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Arcanum punctationis revelatum, extending from p. 157, to p. 186, Cappellus enters into a minute detail of the manner in which he supposes the matres lectionis were used to supply the place of vowels before the invention of the points. He likewise admits the position of traditional readings transmitted through successive generations by the use of these matres lectionis to the days of the Masorets, whose complete knowledge of such traditional readings, and profound skill in the language itself enabled them, he imagines, to establish their novel system upon a firm and steady basis. He expressly observes; longe maxima ex parte eam, quæ vocales spectat, lectionem secuti sint, quæ tum inter Judæos recepta erat, quæque potest ex lingnæ proprio genio, et ex antecedentium et consequentium, &c., consideratione certissime demonstrari.* Again; Ex superioribus satis constet, et olim in Arcano punctationis a nobis singulari disputatione probatum sit, puncta, et accentus a Masorethis, post annum a Christo nato quingentesimum, consonantibus in Hebræo Veteris Testamenti textu esse addita, prout vel ipsi omnibus prepensis et pensiculate examinatis, judicarunt optimum, vel prout a magistris per traditionem TargowagáSorov edocti fuerant.† Thus likewise in his Arcanum punctationis he briefly remarks; cujus rationis [viz. legendi Hebraica non punctata] cum periti essent Masorethæ, lectionem sacram, quam tenebant, et edocti erant, excogitatis vocalium et accentuum figuris expresserunt. ‡

Upon the whole then it appears, by the admission of the very writers themselves, who carry up the invention of the points no higher than to the commencement of the sixth century, that the readings then established were of still greater antiquity. Whether these readings had been preserved, as Cappellus conjectures, by the mere use of the matres lectionis, or, which I confess seems to me Vol. ii. p. 938.

* Critica Sacra, Vol. iii. p. 377.
‡ Page. 281

more probable, by a more simple system of points than the Masoretical, is not of importance to my enquiry: I only contend for the fact, that the Masoretical readings were more ancient than the period assigned for their universal reception.

I have already remarked, that Eichorn, from the striking conformity of the Masoretical text with that of Aquila, carries up its antiquity to the first century of the Christian æra. He conceives that we possess sufficient data to prove its existence even at so remote a period; but that higher than this we cannot from a defect of data proceed with certainty. He does not indeed speak of the Masoretical vowels, but simply of the Masoretcal text, which he probably confines to the consonants. There seems however I apprehend little reason to doubt the conformity of the two texts not only in consonants, but also in vowels. It is indeed true, that scattered fragments alone of Aquila's version are come down to us; yet if these are sufficient to indicate the resemblance of his text to the Masoretical in the former instance, so likewise may they be in the latter. Now Cappellus has furnished us with such various readings as he was able to collect from the fragments of Aquila, as well as of the other Greek versions, from whence a comparison of the kind may be instituted. After noticing certain variations in the vowels, he adds the following remark: Hæc pauca sunt circa puncta lectionis exempla, quæ nos observavimus ex fragmentis Aquila, Symmachi, Theodotionis, &c., versionum. Si integras jam haberemus translationes, dubium non est, quin ex iis longe plura possent annoturi exempla ejusmodi variæ lectionis.* We may therefore conclude that these are all the variations of this description, which he could discover. Let us now examine their number and eharacter.

* Critica Sacra, Vol. ii. p. 820.

In all they only amount to eleven, which I shall notice. in the order adopted by Cappellus himself. Job xii. 2, for morietur, Aquila reads in perfectiones TEEamoribus he reads

para (copías).—Prov. vii. 18, for

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5. for principatus mensura rò pérgov. -Ib. vii. 11. for N N dolor desperatus N vi dolebit homo äv≈guros.—Ib. xxxiii. 18, for

turres enutritos coùs μsμsyaduupévous.—Ib. lvii.

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non es infirmata

in Pihel sux élávɛudas. —Ezech. 1. 7, for rotundus orgóyyvλov.-Hab. iii. 2. for medio annorum

non supplicasti vitulus jy


in appropinquandis an

nis ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν τὰ ἔτη. In addition to these eleven variations two more are given, in which a different reading occurs by the substitution of for . Gen. xxvi. 33. for y septem saturitas nopov.-Hab. iii.

