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sould be no inducement to depart, even in a letter. It is, however, not merely probable, that the originals were preserved for this inconsiderable period; but that they were preserved with a degree of religious veneration. And if they were preserved in any place, it must have been in the region contiguous to Constantinople, where they were originally deposited. To this region, of course, we must naturally look for the genuine text of Scripture." P. 114.
Having drawn some general conclusions from the comparative testimony of the Greek and Latin Churches, Mr. N. enters into a minute and laborious investigation of the separate testimony of those Churches, to the different classes of text existing in the Greek MSS. Insisting on the evidence of the former, he makes it appear, that the uncorrupted tenor of tradition supports the Byzantine text, and that the Egyptian and Palestine texts are destitute of such authority. In his investigation of the testimony of the Latin Church, his proof is more laborious and intricate. As his system is founded on the supposition that the three classes of text in the Greek and Latin, which prevailed in the age of St. Jerome, are still extant; he proceeds to point out how the different classes of the translation were formed after the different texts of the original. Thus decomposing the different classes of the translation, he reduces the Latin Version to its elementary principles; and having thus ascertained the primitive Latin Version, he proves, from its coincidence with the Byzantine text, that this text, which is identical with the Greek Vulgate, must have existed in the primitive ages, in which the Latin translation was formed. Of this part of our author's work we would willingly give a specimen, but it will not admit of abridgment.
The Byzantine text being thus shewn to have the support of the concurrent tradition of the Eastern and Western Churches, Mr. N. proceeds in Section IV. to establish the general and doctrinal integrity of the text as contained in the vulgar edition. He first makes it appear, from the practice of the Jewish Church, as followed by the Apostles, that a general intercourse was maintained by the different branches of the Catholic Church; and assuming from thence the moral certainty of the general dispersion of the sacred writings, he proves the impossibility of their having been generally corrupted. The Greek, Latin, and Syriac Churches are then taken as examples; and the books of the Sacred Canon proved to have been in use, under the immediate successors of the Apostles. From a view of the differences which arose between particular Churches, and between the catholics and heretics, the supposition is reduced to an impossibility, that the canonical Scriptures could have been falsified, at this apostolical period. A particular inquiry is then instituted into the state of the text, at the time of the controversy
relative to Easter; and proofs of its integrity are deduced from the works of contemporary writers who flourished at that period. The testimony of those writers is then traditionally traced in ascent and descent; the intervention of two persons connecting it with the age of the Apostles on the one side, and with the age of St. Athanasius on the other. The tradition being thus deduced as low as the fourth century, when the Alexandrine MS. was written, under St. Athanasius, and the Latin Vulgate corrected by St. Jerome; from the conspiring testimony of those antient vouchers, confirmed by that of the great body of manuscripts, the general integrity of the sacred text follows as the author's necessary conclusion.
We subjoin a specimen of the mode in which the tradition is connected in the earlier part of the time from the times of Origen and Alexander, to the age of the apostles.
"Origen was the disciple of Clement, and Clement the disciple of Pantænus; and all of them were the intimates of Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem: but Pantænus is expressly said to have been a disciple of those who were the immediate auditors of the Apostles. Alexander represents Narcissus, who was likewise bishop of Jerusalem, as having been an hundred and sixteen years old, when he acted as his suffragan in that see, at Jerusalem; he of course must have enjoyed the same opportunities of conversing with the immediate disciples of the apostles, which were possessed by Pantænus. Tertullian is referred to a period near that of the apostles, by St. Jerome, who drew his information from one who was informed by an acquaintance of St. Cyprian, his disciple. St. Irenæus mentions. his having been acquainted with St. Polycarp, who was placed in the see of Smyrna by St. John the Evangelist; and gives an affecting description of the accounts which he heard that venerable old man deliver of the apostle, and of the impression which, while he was yet a boy, they had made upon his recollection. With these facilities of arriving at the opinions of the apostolical age, on a subject of such paramount importance as that of the sacred canon, it remains to be observed, that the apostolical tradition, as preserved by the succession of bishops throughout the Catholick Church, was at this period an object of curious investigation." P. 216.
From this minute examination of the general integrity of the text, Mr. N. proceeds to the examination of the integrity of particular parts of the Canon of the New Testament. The authenticity of the Apocalypse and Epistle to the Hebrews is succinctly but adequately discussed; and the authority of those books, as the genuine works of St. John and St. Paul, is established by evidence as well internal as external. The same care is bestowed in investigating the authenticity of John viii. 1-11, Mark xvi 9-20, and a like conclusion formed in favour of their authen
ticity. From considering the authenticity of those particular passages, the author proceeds to investigate the authenticity of three celebrated texts, Acts xx. 28. 1 Tim. iii. 16. 1 John. v. 7. With a view to establish their authenticity, the history of the controversies in which the inspired authors were engaged, is investigated, the internal evidence of the disputed passages estimated, and the external testimony of the writers who have quoted them in their works, is produced at large. In the course of this discussion, the evidence in favor of 1 John v. 7. is strengthened by many additional considerations, besides those which have already appeared in our pages. The subject of the text, and the language in which it is expressed, are proved to have been familiar to the Jews from the earliest period; the disputed verse is shewn to have been before the Apostle, and to be necessary to his argu ment and to the grammatical structure of his context: and seven reasons are subjoined, proving the expediency of adopting this verse on the extemal testimony of the African Church, by which it was formally recognised, in the year 484, in the Council of Carthage.
