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The Manuscripts consulted by Alschefski.


tine or Medicean Ms. preserved in the Laurentian library at Florence, which had been already used by Bekker with so much advantage, was subjected to a new and thorough examination. Yet mindful of the fact that this excellent book, ancient as it is, belongs to the eleventh century, a period when the transcribers already began to take liberties with the text, and determined, in conformity with the principle observed by Phenanus to lay at the basis of his revision two ancient and trustworthy manuscripts, he next sought for a second one worthy of taking rank with the Medicean. In this search the editor was successful, far beyond his expectations. In the royal library at Paris, he found in the Colbertine collection a manuscript of the first decade, which on examination, was found to belong to the tenth century, and on a close comparison with the Medicean, not only coincided with it in all essential points, but was even superior to it in some respects. These two books, the Medicean and the Paris, with the Worms Ms. used by Phenanus, which does not extend beyond the sixth book, form in the judgment of Alschefski the first class of Mss. of the first decade, and contain the text of Livy in its purest form. The readings of the first two he has given in foot-notes in his edition with the utmost faithfulness, extending even to every orthographical peculiarity, and has thus put every one in possession of the means of judging of their worth. In a second class, the author ranks the Harleian Mss. 1, which extends only to the end of the eighth book, and the Leyden 1, both of which show traces of arbitrary alterations by the transcribers. Among the remaining Mss. Alschefski regards as the best the Klockian, the Palatine 1 and 3, the Portugal and the Vossian 2. From this account of the method on which Dr. Alschefski has proceeded in the preparation of his work, it will be at once manifest to every one at all acquainted with the subject, what invaluable service he has done to the text of this portion of Livy's writings. He has carried out this method with such fidelity and consistency, that we may regard the text now printed in his edition, as restored to the same form, certainly in everything that is essential, in which it existed as early as the fifth century, in the original copy of Nicomachus Dexter, from which the Paris and the Medicean Mss., and as Niebuhr thinks, all the manuscripts of the first decade were prepared.

It is a circumstance justly regarded by Dr. Alschefski himself,

1 Compare with the preface, an article by Alschefski, in Jahn's Jahrbücher, Bd. 40, 1844, p. 297.

as a singular good fortune, that his critical labors have been reviewed by one abundently qualified to do him the fullest justice, Prof. Weissenborn of Eisenach; who, in two articles in Jahn's Jahrbücher, Nos. 35 and 39, has discussed them with the ability of a master and the candor and impartiality of a true scholar; and while he has borne the most unequivocal testimony to their excellence, has suggested to the author numerous changes and improvements for a future edition. These articles from their extent and great value, deserve from all who are professionally interested in the subject, and especially from all future editors of Livy, a scarcely less attentive perusal and study than the work itself, which they review. It seems to us, indeed, that in many passages, which from the disagreement of the best Mss. require for their settlement a nice balancing of considerations, and in which the author seems to have been guided by a certain personal preference for the one or the other Ms., the sound and mature judgment of his reviewer has suggested the better reading, and maintained it upon the most satisfactory grounds. There is much reason too for believing that Weissenborn is correct in ascribing some of the readings adopted by Alschefski upon the authority sometimes of the Paris Ms. and sometimes of the Medicean, to the mistakes of transcribers, and rejecting them for other and more probable readings. But it would lead us too far from our present design to mention more particularly the points on which Prof. Weissenborn has enlarged; and we must content ourselves with these allusions to his very valuable observations.

Although it was the chief purpose of Dr. Alschefski to furnish a critical edition, yet he has not entirely neglected the work of interpretation; in both these volumes, and particularly in the second, he has devoted considerable attention to the explanation of difficult passages, and has discussed at some length various grammatical points. Yet as Weissenborn has well remarked, some of the notes of this character are not of the greatest importance, and the space which they occupy, might with more advantage have been given to passages of greater difficulty, which have never been satisfactorily explained. Some of the translations, too, which are given of certain passages, seem quite too free; and the sense which they convey, cannot by any just principles of interpretation, be legitimately educed from the words in the This remark is particularly applicable to the translations which the author gives of two passages, which have occasioned much discussion, viz. B. 2. 5, of eminente animo patrio, and B. 1.


His school Edition of Livy.

17, of patrum-a singulis-pervenerat: factionibus, etc. Though Alschefski's reading of the latter of these passages must be received upon the authority of the best Mss., yet the translation which is given, is too wide of the text, and after all, fails to clear up the singular difficulties of the passage. At the same time, it is readily conceded, that in this portion of his labors, Dr. Alschefski has handled the points in question with clearness and skill, and has furnished many valuable contributions to the exegetical commentary of Livy. In respect to orthography, the author has also closely followed his manuscripts, and while in pursuing this course, he has presented numberless words in a form that will seem quite strange to most readers, has well executed an important purpose of a critical edition of an ancient work. In the punctuation, he has been singularly sparing, and in this respect, indeed, has in comparison with Drakenborch, gone to the very opposite extreme, giving sometimes whole sentences of very considerable length, scarcely broken by a single point. In concluding this notice of Dr. Alschefski's work, we must not omit to mention, that in its mechanical execution, it is far superior to most German editions of the classics, and will bear honorable comparison with the productions of the press of any country.

