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before agreed. Valuing apparently very little the appearance of consistency, he has been, amid all changes of denomination, consistent to the principles of freedom, of reverence, and of charity. The present age can yield him less sympathy than he would have found from such men as Dr. Pierce and Dr. Lowell, who lamented the breaking up of the Congregational brotherhood, and who, while not Trinitarians, would never consent to bear the Unitarian name.
Such a mind is not fitted for the task of the reformer, whose trumpet must give no uncertain sound. But it has a peculiar adaptation to the pursuits of scholarship, and especially of criticism. Careful in weighing the claims of opposite interpretations, seeking only to know and to state the truth, indifferent how it may affect the success of either party, one possessed of such a mind gains that confidence as a judge which he could never have claimed as a leader. Luther might censure Melancthon for too easy compliance in the matter of the "Interim,” but he must look with respect to his judgment of the Greek text.
In presenting instances of Mr. Folsom's renderings, we shall express freely our opinion, whether favorable or unfavorable. And it happens that our first comment is of the latter kind. We do not like the translation of the first words of Matthew's Gospel, "A Record of [the] birth of Jesus Christ." That which follows immediately is not a record of the birth of Jesus, but of his ancestry; and the word yerέows is evidently a translation of "generations," as used in Genesis ii.
4, v. 1, vi. 9. The proper rendering, then, is that of Norton and Noyes, "The Genealogy of Jesus Christ."
Matt. i. 23: "IMMANUEL, which being interpreted is GOD [IS] WITH US." Dr. Noyes's translation differs only by omitting the brackets around Is. The introduction of this word, which is fully justified by the Greek idiom, guards the text from being perverted to prove the divinity of Christ. Mr. Folsom's mode of expressing it does more exact justice to the original.
Id. ii. 4, 5, 7: "He inquired of them where the Christ is born." "It stands written through the prophet." "Time of
the appearing star." These renderings are very literal, except "stands written" for réyoanta; but the Greek idiom has been retained, instead of being exchanged for the English.
16: "Slew all the boys." Dr. Noyes has it "male children." Either rendering is a great improvement on the common version " children," for there is no justice in exaggerating the cruelty even of a Herod. "Boys" is a more literal and a stronger rendering than "male children."
Id. iii. 15: "Permit just now." The word just seems to us to introduce a wrong idea, that of there being any especial cause for the permission at that moment more than at another. It does, however, express the usual meaning of the Greek particle; but we suggest, on Schleusner's authority, that ἄρτι, , "now" takes the place of the Hebrew *, -a particle expressing entreaty, rather than time.
17: "In whom I became well pleased,” iv a evdóznoa. Mr. Folsom, in his preface, justifies this rendering, by reference to the fundamental idea of the aorist tense, that of " momentary action, and generally past, though sometimes very recent action." He considers this rendering equivalent to that of Winer, whom I took into favor, "expressing to our human conception the reason in the spirit and life, in the mind and character of Jesus, why he was now sent forth with power from on high to teach and to save." (p. 8.)
Id. iv. 6: "Cast thyself down below." Below seems an unnecessary addition.
Id. v. 14: To hide a lamp under a "measure 99 seems better than the "bushel" of the common version. So verse 17th, "I have not come to destroy, but to complete," gives a better meaning than "to fulfil." But "not one smallest letter nor tip [of one]" in the next verse, seems rather a paraphrase than a translation. In the 20th verse is an expression which occurs also afterwards, "Unless your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you should in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." This use of the potential mood in English, for the second aorist indicative in Greek, may perhaps be well defended; but, surely, the auxiliary ought not to be such as to imply that entrance into the king
dom of heaven was possible to such persons, though not
41. "And whoever shall impress thee one mile, go with him two." "Impress" gives accurately the meaning of ἀγγαρεύσει.
Id. xiv. 2. "This is John the Baptist: he himself had risen from the dead, and on this account the mighty deeds are at work in him." The rendering of the aorist by the English pluperfect in this case is harsh; and if ¿vegyovow ¿v ¿vrâ be here rightly translated, dvráulis must mean, not "mighty deeds," but the "powers" by which those deeds were performed.
Id. xviii. 6. "It is for his advantage that a millstone of the largest size be hung about his neck, and he be sunk in the open sea." Here, in the endeavor at accurate rendering of the individual words, the sentence is weakened. Dr. Noyes's translation is here preferable, "a great millstone." Múλos orixòs means a millstone so large as to be turned by an ass, instead of by the hand.
