal incongruity, or upon the most unsubstantial proo. of a better reading ; nor does he scruple to mow down
with unsparing hand every obstacle which retards the facility of his progress. The critical world now seems united in condemning the greatest portion of his textual emendations as either unnecessary, injudicious, or erroneous.
After so full a notice of this first great reformer of the Hebrew text in our own country, it will not, I apprehend, be requisite to make any reflections upon the labours of those, who were engaged with him in the same arduous enterprise. Superstitiously pursuing his track, they all appeared to feel as if treading on hallowed ground. Where Lowth therefore failed, could they be now consulted, they would scarcely presume, that they had themselves succeeded. In nothing however, which I have said on this occasion, shall I be misunderstood, I trust, as ascribing to such writers as Lowth, Durell, Kennicott, Blayney, and Newcome, any deficiency either in learning or ability for the accomplishment of the undertaking, in which they were embarked ; their want of success should be imputed to a very different cause ; to the wild and unrestrained principles of criticism, which they adopted; principles, more calculated to lead astray the fancy, than to inform the judgment; to attract admiration by their in genuity, than to enforce conviction by their solidity.
Received Hebrew or Masoretical text. More ancient than the
Masora. Eichorn carries it up to the first century of the Christian era. Complete restoration of it desirable, could it be effected. Septuagint may have been translated from another edition. This by no means certain. Cappellus. Sharfenberg. Masoretical the only text to be depended ироп. Question of vowels and accents as connected with that of the Masoretical text. Controversy respecting them. Perfection of the vowel system precludes the idea of its originality. The probable succedaneum of some more ancient system. Schultens. . Vowels and accents no parts of the inspired text.
FROM the preceding remarks it will appear, that the principal argument of the advocates for a new translation, grounded upon the presumption that the Hebrew text has been greatly improved since the period of the last translation, falls to the ground. If such an improved text really exists, where is it to be found ? And to what quarter must we look for some producible proof of its existence ? Certainly not to the ingenious, but loose lucubrations of the school, to which they were themselves attached, and the credit of which they ineffectually laboured to establish and extend.
I do not however mean to sảy, that writers, whose erudition I respect, and whose talents I admire, have always reasoned inconclusively; but that the line of criticism, which they adopted, was incorrect. Much less do I contend, that the Hebrew text has not, like all other ancient productions, suffered from the ignorance and inattention of transcribers, or that they have never suggested any probable emendations of that text; but I maintain, that, be its state what it may, their suggestions, for its correc
tion contain nothing like an approximation to the confidence inspired by genuine criticism. And further I maintain, as I have already remarked, that they should not have proposed a new translation from a projected text, before the readings of such text had been fully and satisfactorily settled.
The received Hebrew text is one of very high antiquity, and constitutes, what critics term, the only edition of the original text extant ; for the Septuagint, as I have observed, if indeed translated from another and older edition of it, has nevertheless come down to us in too corrupted a state for accurate quotation. This text is usually denominated the Masoretical, because it is that which was used by the authors of the traditional remarks under the title of the Masora. But let us be careful not to confuse the antiquity of the edition itself with that of the Musorets, * who laboured in their remarks upon it to inculcate a superstitious respect for it, as well as to preserve it inviolate. Upon this point I shall refer to the statement of Eichorn, who in the preface, previously alluded to, thus clearly establishes so necessary a distinction. Deinde, si antiquitatem textus spectes, quem Masora, ad eamque adornati codices Masorethici exhibent, nova ei accedit commendatio. Qua quidem in quæstione totius ejus habitus et conditionis in genere spectatæ ratio est habenda, non unius alteriusve lectionis (opus enim Masorethicum ipsum diversis diversarum ætutum accessionibus, at tamen, quantum æstimare licet, non locupletibus auctum esse novimus;) nec id quæritur, quo tempore observationes Masorethicæ in illud corpus collectæ fuerint, in quo ad nos pervenerunt, quod seculo sexto antiquius non esse satis constat; nec id nos sollicitos habere potest, quo tempore prima Masoræ scriptæ vestigia deprehendantur,
* The Masorets were not only the acknowledged authors of the Masora, or traditional comment; but also the supposed inventors of vowels and accents, which they are stated to have added to the text.