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guages, the present is the root or fountain of the whole verb. In this latter respect, there is a fundamental difference between them and the Hebrew, in which it is admitted, on all hands, that the preterite is the root. From the difference in their mode of conceiving time, the two races seem to have started in the development of the verb from different positions. In the occidental tongues, time being viewed in relation to the actual present, gives rise to three modifications. In the Hebrew, the first event is ever a shifting present to the second, and hence arise only two modifications, of precedence and succession. Hence the present, when found as an original form, is ever attended by its preterite and future, both branching from it as collaterals. No examples can probably be found
of a language with but two tenses, and those two the present and the past.
In the Hebrew, the preterite is beyond all doubt the earliest tense or fountain of the verb. As ideas naturally evolve their opposites, a form for the future would be the next necessary development, and this is clearly shown in those cases in which the tenses are antithetically contrasted. Their joint use answering all the purposes of the present, (and, as our author has shown, even better, in some cases, than a peculiar form confined in its general application to a precise point of time, there would be no actual necessity for any further development, and the language might long retain its ancient constitution. In a more perfect stage, such a form might perhaps arise. This in fact is the historical order of the Greek tenses. The second aorist, and the old second future seem to have been first in use, and to contain the simple radicals without addition or insertion. The present, in all verbs in whose letters the process can be traced, has evidently the appearance of a subsequently added form. It contains, in many cases, letters which have been doubled, inserted, or lengthened, and of which it must be divested in order to arrive at the pure radical. Thus, second aorist and future, ταμ, τεμ, βαλ τυπ λιπ λαβ, present τεμν, βαλλ, τυπτ λειπ ληβ. .
Much stress is laid upon the fact, that in our own tongue the present is sometimes used for the past. This is true, to some
ent for the past, whenever it occurs in any tongue, has a poetical aspect. It is the language of description, or an animated recital of events so near to each other, that a vivid conception regards them as simultaneous. Even when the historian thus employs it, he affects the poetical style, and instead of consecutive narration, aims at presenting to the mind of the reader a picture, in which acts, which constitute minor parts of one great act, and which follow each other at small intervals, are set forth as concurrent. This is done to heighten the effect, or to produce totality of yiew; and is not merely used as an arbitrary substitute for the more ordinary mode. The effect is not to bring down past events, even in imagination, to the actual present of the writer, but to represent them as present to each other. They are thus, as it were, thrown upon one canvass, and a deeper emotion is produced by their being viewed as a whole, and not in successive parts. If present time then constitutes the radical and primary idea of this Hebrew tense, it would not be adapted, in its Vau conversive state, to the narration of events in succession, but could only represent them as simultaneous or concurrent. To convince ourselves that this is so, we need only take up any of the plain historical passages of the Old Testament. It will be found that consecution is ever expressed by this form, and that often in a sober narrative series, it follows on, chapter after chapter, precisely in the manner of the Greek aorists. If the name future should be abandoned, we regard the present as not at all qualified to supply its place. Better style it, when joined with the Vau, the tense of succession. This name would, at all events, preserve in the mind one of its predominant features.
Our translation, it is said, has been marred in some cases by an improper rendering of the future as future. It could be shown, however, by hundreds of examples, that it has suffered far more by the neglect of the radical and primary idea of this form. In many cases, it has been arbitrarily rendered in the past, because found in connection with preterites, when the rendering of the absolute future is not only free from objections, but actually makes the easiest sense, and produces the strongest emotion. By this means, an interjaculatory expression of feeling, or a devout utterance of faith and hope, called forth by the recollection of the events described, is violently converted into a part of the narration. Thus, to give one example out of many, in Ps. 18, we have a series of preterites in the 4th
and 5th verses, followed in the 6th verse, by a sudden transition of this kind to the future, which the translators have entirely disregarded. In my trouble I will call (XP) (not I called) upon the Lord, and to my God will I cry (sex). He will hear my voice and my prayer shall come before him ; even when (1) the earth shall rock and tremble, and the foundations of the mountains shall be moved and toss themselves because of his wrath. The passage is in all respects similar to Ps. 46: 2: Wherefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, 8c After this expression of strong confidence in God, the writer proceeds with his narration in a series of verbs in absolute or relative past time, until in the 17th verse there is a similar burst of prospective feeling, with a similar change to the absolute future. He will send forth (nor) from above ; he will take me (np.), he will draw me out of many waters. He will deliver me (*) from my foes. Some reason must have existed in the state of the writer's soul for these sudden changes of tense; can any reason be assigned, why, in these, and so many similar cases, they are utterly neglected in the translation ? The space,
