« AnteriorContinuar »
A COMPLETE AUTHENTIC
GOSPEL LIFE OF CHRIST;
THE WORDS OF THE FOUR GOSPELS,
REVISED VERSION, AND AN ORDERLY
BY FRANCIS BARHAM.
N.B.-This Monotessaron endeavours to supply the com-
It has been frequently affirmed by myself and other biblicists, that no English Bible has yet appeared combining correct translation with correct arrangement.
To supply this desideratum with respect to the Gospel History of the Divine Saviour of mankind, who is the only perfect model of character and conduct, is the purpose of the present publication.
My endeavour has been to form a combined text that shall, as far as practicable, and more completely than any Gospel Harmony published, include every word, clause, and sentence of the original in a continuous narrative.
The Revised Version adopted consists, for the main part, of the Common Authorized Translation, with more correct renderings of a multitude of passages than have yet been printed.
The chronologic arrangement adopted is mainly that of Dr. Townsend, occasionally modified by the systems of Greswell and other harmonists.
Thus have I laboured to present to the public, in a brief and cheap volume, a greater combination of elucidations of the evangelic record than has hitherto been procurable.
I have supplied a few occasional notes, but I have abstained from frequent critical annotations; partly because they would have doubled the size and expense of this publication, and partly because my reasons for the revised renderings may be generally discovered by studious scholars in standard works of biblical criticism already published.
Having devoted many years to preparing an elucidated Bible, containing all the books of the Old and New Testaments, on the same principles as pervade the present work, I may be permitted to add a few words more on this important subject.
In the first place, I believe that such publications as the present, though not perfect, are valuable steps in advance, to prepare the way for an English Bible, that shall be superior to the present Authorized Version, because it shall be more correct in translation and arrangement.
Such a grand national work cannot be satisfactorily executed by any man, or body of men, unless they have, like myself, devoted a great many years to hard biblical study.
It cannot be well executed unless its elaborators be men extensively familiar with the Hebrew and Aramæan or Syrian languages, and the cabalistic and rabbinical writings (as were Lightfoot and Gill). For the Hellenistic Greek, in which the Septuagint and New Testament are written, is so Hebraical and Oriental in its character, with respect to the real, specific meaning of many of its words, and phrases, and idioms, that no scholar, accustomed merely to classical Greek, can fail to err very grievously in the hard, delicate task of biblical interpretation.
It cannot be well executed except by men who will resolutely adopt the best, highest, and most consistent sense which the original words will fairly admit; though in so doing they are sometimes obliged to disturb the favourite prejudices of all subsisting sects and parties. In such case God's truth is to be fearlessly followed, though it may happen to prove all men to be in error.
When such a work is well executed, when the Bible is presented to the world in a revised version and chronologic arrangement, more worthy the inspired original than any that have yet appeared, it will, with God's blessing, prove an instrument of great theological and social reform.
It will strongly confirm the truth of the Scriptures as divinely inspired revelations, and establish the canon on firmer testimonies of internal and external evidence, so as to diminish that scepticism which, when excessive, produces infidelity and saps the surest foundations of piety and happiness.
It will evince the immeasurable superiority of the Bible to all other works in literature ; not only for its religious and moral truth, but likewise its accuracy of science and excel. lency of style. Multitudes of passages that have appeared in previous translations as coarse, obscure, or contradictory, will be rectified; and their defects will vanish like those spots on the sun, which emerge only to be absorbed, and by their absorption augment the blaze of solar splendour.
Then, perhaps, a brighter era of sincere and thoroughgoing biblicism will dawn on the old age of our planet, pre
ceding those tremendous catastrophes that will attend its predicted dissolution and renovation. Churches will learn how small are many of their sectarian controversies compared with those grand Scriptural verities on which they either now agree or must learn to agree to differ. Senators will see the stupidity of systematically ignoring the only Book on which true political wisdom can be established ; and philosophy, literature, and education, will be irradiated by that light of faith, without which they become corrupt, earthly, sensual, devilish.
May this sincere and laborious effort to bring the harmony of the Gospels nearer to perfection, do its intended part in hastening the arrival of such an era. May it render the history of the true Messiah, Christ Jesus, more clear and glorious, by freeing it from the mistakes of interpretation and collocation. Above all, may He who is the way, the truth, and the life, accept it as an honest and humble offering to his Divine Majesty, and forgive its errors and imperfections in His infinite mercy.
As respects the critics, if any of them have gone through so long and profound a series of biblical stu
I shall accept their counsels and corrections with the same gratitude as they would accept mine; and I will treat the praise or censure of other scholars with due respect, according to their just claims to consideration. Little notice should be taken of the foolish and trashy censures of those who have never truly studied these topics with devout perseverance.
My readers will be pleased to find that, after a close examination, I have left at least nine-tenths of the Authorized Version of the Gospels unaltered, as needing no correction. Very numerous instances, however, occur, amounting to nearly onetenth of the whole, in which it appeared to me that the Authorized Version was more or less defective, and did not adequately represent the actual signification of the original. In all such cases I have endeavoured to give the true meaning of the text as nearly as the idiom of our language would permit. I trust that most of my alterations will commend themselves to candid students after careful and prolonged examination. But it is next to impossible that my new renderings should do so in all cases; for in many instances multitudes of the preceding critics and translators have differed from each other,--illustrating the proverb—" Many