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THE REVISED VERSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Our first paper upon this subject was written in the first week of June. Since then we have met with abundance of criticism on the work of the Revisers, expressing diverse opinions, some of them altogether contrary to others. This is but what we expected ; and what, in the nature of things, was inevitable. There is no subject upon which men were more certain to differ in their judgment, and the fact is no valid argument against the importance and value of the work itself. Our own views have been clearly expressed, and we see no ground for material change therein. We question whether the press of any nation ever issued a literary production -simply human, not divine—upon which so large an amount of attention has been fixed.
We are not surprised that so many prefer the Old Version to the New, and that a cordial and thorough approval of the Revised Version has been expressed by so few. The language of the Old is embalmed in the memory of millions, and interwoven with their whole habit of devotional thought. They are shocked, therefore, with the vast number of verbal changes made, and the many omissions and additions that distinguish the New from the Old Version. In the four Gospels and Acts, there are said to be no fewer than 14,601 variations from the Authorised Version, and in the whole volume as many as 36,191. We do not doubt the general accuracy of this statement, having ourselves counted 1,750 in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, without reckoning every individual word or the changes in punctuation. We know not what may have been the reasons for all these changes. No doubt they were such as satisfied the Revisers. We must confess, however, that some of them have not appeared to us as necessary, and some have perplexed us.
Many of our readers have bought and perused the volume ; but have they all ? We wish they had; but if any have not, we hope they will ; especially those who either preach the word, or expect so to do. Meanwhile, we hope we shall not overtax their patience if we place before them such a number of changes as will induce them to give the subject a larger amount of thought than they have yet given or otherwise would give.
To begin with nouns; taking them in alphabetic order, we find " abundance" changed into superfluity; "alms" into righteousness ; “body” into corpse; "bottles" into wineskins; "box" (of ointment) into cruse, and flask; “bread” (äptos) into loaf; “candle” into lamp; - candlestick,” stand; "children," sons;
sons; “closet,” inner-chamber; “ clothes," garments and in Matt. xxiv. 18, cloak); "clothing," raiment;
coasts,” borders ; “ commandments,” precepts; “ compassion,” mercy ; “concupiscence," coveting; "countenance,” appearance; "country," region; "damnation," judgment; “ ditch," pit; "doctrine," teaching;
“ eagles,” vultures ; " exchangers,” bankers ; “ fame,” report; “fellow," man; “fowls,” birds of the air; “ generation,” offspring ; “ghost," spirit; “gospel,” good tidings ; “graves,” tombs ; "greetings,” salutations; "heathen," Gentiles; "heathen man," Gentile; "hell," Hades (the Greek word); "hem," border; “lunatic," epileptic; "maid," damsel ; “ Master" (applied to Christ), (dodaoralos) Teacher; “meat," food; “minstrels," fute-players ; "miracles," signs; "offences," occasions of stumbling ; "palace” (of the high priest), court; “people," multitudes; “pity,” mercy ; “princes,” rulers; "sayings," words ; “scrip,” wallet ; “ sepulebres,” tombs; "ship" (Flocov), boat; "shore," beach; “ sky," heaven; “sorrows,” travail ; “soul" (túxn), life; “spirit" (fancied by the disciples to be walking on the lake when they saw Christ), apparition ; "temple,” sanctuary ; " testament,” covenant; "thieves,” robbers ; “time," season; "tombs," sepulchres ; "town," village; “uproar,' tumult; “usury," interest; “victuals," food; “vinegar” (given to Christ when hanging upon the cross), wine (the Greek word varying in different MSS.); "watch," guard ; "wedding," marriage-feast; “ wil. derness," desert place; “ witness," testimony; “workman,” labourer ; “ writing-table,” tablet. What a list of changes in one Gospel only! Some of them, aye, many, unquestionably necessary and justifiable ; but some of them unaccountably arbitrary.
