Try out the new Click here!

New Testament Literature


§ 1. From lino, to daub or smear (supine, litum), comes litera, a mark, and more especially a significant mark—a character—a letter of the alphabet. The plural (literce) denotes—1, the letters of the alphabet collectively—2, then any combination of them in a written composition—whether smaller (e. g. a letter, or epistle, made up of a few letters; or, as we say, "a few lines "), or larger (as a book)—3, then books in general, or in the aggregate—and then 4 (subjectively), the knowledge of books (" book-learning "), education—as in Cicero's phrases, "sine Uteris," "nescire literas," the French "belles-lettres," and the English "man of letters,"

meaning much more than a man who "knows his letters."

§ 2. From litera itself comes the adjective literatus, in form a participle, but without a corresponding verb (as in English), meaning primarily lettered, i. e. marked with letters, as a book is lettered by the binder—but secondarily, acquainted with (possessed of) letters, (in the higher sense,) i. e. educated, learned. The plural of this Latin word (literati) is still used in English and although the old derivative (literate) is obsolete, except in certain technical or legal forms, its previous existence is attested by its opposite, illiterate, uneducated, ignorant.

§ 3. From literatus (or from literal directly) comes the abstract term, literatura, meaning, in the classics, first, alphabetic writing; then grammar, philology, the science of language • and lastly, learning, education, or the knowledge of books.

As distinguished from science in modern parlance, literature may be defined as the knowledge of books as books; not merely their contents or

substance, but their form, text, language, style, origin, and all that constitutes their [critical and literary] history.

§ 4. The generic term, as thus defined, admits of various specific applications to particular classes or kinds of books, whether differing in form of composition (as poetical and prose literature), or in date (as ancient and modern literature), or in language (as Greek and English literature), or in subject (as medical and historical literature). In this sense every science (or branch of systematic knowledge) may be said to have its " literature ;" i. e., a collection of writings peculiar to itself. Thus the modern Germans use the term Litteratur to denote the bibliography of any given subject.

§ 5. Among the many possible distinctions and divisions of this nature, one of the most familiar, and at the same time most connected with our present studies, is that of Sacred and Profane Literature.

Profane, according to its Latin etymology {pro

fano, before the temple, outside of the consecrated precincts), is primarily negative and simply means not sacred, though in both languages it 60on acquired the positive and stronger sense of irreverent, impious, and even blasphemous. The difference of the primary and secondary meaning may be seen in the equally familiar combinations, "profane history" and "profane swearing." The primary or negative sense must be determined by that of the correlative expression, "sacred."

§ 6. Sacred Literature may be taken either in a wider or more restricted application. In the former, it denotes (objectively) the aggregate of books, or (subjectively) the knowledge of such books, on sacred subjects, and is then equivalent to Religious Literature. In the latter, it denotes the aggregate (or knowledge) of sacred writings, i. e. inspired, and therefore of divine authority; and is then equivalent to Biblical Literature, or the literature of the Bible.

§ 7. This term {Bible) is immediately derived

from the Latin and Greek plural (Biblia), a diminutive of y8t'/3\o9 (sometimes written /3u/3\o?), which originally means the papyrus plant, the inner bark of which was used of old as a material for writing —hence our paper, though composed of an entirely different substance. A secondary use of both the English and the Greek word is to signify any piece of writing (as a bill of divorcement, Matt. 19, 7 Ot a book), in which sense it is applied to the divisions of the Old Testament—the "book of Moses" (Mark 12, 26)—the "book of Psalms" (Luke 20, 42)—the "book of the Prophets " (Acts 7,42)—but never to the whole of the Old Testament collectively. Its application to the entire Word of God, as the Book of Books, or Book icar e^o-^qv, appears to have been introduced by Chrysostom.

§ 8. Another common name for the whole Word of God is Scripture, from scriptura, scriho, corresponding to the Greek ypacf>rf from 7pa0coJ meaning, originally, any writing whether great or small; but applied emphatically sometimes to a single text or passage (as in Luke 4, 21)—sometimes to several in connection (as in Acts 1, 16)—sometimes to

the whole of the Old Testament (as in John 10, 35. 2 Tim 3, 16)—which is still more frequently denoted by the plural (ypcujxii, scriptures) of which some find the earliest example in Daniel 9, 2. (Compare John 2, 22 and 5, 39.) With this plural Paul employs the epithets holy (Kom. 1, 2) and sacred (2 Tim. 3,15), which are confounded in the English version.

§ 9. The English adjectives derived from these names (Biblical and Scriptural), although substantially synonymous, are not entirely convertible in usage; the latter being commonly employed to express internal agreement with the Word of God, the former what externally belongs to it, as in the phrases, " scriptural doctrine," "biblical learning," in which the epithets cannot conveniently be interchanged.

§ 10. Applying to the Book which we distinguish from all others as the Scriptures, or the Bible, the definitions previously laid down, we may understand by the term Biblical Literature, in its subjective sense, the knowledge of the Bible, as a book, or of the writings which compose it, as books,

§ 11. Here again, as in the case of Sacred Literature, we may conveniently distinguish a wider and a narrower application of the term ; the former comprehending Interpretation, not only as a part, but as the most important part of Biblical Literature, to which its other elements are merely auxiliary.

§ 12. But Interpretation is the business of a lifetime, which, so far from being finished in a course of academical instruction, can only be prepared for and begun. And as this preparation and beginning are not confined to any one department, but diffused, at least in theory, through all, we need a more specific definition of the study upon which we are now entering.

§ 13. Biblical Literature, then, in the restricted sense, excludes Interpretation proper, not as being either unimportant or irrelevant, but, on the contrary, as the all-important end to which it is itself a necessary means. In other words, it compre

hends those studies which may be regarded as auxiliary to the Exegesis, or the actual Interpretation of the Word of God.

§ 14. Biblical Literature, thus defined, may be correctly represented both as an ancient and a modern science. In its essential elements and parts, it is coeval with Interpretation, properly so called. Ever since men have attempted to expound the Scriptures, they have unavoidably made some use of these auxiliary studies; but in ancient times without reducing them to system, as a science or distinct branch of sacred learning. Important contributions, both of material and principle, are due to such men as Jerome and Augustin in the ancient church; to Junilius and Cassiodorus, at a somewhat later date; to Alcuin and Photius in the middle ages. But, as a methodized and systematic science, it is scarcely older than the Reformation, and has been developed chiefly since that great event, especially among the Germans, .where it has become a mighty engine for the propagation of sceptical theology, which is a reason not for neglecting it, but rather for its more assiduous culti

vation, as the only antidote to such perversion, and the best security for sound interpretation.

§ 15. Another reason for attending to these studies here is that more than any other they ensure attention to the "Word of God hereafter by making it now a subject of investigation as a whole, and in its principal divisions, with their mutual relations, and the most efficient methods of minute and thorough exposition, to be carried out in future life, not as a literary pastime, or a merely intellectual employment, but as the great work of the ministry, by which the staple of its pastoral instructions must be chiefly furnished. This prospective influence on future labor is not so effectually exerted by the minute interpretation of small portions of the "Word—however valuable in itself, and in its bearing upon other ends—as by a more discursive and apparently more superficial view of those preliminary and auxiliary studies, which are comprehended in the conventional and somewhat vague term, Biblical Literature.

§ 16. The intimate relation thus existing between these auxiliary studies and the great work of interpre

tation led to the early adoption of the Isagogic form and method, which regards them as directly introductory or preliminary {elaaytoyrj from et'owyo), introduce)) to actual exegesis or interpretation of the Scriptures. Thus the learned Roman Catholic, Pagninus, who died before the middle of the sixteenth century, wrote two works, under the Greek title Isagoge {ad sacras Uteras, and ad mysticos sacrce scriptural sensus). The same title was adopted in the next century by the great French Protestant divine Andrew Rivet. {Isagoge ad Scripturam Sacram). Carpzovius and others used the corresponding Latin title Introduction which has since become the current one, not only in Latin but in English {Introduction) and German {Einleitung).

§ 17. The idea of an Introduction, being relative, varied in extent, according to the judgment or convenience of the writer. One of the most comprehensive applications of the title is in Thomas Hartwell Horne's well-known work in four volumes, which embraces all that can be reckoned introductory or even auxiliary to interpretation, not excepting the evidences of revealed religion,

nor biblical antiquities, geography included, which, though certainly belonging to Biblical Literature in the widest sense, are commonly omitted by the Germans in their technical use and definition. o£ t\\e term Einleitung.

§ 18. The usual practice has been to divide Introduction into two parts: General and Special; the former including what relates to the whole Bible or to one of its great parts, considered as a •whole; the other what can be conveniently considered only in connection with the several books.

§ 19. The order of these two parts has not always been the same, though commonly the one first stated. Some writers of celebrity, however, have begun with Special Introduction, for the sake of a more chronological arrangement, by beginning with the history of the several books before reciting that of their collection into one book.

§ 20. This has led in later times to another view of the whole subject and a corresponding difference in arrangement and the mode of treatment, not as introductory to any thing, but as independent

and complete in itself; or rather as a branch of history, literary or ecclesiastical; a theory long ago suggested, although not carried out, by Richard Simon, a learned Roman Catholic, near the close of the seventeenth century, in his JTistoires Critiques, or Critical Histories of the Old and New Testament, the Yersions, Commentators, &c.

