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AND ACTS OP THE APOSTLES. xvii
We have no very ancient version of the New Testament in Persian. Hitherto we have had only the four Gospclt in this language, which are printed with the Latin translation of Dr. Sam. Clarke, in the fifth vol. of the London Polyglott. This translation was finished about the year 1341, by Simon ibn Yuseph ibn Abraheem al Tabreesy; who is said to have taken it immediately from the Syriac. This Version was made, most evidently, by a Christian of the Roman Catholic persuasion, who acted under the most predominating influence of his own peculiar creed; for it is not only interpolated with readings from the Vulgate, but with readings from rituals and legends. The Persian Gospels do not appear to have been carefully collated by Mill, Wetstein, or Griesbach: scarcely any of the many peculiarities of this Version having been noticed. To satisfy myself of its nature and origin, I have read the whole of it over twice; and shall extract from the remarks I then made, such proofs as appeared to me to warrant its Catholic origin; and how little the translator regarded the text on which he formed his Version, e. g.
Mitigation of punishment promised to Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment.
"Now I say unto you, O cities, that in the day of judgment, to Tyre and Sidon, >i-i<V \Jv^ there shall be Repose, which shall not be to you." Matt. xi. 22.
The supremacy of Peter most formally asserted, and the text corrupted to support it: And I say unto thee, Oy* i<*£ tiyUt y j yj* UmJa Jlj J CL- .ji* ^ ^jji a^i-> Thou art the Rock Of My Religiox (that is, a stone), and the Foundation Of My Church shall be a building upon thee. Matt. xvi. 18.
To weaken the reproof given by our Lord to Peter, which the translator probably thought too degrading^ the offensive epithet Satan is omitted, Matt. xvi. 23.
Jesus turned back; and said unto Peter, get behind me, ^U^ ^j> O thou unbeliever!
Popish saying about hell, Mark ix. 46. for, where their worm dieth not, and thefrc is not quenched, Al Tabreezy translates m -...;' ^f-*** W^ j< L^j^-'j ** Because, from thence, liberation is impossible.
And in ver. 48. he translates the same passage ^\J trsSU-j£^» t£ From whence thou shalt never find redemption.
In Luke ii. 7. the blessed Virgin is called tlSb *ij* Mareem pak, Saint Mary.
The title to the paragraph, Luke v. 18, &c. is " The raising of that paralytic person, who had lain thirtytwo years yijMJ*H2\ ^j^> « whose name was Alekudemus.
Luke vii. 12. Prayer for the dead. "And when he approached the gate, he saw a dead man, whom they were carrying out, kjjjj j\*-i with Prayer and lamentation.
Doctrine of the merit of good works and repentance, for the purchase of the remission of sins. And J say unto thee, that as a Recompence bjejz awaz) for what she has done, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for that very cause, that she was worthy of much, or has much merit. Jw^.ij^-ijl-j But little shall be forgiven to him, who has little merit. Luke vii. 47. The same doctrine is taught chap. xvi. 9.
The doctrine of supererogation is glanced at, Luke xix. 9. Jesus said to the multitude, and to his disciples, To-day indeed there is a great salvation to this house, because this man is of the sons of Abraham. That is, he is saved through Abraham's merit, and his own alms-giving: so I understand the intention of the original.
There is a remarkable addition, Matt. xxvi. 75. which is found in no other Version, nor in any MS. and is not noticed by Griesbach. And he (Peter) went out from thence, and wept bitterly, y*j' *^ y and his sin was forgiven him.
Matt, xxvii. 52. is thus rendered: And the graves were opened, and the rocks rent, >*J«ty <!JLL£ Ju^i t£ and the bodies of many saints, Who Had Suffered Martyrdom, rose from their graves. All these examples, (and their number might be easily increased) shew the family whence this Version sprang; and how little regard, in all these cases, was paid to the Syriac, from which it is said to have been taken; or indeed to any other Version: for these, and such like renderings, are evidently made to serve a party, and support a creed. From
xviii INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPELS,
all this, it appears that much dependance cannot be safely placed on this Version; and that its various readings, except where they agree with more authentic Versions, are worthy of little credit.
