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Latin upon the Greek text, previous to the discovery of the art of printing, and subsequent to it.

The question respecting the early alteration of Greek by Latin MSS. has been a subject of much controversy and of much difference of opinion among scholars in Germany. Wetstein and the elder Michaelis advanced the charge with great zeal and ability. It was first repelled by Semler, and subsequently by Griesbach, Woide, and the younger Michaelis. We have no Greek MSS. extant of earlier origin than the sixth century, and it is no difficult matter to trace the influence of the Latin even upon the most valuable of these. Wetstein

says

that the Greek text of the Codex Alexandrinus was altered to conform it to the one called the Old Italic. The Codices Barberini, Boernerianus, and Bezæ, all of great value, bear evident traces of corruption from this source.

Erasmus says, that in a council held at Florence in 1439, for the purpose of uniting the Greek and the Latin churches, a resolution was formed that the Greeks should alter their MSS. by the Latin.*

Now, if the critic could not lay his finger upon a single passage thus perverted, yet there is such a probability of it, arising from the circumstances of the case, as amounts not only to certainty, but to necessity. We have mentioned the undue reverence, which, in early as well as in later centuries, was attached to the Latin, in preference to the Greek text. As many early Greek MSS. were notoriously imperfect, their defects would most naturally be supplied by their owners from the revered Vulgate. But whatever may be the decision in relation to this first part of our question, when we come to the printed copies of the New Testament, we have indisputable facts to show that the Greek text was influenced by the Vulgate. The first printed edition of the New Testament in Greek was completed in 1514. It formed a part of the Polyglot, published by Cardinal Ximenes at Complutum in Spain, which was printed in the last-mentioned year, though Pope Leo X. did not give it bis apostolical sanction until 1520, and it was not publicly distributed until 1522. Previous to this date Erasmus bad published three editions of his New Testament.

Wetstein brought and sustained the charge of corruption in the Greek text of the Complutum Polyglot. Goezet wrote

* Erasmus, 5th edit. of the New Test. Capita Argumentorum, &c. | Goeze, Defence of the Complut. Bible.

a treatise to repel it, principally with the intent to support the genuineness of the text in i John v. 7. In the preface to the Complutum Old Testament occurs this remarkable illustration. “We have placed the Latin translation of Jerome between the Hebrew and the Greek, as if between the Synagogue and the Eastern Church; like the two robbers upon either side, and Jesus, i. e. the Roman or Latin Church in the midst." Goeze endeavours to apply the denomination of robbers to the Jewish synagogue and the Greek Church, rather than to the Hebrew and Greek texts. Bishop Marsh, who examined the Complutum edition with care, gives it as his opinion on the charge brought against its editors, "that in general it is not true. For, though in some single passages they follow the Vulgate in opposition to all the Greek MSS., there are more than two hundred passages in the Catholic Epistles in which the Complutum Greek and Vulgate texts differ.”* Charity, therefore, will inake us very willing to free its editors from the charge of wilfully corrupting their work, while we maintain that their cherished opinions at times interfered with their duty.

Thirteen editions were printed from the Greek text of the Complutum edition, at Antwerp, Geneva, and Mayntz.f Erasmus had published editions of the New Testament in Greek in 1516, – 19, – 22 – 27, and – 35. There can be no question but that he altered the Greek text from the Vulgate. Instances are specified I in which he even gave his own translation from the Latin, both when his Greek MSS. were defective, and when they were not. About twenty editions were printed in various places from the text of Erasmus. In the last two which he himself published, he made several alterations from the Complutum.

The next Greek editor was Robert Stephens. His first edition, which was little more than a compilation from the Complutum and the fifth edition of Erasmus, was published at Paris in 1546. There were eight or more issues of this compilation previous to 1554. Theodore Beza, the next Greek editor, depended chiefly upon the labors of his predecessors. He amended Stephens's text in about fifty places. An issue from his text, slightly amended, was published by Elzevir at Leyden in 1624, and this is the received text of the Greek Testament now in

common use.

852. | Wetstein's Prolegomena.

* Notes to Michaelis, Vol. ii. p.

† Le Long, Bibl. Sacra.

Thus we find that the Complutensian and Erasmian editions are the basis of our Greek text. It is a singular fact that, until the time of Wetstein's copy in 1752, no edition of the Greek New Testament had been made entirely from Greek MSS. The Complutum, as we have already said, gave undue authority to the Vulgate, and Erasmus, although he was aware of the injustice, was compelled by the prejudices of his time to do likewise.*

It could not therefore be otherwise than that our received Greek text should have been influenced by the Vulgate. Numerous instances of this might be specified. We will refer to three, each of a different character, to one of which have been united very important consequences.

In Luke ii. 22, the proper rendering of the Greek toở xafaprouov avtõv, according to all the MSS. is, “when the days of their purification were fulfilled.” This includes the infant Jesus, as well as his mother Mary. But this reading, seeming to imply the want of persect purity in the Saviour's nature, was changed in the Vulgate by the substitution of aŭrñs, so as to refer the rite to Mary alone. This alteration was made in the Greek from the Latin, and being perpetuated in our received text, we find it in our English Bibles.

