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omitted in the history of Rome, I must refer to Livy. In bis lib. viii. 40, his annals for the consulship of L. Fabius and L. Fulvius, U.C. 432, that is, eighty-four years after the end of the Peloponnesian war, and sixty-seven years after the burning of Rome with its private and public records by the Gauls, he says, “It is not easy to give priority to one thing before another, nor to one author before another. I suppose that memory was corrupted by funereal praises and false imaginary titles, whilst each family, by deceitful lying, attracted to itself the reputation of exploits and honours.” . See also lib. vi. 1, and Diodorus, i. 3. This testimony in reference to these twenty-one additional years might be much increased, and if there were twenty-one years more in any one kingdom, there must have been as many in respect to every kingdom, whether we can find evidence of them or not, and the finding this evidence in respect to four kingdoms is quite inexplicable, except upon the supposition that there were these twenty-one additional years in reality. In your p. 424, Dr. Hincks says, “Even if it (the testimony of Diodorus) were not confirmed by astronomical evidence, it would still carry convietion to every person who would take the trouble to study it; but in point of fact, it is corroborated by such a mass of astronomical evidence, that it is quite a psychological curiosity that any mind
. should be so constituted as to discredit it." I trust I have said sufficient to shew what the testimony of Diodorus is without the confirmation of astronomical evidence, and I should find no difficulty in shewing that, with all the mass of astronomical evidence that Dr. Hincks has produced, or can produce, it would still be found wanting, if weighed in the balance with the varied and independent testimony which I have produced and can produce against it. Regard for your patience forbids my going into astronomical particulars now, but to the discord among astronomers as to the eclipse of Thales, which I have already noticed, I may add that Professor Adams, in a paper read before the Philosophical Society, 16th June, 1853, states that he has made such a discovery in regard to the secular variation of the moon's mean motion, that the calculation of the moon's place for a very distant epoch, such as that of the eclipse of Thales (of which Dr. Hincks speaks so confidently), may be seriously vitiated by it. I have also learnt that this discovery has been completely confirmed by M. M. Delaunais, and an astronomical friend in whom I confide says, “There is something yet to be discovered before we can calculate our old eclipses consistently with each other, and with the new value of the acceleration. We must wait for more discovery."
In conclusion, I should state that the addition of these twentyone years to the common chronology for the period from the Peloponnesian war to the death of Alexander, furnishes an explanation of the prophecy of Daniel which is even more satisfactory than that which is furnished by the chronology of Josephus, and, even if it did not, the overwhelming weight of testimony in its support would compel me (however reluctantly) to withdraw the assent which I have given to the chronology of Josephus, from the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus to the overthrow of Jerusalem by Titus. I still retain my unhesitating assent to the truth of the chronology of Josephus from the Creation to the overthrow of Babylon by Cyrus, and I have set it forth with much additional and most important confirmation in my work on chronology.
To shew that it is not altogether improbable that the sepulchre in Sychem was bought by Abraham, as stated by St. Stephen in Acts vi. 16, we should notice that the first altar, which was built unto the Lord by the patriarchs in the land of Canaan, was built by Abraham in Sychem, where the Lord appeared unto him, on his first coming into Čanaan from Haran (Gen. xii. 6, 7). See ante, p. 5.
THE OLD TESTAMENT TEXT, AND ITS EMENDATION. May I be allowed to offer a few remarks on the article bearing this title in the January number of The Journal of Sacred Literature ?
While fully appreciating the importance of the subject therein discussed, and giving the writer all due credit for his laborious researches, ingenuity, and good intentions; and while allowing that some of his proposed corrections are worthy of approval, I desire to express my dissent from many of these, and especially from the principles which he lays down for the criticism of the Hebrew text.