§ 21. As this difference affects only the arrangement and the nomenclature of the subject, leaving its substance unchanged, it is purely a question of convenience, or at most of literary taste, which is likely to be variously answered according to the predilection of the writer or the teacher for historical or exegetical studies. There is certainly no ground for the extravagant and vehement denunciation of the older (isagogical) method, by some recent German writers, as unphilosophical and obsolete.* To those who estimate such studies by their bearing on Interpretation, it will always seem more natural to treat them as a branch of it, or rather as an introduction to it; while to others or the same, it will be recommended by its obvious convenience in descending from generals to particu* Reuss—Guericke (2d. ed.)

22. This subject, even in its most curtailed dimensions, is too vast and various to be subjected to a single process of investigation or compressed into a single course of study and instruction. Of the different divisions which have been proposed or acted on, the most satisfactory in theory and practice is the one founded on the immemorial and universally familiar distinction of the Old and New Testament.

§ 23. This word, both in English and in Latin (testamentum), means a last will, or final disposition of one's property, to take effect after the death of the testator.* It is used in the Latin Vulgate to translate the Greek word BiaStficn, not only when it means a testamentary arrangement (as in Heb. 9, 16. 17), but also when it means a dis

* It is worthy of remark that while "testament" has acquired this secondary meaning, which it would now be folly to disturb, its kindred terras, testamentary, testator, and intestate, are never used in any but their primary and proper application.

pensation or divine economy (as in Gal. 4, 24. Heb. 9, 15), and when it means a mutual arrangement or a covenant (as in Horn. 11, 27 and passim). From the sense of dispensation or economy the transition was an easy one to that of its appropriate and peculiar revelation, in which sense Paul employs the phrase iraXala Sia&rjici) (2 Cor. 3, 14) in immediate connection with the act of reading (avayvcoaerj,) and with obvious reference to the Hebrew Scriptures. In exact analogy to this apostolical expression, the correlative phrase, iccuvr) StaStficTj, may be used to designate the Greek Scriptures, or the Christian revelation, though applied in the New Testament itself only to the new covenant or dispensation, of which these books are the written charter or organic law. (See Matt. 26, 28. 2 Cor. 3, 6. Heb. 8, 8. 9, 15. 12, 24.) This analogous use of icaivrj Bio^^kt] is at least as old as Origen, and that of Novum Testamentum may be traced still further back, to Tertullian, and perhaps to the oldest Latin version in which this phrase may have coexisted with the kindred one of Novum Instrumentum.

§ 24. The distinction here proposed is not con

ventional or arbitrary, but arises from the mutual relation of the parts, which, although constituting one revelation, and inseparable from each other, and reciprocally necessary in the process of interpretation, are still formally so far unlike as to admit and even to require somewhat different exegetical appliances and processes. Such are found necessary in the writings of two different ages, even where the language is essentially the same, as in the case of Homer and Demosthenes, Chaucer and Shakspeare. How much more when the languages are not only different, but of different stocks, as in the case of Greek and Hebrew! The same necessity arises in some measure from the difference of subject and design between a preparatory and completed revelation, a ceremonial and a spiritual dispensation. This division has accordingly been long adopted by the best German writers on the subject.

§ 25. The only plausible objection to the separation here suggested is the one arising from the danger of interpreting the Old and New Testaments without regard to one another; and this is rather theoretical than practical, as all experience shows how utterly impossible that process is, where

both parts are received as equally inspired. Least of all is such an error to be apprehended either on the part of teachers or of learners, in our public institutions, where the study of both testaments is constantly and simultaneously pursued, as parts of the same uniform and homogeneous system. Where either portion of the Word is neglected for the sake of the other, the abuse must spring from personal obliquity of judgment rather than from any formal distribution or arrangement.

§ 26. If the critical study of the Scriptures were preceded by no early and more superficial knowledge of them; if the Bible were as unknown to the student of theology as the Vedas, or even as the Koran; the only reasonable method would be to dispose of the Old Testament before proceeding to the New. But as we all know something of the Scriptures from our childhood, and the object of professional interpretation is not so much to discover what is new, as to perfect and reduce to system what is partially known already, there is neither theoretical absurdity nor practical inconvenience in pursuing the two studies at the same time in parallel courses. And as most of us are first and best ac

quainted with the later revelation, there is nothing to forbid, if nothing to require or recommend, our taking the last first, and immediately proceeding to the proper subject of this course, to wit: 3^ew Testament Literature or Introduction.

§ 27. Applying the previous definitions and distinctions to this part of Scripture, we may understand New Testament Literature as denoting the knowledge of the New Testament, as a book, or of the writings which compose it, as books; not merely the truth which they contain, but their peculiar form and literary history.

§ 28. To this as well as to the Old Testament, the same two theories have been applied, with the two corresponding modes of treatment, the Isagogieal and the Historical. The former has been commonly adopted till within a few years, Richard Simon's Histoire Critique du JVouveau Testament (1689) being rather an apparent than a real exception, and including only a part of the whole subject.

§ 29. The rise of the sceptical theology in Germany was not without effect upon this branch of

learning, and was reciprocally aided by it. On the boundary between old doctrines and neology stands John David Michaclis, of Gottingen, whose Introduction to the New Testament was originally published in 1750, carrying out the critical principles of Richard Simon, and doing good service in relation to the text and ancient versions. To the fourth edition of this work were added valuable notes by Herbert Marsh, of Cambridge, afterwards Bishop of Peterboro', translated into German by the younger Kosenmiiller (1795). Between the first and fourth editions, Sender had begun to treat the subject rationalistically in his " Apparatus ad libertatem Novi Testamenti Interpretationem" (1767), and his treatise on the free investigation of the Canon (1771—1775). The process thus begun was carried further by Eichhorn, in his Introduction, published during the first quarter of the present century (1804—1827), and reached its height in that of DeWette, the first edition of which appeared in 1826, and the fifth in 1848. In the mean time a reaction had begun, promoted by the learned and ingenious Koman Catholic, John Leonard Hug, whose Introduction appeared first in 1808 (fourth edition, 1847).

§ 30. Among those who contributed to this reaction •was H. F. Guericke, an orthodox and pious Lutheran of Halle, in his Contributions to New Testament Introduction, occasioned by DeWette's publications (1828), his Further Contributions (1831), and finally, his formal Introduction (1843), which may be regarded as a summary of all that went before, designed expressly to resist the infidel tendency of the age, and to maintain the inspiration and divine authority of Holy Scripture. This work was constructed on the old isagogical principle; but in its latest and best form, divided into General and Special Introduction, presenting first what relates to the New Testament collectively, and then what is peculiar to the several books.

§ 31. After this work was printed, but before its publication, another of the same general character was brought out by a young Professor (Reuss) of Strasburg, in which the isagogical method was entirely discarded, and the subject treated, not as introductory to exegesis, but as a branch of history,

and therefore chronologically ordered, under six successive topics, without any division into General and Special. This arrangement, disapproved by Guericke in the preface to his first edition, was adopted in the second (1853), after having been reissued by its author in a fuller and completer form. Not satisfied with this change, Guericke denounces all adherence to the old isagogical method as behind the age and utterly unscientific; whereas, both arrangements, as we have already seen, are views of the same object from two different points of observation, and the old one has advantages peculiar to itself.

§ 32. As this historical arrangement, although not more scientific than the other, and practically less convenient for our purpose, is ingenious in itself, and likely to remain in Vogue until another is discovered, it may not be without use to introduce the scheme, as first proposed by Reuss, and slightly modified by Guericke. The whole subject is reduced to six consecutive heads, without subdivision, and may be expressed as follows:

1. The history of the preparation for the New Testament revelation [or its antecedents].

2. The history of its origin [viz., that of the several books, seriatim].

3. The history of their collection [or of the New Testament Canon].

4. The history of its preservation [or of the New Testament Text].

5. The history of its circulation or diffusion [by the aid of versions].

6. The history of its usage or application * [in the way of exegesis or interpretation].

§ 33. Having thus exhibited the new historical arrangement of the subject, for the purpose of comparison and reference, we now return to the more familiar and convenient isagogical method, which considers the whole subject, not as a chapter of literary history, but as a preparation for the work of actual interpretation, and divides it into two great parts, called General and Special Introduction, / the former, as we have already seen, embracing what relates to the New Testament or all its books, collectively; the latter what belongs to the books singly, and can be satisfactorily treated, only by examining them in detail, and one by one. * So Reuss (not Guericke).

The first of these divisions, being rather a conventional or arbitrary than a scientific or a necessary one, may be expanded or contracted at our own discretion.

§ 34. But whatever be the topics comprehended under General Introduction, it is highly important to arrange them, not at random, or by any arbitrary method, such as the alphabetical, but on some rational intelligible principle, by which is not meant one that is purely philosophical or scientific, but simply one for which a reason can be given, as opposed to one that is merely accidental or capricious. The best mode of obtaining such a method in the present case is by adhering to the isagogic principle, considering interpretation as the end to be attained, and then inquiring what preliminary questions must be answered, or may be answered with advantage, before entering on the ultimate and main work of exegesis or actual interpretation.

