Page images

Rev. Dr. Moulton, and Rev. Dr. Roberts. This Committee was to take the Book of Wisdom and the Second Book of Maccabees.

In connexion with the foregoing resolution it was resolved at the final meeting of the Company, on Thursday, November 11, 1880:-(1) that the decisions be arrived at by simple majorities; (2) that the successive portions of the work when printed be forwarded to the members of the other two Committees. A third resolution was passed constituting the Rev. Dr. Troutbeck the General Secretary of the three Committees, and, as such, responsible for the printing of the portions of the work as they were finished; but the latter part of this resolution was modified, and the whole of the printing was carried on at the University Press, Oxford.

The London Committee, to which the Revision of the Authorised Version of the Book of Ecclesiasticus was intrusted, commenced their labours on May 11, 1881, and completed their first revision of the Version on July 20, 1882, and their second and final revision on May 25, 1883. The breaking up of the text of the Version into parallelisms was undertaken at a later period. Of the members of the Committee, two, the Bishops of Salisbury and St. Andrews, found themselves unable through age and distance from London to attend the meetings. The attendance of the remainder was such that there were rarely less than four present. Whenever the number fell below this, all debateable points were reserved for fuller meetings. Considerable attention was paid to the text; but the materials available for correcting it were but scanty. In regard to the revision of the Version, especial care was taken to preserve the general tone of the Authorised Version, and to maintain the somewhat greater freedom of rendering which characterizes the translation of the Apocrypha when compared with the translation of the Old or of the New Testament.

The Westminster Committee completed their first revision of the First Book of Maccabees on July 5, their second revision on November 3, 1881. Their first revision of the Books of Judith and Tobit was completed on July 6, their second revision on October 11, 1882. With regard to the Greek text they derived great assistance from Dr. Scrivener, but the number of places in which it was thought right to abandon readings that seemed to be represented in the Authorised Version was not large. The English Version was found to require much care. In the First Book of Maccabees, for example, a well-known peculiarity of the writer had been obliterated by the repeated introduction, with or without the use of italics, of the words 'God' and 'the Lord,' which never occur in the best Greek text. Archbishop Trench worked with the Committee until they were close to the end of the First Book of Maccabees. Dean Stanley also attended up to about the same time: Principal Brown did not take any part in the work.

of the members of the Cambridge Committee the Bishop of Durham (Dr. Lightfoot), the Dean of Lincoln (Mr. Blakesley), and Professor Kennedy were compelled for various reasons to withdraw from the work of revision. Dr. Roberts supplied notes on various parts of the two books. Dr. Hort, Dr. Moulton and Dr. Westcott conducted the revision with this assistance at weekly meetings during term time from March 3, 1881 to the spring of 1890, when Dr. Westcott was removed to Durham. In the remainder of the work Dr. Westcott took part by correspondence. The first revision of 2 Maccabees was completed on May 20, 1885, and the final revision December 7, 1889. The first revision of Wisdom was completed between May 20, 1885 and June 20, 1888; and the second revision between November 23, 1889 and November 21, 1891. The singular difficulty and importance of the Book of Wisdom led the revisers to review the version a third time. The whole revision of the two books was substantially completed before the summer of 1892. A few questions were reserved for later decision. These were considered by Dr. Hort in the summer of that year, and, with the help of his notes, finally determined by Dr. Westcott and Dr. Moulton.

After the revision of the Old Testament had been completed the Old Testament Company (July 9, 1884) passed the following resolution :

“That the Dean of Peterborough (Dr. Perowne), Professor Lumby, Professor Robertson Smith, Mr. Bensly, Mr. Cheyne, and the Secretary (Mr. Aldis Wright) be a Committee to translate the remaining books of the Apocrypha, and

That Dr. Field be invited to assist in the formation of the text.'

The Dean of Peterborough (Dr. Perowne), now Bishop of Worcester, and Mr. (now Professor) Cheyne, found themselves unable to take part in the work, and the Committee were deprived of the assistance of Dr. Field by his death in April, 1885.

The Books of the Apocrypha which were left for them to revise were 1 and 2 Esdras, the additions to Esther, Baruch, the Song of the Three Holy Children, the History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and the Prayer of Manasses.

For the text of these portions, with the exception of 2 Esdras, they were entirely dependent upon the inadequate materials already existing, and did not therefore attempt any complete revision. But as the late Professor Bensly had reconstructed the text of the Latin version of 2 Esdras from a full collation of all the independent MSS. at present known, the Committee fully availed themselves of the results which he generously placed at their disposal. They were thus able to incorporate the missing fragment, vii. 36–105, which was edited by Professor Bensly with elaborate care, and published by the Cambridge University Press (1875), and to make use of many improved readings which he proposed to adopt in his critical edition. It is satisfactory to know that this work has been left in a sufficiently forward state to admit of its being easily completed.

In regard to the language of the Revised Version the Committee followed the general principles which were observed by the Old Testament Revision Company.

In the case of Proper Naines it has not been found possible to secure uniformity of plan in the work of the four Committees. In some Books these names appear in their familiar Old Testament forms, after the Hebrew; whilst in others, the forms of the Authorised Version are usually retained, or are but slightly altered, in accordance with the Greek. Lists of the Greek readings-or, in 2 Esdras, the Latin readings-adopted by the Committees will shortly be published *.

Such is a brief account of the circumstances under which the present work was executed. The Revisers conclude with the hope and the belief that it will be found helpful to the student, and acceptable to the general reader of the Apocrypha

January, 1895.

* The preparation of these lists was undertaken by Dr. Moulton. As however the work was still far from complete at the time of his death in February 1898, the publication of the readings has now been abandoned.

July, 1898.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »