Page images
PDF
EPUB

be correct, or not, it is sufficient for my purpose simply to note the fact, that in the extracts made by Epiphanius a verbal resemblance to St. Luke is in several instances strikingly visible.

Upon the whole therefore I have rendered it, I trust, more than probable that the Gospel according to the Hebrews, whatsoever might have been its pristine state, if indeed it ever laid claim to apostolical purity; cannot, in the state in which it is known to us, be correctly considered as the unadulterated original of St. Matthew. And of this perhaps our new Translators themselves feel a little conscious; otherwise they would scarcely have been satisfied with pointing out certain passages for rejection, without suggesting also certain additions, unless indeed they apprehended (which I rather suspect to have been the case) that the absurdity evident in some of these would have shaken the credit of their whole argument.

us ó ayannnOS, EV 001 nudoxnoli, Luke iïi. 22. In St. Matthew the words are, Ούτος εςιν ο υψος μου αγάπησος, ενω ηυδοκησα, chap. iii. 17. Εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε. It is singular that these words did not otcur in the text of St. Luke, but were nevertheless read in the following MSS. and Fathers, &c., referred to by Griesbach, “ D. Cant veron. verc. colb. corb*. Clem. Method. Hilar. Lactant. Jur. Faustus manich. ap. Aug. Codd. ap Aug. qui tamen monet in antiquioribus grecis hec non inveniri.” Μη επιθυμια επεθύμησα κρέας τετο το πασχα φαγειν μεθ' υμων ; Epiph. Heres. 30. 5. 29. Επιθυμια επεθυMinora T8TO TO TAO ya payer pedýmwv. Luke xxii. 15. Here, if Epiphanius is to be credited in his extract, is a manifest perversion of our Saviour's meaning, at war with the context, by giving an interrogative turn to the sentence, in order to sanction the Ebionite principle of abstaining from animal food. Is it possible after this to contemplate the Gospel according to the Hebreus, as represented to us by Epiphanius in any other light than as a garbled and spurious production? Nor indeed, do the quotations of it, preserved by Origen and Jerome, place it in a more respectable point of view.

CHAP. III.

Authenticity of the two first Chapters of

St. Luke.

I HAVE not interfered in the former instance, nor do I mean to interfere in this, with the conjectural ground for the rejection of Scripture advanced by the Translators of this Version, because arguments similar to those which are used by them have been already often adduced, and as of ten refuted; because in some instances the most satisfactory answers are given by the very authors, to whom they refer for support; and because, above all, I am fully persuaded that the slippery system itself of conjectural criticism rests on no solid foundation. But where a sort of authority is appealed to, I shall consider its validity.

The translators say ; “ The two first chapters of this Gospel were wanting in the copies used by Marcion, a reputed heretic of the second century · who, though he is represented by his adversaries as holding some extravagant opinions, was a man of learning and integrity, for any thing that appears to the contrary. He, like some moderns, rejected all the Evangelical histories excepting Luke, of which he contended that his own was a correct and authentic copy."

I shall not undertake to discuss the collateral question respecting the learning and integrity of Marcion ; because it is perhaps of little importance in itself, and because we have no sure data from which we can form an impartial decision upon the subject. For the odium theologicum in the breasts of his adversaries, great allowance, I am aware, is to be made : but I must enter my unqualified protest against the Unitarian mode of constantly interpreting the Orthodox representation of an heretical character by the rule of contraries ; of uniformly reading for vice, virtue ; for folly, talent; and for want of principle, integrity. But as the Authors of this Version seem disposed to sacrifice the universal persuasion of antiquity, upon the subject of St. Luke's text, to the particular opinion of Marcion, let us examine a little the nature and extent of his testimony.

We are told, that the two first chapters were wanting in the copies used by him; and yet the four first verses are retained as indisputably genuine. How is this contradiction to be reconciled ? Certainly some explanation of it should have been given. Were the four first verses retained simply for the convenience of an aditional argument, in order to identify beyond dispute the writer of this Gospel with the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, and so to deduce from that circumstance the following ingenious display of criticism ? “ The Evangelist,” it is observed, “in his preface to the Acts of the Apostles, reminds his friend Theophilus, Acts i. 1. that this former history contained an account of the public ministry of Jesus, but makes no allusion to the remarkable incidents contained in the two first chapters, which therefore probably were not written by him ;” as if, when an author refers to a former production, simply to point out its connexion with the one. which he is composing, he must always be supposed distinctly to enumerate every subject contained in it. Should this be the only reason for esteeming the four verses in question genuine, our new Translators surely treat their favourite Marcion, whose single authority they have to plead for rejecting the remainder of these chapters, very unceremoniously and contemptuously, because he expressly considered them also as spurious. As they appear not to have investigated very accurately the testimony upon which they rely, I shall point out to them what it really was, and will take my proofs from a work with which they are

themselves doubtless well acquainted, “ Lardner's History of Heretics.”