In Luke ix. 55, both our translators are compelled, by the decision of Tischendorf, to reject from the text that beautiful reproof of intolerance, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." With this decision, the best manuscripts and the best critics agree. Whoever inserted them had the mind of Jesus, if not his very words. Mr. Folsom suggests in his notes the probability that the words were "really uttered by him, and if not originally in the text of Luke, afterwards put in the margin."
Besides the Translation, Mr. Folsom gives an account of the various Readings with the authorities in support of each; whether by the testimony of critical editions, manuscripts, or quotations by the early Fathers. This portion of the book must have required unwearied labor in its preparation. It presents more than forty pages of double columns, of great value to the critical student for purposes of reference; but chiefly interesting to the general reader, as showing how lit tle these various readings affect the sense of scripture, while, in the few instances which are of great importance, he has thus before him the authorities on either side. As a speci
men of this portion of the book, we transcribe the statement respecting the passage last referred to, Luke ix. 55.
55. *om. and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of,' Gb Lm Td Tg Al w. & A B C E &c. itt fu cop æth Bas Cyr Jer. But insert it, D. F w. K M U A curss itt vg all the syrr &c."
The above, expressed more fully, would inform us that the omission is sanctioned by Griesbach as probable, by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, with the Sinaitic Ms., the Alexandrine, Vatican, Ephraem, Basle, and other uncial MSS., the valuable cursive MS. numbered 33, and others, some copies of the old Italic, and the Fulda copy of the Vulgate, the Coptic and Ethiopic version, and the early Fathers Basil, Cyril, and Jerome. In favor of inserting the words, are the Cambridge and five other uncial MSS., some cursives, some copies of the old Italic, the Vulgate in most copies, all the Syriac versions, &c.
The remainder of the volume, about one-fourth, is devoted to Notes on the Gospels. These are partly in explanation and defence of the author's renderings of the passages to which they relate, and on that account should be consulted by all who would judge fairly of the translation. Repeatedly we have, at the first glance, thought Mr. Folsom's rendering strange and indefensible; but, on turning to the Notes, have found that there was authority for it, which, if not always sufficient to satisfy us of its correctness, at least showed that it was not the result of caprice or the love of novelty, but of the judgment of a careful scholar.
It may be thought capricious to translate the words of the Magi, "we have seen his star in its rising," when, just before, we had been told that they were "from the East; " but the Notes not only tell us of the authority of other critics for the change, but draw attention to the fact, that aratoλǹ, in the singular, elsewhere signifies "rising," while "the East" is, elsewhere as here, indicated by the plural. Mr. Folsom's rendering corresponds with the distinction observed, in every instance, throughout the New Testament and the Septuagint; besides giving a more lively and positive turn to the phrase.
We regard it, accordingly, as well sustained, if not fully justified.
So again at the first glance, it seems a causeless and useless change to substitute "happy" for "blessed" in the beginning of the "Sermon on the Mount;" but turning to our author's notes we are reminded that "There are two other words, évλorytos and vλornuéros, both, also, translated' blessed,'" while "the word happy,' in modern usage, expresses the sense wherever the word paxágios occurs. And," as he goes on to point out, "it is the adequate sense in this passage." Though, therefore, we shall still call those precious sentences "the Benedictions," we are satisfied that Jesus spoke of a happiness which should spring naturally, and therefore providentially, from the virtues he inculcated.
The value of the Notes, however, is by no means confined to the account they give of the author's principles of translation. They often present a most instructive and impressive commentary; the more instructive and impressive because brief. The admirable note on the Temptation, for example, despatches all the questions about time and place, and a personal appearance of the Evil One, in half a page, briefly setting aside that bald literal interpretation, which few scholars would now defend; devotes a somewhat longer space to answering the suggestion of Schleiermacher and Norton, that the whole was a parable; and then goes on, in two pages, to describe, with great force and beauty, the trains of thought in the Saviour's mind, which constituted the successive temptations, with the scenes and circumstances that gave rise to them; closing with a short and striking practical application.
Another fine instance of a note rendering intelligible a dif. ficult subject, is that on the proem of the Gospel according to John. The author clearly points out how frequent was the use of personification, especially as applied to the Divine Wisdom, by the Old Testament writers, by the later Jews, as in the Apocrypha and the writings of Philo, and by the Saviour himself. We do not, however, agree with Mr. Folsom in his translation of the last clause in the first verse, "and God was the Word;" for, not only is it permitted by Greek.