In Section V. the author proceeds to examine the integrity of the sacred text in merely verbal points, or such as are of minor importance. A particular inquiry is instituted into the principles of Dr. Griesbach's criticism, and the inadequacy of his mode of emendation shewn, in a specific induction of authorities and examples. A new method is then proposed for vindicating contested readings of the Greek Vulgate, on the coincident testimony of the Italic and Syriac, and, where their evidence fails, on that of the later Oriental and Western Versions. The integrity of the old Italic and Syriac translations is then vindicated from the suspicion of corruption from the Byzantine Greek; and these points being premised, the system of traditionary evidence by which the authority of this text is vindicated, is thus described by its author.
"The bond of connexion by which every part of the system, which rises upon this foundation, is held together, is the connected testimony of tradition. Whether we consider the original Greek, or the two versions, which are the witnesses of its integrity, the evidence of these vouchers is held together by this connecting principle, for the immense period of fourteen centuries. From the very concessions of our adversaries, it appears, that the vulgar text of the Greek, the Latin, and the Syriack Church, has existed for the whole of that time. As the tradition extended far above this period, it is implied in the very nature of this species of evidence, that it could not have sustained any considerable change during the earlier part of that term; unless from the operation of some powerful cause, and for a very limited time. It is wholly inconceivable, that any age would accept a text, transmitted by their immediate
immediate predecessours, having weaker evidence of its integrity; than their predecessours had, in adopting it from those who preceded them. This reasoning is applicable to the present age, and may be applied to every age which has preceded, until we ascend from our own times to those in which the tradition commenced. The testimony of tradition is thus adequate to its own vindication; and admitting its integrity to be thus unimpeachable, we must thence necessarily infer the integrity of the text which it supports.” P. 348.
From the premises thus laid down, the author proceeds to make the necessary inferences. The principles on which he defends the integrity of the Greek Vulgate, are reduced to three rules, which are applied to the vindication of a variety of passages, which have been rejected by Dr. Griesbach in his Corrected Edition. The testimony of Origen is again considered, and those objections solved which arise from his deviations from the vulgar edition. These difficulties being removed, the above principles are applied to the vindication of all those passages, which are of any importance, that have been cancelled by Dr. Griesbach in the received text. Of the two tables into which they are distributed, the first contains the text of the Vulgar Greek, confirmed by the old Italic, and supported by the testimony of some primitive father who preceded the last revisal of the text by Eusebius; the second contains all those passages of the Gospels of any note, which Dr. Griesbach has rejected, supported by the testimony of the primitive Italic and Syriac Versions. The same proofs are extended to vindicate the passages which have been cancelled, by the same critic, in the epistolary part of the New Testament. The author then enters into a detailed proof, that the Syriac and Latin Vulgate have not been corrupted from the Vulgar Greek, and infers from thence the antiquity of the text which is supported by the testimony of those antient witnesses. In conclusion of this section, the Received Text, of our printed editions, is shown to have been formed by Erasmus on adequate critical principles; as it is founded on the concurring testimony of the Greek and Latin Vulgate, which Erasmus incorporated in his edition.
Having thus closed the defence of the Byzantine text, the author devotes his attention in Section VI. to proving the corruption of the Egyptian and Palestine editions. This undertaking he commences by asserting the influence of Origen's wri tings upon the last-mentioned texts; deducing from the testimony of that antient father, a proof of the general purity of the text of the New Testament, previously to the age in which he flourished.
In prosecution of this object, the plan of Hesychius, who
published the Egyptian text, is described in the first instance. The principles of Origen's criticism are confronted on the one side with the internal evidence of Hesychius's text on the other; and by a comparison, it is made evident, that the corrections of this reviser have arisen in "an ambition, to give that perfection to the text of the New Testament, which Origen, following similar principles, had given to the text of the Old." The works used by Hesychius in this undertaking are specified; and the hypothesis of our author confirmed, by examples setting forth the principal alterations which the inspired text underwent in his edition.
From the consideration of the Egyptian text, Mr. N. turns to that of the Palestine edition. After an inquiry into the tenets of the Marcionites and Valentinians, and of the sophisti cated texts by which they supported their religious systems; the gradual corruption of the sacred text throughout the East, is proved, and ascribed to the influence of the controversies which were conducted against those heretics. The progress of this system of corruption, which affected the sacred text, is traced, from the works of those heretics, to the writings of Origen; and from the writings of Origen, to the texts of particular manuscripts. The religious veneration in which that antient father was held in the school of Cæsarea, is then displayed; the scholia, which he inserted in the margins of particular manuscripts, and which were increased by Eusebius, are described; and the testimony of a marginal gloss in the Codex Mar chialianus is cited, which states that the transcriber had corrected the text by the comment of Origen. Having produced these proofs of the corruption of the Palestine text, and confirmed them by a great variety of examples, the author rejects the testimony of this text, with that of the Egyptian edition. Having thus completed the main object of his work, he now directs his attention to the consideration of objections. A particular reply is consequently subjoined to the arguments advanced in favour of the corrected reading of Act. xx. 28. 1 Tim. iii. 16. 1 John v. 7; and an answer being added to some general objections, the author draws his work to a conclusion.
We have thus given a synopsis of the author's INQUIRY, without interposing our opinion on the conclusiveness of his reasoning, that our readers may form their judgment of its merit as a whole. We will now offer a few remarks on the claims of Mr. Nolan's system as opposed to that of Dr. Griesbach's, intending, as a conclusion to the whole, to allow ourselves, we hope, not an unbecoming liberty, in saying a few words of our author's merits, qualifying, however, our commendation, with a frank statement of the objections to which his system appears to us to be expos- .. ed, on one or two delicate points.
VOL. V. JANUARY, 1816.