I at once allow that conjecture may, in the case of the Old Testament, sometimes be resorted to as a source of criticism. The most eminent scholars admit this. But manifestly such an instrument must be used with great caution, otherwise everything would become unsettled. Nothing is easier than conjecture, and it affords a tempting opportunity for the exercise of one's ingenuity. Accord- . ingly it bas been carried by some critics to an unwarrantable extent. Whenever a difficulty occurs in the interpretation of a passage, they would at once remove it by the substitution of a new reading, which they easily discover by changing the division of words, or the vowel points ; or by adding or omitting, altering or transposing some of the letters. For an example of this system we need not go
farther than Bishop Lowth's Commentary on Isaiah. His principles are, however, now generally rejected. Notwithstanding all that has been written about the alleged corruption of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Masoretic text is upheld by the ablest critics, and any alteration of it is, with good reason, deemed unwarrantable, except in extreme cases, such as those in which the corruption can be proved, or is evident on the face of the text (as in the case of certain numbers and dates); or in which the exigencies of interpretation imperatively require a change of reading. Conjectural changes for the mere sake of improving the text are rightly condemned as savouring of presumption. Yet the writer of the article in question would alter the Hebrew text in many cases on, as it seems to me, too slight grounds.
He adduces several parallel passages from different books as
proving, by their want of complete agreement, that numerous corruptions have crept into them. One of these is Psalm xviii. as compared with 2 Samuel xxii. If he means to assert, as he seems to do, that all the variations in those passages have arisen from errors of transcription, I suspect few will agree with him. Any one who compares them together will, I think, be convinced that neither of them can be regarded as a corruption of the other, or of a common original, but that they are independent editions, so to speak, of the same composition, and that most of the variations are inherent, proceeding from the author himself, and not caused by careless transcription either before or after they were inserted in their present places in the sacred canon.
With regard, also, to that portion of the history of King Hezekiah which is found both in Kings and in Isaiah, I think it may be safely maintained that all the variations existing between the two passages are not the result of careless transcription. Most probably the author of at least that portion of Kings was Isaiah himself, and the discrepancies in the two narratives are to be ascribed to him. An author, in writing two accounts of the same transactions, is not bound to use precisely the same expressions throughout, or to write both with equal fulness. It must be confessed that some difficult questions arise in connection with parallel passages of Scripture such as those, and the two lists of David's mighty men in 2 Samuel xxiii. and 1 Chron. xi., which I do not attempt here to discuss. But assuredly such questions are not to be summarìly disposed of by asserting that their variations have originated in course of frequent transcription.
One of the canons laid down by the writer of the article is the following: “We suppose (says he) error to exist, just as in any ancient author, wherever an inapposite sense or ungrammatical construction appears in any passage.
That error exists in some of those cases may at once be admitted; but that this may be said of all of them, I consider to be a dangerous rule of criticism. Great caution must be exercised in judging of meanings and constructions. Our inability to perceive the meaning of a passage arises more frequently from our ignorance of some circumstance or custom to which it refers, than from an erroneous reading. Our notions of appositeness may be different from those of oriental writers; and even amongst ourselves contradictory opinions on such a point will often be entertained. This shews the danger of altering the text of Scripture wherever an inapposite sense is supposed to be given. And as to ungrammatical constructions, it is not always easy to decide what, as such, are to be condemned. Is every construction which is unusual, or not elsewhere found in the comparatively small portion of ancient Hebrew now extant, to be set down as ungrammatical, and therefore rejected ? Moreover, every author uses some expressions more or less peculiar to himself. Åre all such to be altered and amended till they are smoothed down to a complete uniformity with the commoner forms of expression ? I cannot .הַדֶרֶךְ חָלֶק אוֹר אֵיזֶה ,24 .Job xxxviii
believe that the writer of the article would maintain such positions ; yet they are only natural deductions from the unqualified form in which he lays down his general principle.
But to advert to some of his illustrations. In Genesis xiv. 15 he thinks par is an error of transcription for you, which he would accordingly substitute. The emendation would certainly give an easier reading than the present. But of several readings the easiest is not necessarily the correct one, very often the reverse. Literally rendered, it now is :-“And he was divided against them by night, he and his servants.” As to this use of the niphal of pt compare
The meaning is, he divided his men into several bands, that they might fall upon the enemy from several quarters at the same time, and, aided by the darkness, throw them into confusion. This surely gives a more suggestive meaning than the tamer, “ he went against them,” and there appears no such difficulty in it as to call for any emendation of the text.
