« AnteriorContinuar »
Thus, in Matt. vii. 23. I never knew you, means, I never approved you. A similar construction occurs in 1 Cor. viii. 3. and in Rom. vii. 15. (Gr.) which in our version is rendered allow. Compare also Psal. i. 6.
11. Lastly, to hear denotes to understand, to attend to, and to regard what is said.
In illustration of this remark, compare Deut. xviii. 15. with Acts iii. 23. and see also Matt. xvii. 5. and xi. 15. xiii. 6. and Luke viii. 8.
It were no difficult task to adduce numerous similar examples of the Hebraisms occurring in the Scriptures, and particularly in the New Testament; but the preceding may suffice to show the benefit that may be derived from duly considering the import of a word in the several passages of holy writ in which it occurs.
In order to understand the full force and meaning of the Hebraisms of the New Testament, the following canons have been laid down by the celebrated critic John Augustus Ernesti, and his annotator Professor Morus.
1. Compare Hebrew words and forms of expressions with those which occur in good Greek formulæ, particularly in doctrinal passages.
As all languages have some modes of speech which are common to each other, it sometimes happens that the same word or expression is both Hebrew, and good Greek, and affords a proper meaning, whether we take it in a Hebrew or a Greek sense But, in such cases, it is preferable to adopt that meaning which a Jew would give, because it is most probable that the sacred writer had this in view rather than the Greek meaning, especially if the latter were not of very frequent occurrence. Thus, the expression, ye shall die in your sins (John viii. 24.) if ex. plained according to the Greek idiom, is equivalent to ye shall persevere in a course of sinful practice to the end of your lives : but, according to the Hebrew idiom, it not only denotes a physical or temporal death, but also eternal death, and is equivalent to ye shall be damned on account of your sins, in rejecting the Messiah. The latter interpretation, therefore, is preferable to be adopted, as agreeing best with the Hebrew mode of thinking, and also with the context.
This rule applies particularly to the doctrinal passages of the New Testament, which must in all cases be interpreted according to the genius of the Hebrew language. Thus, to fear God, in the language of a Jew, means to reverence or wor. ship God generally. The knoroledge of God, which is so frequently mentioned in the New Testament, if taken according to the Hebrew idiom, implies not only the mental knowledge of God, but also the worship and reverence of Him which flows from it, and consequently it is both a theoretical and a practical knowledge of God. The reason of this rule is obvious. In the first place, our Saviour and his apostles, the first teachers of Christianity, were Jews, who had been educated in the Jewish religion and language; and who (with the exception of Paul) being unacquainted with the niceties of the Greek language at the time they were called to the apostolic office,
could only express themselves in the style and manner peculiar to their country. Secondly, the religion taught in the New Testament agrees with that delivered in the old Testament, of which it is a continuation ; so that the ritual worship enjoined by the law of Moses is succeeded by a spiritual or internal wor. ship ; the legal dispensation is succeeded by the Gospel dispensation, in which what was imperfect and obscure is become perfect and clear. Now things that are continued are substantially the same, or of a similar nature. Thus the expression to come unto God occurs both in the Old and in the New Testament. In the for. mer it simply means to go up to the temple ; in the latter it is continued, so that what was imperfect becomes perfect, and it implies the mental or spiritual ap. proach unto ihe Most High, i.e. the spiritual worshipping of God. In like manner, since the numerous particulars related in the Old Testament concerning the vic tims, priests, and temple of God are transferred, in the New Testament, to the atoning death of Christ, to his offering of himself to death, and to the Christian cburch, the veil of figure being withdrawn, the force and beauty of these expressions cannot be perceived, nor their meaning fully ascertained, unless we interpret the doctrinal parts of the New Testament, by the aid of the Old Testament.
2. The Hebraisms of the New Testament are to be compared with the good Greek occurring in the Septuagint or Alexandrian rersion.
As the Hebraisms occurring in the Old Testament are uniformly rendered, in the Septuagint version, in good Greek, this translation may be considered as a commentary and exposition of those passages, and as conveying the sense of the Hebrew nation concerning their meaning. The Alexandrian translation, there. fore, ought to be consulted in those passages of the New Testament in which the sacred writers have rendered the Hebraisms literally. Thus, in 1 Cor. xv. 54. death is said to be swallowed up in victory, which sentence is a quotation from Isaiah xxv. 8. As the Hebrew word nog netsach, with the ” prefixed, acquires the force of an adverb, and means for ever, without end, or incessantly, and as the Septuagint sometimes renders the word lanetsaca by eis viros in victory, but most commonly by ens todos, for ever, Morus is of opinion that this last meaning proper. ly belongs to 1 Cor. xv. 54, which should therefore be rendered death is swallowed up for erer. And so it is translated by Bishop Pearce.