§ 35. Taking the widest view of General Introduction that has been proposed by any writer, and supposing the interpreter to be incited, not by

mere literary curiosity, or vague desire of knowledge for its own sake, but by religious motives, and especially an earnest wish to know tbe will of God, the first preliminary question which might be expected to present itself is this: "What reason is there to believe a revelation possible or necessary— or, if this be granted, what reason is there to believe this book to be the Word of God—or this New Testament to be a part of such a revelation? Supposing this to be determined, the next questions would be: What are the writings which compose this volume? What detailed compositions have a right to a place in this collection? These two questions may appear to involve each other; but the fact is certain that even where the inspiration of the Bible, as a whole, is granted, there may be a doubt as to the parts of which it is composed.

§ 36. A third preliminary question, in the case supposed, is, whether this book, or these writings which compose it, are precisely as they were at first, and exhibit the ipsissima verba of the sacred

writers; or if not, whether they can be restored to their original condition. The solution, and even the investigation, of this question, presupposes some acquaintance with the language in which the book is written. It may, therefore, be presented as a previous or intermediate question, What that language is—its origin—its history—its character—the means by which it may be mastered—and the sources from which illustrations may be drawn?

§ 37. Supposing this essential knowledge to have been acquired, the question in relation to the text may be successfully pursued. But even when it has been answered, it is found that the book, although verbally intelligible, is obscured by perpetual allusions to remote times and places, to peculiar climates, soils, and products, to a state of society unlike our own, to personal habits, to domestic, social, civil, and religious institutions, of a kind with which the reader has no personal acquaintance, and of which he must know something, in a general way at least, before he can attempt interpretation in detail, with any prospect of success. "We may now suppose him to have gained this knowledge; but before he enters on the work of exegesis with entire satisfaction, he will naturally ask another question, really including two.

§ 38. This is the question: How—upon what principles, the work is to be carried on? How far must the interpretation of this book as an inspired one, be different from that of a mere human composition? And a man of due humility and self-distrust would scarcely fail to add the question, "What have others done before me in the effort to explain this book to others, or to understand it for themselves? What rules have they adopted or laid down? and what are the results? What means of illustration, and facilities for study, have they left to their successors 1 And how may we avail ourselves of their assistance to the most advantage i These concluding questions being satisfactorily answered, the way to a correct interpretation of this part of Scripture is completely open, and requires only to be diligently walked in.

§ 39. This may seem to place the business of interpretation at too great a distance, and to hinder the approach to it by too many obstructions. But this discouraging impression may be rectified by recollecting that it is not the minute detail, in

eluded under these successive topics, that is absolutely necessary as an introduction to the actual processes of exegesis, but only a correct acquaintance with the main points upon which the rest depend. "When these are mastered, even in their principles or outlines, the very process of interpretation will throw light upon the others, and receive light from them by a mutual reflection. But interpretation cannot even be begun, in an intelligent and profitable manner, without a previous solution, however general and superficial, of the questions which have been successively propounded, and the answers to which comprehend the whole of General Introduction in its widest sense. As an aid to the memory, let us briefly recapitulate the questions, and observe their correspondence with the parts of Introduction.

§ 40. To the first question—(what reason have we to regard the Bible as the Word of God ?)—the answer is afforded by that part of Introduction, in the widest application of the term, which the Germans call Apologetih, and which we, for want of any technical expression, call the Evidences of Revealed

Religion. To the second question—(what particular writings are entitled to a place in this inspired collection ?)—the answer includes all that relates to what is technically called the Canon of [Scripture or of] the New Testament. To the third question —(what is the original language, its affinities, its history, its character, the means of its elucidation ?) —the answer is afforded by that part of Introduction called New Testament [or Biblical] Philology. To the fourth question—(how may the exact words of the sacred writers be determined? and how far has this been done already ?)—the answer is afforded by New Testament [or Biblical] Criticism, i. e. of the text, using both words in their technical and narrow sense.

§ 41. The fifth question—(what were the peculiar circumstances of the people mentioned in the Bible, as to country, climate, habits, institutions, some knowledge of which is necessary to a correct determination of its meaning?)—opens the whole subject of Antiquities or Archaeology, including the Geography of Scripture. The answer to the sixth question—(what are the principles and laws of

biblical interpretation ?)—corresponds to what is technically known as Ifermencutics, differing from Exegesis, as the science from the art, or theory from practice. But as this is an inductive science, resting more upon experience and common sense than on any abstract speculations a priori, it is not to be severed from the seventh and last question— (what has been already done in this department ?) —corresponding to the History of Interpretation. Indeed, it may be found most convenient in practice, to give this the preference in order of consideration, so as to secure the advantage of historical induction in determining our rules and principles of exegesis.

§ 42. Such is a brief view of the topics comprehended in the widest application of the technical term Introduction, and actually treated in some works upon the subject, as for instance that of Horne already mentioned (§ IT). But in order to reduce the field to manageable compass [as well as to accommodate our own arrangements], it will be necessary to eliminate several of these topics, although not precisely on the same grounds. One of

these, the first in our enumeration, though a fundamental and preliminary question, belongs rather to Theology than to Introduction, and is either presupposed or included in that study. Another, holding the fifth place, may be excluded on the ground that it is rather a collateral auxiliary than an introductory preliminary study. This, with its vast extent and growing interest, requires it to be separately treated [as I hope it will be in our course of study]. The only other topic which can be omitted is that of Hermeneutics, on the ground that it cannot well be separately handled in connection with the two great divisions of the Bible, but must be disposed of once for all, without regard to this conventional distinction.

§ 43. The elimination of these topics leaves us four, to constitute the first part of our present course, distinguished from the last part by the name of General Introduction. I. The New Testament Canon (or the books entitled to a place in the collection). II. The New Testament Philology (or all that relates to the Original Language). III. The New Testament Text and Textual Criticism (by which we determine the ipsissima verba of the

sacred -writers). TV. The Exegctical History of the New Testament (including that of "Versions, ancient and modern, and that of schools and systems of interpretation, but excluding that of individual books and writers, which belongs to Special Introduction^)

§ 44. The transition or connecting link between General and Special Introduction will be furnished by a topic which belongs exclusively to neither, and yet partially to both—to the second, as concerning the particular books—to the first, as necessarily preceding their minute examination one by one. This is the topic of Classification and Arrangement, under which we may arrange some matters commonly connected with the Canon, such as the circumstances out of which the Christian Revelation (or New Testament) arose, and the traces of an actual collection of the books into a volume; the canonical history of each book, as detailed proof of its canonicity, belonging necessarily to Special Introduction.

§ 45. The first division, then, of General In

TRODticTioN is the Canon of Scripture, or, according to the distribution which we have adopted (§ 22— 26), that of the New Testament. By means of the arrangement just proposed (§ 44) we are enabled to reduce this topic to a reasonable compass, introducing only what is absolutely necessary as a preliminary to the others; and in answer to the question, "What shall we interpret? answer, the New Testament. But what is the New Testament? What volume is entitled to the name? The Book of Mormon, or the Koran, might be lettered the "New Testament," but this would not entitle them to be so reckoned; and even when we have identified the volume as a whole, the question still remains to be decided, "What books are entitled to a place in this collection? Are the twenty-seven books which now compose it those which were acknowledged by the church from the beginning— neither more nor less? The question with which we are directly here concerned is not whether these books are inspired, but whether they were so considered by the church from the days of the apostles, and thereby entitled to a place in the Canon?

§ 46. The Greek word (icavav) may be traced to

one originally meaning a cane or reed—then any straight rod suitable for measuring or for keeping other things straight—with specific application to the beam of a balance—or, as some say, to its perpendicular support—but certainly denoting, as a secondary meaning, any rule or standard, physical or moral. It is then applied, by way of eminence, to the Rule of Faith and to the Scriptures, or inspired Word of God, as constituting that rule.* The sense of list or catalogue attached by some to this word, is entirely derivative and later in its origin. The cognate adjective to canon is canonical, belonging to the Canon, or the Rule of Faith. Its correlatives and opposites, apocrypha, apocryphal, derived from a-rroicpinrra, to hide from or to hide away, and variously used by ancient writers to denote what is secret or mysterious, anonymous or of uncertain origin, spurious or counterfeit, untrue or fabulous, heretical or doctrinally false, but as a technical and ecclesiastical expression meaning sim

* "By the straight we judge both itself and the crooked, for the rule is singly the test of both (spires ai&oiv 6 Kavilv)." Aristotle dc Anima, c. S, § 16, ed. Trendelenburg, quoted by Archer Butler, Tol. ii. p. 385 (ed. W. H. Thompson).

ply and specifically something which purports or claims to be a part of Holy Scripture, but is not so, perhaps with the accessory notion of uncertain origin, by which the so-called Apostolic Fathers arc exempted from the application of the term, though some of them were anciently regarded as inspired, and their writings read in public worship.

§ 47. The precise point to be determined under this head is the identity of the book which we call the New Testament, and of the writings which compose it now, with those acknowledged, under the same names, from the beginning, as belonging to the Canon or the Rule of Faith. There are two methods of conducting this inquiry, which may be distinguished as the a priori and a posteriori process. The first consists of a historical deduction in the order of time, tracing the origin of each book, and of the entire collection, with the proofs of their continued existence to the present time. This is the course adopted by those writers who prefer the Historical arrangement to the Isagogical (§ 21, 22, 23). Under the latter plan which we are now pursuing, this deduction may be most conveniently presented in its outlines at the close of the General

Introduction in connection with the subject of Classification and Arrangement, and in its details in the Special Introduction to the several books of the New Testament. In this place, and in answer to the preliminary question just propounded, it will only be necessary to present in brief the a posteriori argument for the identity of our New Testament with that which came from the Apostles, setting out from undisputed and notorious facts belonging to the present, and then tracing up the testimony to the very times of the Apostles.