There is a second Persian Version of the four Gospels, which Mr. Abraham Wheeloc, professor of Arabic in the University of Cambridge, translated into Latin, and prepared for the press, and actually began to print in 1652; but dying shortly after, it was patronized by Thomas Adams, Lord Mayor of Loudon, and finished under the care of Mr. Pierson, at the press of J. Flesher, 1657. fol. It seems that Mr. Wheeloc had designed to affix critical notes to each chapter; and this we find done to the end of the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, about which time it is likely he died; for Mr. Pierson, the coutinuator of his work, says, Initio operis, prasmaturd morte ereptus: death snatched him away at the commencement of his work. And as the regular comment of Mr. Wheeloc appears to have been prepared no farther than to the seventeenth chapter of Matthew, the notes which the continuator found after the close of that chapter, and which most probably Wheeloc designed to be the foundation of more diffuse observations, are all printed at the conclusion of the work.
It appears that neither Wheeloc nor Walton knew of more than three MSS. of the Persian Gospels; one of Oxford, one of Cambridge, and one belonging to Dr. Pocock. It has been supposed, I think without sufficient evidence, that Wheeloc compiled his Persian text from these three MSS. After carefully collating both this and Walton's edition, in many places, I think I may safely state, that Wheeloc printed his edition from the Oxford MS. as Walton printed his from that of Pocock. In a few cases, he introduces in brackets, or with an asterisk, a various reading from the Cambridge MS. rarely from that of Pocock: but in his comment or critical notes, he refers often to both these MSS. giving the most remarkable readings where they differ from the Oxford MS. which he has most evidently followed as his text. That the MS. of Pocock, from which Mr. Wheeloc gives the principal various readings, was the same which Walton printed in the fifth volume of the Polyglott, is demonstrable from a collation of those various readings extracted by Wheeloc from the Pocock MS. which are found to be precisely the same with those in the text and rubrics of that printed in the Polyglott. And that Wheeloc took the Oxford MS. for his text, is evident from this, that his various readings are extracted only from the Cambridge and Pocock MSS. collated with that of Oxford. The text therefore of Wheeloc is not a corrupted text, or one made up from different MSS. It is much more simple and much purer than that in the Polyglott, and appears to have been made by one not warped by any religious system, as Al Tabreezy certainly was; and by one who better understood the genius and composition of the Persian language. As far as I have had the opportunity of examining this Version, it appears to me to be taken verbatim from the Latin Vulgate; and not from the Greek as some, or the Syriac as others, have supposed.
Jeronyrao Xavier, missionary to the Indians, was commanded by the Emperor Akbar, to translate the four Gospels into Persian, that he might examine their importance as a system of religion. Xavier undertook this work, and by the assistance of a person named Moulanee Aboos Sitar, a native of Lahoo ; made a history of the life of our Lord, compiled out of the Gospels, and from Popish legends, and presented it to the emperor in 1602, who is said to have smiled at it; and well he might, as the genuine history was disgraced with fables. The MS. formed for the emperor's use, is now before me; but such a Version can be of no importance in Biblical criticism. The work of Xavier was published with a Translation and Notes by L. De JDieu.
Upper Egypt, or the part that lies between Cahira and Assuan, had a particular dialect, which in many respects differed from that spoken in .Lower Egypt. As this Upper Egypt was called i;i Arabic Jo«-o sdeed, the dialect has been called Sahidic. See Michaelis. At a very early period, a translation of the New Testament was made into this dialect; but the remains of this venerable Version have long been confined to perishing MSS. till M'unter published some fragments of the Epistles of Paul to Timothy, 4to. Hafhiae, 1789.
AND ACTS OP THE APOSTLES. xii
And Georgius, in the same year, printed at Rome, a fragment of the Gospel of John in the same dialect; which the Reader will find described under Codex T. in the account of the MSS. in uncial characters.
Dr. Woide, late of the British Museum, had prepared an edition of several fragments, containing about one-third of the New Testament, which he did not live to finish: but the task has been ably executed by Dr. Ford, of Oxford, who has printed it at the Clarendon press, 1799, fol. as an Appendix to the Codex Alexandrinus, by Dr. Woide. This work, which is done witli elegance and correctness, has three copper-plates, on which there are nineteen fac similes of the MSS. from which Dr. Ford has printed these fragments. In carefully considering this venerable Version, there appear to be arguments to prove its very high antiquity, which Dr. Woide refers even to the beginning of the second century! The parts already published, exhibit some invaluable readings; and these prove that it has a striking affinity to the Codex Bezce. It is doubtless one of the oldest Versions in existence; and it is to be hoped that every fragment of it will be collected and published, till, if possible, we get the whole" of the New Testament in this most ancient and invaluable Version. The Coptic and Sakidic are independent Versions, both made from the Greek, and probably at different times; and both contain different readings. See Coptic.
