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phrases mentioned on p. 495, where the name of God is unnecessarily brought in.
There is a nice discrimination to be made in the meaning of words which are nearly synonymous, or which have been thought to be so. Dr. George Campbell, in his Preliminary
, Dissertations on the Gospels, has led the way on this subject. Dr. Trench has written a treatise on the Synonyms of the New Testament, and is prepared to appreciate its importance. How does it stand with Mr. Sawyer?
He distinguishes between äöns, hades, meaning the underworld, and resvva, hell, meaning the place of punishment, according to the suggestion of Dr. Campbell. The Common Version does not discriminate.
He distinguishes between ο διάβολος, the devil, and δαίμων Or damuóvsov, a demon, as also suggested by Dr. Campbell. The Common Version does not.
He distinguishes between Metávoia, change of mind, assumed to be genuine, and ustausheia, repentance, in accordance with Dr. Campbell, and many English critics. But we have expressed our dissent on a former occasion, (vol. x, p. 306,) and we see that Dr. Trench (see p. 53) has come to the same conclusion with ourselves. True and false are not proper grammatical distinctions. Our Common Version does not discriminate, and probably ought not.
He does not always distinguish between ο υιός του ανθρώπου, the son of man, i. e., the Messiah, and viós trūåvagímou, a son of тап,
e., a man. Neither does our Common Version, which is a defect.
He distinguishes between trioxoros, a bishop, the IIellenistic name of an office in the Christian church, and ager Sutegos, an elder, the Shemitish name of the same office. So does our Common Version. A fair translation seems to require this, although the two terms are evidently interchanged in the original
He distinguishes between ajań, a fold, and mouvn, a flock, John 10, 16, which our Common Version does not.
He distinguishes between xócivos, a traveling basket, and otugis, a store basket, Mat. xvi, 9, 10; Mark viii, 19, 20; but our Common Version does not.
Another important point is the uniform rendering of the same original word, wherever it has the same meaning, by the same word in English. All writers on the subject demand this. Dr. Trench urges it with great earnestness. Here comes in the case where, by a rhetorical figure of speech, (the antanaclasis,) the sacred writer uses one and the same word in two different senses in the same connection, so as to produce a pleasant effect upon the ear. How is it in these cases with Mr. Sawyer?
He renders the verb Roy is ouai, when used in a technical and theological sense, uniformly to account, while our Common Version vacillates between count, account, impute, reckon.
He renders xaraddayń uniformly reconciliation, Rom. v, 11; xi, 15; 2 Cor. v, 18, 19, while our Common Version vacillates between reconciliation and atonement.
He renders p2eigu, 1 Cor. iii,17; and Ourxasiw, Gal. iii, 22, 23, so as to preserve the aptanaclasis, which our Common Version does no
Another point is the nice adjustment of the meaning of a word which is admitted to have two meanings. There will often be cases which admit either of the two meanings, the determination of which will try the skill and tact of the translator. How is it with Mr. Sawyer in these cases ?
He distinguishes between äynsdo5, when it denotes a superhuman agent, an angel, and when it denotes an earthly agent, a messenger. So the Common Version. The test passages are 1 Cor. xi, 10; Rev. i, ii, iii.
He does not distinguish between aróctonos, when it signifies one commissioned by Christ, an apostle, and when otherwise used, a messenger. But the Common Version does. The tests are 2 Cor. viii, 23; Heb. iii, 1; Phil. ii, 25.
He distinguishes between trotoań, when written by a sacred writer, an epistle, and when otherwise written, a letter. So the Common Version for the most part. The test is Acts xxiii, 33.
He distinguishes between šxxandia, in the Christian sense, a church, and xxAnoia, in the Jewish sense, an assembly. The Common Version does not. The tests are Mat. xviii, 17; Acts vii, 38; Heb. ii, 12.
He translates in diabuxn uniformly a covenant, even where it has the meaning of testament. The test passages are Gal. iii, 15; Heb. ix, 16, 17. The Common Version has no rule.
He translates Barriţw and its derivatives by baptism, even where it has no reference to a religious washing. The test passages are Mat. iii, 11; Mark i, 8; Mark x, 38, 39.
He translates Sgóvos uniformly by throne, even where there is no admission of royal dignity. The tests are (1.) Rev. iv, 4; (2.) Rev. xvi, 10.
He translates η βασιλεία των ουρανών ιniformly the kingdom of heaven, notwithstanding its evident variety of meaning. So the Common Version. As the meanings in this case differ from each other metonymically, the figure in the Greek rons readily into the English.