§ 48. The fact from which we set out in this a 'posteriori process is the palpable and certain one, that the book now called the New Testament is the same in every language, and throughout the world. This statement has no reference to minute variations of the text, which will be afterwards considered, but to the collection as a whole, and to the smaller books of which it is composed. This uniformity is the more remarkable, because it has no existence in the case of the Old Testament, one of the points of difference between most Protestants and the Church of Rome, relating to the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures; whereas, although the

New Testament apocrypha are still more numerous, not one of them is anywhere regarded as belonging to the Canon, but all critics and all nations and all churches, are agreed in acknowledging the same Sew Testament, composed of the same twentyseven books, neither more nor less.

§ 49. The next fact, equally notorious and certain, although more remote from our immediate sphere of observation, is that this identity or uniformity has constantly existed for a period of more than 1400 years; before as well as since the Reformation; through the Middle Ages; back to the close of the fourth century. The evidence of this fact is both negative and positive, arising from the absence of all contrary appearances throughout this series of ages, and confirmed by explicit testimony, at the date referred to, that the same New Testament which we possess, and made up of the same books, was then both in public use and private circulation. This explicit testimony is afforded both by individuals and by collective bodies, of great eminence, and highly qualified to testify without mistake or partiality.

§ 50. In order to preclude all misconception as

to this point, it is proper to observe and bear in mind, that we appeal to fathers and to councils, not as judges, as the Church of Rome does, but as witnesses to matters of fact, of which they were personally cognizant, as well as ex officio. The weight of the testimony is to be determined, as in other cases, by the character and standing of the witness as known aliunde, by his opportunities of information, and his freedom from all motives to misrepresent. Measured by this rule, one man may deserve more credit than the largest council; but in general the testimony of such bodies is peculiarly important, as embodying the testimony of great numbers; as preceded often by inquiry and discussion; as expressed, not hastily and loosely, but with more or less precision and formality; and, lastly, as transmitted to us, not by vague tradition, but in solemn, and official acts.

§ 51. The fact already stated, that the Canon of the New Testament, at the close of the fourth century, was perfectly identical with that in universal

use at present, is attested by Jiufinus, an eminent Father of the Latin Church, who enumerates the books by classes, namely, the Four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, fourteen epistles of Paul, two of Peter, one of James, one of Jude, three of John, and the Revelation of the same Apostle. That this is no subjective judgment of his own, as to what books ought to be received on their own merits, but his simple testimony to a historical fact, appears from his adding to the list, "hsec sunt quae patres inter canonem concluserunt," using the word canon just as we do, and describing it as closed or completed, not by him or his contemporaries, but by the patres, meaning, no doubt, those of the primitive or apostolic age. That he does not understand by canonical (as Sender did) such books as were used in public worship, appears from his enumerating others which he calls ecclepiastici, and not canonici, because the fathers willed them to be read in Church, but not to be adduced in proof of doctrine (such as the Shepherd of Hermas, and Old Testament Apocrypha), and then distinguishes from both classes the New Testament Apocrypha, " quaa legi noluerunt." The same facts are abundantly attested by the still more eminent contemporaries, Jerome and Augustin.

§ 52. This individual testimony, which would be almost conclusive by itself, is confirmed as to the most essential point, by two contemporary councils, both held in North Africa, then one of the most prosperous and enlightened portions of the Church, within the last ten years of the fourth century. The Council of Hippo (A. D. 393), after ordering that nothing shall be read in church, under the name of Divine Scriptures, "prseter Scripturas canonicas," proceeds to specify them in the most deliberate and formal manner: "Sunt autem canonicse scripturas evangeliorum libri quatuor,"— then follows one book of Acts, 13 epistles of Paul, "ejusdem ad Hebrseos una,"—2 of Peter, 3 of John, 1 of James, 1 of Jude, and the Apocalypse of John, just the Canon of Rufinus, and our own. To this decree it is added: "de confirmando isto canone transmauna ecclesia consulatur "—and accordingly we find it confirmed, not only by a council at Carthage four years later (A. D. 397), but soon after by the bishop of Pome (Innocent I.), and long after by a Roman council (A. D. 494:), showing that no change had taken place within a century, as none has taken place within the fourteen centuries that follow.

§ 53. Going further back in the fourth century, we find among the writings of Athanasius, the most eminent Greek Father of that age, and the champion of the Nicene faith against the Arians, a list of the canonical books of the New Testament, comprising the 4 Gospels, Acts, 7 Catholic epistles, 14 of Paul, and the book of Revelation, as to which last it is added, that it was received as John's by the ancient saints (or holy) and inspired Fathers. This, although in favor of the book, implies that some held a different opinion, and is the first intimation that we come to in this retrograde inquiry, of the least dissent from the existing canon, which was then received not only in the Greek and Latin, hut the Syrian Church, as we learn from the fact that Ephrem Syrus, its greatest representative, who died A. D. 378, quotes in his extant writings every one of our twenty-seven books.

§ 54. A contemporary Father of great eminence, Gregory of ISTazianzen, says of the Apocalypse that some receive it (eyicpivovcriv), but that

the majority pronounce it spurious (pi 7r\«ou? Vooov \eyovcri). Another, equally distinguished, Cyril of Jerusalem, omits it in his catalogue (including the 4 Gospels, with a positive exclusion of all others, as .ylrevSeiriypada Km /3\a/Se/3a, Acts of 12 Apostles, 7 Catholic epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude —14 epistles of Paul), then adds: TAAOIUAUANTAEZfl KElXenENAETTEPni. Precisely the same canon is contained in a decree of the Council of Laodicea (360—364), which some reject as spurious, but which certainly belongs to the fourth century, and if not the testimony of a council, is at least that of another (although an unknown) individual.

§ 55. When we reach the early part of the fourth century we come to the famous canon of Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, the confidential friend of Constantine the Great, and "Father of Church history." He divides the Christian books of his day into three great classes: I. Ilomologumena, acknowledged, undisputed. II. Antilegomena, assailed or called in question. III. Notlia, or (atopa Icai dyssebe).

Under the first head ho enumerates the Four Gospels, Acts, Epistles of Paul (without name or number), 1 John, 1 Peter, and Apocalypse, eiye, (paveCrj. Under the third head he enumerates several gosj)els and acts of the apostles, now universally rejected as apocryphal, with the Book of Revelation, as before, el <paveirj. Between these, under the title of Antilegomena, he names the five smaller Catholic epistles, with the Acts of Paul and the Shepherd of Hennas. The last two have been universally rejected, and the other five as universally received, since the close of the fourth century, as we have seen. In another place, Eusebius calls the first class Sacred Scriptures, represents the second as objected to, but read in most churches, and describes the third as " spurious, and alien from apostolical orthodoxy." In a third place he mentions seven Catholic epistles. He nowhere expresses any doubt of his own, even as to the Apocalypse or Antilegomena, but only records that of others. His placing the Apocalypse in the first or third class, not the second, seems to imply that if not the work of an apostle, it was an "absurd and impious" forgery. Towards the close of the third century, we find Dionysius of Alexandria admitting the Apocalypse to be inspired, but denying the authorship of John, entirely from internal evidence.

§ 56. A little earlier, Origen, the master of this Dionysius, and the most distinguished Father of that age, includes the Book of Revelation in a list of the canonical books, and names John as its author, but omits the five shorter Catholic epistles, and describes that to the Hebrews as containing Paul's thoughts in the language of another. He elsewhere mentions that of James as current (<fcepofj,evrj) under that name, and 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, as doubted by others—and he once speaks of Peter's two epistles, and of John's in the plural number, and refers to those of James and Jude. His voluminous writings, some of which are lost, are said to contain abundant quotations from all the books noAv in the Canon. This may serve to show that mere omissions in these ancient catalogues must not be made to prove too much.

§ 57. Cyprian, Origen's contemporary in the Western Church, refers to all the books now in the Canon, except Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. Clement of Alexandria, Origen's predecessor and preceptor (A. D. 220), rec

ognizes the four Gospels, Acts, 13 Epistles of Paul,

1 of Peter, 1 of John, 1 of Jude, and the Book of Revelation. Hebrews he supposes to have been originally written by Paul, and translated into Greek by Luke. The same writer comments upon

2 John, and alludes to James and 2 Peter, without naming them. His contemporary, Tertullian, the oldest of the Latin Fathers (A. D. 222), mentions all the books except 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, "but represents Hebrews, though canonical, as the work of Barnabas. Irenaeus, a connecting link between the second and third century, and also between the Eastern and the "Western Church, does not mention

3 John, alludes to James and 2 Peter, without naming them, regards Hebrews as canonical, but not of Pauline origin, and recognizes all the other books as we do.

