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mine what is the origin and primary sense of nascor, yn and ypaon requires a far more accurate knowledge of original languages, of the modes of expressing ideas, in early ages, and of deducing one signification or sbade of meaning from another, than is possessed by learned men in general. Hence it is, that men very learned in other things, are far from being learned in etymology. The study of etymology is yet in its infancy.
ART. VII.-KAUFMAN'S TRANSLATION OF THOLUCK ON JOHN.
A Commentary on the Gospel of St. John. By A. Tholuck, D. D., Professor of
Theology in the Univeisiiy of Halle. Translated from the German, by Rev. A. Kaufman, minister of the Episcopal church, Andover, Mass. Boston. 1836.
The most inartificial way of reviewing a book, is to begin with the title page, and to go ibrough the work, page by page, to its conclusion. In the present instance we begin, inartificially, at the beginning; and we devote our attention not so much to Dr. Tholuck as to his translator.
Opening then at the title page of Mr. Kaufman's work, we notice a departure from the text of his author in the interpolation of the title “St.” before the name of the apostle John. We believe that the Protestant German divines, whether Lutheran or Calvinist, whether rationalist or evangelical, agree in the omission of such prefixes. What reason, or religion is there in speaking of St. John, or St. Paul, or St. Ignatius, more than there would be in speaking of St. Luther, St. Calvin, or St. Tholuck. This exclusive application of a title which in the new testament is the common designation of all Christ's followers, may be a small thing in itself; but when it is thus foisted into the translation of a title page, it is not too sınall to be noticed.
On the same page we notice also the distinct annunciation of the fact, that the Rev. Mr. Kaufman is a “minister of the Episcopal church,"--a fact which may serve to explain not only the interpolated “St.” but some other things which we may find as we proceed.
Turning over the leas, we come to the “translator's preface." And here we read as follows:
* Professor Tholuck is so well known, and his writings are so universally appreciated by American scholars, that it is unnecessary to offer any apology for presenting the public with his annotations on the gogpel of St. John, in an English dress. Irrespective of the fact, that ihese annotations come from his able pen, nothing is perhaps more wanted in the theological domain, than a good commentary on the gospels.'
Certainly no apology is necessary for presenting Tholuck's commentary on John "in an English dress.' But it is not too much to say, that the man who undertakes to translate a German theologian into English, ought to have at his command a pretty abundant vocabulary of good English words, and ought to understand how sentences are put together. “Irrespective of the fact,” etc. What is the meaning of irrespective ? Such English sends us to the dictionary. If Mr. Kaufman will take his dictionary and grammar, and try to “parse” irrespective, he will probably find that it is, in the school-boy phrase, "a word farther than he has studied.' “ Theological domain," --what is that? We can indeed guess at Mr. Kaufman's meaning. We presurne he means that Tholuck is an able writer, and furthermore, that at present no book is more needed in theology than a good commentary on the gospels. But if that is what he means, why did he not say so?
A few lines below, we find this sentence.
• In commenting on St. John particularly—the Plato of the inspired circle—it requires a mind of a peculiar order.'
No man who understands English, will use the verb 'require,' as an impersonal verb. But we proceed with the quotation.
“This mind Tholuck possesses :—a happy combination of deep and meditative thought with a christian heart; a quick apprehension, a glowing imagination, an accurate acquaintance with language and a nice perception of its force, together with a clear insight into the spiritual nature of man.
These characteristic excellencies are more or less exhibited in .the work before us; and with these traits of excellence there is no man more interesting than our author upon the theatre [?] of Germany, nor indeed upon the literary arena of any nation. He stands forth pre-eminent among the learned ones of that learned people; he yields to none in versatility of mind, in depth and compass of thought, or in variety of knowledge. The principal languages of modern Europe he speaks with ease and fluency, as well as the Latin and Greek; with the oriental dialects he is familiar, and is, moreover, extensively read in the poetry and philosophy both of the east and west. His contributions to the theological and philosophical literature of his country have been very important, having written and edited a number of works rich in learning and deep in thought. Some of these, treating of oriental philosophy and theosophy, have met with the approbation of the Baron De Sacy, the most illustrious Arabic scholar in Europe.—But a luster is thrown over all these attainments by his deep and earnest piety,' pp. 4,5.
Deep! deep! deep! Dr. Tholuck is a learned man, a man of genius, a man of unquestionable and servent piety, a man pre-eminently qualified to serve the church of God by his expositions of the holy scriptures; but to make him so unfathomably deep, is to create prejudices against him, and to warn off those readers who
are disposed to insist, that whatever is rational must be intelligible. We take leave to say therefore, that so far as we have examined his writings, there is far less in thein of the unintelligible, the mystical, the puerile, than might be expected by one who knew only such specimens of transcendentalism as are furnished by some who on this side of the Atlantic attempt to be" deep,” “deep,” and talk about a higher philosophy and a higher consciousness, and all that sort of thing. It is possible, that our translator may have had some peculiar meaning in these reiterated assertions of his author's depth. We have been studying that sentence above, in which it is said in illustration of the importance of Tholuck's contributions to German literature, that they, the contributions asoresaid, have written and edited a number of works rich in learning, and deep in thought.” May it not be, that Mr. K's admiration of his author's profundity is grounded on this remarkable fact? If a man’s contributions are so important as to have written and edited works deep in thought, what must the man himself be? No wonder, that deep answers to deep in the vain attempt to describe the qualities of such a man. Let us proceed to the next paragraph. .
