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The Revised Version of the New Testament: A Criticism.

When we are told that the two Boards of Revisers, the English and American, have devoted ten years, nearly, to the execution of the work before us, we are able to form some conception of the immense amount of labor bestowed upon it. But it is not merely ten years of labor that this revision, professedly at least, represents to us; it is the ripest products of the united scholarship of the past two hundred years, in the field of biblical research. Nor are these products the results simply of theological speculation ;. but of that which, to-day, is properly terined Biblical Science. In the higher walks of this science, there are three chief departments : 1st. That of the Critic, who has mainly to do with the original Text of Scripture. 2d. That of the Translator, or Reviser, whose duty is, to reproduce the exact sense of the original in another language. 3d. That of the Exegete or Commentator, who expounds the doctrinal and practical import of the translation, adapting it to the needs of the people. It is only with the work of the Critic and Translator, that we are to be occupied in the present paper. It is only, in fact, in these two departments, and among scholars of the first rank, that the purely scientific spirit and method can be said as yet to prevail. The great mass of commentaries, even of the present day, are written in the interest of particular schools of theology, and under the influence, more or less, of the traditionary faith and system of exegesis. There is many a translation, also, though of the lower order, in which such influences are to be recognized, although the authors were probably unconscious of them. Productions of this class are rather commentaries than translations, properly speaking ; but we are free to say that the Revised Version, taken as a whole, cannot be justly included under this category. It is necessary to note here, briefly, the different kinds of material with which the Critic and the Translator have to deal. Aside from the so-called higher criticism, which occupies itself chiefly with the Scripture Canon, the Critic's material consists of the 1760 manuscripts, if we confine ourselves to the New Testament, which are now known to biblical scholars. But a small number of these contain the entire Testament; yet the number of variations in the Greek Text which they afford amounts, it is said, to not less than 150,000.3 Other materials are the ancient versions of the New Testament, the Syriac, Latin, Arabic, Coptic, etc.; together with the writings of the Fathers, as Origen. Jerome, Irenæus, and others. It is, then, by a comparative study of this mass of material, not unlike the principle of generalization in science, that the biblical critic accomplishes the peculiar work of his department, the emendation and purification of the Greek Text, which is . to serve the basis of the translation or revision.

1 Companion to Revs. Version. pp. 91, 92.

At the present day, among the best biblical scholars, there are but few words, comparatively, in the entire Greek Testament, whose origin, whose literal and topical senses, as well as history and usage at different epochs, are not perfectly familiar and placed beyond controversy. The sources of information, from which this great store of knowledge has been acquired, constitute the material with which the Translator is occupied. But of course no man's life is sufficiently prolonged to enable him to accumulate all this knowledge from the original sources. It is only by specialization and the division of labor, on the encyclopedic method, that such a vast store of material can be brought together for practical use.

The foregoing remarks will serve to fix the standard of criticism of the work before us. A version of the New Testament, professedly designed to supersede the Authorized Version now in use among all English-speaking peoples, should fairly represent the ripest biblical scholarship of the period ; and this much is actually claimed, as we understand it, for the Revised Version. It is thus by this standard, that the work before us is properly to be judged. Nor is it merely as

Ibid. p. 7.

2 Ibid. p. 9.

à traitslation that the Revised Version is to be thus judged ; for the Revisers have made themselves responsible also as biblical critics, by the adoption for their guidance of the 4th rüle, namely: “Tliat the Text to be adopted be that for which the evidence is decidedly preponderating.4 Tlie rule next following provides; thát a majority of two-thirds of those present, on final revision, be necessary to an alteration of the Greek Text. It will be seeri from this, as it is expressly stated, that no one continuous Text was adopted, but that all questions of emendations were left to the decision of a twothirds majority. Tlius, the Revisers have taken upon themselves the responsibility, 110t only as translators, but likewise as Critics; and their work is, for this reason, to be judged by the highest standards, both as to the Greek Text and as to the Translation. It is proposed, in the following review, to consider the New Version generally, at first, as representing the ripest scholarship of the age ; and then, secondly, from the point of view of the Universalist System of Exegesis.5

