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New Testament writers, as Ælian, M. Antoninus, Libanius, Chariton, who are all mere imitators of the ancients, copying the beauties of the golden age, and who have introduced into their writings a variety of phrases, and a confusion of idioms, is even still less considerable. Those, therefore, are guilty of perverseness, who, estimating the purity of the New Testament, collect the words and phrases from all the Greek writers promiscuously, without inquiring whether they themselves wrote with purity.

Lastly-Those must not be used, who have formed their style either from a version of the Old, or from the books of the New Testament. Such are the Greek Fathers, who in writing concerning religion, must have drawn many things from these fountains. The defender of the purity of the New Testament, therefore, gains nothing by citing the authority of Theodoret, Chrysostom, and others, who, although excellent in doctrine, are by no means to be commended for the purity of their language.

Generally, writers must be explained by those which are similar; as historians by historians, philosophers by philosophers, et cet.

IV. The defenders of the purity of the New Testament diction, use also this argument, that the sacred writers might be expected to use various expressions in a different sense from their common meaning, because they wrote on a subject which was new and unknown to the Greeks.

These new things are the precepts of religion, to express which, they suppose, required either new words, or new significations drawn from the Hebrew, applied to the common words.

But this does not render the New Testament diction impure. Every system has its own peculiar and technical words. And among the Latins also, writers, who were in other respects pure, when they wrote concerning things unknown to the Romans, introduced new

words, chiefly drawn from the Greek. Thus Cicero introduced the word qualitas; he uses mores out of its common sense, and also perceptiones; all these were drawn from the Greeks, and must have been first employed when their philosophy was introduced. But no one hence calls the style impure or barbarous. We admit, therefore, that unless there were other arguments which rendered the purity of the New Testament doubtful, no one could on this account pass sentence against it.

V. They say that if the diction of the New Testament is impure, it detracts much from its value, for it can have no praise for elegance or beauty of style.

But first, there is nothing in this to diminish the dignity of the sacred books; for that depends on the matter. Secondly, in this are discovered the footsteps of Divine Providence, which caused the New Testament, written chiefly for the Jews, to be written in the Hebrew idiom. Lastly, many things are related in the sacred books, which require such a style. What these are, will be shown hereafter.

a. The writers of the New Testament thought in Hebrew. And hence they must necessarily have been unable to write pure Greek. One born and educated, for instance, among the Germans, and accustomed to think in German, will inevitably write with the German idiom. Thus also the Apostles, who did not cultivate an intercourse with the nations of Palestine who spoke Greek, of course could not divest themselves of the habit of thinking in Hebrew, which had been contracted in childhood.

b. The writers of the New Testament were not taught in the Grecian Schools. Those who had from their youth been tax-gatherers and fishermen, could not have learned the Greek language grammatically, and much less philosophically and rhetorically. Hence they did not always avoid errors, and could by no means command at once all

the forms of speech of the Greek language. In Acts iv. 13, they are called ävdgwtos dygájparoi, illiterate. They might, indeed, have been taught to understand and explain the Scriptures or the law, or been instructed in the Jewish schools. Paul, in 2 Cor. xi. 6, calls himself idiwrnu rý nóyw, rude in speech ; and this is often repeated in the Epistle to the Corinthians. Why then should we obtrude upon these men a sort of learning which they themselves never claimed, and which has never been attributed to them. (See Lamy de Eruditione Apostolorum, ch. vii-ix. WETTSTEIN's Libellos ad Crisin et Interpret. N. T. p. 48, and THALEMANN. p. 18. E.)

