Page images
PDF
EPUB

1851.]

Syriac Philology.

559

though very many are known to exist in MS., and are deposited chiefly in the great libraries of the Vatican, of Oxford, and of the British Museum.1 In the printed works, the writer's very limited reading has met with two note-worthy passages, affecting the present inquiry. One is in Book I. sect. 17 of the Theophania of Eusebius, edited by Prof. Lee of Cambridge, London, 1842, from a MS. which is believed to take its date from A. D. 411. The whole passage is rendered by the distinguished editor himself in a Translation of the work, published at Cambridge, 1843, in these words: "This selfsame Word of God also immerged [s] even into the depths of the sea, and determined those swimming natures: and here again he made the myriads of forms which are innumerable, with every various kind of living creature." The other place is in Kirschii Chrestomathia Syriaca, ed. Bernstein, Lipsia, 1832, on page 209, where the crocodile, or the leviathan of Job 41: 1, is spoken of by Bar-He

bræus as “plunging („≤) in the depth of the sea.” It is needless

to observe, that in both these examples the verb can express neither the baptismal rite nor the idea of standing. Dr. Lee has, however, noticed its use in the Theophania as something remarkable (which it certainly is on his theory), and added this note (Translation, p. 9): "This is one of those cases, in which a verb takes a new sense from a metonymical use of it in the first instance. It is taken to signify baptizing, because baptism and confirmation are administered at the same time in the East. And as it is so taken to signify baptizing, so it is subsequently to imply immersion." But where are the parallel cases to illustrate and prove this theory? In the Slavonic languages a word meaning to cross is used for baptizing, from the making of the sign of the cross in the ceremony; but is it used also for immersion? The process of change here supposed would, at least, require a long period of time for its development: first changing standing into confirming, then confirming into baptizing, and finally baptizing into dipping. But it has been shown above, that this last named meaning or one akin to it was, at least, coëval with that of baptizing, both being found in the Peshito, the oldest Syriac work extant and dated early in the second century.

To the preceding evidences regarding the usage of the language,

1 The rich collection of Syriac MSS. in the B. M. is now fortunately under the care of a most learned and laborious scholar, the Rev. W. Cureton, A. M., who has already earned great and just fame by editing the Syriac Epistles of Ignatins and some other important works found in that collection. Long may he live a promoter in chief of oriental literature!

is to be added the testimony of native Syrian lexicographers. The most celebrated of these were Bar-Ali and Bar-Bahlul, whose SyroArabic Lexicons still exist in MS. in the Bodleian and other libraries. Bar-Ali was a physician and flourished in literature about A. D. 885, see Bib. Orientalis, III. p. 257. The following complete extract is from his Lexicon in the Bodleian, MS. Hunt. 163. For convenience of reference, we may here affix numbers to the Syriac terms explained.

1. حمداً اصطباغ اعتباب ايضا انغطاس ومنه يقال

الغطس في عيد الدنح .

2. حم أصطبغ اعتمد .

.3. حصرا المعمودية والصبغة .

.4 خصها العامون الاسطوانة عامون النور .

يغوص ويعتبد.

Chieng voirs will basas .5

Of these Arabic explanations the following is the best translation the writer can submit, as he enjoys only the poor help of Freytag's very meagre Lexicon Arabico-Latinum in usum Tironum, 1837: 1. An immersing, a bathing, also a dipping, and from it is named the dipping on the festival of Epiphany. 2. He was immersed, he was baptized. 3. Baptism or immersion. 4. Pillar, column; pillar of light. 5. He who dives or bathes. It will be observed that the Syriac word is the same in Nos. 1 and 3; but in the latter it is explained in its ritual sense, while in the former it appears to have its non-ritual meaning. The Syriac vowel points are not used in the MS. except. on Nos. 4 and 5 as above. It may be mentioned here also, that the Syriac word, No. 5, is often used to denote a person receiving baptism; see Castell's Lexicon sub voce, and examples occur in Bib. Orientalis, IV. pp. 256, 259.

Bar-Bahlul flourished about a century later than Bar-Ali. Assemani (Bib. Orient. III. p. 257) simply says, 'vivebat anno Christi 963. His lexicon is considered the best, as he had the advantage of using several others; and the best MS. of it is said to be in the Bodleian, Hunt. 157, from which the extract below was copied.1

1 See an interesting account of this and some other Syriac works in a letter from Prof. Bernstein of Breslau, published in Bib. Sacra for 1848, p. 390. It is greatly to be wished that the learned Professor's long-promised and much needed lexicon would soon appear.

1851.]

Syriac Philology.

561

.1. حقا اصطباغ اعتماد وجا به حنين في موضع حه شطيطها وفسره اى تكمن فيه يقال حمرا الحرارة ويصلح هاهنا تغوص.

.2 محمد بها الصبغة المعمودية.

3. احت حيا الصبيغ العبيد.

وربما ستبى حي من هذة العمود وربما 4. ܠܡܘܕܐ الاسطوانة من خشب واخرون عامود.

ة حصدها غواص

[ocr errors]

Translation of the Arabic: 1. An immersing, a bathing; and Honain1 has adduced it in a place (where) it is said on 1,505 Zasassa and he has interpreted it thus the heat hides itself in it,' but it is properly here 'dives. 2. Immersion, baptism. 3. The immerser, the baptizer.2 4. According to some and Bar-Sarushvai,3 a pillar, and it is often called a column of wood, or else pillar. 5. Diver.