The same remarks apply to the changes made in verbs as to those in nouns. Many of them are changes in tense, some in number, and some in phraseology, a few in spelling only, but most of them in an equivalent, or nearly equivalent term. We find in the first Gospel, “abide " exchanged for tarry, "abased” for humbled ; " assembled," were gathered; “betrayed," delivered up; "blamed,” condemned; “ break” (bottles), burst ; “ brought forth” (fruit), yielded; "caught,” took hold of; “compel," constrain; “ cometh," proceedeth ; " consulted,” took counsel together; "commanded," appointed (also charged); “charged,” commanded ; "condemned,” judged; "catcheth,” snatcheth; "curseth,” speaketh evil of; “damned,” condemned; “deceive," lead astray ; “declare,” explain ; “demanded,” inquired ; “ departed,” was going on his way (chap. xxiv. 1. Also went out, and withdrew); “ do well,” do good; “inquire," search out; " entangle," ensnare; “espoused," betrothed; “fulfilled,” accomplished; “ furnished " (with guests), filled ; “goeth," entereth ; "grant,” command "kept,” observed (also fed, when related to swine) ; “ laid hold,” took hold ; “ lamented,” mourned ; “ lead," guide ; “ loosed,” released ; “marvelled,” were afraid ; “mourned," wailed ; "neglect " (to hear), refuse; "offend,” cause to stumble; “omitted,” left undone ; “platted,” plaited ; “preach,” proclaim ; “ prepare,” make ready; "proceed,” come forth; "purge," cleanse;
reckoneth,” maketh a reckoning ; “revile," reproach ; “reviled,” railed on; "should be,” had been (chap. xxiv. 22, would have been); “savoarest,” mindest ; " sit down,” recline ; “see," perceive; "shew," declare ;
“smite," beat; “sorry," grieved ; "stood up," arose ; "sprung up," grew up; “strawed,” spread ; “suffer,” bear with ; “taxed,” enrolled; “ teach,” make disciples ; “ told,” spoken of ; " tormented,” in anguish ; "travelling,” going ; " understood,” perceived (an excellent rendering, chap. xxvi. 10); “valued,” priced (chap. xxvii. 9); "wrought,” spent (one hour).
Among many changes of phrases are these :-" will be changed,” for would become ; " let him be,” for shall be; “to be afflicted,” unto tribulation ; “ to this time,” until now;
make raler over,” set over ; “receipt of custom," place of toll ; " take no thought," be not anxious (chap, vi. 25); “God forbid,” be it not so (this is the footnote alterna. tive rendering, and is a far more accurate rendering than that in the text); “generation of vipers," offspring of vipers ; “ by the way of," toward (chap. iv. 15); “his fame,” the report of him; "was set,” had sat down.
“ All manner of sin and blasphemy,” is altered into every sin and blasphemy; and “the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost," into the blasphemy against the Spirit. This is an exact rendering of the Greek text, the reading of which is every sin, and which has not the word Holy (chap. xii. 31). The "dry places” of the unclean spirit, in verse 43 of the same chapter, are waterless places in the Revised Version. The simple negative, “not,” in verse 14 of chap. xiii. of the Old Version, is expanded in the New into the form of in no wise ; and in the next verse, the phrase, “ lest at any time," appears as lest haply; and " be converted,” puts on the Anglo-Saxon garb, of turn again. In many places the term “lest," is enlarged into lest haply. In verse 17 of this chapter the perfect tense is exchanged for the past tense, as frequently is the case, and in many places the past yields to the perfect. In verse 21, "by and by he is offended,” gives place to straightway he stumbleth. In our Lord's exposition of the Parable of the Sower (verses 18-23), “that which was sown,” passes into he that was soun; and the “parable put forth unto them,” becomes a parable set before them. “A merchant man,” becomes a man that is a merchant (v. 45). In chap. xxvi. 15, the question put by Judas to the priests, is changed from “What will ye give me ?” to What are ye willing to give me ? and, "they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver," is changed into, they weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver. Peter's protestation, “Though I should die with thee," yields to, if I must die with thee. After the account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, the Old Version says
up of the fragments that remained,” &c. ; the Revised Version has altered this into, they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces : and the boat "tossed with the waves,” is distressed by the waves (chap. xiv. 20, 24). In ver. 34 of that chapter, instead of the reading, “ And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret,” we read—And when they had crossed over, they came to the land, unto Gennesaret. And for the
next verse, “And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;" we read—And when the men of that place knew him, they sent into all that region ronnd about, and brought unto him all that were sick.” Coming to chap. xv. 14, “ If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” we find the reading changed to-if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit. In verse 22, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts,” is rendered—a Canaanitish woman came out from those borders. The king " which would take account of his servants ” (chap. xviii. 23) is described as a king - which would make a reckoning with his servants. “The good man of the house,” in chap. xx. 11, is briefly, in the New Version, the householder. “I will give," in ver. 14, is rendered - it is my will to give.
