Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

The Hebrew Bible---printed from the Edition of Athias, 1667, for the London

Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews-price 16s. T'here was a time within the memory of some of our readers, when Hebrew literature was so much neglected in this country, that the most valuable and high-priced works were considered as mere literary lumber. A very great improvement has since taken place, not in consequence of any increased encouragement from either the University or the Bishops, but arising from the improved character of divinity students. Several popular and useful elementary treatises have been published in Dublin, and books on Biblical literature continue to be eagerly purchased; and we trust the time is not far distant, when candidates for holy orders will receive encouragement to make themselves acquainted with the original language of the Old Testament.

As soon as England was delivered, by the establishment of the Reformation, from the angry polemics of stormy times, Hebrew literature began to flourish, and the English Bibles, the London Polyglott, and the Critici Sacri, were illustrious proofs of England's scholarship during more than half a century; and, although neglected along with every thing good by the second Charles, and kept out of sight in the stirring times of the Revolution, and of the accession of George the first, Hebrew literature began to revive in the last century; and to the researches of Lowth, Secker, and Kennicott, we owe our deliverance from the trammels of Jewish tạition. Their discoveries of the various readings in MSS. and printed editions, overturned the preposterous idea of an unvarying text, in which Walton and Lightfoot had too easily acquiesced. Hence arose Kennicott's collation of MSS. to place the subject beyond doubt; and a yaluable addition has been since made to it by the renewed collation of De Rossi.

From these and other sources of information we have learned the history of the Hebrew .printed text, and of its earliest editions. At first certain portions only of the Bible were printed for the convenience of being carried to the Synagogue: and, when the mani. fest advantage of this proceeding was discovered, an entire Bible was printed in 1488. Several others were printed before the end of that century, by different editors, and founded upon different MSS.; and consequently, though it was not suspected at that time, with different texts. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, the wealthy Jews turned their attention to the subject of printing ; and Felix Pratensis' Bible appeared in 1518, distinguished by greater pains, and in printing by more critical attention to the text. This man was a converted Jew; and as he, for the first time, printed several Rabbinical commentaries along with the text, he omitted all the passages in which Christianity was calumniated—this was the first of those called Rabbinical Bibles. The Jews were not satisfied with this edition, and they printed another in 1526, which is known as the Bible of Rabbi Chaim. From this celebrated edition, printed according to the rules of the Masorah, all subsequent editions have proceeded: even its typographical errors were copied, until they were corrected by Athias.

VOL. VII.

K

Chaim, the Editor, wishing to have the Masorah in full perfeclion, rejected ancient MSS. and took his text from a MS. exactly one hundred years older than his edition, because it was considered more perfect: this MS. is marked 319 in De Rossi's collation, and agrees so closely with the text of Chaim, as to leave no doubt of its having been his model.

Athias, a Dutch Jew, was the first editor who was guided by critical principles in forming his text: he corrected the errors of preceding editors, and printed two improved editions of the Hebrew Bible, the last of which, printed in 1667, was esteemed so creditable to his character, that the states of Holland rewarded him with a medal.

The Hebrew Bible before us professes to be an exact transcript of the second edition of Athias; yet we have found some passages which follow Van der Hooght, and not Athias. It is a complete Jewish Masorite Bible, containing all those unmeaning distortions of the text, on which the Jews set so great a value, that they will receive no Bible from wbich they have been rejected.

The deficiency in critical sagacity which was displayed by the earliest editors of the Hebrew Bible, has not been made up by the exertions of their successors : notwithstanding the abundant sources of correction which are easily and directly applicable to the important task of correction, respect for ancient prejudices prevails, and the Hebrew printed text is suffered to remain in a state which the scholars of Europe would not endure in a Heathen classic. We speak as critics rather than as theologians, when we blame the printed Hebrew text; for there are not more than one hundred and fifty places in which the meaning of the text would be changed by the introduction of undoubted correction. This number is too great, yet small in proportion to the vast number of requisite alterations which relate to the grammatical form of the words.

To the credit of our translators, let it be known; that in nearly six hundred places they have anticipated corrections of the text, by supplying in passages which were manifestly incorrect, words in Italics (which have since been sanctioned by the collated MSS.) exhibiting the deficient Hebrew terms; and whoever critically examines the English Bible, will perceive in almost every page traces of the minute attention which was paid by the translators to the original text. Examples of_this are specified by Horne. Introduction, &c. vol. ii. p. 253. Ed. 4th.

We do not pretend that our translation is perfect; but we are sure that none more correct can ever be produced from our present Hebrew text, which continues to be printed year after

year with all its acknowledged imperfections, and errors long since made confessedly manifest are repeated, to the great difficulty of the learner, and to the great regret of the scholar. We see no reason why the Bible should be left with an incorrect text, which would not be endured in Virgil or Homer; for though there is an immeasurable difference in the importance of the subjects, the sources of correction are the same.

Jahn's Bible, Vienna, 1806, contains the nearest approach to a corrected text that we have seen. The text is Van der Hooght's, and the important corrections are placed at the bottom of the page, accompanied by a reference to the authority on which they rest: the text is pointed and divided into sections, to each of which there is a Latin note of contents: the Books of Chronicles are not given as in other editions, but placed in portions beside the parallel passages in the other books. The edition is in much request in England, and we would recommend it to our learned readers.

