« AnteriorContinuar »
men many minds.” I may, however, state in self-defence that my alterations have not been adopted without great consideration; and I have availed myself of the best lights, oriental and occidental, afforded me by my own large biblical library and other collections of books and manuscripts.
The new renderings I have ventured to offer are generally supported by the Syriac Gospels, of which I have freely availed myself. I do not go so far as to maintain, with the Syrian churches of the East, that the Syriac is the absolute original of the New Testament; nor do I assert, with Bertholdt and several German critics that the Greek Gospels and Epistles are primitive translations from Syriac or Aramæan originals. But I do believe that the existing Syriac books of the New Testament were mainly written in Apostolic periods, and that -being in the very language which Christ and his disciples generally spoke—they most closely represent their exact ideas and expressions, which are essentially oriental. Moreover, I believe that the Syriac New Testament in general very faithfully represents the text of the earliest Greek copies of the original manuscripts, and that it is the best extant interpreter of their signification. At any rate the close, though not slavish, agreement between the words of the Syriac and Greek New Testaments remarkably confirms and illustrates the truth of each and both. These facts have been too much overlooked by my predecessors.
This is not the place to explain at large the reasons that I can bring forward for my alterations. Many of these may be found in Winer's Grammar of the Hebrew Dialect of the Greek, called Hellenistic, used in the Septuagint and New Testament. I may, however, mention two or three points with relation to this dialect which are of great importance.
In many passages of the New Testament the words only and rather are to be understood. (See Parkhurst's Greek Dictionary, under ov and alla.)
Other varieties of ellipsis or omission occur in the Hellenistic Scriptures, several of which are supplied by the Italics in the Authorized Version, but yet more are required to convey the sense.
In many instances words and clauses demand transposition.
Occasionally sentences should be understood as interrogations rather than as affirmations.
In many instances the accidents of the Hellenistic verb correspond with those of the Hebrew and Syriac verb, and should
be construed in an oriental rather than classical method. Thus several phrases which appear in the Authorized Version in the imperative mood, should be rather understood in the future tense, by which means many seeming denunciations will become real prophecies.
The use of the Hellenistic particles has been very frequently misunderstood by men of great classical scholarship, unacquainted with the peculiarities of the Aramæan dialects.
Certain words in the New Testament are generally wrongly translated. For example, okavdalov signifies a perversion or stumbling rather than offence or disgust.
The word alwv, or æon, corresponds with the Hebrew olem or oulem, and signifies a duration, dispensation, an age, a long time, and more rarely means the world, or eternity, or for ever, in the modern scholastic sense of these words. There is an important, yea infinite difference between æonial, dura- . tional, or long-continued, and eternal, never ending.
In fact, there is a profound and important system of æonology, or doctrine of æons, oulams, and sephiroths indicated in Scripture and the Jewish and Christian Fathers. It was a doctrine concerning successive powers of duration, certain dynasties of ages or cycles, opening into each other in definite, harmonic ratios of ascending or descending magnitude. Hence the phrases, this æon or the next, and æons of æons, whole millions of which were less than absolute eternity. This system was too much exalted and elaborated into technical, and almost polytheistic refinements by some of the Cabalists and Gnostics. But it is likewise too much ignored or neglected by some who should be better acquainted with those Divine mysteries which no mortal can fully fathom.
In conclusion, I would say that if my readers be candid and impartial, they will probably grant that this work is in several respects an improvement on its predecessors. They will, I trust, find that new and true light has been thrown on a multitude of passages that have hitherto remained in obscurity; and if they cannot agree with some of my proposed renderings, they can compare them with others that they may like better, and note their emendations in the margin.
As I carefully avoid that odium theologicum which has too often blemished biblical criticisms, I may often claim some indulgence in return. · May we all forgive and be forgiven.
FRANCIS BARHAM. Bath, 1861.
Respecting the time of the appearance of the Messiah, Christ Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, I agree with the chronology adopted by the judicious Dean Prideaux, which has been generally followed. I suppose that the birth of Christ took place in the year of the world 4000, and that he was four years old at A.D., or Anno Domini, which is not the true date of his birth, but of his childhood—having been miscalculated. I suppose that Christ was about thirty years old when he was baptized by John and commenced his ministry, and that his ministry lasted about seven years, the former portion of which, during the life of John, was comparatively private, and the latter portion comparatively public. I suppose, therefore, that our Lord was about thirty-seven years old at the time of his crucifixion.
Thus I conceive the grand prophecy of Daniel (chap. ix.) respecting the seventy weeks, or 490 years (according to the day-year principle), was exactly fulfilled. Prideaux and Townsend maintain that this astonishing prediction was delivered by Daniel about the year of the world 3466. It may be thus interpreted when regularly arranged :
Know and understand that from the going forth of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (in the year of the world 3546) will be seven weeks (or 49 years), until the streets and walls thereof shall be rebuilt, even in troublous times. And then until Messiah the prince (shall commence his min istry) shall be sixty-two weeks (or 434 years); and after sixtytwo weeks (will be one week in which) Messiah will be cut off though not on his own account; and he will confirm a covenant with many for one week (or seven years), and in a divi. sion or part of that week he will cause sacrifice and oblation
Therefore the people of the King (of Rome) will come and destroy the city and the sanctuary of Jerusalem. And in the temple there shall be the abomination of desola
tion until the determined consummation shall be poured out after the desolation.
Note on the Chronologic Arrangement of the Gospeļs.-I believe it is now generally agreed among investigators of the subject that Dr. Townsend's Harmony of the Gospels (adopted as the basis of the present publication) is on the whole the most satisfactory. It is in truth a very admirable work, and well deserves the success it has obtained. He follows, as nearly as circumstances permit, the order of Luke, Mark, and John, availing himself of the labours of the chief harmonists who preceded him. Greswell's Harmony is also an admirable work, and mainly agrees with Townsend's. But Greswell's plan of following the order of St. Luke's Gospel invariably, seems to me impracticable. For, as he himself allows, Luke's Gospel is evidently unchronologic in Chap. iii., 21, where he places our Lord's baptism after John's ime prisonment; and in several other instances : see Robinson's Harmony of the Gospels for evidence of this fact. I have spared no pains in ascertaining the correctness of the present arrangement, having compared it with nearly twenty diatessarons and harmonies in my library.* And though my readers may not always agree with my views, they will, if candid, make due allowance for those difficulties which have occa. sioned differences of opinion among preceding translators and commentators.
Among these Gospel Harmonies in my library there is a complete one in English rhyme, formed on the same arrangement of the text. It is an unpublished manuscript.
THE NEW TESTAMENT.*
(Dispensation, or Covenant.)
MARK i., 1. The beginning of the Evangelt (gospel, or good message) of Jesuoh Messiah, or Jesus Christ (the Saviour consecrated or anointed), who is the son of Alab, Theos, or God.
LUKE i., 1–5. As indeed many have undertaken to compose a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled (fully confirmed) among us, even as they who from the beginning were eye witnesses, and ministers of the Logos (the Mind, Wisdom, or Word of God), delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having accurately traced all of them from the first, to write them in order to thee, most excellent Theophilus (God-lover), that thou mightest know the certainty of the statements concerning which thou hast been instructed. I
* The orginal Greek word, Diathéke (says Parkhurst) seems best to correspond with our word Dispensation.
+ In this title the terms of the Syriac and Greek are combined and translated. The excellent word Evangel, used by our old authors, ought not to become obsolete.
I St. Luke, in his preface to his Gospel, indicates that the truths of our Lord's mission were fully confirmed by the subsequent experience of the first Christians.