I. The Emendations of the Greek Text.

As already stated, no one continuous Text was adopted, nor any particular standard of emendation. All was left to the opinions of the Revisers as to the preponderating evidence, in favor of this or that reading. Of these opinions, even, we have at present no information, except that to be gathered from the Translation itself. The better course to have taken, we think, was to adopt for instance : The textus receptus, together with the emendations approved by the great majority of Critics for the last fifty (or hundred) years. What these emendations are is familiar to all thorough biblical scholars ; so that such a rule would be at once definite, well known and

4 Preface to Rev. Ver. p. X.

6 Note We are indebted to the Editor, Dr. Thayer, for the use of Lange's New Test., in the preparation of this review; and to Dr. Sawyer, for the use of Olshausen's New Test. Both works have been of great value to us. Other works made use of are in part the following: Green's Developed Criticism; Hahn's, Mill's, and Knapp's Critical Editions of the New Test. Text, Campbell's Gospels, Clarke's, Doddridge's and Barnes' Commentaries; Syriac New Test., also Vulgate; Robinson's and Greenlief's Lex. of Gr. Test., Bible Uniou Preliminary Versions with the authorities cited, Stuart's Romans, and Apocalypse, etc., etc.

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sanctioned by the united voice of biblical critics. Instead of this, we have only the opinions of the Revisers ; opinions which will surely be continually called in question. But notwithstanding these objections to the course pursued, and others that might be raised, it would be unjust to say that, in this part of their work, the Revisers have not executed their labor with general fidelity and scrupulous accuracy. Indeed, there is hardly a page of this New Version which does not afford evidence of extreme care in the alterations of the Text. If we regard their number, they will seem truly surprising; and as regards their wisdom and accuracy, we shall not often have occasion to call them in question. It is proposed here to offer some examples illustrative of the different species of alterations which have been made.

18t. Entire passages which have been omitted from the Greek Text. Among these .we cite the following without special comments.

“ For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.” (Matt. xviii. 11). "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation” (Matt. xxiii. 14). "That it might be fulfilled

“ which was spoken by the prophets, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots” (Matt. xxvii. 23). “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark xi. 26). "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left” (Luke xvii. 36). “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do " (Luke xxiii. 24). “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts viii. 37). “For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof " (1 Cor. x. 28).

It would be interesting, perhaps, to discuss the reasons in each case for omitting the foregoing passages from the Greek Text; but we have not the space to do so. They are regarded


as spurious by Prof. Green, in his “ Developed Criticism,” a work which reflects the opinions generally of the majority of critics. Although the foregoing passages are by no means all those of a doubtful character, they afford sufficient examples.

2nd. Texts from which certain words or phrases are omitted. We inclose such expressions in parenthesis.

“ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you (falsely) for my . )

sake” (Matt. v. 11). “Whosoever is angry with his brother (without a cause) shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. v. 22). “Love your enemies (bless them' that hate you), and pray for them which (despitefully use you, and) persecute you” (Matt.v. 44). “(For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever Amen.” (Matt. vi. 13). “This is my blood of the (new) testament” (Matt. xxvi. 28). “ Into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched ; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark ix. 43, 44). “In these lay a great multi

” tude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season,” etc. (John v. 3, 4). “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus (and sought to slay him) because,” etc. (John v. 16).

It is hardly necessary to give more examples of this class, merely for illustration. To include all such passages would more than fill up the space allotted for the present article. In the great majority of cases of this kind, there is no doubt of the spuriousness of the phrases omitted. But occasionally an omission is made, the propriety of which might well be questioned ;. but of such hereafter.

3rd. Passages in which one reading is substituted for another. In such instances the old reading is here placed in parenthesis, and the new in italics immediately following. The number belonging to this category is almost unlimited; the following quotations will serve for examples :

“ Till she had brought forth (her first-born Son) a son "

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