A comparison of the above from Bar-Bahlul with the corresponding part in Castell's Syriac Lexicon, may serve to show the correctness of Prof. Bernstein's assertion (Bib. Sacra, 1848, p. 390), that Castell used the work of Bar-Bahlul only superficially, and did not adopt or rightly produce the half of it, though the contrary is professed in the Preface to the Lexicon Heptaglotton, and was apparently believed by Assemani (see Bib. Or. III. p. 257). The real compiler, however, of the Syriac part of the Heptaglotton was not Castell himself but Beveridge, who afterwards became bishop of St. Asaph; see p. 3 of the Preface to Lex. Heptaglotton. Yet, though Beveridge executed that task so badly, it must not be forgotten that he was so remarkably proficient in Syriac as to be able, in his 20th

1 Honain was a famous physician and author, who died A. D. 876. One of his works was a compendious Lexicon (see Bib. Orientalis, III. p. 164), from which probably the above example was taken by Bar-Bahlul.

2 Who is here meant I cannot make out, but the abbreviation probably stands for Zecharias.

A Nestorian bishop, who flourished towards the close of the 9th century and composed a Vocabulary, which is perhaps here alluded to (see Bib. Or. III. p. 261).

year, to publish the first and best grammar ever produced in England for that tongue; see at the end of the Epistola Dedicatoria in his Grammatica Syriaca, Londini, 1658.

No doubt a diligent search in Syriac works, in print and in MS., would furnish many more examples to the same effect as the above. There is, for instance, a small Syro-Arabic Lexicon of the 18th century, preserved in MS. in the British Museum, which exhibits the words numbered 1 and 5 in the above lists, and explains the former

by ¿ɩɩbol immersing, and the latter by diver, in har

mony with Bar-Ali and Bar-Bahlul.

غواص

Perhaps, however, the above evidence may suffice to make every scholar say with Michaelis, in reference tos, Barrí(eodaı, “Mihi verisimilius, diversum [esse] plane ab stare." So thinks also Prof. Bernstein, who is considered the best Syriac scholar now living. He, however, does not, with Michaelis, trace the verb to the Arabic

[ocr errors]

/// submergere, but compares it with "quod transl. habet

significationem immersit, immisit aliquid, recondidit gladium in vaginam; "see under, in Bernstein's Lexicon Syriacum to Kirsch's Chrestomathia Syriaca, Lips., 1836. Yet there is no essential difference in the affinities suggested by these two great lexicographers; for in fact these two Arabic verbs, with two others, are, in all proba

bility, radically identical, namely, ċ,, jaċ and maċ

submergere. In this last form the root exists also in Syriac, in cess to dive, and in the Coptic wc, βαπτίζειν, καταποντίζειν, (see Tattam's Lexicon Ægyptiaco-Latinum, Oxon., 1835.) It will be observed that the only difference in the four Arabic verbs, is in the final letters; but these are well known in comparative philology to be interchangeable: thus under 77, Gesenius gives as radically iden

all conveying originally , פָּרַשׁ and פָּרַר פָּרָט, פָּרַד tical the verbs

the idea of breaking. A list very similar to this, might be exhibited also in Arabic and Syriac, with the primary sense of breaking, or se

parating, e. g. vi, vėj3, )ƒ3,

فرض

And now, lest it be urged that

vwji; 212, ti9, voj9.

cannot be akin to A, etc.,

because the Arabic root has & Ghain, and not

ε Ain, we may observe

that the Heb. and the Syr. are used for both forms of the Arabic letter (Gesenius's Lexicon under,) and that the identity of sas

1851.]

with

[blocks in formation]

is unquestionable, though the apparent dissimilarity in

the letters be even greater than between as and . Finally, or val

H

if it be asked why the Syrians, having the choice of 1123 as well as to denote immerse, used the former only occasionally, but the latter habitually, for baptism, the reason may possibly have been, as suggested by Augusti, (Handbuch der Christlichen Archäologie II. p. 311,) that the former word had been already appropriated by the Zabians or Hemerobaptists, (dippers, see Michaelis under in his edition of Castell,) a half-Jewish sect in the East, supposed to have come down from John the Baptist, and hence called also Disciples of John (Mendai Jahia). The Syrian Christians would naturally wish not to be confounded with such a party, and hence might have adopted another equally appropriate term to denote the baptismal act.

ARTICLE VI.

LIFE OF ZUINGLI.1

By R. D. C. Robbins, Professor of Languages, Middlebury College.

Birth-place, Lineage and Childhood of Zuingli.

THE first day of January, 1484, was the birth-day of Ulric Zuingli, the pioneer of the reformation in Switzerland. Not quite two months before, on St. Martin's eve, in the cottage of a poor miner at Eisleben, Luther was born. The place of the birth of Zuingli was a lowly

1 The works principally consulted in the preparation of this sketch of the Life of Zuingli, are: "Life of Ulric Zuingli, the Swiss Reformer, by J. G. Hess; translated by Lucy Aiken." "Huldrich Zwingli, Geschichte seiner Bildung zum Reformator des Vaterlandes, von J. M. Schuler, Zürich, 1819." "Huldrici Zwinglii Opera, completa ed. prim. cur. M. Schulero et Jo. Schultessio," 13 volumes. "Calvin and the Swiss Reformation, by John Scott, London, 1833." "D'Aubigne's History of Reformation," Carter's edition, 1846. Several other works also are occasionally referred to as will appear from the notes.

« PreviousContinue »