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principal forms. The Idioms are carefully explained either in the Keys or in the Glossary, and (where it seemed necessary) are illustrated by quotations from the Sacred Scriptures.
The first Section* is so easy for construction, that the very rudiments of Hebrew grammar will suffice to enable the beginner to go through it, with the assistance of the Keys and Glossary. He is therefore recommended to practise even his earliest mechanical reading in this Section, in order that he may make himself familiar with the aspect and the sound of the words that are introduced in that part of the work where he is about to make his first attempts at construing Hebrew.
The second Section† presents an Epitome of Sacred History, entirely in the style of the historical Books of the Old Testament. By means of this Section, the narrative parts of the Sacred Records will be at once thrown open to the learner.
When he has digested the third Section, written in the style of the Proverbs of Solomon, he will gain a strong hold upon that Book; the first Nine Chapters of which, when he has sufficiently familiarised himself with the historical Books, should be his first attempt upon the higher and more difficult portion of Holy Writ.
תּוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ Inscribed * תּוֹלְדוֹת אֲבֹתֵינוּ Inscribed +
Inscribed. When the Student shall have come to the end of this Section, he may consider himself to be fully prepared for the Hebrew Bible; but still he is strongly recommended to read attentively the remaining two Sections, which, whilst developing to him the capabilities of the language, are intended also to inspire him with confidence, by convincing him that he has made such satisfactory progress that he is now able to construe any Hebrew, be it prose or verse, however diversified in style and subject.
The Keys are discontinued after the third Section; for the Student, arrived thus far, will have the satisfaction to find that he no longer has occasion for them. From the comparative facility with which he will peruse the remainder of the Work, solely with the aid of the Glossary, he may be able to judge of the extent of ground that he has gained in the language, and of the degree of his preparation for admission into the Majestic Temple towards which his steps have been, from the first, directed—the Hebrew Bible. Led on gradually and imperceptibly to the portal of the sublime and sacred Edifice, he will no longer have cause to apprehend that he shall stumble at its threshold; but, on the contrary, will find the doors which conduct into the inner Sanctuary widely unfolded for his reception. Master of nearly all the Particles, acquainted with most of the Idioms, and in possession of the greater number of those Words that most frequently occur in the Bible, he will now open that rich Repository of Divine Truth, not to con a verse or two by way of Reading lessons, but to discover its treasures, to admire its beauties, and to ascertain for himself, (in some sort as a critic), what advantages the Original possesses over any Translation with which he may be acquainted. A matchless combination of conciseness and vigour, of simplicity and grandeur, will there be developed to his view; every fresh discovery of its hidden wonders will unlock new sources of admiration; and the ratio of his progress in the Language of Inspiration will be exceeded only by the ratio of the high and pure delight resulting from that progress.
The cheering prospect exhibited in the preceding paragraph is not the fanciful picture of a visionary and enthusiastic editor:-it is the sober representation of a
professional Teacher, whose anticipation is justified by the successful results of a long-tried experiment. The School-books from which these Selections are made have been constantly used by the Editor, and with the greatest success, during the many years that he has been established as a Teacher in this country. But the manner in which Elementary Works are executed on the Continent, the badness of the paper, the wretchedness of the print, the numerous errata, and, above all, the total want of any thing that could be of the least assistance to the English Student, have, of course, been great drawbacks.
These disadvantages are removed in the little Work now sent forth to the world; wherein the type is clear, the misprints few, and the assistance abundant. The Editor, therefore, does not scruple to say, that, in his humble opinion, the Hebrew language is actually given with the following pages; and that it only rests with the Student to accept the gift.