We have noted many other alterations of this class; but having indicated more than a sufficient number for our purpose, we leave the rest, and give a few instances of changes in the tense of verbs. In chap. x. 34, 35, “I am come," gives place to I came. Chap. xi. 3," he that should come,” is rendered, he that cometh. In verse 17 also of the same chapter, the perfect tense yields to the past. We find it so also in chap. xv. 13. In verse 31 of that chapter the infinitive form of the verb is exchanged for the present participle. In verse 32, “ I will not,” takes the form of-I would not. In chap. xvi. 24-26, the auxiliary verb“ will” is represented throughout the passage by would. In the 26th verse the present tense is exchanged for the future. In chap. xvii. 4, instead of “let us make,” &c., Peter says, “ I will make,” &c. In the next verse,
- While he yet spake,” is altered to-while he was yet speaking; and “ a voice which said,” into-a voice saying. And in verse 8, “when they had lifted up their eyes," has become-lifting up their eyes. In verse 11, instead of “Elias truly shall first come and restore all things,” we read, Elijah indeed cometh, and shall restore all things.
The name of Elijah occurring here, reminds us of another and most commendable feature of the Authorised Version; which is, that all proper names quoted from the Old Testament in the New, are given as they are found in the Authorised Version of the Old; the Hebrew termi. nations being retained, to the exclusion of those which the Old Version adopted from the Greek : so that we now read Elijah instead of Elias, Isaiah instead of Esaias, Jeremiah instead of Jeremias, Joseph for Joses, Noah for Noe, &c. Names of another class also are subjected to the same general rule; as Immanuel for Emmanuel; and Zion for Sion, We observe, also, the form Gadarenes for Gergesenes, Magadan for Magdala, and Bar-Jonah for Barjona. Barachias and Zecharias exchange the terminal s for h, in conformity with the Hebrew.
Among the adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, adjective-pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions are changes more numerous than we can pause to specify. We mention only a few. For “prudent” we have, under
standing; for “ blameless," guiltless; for “stony” (places), rocky. “Immediately” is changed for straightway; and “presently ” for immediately; "spitefully,” shamefully; "hereafter," henceforth; "straitly," strictly; " inward," inwardly; "outward,” outwardly; "whosoever," every one, and every one who; “bis,” its ; " which," that; “on," upon; “in," into, and, on (chap. iv. 6); “by," with, and through ; “ for," from ; "until," unto; &c.
Not the least important of the changes, are those made in the articles ; and they are very numerous. The definite is often changed for the indefinite, and the indefinite for the definite. Many also are inserted and many omitted, and the indefinite is modified in accordance with tbe nicety and exactitude of modern grammar. Before an aspirated initial h the cumbrous and superfluous n is dismissed ; so that instead of “an bill," “ an house," "an hundred," &c., we read a hill, a house, a hundred, , &c. The pedantic use of n before such words as one, union, &c., is discarded, and instead of the barbarous form, “such an one,” which destroys euphony for the sake of observing a good rule of grammar mechanically rather than rationally, we now have the pleasant satisfaction of reading, such a one. In chap. i. 23, “a virgin," is the virgin, in literal conformity with both the Greek of the New Testament (ń rap évos) and the Hebrew of the Old (179547 Isa. vii. 14.) In chap. ii. 13, “the angel of the Lord," is correctly rendered an angel, &c. In chap. v. 15,
a bushel ” rightly given as the bushel. In verse 41 of this ch apter “a mile," the article gives place to the adjective, one, reading, one mile.
The great importance of an exact study of the Greek article, and of its accnrate representation in any language into which the New Testament may be translated, was learnedly and skilfully argued by the late Mr. Boyd, whose Essay on the subject is placed by Dr. A. Clarke in his Commentary, at the end of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Those of our brethren who read the New Testament in Greek, will derive real profit from a careful study of that Essay.
We have said nothing yet of the omissions and additions that distinguish the Revised from the Authorised Version. Some of these, both of the one class and of the other, are almost appalling, at the first view, to the English reader. No vital truth, however, is imperilled. It is no wonder that variations occur in the readings of some hundreds of manuscripts. Their transcription was a mechanical act unaided by Divine inspiration. If some of the writers wrote whilst other persons read to them, an inevitable consequence would be mistake in places. If some wrote in a dark monastic cell, or with impaired sight, mistakes would be equally inevitable. It is nevertheless difficult to conceive, that however easily some omissions might occur, any additions to the manuscripts would be made by transcribers. We defer what we have yet to say until our next issue.