THE SAXON, OR ANGLO-SAXON.
It is said that Alfred the Great, translated the greater part of the New Testament into the Anglo-Saxon. The Four Gospels in this language were published under the direction of Abp. Parker, with a dedication to Queen Elizabeth, by Mr. John Fox, the Martyrologist, 4to. Lond. 1571. William Lisle published fragments of the Old and New Testament, London, 4to. 1638. Mr. T. Marshall published the Gospels with the Maeso-Gothic Version, Dodrecht. 4to. 1665, which was reprinted at Amsterdam, in 1684. See Gothic' The Saxon Version appears to have been made from MSS. of the old Itala Version, (see Itala) some time in the seventh or eighth century. See the account in the General Preface to the Book of Genesis, p. xxx. and xxxi. From this Version I have made many extracts in these Notes; as may be seen in different parts of the Four Gospels. The use I have made of Thwailes' Octateuch, may be seen in the Notes on the five Book* of Moses. No part of the New Testament, besides the four Gospels, has been published in this language.
THE SLAVONIAN, OR RUSSIAN.
This Version, the importance of which in the criticism of the New Testament, has been but lately known, was made in the ninth century, by two brothers, Methodius and Cyril, natives of Thessalonica, and apostles of the Slavonians. It was taken immediately from the Greek, of which it is a literal Version, and first printed in 1581. In the Catholic Epistles, and in the Apocalypse, it agrees generally with the Codex Alexandrinus. It is remarkable, that, of the readings which Griesbach has adopted in his edition of the Greek Testament, the Slavonian Version has at least three-fourths. Where the united evidence of ancient MSS. is against a common reading, the Slavonian agrees with these MSS. There is ample proof that it has not been altered from either the Vulgate, or any other Version. The learned Dobrowsky has given an excellent description of this Version, an extract from which may be seen in Dr. Marsh's Notes to Michaelis, Vol. III. p. 634. As it appears that this Version has been taken from ancient and valuable Greek MSS. it deserves to be better known, and more carefully collated.
There are two principal Versions which go under this name. 1. The Peshito, which signifies literal or correct, and is the most ancient, and the most important. 2. That which is called Philoxenian, from Phi' hxenus, Bishop of Ilierapolis, or Mabug; who employed Polycarp, his rural bishop, to make this Version, which he finished A. D. 508.
The Peshito was first known in Europe by Moses of Mardin; who was sent by Ignatius, Patriarch of the xx INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPELS,
Maronite Christians, in the year 1552, to Pope Julius III. to acknowledge, in the name of the Syrian church, the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff; and to have the New Testament printed in Europe. The emperor Ferdinand I. bore the expence of the impression; and Albert Widmanstad, in conjunction with Moses and Postell, edited the work; which was printed at Vienna, 1555, 4to. This edition, from which all succeeding editions have been taken, contains the Four Gospels, the Acts, all St. Paul's Epistles, the first Epistle of John, the first of Peter, and the Epistle of James. The second and third of John are wanting; the second of Peter, the Epistle of Jude, and the Revelation. None of these is acknowledged by any copy of the an- • «ient Syriac Version. Th is Version was made probably between the second and third centuries.
The Philoxenian we have seen was made in the beginning of the sixth century by Polycarp, the rural bishop of Philoxenus, or Xenyas, Bishop of Mabug; and we find that Thamas of Charted, or Iferaclea, about the year 616, corrected this Version, and compared it with some principal MSS. in the Alexandrian Library: hence it has been called the Heraclean, as well as the Philoxenian Version. This Version has been printed from Dr. Ridley's MSS. by Dr. Wliite, of Oxford, 4to. 1778, &c. The Philoxenian Version contains all the canonical Books of the New Testament, even those omitted by the Peshito Version; from which it differs not only in the language, but in many other respects. Those who wish for farther information on this point, must consult Michaelis* Lectures, Vol. II. p. 1, &c. and the notes of his learned annotator. Dr. Herbert Marsh.
