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Constant Change of the Consonants.


and of the South Germans, the stroked vowel of the Lettish,1), and so, finally, falls away altogether.2

In this manner, therefore, through the tendency to a softer form, the consonants of both kinds, mutes and liquids, are, within their respective circles, in a state of constant transition and change. We might naturally expect that transitions would take place also from one province to the other, and particularly in accordance with the direction hitherto noticed, from that of the mutes to the liquids. And the mutes do actually, as we have seen, pass over through assibilation into the class of semivowels, to which the liquids belong. Still, the sibilants, though forming one class with the liquids phonetically, adhere, in general, in a grammatical and historical respect, to the lingual letters from which they sprang; so that there even remains yet a sort of chasm between the province of the liquids and that of the mutes. At the same time, points of contact and transitions are not wholly wanting. Thus there is a twofold, narrow indeed, but somewhat practicable, path, which leads, especially in the Latin and old German, partly from the linguals, but chiefly from the simple sibilants s, z, to r, (which is likewise formed with the tip of the tongue, and stands physiologically very near them). In these languages, the older s standing in the middle or at the end of syllables, (and so weakened by contact with a preceding vowel, hence in the former case passing actually over, in the Gothic, into z), is very commonly changed, in the later periods, into r, e. g. Furius instead of Fusius, dirimo instead of disimo, oris pluris from os, plus; old German, ror, ōra, hōryan, mēr, mir, from Gothic raus, hausjan, ausô, mais, mis.3 In Latin, again, sometimes d passes into r, as meridies, from medius dies, and in some of the German vulgar dialects, t and d in the middle of a word first into dh, then into r, e. g. lower Hessian rēre (Eng. ready), upper Hessian Vûrer, Brûrer, Werrer, for Vater, Bruder, Wetter, (properly Vadher, etc). In the bosom of these languages, transitions of the linguals, also, take place, especially of d into

1 Here belongs also the so called mytacism of the Latin m, vid. Schneider, I. 301 ff. Böckh ubi sup. 387; whence the familiar mode of writing in MSS. multu for multum, and the like.

2 On the mytacism which especially belongs here, (the resolution of m into n before vowels), vid. preceding note. The apocope and syncope of the n is very common, as is known, in all languages, certainly effected, however, everywhere through the above-mentioned nasal resonance-particularly where a general historical relation appears, as between the Greek ending wv and the Lat. o. Schneider, II. 497.

3 Schneider, I. 342 f. Grimm, I. 63, 121.

Schneider, I. 257 f.

(likewise a lingual liquid, and probably through as an intermediate step), e. g. daxou into lachryma, Odvooévs into Ulysses, olfacio, compared with odor, Goth. vaddjus into Wall (Lat. vallum). The same perhaps, may be noticed in the Semitish languages.2 Finally, the labials, p, b, are found passing over into the liquid m, belonging to the same organ; in the Semitish languages, e. g. ubo and ubu, qua and, in Greek and Lat., e. g. promulgare for vulgare, μnha = Byλa, (balare), in Germ., schwalme for schwalbe. Other examples, as LXX. Λεμνα for me, σεμνος for σεβνος (from σεβω), somnus from vлvos, damnum from danavn, Bamberg for Babenberg, Stimme from Stibna, belong to assimilation.

As we have thus seen certain transitions of the finer mutes into liquids, so again, the liquids, in which the consonant sound has reached the utmost limit of fluidity and fineness, sometimes pass over into the province of the vowels; much more rarely, however, since the separation between consonant and vowel is quite too important to be easily overstepped. The semi-vocal nature of r and 7 appears most clearly in the Sanskrit, by the formation of two proper vowels, ri and Iri. In the modern European languages, they sometimes resolve themselves into u and i; in French and Dutch, namely, al, ol, into au, ou; in Ital. 7 between a mute and a vowel, into i, e. g. fiore, chiare, from flos, clavis in Norweg., or into oi, e. g. hoin, coin, instead of horn, corn. And as 1, r, resolve themselves into u, i, so, again, does n sometimes into the throat vowel a. Thus in the Suabian vulgar dialect, after long vowels, e. g. nûa, dûa, grüa, zieada, instead of nun, thun, grün, zehnten; since, however, this counterfeit a is universally a favorite resonance (a sort of Pattahh furtive) after long vowels, we ought perhaps to consider the n as apocopated here, or rather resolved into that nasal tone so agreeable as a final sound to the South Germans and the French, which, no longer representing a proper consonant sound, approximates to the vowel a. This transformation of the n into a, is more extensively and distinctly witnessed in the Greek, not merely in the hard, and for Greeks impossible, position between the two consonants, in 3 plur. perf. pass. as veryά

1 Schneider, I. 255 f. Grimm, I. 66.

2 Ewald, Heb. Gramm., S. 36 f.

Gesenius, Lehrg., § 32, I. Ewald ubi sup. 4 Schneider, I. 315. Grimm, II. 193. 5 Strictly perhaps j, as the i is sounded before vowels, and then it coincides with ther in many words between a and o or io, e. g. Gennaio, caprajo, notajo, for Gennaro, capraro, notario, and with the French pronunciation of the ending ail, eil, ille, etc., as aj, ej”, ij.

Grimm, I. 570. Comp. 580, 581.


Concluding Remarks.


