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Art. I. Account of Dr. Kennicott's Bible, and general Disertation,
See Rev. March,
THE Jewish testimonies which are produced hy our learned
Editor, and of which we have already taken notice, are succeeded by the testimonies of the Chriftian writers; the first of whom are the Evangelists and Apostles. And here Dr. Kennicott enters upon a very interesting disquisition, as to the quotations made in the New Testament from the Old,
With regard to these quotations, he infists, that whenever they are brought for proofs (as for instance that Jesus was the M dian), they were always made justly, and agreeably to the true sense of the Old Testament. He obferves, that these first disciples of Christ claim from us great respect as very ancient writers; but as writers inspired, and confirming their doctrine by their miracles, they demand our ailent and veneration. That they sometimes only alluded to, and merely accommodated, the words of the Old Teftament, he allows; but he will not allow, that any one prophetic passage, when urged by an Apostle as proof, is urged in a fense different from the true fenfe of the prophet. As to the contrary opinion, he maintains, that it has been founded on the fupposed purity of the printed Hebrew text: whereas a just correction of that text, grounded on the authorities of 'Hebrew manuscripts, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the ancient versions, will in many places restore to the Old Testament that harmony with the New which it has long wanted.
The first example produced is Gen. ii. 24. ; where the S.2maritan text, and the four ancient versions, confirm the rcadira quoted twice by St. Paul; and twice allo gives the words as spoken by God him
the word in Psalm xvi.; where : 80 Hebrew copies establish the reasoning of two Apostles. A farther instance is Psalm xl. where a reading, necessary to the argumentt in the roth chapter to the Hebrews, is confirmed not only by the Greek version, but by fome copies, likewise, of the Syriac and Arabic. In confirmation of St. John (xix. 36, 37.), Dr. Kennicott has recovered to us a prophecy, before very obscure, if not quite unintelligible, by correcting a word now fingular into the plural number, in Psalm xxxiv. 22.; in consequence of which, we fee (in verie 21.) the Just One, that is the Melliah, a bone of whom was not to be broken; and the second quotation of the Apostle is authorised by forty Hebrew copies. The last example is Jeremiah xxxi.; where, though the New Testament (Heb. 8.) quotes it as fpeaking of a law then future, the printed Hebrew speaks of a law before given : yet twenpy Hebrew manuscripts justify the Apostle. A Jewish Rabbi hack femarked, that the past sense makes against the Christians.
There can be no doubt of the rage of the Jews, soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, against all who embraced the religion of Jesus. As the Christian doctrine, in particular, of the cail of the Gentiles was very odious to the Jewish nation, the corruption of Amos, chap. ix. in opposition to Acts chap. xv. is easily accounted for : whilst the true reading, residue of men, instead of remnant of Edom, is confirmed by the context, by the Greek version, and by some manuscripts of the Syriac. During the second and third centuries, the Hebrew text was almost entirely in the power of the Jews : and as the old Greek version was used by the Christians, we see the reason why three new Greek versions were made by the Jews, in order to disgrace the old one. Thus, in the new versions, they put vezvis for TopOsvoş in Isaiah vii. 14. Nor was greater attention paid to the prophetic description of the Meffiah's birth, than of his death : for a striking proof is given, that the Hebrew text, in Isa. lii. is corrupted to that very sense which the Jews wanted, but could not produce, in their dispute with Origen. After giving four instances of the old Greek versions being corrupted out of opposition to Christianity, Dr. Kennicott remarks, that some important alterations have been made only by transposing the Hebrew words or letters ; as Psal. lxviii. 19. Hof. xiii. 14. Amos v. 26. Dext. xxxii. 5. and Hab. ii. 4.-on which last place it is obseryed, that the New Testament is confirmed by Hebrew manuscripts five times in the compass of ten words.
Our able critic next proceeds to the Chronology from the Creation to Abraham, where the Jews have either taken away, or added, 1300 years. Here many arguments are offered to that this wreat corruption is not in the Greek version, and that it was contracted in the second
century. The following is the reason given by Oriental writers : It being a very ancient tradition that the Messiah was to come in the fixth Chiliad, because he was to come in the last days (founded on a mystical application of the fix days creation), the contrivance was—to horten the age of the world from cbout 5500 to 3760; and thence to prove, that Jesus could not be the Meffiah, because at his birth the time for the Meffiah's Advent was
As to the time of this great corruption, Dr. Kennicott hath afterwards shewn, with wonderful precision, that it was made between the years 175 and 200. To the authorities first quoted, namely, yosephus, Demetrius, Origen, Abul-Pharajius, the Samaritan Pentateuch (after the Deluge), and the Jews themselves, it is added afterwards—that some Hebrew copies, having the larger chronology, were extant till the time of Eule. bius, and some till the year 700.
The old Italic version, made from the Greek about the year 100, is shewn to be of great use in confirming some ancient readings of the Greek version ; particularly, as to the larger chronology. After some remarkable quotations from Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenæus, notice is taken more at large of Tertullian. It relates to Ifa li. 4. in proof, that in his time this verse expressed the very sense ascribed to it in the 8th chapter of St. Matthew, where the Evangelist quotes it as foretelling that the Messiah should heal bodily diseases. It is here shewn, that the preient Hebrew words fairly admit this sense; that they are so expressed by Tertullian; and therefore, that they were fo expressed in the old Greek version, though since strangely altered there out of opposition to the Gospel.
