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It would be easy for the society to free itself from all diffi. culty about these accessories, by entirely dispensing with them, as the Rev. Dr. Stockton of Philadelphia has done, in an edition of detached books of Scripture in a paragraph form, which he has recently published at his own charges; but even then there would remain questions as to the proper mode of editing the text. Must we always print · Jesus,' in Heb. iv, 8, when we know that ‘Joshua' is meant ? May we never correct any error of type and change 'at' into 'out' in Matt. xxiii, 24 ? Shall I John v, 7, continue to be printed as it was by the translators, without a sign to indicate its admitted spuriousness ? and in I John ii, 23, shall suspicion be thrown on the last half of the verse by the italics in which it appeared in 1611? What shall be recognized as authority in Ruth iii, 15? Shall we read “and he went into the city," as it was printed in conformity with the Hebrew in 1611, 1612, and possibly in 1613, or “she went into the city,” as it appeared in other editions of the same years, and in all subsequent copies, so far as we know, until 1851 ? What shall be done with Judges ix, 53 ? “And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his scull.” The translators knew what they meant by the form in which they put this last clause. But in the lapse of time it became unintelligible, and editors began to turn the finite verb into an infinitive, and print it, "all to break his scull.” This reading, adopted by Dr. Adam Clarke, was pronounced by him“ most nonsensical version ” of the Hebrew; and so other critics said that he was mistaken, and that “all-to” was equivalent to “altogether,” denoting the completeness of the result. The committee on versions, following this hint and finding no corresponding word in the Hebrew, printed it in italics, “and all-to brake his scull.” But from later investigations,* it appears that this expression is a solitary relic of a form once quite common in English writers, and found in the earlier versions of the Scriptures, as well as in Shakespeare and
* Gathered up and printed, but not yet published, in Dr. Joseph E. Worcester's new quarto Dictionary of the English language, 1859.
Milton, in which to’ is joined to the following word as an intensive prefix, and that either with or without all. Thus, in Wickliffe's version of Ps. cv, 41, “He to-brac the ston,” but our version, "He opened the rock.” So in Matt. xxi, 44, Wickliffe has, “But on whom it schal falle it schal al-to brise him;" Tyndale, “it wyll alto breake hiin;" Cranmer," it shal all to grynd him;" and the Rhemish, " it shall al to bruise him.”
These are a sample of the questions that must be determined in so simple a matter as editing the version in common use, and they must either be fairly met or carelessly evaded by every publisher of the Bible.
But the adjustment of these points does not meet the main difficulties we have proposed. These lie against the translation itself in its present form, and it is not the province of the Bible Society to remove them. And so it is a question what shall be done by others toward the work of giving the Scriptures to the people in the best possible form. Shall the results of critical study be confined to commentaries, grammars, lexicons, quarterlies, and theological seminaries, or shall they be made as common and popular as the Scriptures themselves ? Shall we discourage every attempt to go behind the common version (our Vulgate) as if we were afraid of Greek and Hebrew, or shall we admit that the translation was the fruit of human skill, and not too perfect to be laid aside when we can make a better?
We are told that “ the time has not come ” to propose any substitute for the common version. Nor will it ever come in advance of efforts and plans to hasten it. The attachment of the people to the words which they have read from childhood, is too strong to be broken abruptly. They cling and will cling to the phrases with which their spiritual life and hope have been nurtured. They will frown upon every rash invasion of the field, and will be slow to accept even the most careful and mature fruits of Christian criticism. And yet we believe that the time has come for scholars to discuss this subject, and to begin the work. If scholars like Lachman, Tischendorf, and Tregelles inay revise the Greek text, if the scholars of our own land may comment upon the sacred books, why may not some one, without note or comment, transfer the most approved Greek text into the purest English, according to his own ability ?
With all the obstacles that exist, we think Dr. Trench is right in saying, “ however we may be disposed to let the question alone, it will not let us alone. It has been too effectually stirred ever again to go to sleep; and the difficulties, be they few or many, will have one day to be encountered. The time will come when the inconveniences of remaining where we are will be so manifestly greater than the inconveniences of action, that this last will be inevitable.” Page 178.