3. In passages that are good Greek, which are common both to the Old and Neo Testament, the corresponding words in the Hebrew Old Testament are to be compared.
Several passages occur in the New Testament, that are good Greek, and which are also to be found in the Alexandrian version. In these cases it is not sufficient to consult the Greek language only: recourse should also be had to the Hebrew, because such words of the Septuagint and New Testament have acquired a different meaning from what is given to them by Greek witers, and are sometimes to be taken in a more lax, sometimes in a more strict sense. Thus, in Gen. v. 24. and Heb. xi. 5. it is said that Enoch pleased God evnptonkevat tü Ocw; which expression in itself is sufficiently clear, and is also good Greek; but if we compare the corresponding expression in the Hebrew, its true meaning is, that he walked with God. 'In rendering this clause by evnpronkevat sw Ow, the Greek translator did not render the Hebrew verbatim, for in that case he would have said replenarnoe our Ocw; but he translated it correctly as to the sense. Enoch pleased God, because he lived habitually as in the sight of God, setting him always before his eyes in every thing he said, thought, and did. In Psal. ii. I. the Septuagint version runs thus, Ivarı eppvatav corn, why did the nations rage ? Now though this expression is good Greek, it does not fully render the original Hebrew, which means why do the nations furiously and tumultuously assemble together, or rebel ? The Septuagint therefore is not sufficiently close. Once more, the expression OUK Ovres, they are not, is good Greek, but admits of various meanings, indicating those who are not yet in existence, those who are already deceased, or, figuratively, persons of no authority. This expression occurs both in the Septuagint version of Jer. xxxi. 15. and also in Matt. ii. 18. If we compare the original Hebrew, we shall find that it is to be limited to those who are dead. Hence it will be evident that the collation of the original Hebrew will not only prevent us from taking words either in too lax or too strict a sense, but will also guard us against uncertainty as to their meaning, and lead us to that very sense which the sacred writer intended.
Besides the Hebraisms, which we have just considered, there are found in the New Testament various Rabbinical, Syriac, Persic, Latin, and other idioms and words, which are respectively denominated Rabbinisins, Syriasms, Persisms, Latinisms, &c. &c. on which it may not be improper to offer a few remarks.
1. Rabbinisms. — We have already seen that during, and subsequent to, the Babylonian captivity, the Jewish language sustained very considerable changes. New words, new sentences, and new expressions were introduced, especially terms of science, which Moses or Isaiah would have as little understood, as Cicero or Cæsar would a system of philosophy or theology composed in the language of the schools. This New Hebrew language is called Talmudical, or Rabbinical, from the writings in which it is used ; and, although these writings are of a much later date than the New Testament, yet, from the coincidence of expressions, it is not improbable that, even in the time of Christ, this was the learned language of the
1 See p. 3. supra.
Rabbins. Lightfoot, Schoetgenius, Meuschen, and others, have excellently illustrated the Rabbinisms occurring in the New Testament.
2. Syriasms. — 3. Chaldaisms. — The vernacular language of the Jews, in the time of Jesus Christ, was the Aramæan; which branched into two dialects, differing in pronunciation rather than in words, and respectively denominated the Chaldee or East Aramæan, and the Syriac or West Aramean. The East Aramaan was spoken at Jerusalem and in Judæa ; and was used by Christ in his familiar discourses and conversations with the Jews; the West Aramæan was spoken in Galilee of the Gentiles. It was therefore natural that numerous Chaldee and Syriac words, phrases, and terms of expression, should be intermixed with the Greek of the New Testament, and even such as are not to be found in the Septuagint: and the existence of these Chaldaisms and Syriasms, affords a strong intrinsic proof of the genuineness and authenticity of the New Testament. Were ihis, indeed, “ free from these idioms, we might naturally conclude that it was not written either by men of Galilee or Jud:ea, and therefore was spurious; for, as certainly as the speech of Peter betrayed him to be a Galilean, when Christ stood before the Jewish tribunal, so certainly must the written language of a man, born, educated, and grown old in Galilee, discover marks of his native idiom, unless we assume the absurd hypothesis, that God hath interposed a miracle, which would have deprived the New Testament of one of its strongest proofs of authenticity."
