Page images
PDF
EPUB

Claromontanus, both of the sixth century, were, as early as 1582, in the possession of Beza, on whose edition (1598) of the Greek Testament the authors of the King James Version largely relied.

1. It is of the first importance to determine the text. No accurate translation can be made from an inaccurate text. The author regards Sinaiticus and Vaticanus and the Greek Test. of Westcott and Hort of the highest authority. Two courses were open to the translator. Confiding in the judgment of the editors, he could have simply rendered as accurately as possible the text they place before him ; or he could enter the lists as a competitor with thein for the honor of reproducing most nearly the autographs of the New Testament books. It is greatly to be regretted that the latter alternative was chosen. The task demands a fulness of critical apparatus far exceeding the ability of any one man to collect and master. It requires a delicacy in the weighing of evidence which can only be obtained by long training and complete familiarity with the whole ground traversed. If Sin. and Vat. were the only first-class sources of the text, with Alex. as a secondary source, yet holding the balance of power, and other codices, versions, patristic citations, could be left out of account, the problems before the textual critic would be simple and easily solved. But no one can study the three hundred pages which Dr. Hort devotes to a presentation of the problems and methods of textual criticism in Vol. ii. of Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament, or examine the essay of Dr. Warfield on the same topic, in Dr. Schaff's “ Compan panion to the Greek Testament," without seeing how infinitely complex the problems may become, and how patient and delicate must be their handling. This attention the author has not been willing to bestow, and as a consequence, the text le adopts is far inferior to that of Alford, Tischendorf, or Westcott and Hort.

(a) The author sometimes adheres to the readings of the Authorized Version, though they are contrary to those of Sin. and Vat. and the critical editions. Here belong John iv. 36, VOL. XXI.

14

NEW SERIES.

where the word "also" is retained; Luke vi. 48, where "upon the rock” is given, though the phrase, éni top sérpar, is absent from Sin. and Vat. In Luke ii. 14 we read good will among men,” though súdoxias is the reading of Sin., Vat., W. and H., and the Revised Version. A notable instance is Mark vii. 16, which whole verse is inserted on the authority of Alex., while Sin., Vat., and modern editors oinit it. In Luke vi. 9, the weakly attested reading of Griesbach, inoxtɛivou, “ to kill,” is retained, while codices Sin., Vat., Bezae, and following them, Lachmann, Tisch., and Westcott and Hort have coléoul, “ to destroy.” Other examples might be given.

(6) Undue weight is given to the readings of Codex Sinaiticus. Tischendorf, the discoverer of the Codex, has been justly charged with partiality toward his “ darling." But here Tischendorf himself is surpassed. An instance of this is John xx. 31, where the word “ æonian,” aióvrov, is inserted, which is rejected by Tisch. Here may be mentioned Matt. xii. 30, where, against the judgment of Westcott and Hort, and Tisch., “me," ue is introduced. The same is true of John iii. 5, where we read ideiv,“ see the reign of heaven," instead of sioeloeiv, “enter": 31, iv. 24. It is especially in the Gospel according to John that this undue preference is manifest. Chapters iv., vii., viii., xi., contain many instances.

(c) There are omissions of words or phrases. At John iv. 6, otrās, “ thus " is wanting, which is all the more siguificant since it undoubtedly occasions a real difficulty, and is relied upon by Matthew Arnold and other critics, as proof that the author had certain logia or sayings concerning Jesus, which he inserted, sometimes unskillfully, into his narrative. Luke i. 65, the words, dienaheito navra, are omitted entirely from the translation. In Matthew ii. 9, avroós, “ them,” is omitted.

(d) There are traces of haste and want of care. One reads on page xii. of the Introduction : “ The words in Italics are found either in the Sinaitic, or Vatican, or both, and are not in the Greek of Westcott and Hort.” The author, it is to be assumed, intended to state the matter correctly, but lie either forgot to exercise due care, or changed his method. As a consequence, there are at least sixty-five instances in which he has put a word, or phrase, or whole verse, in italics when the Greek equivalent is found in the text of Westcott and Hort. Notable instances are found in Matthew vi, 15; xvii. 15; xxi. 7, 29, 30; xxvii. 49; others can be traced with equal readiness.

