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Language like this naturally leads to a suspicion, that the writer is secretly endeavouring to serve the cause of intidelity, and to undermine as much as possible the credit of the Bible. On this subject, we leave others to form their own opinions; and when we have said that, in other passages, as far as outward professions go, he appears to be a believer in its divine original, and anxious to preserve its credit, we shall quit all general observations on the nature and tendency of his work, and descend to particulars.
The eagerness of Mr. Bellainy to lower the credit of all existing translations, and to make way for the reception of his own, is so great, that he does not wait to insert passages to this effect in the body of his work, but prints them on the cover, so that those who do not even open his book, may yet enjoy the benefit of having their confidence in the correctness of the authorized version shaken. In his address on the cover, he says, “ It may be necessary to inform the public that no translation has been made from the original Hebrew, since the 128th year of Christ. In the fourth century, Jerome made his Latin version from this Greek translation ; from which came the Latin Vulgate, and from the Latin Vulgate all the European translations have been made, thereby perpetuating all the errors of the first translators.
Necessary to inform the public! In what sense he uses the word he does not explain, and we are left to conjecture whether he feels himself impelled by a physical or moral necessity to take this step; but, in no sense can it be necessary to inform the public of what is completely and absolutely false. And no assertion can be more palpably untrue than that the Bible has never been translated from the original Hebrew since the time of Aquila, who is the person alluded to, we conceive, as having translated it about the 1281h year of Christ. To specify a few only—there were the Greek translations of Symmachus and Theodotion, made within a century after that of Aquila; of Latin translations there was that of Jerome, 'not made, as Mr. Bellamy states, from this Greek translation, but from the original Hebrew; in more modern times that of Sanctus Pagninus, made from the Hebrew, under Leo X. and afterwards revised by Arius Montanus; that of Sebastian Munster, in 1534-5, of which Father Simon says, that of all modern translations, it best expresses the sense of the Hebrew text; and Dupin, that it is the most literal, and at the same time the most faithful, of any protestants. There is also the version of Junius and Tremellius, published in 1587, expressly called in the title-page, Biblia sacra, sive Libri Canonici, Latini recens ex Hebræo facti. So inuch for Mr. Bellamy's first assertion !
Again, he informs his readers that, in the fourth century, Jerome made his Latin version from this Greek translation. To
done by quotes the
prove the falsehood of this, we can produce an authority which the writer, we conceive, very highly values, we mean that of a Mr. John Bellamy; in the Introduction, p: XX.
words of Jerome, that he was induced to attempt a Latin translation from the Hebrew. In fact, it is matter of historical record, of which it is most strange that a person who professes to have inquired into these things should be ignorant, that Jerome first employed himself in revising the old Latin version, but, having lost the fruits of his earlier labours by the treachery of a person to whom he entrusted them, he determined to persist no longer in revising an old translation from the Greek, but to make a new translation from the Hebrew. For this, he was well qualified by the study of Hebrew from his earliest youth, having spent many years of his life under the instruction of Jewish doctors in Egypt, at Jerusalem, and at Tiberias, and sparing neither pains nor expense to make himself perfect master of the language. Hieronymus, (says Walton, Polygl. proleg. p. 69.) vir acri et fervido ingenió, reni Ecclesiæ utilem se facturum existimabat, si novam versionem ex Hebraico fonte exprimeret, quam ingenti animo et laboribus indefessis tandem perfecit, quæ magis quàm reliquæ cum Hebræo conveniebat et accuratior erat.' Such is the accuracy of Mr. Bellamy's second assertion in this notable passage!
His third, that from the Latin Vulgate, all the European translations have been made,' is of equal value with the rest. In Roman Catholic countries, indeed, where the Latin Vulgate is prized beyond its just value, the versions into the vernacular tongues have been chiefly made from this, and not from the original : but the case is far otherwise in protestant countries. All the principal English translations, in particular, have beyond question been made directly from the Hebrew. The Geneva Bible, for instance, translated by English refugees, and first printed in 1557, is described in the title-page as being trunslated according to the He brewe and Greke, and conferred with the best translations in divers languages. In forming Archbishop Parker's Bible, directions were given to the learned men employed, to compare diligently the old translation with the original text. It was objected that this trauslation did not always strictly follow the Hebrew, and in some places was purposely accommodated to the Greek, an objection which fully proves that it pretended to be formed from the Hebrew, otherwise the charge would not have been made. But, as Lewis says in his history of English translations, to any one who peruses it with care, this censure will appear to be ill founded. And that our authorized version was framed from the original languages, was, we believe, never called in doubt by any one before Mr. Bellamy. For the present we shall only remind the reader that the title-page
of it is, The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, translated out of the original tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised.'
In order to further his purpose of exciting impressions in the public mind unfavourable to the accuracy of the received translation, Mr. Bellamy produces, also on the cover, a list of persons who, according to his statement, were of opinion that a new translation of the Scriptures was absolutely necessary.' Of the authorities which he quotes, some, as Purver, Wesley, Romaine, will not carry much weight with the public; others, indeed, such as Lowth, Kennicott, Newcome, Blayney, were persons of real learning, to whose judgment great deference will be at all times paid. In thus quoting their opinions, however, Mr. Bellamy has made a representation which is completely false ; these persons were amongst the warmest admirers of the authorized version as to its general fidelity, and the propriety and dignity of its language; their opinions merely weut to this extent, that advantage might now be taken of the improvements in modern criticism to illustrate the meaning of Scripture, in some obscure passages; that here and there a partial error might be corrected, and better words be occasionally substituted for those which, by the Aux of language, had become obsolete or inelegant, or, in some degree, departed from their pristine meaning. By quoting their authority, however, as a sanction for his new translation, he evidently wishes to impress us with the belief that these learned men were of his opinion, namely, that our present version is full of errors, and does not, in the main, convey the true sense of the original. We can well conceive what their astonishment and grief would be if they could know that their words had been produced by Mr. Bellamy to justify representations as far removed from their real opinions as from truth.
