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1.— Olshausen's Commentaries.1
Ix the Prefatory Note to the fourth volume of this work, it is announced that " the numerous references to Winer's New Testament Grammar (made, in the original, to the third edition) have [in the present volume] been conformed to the sixth enlarged and greatly improved edition. They have also been adjusted to the section and paragraph (instead of the page), in order that they may be equally available in a translation as in the original. Such a translation will probably be soon issued by the American publishers of Olshausen. The references iu the previous volumes will be changed in the next issue." This fact gives an additional value to the present republication, of Olshausen's Commentaries. The enterprising House of Sheldon, Blakeman and Co. will receive the hearty thanks of theological students, whether in the active ministry or in a course of preparation to enter it, for making the excellent Grammar of Winer readily accessible to them.
The volumes now before us contain a continuation of the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans; and the Commentaries on the Epistles to the Corinthians, the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians, the Philippians, and the Epistle to Titus. It is well known to our readers, that the lamented death of Olshauscn occurred soon after he had written his Exposition of the Epistles to the Thessalonians. His pupil Wiesinger continues, in Olshausen's spirit, the Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians, to Titus, and Timothy, the Epistles of James, Peter, Jude, and John; and Ebrard, another distinguished pupil of Olshausen, continues the Commentaries on the Epistles to the Hebrews and on the Apocalypse.
The entire Exposition contained in these volumes is eminently quickening and suggestive. It often points the student, where it fails to lead him, into the right course. It is the favorite exegetical work of a large class of devout students.
i Biblical Commentary on the New Testament, by Dr. Herman Olshausen, Professor of Theology in the University of Erianfjen. Translated from the German for Clark's Foreign and Theological Library. First American Edition. Revised after the latest German edition, by A. C. Kcndrick, I). I)., Professor of Greek in the University of Rochester. To which is prefixed Olshausen's 1'roof of the Genuineness of the Writings of the New Testament. Translated by David Fosdick. Jr. New York: Sheldon. Blnkeman and Co., 115 Nassau Street. 1857. Vol. IV. pp. 586. Vol. V. pp. 624.
2.— Cardinal Mai's Greek Bihle According To The Vatican
Teschendorf, nine years ago, informed the public, that when he was at Rome in 1843, Cardinal Mai showed to him five printed volumes, 4to size, of the whole Greek Bible, with the apocryphal books, which he had carefully edited from the celebrated Vatican MS., and should publish as soon as he had finished writing the Prolegomena, on which he was then at work with great diligence. The first four volumes contained the Sept. version of the O. T. and the Apocrypha; and the fifth, the entire original New Test. Tischendorf then thought that the entire work would be soon given to the public ; but there was no news of it till five years after, when, the pope being banished from Kome by the revolution of 1848, cardinal Mai ventured to write to Asher, the Berlin bookseller, offering to him the work for publication. Asher was unwilling to pay the price demanded, and the project failed. Soon after, the pope was restored, and the work still lay in sheets unpublished. Cardinal Mai became very shy of showing it; few, if any, scholars got a sight of it, and the stories which the cardinal told to those who inquired of him respecting it, were not always very definite or entirely consistent with each other; and, as he at length died (in 18.r>4) without publishing, doubts began to be expressed whether Tischendorf had ever seen the work, or whether any such work had ever been in existence.
But now, after fifteen years of suppression, the authorities at Rome have actually allowed the five volumes to be published in that city; and the Messrs. Westermann and Co. of N. York are permitted to offer it for sale to the American public, at about fifty-three dollars the set, on common paper, or about sixty-six, on large paper. Whether the fifth volume, containing the N. T., will be oll'ered separately from the other four, is still doubtful, though very much to be desired. Nothing, however, can hinder the reprint of the N. T. by any enterprising Protestant bookseller; and if the original work is accurately and faithfully done (and cardinal Mai was thirty years in doing it), such a republication would be invaluable. The Vatican MS. is now generally regarded as the oldest and most reliable MS. of the entire N. T. in existence; and it is quite complete, except the loss of some few leaves at the end. It has never been thoroughly and completely collated; and for the last hundred years, the Roman authorities have allowed Protestant scholars nothing more than a hasty perusal of it, for a very little while at a time, in certain parts, but no thorough examination of the whole. It belongs to the early part of the fourth century; it is within two hundred and fifty years of the original writers of the N. T., and may have been copied in part, possibly, from the very autographs. These circumstances give to this MS. a peculiar
1 Just published by Joseph Spithoevcr at Rome: Vet. ct Nov. Testamcntum ex antiquissimo Codice Vaticano edidit Angelus Maius, S. R. E. Card. 5 vols. 4to.
