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where they expressly refer to the text of Scripture.* On this point Mr. Nolan strengthens himself with the authority of Croius, Matthæi, Garbelius, and other critics. He next adverts to the ancient versions, and after investigating the claims of the Syriac, Coptic, Sabidic, Ethiopic, and others, concludes that neither of them can establish a title to an antiquity prior to the fourth century-that they were either founded upon, or corrected by, a later edition of the Greek; and consequently can afford no criterion of the primitive text.f Both in adopting this conclusion, and elsewhere, as regards the Syriac version, we conceive that Mr. Nolan has expressed himself in rather unguarded, and seemingly contradictory terms, since he afterwards appeals to the same version as an ancient and competent witness. If we rightly comprehend him, however, bis object is merely to exclude the testimony of the Syriac version in either of its three forms, (the Peshito, the Philoxenian, and the Jerusalem,) from affording any support to the coincident readings of the Alexandrine Greek text, on the ground that that version has been influenced by the edition of Eusebius : while he still claims the benefit of the testimony of the Peshito or vulgar Syriac, which is the most ancient, where it coincides with the Byzantine or received text, as a separate witness, on the similar ground, which he endeavours to establish, that it has not been in any way influenced by the latter. And the same remark we must extend likewise to his observations respecting the old Italic version. Having discarded all the rest, he adopts the version last mentioned as the only one which affords a sufficient basis for investigating the primitive text. The grounds of this preference we will state in Mr. Nolan's words.
“The Latin Church," (says he) “possessed a translation, which, as generally quoted by the Latin fathers previously to the Council of Nice, was consequently made previously to any alterations which the original might have undergone under Constantine. This translation has been celebrated for its literal fidelity, and we have this security for its baving long continued unaltered, that the Latins were not sufficiently instructed in the language of the original, to undertake the correction of the translation. So very rare was the humble qualification of reading Greek, that we have every reason to believe, it was possessed by few of the Latins, Tertullian excepted, until the age of Constantine.
" In proceeding to estimate the testimony whieh the Latin translation bears to the state of the Greek text, it is necessary to premise, that this translation exhibits three varieties; as corrected by St. Jerome at the desire of Pope Damasus, and preserved in the Vulgate; as corrected
* Ibid. pp. 45. sqq 325. sqq. Ibid. pp 47. sqq 322. sqq. * Inquiry, p. 57. Mr. Nolan quotes or refers to various autborities on his notes.
by Eusebius of Verceli, at the desire of Pope Julius, and preserved in the Codex Vercellensis; and as existing previously to the corrections of both, and preserved as I conceive, in the Codex Brixianus. The first of these three editions of the Italick translation is too well known to need any description; both the last are contained in beautiful manuscripts, preserved at Verceli, and at Brescia, in Italy. The curious and expensive manner in which the latter, at least, of these manuscripts is executed, as written on purple vellum in silver characters, would of itself contain no inconclusive proof of its great antiquity; such having been the form in which the most esteemed works were executed in the times of Eusebius, Chrysostome and Jerome. The former is ascribed, by immemorial tradition, to Eusebius Vercellensis, the friend of Pope Julius and st. Athanasius, and, as supposed to have been written with his own hand, is deposited among the relics, which are preserved with a degree of superstitious reverence, at the author's Church at Verceli, in Piedmont. By these three editions of the translation, we might naturally expect to acquire some insight into the varieties of the original. And this expectation is fully justified on experiment. The latter, not less than the former, is capable of being distributed into three kinds; each of which possesses an extraordinary coincidence with one of a correspondent kind in the translation. In a word, the Greek manuscripts are capable of being divided into three principal classes, one of which agrees with the Italick translation contained in the Brescia manuscript; another with that contained in the Verceli manuscript; and a third with that contained in the Vulgate."