In Psalm xcvii. 11 he proposes to read mi for on, the metaphor being, as he thinks, incongruous. But not so thought the author of Paradise Lost,
“Now morn her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl,” which explains and illustrates the Psalmist's fine image, from which it is doubtless borrowed. As to this use of the preposition compare Hosea n. 12, op on, which is very similar. I admit that “light is risen on the righteous” is a good meaning, but “light is sown for the righteous” is equally good and much more beautiful. Some would, perhaps, condemn the following line as containing an incongruous image:
"To sow a jangling noise of words unknown," and conclude the reading to be incorrect; but there is no error in it, and Milton is the author of it also (Par. Lost, xii., 55). Though he gave gifts unto men” in Ephes. iv. 8, is different
“ from “thou hast received gifts for men” in Psalm Lxviii. 18, it does not follow that the apostle read in his copy of the Old Testament mops for nmps. It is universally allowed that the New Testament writers do not always quote from the Old with verbal accuracy, but merely give the sense. The thought in both passages is really the same - Thou hast procured, fetched, or received in order to give.
Because the course of the sentiment in Psalm vii. 4 is suddenly arrested by a parenthesis, instead of the usual parallelism of two lines,” he proposes to read 17hbar for nssrm, which would give, “If I have oppressed him that without cause is mine enemy." But this would make the supposition to be self-contradictory; for if the Psalmist had oppressed his enemy, the hostility of the latter towards him could scarcely be said to be without cause. The present reading is much to be preferred. That the parallelism is not quite so complete as the proposed correction would render it, is no good objection to the text as it stands. The writer here pushes the principle of
parallelism too far. It does not pervade even the poetical books to the extent which he maintains. There are numerous cases of imperfect parallelism such as this.
It is not, however, my purpose to follow him into all the passages he proposes to amend, as to do so would necessitate a lengthened article. I will only say farther, that several of his corrections seem fancifal and far-fetched. I would specify as examples bis proposed readings of Genesis v. 29 and Psalm xxxix. 5, 6, and the methods by which he arrives at them.
He proposes that a concordance of parallelisms should be drawn out, that, with the materials for criticism thus obtained, the correspondence between those lines in which the parallelism is now deficient might be restored. Biblical criticism might, no doubt, derive help in some cases from such a method. But there is a fallacy in the supposition that an author is always to use the same parallel expressions even in reference to the same things. Besides, if the principle he advocates were to be carried out to the extent of rendering complete even all those imperfect parallelisms in which the sense may not be very clear, the alterations of the text would be endless. But even this would not satisfy him. “The first effect (says he) of the close application of the principle will be to discover errors where none have been perceived to exist, because they furnish a fair sense.” He would not only alter the text where there is obscurity, but where there is none, merely that a certain preconceived theory and unvarying parallelism may be rigorously worked out. Surely this is going too far.
We must not rashly change a reading because we do not very well understand the meaning, or because the style or forms of expression fall short of our modern ideas of correctness. Were the writings even of modern authors to be amended on such principles, what havoc would be made in them! When we remember that the Old Testament is a collection of books of extreme antiquity, written in languages which have long ceased to be spoken, and of which the only genuine remains are to be found in the sacred volume; describing a state of things which has long since passed away, and of which we possess no other contemporary record; containing many allusions of which the key has been lost; and a great portion of which assumes the form of type, symbol, and prophecy, we need not be surprised that there are many passages in it hard to be understood, and though the text is not perfect, its criticism should be conducted in a cautious, not to say reverential spirit. Balmerino, 20th February, 1864.
THE PROPHET AMOS, AND THE “RIVER OF THE
WILDERNESS." My attention having been directed to certain strictures by Mr. Grove, in Dr. Smith's invaluable Dictionary of the Bible (iii., 1772), on the