We have already seen, under the article It A La, that in the earliest ages of Christianity, the New Testament had been translated into Latin. These translations were very numerous; and, having been made by a variety of hands, some learned, and others not so; they not only disagreed among themselves, but appeared, in certain cases, to contradict each other. This induced Pope Damasus to employ St. Jerome, one of the most learned of the primitive Latin Fathers, to correct the ancient Itala. Though, in the Old Testament, he is supposed simply to have collated the Itala with the Hebrew, yet in the New, he asserts, Novum Teslamentum Grwccejidei reddidi. "I have translated the New Testament according to the original Greek." However, it appears, that, in many cases, he altered the Itala for the worse, as the remaining fragments of that Version sufficiently testify. This important work, which, in process of time, supplanted the Itala, was finished A. D. 384. and was called Versio Vulgata, the Vulgate, or Common Version, because received into general use. No Version of the Sacred Writings was more generally received than this; and copies of it were multiplied beyond calculation. And perhaps scarcely any booh has been more corrupted by frequent and careless transcription, than the Vulgate, from the year 384 till the invention of printing, about the middle of the fifteenth century. The first edition of this Version was printed by Gullenhurg and Fust, at Mayence, in large fol. sine titulo, et sine ulld notd, somewhere between 1450 and 1457. By the order of Pope Sixtus Quintus, a complete edition of the Vulgate was printed at Rome in 1588, but not published till 1593. This, though stamped with the infallible authority of the Pope, apostolicd nobis a Domino, tradita auctoritate; to be the authentic Vulgate, which he stiles perpelub valituram constilutionem, a decree that shall for ever remain in force; yet, on examination, it was found to be so excessively erroneous and self-contradictory, that another corrected edition was undertaken by the authority of Pope Clement VIII. widely differing from that of Sixtus. This is the edition, from which all those were formed, which are now in common use.
I have already stated, that copies of this Version have been often corruptly transcribed, and hence the amazingdisagreement between different MSS. The Version being so much in request, and so many persons being copyers by trade, in order to save time and vellum, they wrote the words in contractions, wherever it was possible: and by this means, the original reading, in various instances, was lost. All these causes conspired, with the ignorance of the original tongues, which almost universally prevailed in the middle ages, in the Latin church, to bring this venerable Version into a state of great imperfection; from which it has not, as yet, wholly emerged. *
AND ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. "»
I have several MSS. of this work, written from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, which are exceedingly discordant among themselves. Pope Clement VIII. has certainly done much to restore it to primitive purity; but muck still remains to be done. The text should be settled by a further collation of the most ancient MSS. When this is done, the Latin church may be vindicated in that boasting in the Vulgate, which at present, is but incautiously applied to this Version.
I have often quoted this Version, which I consider to be equal to a MS. of the fourth century. I must, however, add, that, with all its imperfections, there is nothing essential to the faith or practice of a genuine Christian, that may not be proved by it; but it certainly can never come into competition with the original Greek text; nor indeed with several of the ancient Versions.
An account of the Versions, as far as they concern the Old Testament, may be seen in the General Preface to the Book of Genesis. I have sometimes quoted these Versions collectively, with VV. by which I mean the Versions in general..
PRIMITIVE FATHERS, AND ECCLESIASTICAL WORKS
REFERRED TO IN THE
Various Readings, quoted occasionally in these Notes.
Ambrosics, Archbishop of Milan, born A. D. 340; died A. "D. 397".
Ambrosiaster: this writer is supposed to be authort>f a Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles} and to hare,
Clemens Alexandrinus, Clement of Alexandria, the preceptor of Origen, died A. D. 220.
Clemens Rom Anus, Clement of Rome, supposed to have been fellow-labourer with Peter and Paul, and Bishop of Rome, A. D. 91.
Chromatids, Bishop of Aquileia, and friend of St. Jerome, flourished about A. D. 370.
Cbronicon Pascale, the Paschal Chronicle: thisChronicle extends from the creation to the twentieth year of Heraclius. A. D. 630.
Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, born A. D. 344; died 407.
Constitutions Of The Apostles, certain canons for the government of the Christian church, formed at different times, and certainly long posterior to the times of the Apostles.
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, in 248; was martyred, A. D. 258.
Cyrillus Alexandrinus. This Cyril was patriarch of Alexandria A. D. 412; died 444.
Cybillus Hierosolymitanus, Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, was born A. D. 315; died 386.