Mr. Nolan proceeds to substantiate his position, by the collation of three Greek manuscripts with the three classes of the Latin translation, in several verses of the Sermon on the Mount; from which it results, that there is found to exist a striking and extraordinary affinity between the Vatican manuscript and the Latin Vulgate; the Cambridge manuscript and that of Verceli; and the Harleian and Moscow manuscripts,(designated by Griesbach, G, and Mt. V.) and that of Brescia ; thus furnishing examplars of the three classes into which the Greek manuscripts may be distributed. On this foundation Mr. Nolan builds his critical system. Having thus ascertained the existence of three classes of Greek text, corresponding with the same number in • the Latin, it follows that the antiquity of the former may be inferred from that of the latter—the original being necessarily prior to the translation-and, consequently, these three varieties of the Greek text may be immediately referred to the close of the fourth century, when the Latin Vulgate was published by St. Jerome. Here Mr. Nolan finds additional support for the results thus deduced from his previous analysis, in the explicit testimony of that father to the existence, in his time, of ibree editions of the sacred text, which he referred to Egypt, Palestine, and Constantinople, and to Hesychius, Eusebius, and Lu
cian, as their respective authors.* These three ancient editions, Mr. Nolan endeavours, by a variety of considerations forming a chain of close deductions, into which, however, we cannot enter, to identify with the three classes of text observable in the manuscripts which he has adopted as examplars; and he arrives, at length, at the conclusion, that “the whole of the Greek manuscripts may be consequently reduced to three classes, which are identical with the editions of Egypt, Palestine and Constantinople, as revised by Hesychius, Eusebius and Lucianus." Upon these several recensions he then founds his system of classification, which he adapts to that of Griesbach in the following manner:t
“As the Western, Alexandrine and Byzantine texts in the former method, [of Griesbach,] respectively coincide with the Egyptian, Palestine, and Byzantine text in the latter; we have only to substitute the term Egyptian for Western, and Palestine for Alexandrine, in order to ascertain the particular text of any manuscript which is to be referred to a peculiar class or edition. The artifice of this substitution admits of this simple solution; the Egyptian text was imported by Eusebius, of Verceli, into the West, and the Palestine text republished by Euthalius at Alexandria, the Byzantine text having retained the place in which it was originally published by Lucianus. In a word, a manuscript which harmonizes with the Codex Cantabrigiensis, must be referred to the first class, and will contain the text of Egypt. One which harmonizes with the Vatican manuscript, must be referred to the second class, and will contain the text of Palestine. And one which harmonizes with the Moscow manuscript, must be referred to the third class, and will contain the text of Constantinople.”
Mr. Nolan summarily contrasts this scheme with those of Dr. Bentley, Griesbach and Matthæi; and shows that while it is in part supported by all of them, it supplies their respective defects. It has the advantage over the former in adopting the old Italick version instead of the later Vulgate, as an auxiliary to the Greek text; over that of Griesbach in distinguishing the copies of that translation which are free from the influence of the Vulgate, from those which have been corrected since the times of Eusebius of Verceli, of St. Jerome, and Cassiodorus; and over that of Matthæi, in adding the testimony of the Latin to that of the Greek church.
* S. Hierom. Præf. in Paralipom tom. iii. p. 343. Alexandria et Aegyptus in septuaginta suis Hesychium laudat auctorem. Constantinopolis usque ad Antiochiam Luciani Martyris exemplaria probat. Mediæ inter has provinciæ Palestinos Codices legunt, quos ab Origene elaboratos Eusebius et Pamphilus evulgaverunt. Totusque orbis bac inter se trifaria varietate compugnat. Though St. Jerome bere speaks particularly of the version of the LXX., Mr. Nolan elsewhere advances snfficient reasons for extending his testimony to the New 'lestament, which was embraced in the same editions.
