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difference between re-touching these and giving us an entirely nem version, would be as the difference between repairing a littie dilapidation in an old fabric, and razing it from the foundations to build it afresh. The accumulations of sacred science during to centuries and a half are sufficiently large, at least, to justiti ris attempt at revision, and modern scholarship is fully equal to the task of pronouncing on the value of any proposed emendations
But even then, we confess reluctance to allow any phaları of critics, however learned and cautious, to undertake and complete the work without, in some sense, the co-operation of the puble, that is, we should not like it to be performed on their sole r esibility; we should not like the Bible to be given (s) to speak into their hands, to expunge and alter at their pleasure, and then to be handed back to us as a “Common Version," with the sam called emendations already made, which (without a voices, we are required to accept. We should like the public to have a ebene the matter; to have means of comparison, and time to forma judgment—the learned, on the value of the interpretatiin; mi the general reader, on the merits of the expression in the altered passages,
We will briefly state what seems to us the most unobjetike mode in which this end might be effected.
We should like, then, to see certain public bodies, whicb here the requisite wealth and learning (as, for example, the Unite sities), or the wealth that might hire the learning (as some of great religious societies), enlisting in the service a number of te first scholars of our day, and assigning to each a moderate pos of the sacred volume for revision. After a diligent examins : of the text, and the due use of all philological and T:2 lights, each might suggest what alterations, in his judgment, . required in the portion consigned to his care; the sunstes i each might be submitted to the rest, and, at last, such emendare as had the general concurrence might be introduced-noiin : text of the common version—but into an edition of it, prizes double columns; one of which should be devoted to the t'i: the common version itself, and the other to the proposed alterance -this latter column, where no alterations were necessary or p posed, being left blank. The emendations should be printei: against the verses which they affectedl; and, perhaps, in order throw these out more distinctly before the eve, ther mit der printed in red letter. At the same time, the lowly of such er dations might be printed separately, in a cheap form, for onlir:readers who could not purchase the more bulky volume. T.: would obviate the objection that the public would be left, for time during which opinion was forming on the merits of the
proposed emendations, in ignorance of what scholarship and research had done for the sacred text and its interpretation during the last two centuries and a-half. The people would have the results, though not incorporated in an edition of the common version, and they could make the comparison for themselves.
It is not for us to suggest the public body or bodies who might take upon themselves—for we would have it undertaken by themselves—this responsible task. One naturally looks to the Universities as the parties by whom it might be most hopefully entered upon. But, in fact, if the work were attempted simultaneously by two or three public bodies, it might be as well.* No harm could well follow, and some good might. Larger resources of learning, critical skill, and taste would be pressed into the service, and a wider basis of ultimate comparison and selection would be secured ; while agreement (and in the majority of cases there would be substantial agreement) would be an additional argument for the soundness of, at least, the interpretation arrived at.
Supposing such emendations made, we would then have them, as we have said, left in the hands of the people ; that a public opinion might gradually grow up, and express itself about them, before any attempt was made to substitute them for the corresponding passages in the current version. Apart from some such ordeal, by which the value of these emendations might be tested, we fancy that the nation would be loth to give any body of men, however learned, the liberty, and that they would be equally reluctant to accept the responsibility, of using the sponge to any part of the received version, and summarily substituting something else in its place. Whatever is done should be done before the eyes of the public, and with the fullest means of judging of its propriety.
Hence the importance we attach to the condition that the proposed alterations should be deliberately submitted to the public eye; not merely that the criticism of the learned might be heard as to the interpretation, but, (what is scarcely less important in such a case), that the voice of the intelligent, though not learned, public might be heard on the translation itself; on the merits of the diction and style ; whether the words substituted worthily replaced the strong sinewy English of the present version, or whether learning, as so often happens, had diluted the force of expression by fond preference for a classical diction.
Nor let it be supposed that the instincts of unlearned, unsophisticated English ears would be of little value. We have already said that it would be very possible for a number of learned med to give us a really more accurate translation by availing them selves of all the aids of modern learning and research, and 7: systematically deteriorate the whole by dilution of phrase; b. want of tact for perceiving the full force and energy of vernacais: idioms and constructions, which, by the way, is usually (pe of the weak points in men of mere erudition. No wonder that it is s. for learned men read much in foreign languages, and are che conversant with English books in which there is an undue pript. tion of the foreign element; they are also very often segregate. to a great extent, from the walks of common life, in which tlife of the vernacular diction (the Saxon) chiefly circulatis I English, the native and the foreign elements, the confluence which forms it, are both very large ; an immense number of r* synonyms are derived from both; but it is those derived fr= foreign sources which are most naturally suggested to habits and learned thought. Unless, therefore, erudition is conjoined with unusual activity of the imagination (and great linguistic and phe logical talent is seldom allied to a poetic temperament); unlex.: also has its tendencies corrected by perpetual familiarity with the literature in which the dialect of common life is principally for the diction it employs is certain to be coloured by an excussire Efusion of the classical elements of our language.
* Some of the great societies, the object of which is the diffusion of religious knowledge and of which the revenues are princely-might legitimately devote a moderate grant from their funds, for a series of years, to so good a work; and if several of them were to join in the object, the tax on each would be light.