§ 58. The Muratori Canon, a fragment found at Rome in the 18th century, contains a list of the books read in-churches in the time of Pius L, who was bishop of Rome dui"ing the second century, omitting James, and leaving 2 Peter doubtful, and giving Hebrews a different name, and not assigning it a place with Paul's epistles. The Peshito

or old Syriac version, made near the close of the second century, or early in the third, omits 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation, all which are found in a few manuscripts, but probably of later date. As to most of the books, we have thus concurrent testimony, at the end of the third century, from Gaul, Asia Minor, Egypt, Italy, and Carthage.

§ 59. Beyond this point we have no formal catalogues, but only references and quotations, the paucity of which may be accounted for by the paucity of writings which contain them; by the slow communication in the ancient world, which caused some writings to be late in gaining general circulation; and by the authority which still belonged to oral tradition, making reference less necessary, even to books which were acknowledged as inspired, and therefore as canonical. But the aggregate testimony of the first and second centuries is amply sufficient to establish the reception of the Gospels, Acts, 13 epistles of Paul, that to the Hebrews, though not always under his name, 1 Peter, 1 John, and the Book of Revelation.

Of the remaining books, the one most frequently alluded to is Jude, then 2 John, then James, then 3 John, and then 2 Peter, which is not expressly quoted in the first or second century, though mentioned near its close "by Irenseus and Clement of Alexandria. The result of this induction may be therefore summarily stated thus, that 20 of the books now included in the Canon have been homologumena, or undisputed ab initio; while the other seven are less frequently referred to in the early ages, and afterwards spoken of as antilegomena, though universally received into the Canon at the close of the fourth century.

§ 60. The question now is, not whether these seven books shall be received to an inferior place in the Canon, as proposed by Augustine and some of the Reformers, but rejected even by the Council of Trent; but whether they are entitled to a position of perfect equality with all the rest. The obvious reason is, because there can be no such thing as half-canonical or half-inspired; a writing must be

either wholly so or not at all. Nor is the question, why should we receive these books, as they were certainly received at the close of the fourth century; but why should we reject them. The presumption raised by their reception then, perhaps on evidence no longer in existence, throws the burden of proof on those who would exclude them. Nor is this presumption weakened by the charge of uncritical negligence, which some allege against the ancient church, a charge not wholly groundless with respect to the text, but shown to be so with respect to the Canon, by the very doubts and difficulties now in question; unless we absurdly assume that the caution previously exercised was suddenly abandoned at the close of the fourth century.

§ 61. The only question which remains is, whether the acknowledged doubts and hesitations as to these seven books can be accounted for on grounds consistent with their having been canonical from the beginning. It is not required that the proof be as clear and as abundant as it is in the case of the other books, but only that it be sufficient to remove all reasonable doubt upon the subject, and confirm the strong presumption which arises from the fact that at the close of the fourth century, the balance, which had oscillated for a course of ages, was unanimously held to preponderate in favour of the books in question. This decision we are not only authorized, but bound, to acquiesce in, as the church has acquiesced in it for fourteen hundred years, provided we can find any probable solution of the question why these books, if canonical, were ever called in question.

§ 62. The sufficiency of such an explanation will not be impaired, but rather strengthened, by its not being uniform or perfectly identical in reference to all the books in question. Such a sameness might indeed be suspicious, or indicative of concert or contrivance for the purpose of securing their admission to the Canon. On the other hand, if all, or nearly all, admit of different solutions, resting upon different circumstances in the origin and history, or in their character and contents, there will be no ground for the suspicion above mentioned, nor for any further hesitation in accepting the unanimous testimony of all Christian writers at the close of the fourth century, that these books

were entitled to an absolute equality in this respect, with all the others, as having been canonical from the beginning. That there is varied yet harmonious solution in the case of all these books, we now proceed to show, going only so far into the details as may be necessary for this purpose, and reserving all the rest for other and more suitable occasions. (See above, §§ 44, 45).

§ 63. With respect to the Epistle to the Hebrews, the peculiar and decisive fact is, that the ancient doubts had no relation to its canonicity, but only to its authorship, which is not an essential circumstance, since many books of Scripture are anonymous, and the authorship of some entirely uncertain. That some should have doubted whether Paul, whose name appears in all his other writings, would omit it in this one, was natural enough, especially before men had considered any of the possible solutions of this singular departure from his otherwise invariable practice, such, for example, singling one out of many, as that when the Apostle of the Gentiles found it necessary to address the

Hebrew Christians, he omitted that official description of himself which adds so much to his authority when writing to the Gentile churches. It is not necessary to affirm that this was really the reason, but only that it may be thus and otherwise accounted for, and also that the class of readers obviously addressed in this epistle would of course prevent its being known so early or diffused so widely as those which bore the author's name, and were addressed to Gentile churches or believers.

§ 64. The Epistle of James is not anonymous, but bears a name of doubtful application, having been really ascribed to three different persons so called, namely, James the Son of Zebedee, James the Son of Alpheus, and James the Brother of the Lord, whom many still believe to be distinct from both the others. Hiis uncertainty might be sufficient of itself to cause some hesitation, which would be of course increased by the erroneous impression, current in all ages, of a doctrinal diversity between James and Paul as to the cardinal doctrine of justification. If such an one as Martin Luther, in his zeal for that articulus stantis et codeatis ecclesise, could rashly for a time expunge this epistle from

the Canon, surely the same mistake might generate some doubt and hesitation in the ancient church, although it was canonical from the beginning.

§ 65. Of the four smaller writings, Jude and

2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, it may be observed in general that they are all comparatively short and therefore furnish relatively little matter for quotation, which accounts for the paucity of references to them by the early Christian writers, a fact no more decisive of their being uncanonical than the same fact proves the same thing of the shortest of Paul's writings (the epistle to Philemon) which has never been disputed. Of Jude and 2 Peter in particular, it may be further said that one cause of suspicion, in the minds of some, was a remarkable resemblance, not in sentiment or substance merely, but in minute forms of expression, so that one might seem to have been copied from the other. Now on the natural though false assumption, that but one could be canonical, a view refuted by the obvious analogy of other scriptures,* it is easy to

* Compare Ps. 14 and 63; Ps. 18 and 2 Sam. 22; Isai. S6 38, and 2 Kings, 18.

imagine that the public judgment might be long embarrassed and divided, although finally convinced that each had held a place in the original canon. On the other hand, 2 and 3 John are both extremely short, being in fact the smallest distinct parts of the New Testament, and both in their immediate form and purpose very personal and private, and lastly both anonymous or half so, as the writer describes, but does not name himself. All these are reasons which in part account for the deliberation of the ancients in admitting these epistles to the canon, though entitled to a place there ab initio.

§ 66. Different as these cases are from one another, they are no less different from that of the Apocalypse (or book of Revelation) which is quite unique and sui generis. The main fact here is, that ui tracing the books upward, after finding this one undisputed at the close of the fourth century, we come first to vague intimations, then to positive assertions, and at last to argumentative attempts at demonstrations, that it cannot be canonical; but passing on still further, we discover it completely

reinstated, and the recognition of it more or less distinctly running back to the very age of the apostles. In other words, the book was first received by all, then suspected or condemned by some, and then again unanimously recognized as genuine. It simply suffered an eclipse, which like literal eclipses, was of brief duration, and has now been past for more than 1400 years. But how can we account for this eclipse—for this rejection of the book by certain Fathers, and for its omission in the old Peshito version? If this last fact be conceded, as it is not by all writers of distinction, a sufficient explanation is afforded by the circumstance, that versions of the Scripture were originally made, not for private circulation but for use in public worship, and that this book may have been omitted as unsuited to that purpose, though believed to be canonical, precisely as the Church of England now omits it almost wholly in her calendar of lessons, but expressly names it as a part of Holy Scripture in her articles of faith. A no less plausible and even satisfactory solution of the other fact in reference to this book, namely, its exclusion from the canon by some Fathers of the third and fourth ccn

turies, is furnished by the well-known circumstance, that ,chiliastic doctrines of a very gross form then extensively prevailed, though constantly repudiated by the church at large, and so abhorred by some distinguished teachers that it tempted them to sweep away its alleged foundation by discrediting the part of Scripture which contained it. That this dangerous principle of exegesis was maintained and acted on by some, is certain; and that this great error was the cause of the eclipse before referred to, is apparent from the circumstance, that as soon as the obstruction offered by the chiliastic errors disappeared, or was reduced to harmless compass, the Apocalypse shone forth again with all its ancient but mysterious splendour.

