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difference between re-touching these and giving us an entirely nem version, would be as the difference between repairing a little dilapidation in an old fabric, and razing it from the foundations to build it afresh. The accumulations of sacred science during two centuries and a half are sufficiently large, at least, to justify the 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 phalanı of critics, however learned and cautious, to undertake and complete the work without, in some sense, the co-operation of the publie; that is, we should not like it to be performed on their sole responsibility; we should not like the Bible to be given (so 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 socalled emendations already made, which (without a voice), we are required to accept. We should like the public to have a choice in the matter; to have means of comparison, and time to form a judgment—the learned, on the value of the interpretation ; and the general reader, on the merits of the expression in the altered passages.

We will briefly state what seems to us the most unobjectionable mode in which this end might be effected,

We should like, then, to see certain public bodies, which have the requisite wealth and learning (as, for example, the Universities), or the wealth that might hire the learning (as some of our great religious societies), enlisting in the service a number of the first scholars of our day, and assigning to each a moderate portion of the sacred volume for revision. After a diligent examination of the text, and the due use of all philological and critical lights, each might suggest what alterations, in his judgment, were required in the portion consigned to his care; the suggestions of each might be submitted to the rest, and, at last, such emendations as had the general concurrence might be introduced—not into the text of the common version—but into an edition of it, printed in double columns; one of which should be devoted to the text of the common version itself, and the other to the proposed alterations —this latter column, where no alterations were necessary or proposed, being left blank. The emendations should be printed over against the verses which they affected; and, perhaps, in order to throw these out more distinctly before the eye, they might be printed in red letter. At the same time, the body of such emendations might be printed separately, in a cheap form, for ordinary readers who could not purchase the more bulky volume. This would obviate the objection that the public would be left, for the 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

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.

said that it would be very possible for a number of learned men to give us a really more accurate translation by availing themselves of all the aids of modern learning and research, and yet systematically deteriorate the whole by dilution of phrase; by a want of tact for perceiving the full force and energy of vernacular idioms and constructions, which, by the way, is usually one of the weak points in men of mere erudition. No wonder that it is so, for learned men read much in foreign languages, and are chiefly conversant with English books in which there is an undue proportion of the foreign element; they are also very often segregated

, to a great extent, from the walks of common life, in which the life of the vernacular diction (the Saxon) chiefly circulates. In English, the native and the foreign elements, the confluence of which forms it, are both very large; an immense number of our synonyms are derived from both; but it is those derived from foreign sources which are most naturally suggested to habits of learned thought. Unless, therefore, erudition is conjoined with unusual activity of the imagination (and great linguistic and philological talent is seldom allied to a poetic temperament); unless it also has its tendencies corrected by perpetual familiarity with the literature in which the dialect of common life is principally found, the diction it employs is certain to be coloured by an excessive infusion of the classical elements of our language.

Take, for example, Lowth, a man, not only of learning, but of elegant imagination and accomplished taste. His translation of Isaiah bears witness to his possession of all these qualities; yet how often has he diluted the force of the diction in his attempt to mend the common version! No doubt his translation has still graver faults ; he is often bold, even rash, in his interpretations

, founded, as they not seldom are, on conjectural, or very partially sustained emendation of the text; and this shows us, by the way, how unwise it would be to give any individual men authority to substitute their translations for those of the common version till general criticism has thoroughly sifted them. But, to waive that, for it is in point of diction that we more particularly speak of Lowth’s version at present. It cannot be denied that he has, in many cases, made real improvements, so that, on the whole, he has produced a version of great merit and elegance; yet it is equally undeniable, we think, that an ear thoroughly attuned to the vernacular, will detect a pervading languor of expression pared 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 the First Chapter for a specimen, who can endure the substitution of the frigid, general term “possessor” for the appropriate word

as com

«« The ox

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.” knoweth his possessor,” says Lowth,“ and the ass the crib of his 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 ileces 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 feelingthe 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 deliberately 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, during this interval (be it long or short), would be defrauded of any of the lights derivable from modern learning and research,

UU

VOL. III.

said that it would be very possible for a number of learned met to give us a really more accurate translation by availing theriselves of all the aids of modern learning and research, and res systematically deteriorate the whole by dilution of phrase; b want of tact for perceiving the full force and energy of vernau.. 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 chies 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 the life of the vernacular diction (the Saxon) chiefly circulates I: English, the native and the foreign elements, the contienee which forms it, are both very large ; an immense number sec synonyms are derived from both; but it is those derived fra foreign sources which are most naturally suggested to habits learned thought. Unless, therefore, erudition is conjoined a unusual activity of the imagination (and great linguistic and plu logical talent is seldom allied to a poetic temperament); un* : also has its tendencies corrected by perpetual familiarity with me literature in which the dialect of common life is principally the diction it employs is certain to be coloured by an excedite 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 translatic Isaiah bears witness to his possession of all these qualitrex ; *** how often has he diluted the force of the diction in his attempi mend the common version! No doubt his translation base graver faults; he is often bold, even rash, in his interpretah :founded, as they not seldom are, on conjectural, or ven paras' sustained emendation of the text; and this shows us, by the how unwise it would be to give any individual men authori substitute their translations for those of the common renc general criticism has thoroughly sifted them. But, to war: for it is in point of diction that we more particularly qua Lowth's version at present. It cannot be denied that he is many cases, made real improvements, so that, on the whose has produced a version of great merit and elegance: equally undeniable, we think, that an ear thoroughly attuned t": vernacular, will detect a pervading languor of expression ***** pared with the energy of the common version, arising fra insensible preference of a highly-cultivated literary taste fe": 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 **

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