He does not distinguish between évidxotos, as an officer in a Christian church, and frioxotos, when otherwise used. Neither does our Common Version. The test passage is, 1 Pet. ii, 25.
He distinguishes between Mãyos, when used in the sense of Magi, (wise men,) Mat. ii, 1, 7, 16, and péyos in the sense of magician, (sorcerer,) Acts xiii, 6, 8. So our Common Version.
He distinguishes between ó magáxantos, when spoken of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, John xiv, 16, 26; xv, 26; xvi, 7; and when spoken of Christ, the Advocate, 1 John ii, 4. So our Common Version.
He distinguishes between the vocative xígıs, in the sense of Lord, Mat. vii, 21, 22; viii, 2, and in the tense of sir, John xii, 21. So our Common Version.
The subject of ancient measures, weights, and coins, is a difficult one for the translator. Mr. Sawyer has suffered mach opprobrium on this point. We have given our views above. We object not to his using the ancient name, (which is right, if we would avoid incongruity,) in regard to ancient coins, weights, and names of office, but to his using the Greek instead of the Latin.
There are some niceties of Greek grammar, which the
latest critics of the New Testament are beginning to develop, and which are interesting to the student of the original Greek. But it would be expecting too much from Mr. Sawyer, that he should give the results of such investigations. We here include,
(1.) The distinction to be observed between ciui, to be, and givouas, to become. See Heb. v, 11, where Mr. Sawyer has followed out this distinction, and Mat. xxiv, 32, where he has not.
(2.) The distinction of meaning between the aorist, whether first or second, and the perfect. See Luke i, 19; 2 Peter i, 14, where he has followed out this distinction; and Luke xiii, 2, where he has not.
(3.) A nice attention to the force of Greek 06. (4.) The distinction of os and 00T15.
(5.) The rendering of the definite article uniformly, when found with concrete nouns.
(6.) The omission of the negative in English, in rendering the interrogative uń. See Mat. xii, 23; John iv, 29; Rom. iii, 3-5. Our Common Version vacillates in these passages.
Mr. Sawyer has not been charged with any sectarian bias. He is perfectly fair-minded. He lias, however, some peculiarities of his own, which deserve severe reprobation. We shall barely mention them, as they have been sufficiently discussed in the public journals.
Mat. vi, 11, Give us to-day our essential bread.
Mark iii, 20, But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, shall never have forgiveness, but is the subject of an eternal mistake.
John iii, 8, The Spirit breathes where it wills, but you know not whence it comes, nor whither it goes.
Mat. vi, 28, They perform no hard labor.
With regard to the style or diction desirable for a new version, Dr. Trench and Mr Sawyer stand at opposite extremes. Dr. Trench thinks a sacred style desirable in itself, would retain all words whose meaning is still intelligible, and would deviate as little as possible from the present version. Mr. Sawyer contends for a style thoroughly modernized, so as to meet the wants of the masses. Thus he adopts the pronouns which
are now familiar, the form loves for loveth, yes and no for yea and nay, brothers for brethren; changes, to which Dr. Trench would by no means consent.
The style and diction of the new translation have been generally condemned, and that in strong terms. It is not one man in a thousand that can meet the exigencies of the public in a case like this. Mr. Sawyer, it evidently appears, has not the talent nor the taste for the successful execution of his task. The complaints however that are made against him, are frequently very futile.
Some of the more prominent faults of Mr. Sawyer's style are (1.) his use of Latin words, for more simple terms; as, collect for gather, John xv, 6; to cauterize for to sear, 1 Tim. iv, 2; myths for fables, 1 Tim. iv, 7; consummation for end, Mat. xxiv, 3.
(2.) His entire rejection of the subjunctive mood; as in Mat. 24, 4; Luke vii, 39 ; xii, 50; John ix, 33 ; xv, 4. Professor Norton retains the subjunctive in all these passages.
(3.) His frequent omission of to and for, as the signs of the dative case. So passim.
He is sometimes a little squeamish ; as, of foreign birth for bastards, Heb. vii, 8; their inordinate desires for their mon lusts, 2 Pet. iii, 3; worldly desires for worldly lusts, Tit. ii, 12; giving nurse for giving suck, Mat. xxiv, 19.
Mr. Sawyer has attempted to make the paragraphic division according to the sense. But he has made a great mistake in omitting the usual notation of chapter and verse; and a still greater one in proposing a new notation. His book will soon be thrown aside for this, if for no other reason.
The work of Mr. Sawyer we consider a failure. But the interest manifested by the public in his project is a fact that cannot be recalled. Nor can there be any reasonable doubt that it will finally succeed under other auspices, at no distant period.