C. The writers of the New Testament had not read the Greek authors. This might be expected from taxgatherers and fishermen. Many, however, have laboured to prove that Paul did write with taste, clearness, purity, and úxgißeid ; although he denies that he was learned, because he lived at Tarsus, where there were many

Grecian rhetoricians and philosophers, they have made him also a rhetorician and a philosopher. And one has even written concerning the library of Paul, concluding from his quotation from Menander, and other poets, that his library must have been furnished with their works. Cha. GUIL THALEMANN, has judged differently in his Dissert. de Eruditione Pauli Apost. Judaica non Græca, L. 1769. 4. Paul was a Pharisee, and therefore debarred the study of Grecian literature ; the Pharisees were then most tenacious του νόμου and της παραδοσεως, and were not led to the study of Grecian learning, because they thought it impure and entirely unconnected with the Law. I refer to the age of Paul, for soon after, there was a change of times and a change of

For Josephus, though a Pharisee, was skilled in Grecian learning, and probably wrote in Greek. This change was wrought when the Jews, being subdued by the Romans, and dispersed from their country, were compelled to unite with the Greeks.

manners.

I said a little before, that the writing of the New Testament in the Hebrew idiom, displayed marks of Divine Providence; this shall be illustrated.

a. We all know that the writers of those books were illiterate Jews, who rose from the common people, and even occupied in the cares of vulgar life. If these books had been left to us written in the elegant style of Xenophon, would it not have afforded a strong argument against their authenticity ?

b. The Jewish people to whom they wrote would have disapproved of that style, on account of their hatred to the Greeks, and to Grecian eloquence. For even when Jews cultivated the Grecian learning, as Philo, a great portion of the people were highly displeased. How, then, would they have received the Gospel of Matthew for instance, if they had found in it such a display of learning and refinement of diction ?

[Note. -See Joh. Aug. Ernesti disp. de odio Judæorum adversus literas Græcas. Lips. 1758, 4to. and in Opuscul. Philol. Criticis, p. 408.

Hence many assert, that from the time that Christianity passed to the Gentiles, when the customs of the Jews became more assimilated to them, and after many pagans were converted to the religion of Christ, the Apostles used a more elegant and classic style of composition, such as is found in the Acts and the Epistles. If this observation refers to the Epistles of Paul, it is undoubtedly true. Only let no one suppose that the Epistles of Peter, James, and Jude, exhibit a refined and elegant style, even when the Jewish dress is laid aside, and the multitude of Hebraisms lessened.

John is purer than Matthew or Mark, if we except the Apocalypse, which is filled with Hebraisms, and unlike the Grecian style. (See Sam. Gottl. Lange Die Schriften Johannis des vertrauten Schüler's Jesu, tom. I,

men.

(1795-8,) Einleit, p. 37.) The purest of all is Luke, in a few places in his Gospel, but more often in the Acts, although he displays more facility of writing, than effort or study. But in the Epistles of Paul, there is an elegance and a splendour of style unusual to unlearned

This may be attributed to the genius of the Hebrew language, to the Jewish learning which he had acquired, and to the active mind of the author himself, animated in the delivery of divine truth. i Cor. ii. 4, 5. Comp. Joh. Guil. Fuhrmann de Concinitate in Epistola Pauli ad Romanos, Lipz. 1776, 4to. Car. Lud. Bauer. Philologia Thucydideo-Paulina, f. notatio figurarum orationis Paulinæ cum Thucydidea comparatæ, Halle 1773, 8vo. Rhetorica Paulina ej. Halle 1782, 11 vol. Svo., and C. H. Tzschuckii Commentarius logico-rhetoricus de Sermonibus J. Christi, Lipz. 1781. Svo. See also Haenlein Einleit. in die Schriften des N. T. I. p. 384. E.]

c. It

may

be added, that such Jews as were strangers to pure Greek, would scarcely have understood the Greek style. Through the Alexandrian version, and the Apocryphal books, they were accustomed to a sort of religious or sacred style. If the Apostles had abandoned this, and unexpectedly selected the style of Xenophon or Plato, who of the Jews would have understood their writings?

VI. Finally the defenders of purity, complain of the obscurity of style in the N. T. which necessarily ezists, if it is to be referred to the Hebrew rather than the Greek idiom.

Ernesti denies that a greater obscurity does arise from this source. He supposes that the readers of the Apostolic age understood these books, and it is not required of a writer, that he should neglect his own, and adapt his work to future ages. Although this may be true concerning the Jews, who had been accustomed by the

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