Vol. XV. No. 58. 41
interest and value; and there is no other one that can compare with it, unless it be the Alexandrian, in the British Museum in London. The Alexandrian, being in Protestant hands, has of course been many times freely used in the preparation of printed editions of the Greek text; but very different, as we have already seen, has been the case with the Vatican MS. An accurate printed edition, therefore, from the Vatican, such as this of cardinal Mai's professes to be, is of inestimable value to the theological and religious public. It would be of invaluable service to have a reprint of the N. T. text, exactly on the plan which Teschendorf has adopted in his reprint of the Apocalypse from the Codex Iiasilianus; that is, not a. facsimile in form, but an exact imitation, in effect, of the oldest MSS., by printing simply in square capitals, without accent or punctuation, without division of paragraphs, chapters, verses, or even words, but the letters only, in continua serie, just as all the original copies of the N. T. were written, and as they continued to be written for the most part, for four or five centuries afterwards. This would enable the seholar'fairly to pick out the text for himself, without being subject to the dictation of uninspired editors and publishers.
The text of the classic Greek authors is made out almost entirely from MSS. ranging from the tenth to the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries. The classic Greek MSS. preceding the teuth century, are generally the merest fragments and patches of books, helping only here and there in particular passages; whereas we have the entire N. Testament in MS. as early, at least, as the first years of the fourth century. Thus has God taken care of his Word.
8. — Peirce's System Of Analytic Mechanics.1
The present volume is to be followed, we percieve, by Treatises, from the same author, on Celestial Mechanics, Potential Physics, and Analytic Methodology. It was " originally prepared as part of a course of lectures for the students of mathematics in Harvard college." Although the volume is abstrusely mathematical, yet the splendid imagination of its author cannot be entirely banished from its pages. "I have re-examined," he says, " the memoirs of the great geometers, and have striven to consolidate their latest researches and their most exalted forms of thought into a consistent and uniform treatise. If I have, hereby, succeeded in opening to the students of my country a readier access to these choice jewels of intellect; if their brilliancy is not impaired in this attempt to reset them; if, in their new constellation, they illustrate each other, and concentrate a stronger light upon the names of their discoverers; and, still more, if any gem which I may have presumed to add — is not wholly lustreless in the collection, I shall feel that my work has not been in vain."—pp. vii, viii.
1 A System of Analytic Mechanics. By Benjamin Peircc, Perkins Professor of Astronomy and Mathematics in Harvard University, and Consulting Astronomer of the American Ephcmeris and Nautical Almanac. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1855. pp. *95. 4to.
In a recondite mathematical treatise, one docs not expect to find many remarks on practical religion. We arc therefore the more happy to road: "In the beginning, the creating Spirit embodied, in the material universe, those laws and forms of motion which were best adapted to the instruction and development of the created intellect. The relations of the physical world to man, as developed in space and time, as ordered in proximate simplicity and remote complication, in the immediate supply of bodily wants by the mechanic arts, and the infinite promise of spiritual enjoyment by the contemplation and study of unlimited change and variety of phenomena, are admirably adapted to stimulate and encourage the action and growth of the mind." —" In these researches there is one lesson, which cannot escape the profound observer. Every portion of the material universe is pervaded by the same laws of mechanical action, which are incorporated into the very constitution of the human mind. The solution of the problem of this universal presence of such a spiritual element is obvious and necessary. There Is One God, And Science Is The Knowledge Of Him." pp. 476, 4 77.