But we think it necessary to advert more particularly to some of the assertions of this writer, in disparagement of our present authorized version, and especially to his principal charge that it was not made from the original Hebrew. In his general Preface, p. i. he
says, ' As the common translations in the European languages were made from the modern Septuagint and Vulgate; where errors are found in these early versions, they must necessarily be found in all translations made from them.' And after mentioning the number of those concerned in framing the present authorized version, he subjoins, ' But it appears that they confined themselves to the Septuagint and the Vulgate, so that this was only working in the harness of the first translators, no translation having been made from the original Hebrew only for 1400 years. At p. xiii. he affirms, that the common translations of the Bible are only the Greek and Latin speaking in the European translations. And at
p. xiv. he again reminds the reader, to remember that the present authorized version and all the national versions of Europe were translated from the Latin Vulgate; and thus all the errors made in the early ages of the Christian church have been perpetuated.'.
In answer to all this, we aver most distinctly that our authorized version was made, not from any trauslation either ancient or modern, but directly from the original Hebrew and the Greek. We apprehend that, with every considerate reader, the simple affirmation of the travslators themselves to this effect will be amply sufficient. We have alluded already to the title-page of the version. We now add a passage from the preface. If,' say they, ' you ask what they had before them, (in framing this translation, truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New’! And it will be allowed (we think) that they knew the fact as well as Mr. Bellamy, and are as worthy of belief. But the fact is capable of the most satisfactory proof. If the reader will take the trouble of comparing a few verses, in the 1st chapter of Genesis for instance, of the English version, with the Hebrew, the Greek Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate, (he may find them in Walton's Polyglott, ranged in parallel columus,) he will at once be convinced, from the agreement of the minuter words and turns of expression, that it was made directly from the Hebrew. For example, at Gen. i. v. 2. the English version has,' the earth was without form and void.' Here the words of the Greek are ‘H yñ ñv åópatos xal áxatar XÉVUOTOS, in which the literal sense of the two adjectives is
invisible' and unformed,' agreeing substantially with the original, but not closely expressing it. The Latin is, Terra erat inanis et vacua,' where the two adjectives express the sense of “ void, but not without form.' Thus no one translating the Greek or the Latin would have been led to the exact expression which our English version gives. It is only from the original that the expression without form and void' is derived, the Hebrew expression 17an non, bearing exactly this meaning. At the end of the same verse, the English is,' The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' The Greek has, πνεύμα θεά έπεφέρετο επάνω τα ύδατος; the Latin,
Spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas;' from either of which expressious a translator would give the spirit of God moved or was carried upon or above the water.' It is only from the Hebrew that the peculiar expression is obtained ' moved upon the face of the waters,' which is the closest possible rendering of the words ap
. So at v. S. the English version gives, Let there be light,' which is the exact translation of the Hebrew. The Vulgate has, • Fiat lux,'· Let light be made,' the same as to sense, but differing in words. This then affords a proof that the English was not translated from the Latin. Again, at v. 6. the English version renders,
Let it divide the waters from the waters.' The Hebrew idiom here is peculiar, so that, while the sense is plain, the expression does not admit of exact rendering into English. In this instance, the words of the English version happen to have a close conformity with the Latin Vulgate, but they differ very widely from the Greek, where the expression is, Εστω διαχωριζον, ανά μέσον ύδατος και ύδατοςliterally, Let it be dividing between water and water. The text therefore
proves that the English version was not formed from the Greek, as the other did that it was not formed from the Latin. If the reader proceeds, he will find it manifest, beyond all question, that the general character of the English is to conform closely to the Hebrew in those passages where, the sense in all versions being the same, there is a partial difference in the turn and form of the expression, and that it frequently varies either from the Greek or from the Latin, or from both, so as to afford the clearest proof that it was not made mediately from them but directly from the Hebrew. With all we know of Mr. Bellamy, we feel not a little surprized, that he should have ventured on an assertion, which the slightest examination would wholly disprove.
Another of Mr. Bellamy's methods of disparaging the authorized version is by general insinuations against the competency of the persons employed on it. It was well known,' he says, p. ii., ' that there was not a critical Hebrew scholar among them.' Again,
the translators have left it' (the authorized version) defective in mood, tense, person, gender, infinitive, imperative, participles, conjunctions, &c. and in many instances, almost in every puge, we find verses consisting in a great part of italics, in some, a third part, and in others, nearly half, --so that the meaning of the sacred writer is by these interpolations always obscured, and in many instances perverted.' In another place, he says, ' For the most part, these italics are lamentable corruptions which pervert the sense of the original, make the sacred writer say what he
and which, in things the most important, charge God with commands he never gave.-Had the Hebrew been critically understood by the translators, so as to have translated from it only, there had been no necessity for many of these additions in the text.' p. xi. And he winds up all, with affirming, that in a number of instances the modern translations are no better than comments, which are as opposite to the sense of the original text as error is to truth?
Assertions of this nature, however calumnious, as they are not grounded on any particular instances, cannot be fully covfuted without a distinct consideration of every text to which they may apply, that is, without going regularly through the Bible. We shall have a few words to say respecting the insertions in italics, before we close this Article. In the mean time, we desire the reader to rememR 2