The following are the principal Aramæan or Chaldee and Syriac words occurring in the New Testament : A 3 Ba (Abba), Father, (Rom. viii. 15.) — Axendaja (Aceldama), the field of blood, (Acts i. 19.) – Aguayooww (Armageddon), the mountain of Megiddo, or of the Gospel, (Rev. xvi. 16.) - Bhdecâu (Bethesda), the house of mercy, (John v. 2.) — Knoas (Cephas), a rock or stone, (John i. 43.) – Kog Sav (Corban), a gift or offering dedicated to God, (Mark vii. 11.) - EWW, El.wo, halba oußazduv (Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani), my God, my God! why has thou forsaken me? (Matt. xxvii. 46. Mark xv. 34.) – Eppada (Ephphatha), be thou opened, (Mark vii. 34.) Makuwva (Mammon), riches, (Matt. vi. 24.) – Magav Ala (Maran Atha), the Lord cometh, (1 Cor. xvi. 22.) – Paxa (Raca), thou
1 Michaelis, vol. i. p. 129, who has given some illustrative examples. Mori Acroases super Hermeneuticæ Novi Testamenti, vol. i. p. 238. See also Olearius de Stylo Novi Testamenti, membr. iii. aphorism vii. pp. 23, 24.
Vide infra Chap. VII. § II. of this Volume, for an account of their valuable labours.
Michaelis, vol. i. p. 135. Morus, vol. i. p. 237. Bishop Marsh, in his notes to Michaelis, states, that a new branch of the Aramæan language has been discovered by Professor Adler, which differs in some respects from the East and West Aramean dialects. For an account of it, he refers to the third part of M. Adler's Nori Testamenti Versiones Syriacæ, Simpler, Philoxeniana, et Hierosolymitana, denuo etaminata, &c. 4to. Hafnice, 1789, of which work we have not been able to obtain a sight. Pfeiffer has an amusing disquisition on the Galilæan dialect of Peter, which in substance corresponds with the above cited remark of Michaelis, though Pfeiffer does not seem to have known the exact names of the dialects then in use among the Jews. Op. tom. i. pp. 616-622.
worthless fellow! (Matt. v. 22.) — Tarida xovllt (Talitha cumi), maid arise! (Mark v. 41.)?
4. Latinisms. — “The sceptre having departed from Judah," (Gen. xlix. 10.) by the reduction of Judæa into a Roman province, the extension of the Roman laws and government would naturally follow the success of the Roman arms : and if to these we add the imposition of tribute by the conquerors, together with the commercial intercourse necessarily consequent on the political relations of the Jews with Rome, we shall be enabled readily to account for the Latinisms, or Latin words and phrases, that occur in the New Testament.
The following is a list of the principal Latinisms :- Advagov (assarion, from the Latin word assarius), equivalent to about three quarters of a farthing of our money, (Matt. x. 29. Luke xii. 6.) Knuoos (census), assessment or rate, (Matt. xvii. 25.) - Kevrougiwv (centurio), a centurion, (Mark xv. 39. 44, 45.) - Korwia (colonia), a colony, (Acts xvi. 12.) - Koudtwdia (custodia), a guard of soldiers, (Matt. xxvii. 65, 66. xxviii. 11.) — Anvagios (denarius), a Roman penny, equivalent to about seven-pence halfpenny of our money, (Luke vii. 41.) - payed.ov (flagellum), a scourge, (John ii. 15.); from this word is derived øgayežnow, to scourge with whips, (Matt. xxvii. 26. Mark xv. 15.) As this was a Roman punishment, it is no wonder that we find it expressed by a term nearly Roman. -- lovosos (Justus), (Acts i. 23.) – AEYEWV (legio), a legion, (Matt. xxvi. 53.) - Kodgavons (quadrans), a Roman coin equivalent to about three-fourths of an English halfpenny, (Matt. v. 26.) — 113sgrivos (libertinus), a freed man, (Acts vi. 9.) — Avrga (libra), a pound, (John xii. 3.) – A EVT EOV (linteum), a towel, (John xiii. 4.) – Maxelov (macellum), shambles, (1 Cor. x. 25.) — Mɛußgava (membrana), parchment, (2 Tim. iv. 13.)