πατας, ἐγθάγατας for τετγαπντας, ἐγθαγντας, but also in the soft Ionic dialect, consistently with its known fondness for the prevalence of vowels, in a simple position with 7 after vowels, e. g. nenavaras, κεκλεατας, πυθοίατο, κεχολώατο, τιθέατας, and even ἐβουλέατο, ἱγέαTas, (instead of Boúhorro, iyarras). Here belong also, perhaps, the customary forms of the 3 pl. pres. ἱζέασι, διδόασι, τιθέασι, etc. (from avtos, ovtos, evros, etc.), if we can assume that the a was originally short, and has been lengthened only by a misapprehension of its character. Still more prevalent is this use of a for n, in the flexion endings, vv, nv, ɛ, etc., e. g. in acc. sing. 3 decl. izva, vndva, ßoa, εύγει, etc., Ionic for ἰχθυν, νηδύν, βουν, εύγυν, etc., παλγια, μηλγωα, compared with -ov, dɛoлorɛα, with -n; again in plup. Ionic, εα for ειν, impf. ἐτιθεα for ἐτιθην, ἐκ and ja for ἦν, ἦτα for ήειν, and the like. One feels the more tempted to reckon these latter phenomena, with Buttmann, with those of the former kind, and recognize throughout the Ionic inclination to resolve n into a, since such a resolution, effected as above mentioned through the resonance ng, is precisely appropriate to the final sound. But it must not be overlooked here, that these variations are connected with that widely pervading, and as yet imperfectly investigated mutation of the flexion endings, and a, partly in the formation of the accusative, partly in the flexion of verbs (especially in the historical tenses) when the a rests not on a mere volatilization of the n, but, as appears from a comparison of the Sanskrit and other affiliated languages, on the apocope of an earlier final m, from which the ending n has sprung. So that the a may have thus been originally no more than the unionvowel to connect the ending m with roots ending in a consonant, while those ending in a vowel, append immediately the n into which m has dwindled.



By Rev. Robert W. Landis, Hillsdale, N. Y.1

THE question as to the true import of this passage, has for a thousand years past furnished a theme for contention between the Synagogue and the Christian Church; the former insisting that is compounded of the prefix and a lion; and that the phrase simply means 66 as a lion my hands and my feet;" while the latter maintains that the word should be read not as a noun but as a verb; and that the phrase should be rendered, "They pierced my hands and my feet." A popular and excellent expositor, has lately in his work on the Psalms, afforded some countenance to the Jewish interpretation; and as the importance of the theme will be readily conceded, we have concluded to devote a few pages to a review of the question.

The expositor to whom we refer, it is almost needless to say, is the Rev. Joseph Addison Alexander, to whom the sacred literature of our country owes obligations which are neither trivial nor few. In common with many we feel gratefully indebted to this gentleman for the exegetical works with which he has already favored the Christian world; and though we decidedly dissent from his conclusions in relation to the passage before us, it is not without diffidence that we venture thus to call them in question; being assured of the scrupulous care with which his conclusions generally in this his favorite department of theological science, are considered and reviewed before being submitted to the public. We are, however, fully convinced that the exposition of the passage referred to is erroneous, and that it is calculated to do serious injury in more ways than one to the cause of truth; and so thinking and feeling, we shall endeavor with all the frankness which Dr. Alexander himself would observe in a similar case, to state the reasons which appear to us to justify this conviction.

That the matter may, however, be fully understood by all our readers, we shall here extract from the work of Dr. Alexander, the passage to which we refer. After translating the whole verse in

1 The following Article was prepared for the Biblical Repository, and should have been inserted at an earlier day. - EDS.


Remarks of Dr. Alexander.


consistency with the common version of it by evangelical Christians, he proceeds as follows in relation to the clause referred to:

"The last clause, as above translated, contains a striking reference to our Saviour's crucifixion, which some have striven to expunge by denying that the ancients nailed the feet as well as the hands to the cross. But although there is a singular absence of explicit declaration on the subject, both in the classical and sacred writers, the old opinion that the feet were pierced may be considered as completely verified by modern investigation and discussion. So far, therefore, as the question of usage is concerned, we can have no difficulty in referring the clause to our Saviour's crucifixion, and regarding it as one of those remarkable coincidences, some of which have been already noticed, all designed and actually tending to identify our Lord as the most prominent subject of prophecy. It is very remarkable, however, that no citation or application of the clause occurs in any of the Gospels. It is also worthy of remark that the clause, thus explained, although highly appropriate to one part of our Saviour's passion, is, unlike the rest of the description, hardly applicable, even in a figurative sense, to the case of any other sufferer. Even supposing the essential idea to be merely that of wounds inflicted on the body, it seems strange that it should be expressed in the specific and unusual form of piercing the hands and the feet. On further inspection it appears that, in order to obtain this meaning, we must either

or assume a plural form so rare ,(כַּאֲרִי for כַּאֲרִי or כַּאֲרוּ) change the text

that some grammarians deny its existence altogether ( for

), and an equally rare form of the participle ( for ), and a meaning of the verb itself which nowhere else occurs, but must be borrowed from a cognate root (~5 for ); an accumulation of grammatical and lexicographical anomalies, which cannot be assumed without the strongest exegetical necessity, and this can exist only if the words admit of no other explanation more in accordance with analogy and usage. Now the very same form in Ps. 38: 13, is unquestionably used to mean like the lion, and a slight modification of the same in Numb. 24: 9. Ezek. 22: 25, like a lion. This idea would be here the more appropriate because the Psalm abounds in such allusions, and because the lion is expressly mentioned both before and afterwards. See above, v. 14 (13), and below, v. 22 (21). The sense would then be 'they surround my hands and my feet, as they would a lion,' or, as a lion would,' i. e. with the strength and fierceness of a lion. The hands and feet may be mentioned as the parts used in defence and flight. That the mention of these parts after all, in connection with the lion is not altogether natural, cannot fairly be denied, and this objection should have all the weight to which it is entitled. But whether it can outweigh the grammatical difficulties that attend the other construction, is a serious question, which ought not to be embarrassed by any supposed conflict with New Testament authority, since no citation of the clause occurs there. It may even be possible to reconcile the two interpretations by supplying a verb and giving

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