It is very gratifying to the Editor to have, in conclusion, to express his grateful acknowledgments to his much- esteemed friend, the Rev. W. G. Greenstreet, M.A., of Christ's College, Cambridge, for the assistance kindly and generously afforded him in the arrangement of the Keys and Glossary of this Work; an assistance which, rendered by one so deeply read in the Hebrew, and so well acquainted with almost all the departments of its Literature, and accompanied, moreover, by some very judicious remarks and suggestions, has not only contributed most materially to increase the aid designed for the beginner, but has also given rise to several notes, which, it is hoped, may be interesting even to those more advanced in the language. Should this little Work be found to be printed more correctly than is usual with
books in the pointed Hebrew, the credit for it is principally, if not entirely, due to the Reverend Gentleman above named, who was kind enough to revise the proof-sheets after they had passed the hands of the Editor, and to correct such misprints as had escaped his eye.
Note to page v. of the Preface.
It is not unusual in this country to hear it asked, even by educated men, in other respects well informed: Whether there are any Hebrew books beside the Bible?—A question of this nature, proceeding from such respectable quarters, is sufficient to convince any one that (excepting the few very eminent Hebrew Scholars that this country can boast) an erroneous impression generally prevails upon the public mind on matters relating to Hebrew Literature. It will surprise many when told, that, independently of Bibles and Prayer-books, the number of Hebrew books that are printed abroad is enormous. There is scarcely a subject, religious, moral, or scientific, but which has occupied, and, in all probability, at this moment occupies, the Hebrew press on the Continent.
The Talmudical, or (as it is now the fashion to call it) the Rabbinical Hebrew, is a very extensive language. To this, indeed, recourse must be had, in scientific Works, for terms that are no where met with in the Bible; yet will any one undertake to prove, that the same terms would not have been used by the Inspired Writers themselves, if they had had occasion for them in the Sacred Subjects that engaged their pen? What is the Talmudic language, but Hebrew copiously saturated with words and idioms of its cognates, the Chaldee and the Syriac? And do we not find words and idioms of the cognate languages occasionally adopted also by the Authors of the Hebrew Bible?
Further, the Talmud, as comprehending the Mishnah and the
Gemara, is the first Commentary written by the Hebrews on the Hebrew Bible; and, since the Mishnah was committed to writing by Rabbi Judah in the latter part of the second Century, and taught long previously by word of mouth, it seems more than probable that the language of the Mishnah, or the so-called Rabbinic, was the vernacular idiom of the Hebrews in the time of Christ, when they had still their Priesthood and their Templeservice, and in so far retained the distinctive features of a nation.
The Editor, without desiring to obtrude his own opinion upon others, would humbly state his impression, that Christ spoke and preached, and that he argued with his opponents the Scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, not, as is commonly supposed, in East or West Aramaan, but in the Talmudic, at that time the vernacular idiom of the Hebrews.* He was called Rabbi and Rabboni; and, in all probability, expostulated with the Rabbins in that very Rabbinical Hebrew, by some in this country so slightingly regarded.
* Such words as NN (Abba, Mark xiv. 36; Rom. viii. 15, &c.), nD¬ SPM (Aceldama, Acts i. 19), n» (Talitha, Mark v. 41), Nop or xp” (Raca, Matt. v. 22), pa (sabachthani, Matt. xxvii. 46, &c.), occurring in the New Testament, may be said to be Aramaan, as well as Talmudic; so great is the affinity between these dialects: they cannot, therefore, be pressed into the argument on either side. It may, however, be worth noticing, that the word xp is of frequent use among the Rabbins as a term of reproach. And surely the words N (Maran-atha, the Lord, or our Lord cometh, 1 Cor. xvi. 22), used by one who was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, are not so likely to be meant for Aramaan as for the language of the School of Gamaliel, the Talmudic. As a single instance of the advantages that the Talmudic writings afford for illustrating the New Testament, the following is subjoined from Bab. Talmud, Treatise Erchin, sect. 3: N D 227 708
אם יש בדור הזה מי שיוכל להוכיח אם אמר טול קיסם מבין עיניך אמר לו טול קורה מבין עיניך.
"Rabbi Tarphon said: I wonder whether there is in this generation any one who could [with propriety] reprove [others] ? If he were to say [to any person], Take out the mote from thine eyes; [the other] would say to him, Take thou out the beam from thine eyes." Compare this passage with Matt. vii. 3-5.