In John xviji. 15, by conforming the Greek to the Vulgate, a very expressive sentence has lost much of its significance, so that we have, “ And Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple," instead of," and so did the other disciple," a phrase by which John commonly designates himself.

Another alteration of the Greek by the Vulgate has introduced into our text the famous passage, 1 John v. 7,“ of the three heavenly witnesses." There is not a shadow of evidence for the genuineness of this verse. It is not found in any Greek manuscript, save in a copy which was written from the printed text of the Complutensian Polyglot. It never was quoted during six centuries in the Christian Church, to support the doctrine of the trinity, though the verses before and after it were frequently used for that purpose. It first appeared in Greek in the Complutensian Polyglot, on the authority of Thomas Aquinas. It probably came into the Latin text from a gloss in the margin upon the following verse.

* See Bishop Bull's Sermons, Vol. i. Serm. vi. Wetstein's Proleg. p. 126. Michaelis, Introduc. Lectures, Sect. xxxi. and Simon's “ Histoire Critique.” - 3D S. VOL. III. NO. III.

47

VOL. XXI.

There is still another point in the different bearings of our subject which calls for our attention, namely, the use which has been made of the Vulgate in the formation of other receive ed versions. The French, Italian, Spanish, and German Bibles which were published before the sixteenth century were wholly taken from the Latin.* Luther, while he translated from the Greek, made great use of the Vulgate, though Coleridge bas represented him “with sullen and angry hope reaching for bis sworn enemy only when the original is absolutely unintelligible.” In England, Tyndale, Coverdale, and Rogers, and James's translators were also evidently influenced more or less by the Vulgate, either directly, or through Wielif and Luther.

If any critical value is to be attached to the Vulgate, it is because it may contain some readings from the oldest Latin versions, from which, by careful criticism, may be deduced the readings of the most ancient Greek MSS. There are certainJy many erroneous renderings in the Vulgate itself, and in the Rhemish Testament, which tend to strengthen the perversions of the Church of Rome. For instance, John and Jesus are made to preach, not," repent ye,” but," do penance.” Matt. 11. 23, iv. 17. We might cite numerous instances of a similar character.

Besides these there are many variations from the Greek original, such as the following:

Matt. xxviii. 1. “And in the evening of the Sabbath which dawneth on the first of the Sabbath." A

very

wretched translation.

Mark vii. 13. “Going out of the coasts of Tyre, he came by Sidon, to the sea of Galilee.” This is founded upon an absurd various reading.

Luke xi. 53. “The Pharisees began to stop his mouth about many things.” But by the true rendering, in our version, they did exactly the contrary.

As it regards the common use of Christians, the Vulgate must be pronounced corrupt in many important passages. The opinion so often advanced, that it is better to circulate an erroneous copy of the Scriptures than none at all, does not recommend itself to us without some qualification. If there were no other objection to such a course, it is enough to say that it tends to perpetuate a great evil, and is in fact the principal bar to its removal

G. E. E.

Simon, Hist. Crit. des Vers., cap. 28, 40, 41.

ART. VII. - Nature. Boston: James Munroe & Co. 1936.

12mo. pp. 95.

We find beautiful writing and sound pbilosophy in this little work; but the effect is injured by occasional vagueness of expression, and by a vein of mysticism, that pervades the writer's whole course of thought. The highest praise that can be accorded to it, is, that it is a suggestive book, for no one can read it without tasking his faculties to the utmost, and relapsing into fits of severe meditation. But the effort of perusal is often painful, the thoughts excited are frequently bewildering, and the results to which they lead us, uncertain and obscure. The reader feels as in a disturbed dream, in which shows of surpassing beauty are around him, and he is conversant with disembodied spirits, yet all the time he is harassed by an uneasy sort of consciousness, that the whole combination of phenomena is fantastic and unreal.

In point of taste in composition, some defects proceed from over anxiety to avoid common errors. The writer aims at simplicity and directness, as the ancient philosopher aimed at humility, and showed his pride through the tatters of his cloak. He is in love with the Old Saxon idiom, yet there is a spice of affectation in his mode of using it. He is sometimes coarse and blunt, that he may avoid the imputation of sickly refinement, and writes bathos with malice prepense, because he abhors forced dignity and unnatural elevation.

These are grave charges, but we make them advisedly, for the author knows better than to offend so openly against good taste, and, in many passages of great force and beauty of expression, has shown that he can do better. The following sentences, taken almost at random, will show the nature of the defects alluded to.

Now many are thought not only unexplained but inexplicable, as language, sleep, dreams, beasts, sex." - p. 7

"Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air, -- and uplifted into infinite space, - all egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball." - p. 13.

“Whilst we use this grand cipher to expedite the affairs of our pot and kettle, we feel that we have not put it to its use, neither are able.”

“Therefore is Space, and therefore Time, that men may know

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