2. The translator informs the reader that he attempts to render the words of “ the inspired record in plain, simple, idioinatic English ;” does not design the translation for public use, but for study; therefore does not regard association or other consideration, aims simply to convey the precise meaning of the words in question. From this point of view the translation must be judged. It will be found to have some positive merits. Many obsolescent or uncouth phrases, which still deface the pages of the Revised Version, are here replaced by modern and more pleasing words. The translator las constantly consulted this version, and traces of its excellencies are to be seen on nearly every page. Many of the suggestions of its margins have been adopted, and in many cases to good effect. Meyer and other commentators have been consulted, and the results of their researches used to advantage. The work has the one great merit of freedom. The transliteration for anor and its adjective, though carried out with what Matthew Arnold would call too much “vigor and rigor,” is an acceptable feature. This

may

also be affirmed of Gehenna and Hades. In many places the fitting word has been chosen e.g., in Mark vii. 35, 8equos is finely rendered “ ligature,where the Revised Version has "boud”; Luke xvi. 13, oirétns by“ domestic," instead of " servant."

But with the many translations and commentaries now accessible, a translation of many excellencies ought to be produced. The translator can add to his own knowledge of the Greek, the suggestions of able students of all lands and times. A new translation ought to be an improvement on its predecessors, and this high “ meed of praise " cannot, it is to be feared, be awarded to the one under consideration, for reasons which follow.

"occurs

noun.

(a) The English used is frequently not good. It is true that we are warned that the translation is not for public use, and may not expect to find the euphony and ease of the common versions, but the accuracy of translation does not demand such infelicities as : Mart. v. 10, “ for thus did they persecute the prophets, those who preceded you”; Mark ii. 26, “ in Abiathar the high priest's days ” ; Matthew xvii. 4, "three booths—for you one, and Moses one, and Elijalı one”; or Luke xx. 25, “ Return Kaisar's things to Kaisar, and God's things to God.” The word “ transpire ” for “ happen at least twice. The ambiguous word “transport " is used in Joli viii. 56, where we read, " Abraham, your father, was transported to see my day, and saw it, and was glad.”

(6) The Greek idiom is not followed. As is well known, the Greek definite article is often used for the possessive pro

But for want of due care in this, occur such sentences as Mark vii. 11, “If a man shall say to the father or the mother."

At times the article is retained before abstract nouns to the detriment of the translation, as in John v. 34 : “ But I receive not the testimony from a man.” See further Luke xv. 22, Matt xix. 15. In John v. 43, which is a condi. tional sentence of the form called by Goodwin “the Vivid Future,” two forms of condition are confounded, thus: “If another should come in his own name you will receive him." Although the verb “ to tithe ” is transitive both in Greek and English, we read, Luke xi. +2: “ because you title of mint and rue.” In Luke i. 15 the phrase, un zin, having the double negative and an Aorist Subjunctive equivalent to the simple Future, is rendered, “ He may not drink.”

(c) The reader is informed in the explanation that the words in brackets are supplied by the translator. The natural inference is that words not in brackets have an equivalent in the Greek text. But the student will find himself frequently misguided. There are many passages where the bracketed word has a Greek equivalent, as Matt. v. 10; Luke viii. 15, 45; Matt. xvi. 9; Luke xi. 5. This is evidently from want of care.

Again, there occur countless instances in which the subject of the sentence is implied, being readily determined from the context and the verbal termination. Sometimes the translator puts the supplied subject into brackets, as if it were an addition of his own, sometimes inserts it without note. An example is Mark iv. 32, where the phrase, xai őrav ondoñ, avaPaivel, is given, “ and when it is sown, [it] grows up.” Since neither verb has an expressed subject, there is no reason why they should not be treated alike. Nearly every page presents instances of this want of uniformity. The Genitive Absolute and the Accusative with the Infinitive usually demand the insertion of some suitable connective, such as “when," "while," " since," " because," or " that.” Such words the translator supplies, but there is the same want of uniformity. This is, it is true, a minor matter. But the translation is evidently intended for students who are ignorant of Greek, and the translator professes to put into brackets the supplied words. By bracketing words not supplied he gives the reader untrue data, and leaves him without remedy.

(d) The choice of synonymous words in a language so rich as is the English is often difficult, and a translator should be granted much freedom. A careful translation will be the result of fine discriminations ainid verbal niceries. Surely judgment should here incline unto mercy.

But doubtful cases aside, there are many passages where the translation, departing from the usual rendering, seems fairly obnoxious to an adverse criticism.

It is useless to attempt to traverse the whole ground. The earlier pages furnish an ample number of i.istances. Luke i. 2, úrnpéro, properly "under-rowers," then "servants," "helpers," "assistants,” is rendered “dispensers.” This is not translation ; it is comment. Matt. i. 22, and frequently ranpois is translated " verified.” But ninpow in the Passive incans to be" fulfilled, completed, accomplished," and iva tehno07 that it

inay be “fulfilled,” is surely different from “may be verified.” Fulfilinent is indeed verification, but it is far more. In Luke ii. 2, we read, " This, the first registry, was inade by Quirinius,

« PreviousContinue »