§ 67. We have now seen that in reference to all these once disputed books, there is, to say the least,a possible solution of the doubts which once existed, perfectly consistent with their primitive and perfect canonicity, and, therefore, that we have no reasonable ground for refusing to accept the verdict of the church at the close of the fourth century, which put these seven books upon an absolute

equality, in this point, with the other twenty. Of the whole collection, thus restored to its original completeness and unity, it may now be observed, in conclusion, that the proof of its authenticity and genuineness far surpasses not only that of all apocryphal productions, which is saying nothing, nor that of any of the Apostolic Fathers, which is saying much, but that of any or of all the ancient writings in existence, with the single exception of the Hebrew Scriptures, which repose upon the same foundation, but without excepting the most valued and familiar of the Greek and Roman classics, whether Homer, Plato, Cicero, or Virgil, the identity of whose immortal writings no one ever dreams of questioning, though far less satisfactorily attested than the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

§ 68. The reception of these twenty-seven books into the Canon is, ipso facto, the exclusion of all others which have ever claimed a place there, or have been considered as entitled to it. This definition or description comprehends two very different sorts of ancient writings, the Apostolical Fathers and the so-called New Testament Apocrypha. Some account of both will be given below, under

the head of Hellenistic Literature.* All that is necessary here is to guard against a false assumption of some German writers, that all these books, canonical and apocryphal were promiscuously used at first, and on precisely the same footing, but that out of these the improving taste and judgment of the Christians finally selected those which constitute the present canon. This hypothesis, though plausible, and seemingly innocuous, would lead to very dangerous conclusions, making it impossible to separate the elements, and leaving us but one alternative—either that both are equally inspired or neither. The true state of the case is, that no books except those now contained in the canon, were entitled to a place there ab initio; that instead of the canonical books being chosen out of the whole mass of Christian writings, the apocryphal books arose from imitation of them. The great number of the latter goes to show the necessity of caution and discrimination in the ancient church, and to enhance the evidence in favour of the Canon as it now is, by contrasting the small num* See above, § 46, and below, §§ 129, 140.

ber of the books which it contains with the multitude which clamoured for admission, in the age succeeding that of the Apostles.

§ 69. Having now determined, in a general way, what book is entitled to the name of the New Testament, and what are the writings which compose it, we are ready for the next inquiry, as to the original language, or what is technically called JVew Testament Philology. That this is in its proper place between the Canon and the Text (§ 43) is plain, because until we have identified the book, we cannot ascertain the language; and until this is done, we cannot think of ascertaining the ipsissima verba, which of course have no existence even in the most exact translation. A familiar illustration may be borrowed from the case of one to whom a definite number of important papers have been solemnly entrusted for a certain purpose. The papers, it may be supposed, as well as the receptacle which holds them, are all sealed and labelled, and may thus be identified, before he opens them. But having ascertained that they are all in his possession, he proceeds to examine their contents, and, as the first step, to discover in what language they

arc written, and whether it is one with which he is acquainted; after which he may consider the particular expressions.

§ 70. If each of the twenty-seven books were written in a language of its own, or several in one and several in another, this whole topic would of course belong to Special Introduction. But as all the books, as far as we can trace them, are in one and the same language, what we have to say of it applies to the New Testament collectively, and therefore forms a necessary part of General Introduction. (§§ 18, 30, 33.) It is all reducible to four leading questions: 1. What was the original language of the New Testament? 2. Why was it different from that of the Old? 3. Why was Greek selected for this purpose? 4. What kind of Greek is used in the New Testament? The answers to these questions will constitute the topics of New Testament Philology, as we shall treat it—dwelling chiefly on the last, or the history and character of the Hellenistic dialect, in which the New Testament is written.

§ 71. The first question (what is the original

language of the New Testament ?) may seem superfluous, or answerable in a single syllable; but this has not been always an unanimous response. As examples of remarkable dissent from it may here be specified the notion of the Jesuit Harduinwho, in his Commentary on the New Testament (1741), gravely insisted that all the books were written in Latin, except the Epistle to Philemon, which was written in Greek, then translated into Latin, and then retranslated into Greek. The motive of this singular paradox was no doubt to put honour on the Latin Vulgate, as declared to be " authentic" by the Council of Trent. A very different motive, the desire to escape from exegetical embarrassments, led Bolten, in his work on the Epistles (1800), to maintain that they were dictated by Paul in Aramaic, and written down in Greek by his amanuensis, whose errors of translation would account for most of the existing difficulties. Both these opinions are remembered only as curiosities of literary history. The questions still raised as to one or two books, more particularly Matthew's Gospel, belong properly to Special Introduction, and

will there be fully treated. But even as to these books, it is not disputed that, so far as we can trace them, they have always worn a Greek dress, so that even if they were originally written in another language, which is not the case, as we shall see below, they can scarcely be regarded as exceptions to the general statement, that the whole New Testament is composed in Greek.

§ 72. The fact suggested by the second question (why was the New Testament written in a different language from the Old ?) is not to be regarded as a matter of course, since all the antecedent probabilities were in favour of Hebrew as having been already used for the same purpose, and thereby specially adapted to it, as well as invested with a certain sanctity, over and above the prestige of its antiquity and claim to be regarded as the oldest of all extant tongues, if not the primitive language of mankind. To refer the adoption of another language in the Christian revelation to the sovereign will of God, is not explaining it, but simply a confession that it cannot be explained. The question is not whether God so willed it, which is absolutely

certain, but whether he willed it for a purpose scrutable by us. If so, though under no necessity of knowing what that purpose is, we are at liberty to seek for it, and ascertain it, as an aid in solving other questions.

§ 73. The most satisfactory solution of this queston is, that each revelation was conveyed by the vehicle best suited to its purpose—the national and local revelation in the language of the chosen people—the oecumenical or universal revelation in the language of the civilized world. In the age of the Old Testament the Hebrew was moreover in itself the best adapted to the ends of a divine revelation; but at the close of the four centuries which intervened between the two, that language had not only never spread beyond the people who originally spoke it, but had ceased to be vernacular even among them; while the Aramaic dialect which superseded it had neither the prestige of great antiquity, nor special adaptation, nor the sanctity of long association, nor remarkable intrinsic qualities to recommend it.

§ 74. It may be objected to this explanation,

that it makes an invidious distinction between the Old and New Testament, as if the latter only were designed for permanent and perpetual use. But this is a mistake very easily corrected by observing, that the difference in question has respect only to tbe primary form of the communication, not to its continued use; just as the form of Paul's epistles was determined by their being actually sent as letters to certain individuals and churches, though designed from the beginning to be permanently left on record for the use of all believers in succeeding ages. So, too, the Hebrew Scriptures, though originally meant for the instruction of a single race, and, therefore, written in a language never used as a vernacular by any other, were designed from the beginning to form part of a perpetual and universal revelation of the will of God to all mankind throughout all ages.

§ To. To the third question (why was Greek selected as the language of the Christian revelation ?) there is a twofold answer; one extrinsic, or derived from outward circumstances; one in

trinsic, or arising from the qualities belonging to the language itself. The extrinsic reason is, because at the time of the Advent, it was the most widely spoken language in the world, and, therefore, the best fitted for this purpose, irrespective of its character and structure. The intrinsic reason is, that it was also the most perfect language in itself, and, therefore, doubly suited to become the vehicle of such a revelation, especially after it had been in use for ages as the language of the oldest version of the Hebrew Scriptures. (See below, § 95.)

§ 76. This preparation of a language for the Christian revelation must not be regarded as fortuitous, but providential, being part of an extensive preparation for the advent of the Saviour, going on for ages among Jews and Gentiles. This has sometimes been described by saying, that among the Jews, God prepared salvation for man (compare John 4, 22), and among the Gentiles, man for salvation; both negatively, by experimentally evincing the futility and worthlessness of heathenism, and exciting the desire of something better, and posi

tively, by providing vehicles and forms for the Christian revelation. The negative process here described, may be distinctly traced in the history of the most enlightened heathen nations, and especially in their condition at or just before the birth of Christ. The positive consisted partly in the general intellectual culture of the Greeks and others whom they influenced; partly in the gradual maturing of the Greek language to be used in the New Testament.

§ 77. The fourth question as to the original language (in what kind of Greek is the New Testament written ?) presupposes the existence of more kinds than one, or in other words, implies that the language had experienced certain changes, or appeared in different forms, before it was made use of for this purpose. This makes it necessary to consider the origin and progress of the language, not in minute detail, but briefly, both for want of time, and because this part of the subject belongs rather to a previous stage of education, in which not only the language itself, but its history now generally occupies a prominent position. All that is necessary, therefore, is, a brief recapitulation of familiar

facts, or a rapid recollection of things previously known.

§ 78. In doing this it will be convenient to begin with the affinities of Greek and its position in the family of languages to which it properly belongs, as determined by Comparative Philology. The science designated by this phrase is one entirely of modern origin, having sprung up chiefly within half a century, but with a rapid growth, which has brought it to an almost instantaneous maturity. One of its marked results is an improvement in the scientific treatment of the several languages subjected to comparison, arising from the light which they mutually throw upon each other. Another is a gratifying confirmation of the statements found in Scripture as to the original oneness of the race, and of its language. Though all obscurities are not yet cleared up, this is the acknowledged tendency of all impartial and intelligent discussion and research, not only in Comparative Philology, but also in the kindred coeval science of Ethnology, or, as it is sometimes called, Ethnography. The way in which Comparative Philology contributes to this end is by showing the affinity of

dialects apparently the most remote, and long regarded, even by the learned, as wholly and hopelessly heterogeneous. This again is brought about by exchanging the old fanciful and superficial etymologies founded on mere fortuitous resemblances of shape and sound, for a scientific and historical deduction, governed by fixed laws of permutation and analogy, and often leading to conclusions utterly unlike the premises or data, although rendered certain by an unbroken series of intermediate steps or changes. By this new and interesting process, forms of speech, the most dissimilar at present, may be traced back to a common origin, and thus the way prepared for an ultimate removal of the only serious obstruction to the identification of all known varieties of language, as diverging streams from one and the same fountain.

