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et length undertaken*) even these differences may yet be removed, there is much reason to expect. The confirmation of the present reading of the Septuagint by the Arabic version, is by no means an argument against this; as that version is not above 900 years old, and may therefore have been derived from copies of the Septuagint, not the most perfect. Besides, it deserves to be remarked, that Bishop Lowth (Prelim. Diss.) pronounces the Septuagint version of Isaiah, to be inferior to that of any other book in the Old Testament; and in addition to this, to have come down to us in a condition ex*ceedingly incorrect.
Upon the whole then, since the present state of the Hebrew text has been shewn to' agree with the Syriac, the Vulgate, (both of which, it should be noted, were taken from the Hebrew; one in the first, the other in the fourth century;) with our English translation, and in a material part even with the LXX, we may judge, with what fairness, Dr. Priestley's rejection of the present text, on the ground of the disagreement of the translations with it and with each other,
* Unhappily, I must now add, the prosecution of that most valuable work, the completion of which was so eagerly anticipated at the date of the first publication of this trea. tise, has been interrupted by the stroke of death, (see p. 93.) so that the collation here alluded to still remains a mighty desideratum.
has been conducted. His omission of the Vulgate: his overlooking the marginal translation of our present, and the text of our older English Bibles, and pronouncing peremptorily on their contents in opposition to both: his stating the Arabic as a distinct testimony, concurring with the LXX: and his assertion, that the Syriac version of the Old Testament is confessed to be of little authority, when the direct contrary is the fact, it being esteemed by all biblical scholars as of the very highest:-and all this done to darken and discard a part of holy writ,-cannot but excite some doubt, as to the knowledge, or the candour, of the critic.
With respect to the Syriac version, Bishop Lowth, in his Prelim. Dissert. thus expresses himself. After describing the Chaldee paraphrase of Jonathan, which he states to have been made about or before the time of our Saviour, he says,
“ the Syriac stands next in order of time, but is superior to the Chaldee in usefulness and authority, as well in ascertaining, as in explaining, the Hebrew text: it is a close translation of the Hebrew, into a language of near affinity to it: it is supposed to have been made as early as the first century."-Doctor Kennicot also (State of the Hebr. text, vol. ii. p. 355) speaks in the strongest terms of this version,'" which he says, being very literal and very ancient, is of inestimable value :"-he concludes it to have been “ made about the end of the first century, and that it might consequently have been made from Hebrew MSS. almost as old as those, which were before translated into Greek:' and he of course relies on it, for many of the most ancient and valuable readings. The language of De Rossi is, if possible, still stronger. “ Versio hæc antiquissima ordinem ipsum verborum sacri textus et literam presse sectatur; et ex, versionibus OMNIBUS antiquis purior ac tenacior habetur." (Var. Lect. Vet. Test. Proleg. p. xxxii.) Dathe, also, both in his preface to the Syriac Psalter, and in his Opuscula, pronounces in the most peremptory terms in favour of the fidelity and the high antiquity of the Syriac Version. In the latter work particularly, he refers to it as a decisive standard by which to judge of the state of the Hebrew text in the second century. Dath. Opusc. Coll. a Rosenm. p, 171. In this high estimate of the * Syriac version, these great criticks but coincide with the suffrages of Pocock, Walton, and all the most learned and profound Hebrew scholars, who in general ascribe it to the Apostolic age-(see Pocock. pref. to Micah. and Walton's Prolegom. 13.)- DR. PRIESTLEY however has said, that " it is confessed to be of little authority !!"-I have dwelt much too long upon this point: but it is of importance that it should be well understood, what reliance is to be placed on the knowledge, and what credit to be given to the assertions, of a writer, whose theological opinions have obtained no small degree of circulation in the sister island, and whose confident assumption of critical superiority, and loud complaints against the alleged backwardness of divines of the established church in biblical investigation; might draw the unwary reader into an implicit admission of his gratuitous positions.
* Although I am here only concerned with the Syriac Version of the Old Testament, yet I cannot omit the opportunity of noticing a judicious and satisfactory defence of the high antiquity of what is called the Old Syriac Version of the New Testament, lately given to the public by Dr. Laurence. That this version, or the Peshito as it is usually named for distinction, was the production of the Apostolic age, or at least of that which immediately succeeded, had been the opinion of the most eminent critics both in early and modern times. The very learned J. D. Michaelis has maintained the same opinion, in his Introduction to the Neu
I come now to examine his objections against the second text-He made him sin for us, who
Testament, vol. ii. p. 29-38. But in this he has not received the support of his English annotator, Mr. Marsh, who contends that we have no sufficient proof of the există ence of this version at a period earlier than the fourth cen: tury; ibid. p. 551-554. Dr. Laurence has, however, clearly shewn, that Mr. Marsh's objections are not formi: dable; and has treated the subject in such a manner as to evinco, that the alleged antiquity of the Version statids upon the strongest grounds of probability. See Laurence's Dissert: upon the Logos, p. 67-74.
knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. In this passage, the Word aje aptid, which is translated sin, is considered by Hammond, Le Clerc, Whitby, and every respectable Commentator, to mean a sin offering or sacrifice for sin: it is so translated expressly by Primate Newcome in his new Version. That this is the true meaning of the word, will readily be admitted, when it is considered that this is the application of it in the Hebrew idiom; and that Jews translating their own language into Greek, would give to the latter, the force of the corresponding words in the former. And that they have done so, is evident from the use of the word through the entire of the Greek version of the Old Testament, to which the Apostles, when speaking in Greek, would naturally have adhered. Dr. Middleton, in his answer to Dr. Bentley, remarks, that “ the whole New Testament is written in a language peculiar to the Jews; and that the idiom is Hebrew or Syriac, though the words be Greek.” Michaelis
“ the language of the New Testament is so intermixed with Hebraisms, that many native Greeks might have found it difficult to understand it.” (Introd. to N. T. vol. i. p. 100.) Ludovicus Capellus, (in speaking of the Greek translators of the Old Testament, whose style he
says is followed by the writers of the New,) asks the question, " Quis nescit, verba quidem