Page images

the same meaning as in the active voice, without having been enabled by this circumstance to perceive his error. After simi lar mistakes, there are no other particular errors that can surprise us; we are not astonished to find Persian words, as slow Blue annulment, (page 85); or Arabic words with a form appropriate to the Persian language, as sko, (which Mr. Price translates by Sanctity, page 48), classed among Arabic words; to see the nouns divided, we know not why, into six declinations; to find nothing said on the irregular plurals, called by grammarians rompus, the knowlege of which is indispensable. Finally, to find everywhere numerous errors of Syntax; errors which, in a work composed with more knowlege of the subject, one would be disposed to attribute to errors of the press; after which it is almost useless to say, that the Syntax, which occupies 14 pages, is nothing but a number of rules taken up at a hazard, which can, be of no use whatever, for want of method; and that those, the ap- , plication of which is most frequent, are there wholly omitted, whilst others, which might have been omitted without detriment, are inserted. One observation alone will justify this opinion, however severe it may appear: in this Syntax we find not a single word on the employment of the various modulations of the Aorist, moods which Erpenius and most of the grammarians who succeeded him have denominated antithetical future, apocopal, and paragogical. Moreover, in this respect, Mr. Price has been in unison with himself, since in his paradigms of the conjugation of verbs he has entirely suppressed all these inflections.

A remarkable singularity of this grammar is in that without doubt which the author denominates a plan entirely new, and in that he has placed last, what all former grammarians have considered as preliminary notions necessary to the understanding of all the rest. Thus he has placed the rules of permutation of the letters 1x , x şx at the conclusion of the etymological part of the work, whilst they are the key of all the irregularities of the verbs and the nouns; and it is not till after the Syntax that he speaks of the division of letters into classes, according to the parts of the vocal organs which perform the principal part in their pronunciation; of their systematic division into radical and servile letters, solar and lunar; of the formation of syllables; of the accent; and of the punctuation. The author, it is true, has said somewhat respecting the servile letters in regard to the inseparable particles, page 76, and following pages; but that of itself is a farther proof of the disorder which prevails


throughout the work. A very incomplete treatise of Arabic Prosody terminates this Grammar.

We are sorry that we can say nothing in praise of the Grammars of which we have above given an analysis. We presume that what makes the Arabic grammar, above all, so defective, is, that the author knew the Arabic language merely as an integral and necessary part of the Persian, and that he never studied it. for itself, and systematically. We dare assert that all persons so situated cannot analyse, nor consequently translate, two lines of Arabic without exposing themselves to fall into the most serious errors; and if we have stopped to discover so many faults, it has been thoroughly to convince such as are desirous of understanding Persian otherwise than for the ordinary purposes of life, that it is indispensable that they should first acquire a solid and methodical knowlege of the Arabic. The contrary path will never produce but half-learned scholars, who will be stopped at every page of a Persian book by Arabic phrases or parts of phrases: they may perhaps sometimes be able to guess the meaning; but they will never be able to render a satisfactory interpretation.

Nevertheless we recommend to the amateurs of Persian literature Mr. Price's work, on account of the Persian dialogues which it contains,

Note.—The foregoing is a translation of a French article, by the celebrated Orientalist, the Baron Silvestre de Sacy.

J. G. JACKSON. Sceaux, March, 1824.


REMARKS ON Some Passages in the New Testament, inaccurately ren

dered in the present version.

Το αληθές ουδέποτε ελέγχεται.-PLATO.

When writer after writer has employed his hours of study on the subject of erroneous translations in the common version of the New Testament, it will hardly be thought inconsistent with a general feeling of respect to that version to state a few instances of them. Still less will it be so thought, when higher interests are involved in the elucidation of what is unnecessarily obscure, and in the detection of what is absolutely false, in it, and the groundwork of misplaced cavil and dispute. Are the interests of the Christian religion to be thought inferior to those of a translation of its documents? An answer in the affirmative may be consistent with Popish superstition—but the sensible and manly reasoning of Protestants will deny it frankly, and will burn, if it be necessary, every translation in the world on the shrine of the purity of the Christian records.

It is not denied that many passages of the New Testament afford unnecessary scope for the objections of the sceptical. When one passage has been called arrant nonsense' by the learned Dr. Campbell, it becomes us to think there are mistakes, in others.

It is my intention to collect such passages, as administer to the scoffs of cavillers without any foundation in the original Scriptures. And, in doing this, I humbly trust that I am forwarding the interests of knowledge, of religion, and of truth.

1. The passage alluded to above is the following: “ Behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man, touching those things, whereof ye accuse him. No, nor yet Herod : for I sent you to him: and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.Luke xxiii. 15. Kai idoũ, oudèy asov Oavátou ļOT) TET Payrévov aútų. Translate it by him: and all will be correct. 'See Campbell's note.

