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to this mode of study? And can this mode be used with full success, without the synoptical view afforded by the radical arrangement? And if this is true of Greek, where the endless variety of compound forms makes the use of such a lexicon unquestionably troublesome, is it not true of Hebrew, in which a compound is an anomaly, and of which one grand characteristic is its uniform and systematic modes of derivation? How is it with the cognate tongues? Would any but a very superficial orientalist hesitate to choose between Golius and Meninski?* Moreover, does not the use of the old fashioned lexicon enable a student to use any other sort, while an exclusive use of the promiscuous arrangement almost unfits him for consulting any other? Now, if these things are so, can they all be set aside by Gesenius's authority? Is it perfectly clear that he adopted the promiscuous arrangement upon philological principle? May not another explanation be, at least, imagined? May it not possibly be part and parcel of his darling plan to devest Hebrew learning of a scholastic aspect, and to place it on a footing of genteel equality with what we palaeologists are wont, in our simplicity, to call profane literature? Is there not evidence of his desire to do away the old monastic notion of a Lingua Sacrosancta, and to place the study of this ancient tongue precisely on a par with that of German or Italian? And if so, are we bound to follow him in violating the genius of the language, and discouraging sound scholarship, in order to aid him in demolishing a prejudice which may have been excessive, but was never vicious, and is only disagreeable to him because it favours feelings which he laughs at, and a creed which he abhors?
We drop the person of the catechist to say, that we hope to see the time when every Greek and Latin lexicon intended for our schools shall, at least, be furnished with a systematic index, exhibiting the words in a radical arrangement, and when every Hebrew lexicon, both small and great, shall be
* As Meninski's famous Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalium was one chief means of giving currency to this unlucky change in Oriental lexicography, we copy here the very just remark of a late French writer. “On sait," says he, with reference to Meninski, “on sait, qu'il écrivait pour ceux qui se dévouent à la carrière qu'il avait parcourue avec tant de succès, ou pour ceux qui, pressés d'acquerir une connaissance usuelle des langues de l'Orient, n'ont qu'un léger intérêt pour la connaissance de la haute littérature.” (Biographie Universelle
. Vol. xxviii. p. 308. Paris. 1821.) We have no doubt that this was the design of that most laborious work; but we have yet to learn that such is the design of our Greek and Hebrew lexicons.
constructed wholly on that principle. Not that we wish to see the old pedantic usage of reducing all derivations to a single and invariable rule, brought back. On that point, we have no doubt that Gesenius is right. He has clearly shown that no one part of speech can be regarded as the universal root-house of the language; and if he had been contented with reforming lexicography just so far as this principle would lead him, he would certainly have done philology a great and unmixed favour. We would discard all forced deductions and fictitious roots, and exhibit primitives as primitives, derivar tives as derivatives, whether verbs, nouns, or participles, without adopting the exclusive theories of Buxtorf on the one hand, or of Lee upon the other. Because the older writer pushes the radical arrangement to extremes; Gesenius has dismissed it altogether. We are for reverting to the juste milieu which both have rashly passed. It may be asked, whether we wish to see all dictionaries of the modern languages constructed in this manner? We answer, that who. ever wishes to acquire a critical acquaintance with a language, not merely as a means to some ulterior end, but in order to investigate its own peculiarities, must, from some point or other, view the language in this systematic light. It is plain, however, that, with scarcely an exception, the modern languages are learned for other purposes. For cursory reading or colloquial intercourse, analytical research into the forms of speech is needless. If this were the maximum of Hebrew learning which the state of things among us calls for, there can be no doubt that the promiscuous arrangement would be altogether preferable. But so long as it is thought expedient to fathom the darkest depths of etymology, and to weigh the very dust and straws of criticism, in order to discover the mind of the Spirit, just so long ought the slightest tendency towards superficial study to be checked and censured. And though the point to which these observations are directed, may be thought a very trivial one, principiis obsta will be found a useful maxim even here.
There is yet another matter, in regard to which we should have been glad to see Professor Gibbs more free from foreign influence. The writings of Gesenius which have furnished his materials, not only do not recognise the inspiration of the Scriptures, but contain statements which either explicitly impugn that doctrine, or are wholly inconsistent with it. These last are, of course, rejected in the work before us.