Speaking of that constitution of the fixed forces which would result in perpetual motion, Prof. Peirce remarks, p. 31: "It may not, perhaps, be incompatible with the unbounded power of the Creator ; but, if it had been introduced into nature, it would have proved destructive to human belief in the spiritual origin of force, and the necessity of a first cause superior to matter, and would have subjected the grand plans of Divine Benevolence to the will and caprice of man."
A theologian will be interested in Prof. Peirce's remark on the nature of Force, Power. On page 1 we read: "Motion is an essential element of all physical phenomena; and its introduction into the universe of matter was necessarily the preliminary act of creation. The earth must have remained forever 'without form and void;' and eternal darkness must have been upon the face of the deep, if the Spirit of God had not first ' moved upon the face of the waters.' Motion appears to be the simplest manifestation of power, and the idea of force seems to be primitively derived from the conscious effort which is required to produce motion. Force may, then, be regarded as having a spiritual origin, and when it is imparted to the physical world, motion is its usual form of mechanical exhibition. Matter is purely inert. It is susceptible of receiving and containing any amount of mechanical force which may be communicated to it, but cannot originate new force or, in any way, transform the force which it has received."
On page 28, we read: "It appears, at first sight, to be inconsistent with the assumed spiritual origin of force, that the principal forces of nature reside in centres of action, which are not thinking beings but particles of matter. The capacity of matter to receive force from mind in the form of motion, contain and exhibit it as motion, and communicate it to other matter, under fixed laws, is not, however, less difficult or more conceivable than the capacity to receive and contain it in a more refined and latent form, from which it may become manifest under equally fixed laws. It is only, indeed, when force is thus separated from mind, and placed beyond the conti-ol of will, that it can be subject to precise laws, and admit of certain and reliable computation." See also pages 43 and 44.
On pages 2 and 3 we read: "Experiments have shown that the exertion which is required to move any body, is proportional to the product of the intensity of the cilbrt into the space through which it is exerted. This product is, then, the proper measure of the whole amount of force which is necessary to the production of the motion; long-established custom lias, however, limited the use of the word force to designate the intensity of the eilbrt, and the whole amount of exertion may be denoted by the term power."
We have thus far alluded to the incidental value of this groat work. Its direct aim is to untold the principles of Analytic Mechanics, and thereby to discipline the mind, accelerate the progress of the arts, and enlarge the domain of the physical sciences. Perhaps no English or American work, in the department of Natural Philosophy, is better fitted to this good end, than the present. The style of the treatise is as lucid as its theme will allow. It is admirably precise. The typography, also, is of rare excellence.
4. — Prof. Agassiz's Natural History.1
The first two volumes of Professor Agassiz's work have been recently received; and we are happy to express our high gratification with its varied excellences. We have reached a period in which a system of Natural History is essential to a finished education. The professed design of the work before us is to develop the Natural History of our own country. The utility of the work, however, is by no means to be limited within so narrow bounds. To the common reader it presents the subject in an intelligible, attractive, and instructive lbrm; but it comes to the naturalist with an intensity of interest which the common reader cannot appreciate. If the professed design of the work be carried out with the rare power shown in the volumes before us, the work will furnish a reliable standard of classification for the science to which it is devoted. Every thorough student feels the necessity of such a treatise; and the present beginning furnishes the bow of promise that the highest anticipations will be reasonably and seasonably answered. We receive it as a standard work, in which the classification will be complete, founded in nature, as observed in all her simple, complex, and varied forms. The example which these volumes give of minute examination, clear description, and full illustration, both in its text and its numerous drawings, of turtles and their several families, and their embryology in
1 Contributions to the Natural History of the United States of America, by Louis Agassiz. First Monograph in three parts. I. Essay on Classification. II. North American Tcstndinata. HI. Embryology of the Turtle, with thirtyfour plates. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. London: Turner and Co. 18">". Vols. I. and II. pp. 643. quarto.