Origen furnishes many interesting notices, as to the differences in the Hebrew copies, and the true readings of the Greek verfion. Great use is also made of Eufebius, Theopbilus Antiochenus, and Ephraim Syrus; but more copiously still, of Jerom. Indeed, our sagacious Author's observations on this eminent Father are as interesting as they are copious; though they fill nearly fix folio pages, few parts of which can be here specified. Remarks are made on Jerom’s study of the Hebrew language ; on his acquaintance with learned Rabbis, and his deference to them ; on the hatred of the Jews to the Christians; on the wilful alterations of the Jews in their Hebrew text, and the variations of their copies ; and on the excellence of the Samaritan manuscripts, from which this Father cited some valuable readings, fince loft: particularly the numbers 187 and 182, now 67 and 53, in Gen. v. 25. and 28. With regard to Deut. xxxii. 43. quoted in Rom. xv. 10. many observations are here made on manuscripts, confirming the Apostolical quotation. It is added, that Jerom himself must have had the fame reading (though since altered) in Deuteronomy, because he elsewhere Y 2
twice says, Lætamini gentes cum populo ejus; and that he must have considered this as a prophecy, because he adds, IMPLEBITUR illud Deuteronomii, &c. • It is impoflible to avoid taking particular notice of the 8th section, which contains matter of fingular moment, with respect to the confirmation of a quotation in Matth. xiii. 35.
35. Accord ing to the Evangelist, it had been foretold that the Meffiah should speak in parables; and he infers, that Jesus, speaking in parables, gave one proof of his being the Melliah. But where is such a prophecy to be found ? No where, at present, but at the head of a Psalm, which is void of every thing parabolical, and entirely historical : so that whilst some have doubted, others have denied that this introduction to such a Psalm could have any relation to the Melliah. But that these two verses are now out of place, and that they belong to Isaiah, is here proved on the authority of PORPHYRY; for he speaks of the word Isaiah as the true reading in the Gospel. So wonderfully doth this famous unbelieving philosopher confirm the Evangelist! These, with many other remarks upon Jerom, are followed by the teftimonies of Epiphanius, Auguftin, and Sulpicius Severus. The first period of the Christian Writers finishes with the oldest manuscripts of the Greek version; particularly the Vatican and Alexandrian manuscripts, written about the year 400.
The period from 500 to 1000 begins with the Milan manuscript; which is a Syriac verfion from the Greek, with the marks used by Origen. It is supposed to have been written about the year 800, and is in the Eitrangelo character. In the fame history, and the fame character, is another Syriac manuscript, translated from the Hebrew, and probably of equal antiquity. But another Syriac manuscript is mentioned, containing Kings and Daniel, which is still older; having the date 704, one of the oldest dates affixed to any manuscript by the writer of it. The utility of these manuscripts is here proved, by observations on Pfal. xl. 6, 7, 9.; and also on 2 Kings viii. 16. In this last place, three words are now interpolated in the Hebrew text; which words, though found also in the Vatican and Alexandrian manuscripts, are not in the Complutenfian and Aldine editions. The Hexaplar manuscript of Kings before mentioned has not these words; nor are they in some of the best manufcripts and earliest editions of the Vulgate. The excellence of this manuscript appears farther from some remarks on 2 Kings, vii. 13. and xxiii. 16. These observations on the importance of the Greek and Greco-Syriac manuscripts, are concluded with Pfalm Ixv. 2. ; where the words, in Jerusalem, omitted now in the Hebrew copies, and also in the Vatican manuscript, are preserved in fourteen oiher Greek inanuscripts.
About the year 700 flourished venerable Bede, who was considered as an heretic, for defending the Hebrew chronology against the Greek : and the Greek continued, long after that time, to have very powerful advocates; such as Syncellus, in 792; Eutychius Alexandrinus, about goo; and Ebn-Raheb, in 1257. Lastly, the Vulgate version of serom was greatly altered, about the year 800, by command of Charlemagne; and it was probably much corrupted, by being brought nearer to the Hebrew text, where that text was become erroneous.
This verfion, after suffering other similar corrections, was altered in 8oco places by Ifidore Clarius, in 1542. Its final corrections were made in the editions of Sixtus and Clement.
From the year 1000 to 1450 the testimonies of Christians are few. Yet soon after the Jews fled from the East into Europe, in 1010, the Hebrew language was learned by several Christians; and particularly by Lanfranc and Anselm, Grosihead and Roger Bacon. This last
great man, with his Franciscan brethren at Oxford, bought many Hebrew manuscripts, when the Jews were expelled from England in 1289. In the 13th century lived Raymund Martini, who accused the Jews of corrupting the Hebrew text. As this Author speaks of the manuscripts differing in Zach. xii. 10. Dr. Kennicott takes notice, that forty copies have here the very reading expressed in John xix. 37. The other writers here quoted are Nic. Lyranus, Radulph. Armachanus, Toftatus, Perez de Valentia, and Marsilius Ficinus.
Under the last period, from 1450 to 1780, the first eminent testimony is that of Zuinglius; who extols the Greek verfion, and remarks the corrupt addition of fer. chap. 52. Luther is next mentioned, and well vindicated from some charges brought against his German version : because it is here proved, that his own copy of the Hebrew Bible (printed in 1494) agrees with his version, where the latter Bibles differ from it. Bibliander is celebrated on account of his excellent criticism on Ezech. xiii. 21. And whoever considers the great improbability that the news of Jerusalem's being taken should be nearly eighteen months in reaching Babylon, will be glad to know, on the authority of the Syriac version, and eight Hebrew manuscripts, that it was not more than fix months. The editions of Sixtus and Clement are next described. The present English version is then thewn to express frequently, not what the translators found in their Hebrew text, but what they thought Ihould have been there. A remark is added, with regard to the Liturgy of the Church of England, that the fourteenth Plalm, as there inserted, contains three verses, which the Hebrew text of that Pralm does not contain at present; but which, according to our able Critic fin one of his remarks upon Jerom), are probably genuine.