which we have allotted to the consideration of the tenses, compels us to pass very briefly over other parts of the work. In the chapter on the modes, we find the same philosophical depth and clearness, that are manifested in the discussion of the tenses. “The indicative," says our author, “ makes a direct and independent statement, and its form is consequently concise, but as the other modes are used to indicate, not facts, but desire, possibility, or necessity, existing in the conceptions of the soul, the speaker dwells on the verb, and this gives rise to a protraction of its form.” We were at first disposed to regard this explanation as fanciful. But an examination of the analogies of other tongues, and the reasons advanced by the author satisfy us that he is correct. The rudiments of the Hebrew modes are traced in the future, in a manner reminding us strongly of the connection in Greek between this same tense, and the subjunctive, which seems to have been developed out of it. The optative has a greater affinity to the past, and the examples of what may be called the corresponding mode in Hebrew, formed by the union of the preterite with a conditional particle, present a striking resemblance to the process in which the Greek form must have originated. The chapter on the particles is one of the most valuable in ap
the book. Most of the defects, which the warmest advocate of our translation must admit to exist in it, arise from the neglect of particles. The same remark is applicable to the Latin
and Greek versions. Propositions, having a close connection, pear detached from each other, or united in a manner so stiff and unnatural, that it cannot escape the notice even of the ordinary reader. This is doubtless, to some extent, the nature of the Hebrew style ; yet a close study of these joints and sinews of the language would show, that it has more flexibility and a closer connection of parts, than is generally supposed. The conjunction Vau, for example, is almost everywhere regarded in our translation as equivalent to and, with some few exceptions in which it is rendered or. Almost all Hebrew scholars, however, admit that it has a much more extensive range of meaning, denoting connection, not only by way of addition, but also of consequence, cause and effect, purpose and motive,-being often equivalent to the Greek őri, ira, and cro. It is sometimes disjunctive, expressing connection by way of contrast, and sometimes used as a particle of time, in which case it may be rendered when. In the proverbial or antithetical style it is often a particle of comparison ; for the want of attention to which circumstance, some of the most pointed of the Proverbs of Solomon are reduced to the most naked truisms. The various uses of all the particles are clearly pointed out in the work before us, and illustrated by the most apposite examples.
The subject of the consecution of the accents closes the book. We can only make a very few remarks in relation to it. This is a department in which the best of Hebrew scholars have often confessed themselves deficient. The intrinsic difficulty of the subject has not been the only reason. It is impossible to enter heartily upon any pursuit, without a corresponding motive; and where, it has been often asked,-—is the inducement, sufficiently powerful, to engage the mind in what appears so barren, so utterly destitute of utility and interest ? Nothing but the disagreeable consciousness of failing, in what had so long been regarded as a branch of Hebrew scholarship, cou'd
the repugnance felt at devoting time to what seemed a mass of rabbinical fooleries, utterly useless in respect to the substantial advantages of biblical interpretation. But the views presented by our author clothe this heretofore most perplexing of all studies, with an interest which we did not imagine it could possess, and which other grammars had failed to impart. One important distinction, which we have met with nowhere else, presents the whole subject in a new aspect. The consecution of the accents is shown to be based on a most perfect system, combining the principles of rhythmical and logical harmony, and of great value as an ancient guide to the proper interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. We are aware that we have indulged in the language of praise, and have been more anxious to point out excellencies than defects, yet perhaps nothing that has been said will appear so extravagant as the opinion now advanced, that Dr. Nordheimer has in reality rendered the Hebrew accents a branch of study, in which the reader may find, not only profit, but delight.
It is but justice to say, before we close, that the author, in the execution of the work, has had the assistance of two most valuable auxiliaries. This volume is the most beautiful specimen of Hebrew typography, whether from the English or American press, which we have ever seen. For this, and it is no small merit, it is indebted to Mr.John F. Trow, printer of oriental languages, whose types have been procured from the celebrated foundry of Karl Tauchnitz. We can only say in addition that the book is entitled to equal praise for its exceeding accuracy. The other aid to which we refer pertains to the spirit rather than the letter. With honorable frankness, the author acknowledges “ the important assistance” of Mr. W. Turner, not only in ing the work“ its English dress,” but in perfecting “the scientific treatment of its details and the completeness and symmetry of its parts.”
The closing remark of the preface reminds us of what is of more value than any merely critical commendation.
It contains the author's devout acknowledgments to the God of his fathers for the assistance rendered in the composition of the work-by-and a fervent prayer that it may be a means of promoting his glory. The Laus Deo was a common conclusion of our older writers, both theological and civil. It has fallen into disuse in modern times, and we must confess that we were most agreeably surprised to find this pious custom revived in the work before us. Although little in accordance with the spirit of the age, the sentiment is purely scriptural; and it was uttered, doubtless, under a devout feeling that even learning is a divine gift, and that all true wisdom cometh from the Lord.