- Milcov (mille), a mile; the Roman mile consisting of a thousand paces. (Matt. v. 41.) — E60Tn5 (sertarius), a kind of pot, (Mark vii. 4. 8.)- II gatogiov (prætorium), a judgment-hall, or place where the prætor or other chief magistrate heard and determined causes, (Matt. xxvii. 27.) - Enusxov lov or Eqxv Slov (semicinctium), an apron, (Acts xix. 12.) – Eixagios (sicarius), an assassin, (Acts xxi. 38.) — Lovdagsov (sudarium), a napkin or handkerchief, (Luke xix. 20.) — EmExoyhatws (speculator), a soldier employed as an erecutioner, (Mark vi. 27.) Tafegua (taberna), a tavern, (Acts xxviii. 15.) -Tothos (titulus), a title, (John xix. 19, 20.)2
5. From the unavoidable intercourse of the Jews with the neighbouring nations, the Arabs, Persians, (to whose sovereigns they were formerly subject,) and the inhabitants of Asia Minor, numerous
1 Additional examples of Chaldaisms and Syriasms may be seen in Olearius de Stylo Novi Testamenti, membr. iii. amphorism. vi. (Thesaurus Theologico-Philologicus, tom. ii. pp. 22, 23.
Pritii Introductio ad Lectionem Novi Testamenti, pp. 320_322. learius, sect. 2. memb. iii. aph, ix. pp. 24, 25. Michaelis, vol. i. pp. 102–173. Morus, vol. i. pp. 235, 226. Olearius and Michaelis have collected numerous instances of Latinising phrases occuring in the New Testament, which want of room compels us to omit. Full elucidations of the various idioms above cited, are given by Schleusner and Parkhurst in their Lexicons to the New Testament. The Græco-Barbara Novi Testamenti (16mo. Amsterdam, 1649.) of Cheitomæus, may also be consulted when it can be met with.
words, and occasional expressions may be traced in the New Testament, which have been thus necessarily introduced among the Jews. These words, however, are not sufficiently numerous to constitute so many entire dialects : for instance, there are not more than four or five Persian words in the whole of the New Testament. These cannot, therefore, be in strictness termed Persisms: and, though the profoundly learned Michaelis is of opinion that the Zend-avesta, or antient book of the Zoroastrian religion, translated by M. Anquetil du Perron, throws considerable light on the phraseology of St. John's writings; yet, as the authenticity of that work has been disproved by eminent orientalists, it cannot (we apprehend) be with propriety applied to the elucidation of the New Testament. From the number of words used by St. Paul in peculiar senses, as well as words not ordinarily occurring in Greek writers, Michaelis is of opinion (after Jerome) that they were provincial idioms used in Cilicia in the age in which he lived ; and hence he denominates them Cilicisms.?
The preceding considerations and examples may suffice to convey some idea of the genius of the Greek language of the New Testament. For an account of the most useful Lexicons that can be consulted, see the Appendix to this volume, No. II.
ON THE COGNATE OR KINDRED LANGUAGES.
1. The Chaldee. - II. The Syriac. - III. The Arabic. - IV. The
Ethiopic. - V. The Rabbinical Hebrew. — VI. Use and impor
tance of the Cognate Languages to sacred criticism. THE cognate or kindred languages are those, which, together with the Hebrew, are dialects immediately derived from the primitive language, if indeed, (as many learned men have thought,) they are not derived from the Hebrew itself, confessedly the most antient language in the world, and with which they preserve nearly the same structure and analogy. The modern Italian language, as well as the antient Greek and Latin, will furnish us with numerous examples of this affinity. The two last indeed are not dialects, but entirely different languages; the Latin having acquired very many words from the Greek, in consequence of the numerous colonies of Greeks that setded in Italy, from whom the Aborigines imperceptibly borrowed many words. In like manner the antient Greeks and modern Russ are allied, as also all the Old German and modern Danish, together
1 Michaelis, vol. i. pp. 149–162.
2 Scaliger in his treatise De causis Linguæ Latinæ, and Vossius, in his Etymologicon Linguæ Latinæ, have illustrated this subject at considerable length.