It is proper also here to mention that Dr. Alschefski has already published two volumes of a smaller edition of his work, in a form adapted to the use of schools, and of general readers. We have not yet received these volumes; but from the favorable manner in which they have been noticed in the German journals, we may confidently expect to find in them a valuable book for the practical purposes of instruction. The author has endeavored to attain the object proposed in this edition, by omitting the critical apparatus, by furnishing only notes of an explanatory character, and by adopting, with some modifications, the usual orthography. The text is represented as even superior to that of the larger edition, as the author has carefully reviewed his former labors, and introduced many improvements. At the end of each volume is attached an adnotatio critica, embracing the particular passages, in regard to which the author has abandoned his earlier critical opinions.


See the remarks of Weissenborn, in the second of the articles above referred to, p. 280. Compare the discussion of Schadelers, Archivs für Phil. u. Pad. Bd. 1. p. 439.



De Pentateuchi Versione Alexandrina Libri tres. Scripsit Henr. Guil. Jos. Thierschius,1 Phil. Dr., Theol. Lic. Erlangen, 1841.

By Prof. H. B. Hackett, Newton Theol. Institution.

HABES, lector, opusculum de ea re elaboratum, quam pauci hodie curant, plurimi ne curandum quidem a quopiam judicant. So says the author in laying his work even before the critical public of his own country. We trust, however, that of the few who take an interest in such labors, some are to be found also among us. The production here noticed relates to an important circle of study, and one that affords room for a much more extended investigation than it has yet received. There are various aspects and phenomena of the Hellenistic Greek as contained in the Septuagint, which remain still to be examined. Some of the obscurity which rests upon certain portions of Hebrew syntax, is destined to be cleared up, if ever, by light that shall be derived from this source. A just treatment of the New Testament idiom depends still more, both lexically and grammatically, upon a full acquaintance with the usage of the Septuagint Greek. An advance in this direction may be regarded as one of the most urgent wants, for which provision needs to be made, at the present time, in this branch of biblical study. In the work of Thiersch now before us, we have a favorable specimen of what is required, in order to supply this deficiency. In the last edition of his Grammar of the New Testament, Winer pronounces it beyond comparison the best treatise on the linguistic element of the Seventy, which has as yet appeared. It is confined to an examination of the five books of Moses. It consists of three parts; the first of which treats of the principles which the Seventy have observed in their translation of the Pentateuch; the second, of the Greek dialect in which they have written; and the third, of the Hebraisms which are to be found in their version.

In his prefatory remarks, the author speaks of the occasion

The author is at present Professor in the theological Faculty of the University at Marburg, and is a son of the well known Greek grammarian of the

same name.


Principles on which it is made.

which led him to undertake this labor. It was in consequence of suspicions with which he found his mind assailed, in reference. to the purity of the generally received Hebrew text. He had ob served that the Seventy frequently depart from it in their transla tion, and often in such a manner as to give an essentially different sense. He was anxious, therefore, to ascertain the ground of such deviation, and especially whether it was of such a nature as to warrant the belief that it could have originated from competent Ms. authority. For the purpose of obtaining satisfaction on this point, he devoted himself for two years together to the careful study of the Hebrew and Greek Pentateuch. The book under consideration is made up almost entirely of the results of this exAll unsifted, traditionary material has been excluded; and, for a German performance, much less than the ordinary space has been allotted to the history of preceding opinions and labors.


In the first division of the treatise, it is shown that the Alex. andrian translators proceeded evidently in making their version on principles which allowed them an almost arbitrary latitude, and that in the exercise of this they can reasonably be supposed to have made the changes which appear in their version, without seeking the origin of them in a different Hebrew text. Whatever may be true of other books of the Old Testament, it is clear that those who put the Pentateuch into Greek, could not have de. signed to furnish an exact copy of the original. They have departed from it sometimes for the sake of what perspicuity seemed to them to require. They have asserted everywhere the right of making what they translate intelligible to their readers, according to their own ideas of the meaning to be conveyed. They have not only adhered to this law in justifiable cases, but in some passages which they found it difficult to understand, have ventured boldly upon a single view of the sense, instead of leaving the language so as to suggest the possibility of other expositions or conjectures. Expressions and ideas which they regarded as wanting in proper reverence for the Deity, they took the liberty to alter without scruple; and narrations of any kind which they thought would not be entirely honorary to them in the eyes of other nations, they softened and put in a milder light. Instances also occur, in which they have substituted their own sentiments for those of the sacred writers, and especially in which they have obtruded upon the text various peculiar dogmas of the Alexandrian philosophy. The changes of a rhetorical character, which they have admitted, are innumera

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