• Perhaps the strongest objection which can be urged against such commentators as Tholuck and Olshausen, is the fact that they give too much prominence to the spiritual aspect of religion and of our nature, to the almost total exclusion or suppression of the material and outward. They seem to forget that we are beings of a compound character, possessing our souls in material, sensuous bodies; and that the institutions of christianity are adapted to the latter as well as to the former. They seem to forget that the feelings and sentiments of the soul are ofttimes created or colored by the peculiar outward circumstances under which it has been reared ; and that as a consequence, the religion which is designed for man in his present state, must have external rites and ordinances as well as inward feelings and hopes. Hence they seem to place too low in their estimation every thing of an external character ; forgetful, meanwhile, of the intimate relationship which subsists between the inward and the outward, and of the almost absolute and controlling influence which the latter exerts over the former. These remarks might be fully exemplified by adducing what is said on the Ministry, on Baptism, on the Lord's Supper, and on the nature of external ordinances generally.' pp. 4, 5.
It is to be regretted, that “these remarks” were not " exemplified;" for then the reader might have made a guess at their meaning. If the mcaning is, that Tholuck's commentaries are written on the idea, that man is a disembodied spirit, or that christianity has vot, or need not have external rites and ordinances, we have only to say, that the remarks are all “fudge.” II, on the other hand, Mr. Kaufman means to ascribe it to Tholuck, as a fault, that in a commentary on Jobin, he has not inculcated the popish doc
trine of the efficacy of sacraments, and has not reiterated the old common places about the unbroken succession and the duly constituted ministry,—then most readers will agree with us in saying, that the fault, if indeed it be a fault, is one which may be pardoned.
The writer next proceeds to argue, in what seems to us a very original method, for the importance of external ordinances, which, in his argument, make all the difference between China and England, nay between the Hottentot and the German Transcendentalist. Why then,” he says, bringing the argument to a point:
• Why then should we not regard the offices and sacraments of the church as the channels or golden conduits, through which the streams of the Spirit's influence are made to flow into the heart? Or why should we hesitate to believe, that whilst an inward and direct power must be brought to act upon the apostate will, that these ordinances are yet most important media employed by the Spirit of God to operate upon the spirit of man ? and that of a consequence they should be devoutly received, and every infringement upon them carefully avoided ?'
pp. 5, 6.
Now it is possible, that all this means only what Paul meant, when he said, " How shall they believe on himn of whom they have not heard? and how sball they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?" But if this is the meaning, surely the writer has found out an unfortunate way of setting it forth. The apostles never say, “Of his own will begat he us by the offices and sacraments.' They never say, " Seeing ye have purified your hearts by receiving the offices and sacraments.” Nor did Christ say concerning his disciples, Sanctify them through the offices and sacraments of the church." Were we to find such language in the new testament, we should think it was designed to teach that external ceremonies rightly administered, have power to sanctify the soul. Finding it in the preface to Mr. Kaufman's translation of Tholuck on John, we cannot but suspect, that the translator's episcopacy is recent, and does not yet sit easily upon him. We proceed to another paragraph :
• There are not wanting in our own country those who regard all external forms in religion as fit only for the human race in its infancy ; but since it has thrown off its swathing bands, and stands forth matured in manhood, these are by them considered as mere trammels to the soul. They have outgrown, they tell us, the necessity of every thing formal in its character ; they think themselves able to rise up to heaven by the energy of the Spirit alone.' p. 6.
These despisers and rejecters of all that it is outward, are surely the Quakers. We are at a loss to conceive of any other denomination of men in this land, to whom the description can be applied. And the reader will be at a loss to imagine what could induce
the translator of Tholuck to go out of his way in order to belabor Quakerism. We have not been informed, ibat the principles of George Fox are making any alarming progress among those readers 10 wliom this commentary is likely to have access. If the writer means to intimate, that those who do not become Episcopalians, regard all external forms as mere trammels to the soul, the ingenuity of the insinuation is about equal to its ingenuousness.
The next paragraph begins thus:
• The external ordinances of the church, are “ the living creatures and the wheels” which the holy prophet saw in the visions of God that were given to him, whilst he sat among the captives by the river Chebar, when the heavens were opened. To humanity they are the Cherubim, on which “ the living Spirit” is to sit enthroned, and by which it is to be upborne in its aspirations after God.' pp. 6, 7.
The external ordinances of the church are "the living creatures, and the wheels”!_" They are the cherubim, on which the living Spirit' is to sit enthroned, and by which it is to be upborne in its aspirations after God”! To us, this is entirely unintelligible. We may presume therefore, that it is “deep." Yet as we pause over this palpable obscure, we cannot but ask, Had the writer any meaning? If he had a meaning, was it a meaning too shadowy to be expressed? If his meaning was indeed inexpressible, why did he try to express it? If it was expressible, why did he not express it? And if a writer cannot set forth his own meaning, how shall he set forth the meaning of another man?
One more passage from this preface, and we will proceed to what is far betier:
• It is known that this work was originally announced under the name of Mr. Hermann Bokum. A train of circumstances which need not here be detailed, led to a transfer of the work from him to its present hands. p. 7.
The hands of a man, and the hands of a clock, are familiar expressions; but we never heard before, such a phrase as the hands of a book. Yet this most awkward expression occurs a second time in this brief paragraph.
Taking our leave of Mr. Kaufman's prefatory disquisition, we find ourselves on the whole happily disappointed with his work as a translator. We have had occasion to compare the translation with the original in many passages; and we cheerfully testify to the general correctness of the version. Perhaps we might point out some blunders as when (p. 112.) in giving the English of a quotation from Calvin's Latin, he renders Calvin's theologastri, belly theologues,'—a translation about as accurate as it would be to render poetaster, belly-poet. We might censure some strange liberties taken with the people's English, as when he writes