« AnteriorContinuar »
when he wrote his translation of the Bible. The original manuscript is in the possession of Allegheny College, and three note-books in Thomson's handwriting, containing suggestions and alterations concerning his translations, are in the library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. His own copy of the Bible, with the manuscript notes in the margins, is the property of the Library Company of Philadelphia.
The strong translation that Thomson gave us was the result of long years of patient investigation, persistent study, and an intense love for his work.
Mr. Albert J. Edmunds says, “ Thomson's translation is notable for its sound erudition and scholarly care, but also for its singular freedom from traditional renderings. Wherever it was possible to translate a theological term with breadth and freshness it was done, but only where an honest latitude was allowed by the original.” He also adds, “ It seems to me that a version of such sterling worth ought not to be left languishing on the shelves of old book
stores, to be bought as a bibliographical curiosity, as it now has too long been, but should be taken up by a good publisher and re-edited with
Neither Roman nor Genevan, neither High Church nor Low, of no sect and of no prejudice, whether of unbelief or of overbelief, this American patriot of the Continental Congress, who lived to be ninety-four and spent a glorious old age in his home near Bryn Mawr, translating the records of our faith, ought to stand among us once more in the form of a newer and more accessible edition of his great work, the Old and New Covenants.” 1
In 1815 Mr. Thomson published at Philadelphia a work bearing the title of “ A Synopsis of the Four Evangelists, or a Regular History of the Conception, Birth, Doctrine, Miracles, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ in the Words of the Evangelists." William McCullogh was the printer.
1 Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. October number, 1891, p. 335.
THE FIRST TRANSLATION FROM THE
PESHITO SYRIAC VERSION.
AMONG the oldest versions of the Old and New Testaments is the Peshito Syriac, the word Peshito meaning “simple," probably in reference to its simplicity of style. There is no doubt concerning the antiquity of this version, but there is a wide range of opinion as to its exact date. Horne, in his Introduction, says,
Bishop Walton, Carpzov, Leusden, Bishop Lowth, and Dr. Kennicott fix its date to the first century; Bauer and some other German writers, to the second or third century; Jahn fixes it, at the least, to the second century; De Rossi pronounces it to be very ancient, but does not specify any precise date. The most probable opinion is that of Michaelis, who ascribes
the Syriac version of both Testaments to the close of the first, or to the earlier part of the second century, at which time the Syrian churches flourished most, and the Christians at Edessa had a temple for divine worship erected after the model of that at Jerusalem, and it is not to be supposed that they would be without a version of the Old Testament, the reading of which had been introduced by the Apostles.” 1
While the date has not been fixed, it can be said that the Peshito was an old version even in the time of Ephraim the Syrian, who died in 373. Of the authorship of the version nothing is known, though it is evident that it came from many hands. From certain resemblances to the Septuagint, it is thought that Jewish converts had much to do with this version. Of the place where it was written nothing can be said definitely, though it has been conjectured that it may have been written at Antioch or Edessa. The versions known as the Philoxenian and Hierosoly
1 Horne's Introduction, vol. i., p. 270.
mitian are of later date and of little value compared with the Peshito New Testament. The latter holds a high place among scholars, as it helps to clear up some passages of the Greek Testament.
The first edition of the Peshito New Testament was printed in Vienna in 1555, under the patronage of the Emperor of Austria, and was designed for the use of the Jacobite Christians of the East. In later years other editions were printed in Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, and England. In some cases the Testaments were printed in Syriac and Latin, or in Syriac and Hebrew. In 1816 the British and Foreign Bible Society published an edition in the Syriac alone, which was intended for missionary use in India.
The first translation in Great Britain, of the Peshito New Testament into English, was made in 1846, by J. W. Etheridge, who published the Four Gospels. The first translation of the Peshito New Testament in the United States came from the pen of the Rev. James Murdock,