2. “ And shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night to him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke xviii. 17.) Can this be the word of God? say some.

The Greek is 44.xxpobuuwv én' atrois. Dr. Campbell shows us that it should be translated, though he delays them long. And this removes objections.

3. I need scarcely point to that use of the word thought in St. Matthew, vi. 25. 28. 31. which is now. obsolete, and affords matter for objection. For take no thought we should translate be not anxious. Nor does this translation disagree with the words in the 34th verse: “ Be not anxious for the morrow: for the morrow shall be anxious for the things of itself,” &c.

4. I refer the reader to Paley, Lardner, and other writers, for a less objectionable translation of Luke ii. 2.

5. We must be very careful not to asoribe more contradiction to the Evangelists than really exists. By our translation Matthew is in express opposition to the other three, who say that,

[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

when the Marys arrived, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty; crying, 'They have taken away the Lord, and we know not where they have laid him,' &c. But Matthew ig made to say, when the Marys came, 'Behold, there was a great earthquake,' &e. But it should be, There had been a great earthquake. See Dr. Campbell." This observation is extracted from a late work, intitled, The New Trial of the Witnesses: in wbich indeed it is the author's intention to subvert the Christian faith: but an enemy is sometimes beneficial. If, sometimes, the only way to rescue passages of the Scriptures from contradiction or objection is to give them a new translation, then it is a great point gained, if our adversaries have led the way, and by their concessions have already allowed us to take the course we wish. Surely in this subject as in all others is the observation correct, Fas est et ab hoste doceri.

6. " A chronological objection arises on a date assigned in the beginning of St. Luke: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Jesus began to be about 30 years,

of The solution turns on an alteration in the construction of the Greek. St. Luke's words in the original are allowed by the general opinion of learned men to signify, not that Jesus began to be about 30 years of age, but that he

was about 30 years of age, when he began his ministry. This construction

' being admitted, the adverb about' gives us all the latitude we want, and more especially when applied, as it is in the present instance, to a decimal number.” Paley's Evidences, Vol. II. p. 178. Ed. 1811.

7. I have pointed out in No. 55, p. 122. of the Classical Journal, a' new translation of a passage in the second chapter of St. John's Gospel. The passage, as it stands in our common version, is faulty in two respects. One of the faulty versions, viz. that of tiêuol xalool; is differently translated in Mr. Valpy's late edition of the Greek Testament, and the words are thus noticed: “Verti possunt hæc verba, Quid hoc ad me et te? Noli solicita esse : hanc rem nec ego nec tu curare debemus." The present translation of this passage is at all events highly harsh and objectionable.

8. “ But I say unto you, whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matth. v. 28. Dr. Lardner has observed that youaixa should here be translated a married woman, and that, if it were so, all apparently needless severity would be destroyed. It is certain that yuvaina is used in the sense of wife in the 31sť



[ocr errors]

and 32d verses of this chapter. And ai yúvaixes is the Greek expression in that sentence to the Colossians: · Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands. This meaning is also particularly supported by the words ήδη εμοίχευσεν αυτήν εν τη καρδία αυτού. How could he be a μοιχός, were not the woman

a , a wife?

9. The story of the woman taken in adultery has been made à subject of objection. Bishop Pearce is of opinion that this story is an interpolation, and it is certain that many Mss. omit

1; it. In a future edition therefore it might be printed in italics, to avoid all cavil.

10. There are some passages, which contain formularies of language, known indeed to the individuals for whom the writings of the New Testament were immediately intended, but evidently unfit for our language. Thus Romans vi. 17. “ But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed that form of doctrine which was delivered you." Could St. Paul thank God that his Roman converts had been the servants of sin? In such passages the idiom of the Greek should be deserted, and should give way to our own. The passage before us might be translated : ' But God be thanked that, having been the servants of sin, you have obeyed,' &c. So again in Matth. xi. 25. “ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and 'hast revealed them unto babes." Dr. Campbell has made some good observations on the principle of this note. Perhaps indeed he has carried it even to excess: but the principle itself is, I think, indisputably correct. See his preliminary observations.

I hope hereafter to continue these observations, should you have patience to bear with them. In the mean while I will just notice that Mr. Bellamy is inaccurate, when he writes in his Antideist, p. 82, 83. that, instead of " for the time of figs was not yet,” it should be translated, “ where it was the season of hgs.” Surely the position of ou in ου γαρ ήν καιρός σύκων forbids us to construe ou for oỦ, where: ou followed by gap can mean nothing but the negative particle.

I cannot refrain, before I conclude, from observing that oi OTPatevólevou in Luke iii. 14. deserves to be translated, those who were on actual military service,' instead of the soldiers.' Michaelis, and after him Bishop Marsh, have already shown the minuteness of this participle, and have derived the legitimate conclusion from it of our historian's correct and exact information.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »