« 前へ次へ »
"the historical memoirs of the Apostles (i.e. the Gospels) and "the writings of the prophets were read."
Now from all this I think it is evident, a great number of copies of this Gospel were spread abroad in the world, in the Apostles' time. These, as has been proved, were in their right order, in which St. Matthew wrote; and since it is-impossible-. but some of those copies that are in the world, must be derived from some of these, and since all the copies that are in the world, are in the fame order with our present copies; it necessarily follows, this part of St. Matthew's Gospel has not been misplaced or disordered since the Apostles' time.
C II A P. XXIII.;'
St. Matthew's Gospel, in our present Copies, was not disordered and misplaced since the Apostles' Tt?ne \ because the Syriack Version, which was made in the Apostles1 Time, is in the same Order with our present Copies. An Attempt to prove, that the Syriack Version was made in 'that Time. Syriack was the Language if the sews in the Apostles'' Tithe. Great Numbers of Jews were converted to Christianity, and therefore needed a Version in that Language \"
BY what has been said in the foregoing Chapter, it is evident St. Matthew's Gospel was not misplaced since the Apostles' time: the fame will be further proved, if we consider;
2. That the Syriack Version, which seems to have been made in the Apostles' time, is exactly in the fame order in this part of St. Matthew's Gospel, with our present copies. This is an argument, which undeniably proves the point I am contending for, if it can be made appear, that this Version was made in that time. It is not to be expected, we should have as clear evidence of this, as we have of some other matters of
fact . the ea'OUnrt i. e. the Chaldee translations of the Old Testament were made in, or before, our Saviour's time.
fact in the Apostolick times; because, of the vast number of Jews, who were at first converted to Christianity, and who made use of this Version, there is not one (except the Apostles), who has wrote any thing which is come down to our present time. Nevertheless, I hope to make it at least probable, that this Version was made in the time of the Apostles. In order to which, I will shew;
1. That Syriack was the language in use among the Jews, in our Saviour's and the Apostles' time.
2. That it was very necessary a Version should be made, and very likely a Version was made, of the New Testament into this language in the Apostles' time.
3. That it is probable this Version, which we now have, is the fame which was then made.
I. The Syriack was the language in common use among the Jews, in the time of our Saviour and his Apostles. Till the Jews were carried captives to Babylon, they undoubtedly retained their own language, viz. the pure Hebrew, and understood not Syriack, as is plain from 2 Kings xviii. 26. and Jer. v. 15. Being at Babylon for seventy years, they learnt the language of the country, which afterwards they never lost. This was a place (fays the great Bochart ), always fatal to the Hebrew language. That which they learnt, was not very much different from the Hebrew, though it went under a different name, and was called sometimes Chaldee, and sometimes Syriack: so Dan. i. 4. it is called O'TiZD tlty^l i. e. the tongue of the Chaldeans; and ch. ii. 4. the fame is called Syriack; the Chaldeans spake to the King jYO~it< i. e. in the Syriack tongue. . It was this (perhaps a little altered), in which our Saviour and his Apostles conversedb, and the Jews generally, in their time:
* Eadem Babylon, ubi cæteræ b Is vero Syrorum Sermo, Christi linguæ natæ funt, semper Hebraicæ et Apostolorum teinporibus, propter suit fatalis, semel in confufione diuturnam illara in Babylone capLinguarum, et rursiis cum Judæi tivitatem, et Assyriorum contra in ibi captivi patrium sermonem didi- Judæam transtationem, genti Hecerunt. Phaleg. 1. i.e. 15. braicæ popularis suit et vernaculus,
See to the fame purpose Dr. Pri- adeo ut nulli tune scirent Hebraice, deaux Connect, of the Hist, of the nisi qui singulari studio ex libris Old and New Test. Par. 1. B. 5. didicissent. Quamobrem Christum and Par. 2. B. 8. quoque et Apostolos eodem fermone
Vol. III. X popu
'for the proof of this, I shall only alledge a few places out of the New Testament; the great number of Syriack words, that are to be found therein, do sussiciently prove it, viz. such as Talhha Kamia, Epbpbatbah, Eloi Eloi lamasabachtbanic, Bethesda'\ Golgotha", Gabbatha\ Raca^, Cephas h, Aceldama Boanerges*, Maran-atha\ Bar-Jonam, Abban, &c. These are all evidently Syriack words (as they know who are acquainted with this language), which were used by the Jews in and about our Saviour's time. I would only observe concerning one of these Syriack words, viz. the word Aceldama, that it is faid to be h T? ioi« oWi'*.TM awZv, i. e. in their own dialect or language. It is true indeed, that two or three of these words are called Hebrew, so John v. 2. i 'ESfairl Rt$tfft£, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, and John i. e. in Hebrew Gabbatha. But it is a very trite and common observation, that Syriack and Chaldee are frequently called Hebrew; whence Nonnus in his Greek Paraphrase on John, translates "ECjaiyj, j,Cca pvSui, in the last place cited; and ver. 17. he renders the fame word Xifw rop.et. So Philoo and the Fathers commonly call Chaldee and Syriack, Hebrew. Nor is this strange, when we consider that Hebrew was the old language, from which these two dialects (very little different from it) are derived.
The old Hebrew was so far from being,the language of the country at this time, that they had now, and for a long time before had, an ossicer in the synagogues, called tDJTinO, whose business it was, when the Old Testament was read, to translate the Hebrew, and give the people the sense of it, period by period, in Chaldee, or Syriackp. Hence also it was, that
popularihus iuis locutos fuiffe, cum h John i. 42.
There has been a controversy between the learned Mr, Vossius, and Father Simon, concerning the language the Jews spake at this time. The former pretends, that Greek was* then the language of the Jews; but Father Simon has sussiciently shewn the weakness of his arguments1*. It seems to me very evident, the common Jews did not at all understand Greek. It was indeed the language most known in the world (much more perhaps than either Latin or French are now); and for that reason, as has been faid, the books of the New Testament were wrote in it: but the common Jews were not acquainted with it; and therefore St. Paul, when he was apprehended at Jerufalem, though he spake to the ossicer (who perhaps was a Roman) in Greek (Acts xxi. 37.); yet, when he made his speech to the people, he spake 5i 'E£eaiJ> 3ia*.fVr«, in the Hebrew tongue. , or, which is the fame (as has been proved),'in the Syriack. He knew the people could not understand him in any other;, and so we find, that, when he spake no more Greek, but in their own language, they diligently hearkened to him, ch. xxii. 2. Hence Josephus tells us, that he wrote his History first in Hebrew, or Syriack, for the use of his countrymen; but afterwards, that it might be of more extensive use, translated it into Greek: though (as he fays a little after) he was very backward to that work, because it was a language very,different from that of his country'.
2. This being the language of the Jews in our Saviour's time, it Was very necessary a Version should be made, and consequently, likely a Version was made, of the New Testament into this language, before the Apostles' death. Although the body and greatest part of the Jews rejected Christianity, yet there were very considerable numbers of them that embraced it. We read, Acts xxi. 2C. of many (pvftdhs) ten thou
i Voss. Rcspons. ad itercit. P. c Elf d*Xo$amv i/ut xa) %in,t Simon object. 3w.ev.tu ffvt&iiut. Præfat. in
6 Critic. Hist, os the New Test. Antiq. Jud. §. 2. Par. 1. c. (1.
X 2 sands sands of Jews that believed, and received the doctrines of Christ. There can be no reasonable doubt, but that great additions were made to their number continually, both at Jerufalem, and other parts of Judæa. And now can it be supposed, that so many thoufand converts should be left so long without those inspired books, which contained the foundation of their religion? Here, and here only, they could have a particular, exact, and authentick account of the doctrines of that religion, which they had embraced; and is it not likely they would endeavour to get these books translated into their own language? Either the Apostles, or themselves, certainly would take care to have a Version made.
1. It may reasonably be supposed, that the Apostles, who were so much among the Jews, would take care to have the Gospel History and their own writings published among them, in their own language. Their zeal for the interest of Christianity (which was in all respects so very great) would undoubtedly influence them to take this probable method of advancing it. Add to this, the particular fondness and affection, that appeared in several of them, towards their own countrymen. Nothing Jess than a revelation from heaven, would serve to convince Peter, that he might leave them, and go to preach to the Gentiles*. The concern St. Paul had for them and their interest, was so tender and passionate, that he was even ready to wijh himself accursed from Cbrisl, if so be they might be happy*. And now, would not all this their zeal for Christianity in general, and their particular love to their countrymen, excite them to procure a Version of these facred books for their use? Nothing can be supposed, which would prevent the Apostles from doing this, unless we suppose they were of the fame mind with the Papists, viz. that the Scriptures ought not to be translated into the common languages, for the use of the people. But the Apostles were of a different opinion in this matter from their pretended successors, who for interest have made it religion, to keep the people in ignorance. Their grand employment was, to instruct men in