But “the people will not adopt it.” Then let the work “be burned,” and the publishers “suffer loss.” Criticism and re
. vision will undoubtedly precede the adoption of any change as a finality; whatever is done will be done gradually ; possibly with dissension and unkind criticism, but even that, we hope, would be overruled for good. In 1611, there were two different “ versions in common use
among the English Protestants, the Bishops' Bible and the Genevan; the former used in churches, the latter more generally read in the homes of the people. But so long as that generation survived, the new version of King James could not supersede the one already dear to the people, and the Genevan version long continued to be a favorite, and so much to Archbishop Laud's dissatisfaction, that he made it “a high commission crime to vend, bind, or import them."* The fact that new editions of it were continually published, and two of these as late as 1644, shows that it was no easy matter for “the new version” to get undisputed possession of the field. And to this day “the Psalter" which forms a part of the daily service of the Established Church of England, as well as of the Episcopalians in this country, retains the version of Archbishop Cranmer, which is older than King James's, and older even than the Genevan. If, then, any future emendation does not come with such authority of scholarship, with such purity of expression, with such exactness of rendering, as to command and receive the
* Anderson's Annals of the English Bible, ii, 390.
assent of intelligent Christian men, after mature reflection, let it be anathema.
But “it is hard to determine the text.” But the question, what is the true text, has to be met by all the translators of the Scriptures into the languages of the heathen, and indeed by all who expound the Scriptures; and the difficulty is no more insuperable when the Bible is to be turned into English, than when it is to be put into Arabic.
But “no one has authority to do it.” Then let it be done withont authority; and let it be commended to the people by the authority of truth alone. The field is as open to individual enterprise as that of making hymn books or dictionaries; and no one should forbid one or inore individuals to do what they can in the way of editing, revising, or translating. He is not to be set down as an Ishmaelite who ventures to print in the Bibliotheca Sacra, or in a book, or a newspaper, what he conceives to be an improved rendering of any part of the Scriptures; but each one's work is to be judged by its own merits, and is to stand or fall thereby.
We do not propose to discuss the methods by which a revision of the Scriptures might be made. There are three methods, of which examples are now before the public. 1. A voluntary society, (the American Bible Union,) contributing and collecting funds to carry out a revision, employing men of scholarship to do the work, inviting criticisms of their labor while in progress, and reserving the final adjustment of difficult points until a future time. 2. Five clergymen of the English church, "from different Universities, of different habits of thought, and perhaps of different theological bias,” carefully revising some portions of Scripture, entirely on their own responsibility, deciding each doubtful point by a majority vote, and sending forth their work as a tentamen, a careful endeavor, claiming no finality, inviting, rather than desiring to exclude, other attempts of the same kind, calling the attention of the church to the many grave and anxious questions involved in rendering the Holy Scriptures into the vernacular language, and offering some help towards the settlement of those questions.” 3. One individual, translating instead of revising,
extending his work to the whole Bible, expressing no doubt in respect to the text, or its interpretation, discarding entirely the old land-marks of chapter and verse, breaking away from all the forms of language which we have been wont to consider biblical, apparently mutilating the text by rigid adherence to one of the later editors of the Greek, appealing from the judgment of scholars to the judgment of the masses, and relying not upon a society, but upon the enterprise and tact of his publishers, to secure the circulation of his work, and a recompense for his toil.
Our limits do not allow us to speak particularly of the revision by the Bible Union, specimens of which have been in circulation for several years.
The “five clergymen" are John Barrow, D. D., George Moberly, D. C. L., Henry Alford, B. D., William G. Humphrey, B. D., and Charles J. Ellicott, M. A. A preface of sixteen pages states some reasons for their course and their principles of revision. They think that “no loss (except that of truth) could be more serious and fatal than that of the deeprooted affection and earnest confidence of the people in that • English Bible' which has been the guide and comfort of their Christian life from their childhood upwards.” They do not attempt any critical recension, but follow the received text, revising, rather than retranslating, the authorized version. From that version they depart, where it has appeared to be inconsistent with itself, where the translators have mistaken the meaning of the Greek, or have failed of accuracy, where English words have undergone some change of meaning, and where they have been able to give additional force or a more exact rendering; aiming however to maintain, as far as possible, both the rhythm and the archaic form of words and sentences, by which the authorized version is characterized. The text and revision are printed in parallel columns, without comment.
Mr. Sawyer proceeds in a far more radical way. He adopts throughout, with three or four exceptions, the words of Tischendorf's text, as published at Leipsic, in 1850. Why that