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These then are all the various readings occasioned by a difference in the points, which the eagle eye of Cappellus was capable of discovering in the fragments of Aquila; and surely neither their number, nor their importance is such as to disprove, when asserted of the vowels, that, which Eichorn seems to assert solely of the consonants, viz. that their general concurrence establishes a sufficient identity between the texts alluded to, so that one text may be considered as an apograph of the other. Rather indeed

may what Eichorn seems to assert of the consonants, be more confidently asserted of the vowels; for if we again

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refer to Cappellus we shall find, that the various readings in the latter case amount not to the number of those in the former. I have noticed no less than one and twenty instances adduced by him,* where a different sense has been given by Aquila in consequence of reading the consonants differently. If therefore, upon the argument of Eichorn, the two texts are to be classed together, notwithstanding the diversity of reading in the consonants, much more reason is there to class them together, notwithstanding the diversity of reading in the vowels.

I use the expression diversity of reading in the vowels, as if the codex used by Aquila contained vowels as well as consonants; but my meaning, it is obvious, only applies to the traditional reading of the vowels, in what manner soever conveyed, and not to the actual reading of them by any written characters in the text. The material fact, which I wish to establish simply is, that Aquila and the Masorets in almost all cases read the same consonants with the same vowels, their variations from each other in this respect being too trifling to disprove the remarkable coincidence of their general readings.

A similar consequence also will result from another comparison; from contemplating the variations in the vowel reading of the Septuagint, contrasted with the vowel reading of Aquila. Cappellus in the second chapter of his fourth book gives a copious selection of these variations. Upon an accurate survey of them however we find, that in so many as in forty instances the readings also of Aquila have been preserved; but that in thirty-sixt of

* Critica Sacra, lib. v. cap. 5.

Viz. Psalm xxxii. 4. xlv. 1. lviii. 9. Ixiv. 7. lxxii. 1. lxxvi. 3. lxxviii. 69. cix. 9. Hosea xiii. 3. Amos i. 6. Jonah ii. 6. Ecclesiastes iii. 16. Isaiah ix. 8. Psalm xii. 9. xvii. 14. lviii. 6. lxiii. 2. lxiv. 8. lxix. 4. lxxiii. 33. lxxxvii. 6. cx. 14. exxxii. 1. cxli. 7. Ecclesiast. xii. 9. Genes. iv. 26. xviii. 12. xxxi. 7. xlvii. 31. Deuter. xxxiii. 3. Amos i, 11. Psalm vii. 12. lxiv. 8. lxxxvii. 4. cxxxix. 2. ixix. 21.

these, where the Septuagint clearly varies from, Aquila follows, the vowel reading of the Masorets; and that even three of the four remaining instances it is probable that the difference consists, not in the actual reading, but in the turn of expression adopted in his translation. One of the three alluded to occurs in Psalm cxxx. 4. where Aquila renders the words EVEXEV TOû pólov propter timorem instead of ut timearis: another in Canticles ii.

perillum ejus דִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה where the words ,4

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super me (fuit) amor he renders ἔταξεν ἐπ' ἐμὲ ἀγάπην ordinavit super me amorem: and the third in Hosea viii. 5. where the words deseruit vitulus tuus, he renders άπwentov ròv μódxov dou desere vitulum tuum. Nor does Cappellus himself seem to consider these as proofs, that Aquila read the respective passages differently from the Masorets, because he does not so notice them, when he subsequently enumerates the various readings of that translator. The fourth however which occurs, Isaiah xvii. 11. he does so notice in his enumeration, as may be seen by referring to my former quotation from him; so that out of the forty instances, in which the Septuagint is shewn distinctly to vary from the Masorets, Aquila appears to deviate only once.

From the preceding observations, therefore, we may conclude, that the Masoretical text, as well in point of yowels as of consonants, was the received text of the Jews so far back as the first century of the Christian æra. The Septuagint I admit is in this respect an anomalous translation, deviating in so many particulars from every other, especially in its reading of the vowels, as to be justly suspected of inaccuracy. Indeed it is often expressed so loosely as to assume the character rather of a paraphrase than of a translation. Its great difference in the reading of the vowels, is so prominent as to strike the most careless eye. And sometimes also even in the consonants.

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