But we VOL. IV. No. II.-2 M
are sorry to see the negative errors, the defects, of the original, left in statu quo. We are sorry, not because the few omissions sensibly detract from the practical utility of this little volume, or render it pernicious; but because it sets the author's sentiments on some important points in a questionable light, or rather darkness. We shall not go into a discussion of the principles involved, nor inquire how far Professor Gibbs's views are variant from our own. We need scarcely state it as our doctrine, that if Christianity is the religion of both Testaments, there must be Hebrew words and phrases which imply their identity in this respect; that if the testimony of Jesus is indeed the spirit of prophecy, if Moses and the Psalmists did indeed write of him, it is inconceivable that every word in the Old Testament can be fully explained without a syllable of reference to him, or what he taught. This we maintain upon “philological principle.” Lexicographers acknowledge themselves bound to resort to every method of eliciting the true sense and the full sense of the language. Hence the appeal to analogy, to contexts, to the usus loquendi, and to critical authority. Now in carrying out this principle, we think it not unreasonable to allow the Saviour and inspired apostles, at least as high a place, among interpreters of Scripture, as the Talmudists and Rabbins. Maintaining, as we do, upon divine authority, that Christ was not unknown to the believing "elders,” but that all who of old were justified, were justified by faith, we cannot suppose that he is never mentioned in the very record upon which their faith was founded, or only mentioned év åevizuatı. We do not say that Professor Gibbs maintains this, but we do say that he has not made the contrary apparent, and has let slip opportunities of stating his dissent upon this point from Gesenius. We have as yet seen nothing in his Manual to which that very learned infidel' might not subscribe. The most conscientious Jew might use it without scruple. Now this is what we stumble at. It is not because Professor Gibbs thinks thus or thus, that we are startled, but because he thinks precisely as Gesenius does, so far as we can discover what he thinks at all. We do not mean, of course, that he goes as far, but that he goes no further. He has nothing to add, though he finds much to reject. Now it is so very rare for two accomplished critics to agree in all points of interpretation, even when in doctrine they are only not unanimous, that we cannot but marvel at this coincidence of judgment between a Trinitarian and a German
Deist. Be it remembered, that we now refer simply to what appears upon the face of the record. It may be, that Professor Gibbs has reached the same conclusions by legitimate deduction. It may be, that he believes on philological principle, that SPIRIT OF GOD was never meant to convey to the pious Jew the remotest intimation of any thing more than “the lifegiving breath or power of God in men and animals, which moved over the chaos at the creation, and operates through the universe, and produces whatever is noble and good in man; by making him wise, and leading him to virtue, and by guiding him generally; but that it is especially applied to extraordinary powers and gifts." (Manual, p. 200.) It may be that his own researches have convinced him that Son of God is only applied to angels or inferior gods,” or “to servants and worshippers of God," "to kings and magistrates," as such, (p. 12) for this is no new doctrine. It may be, that, aside from all example and authority, he thinks it proper to explain the word Messiah without even hinting at the coincidence between that term and Christ, and indeed to exclude from his volume all allusions to the existence of a later and a better dispensation. All this, we say, may be the fair result of personal inquiry, and as such it calls for refutation, not for censure or complaint. But what surprises us is the appearance of uniform agreement with Gesenius, and the fact that some of the definitions upon these important points are taken unaltered from articles, the object of which is to explain away the inspiration of the Scriptures and the truths of revelation. Can the detached parts of a rotten system be so uniformly sound? We have not forgotten, in the course of our remarks, that sentence of the preface, which informs the reader, that “the plan of this work excludes all supposititious meanings resting only on inference and analogy." This explanation might have satisfied us, had we not perceived that some meanings are excluded as “supposititious,” which to us seem direct and as clear as noon-day, while others are inserted which are not even founded upon inference and analogy, but rest on mere conjecture. The only reason that we can assign for the distinction is, that Gesenius rejects the former and admits the latter. His inconsistency can be explained on other principles than those of mere philology. Of the omission, we
: have already given specimens. Of the unauthorized insertions (unauthorized, we mean, by the rule laid down in the preface) an instance may be found upon the last page of the
SHIPS OF TARSHISH, literally means ships either bound or belonging to Tarshish. We are told, however, that the phrase denotes "large merchant ships bound on long voyages (perhaps distinguished by their construction from the common Phænician ships) even though they were sent to other coun. tries than Tarshish.” Is this self-evident? It is worth while just to trace the operation of the principle in this case, and the more as it has no bearing upon controverted doctrines. Professor Gibbs's definition we have given above, and are entitled to conclude, on the strength of his assertion in the preface, that it rests on other grounds than those of inference and analogy. On turning to Gesenius, we find this significant expression in a parenthesis, “wie Indienfahrer oder Grönlandsfahrer in der heutigen Schiffersprache.” What is this but analogy, remote analogy? We also read that this interpretation, so familiar to Gesenius, was wholly unknown to the author of the Chronicles! What is this but conjecture, sheer conjecture? Is the conjecture of Gesenius to outweigh the authority of Christ and his apostles? Is the analogy of modern sea-slang a safer guide than the ANALOGY OF FAITH? We do not dispute the ingenuity or truth of this interpretation, nor object to the means by which it has been reached. But if there may be deflexions from a philological principle, why not deflect upon the side of truth as well as that of falsehood? Why should Gesenius and Professor Gibbs, at variance as they are in theological opinion, break their own rules in perpetual unison?
These things are individually slight, but they have a tendency-remote it may be, yet direct-towards the fatal error of believing, not because a thing is true, but because it is asserted, and of suffering the acknowledged merits of a school or system to protect its vices. All that we ask is, that this hackneyed charge against the use of creeds and articles, may be applied, with even-handed justice, to philological principles and modes of exegesis. Let every Christian scholar ask and answer for himself, whether the Synod of Dort and the Westminster Assembly were not quite as trustworthy as the Ordo Theologicus of Goettingen or Halle; whether Augustine and Calvin ought not to have as fair play as Eichhorn and Gesenius; and whether, if after abjuring all idolatrous dependence upon fathers and reformers, we should fill their empty niches with the rationalists, and pyrrhonists, and pantheists,