Epiphanius, from whom we learn most respecting the Gospel in question, informs, us, that it resembles the Gospel of St. Luke, much mutilated, being defective both in the beginning, the middle, and the end ; particularly that at the beginning it wanted the Preface, (viz. the four verses still retained in the New Version,) and the account of Elizabeth, of the salutation of the Angel of the Virgin Mary, of John and Zacharias, of the nativity at Bethlehem, of the Genealogy, and of the Baptism. 'O Mev yag χαρακτης σε κατα Λεκαν σημαινει το ευαγγελιον, ώς δε ηκρωτηριασαι, μητε αρχην έχων, μησε μεσα, μητε τελος, ιμασια βεβρωμενε υπο σολλων σητων επεχει τον τροπον· ευθυς μεν γαρ εν τη αρχη παντα τα απ' αρχης σε Λεκα πεπραγματευμενα, τεσ' εςιν ως λεγει· επειδηπερ πολλοί επεχείρησαν και τα εξης. Και τα περι της Ελισαβες, και του ΑγΓελου ευαγίελιζομενου την Μαριαν παρθενον, Ιωαννε σε και Ζαχαρια, και της εν Βεθλεεμ γενησεως, γενεαλογιας, και της του Βαπτισματος υποθεσεως: ταυτα παντα περικοψας απεπηδησε. Ηer. 42. 3. 11. Hence therefore it appears, that Marcion rejected the Preface which the New Version admits, and also that part at least of the third chapter which contains the particulars of our Saviour's Baptism and Genealogy, a defalcation more extensive than the modest lop of the Unitarians. But this

*

* Lardner's History of Heretics, p. 250. note q.

+ Epiphanius indeed, immediately after the words above quoted from him by Lardner, says, that the Gospel of Marcion began thus; « In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cesar, &c.” Και αρχην τ8 ευαγΓελια επαξε σαυτην.

Εν τω πεντεκαιδεκασω εσει Τιβερια Καισαρος και τα εξης. But he adds, that Marcion preserved no regular order of narration, τα δε προςιθησιν ανω κατω, εκ ορθως βαδιζων, αλλα ερραδι8ργημένως παντα περινοξέων. Besides, as he had just asserted the omission of the Baptism and Genealogy it seems impossible that he could have been either so absurd, so forgetful, as directly to contradict himself in the very next sentence. Theodoret also mentions is not all. Lardner contends, that not a single passage of St. Luke, with the exception of the words, “ In the fif teenth year of Tiberius Cæsar," from the first verse of the first chapter, down to the thirteenth verse of the fourth chapter inclusive, was to be found in the Gospel of Marcion. His argument is principally grounded upon the following extract from Tertullian : “Anno quinto decimo principatus Tiberiani proponit Deum descendisse in civitatem Galileze Capernaum ;” Contra Marc. lib. iv. §. 7. which he considers as given by Tertullian for the commencement of Marcion's Gospel, and which he thus translates : “In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, God descended into Capernaum, a city of Galilee." Now as we are assured by Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others, that Marcion believed Jesus to be a celestial Being, or real divinity, sent from the supreme God, who was superior to the Crea, tor of the world ; and as we read, Luke iv. 31. that Jesus “ went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee ;" these cir, cumstances alone, without any additional reasoning, seem almost indisputably to prove, that the thirty-first verse of the fourth chapter, with the simple date of the period prefixed, was the precise commencement of this Gospel, as pointed out by Tertullian. *

Independently of this complete abscission, Epiphanius gives at larga a variety of other omissions, and of interpolations, which he dwells upon minutely.

If then our new Translators conceive the whole of Mar

Marcion's rejection of the Genealogy, xi Thu yevealeyrav tepixo lar &c. Lardner, ibid. p. 250.

* Marcion, it is obvious, could not, consistently with his principles, have acknowledged the Baptism and Genealogy: neither, for the same reason, could he have admitted the Temptation, and the Dis courses in the Synagogue, contained in the fourth chapter, as both ocą currences are connected with allusions to the Old Testament; and we shall presently see how free he made with these.

« PreviousContinue »