FOREIGN RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

me.

NORTH AMERICA.

“ The first thing I did was to examine Upper Canada.- Extract of a letter their books, as I had been informed that from a Gentleman in Demo, near Peter- improper books bad been given to them, borough, in Upper Canada : -

but I could see nothing of the kind.“The poor Indians are with us now For want of books many of the children more frequently than they used to be ; bad boards, with the letters and small they are aware they are under the pro- words cut on them ; when these were tection of the British laws equally with removed, and they were given books or the wbite people ; and as I am the only sheets of paper in their stead, their demagistrate in this part of the country, light was great. they always come to consult me on their “ I had not before seen the master; little grievances. Indeed there is much but when he understood who I was, be pleasure in doing any thing for them ; promised to send me a report of his and we always try to have a little present school, which I now enclose to you.

I of books for them, which gratifies them told the master I should do all in my more than any thing we could give them. power to procure books for them from I hope you will be able to send us my friends in Ireland ; so you see I am books-particularly we want Testaments engaged, therefore do all you can for and spelling-books.

The master said he knew it bad “ I visited their school at Rice Lake been reported to me that be had been in December, and was much pleased with using improper books in the school, but what I saw.

I put up my home at the assured me it was false. What is here inn, and walked about half a mile into meant by improper books are those the woods, accompanied by two young which are printed in the United States, Indian men: in a short time I came in and are unfavourable to the British goview of several wigwams, and after pass- vernment, and every thing that is Eng. ing them, saw the School-house, which lish. is a log building, in a most romantic si- “ After I left the school I walked tuation, with a small river in front, and over to the wigwams to see some of my a beautiful view of the Rice Lake and old friends; I received a bearty wels islands.

come, but all the chiefs were out hunt. “ I walked up to the door, and listened ing. I remarked bow clean the women for a few moments, when I heard a voice were in comparison of what they used to in broken English reading aloud. I be ; even the dogs appeared to partake thought there could not be many cbil- in the civilization, as ibey did not bark dren, as there was so little poise, when as formerly. after knocking at the door I was told to As the men are obliged to go out to come in; great and agreeable was my hunt for about half the year for support, surprise indeed, to find almost as many they leave their children and wives, with as ibe house could contain, nearly sixty a few young men to fish and hunt, for the Indian boys and girls, and about ten purpose of feeding the children at school. white children, all attentive and dili- Can any thing shew more their anxiety gent; three or four were at a desk writ- for education than this arrangement : ing-one class standing up and reading. they are naturally lazy and indolent, yet

are now exerling themselves, and ac- in wbich I was obliged to correct for quiring habits of industry and cleupli- stubbornness. ness; and this in consequence of their “ They have at times been scant for desire to bave their children educated. food ; such a body of them consumes a

"I know you are much interested great quantity, though the Indians bave about these poor people; and as I in- laboured hard in hunting to procure tend going to the neighbourbood of the ment, yet, being settled in one body, it school next week, I propose calling there requires more labour tban if they were again. In the mean time I shall collect scattered; but I hope they will be betier every book I can find for them. You provided against another winter, as it is need not send us many Bibles in the first the intentioň to cultivate the islands the instance, Testaments are more needed ensuing season. just now. I hope to be able to tell more « The school bas not been sufficiently about our Indians when I next write." supplied with books, as the number bas

The following letter from the master so far exceeded what was expected. Our of the Rice Lake School is tbe Report wish is to teach them from Mavor's late referred to above:

edition; until they are able to read the “ Rice Lake, 7th Feb. 1828. Bible, Mavor's Spelling Book and the “ DEAR SIR-1 bàve now the plea- New Testament would be thankfully resure of transmitting to you a short state- ceived, or any other good book; and I ment of the Indian school at Rice Lake. hope all will contribute to the advance

" This school commenced the 13th of ment of so glorious a work." November last. I came to this place atout tbe Ist of October, but could not

PRUSSIA. commence the school on account of the Berlin. Extract of a Letter from an house not being finished. During the Trish Clergyman, now a Missionary on first nionth I frequently went into their the Continent, dated Whitsunday, May camps, and, when any of the children 27th 1828 :-" This morning we went to were present, endeavoured to teach them the King's Chapel to hear tbe famous the alpbubet; at this time there were Strauss. It was a great treat.