§ 79. Another fruit of the Comparative Philology of modern times, is the division of all cultivated language into two great families or stocks, excluding the Chinese and its derivatives, though spoken by a third part of the human race, as hav

ing really no structure, in the ordinary sense of the expression, or at least as never yet successfully subjected to a thorough philological analysis. With this extensive and significant exception, all the cultivated languages of earth, meaning thereby such as have been written long enough to have a literature of their own, may be divided into two great classes. (I.) The Semitic (or Shemitish), chiefly spoken by the race of Shem, but also called the Syro-Ardbian, Hebraic, and by several other names which need not be enumerated here, and (II.) the Japhetic, chiefly spoken by the race of Japhet, but more generally known by the comprehensive name of Indo-European, or the more specific one of IndoGermanic, which at once suggests its vast extension from the Indian to the German Ocean, comprehending all the cultivated dialects of Europe, with several belonging to the south and west of Asia—the Sanscrit and its numerous derivatives—the Celtic, Teutonic, Scandinavian, and Slavonic dialects,— and intermediate between these the two classic languages of Greece and Rome. The Semitic family is far inferior, both in superficial measurement and

number of affiliated languages, themost important being Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic.

§ 80. Tbe most striking features of the IndoEuropean stock, by which it is distinguished from the other, are, first, the direction of the writing from the left hand to the right; then, the indiscriminate use of consonants and vowels, both as alphabetic characters and etymological elements; the less conspicuous position of the verb among the parts of speech, or rather of verbal roots, as the origin of other words; the absence of a definite and fixed form for these verbal roots, such as the triliteral [and dissyllabic]; the exclusion of gender from the verb, and its restriction to the noun and pronoun; the greater variety of temporal and modal forms; the disuse of prominal suffixes; and an almost unlimited fertility, boundless liberty, and freedom in all other kinds of composition. It is to the last two features—the variety of verbal and of compound forms—that the most developed and matured of the Indo-European tongues owe the flexibility and richness which distinguish them above all others.

§ 81. Among the errors which have been exploded by Comparative Philology is that which long prevailed as to the mutual relation of the two great languages of classical antiquity, it being now held by the highest philological authorities, not only that the Greek is not the mother of the Latin, but that it is probably not even an elder sister, as a living writer, of great eminence in this department, argues from the absence of the article in Latin and the smaller number of particles denoting the relations properly expressed by cases, both which peculiarities he looks upon as proofs of a later and more complete development of Greek, as we now have it.* But however this may be, the two are now regarded as collateral derivatives from a common stock, holding a central geographical position in this wide-spread family of languages, between its north-western and south-eastern limits, as well as in relation to their structure, being almost equidistant from the superabundant richness of the Sanscrit stem, and the comparative meagreness of some Teutonic branches.

* See Donaldson's New Cratylus, 2d edition (London, 1859).

§ 82. The origin, both local and historical, of these important languages is hidden in obscurity; nor can it even be determined whether, or how far, they had a common basis in an older language ever actually spoken both in Italy and Greece. The two great elements of classic Greek, still commonly assumed, are scarcely known to us except by name, and that rather as an immemorial tradition than as the result of modern philological analysis. "We only know, and only in this way, that the basis of the language was Pelasgic, and its later adventitious element Hellenic y but the origin of these names, with the local habitation of the mother tongue, and the date of the supposed amalgamation, are still subjects of conjecture and dispute, the settlement of which has thus far baffled 'the exertions both of philological and ethnographical research.

§ 83. It is a characteristic circumstance in Greek and Koman history, that the palmy period of the latter is the period of consolidation under one great central power, whether republican or im

perial in form; whereas that of the former is the period of local separation into petty states, either hostile to each other, or at most united in a loose confederation. Whatever ground for this distinction may be found in the national character of these two races, the difference certainly exists, not only in their social and political condition, but even in their language, and particularly in the fact with which we are immediately concerned, that Greek, as far back as we now can trace it as a cultivated tongue, existed, not as one, but under several provincial forms, called Dialects.

§ 84. The origin and relative antiquity of these old dialects is so obscure, that even their number is a variable quantity, some writers recognizing more, some fewer, just as we might hesitate or differ in determining how many distinct dialects exist among ourselves, and still more in the British isles, where such diversities are far more numerous and marked. The highest philological authorities, however, seem agreed in retaining the old quadruple division, only discarding what the earlier writers called the Poetical Dialect, as something not dependent upon

local usage, but on literary fashion and prevailing taste. Omitting this, we may assume, in strict accordance with the latest philological research, as well as with an older usage, two original or primary variations in the language, and two subsequent or secondary, probably occasioned by extensive and remote migrations of the Greek or Hellenic race. The first two are the Doric and Ionic, one distinguished by its strength and harshness, and the other by its softer and more musical pronunciation, arising in a great degree, though not entirely, from a different combination and proportion of the consonants and vowels. After the settlement of Asia, in the proper sense, that is, the western provinces of what we now call Asia Minor, by Greek colonists, each of these ancient dialects received a colonial modification, the Asiatic counterpart of the Doric being the iEolic; while, on the other hand, the name Ionic, like its parent form Ionia, became fixed in Asi a, and the Grecian branch of the same great dialect was called the Attic.

§ 85. The general difference between these Greek and Asiatic dialects was the same as that

between the tribes who used them, the Ionian and ^olian cultivation tending more to a voluptuous softness, the Doric and the Attic to a masculine severity. It is also important to observe, that these provincial dialects, although originally nothing more than local variations of the spoken language, became afterwards distinct types of expression and of composition, which were more or less promiscuously used, without regard to the writer's residence or nationality, as specially adapted to certain styles and subjects. Thus the Doric dialect was used all over Greece in choral, the iEolic in lyric, the Ionic in epic composition; while the Attic, though distinguished in every kind of literary labor, surpassed all the rest in its inimitable prose, which, in the writings of Thucydides, Plato, and the Orators, is still the highest model of combined strength and beauty, the most exquisite simplicity, and the purest taste. This marked superiority in that specific form of composition, which is more and more required and practised as civilization marches onward, was at once the cause and the effect of the extraordinary galaxy of genius by which Athens is immortalized. In other words, it was because her language was so perfect, that so

many of her writers gained celebrity; and yet, it may be said with equal truth, it was because her writers were so highly gifted, that the Attic dialect attained the highest place by general consent, even while the states of Greece still remained aloof and independent of each other.

§ 86. The first great change from this condition, political and literary, was occasioned by the Macedonian ascendancy, in both its stages, the first under Philip of Macedon, the second under his still more illustrious son, Alexander the Great. Macedonia, lying on the northern boundary of Greece, and reckoned as belonging to it in the widest application of the name, was excluded from its stricter definition, and its people treated as barbarians by the national Hellenic pride, although the Greek descent of Philip and his royal predecessors was conceded, either as a subtle flattery, or in extorted admiration of his genius. By intrigue and influence, as much as by mere military strength, he gained an ascendancy in every Grecian state, and

Attic dialect surpass the rest? Of what was this both the cause and the effect? How early was this superiority acknowledged?

was finally acknowledged as the Protector of the whole, thus uniting the proud independent races, for the first time, in one nation, but purchasing this unity at the expense of all the local dignities in which they gloried. The analogous effect upon the language was to fuse its local variations into one Koivt) SiaXeicTos, of which the Attic was the basis, but to which the others all contributed their quota both of idioms and vocables. The conquests of Alexander carried some knowledge of this common dialect to the verge of India, and gave it permanent establishment wherever permanent Greek colonies were founded, and especially in those Greek kingdoms which were shared among the Macedonian generals, and preserved in a divided form the glories of that empire which existed undivided only seven years, and of that great conqueror who had personally no successor.

§ 87. Of these kingdoms, the most splendid on the whole was that of Egypt, where the Ptolemies succeeded one another, as the Pharaohs had of old. The importance of this new state was enhanced by

the language? What was the basis of the Koij/5) Sioxcktos? What was the effect of Alexander's conquests? Where was the Greek language introduced temporarily and permanently?

that of the commercial mart established by the foresight and sagacity of Alexander, and distinguished, under his own name of Alexandria, for ages as a centre not only of commercial but of intellectual activity. As usual in all such cases, the activity of intercourse in trade, aroused and stimulated mental life; the confluence from all parts of the world increased it; Alexandria grew famous for its schools and libraries, among which Was the greatest of the ancient world. Greek philosophy and learning here sought patronage or refuge from the decaying schools of Greece itself. It was in Alexandria that the race of Greek grammarians had its origin, whose soulless but invaluable labours first subjected the incomparable language to a microscopic criticism .and minute analysis. These causes, in addition to their other manifold effects, could not fail to influence the language. It is still common to assume the existence both of a Macedonian and an Alexandrian dialect; the one produced by the Macedonian conquests, both in Greece and Asia, the other by the Macedonian reign in Egypt; though the traces of the former consist chiefly of a few detached words, said to be of Macedonian origin, and

the latter first assumes a positive and independent character when afterwards developed as the Hellenistic dialect, by causes and in ways which we must now describe with some particularity.

§ 88. The next point to be considered is the providential means by which the Jews were brought in contact with the changes which have been described as flowing from the Macedonian conquests. The Greek kings of Egypt, in addition to their patronage of learning, took a lively interest in its inhabitants, contending with the Greek kings of Syria for the sovereignty of that diminutive but most important state, and when possessed of the ascendancy, not only favouring the Jews at home, but encouraging their emigration into Egypt, where extensive colonies were settled under the first Ptolemies, and a large proportion of the population of Alexandria was composed of Jews. This brought them into contact with the Greek civilization, and produced a mutual action and reaction between Judaism and Heathenism, not without perceptible effects upon both systems, or at least on some of •

.was the Alexandrian dialect? In what form was it afterwards developed? How must this form be considered?