+ Inquiry, pp. 106-7,
Having thus far established a system of classification which embraces all the Greek manuscripts, and the corresponding copies of the Latin version, in three principal recensions, Mr. Nolan. investigates at considerable length the question of the respective antiquity of the several classes, and their title to be accredited as delivering the genuine text of Scripture. In these researches we cannot follow him beyond the mere outlines of his
argument. This he pursues in two lines, having reference to the separate testimony of the Greek and the Latin church, which at length are found to coalesce in the primitive origin of the Byzantine or received text. This text Mr. Nolan conceives to possess, at the first view, superior claims, on account of the region which it occupied, this being Greece, Asia Minor, and the adjacent provinces, in which were situated the churches to which St. Paul addressed the greater number of his Epist les—where the Apostolical writings were for the most part deposited—and where St. John collected and completed the sacred canon, by composing his Gospel and A pocalypse. It has further claims on the ground of its being the text adopted and transmitted by the Greek church—from the great number of copies in which it is preserved—from their uniform agreement among themselves—from the positive evidence of its antiquity, and its uncorrupted transmission for a period of at least fourteen hundred years. This latter point is evinced by its existence in the Gospels of the Alexandrive manuscript, which Mr. Nolan traces , to a period not less remote than the year 367: and by its extraordinary coincidence with the text of the Brescia manuscript, which must be antedated to the year 393. The possibility of the corruption of the Byzantine text previous to this period, is livnited to the term of about forty years, between the years 340 and 331, during which interval the Church was under the dominion of the Arians. But against this presumption Mr. Nolan brings the positive testimony of St. Jerome, who declares that the text which prevailed at Byzantium in his age, (the end of the fourth century) was that which had been revised by Lucian, who merely republished the ancient edition about the year 204; to which it may be added, that the Byzantine text, if superseded during a short interval by that of Eusebius, was at least partially restored by the revisal of St. Athanasius, about the year 340. The credit of the received text, thus resting on the authority of the Greek church, is still further confirmed by the testimony of the Latin church, in the old Italick Version. Discarding, as Mr. Nolan does, the greater number of the copies of that version, as having been affected by Eusebius's edition, he conceives it to exist in a pure and uncorrupted state in the Brescia
manuscript only, which he attributes to Philastrius, Bishop of Brescia, who flourished about the year 381. The text of this manuscript, being the old Italick, must be anterior to the year 393, when St. Jerome published the Vulgate; and tbat it is pure and uncorrupted, Mr. Nolan endeavours to evince by a laborious investigation of the internal and circumstantial evidence in its favour ;* which results in establishing the position that the Brescia manuscript exhibits the primitive Latin version. And as this is found to coincide, in a remarkable manner, with the present Greek Vulgate, the latter is thus authenticated by the concurrent testimony of the Latin and Greek churches. The mode of proof wbich thus establishes the authority of the Byzantine text, is equally decisive, Mr. Nolan remarks, against that of the Palestine and Egyptian texts. These exist in comparatively few manuscripts—and those chiefly from the Alexandrine region, the principal seat of the Arian heresy; they are not supported by the testimony of the primitive Latin church; and their origin can be traced up to the editions of Hesychius and Eusebius, while the Byzantine has been, in every age, the common or received text, and loses itself in immemorial antiquity.t
On the evidence thus elaborately collected and put together, Mr. Nolan conceives that the preference is justly due to the Byzantine or received Greek text, over either of the other recensions, and that its authority is adequately established on sure historical grounds. That it is immaculate he does not pretend; but that its faults are comparatively trivial, and of such a nature as not in any degree to impeach its credit as a competent guide of faith and morals, he very fully proves; and with a view to this end, he enters on a long and learved defence of the general and doctrinal integrity of the vulgar text, in the course of which he takes especial pains to vindicate the most important passages, and particularly the three celebrated texts, Acts XX. 23, 1 Tim. jii. 16. and 1 John v. 7, wbich have been impeachad by Griesbach. In respect to the two former, we apprehend that few persons will be disposed to controvert his conclusions, who will have the patience to examine the subject with the attention ii requires. In regard to the latter we cannot say as much, although Mr. Nolan has unquestionably defended the
• Inquiry, pp. 154—186.
* “ Breviter illud admoneo, ut sciatis, aliam esse editionem quam Origenes et Ca. sariensis Eusebius omnesque Græciæ tractatores xorv ny id est communem appellant atque Vulgalam, et a plerisque nunc Axxiavos dicitur; aliam Septuaginta Interpretum, quæ et in arhis codicibus reperitur, et a nobis in Latinum sermonem fideliter versa est. et Hierosolymæ atque in orientis ecclesiis decantatur."-S. Hieron. Sun, et Frelel. Ep. CXXXV. tom. iii. p. 377, cited by Mr. Nolan, p. 88.