The not to exceed a dozen children here. churcb is much the shape of our ColWhen the school began I had twenty- lege cbupel, only on a larger scale. It five native children ; there were two must bold at the least 2000 persons, and or three families which moved here a was filled to excess. Opposite to us in few days previous to the school's com- the gallery, sat the pious king; to bis mencing: the number of scholurs in- right his two sons; to the right of tbem creased every week, till the number the court. The service began with the anoonted to forty ; the last week of old hymn, “Come Holy Ghost,” and December I had sixty, the Indians båv- the whole congregation, the king and his ing returned from their bunting, and sons included, sang out manfully us if some of the Mud Lake children come they were in earnest : tben followed the here to school. Since that time, the liturgy, wbich, though not equal to ours, number bas been frem forty to fisiy. A is a fine bold declaration of all the truths few of the larger Indians could not at- of Christianity; then a few verses of a tend regularly, as they bave been obliged hymin, and then a sermon ; which was to hunt to procure food; though not. à good specimen of manly Christian withstanding these various inconveni- eloquence. When I looked at the great ences, they have attended much more re- congregation, and remembered that the gularly than was expected. The Indiam king built the church, composed the liwomen have been very industrious in turgy, called bither a faithful minister, making brooms and båskets, which they acknowledged the Lord as his God himcarry to the frontier and there dispose of selfand thus furnished means of grace to a them for provision to support their chil- multitude of his subjects, I could not dren at school. When the school com- help blessing bim in my heart. After menced I do not think there was to exceed

the sermon, Strauss gave out that there balf a dozen who knew the alphabet ; I would be a collection at the door for the have double that number now reading in Bible Suciety, and addressed the congretwo syllables. I think the progress has gation on the necessity and duty of disbeen as great as in any school of whites tributing the word of God. You may that ever I attended, although I may be guess how I was delighted to bear this prejudiced, and therefore leave it for in the king's chapel before the king.” others to judge. They seem very anxious to learn, and every advice given is

POLAND. received with thankfulness : they are Friend of Israel Society.-Another easy to govern; I have had but one case school of Hebrew children has been

[ocr errors]

formed at Firchtiegal, ber Serene High- Aid-de-camp to the King of Prussia, ness, the Princess Reuss, Patroness.- dated May 21st 1828. Firchtiegal is seven miles from Pinne, “I am rejoiced to be able to confirm, and not far from Margonin. The three the very satisfactory intelligence wbich schools are within a circle of ten miles you have already received from Mr. distance from Posen. Margonin school Pocke. Your letters have all duly come has opened, Mr. Bode bas removed to to hand, and I will not delay any longer take the superintendance of it from Pinne, to tell you that his Majesty, most grateand is succeeded by Mr. Noah, of whom fully and tbankfully acknowledges the a bigb character has been received from active and very Zealous participation Professor Tbolock. The total expense wbich, in word and deed, you make maof each school, is about £34 10s. Od. nilest for the conversion of the Jews to

Extract of a letter from Heron Von Cbristian doctrines. It is not to be deRappard, received 30 Juve.

nied, that the salary of £75 per annum, “Our first examination took place to- as fixed for the clergyman, is not consorday : though the progress of the children mable with his situation ; but your kind in reading is as yet small, we beard with offer is, nevertheless, a most bonourable „joy and thankfulness, from their lips, the one, and it is an easy matter with the Psalms of David, very well learned by Lord, from a small beginning to produce heart, which may the Lord bless to the most beneficial cousequences in great tbem.

abundance, and to cause an increase. “Our school bas been, by the grace of Thus we, in our beginning, to promote God, continually visited by Jewish chil- the Gospel of Jesus, will also, with modren, the names of wbom I add ; but derate claims, prudent measures, and the Industry School did not yet begin. I Christian ideas, bave cause to rejoice in fear that in our poor Poland it will never

a prosperous issue." be sufficient to support the whole school, Extract of a letter from the Rev. M. as you mention in your last, it is possible John Mayers, dated May 221 1828. in Ireland. By the sewing School we do " As soon as I shall bave lelt Mrs. experience, that the earnings of one Mayers, at Geneva, I shall undertake a girl scarcely amounts to tbree or fuur tour in Switzerland and adjacent parts, shillings in the year; and the expense for to visit various scattered Jewish comlinen, &c. being discounted, there was no munities, of whom no accounts have yet more than Is. 6d. remaining for the appeared in public. There are in Switzmost diligent girl, wbich we gave erland but three large Jewish communithem for a reward. We are resolved to ties, one at Basle, and tbe others at reflect well on this point before we em- Endingen and Langman: of the former, bark in such an undertaking."

some statements have appeared, of the two The subject of the Annual Prize Es- latter, nothing is known, being in a resay, bas been sent to the Rabbi of Pinne, mote and secluded part of the country. in the hope that be would write on it;

I was there about fifteen years ago, by wbich much valuable information when quite a youth, and only know the would be obtained. The subject is communities are large; but bope, please “ Wbat is the best practical mode of God, to know more of them shortly, as improving the moral condition of the well as of others in the adjacent parts of Jews in Poland ?"

Bavaria and Wirtemburg. Write to me Letter from General de Witzleben, to Geneva."

DOMESTIC RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

IRELAND.

individuals, and persecution for reading Sligo. The Reformation. — The Scripture or for recantation which I bave following extracts of a letter from a cor- learned for some time, but I will try to respondent in Sligo, we have no doubt mention a few. A man named C-, will be read with interest : the facts it in the parish of St. John's, was induced details have been already referred to in by neighbours, (Methodists,) to hear the leading article of the present number. Scripture read, and sometimes to visit

“ It would be an endless task to re- class-meetings. He was a poor illitecapitulate all the cases of opposition to rate labourer, but at length be gave up

« PoprzedniaDalej »