Take, for example, Lowth, a man, not only of learning, lat elegant imagination and accomplished taste. His translatina Isaiah bears witness to his possession of all these qualities; 52 how often has he diluted the force of the diction in his attern mend the common version! No doubt his translation has graver faults; he is often bold, even rash, in his interpr-tabes founded, as they not seldom are, on conjectural, or very rarte. sustained emendation of the text; and this shows us, by the na: how unwise it would be to give any individual men authority substitute their translations for those of the common veniacom general criticism has thoroughly sifted them. But, to waitr for it is in point of diction that we more particularly in Lowth's version at present. It cannot be denied that he has = many cases, made real improvements, so that, on the whole.b has produced a version of great merit and elegance; yetu equally undeniable, we think, that an ear thoroughly attuned to be vernacular, will detect a pervading languor of expression Gpared with the energy of the common version, arising from the insensible preference of a highly-cultivated literary taste for the classical elements in our language. To go no further than First Chapter for a specimen, who can endure the sultituee of the frigid, general term “possessor " for the appropriate rr.
"owner," or the “crib of his lord” for “his master's crib;' where the latter has not only the advantage in the terms, but in the brief construction also ? " The ox knoweth his owner,” says the common version, "and the ass his master's crib.” “The ox knoweth his possessor," says Lowth, "and the ass the crib of his lord.” Isaiah i. 26, “ Afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city”—C. Version. “And after this,” says Lowth, “thy name shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful metropolis !” In this passage, surely the affected phrase "faithful metropolis,” equally injures the diction and the rhythm. Chap. i. 29–36, “For ye shall be ashamed of the ilexes which ye have desired.... When ye shall be as an ilex whose leaves are blasted.” What is the particular advantage that is to countervail the introduction of the “ilex,” in place of the “oak ” of the common version, we know not. It may be said, perhaps, that an “ilex” is an “ilex," and there is an end of the matter. But Lowth himself acknowledges that the meaning of the Hebrew term is dubious; he might, therefore, have left the word as it was. It had the merit of being, at least, intelligible to the common reader.
In short, we will venture to say, that where there is no change of meaning-Lowth's substitution of terms, or changes of construction, are for the worse, either in point of energy, or rhythm, nine times out of ten.
Hence, in our judgment, the necessity that popular feeling the intuitive taste of those who cannot criticise the rendering, but can criticise the diction, should have opportunity of declaring itself.
But to return. If the cautious and temperate emendations, proposed and published in the way described, were laid before the people, a public judgment with respect to them would, in time, be expressed ; learning would canvass the interpretation, and even the common reader would compare, and try by the ear, the merits of the expression. Of many minute changes the obvious justice would be recognized at once; and, with regard to others, though it would not be possible to count votes, a general concurrence of approval or disapproval might and would be inferable from the verdicts of the organs of public opinion. Thus to sift and canvass the work of critics, and to afford opportunity to public opinion leliberately to give or withhold its sanction, might take a score of years or so; but that would be of little consequence as compared with the importance of the object, and its satisfactory ultimate attainment; and, at all events, as we have already said, none, luring this interval (be it long or short), would be defrauded of any of the lights derivable from modern learning and researchVOL. III.
said that it would be very possible for a number of learned men to give us a really more accurate translation by arailing theIlselves of all the aids of modern learning and research, and te? systematically deteriorate the whole by dilution of phrase; bis 3 want of tact for perceiving the full force and energy of vernal idioms and constructions, which, by the way, is usually one of weak points in men of mere erudition. No wonder that it is for learned men read much in foreign languages, and are che conversant with English books in which there is an undue prope tion of the foreign element; they are also very often segregatri to a great extent, from the walks of common life, in which life of the vernacular diction (the Saxon) chiefly circulates E English, the native and the foreign elements, the confluence which forms it, are both very large ; an immense number synonyms are derived from both; but it is those derived tre foreign sources which are most naturally suggested to habits learned thought. Unless, therefore, erudition is conjour unusual activity of the imagination (and great linguistic and file logical talent is seldom allied to a poetic temperamenti; ue* : also has its tendencies corrected by perpetual familiarity with 2 literature in which the dialect of common life is principallya: the diction it employs is certain to be coloured by an excuse 2* fusion of the classical elements of our language.
Take, for example, Lowth, a man, not only of learning, le : elegant imagination and accomplished taste. His translate Isaiah bears witness to his possession of all these qualitat: " how often has he diluted the force of the diction in his attem mend the common version! No doubt his translation bassin graver faults; he is often bold, even rash, in his interpreta: founded, as they not seldom are, on conjectural, or ven paraat sustained emendation of the text; and this shows us, by the how unwise it would be to give any individual men authri substitute their translations for those of the common renc: general criticism has thoroughly sifted them. But, to wat for it is in point of diction that we more particularly geta Lowth's version at present. It cannot be denied that he many cases, made real improvements, so that, on the who has produced a version of great merit and elegance: ! equally undeniable, we think, that an ear thorvughly attunedt vernacular, will detect a pervading languor of expressiva ** pared with the energy of the common version, arising fre". insensible preference of a highly-cultivated literary tuste " classical elements in our language. To go no further the First Chapter for a specimen, who can endure the submit of the frigid, general term “possessor” for the appropriate **