§ 88. How were the Jews brought into contact with these changes? Who contended for the sovereignty of Palestine? What was the policy of the Ptolemies towards the Jews? What effect had this upon Judaism and Heathenism? What was the origin of their adherents. This was the origin of the Sadducees or lax Jews, who inclined to assimilation with the cultivated Gentiles, in opposition to the Pharisees or rigid separatists not only in a social but a national sense. It also gave rise to that class of devout Gentiles whom we find in the New Testament and elsewhere, treating the religion of the Jews with serious respect, without in every case embracing it. Another fruit of these relations was a further modification of the language, which had now become the universal medium both of business and of literary intercourse. The idiom or dialect which thus arose is called the Hellenistic.

§ 89. According to the national tradition of the Greeks, once discredited as fabulous, but now again received as the best authority to which we can get access, the name usually given to the whole race (i. e. by themselves) was derived from that of Hellen, a son of Deucalion (the Noah of the classical mythology) who built a town in Thessaly to which ha gave the name of Hellas, afterwards extended to the whole surrounding region, also called Phthi

otis, or the country of the Myrmidons; then still further to the whole of Upper (or Continental) Greece, as distinguished from the Peloponnesus, or to Middle Greece, including parts of both; and finally applied to all countries settled by the Greeks, including Asia Minor and the part of Italy called. Magna Grsecia, in antithesis to which the mother country was sometimes spoken of as Old Greece (rj ap^aia e"\Xds). By a similar extension, the name of the reputed founder was applied to his descendants, both in the singular and plural form (eWrjv and eWrjves),* with the corresponding adjective (iXkTjvucb*;, comparative eW^viicwrepos) and adverb (eWrjviicwt), applied by Herodotus and Xenophon to the language, especially as purely spoken.

§ 90. Another derivative of "EWrjv was the verb eWqvtgw, meaning to make Greek in any sense, as Thucydides applies the passive to a language (eWr/vwdfjvat Trjv yktbaaai), then to be Greek, or to imitate the Greeks, in manners, institutions, sentiments, but specially in speech or language. The word was even used of native Greeks who paid particular attention to their diction, so that IXX17

* Hesiod uses the form 7raceAA7jc6j, trhich also occurs in a suspected reading of the Iliad.

vl&iv sometimes means to speak good Greek. But a much, more common application of the term is to foreigners who spoke the language, whether well or ill. This imitation of the Greek or assimilation to them, both in the wider and the stricter sense, was eWrjvio-fios, while the person by whom it was practised was a eX.Xi?ftcrTJj9. This word also had its corresponding adjective and adverb (e\\?7i/to-Tt/eo? and iX\.rjvio-Ti).* In its primary and wide sense, therefore, eWyvtorq? denotes any foreigner who in any way followed the Greek fashion, but especially who used the language.

§ 91. As the Jews of the Diaspora in general, but more especially the Jews in Egypt, used the Greek language not only for colloquial but religious purposes as we shall see hereafter, they acquired a sort of twofold claim to the name Hellenist which in usage soon became appropriated to the Greek— as distinguished from the Hebrew, (or the Aramaic) speaking Jews. This specific application of

* See John 19, 20; Acts 21, 37, where it simply means in Greek. It is also used by Xenophon with \vvUvai.

the term occurs in the New Testament certainly once, probably twice, and possibly a third time. The undisputed case is Acts 6, 1, where a jealousy is said to have arisen in the infant church between the Hebrews and the Hellenists, to allay which seven deacons were appointed, all of whom have Greek names. Another almost equally clear instance is Acts 9, 29, where Saul is said after his conversion and return to Jerusalem, to have disputed with the Hellenists, or Greek-speaking Jews, to which class he belonged himself, and was therefore qualified to carry on the work, though he escaped the fate, of Stephen the first martyr. The only doubt in this case has respect to the true reading, which according to some copies is eWijra?, Greeks, i. e. natives or inhabitants of Greece, although the latest critics still retain the common reading (eWrjvi<TTds). A much greater doubt exists as to the third case, Acts 11, 20, where the external evidence preponderates in favour of eXXijwo-Ta? and the internal in favour of eXKrjvas. In all these instances, the English version uses the form Grecians, to distinguish these Greek-speaking Jews from Greeks(eXA^ras), which last form frequently occurs, but is

sometimes rendered Gentiles (e. g. John 7, 35. Kom. 2, 9. 10. 3, 9. 1 Cor. 10, 32.12, 13). In the second of the places above quoted (Acts 9, 29), the Peshito (or old Syriac version) paraphrases eWiyvia-ras as the Jews who knew Greek, and Chrysostom explains it as denoting Tov? iWyvio-Ti <f>8eyyofievovs). This is the sense in which I shall hereafter use the terms " Hellenist" and " Hellenistic."

§ 92. It follows from what has now been said, that the Hellenistic dialect or idiom is that form of the Greek language in which it was used by Jews, and as Alexandria was the point of contact between Greek and Jewish learning, this dialect is commonly regarded as a modification of the Alexandrian before described, arising from a greater or less mixture or infusion of a Hebrew element, whether derived from the vernacular of Palestine, or from the Hebrew Scriptures. The precise extent to which and way in which this Hebraic or Judaic modification of the Greek tongue took place is disputed, and will present itself again hereafter, for a more deliberate consideration.

§ 93. Had this dialect or idiom been merely oral, it would long since have shared the oblivion of their national or local variations in a spoken language. But what gives it interest and value now, is the fact that books were written in it, for a course of ages, and among them books of the highest importance. The aggregate of these books constitutes objectively, as the knowledge of them does subjectively, what is called "Hellenistic Literature," a branch of learning now distinctly recognized in our curriculum, and formally assigned to my department. It may be reduced to two great heads or classes, the Biblical and Non- (or rather Extra-) Biblical. A still more convenient distribution for our purpose, is the chronological division into periods or successive phases of this Hellenistic literature, as it still exists and may be traced in history.

§ 94. 1. The first of these forms is the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, anterior in date, by several centuries, to any other, and to which, as we shall see below, the Hellenistic dialect owes its distinctive character, if not its existence. 2. At

tached to the Septuagint version in most copies, .whether manuscript or printed, are a number of writings, not translated from the Hebrew, but originally written in the Hellenistic dialect, and technically known as the Old Testament Apocrypha. 3. The third place in this chronological series of Hellenistic writings belongs to the New Testament itself. 4. Nearly contemporary, but a little later, and forming a distinct class by themselves, are the Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus. 5. Belonging to the same age, but of Christian origin, though uninspired, are the writings known in history as those of the Apostolic Fathers, on the verge of the first and second centuries. 6. "Within the first half of the latter period fall such of the New Testament Apocrypha as were originally written in Greek, and which may be regarded as the latest samples of the ancient Hellenistic dialect, although it likewise forms the basis of the Ecclesiastical Greek, or that of the ancient Fathers after the Apostolical, and that of the mediaeval or Byzantine idiom, and more remotely of the Romaic dialect now actually spoken and generally known as modern Greek. But these three latest forms of the Greek language lie beyond the limits of our present course, and will therefore

be excluded from the rapid view which I propose to give you of the other six.

§ 95. The oldest extant specimen or sample of the Hellenistic dialect and literature is the Septuagint version—by far the oldest biblical translation in existence—so old as to be in some sense an original. Septuagint is a slight abbreviation of the Latin Septuaginta, meaning seventy—corresponding to the Greek i^So/i^icovra—and often represented by the .Roman numerals LXX. Of this ancient title there are two explanations, both of which agree in making seventy a round number for seventy-two, but one of which refers it to the Jewish Sanhedrim, either in Palestine or Egypt, by which the version is supposed to have been sanctioned; while the other and more common one explains it as the number of translators, handed down by an old tradition. This tradition exists in several different forms, the latter being generally more embellished than the older. From the close of the fourth century to the close of the seventeenth, there was a general acquiescence in the tale as told by Epiphranius, a learned and orthodox, but credulous

and injudicious Father, who describes this version as the work of seventy-two men, who were shut up by pairs in six-and-thirty cells, and each translated all the books without the slightest variation. Two hundred years earlier Justin Martyr gives the same account, but varies it by mentioning as many cells as there were writers. Both these accounts imply that the translation was inspired, a fact explicitly affirmed by Philo, who says that being filled with God (or having God within), they prophesied (or spoke by inspiration).*

§ 96. The contemporary Jewish historian, Josephus, makes no mention of this circumstance, nor of the preternatural agreement of the versions, but gives a detailed account of the origin of the Septuagint, with accompanying documents. These are all derived however from another source, still extant, an epistle to Philocrates, purporting to be written by Aristeas, a courtier and friend of Ptolemy Philadelphus—and relating that Demetrius Phalereus, the librarian of that monarch, advised

* IvBovaiwvres irpoityfrtvov. Philo de Vit. Mos.

§ 96. How does Josephus tell the story? Upon whoso authority? Who was Aristeas? What is his account? Who advised the translation? What did Aristeas himself advise? What did the king